Yadeinu Shafchu Es Hadam Hazeh


After the horror, the disbelief, the shock, the emptiness, I next thought what many others must have.

He had to have been a pedophile. I messaged a colleague, a respected rov, and asked what he thought. I will post it anonymously; I haven’t gotten to him yet to ask to use his name:

I am sure he was, and I am sure he molested many others, and i am sure that there were people that knew and hushed it.

It is time to forever bury the myth that reports of pedophilia can be managed and dealt with by committees of rabbonim, even for a short time. It is time to bury the myth that there is a serious halachic barrier to going to authorities to deal with credible reports of such behavior. Enough baalei halacha have told us that there is no barrier.

Choshen Mishpat 388:12 tells us that those who vex the public can be handed over. Any pedophile does at least that, and poses a danger of doing much more. Moreover, mesirah of a molester exposes him to a safek of danger; pedophiles pose a much greater danger level to many more victims.

It is natural and good that many people were not eager to rush to modes of address that themselves could be too sweeping and harsh, with terrible consequences to people and their families. They thought that various types of modus vivendi were possible. By now they should realize that this is not true. Rabbonim cannot handle the issue. We have enough evidence of this. Failure to take notice of this could have been said, figuratively, to be shefichas damim/ bloodshed.

Today, it is no longer figurative.

It is not a stain on our record that it took time to learn the facts about molestation. Reacting far too slowly is a terrible stain, though.

Leiby’s horrific petirah can save the lives of many others – those who could meet a similar fate, r”l, and those victims whose lives are a living death.

I may still be proven wrong, but the analysis will not change. Parents will be speaking about safety to their children. Whatever really happened to Leiby, the fact is that our kids are often in far greater danger in school, shul and camp than from encounters with detested “others” while walking home.

A great aliyah for Leiby and future nechamah for his family will come from all of us getting serious about molestation.

If your rov doesn’t get it, think of getting a new rov.

You may also like...

L. Oberstein
4 years 1 month ago

We have to do a better job of policing ourselves and eradicating molesters and abusers from our community. The path usually taken has been to deny , to conceal and to blame the victim. I wonder if there are statistics as how many children at risk, drug addicts, etc. were molested. You may think what I am about to write is off the subject, but bear with me.

The way the DSK case has disintigrated shows something. If you are rich and can hire really good attorneys who can find any kind of “shmutz” about the victim, you can cancel out the truth of the attack and get away with it. The poor woman told the truth about the attack but she had other things in her past that made her less than pure . The poor cannot win over the rich , a good lawyer can get people to look at the flaws of the victim and ovderlook the truth of her testimoney. This is even more true in the orthodox world where a rebbe, a respected person is believed over a little child, whose oswn parents can’t accept the horror of facing the truth. Power trumps truth and this is true in the goyishe world and in the Yiddishe world also.

4 years 1 month ago

Child Abuse Victims are ruined for life! Please take this more seriously.

U.S. Olympic skier Jeret Peterson takes his own life 7/27/11

“As a child growing up in Idaho, Peterson was sexually abused by someone he would not name, Sports Illustrated said. In 2002, the magazine wrote, he spoke about the experience at a fundraiser for an organization aimed at child abuse prevention, telling a young audience, “If you think you deserved it, I promise it wasn’t your fault. I know because I’ve lived that feeling for a long time.”

dr. bill
4 years 1 month ago

unless i am missing something, the agudah position has neutered the position of go to the authorities where there are raglayim le’davar. for example, say raglayim ledavar is 75% certainty. then you still go first to a rabbi even at 75% to determine if in fact there are raglayim le’davar? when do you go to the authorities? 90%? 95%? in that case raglayim le’davar is inoperative.

if i am interpreting incorrectly, will someone please explain!

Someone in the know
4 years 1 month ago

Over the past several days, there were publications in the print media that are not just alarming, but smack of some of the worst hatred from within experienced in our history. It is without question that our “establishment” has failed in the past, where offenders were protected, the public left to risk of additional victims and offenses, and victims ignored and revictimized by the system. We all know that, and many can cite specific experiences. However, it is dishonest to claim that nothing has changed. Much has changed, and the progress of the last few years has been remarkable. I know that saying anything positive will not please the fanatics (activists) whose agendas are only anti-chareidi, not protecting children. But so much has moved forward that anyone honest must recognize it.

Perhaps the recent tragedy will give a shot in the arm and accelerate process. I’m not so sure, since it was unrelated, and there is much activity going on behind the scenes, without the coveted media coverage.

I must assail the lies perpetrated by the JW and others who repeat the shkorim. The community reacted to the missing person issue with seamless cooperation between the agencies, public and private, and I verified this personally, beyond the media statements. The journalism that pushes another picture is hatefully dishonest. I wish these baalei aveiro would re-examine the achdus that dominated those painful days, and recreate it in their future activities. Meanwhile, I return to the words of Dovid Hamelech in Tehillim where he asked for the mouths of falsehood to be forever silenced.

Shades of Gray
4 years 1 month ago

The question is setting up a practical system that will work, as opposed to “ask your Rav”, which is theoretical(in Lakewood, a Rav was vilified for going to the police, see “Honoring the Badge”, on this blog), and did not relect any practical response or position of Agudah. The Forward report before this incident, quoting R. Zwiebel, referred to a database of rabbonim(‘… Agudah is “looking into developing, at least internally, some sort of database” that could be useful under such circumstances’). That takes time to develop(even D.A. Charles Hynes told Nachum Segal on the radio last Thursday that he was aware of the “mesirah” controversy in the community), but I think that now there will be more practical guidance.

R. Berish Freilach, the Jewish liaison to the NYC police, was interviewed last night on the Zev Brenner show, and mentioned that “things are definitely going to change”, referring to meetings to be held with school principals. Another speaker in Teaneck called it “our 911”. It reminds me, in part, of “Pilegesh b’Givaah”, where the shockingly graphic nature of what transpired was what caused an upheaval.