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Saturday, 17 Tammuz, 5779
  |  July 20, 2019

    When a Rabbi Misbehaves

    From the COLlive Inbox: What to do when a role model you trusted rolls in an unexpected way. Full Story

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    thank you
    Guest
    thank you

    very well said
    i think everyone needs to hear this now

    Mendel
    Guest
    Mendel

    I don’t know why, but for the last few days I’ve been thinking about this point exactly.
    As long as we know whats right and wrong, the failings of another person – even a respectable one – Doesn’t take away any of the good things they have to offer. Even if someone who has books on marriage Etc, If he does something immoral, it doesn’t take away the truth that he may have spoken Vechulu. Food for thought. Thank you.

    powerfull!!
    Guest
    powerfull!!

    excellent. bravo. thanks for sharing

    wow
    Guest
    wow

    wow!!!

    kol hakavod
    Guest
    kol hakavod

    Well said. Ahsreinu that we have such girls in Lubavitch that have such strong emuna…

    redirecting..
    Guest
    redirecting..

    thank you..for your wisdom,for redirecting our thoughts and feelings,for transporting us above judgement, cynicism, apathy, or any of the other excuses we may use for not increasing our own attachment to Hashem

    Thank you!
    Guest
    Thank you!

    Well written..! May G-d grant us all clarity and strength to make the right choices in life.

    well said
    Guest
    well said

    Well said, thanks for writing.

    Profound and sharp
    Guest
    Profound and sharp

    I hope this is taken to heart.

    wow
    Guest
    wow

    THANK YOU

    beautiful!!
    Guest
    beautiful!!

    Thank you so much!

    like it
    Guest
    like it

    wonderful explanation

    I appreciate people like you
    Guest
    I appreciate people like you

    I feel the same way and I appreciate your writing.
    I hope people read this and take a lesson from it.
    G-d bless you

    hi to the author
    Guest
    hi to the author

    i read and understand what you are saying very well and I agree with you. Now when I say this I am not negating what you are saying, I just want to say something about the topic at hand. When someone in a possition of authority, and specifically a rabbi, a big responsibility, acts out in whatever way it is, some worse than others, it makes a statement, and different people are going to take it in their own way. Its not so much understanding that everyone has free choice, its the fact that someone chose to be in the… Read more »

    itty
    Guest
    itty

    you’re so cool

    learn a lesson
    Guest
    learn a lesson

    “never trust yourself till the day you die” no matter how smart learned etc, always have the humility to take criticism. the alternative is your own destruction and betrayal of those who trust you and love you.

    love that last line
    Guest
    love that last line

    Thank you

    AMAZING!
    Guest
    AMAZING!

    perfect article. would not change a thing.

    Correct
    Guest
    Correct

    In a similar vein I had a Mashpia some time back which was blinded and made decsioins siding with a pupil of his though the pupil was in the wrong. It is challenging but the truth of right and worng remain true. How many times do doctors lecture about the dangers of smoking and smoke themselves… Doesn’t take away from the truth in the dangers of smoking. Stay strong and find a good role model, and follow your gutt, you don’t need to follow blindly, you also know what is right and wrong. Still never a good situation to be… Read more »

    Perhaps someone should also write an article....
    Guest
    Perhaps someone should also write an article....

    about being non-judgmental. Just wondering….if we are speaking of venerable, respectable Rabbis- Rabbis that dedicate all their time and energy into living the truth and sharing the truth with others- don’t they at the very least deserve the benefit of the doubt? Maybe we don’t know the whole story? Maybe we don’t have all the facts?…And even if the “facts” seem so black and white, and even if we heard things from the most “reliable of sources,” maybe we all need to brush up on chapter 30 of Tanya….? I’m not condoning anything. I’m just suggesting that perhaps a bit… Read more »

    impact on a child
    Guest
    impact on a child

    I was 10 years old, when I saw the Rebbi that taught us Chumash in school take a picture of his grandchildren in the park on shabbos, until then I really beleived that shabbos was sacred. Witnessing that almost inconsequential event shattered all that I held dear and that I beleived in as a child.

    Yes, but ...
    Guest
    Yes, but ...

    Dear Ms. Kay: Your perspective provides comfort on a personal level – we all must constantly strive to make the right choices. Nevertheless, it cannot be used as an “excuse” for those in positions of authority. Abuse of children, for example, is wrong but abuse of children by those who have authority over them and claim their trust (teachers, therapists, counsellors etc.) is particularly evil. Once a man presents himself as a “Rabbi,” whether officially appointed by a congregation or merely wearing a black hat and a beard in a public location, he is making a statement to the world… Read more »

    If your daughter went to the doctor...
    Guest
    If your daughter went to the doctor...

    If your daughter went to the doctor and he acted inappropriatly would you send her back to him? Would you send your friends to this doctor?

    Would you care how qualified he is or how long he studied in medical school for?!?

    If you would go ahead send your daughter back to this type of Rabbi.

    Very profound !
    Guest
    Very profound !

    Very well said!

    It's a two face situation
    Guest
    It's a two face situation

    How can a person who is supposedly immoral be looked at and respected again. I personally do not respect them anymore. There is one life to lead (not nine like cats), and it is not so very hard to be moral and just, especially with Chassidus. Go see a Psychiatrist and learn some Tanya if you have inner disturbance, because most normal people if they work on themselves, can live and die being morally upright.

    True, but...
    Guest
    True, but...

    1. Each and everyone of us has to realise that he/she is an ambassador for belief in G-d, or Judaism, or Orthodoxy, or religious people, chassidim, or Chabad, etc. because everyone judges the whole by the appearance of the individual. 2. No one is above the law, no one should think that he can’t be fooled by the yetzer horo- even King Shlomo wasn’t smart enough 3. Don’t think that no one will know if you sin in private- everything eventually becomes public knowledge. 4. The yetzer horo’s strongest weapon is the imagination.(You imagine how wonderful this pleasure must be.)… Read more »

    My thoughts
    Guest
    My thoughts

    Don’t judge me just because I sin differently to you.

    To number 12 - Exactly Itty's point!
    Guest
    To number 12 - Exactly Itty's point!

    It’s the Authority Figure’s responsibility to recognize his/her influence, and take special care to make the right choices. But we don’t do what we do because our Authority Figures do those things. We do them because they are right. And when a person of influence does something patently wrong, it does not make what’s right any less so. From the article above: So that Rabbi you trusted went and did something you know is immoral. He stole money, he eats too much, whatever. Are you going to use that as an excuse to be let down? To question everything he… Read more »

    #12 makes an impt point
    Guest
    #12 makes an impt point

    to the author- you are absolutely right, we are all works in progress, here to learn and fall and learn again, BUT, it is very disheartening when a person messes up who holds him/herself up as a religious authority, and who might even use G-d or the Torah to justify their ways. The higher one goes, the bigger the Yetzar Hara and the more honest and humble they have to strive to be, they aren’t just representing themselves, they stand for Yiddishkiet and turn off and hurt with a searing pain, many people within and without of the Torah world… Read more »

    True
    Guest
    True

    before I went to Yeshivah my father told me 2 things: 1) Your Mashpia is not G-D. 2) He knows a lot more than you.
    That tought me that while I definitely should respect my Mashpia and try to learn as much as possible from him. I SHOULD NOT get turned when I see his shortcomings as he is as human as the rest of us with the same struggles.

    Accountable
    Guest
    Accountable

    I agree with the message of this article, not to throw out the baby with the bath water, and to understand that even rabbis make mistakes.
    At the same time, it is the job of the community to hold them responsible. For example, if a teacher or rosh yeshiva hits a student , he probably should not be in that position .

    Very true
    Guest
    Very true

    Thanks for bringing clarity to the situation

    Well said, thank you.
    Guest
    Well said, thank you.

    Excellent article. You put into words what many of us are thinking. Commenter #12 – you make an important point as well. While none of us are immune from temptation or stripped of free choice, it is incredibly devastating when someone in a public role of modeling Chassidishe values and teaching “misbehaves”. The impact is far greater, and exponentially damaging.

    great
    Guest
    great

    i wouldn’t judge because we don’t know the challenges of our fellow Jew, but i wouldn’t emphasize the “free choice” bec. a role model , a genuine one doesn’t do something wrong bec. of free choice i would emphasize stronger yetser hora in that area(unless you are saying that is the meaning of “free choice?”). i would emphasize more the “not knowing how you would behave in his shoes”

    Call the Cops
    Guest
    Call the Cops

    This is all fine and good – however, if a rabbi or other role model commits a criminal act in which you are the victim(whether it is stealing or worse), or you see him committing a real crime that causes real damage (not a parking offense, or even a wrong turn), contact law enforcement immediately.

    very well said
    Guest
    very well said

    Thanks!!!

    learning from rabbis
    Guest
    learning from rabbis

    I’ve received VERY bad personal advice from my rabbi. He claims that I didn’t understand him. Perhaps, but when a congregant goes to his rabbi, the rabbi needs to be clear and not assume the congregant, especially someone new to the Lubavitch education system works, will read between the lines of what he says.

    Because of the Rebbe, not his shluchim
    Guest
    Because of the Rebbe, not his shluchim

    I did not become frum in my late 30’s because I fell in love with a shliach or his family or with the community. I fell in love with the Rebbe’s message. If I always keep that in mind, I can better ignore the not so good behavior of my local chabad rabbis.

    Zzqq
    Guest
    Zzqq

    Great article. Inspite of some of the comments I don’t think the author is trying to lessen the responsibility of those in authority or down playing any sins. The question the author is addressing is not a question against a specific rabbi or authority figure but rather against Torah itself. How can someone who supposedly represents Torah and Chassidus act in a certain manner, what does this say about Yiddishkeit? To this the author answers: torah teaches us we have free choice so even someone very learned can still make severe mistakes by definition. We should not let this lessen… Read more »

    Hey everyone..
    Guest
    Hey everyone..

    I think this article will help a lot of people but 2 things still remain in my mind. 1. Who are we to judge what sin is worse than another? Perhaps dishonoring your parents at some point, or speaking lashon hara is worse than other sins. How do we know? 2. On the other hand, it is EXTREMELY disheartening to hear when somebody looks up to commits something he stands against. I was shocked when a couple of my friends told me after a singer they look up to no longer went in the way of Torah and they then… Read more »

    True but.....
    Guest
    True but.....

    What you’ve pointed out is true. One musnt be affected by the negative actions of another, after all, they’re also only a person. However, where the main problem lies is when the community covers up the negative actions of an individual/role model. That is what drives people to scorn that leader’s community and life style.

    Going deeper!
    Guest
    Going deeper!

    Suppose your schlaich goes off the derech. What is the community responsibility and the chabad organisation. No amount of philosophising helps.

    be careful
    Guest
    be careful

    obviously its important that this be handled delicately, but people need to see that you cant get away easy when you ‘misbehave’. we will re accept you when you have done serious teshuvah, begining with an intense experience of brokeness

    to #40
    Guest
    to #40

    Your point number 2 is spot on!

    to 38
    Guest
    to 38

    like! and agree!

    to#23
    Guest
    to#23

    the answer is no

    Very well sayd!!!
    Guest
    Very well sayd!!!

    In the perfect time i needed to hear it!

    Hashem gave us two eyes.One to look at yourself objectively,,one to look at another with mercy.I want my rabbi to be bigger than life.
    Guest
    Hashem gave us two eyes.One to look at yourself objectively,,one to look at another with mercy.I want my rabbi to be bigger than life.

    Benven

    don't confuse religion with its leaders
    Guest
    don't confuse religion with its leaders

    In high school my favorite rabbi/mashpia person who made me religious turned out to be living a very inappropriate life. The truth came long after I already started my family. But for a long time that truth created doubts about why I was even religious. I never was inspired by any class until this rabbi. I felt guilty for having so much respect for him after learning about his life while I was his student. It took me a long time to learn that although his actions were immoral that does not negate what he taught me. Once I seperated… Read more »

    Charisma Blinds
    Guest
    Charisma Blinds

    Sometimes its not about a temporary lapse in judgement or a bad choice. Sometimes its about a charismatic person deceiving others into believing that he’s something he’s not. Eventually the truth surfaces.

    Thanks for writing
    Guest
    Thanks for writing

    I am still on shock and hope that I can take your advice and not let this affect my life although that will be very challenging

    ITTY THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!
    Guest
    ITTY THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

    It’s so comforting and reassuring to hear someone else validate your thoughts and feelings. It’s hard to make sense of things at first to reconcile the seeming paradox. A person who has taught you so much!!! That you feel so edebted to, for the clarity and knowledge you’ve gained from them. And this is all said whilst still giving the benefit of doubt that lots of things have been exaggerated and taken out of context. But as you said let us cling on to the last moments in time when we still have true and utter free choice before we… Read more »

    yasher koach #20!!!!
    Guest
    yasher koach #20!!!!
    HOLD THE JUDGEMENT
    Guest
    HOLD THE JUDGEMENT

    The article does not seem to be excusing any behavior. The article is just stressing important points – someone elses lapse in judgment should not affect you or your beliefs. It is true we may hold “Rabbis” “Mashpim” and the like to a higher standard…but at the same time, we must not forget that they are human, and mistakes and even sinful ones…can very likely happen. We are in no position to judge someone else’s personal challenges and personal yetzer hora. We can never truly understand what someone else goes through – so let us hold our judgments….to judge ONLY… Read more »

    Thank you Itty
    Guest
    Thank you Itty

    Not only do you raise very good points, but your article was a very good threshold to gather great hashkafa “tips”. Thanks Itty and thanks to everyone else who posted comments to help us refocus ourselves to work on our middos as we’re taught in Chassidus.

    To 20 (and 53?)
    Guest
    To 20 (and 53?)

    Who is judging? This article is about anyone in particular? Unfortunately lately there have been cases of people who are in position to be looked up too letting down those who looked up to them. This article is speaking to those who might feel dissilusioned because of that.

    23 and 38
    Guest
    23 and 38

    Both so correct and unfort #23 sometimes you dont have a choice

    TRULY AMAZING
    Guest
    TRULY AMAZING

    just had the same conversation with someone earlier on today!! i will for sure send them a link to the beautiful well put article
    thank you

    Uh huh
    Guest
    Uh huh

    Nearly all my teachers- Hebrew or secular- in class. They’re in middle of teaching a lesson, when all of a sudden it’s silent. I look up from my notes, and lo and behold! They’re texting! Se don’t even try hiding it! And I go to a big Lubavitch school!

    To # 20 & 53
    Guest
    To # 20 & 53

    You just said the real point.!!!
    # 56, they didnt say the article is judging someone, but only that you must be careful when you hear about what someone did, “even” he is a rabbi.

    Seems to me excuses are being made for a Rabbi's lapse
    Guest
    Seems to me excuses are being made for a Rabbi's lapse

    I would be extremely disappointed if someone I respected and looked up to and a Rabbi into the bargain, were to do something immoral. To cite someone teaching others that smoking is harmful to your health and then is seen smoking himself is to my mind hypocritical – think of the damage this would do to a child’s perception of what is true, and the confusion in the child’s mind ,and smoking is a smaller issue compared to a more serious lapse. I can’t help but feel this item is showing us exactly where we’re at, a very much lower… Read more »

    to 60
    Guest
    to 60

    I am 56 and what you are saying is true though it has nothing at all to do with this article.

    Lately
    Guest
    Lately

    lately we have been hurt very badly by ppl that supposedly represent yiddishkeit…it has taken alot of soul searching to come to the conclusion to seperate the ppl that pupport to represent the torah way from the torah way itself. It has been a very hard journey…..as adults. What about innocent kids/teenagers who dont have the maturity or understanding to make the seperation between the ideolgy and the wicked ones that represent it? The authors lesson should be taught to kids and teenagers…because when their innoncent belief in the system is shattered…that is very dangerous!

    YES
    Guest
    YES

    Agree with # 20 wholeheartedly.

    To #23
    Guest
    To #23

    Excellent point! And for some reason, there are those who hold rabbis in such esteem that the rabbis are exempt from wrongdoing, while a physician is not. It’s almost like the rabbis have some kind of untouchable piece of perceived holiness that scues the person’s ability to see things clearly or accurately. It’s almost like rabbis are thought of as beyond reproach. Some rabbis love that! They love the implied power they have attained. That is so sad, because the beauty of the role is tarnished by those who abuse the title.There must be some way to improve the situation,… Read more »

    Chevreh,
    Guest
    Chevreh,

    Yes, its hard. Please realize, nothing that a Rabbi’s behavior reveals or contains can weaken Am Yisrael in a critical and shattering way. The reason why challeges can never break a Jew, is because challenges were created to strengthen him
    This story is a challenge from Hashem, to bring out a new light in the Rabbi, his family, and his students.
    Have faith in Hashem, and the Torah, and in the Hashgacha Pratis of every challenge.

    response to immorality
    Guest
    response to immorality

    Yidishkeit is about actions. We must be clear in our response to actions and we must be intolerant of immorality. To blur it and say that it is part of a process, while true on some level (-hopefully the person in question will make amends), heads you away from a clear position.

    It is hard to receive wisdom from an impure vessel.

    #21
    Guest
    #21

    then i think u need 2 read the article again (and again) until u realize that shabbos is indeed sacred….

    shul decorum
    Guest
    shul decorum

    personally, i feel very disillusioned when witnessing rabbis and other authority figures talking in shul during davenini, and even during kaddish and chazoras hashatz. And this is not a temporary lapse in judgment, it’s a reflection of poor standards and policy

    to # 56 / 62
    Guest
    to # 56 / 62

    I’m the 60. Even tough this article wasn’t written specifically to someone, what I don’t believe, it wasn’t in a proper moment. Many times people say things regarding a rabbi and are critical before investigating the issue. The consequence of this hurts other people involved.
    Vehevei dan eis kol hoodom lechaf zchus!

    No! We DO Have a Right to Expect More from our Rabbis!
    Guest
    No! We DO Have a Right to Expect More from our Rabbis!
    kohen gadol
    Guest
    kohen gadol

    a kohen gadol who served in kodesh hakdoshim for 80 YEARS – then became an apikores. obviously his 80 years were emes, otherwise he would have died in the kodesh hakdoshim. the rabbi who made a mistake, made a huge mistake. but that doesnt mean his good years of past were also a lie..

    Don't Jump to Conclusions
    Guest
    Don't Jump to Conclusions

    First of all, it is important that the rule ‘Judge every man favorably’ also applies to the lowest as well as the greatest, so one must always judge favorably. There are always ulterior motives and unknown circumstances that are not publicized as well as lots of misinformation, so one must be very cautious before judging. Secondly, even if all the facts are confirmed, it is very important to understand that people’s natures are very different and what one sees as a easy test can be hard for another, so what seems to us as a terrible thing and a very… Read more »

    Be glad
    Guest
    Be glad

    A rabbi is a rabbi because be has what to offer, be it Leadership Scholarship , charisma , passion, commitment and love of what he’s doing. Etc
    If you don’t think you’re inclined to make the negative choices he did, then Be glad you don’t have his circumstances and his yetzer Hara. If you did. Are you sure you would act differently?
    Take the good,
    Have compassion for the bad- or as someone else pointed out- seemingly bad Don’t excuse it. Have compassion for the challenges

    to 73 and 74
    Guest
    to 73 and 74

    What ur saying is all very nice. At the end of the day we should, we NEED to expect high standards from ppl in leadership positions, at the very least that they should be moral.

    To 75
    Guest
    To 75

    Of course that’s true. You’re stating the obvious. We all should be moral, but for those in a position of influence it’s more important because of the affect their actions might have on others.
    But what do you do if they fall?
    How do you wrap your brain around it?
    Do you lose your head?
    Do you lose your faith?
    Do you wipe everything with the same dirty shmatta?
    Hopefully not.
    And hopefully you can appreciate the good and find compassion for their challenges and difficulties and failings. . And be glad you don’t feel tested like they do.

    X