Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Waters of Quarrels in Migdal Emek – A Lost Opportunity for a Kiddush Hashem

יען לא האמנתם בי להקדישני לעיני בני ישראל 
…For the reason that you did not uphold your faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel…

We all know the story of Moshe and the rock. After the passing of Miriam there was a temporary stoppage of the well water in the desert camp. The nation appealed to Moshe to restore the water supply. HKBH instructed Moshe to take his staff and speak to a specific rock and it will give out its water. Moshe’s attempt to speak to the rock did not achieve the desired results (seems that there was something that he did not do right), so he raised his staff and struck the rock. That seemed to do the trick.
But HKBH was not pleased. He decreed that Moshe and Aharon are to be denied entry to Eretz Yisroel. And why?

…For the reason that you did not uphold your faith in Me to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel…

Rashi explains that if Moshe were to follow the instructions precisely, the nation would have learned a very valuable lesson in the importance of following the word of G-d. By deviating from these instructions, no matter how slightly, the whole lesson was lost.
I recall that when I was learning this Parsha of the Chumash in 8th grade, my rebbe (Harav Zalman Rubin, Shlita) expounded that the ultra-severe punishment that HKBH decreed on Moshe and Aharon was due to this that “Moshe Rabbeinu did not make as big a Kiddush Hashem as he could have made.”
What he was saying is: don’t think that Moshe’s actions were sinful and he made some kind of a chillul Hashem. Not at all. Even the episode as it took place was a Kiddush Hashem. The problem was that it could have been a much bigger Kiddush Hashem. And for the minor infraction that instead of making a moderate Kiddush Hashem, he squandered the opportunity to make a colossal Kiddush Hashem, he effectively was fired from his job.
Moral of the story: If you ever get a chance to perform a great Kiddush Hashem, do not pass it up. You may never get another one.
It seems to us that the punishment and the midas hadin in this case was extraordinarily harsh. And for ordinary people like us, it would be. But Moshe Rabbeinu was extraordinary. Rambam calls him “the father of all Prophets”. HKBH says, “In My entire household, he is loyal…” For someone of the stature of Moshe Rabbeinu, nothing less severe would be appropriate.
The magnitude of a Kiddush Hashem or a chillul Hashem is measured by the stature of he who performed it. As such, in the sugya about chillul Hashem in Yoma 86a, Rav states as an example of chillul Hashem:If somebody such as I makes a meat purchase and does not pay the price on the spot.
Rabi Yochanan rejoins: “If somebody such as I walks four cubits without wearing tefillin or murmuring Torah.” (See Rashi.)

The gemara’s lesson is that even though these minor “transgressions” would not be taken to account for the common Jew, but for a Gadol in Torah, one of great stature, even these actions can constitute a chillul Hashem.
The greatness of the person involved dictates what kind of impact his actions have on others.
Like so many of us, I revere Rav Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, Shlita as an exemplary person and an inspiration for klal Yisroel. Excuse my secular mindset, but aside from being a Talmid Chacham and Yarei Shamayim, he is (l’havdil alfei alaphim) the Father Flannigan of Israeli society. “There is no such thing as a bad boy (or girl)…”
I have written again and again that the vicious vendetta against Mrs. Malka Leifer is unjustified even if the 10-15 year old allegations are true. Both Halachically and morally. Protecting our youth is paramount, but harassing retired [suspected] molesters does nothing to advance this cause. And extradition, mesira and imprisonment for no toelles are strictly forbidden.
Most true bnei Torah agree with this and I am certain that Harav Grossman feels the same way. As long as any potential threats are neutralized, our only duty is to help wrongdoers, not to hurt them. And nobody knows better than Harav Grossman that no person can be automatically deemed irredeemable and that they must be given the chance to do so.
Ironically, this applies ever so much more to people who are mentally sound. Those who have psychiatric disorders are the unfixables. Thus, those who have invested thousands of [whose?] dollars and shekels to chase our villain around with a video camera to prove that she is a normal person and can live normally in society for at least 200 hours without laying a finger on anybody have only proven that there is less justification for this witch hunt.
Oh, of course, she definitely must be doing the most horrifying things behind closed doors. Funny, but all the 200 hours of high priced video didn’t seem to catch any of that. And it’s not like anybody warned her that she is being taped.
Like many, I was taken aback by the startling turn ofevents of the preceding week. Harav Grossman initially announced that he will take responsibility for Malka Leifer if she is released to house arrest while awaiting further proceedings. From what I understand of Rav Grossman, this made sense to me. Thus it shocked me when, several days later, he abruptly announced that he can no longer "be of assistance".
The lion’s share of the public – the lynch mob – lauded his withdrawal with many of them commenting, “What was he thinking to start with?” I, on the other hand, have been lamenting his sudden change of heart and saying to myself, “How can such a prominent person make such a disastrous blunder?”
Of course, we all know what it says in Pirkei Avos: Do not judge your fellow unless you can stand in his shoes. There is no question that there was an immediate backlash to his offering from the lynch mob. Doubtless, he was bombarded with hundreds or perhaps over a thousand hostile emails. Was that it? There is much talk that a segment of his financial backers threatened to cut him off. Was that it? Or could it be that he received (chas v’chalila) some even more malicious types of threats?
I don’t think I will ever know how hot things got behind the scenes and I certainly cannot say with conviction that I would have reacted differently if I were in his place, but I still think he made a very costly mistake by withdrawing his assistance.
I know he certainly received a lot of emails. Truth be told, as his (Migdal Ohr’s) email address was being flung about, I also took the liberty to send an email. I am sure it wasn’t like all the other emails. It was merely a copy of the email version of my previous blog post about the laws of extradition. It was meant to be a show of support. I wasn’t really expecting a response.
But I did get a response. I received a copy of the same automated response that was sent to everyone who contacted him, “Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman informed the parties … that he is unable to assist in Malka Leifer’s legal case…etc., etc.” This indicates that this letter was sent to all of those who contacted him by email be it hundreds or thousands.
When I thought about it, I got sick to my stomach. Rav Grossman now has email addresses for hundreds or thousands of misguided people all operating on a blind presumption of guilt, screaming to moser a Jew they don’t know to the non-Jewish authorities 10,000 miles away, and who have no idea about the true Halachos of rodef, mesira, lo tasgir, and more. This is a golden opportunity to reach out and temper the mob. I can only dream of getting the attention of such a huge crowd. (How many people are actually going to read this post?)
What a Kiddush Hashem he can create and be matzil neshamos in the process!
And what does Rav Grossman do?
He backs away, runs and hides, and in so doing, he encourages the high strung emotions of the lynch mob and feeds their frenzy. And the chillul Hashem and tremendous damage continues unabated.
המה מי מריבה אשר רבו בני ישראל את ה'...

These are the waters of the quarrels, whence the children of Israel quarreled against G-d…

How could he?
Suppose he would have stuck to his guns and put out a response such as this:

Thank you for contacting Migdal Ohr with your concerns.

While we understand the sensitive nature of this issue, rest assured that all steps have been taken to ensure that no minors or innocent people are exposed to any harm.

It is important to know that although there have been complaints from numerous students and we are not challenging their credibility at this time, nevertheless, the allegations have not been confirmed by any judicial means. Our Torah does not allow us to prosecute people on the weight of accusations alone.

As long as the concern of continued harm is no longer in effect, our Torah does not allow us G-d fearing Jews to extradite Jews out of our land and to subject them to a non-Halachic penal system. Nevertheless, it is imperative to be respectful of the law of the land and of other nations.  

It is with this in mind that we are in consultation with the authorities in an effort to resolve this matter as closely as possible to the dictates of Halacha to the extent allowed by the law.

It is trying situations like these where it is most important to adhere to the Torah’s principles for the benefit of all involved and not to allow our personal emotions to cloud our judgment.

May all of us be blessed to live in freedom and safety wherever we dwell and merit to see the complete redemption from all of our troubles speedily in our days.


Rabbi Y. D. Grossman

What do you suppose would have happened?
No doubt a substantial percentage of the public would scoff at this and continue to criticize and ridicule Harav Grossman. Trust me, this will not be a single percentage point less than those who continued to scoff and ridicule him in the wake of his retraction. His retraction did not win him any friends. In fact, throngs of them are not satisfied. They are demanding an apology. For them his retraction is not enough.
So what did he gain with his retraction?
Not a whole lot.
And what did he lose?
He lost a ton of respect from those who previously admired him. Yours truly included. He is now thought of to be without principles by those on both sides of the debate (though I may be the only one on my side).
Harav Grossman, you know what they say:
If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.
Moreover, despite the prevailing attitude, I am certain that many of the people who sound off are well meaning people and yarei Shamayim and sincerely do not know any better and are just going with the flow. Some have even deluded themselves into thinking that there is backing from serious Torah authorities. I have encountered a fair number of them in the course of my writing on this subject and have succeeded in getting some to rethink their opinions. The irreligious ones and the secular minded ones are not going to change their Western style of thinking, but those who are capable of the Thinking Like a Jew perception can be reached and set straight. It is inexcusable to let this opportunity slip through one’s fingers.
And what about his financial backers?
I personally think that if he would have put out a letter such as the one I drafted, most of those who support his projects would have been placated and would continue to support them. I think the fallout would be minimal. Time heals these kind of wounds. This has been the case in other situations when prominent people were involved in controversial matters. 
I repeat that I am not privy to the magnitude of backlash and severity of the threatened repercussions and am in no position to judge his actions. Nevertheless, a Kiddush Hashem does not come cheap.

We are taught that one is supposed to be moser nefesh to perform a Kiddush Hashem. Though it may come with a high price, as we learned from Moshe Rabbeinu, the price for passing up the opportunity may be even higher.

The chance to make such a Kiddush Hashem is Heaven-sent. It does not come every day and it does not come to every person.
It came to Harav Grossman because he is a special person.
ומי יודע אם לעת כזאת הגעת למלכות!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Extradition or Jurisdiction? – A Hard Look at the Law

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Extradition laws in the land we all revere.
The report is from April of Ninety-five
Though many a man who was then alive,
are to most of these laws largely unaware,
in the Mideast side, in the land we revere.

Neither by land, nor by sea nor by plane,
for the accused here on the opposite shore must remain.
Even if Australia shall spread the alarm
He cannot be taken from his village or farm,
For the country-folk cannot be sent out to harm.

-      Heskel Worthwads Hirshfellow

I have been writing about the Malka Leifer saga since June 2016. My objective was (1) to present the halachic perspective on the issue (it's assur), (2) to portray that it is diametrically opposed to the conventional secular perspective (it's an act of virtue), and (3) to dissuade all G-d fearing Jews from pursuing this sinful naarishkeit and Chillul Hashem.

Until now, my stance has been mostly Halachic (and partly pragmatic). The two primary components to my stance are:

1.   There is no hetter for Mesira in this case.

This is because Mrs. Leifer does not reside in Australia and cannot be considered a “rodef” there. All her activities in Australia are ancient history. Mesira can only be permitted for an active rodef, and certainly only to the authorities in the region where the active redifa is currently taking place. Thus, there is no justification for schlepping her back to Australia and handing her over to non-Jews. The only outcome for this is punishment and not protection and this is strictly forbidden.

2.   With no connection to the above, no matter how guilty or “evil’ she may be, no Jew may be forcibly sent out of Eretz Yisroel.

This is taken from the law of the escaped Eved Canaani in Yoreh Deah 267:85. The chiddush of this Halacha is that even one who is not a true Jew, and who rightfully belongs to an observant Jew who lives in the diaspora, cannot be taken out of Eretz Yisrael. It goes without saying that a full-fledged observant Jew who is living in Eretz Yisrael cannot be forcibly sent out.

These and the additional arguments and the pragmatic points are all discussed at length in my post about Flirting with Danger.

The second component above – that our Halacha forbids extradition from Eretz Yisroel – was working on the assumption that this opposes the legal status of extradition according to Israeli secular law. It was assuming that according to Israeli law, there is no reason not to honor this extradition request. This seems to be what everyone thinks.

Without knowing much about international extradition, a few things bothered me about the system. I even contacted a legal professional with my concerns which we will discuss very soon. His terse response was, “That’s just the way it is.” But now that recent developments in the Malka Leifer case suggest that extradition proceedings may actually take place (R”L), I decided to take a much deeper look.

Of course, I am not a lawyer, but being a Toen Rabbani (I am still working on getting my license) brings me very close. I am quite skilled at legal research so I can claim that I at least qualify as a “law student”. Obviously, the best source of information would be an experienced legal expert in this field. Although I know lots of lawyers, I don’t know any who handled international extradition.

So I did consult with a great legal mind – Sergei N.Google, Esq. (from the Israeli law offices of Google, Bing, Nett and Yahoo).

What I discovered shocked even me. There are numerous legal reasons why the State of Israel need not honor this request, and at least one that they may not. As far as I can see, even by secular Israeli law, extradition in this case is illegal!

Among other things, Mr. Google referred me to these two sources (you may want to check them out yourself): Wikipedia – Extradition and, more relevant, a 1995 report of the extradition laws from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (IMFA).

Let’s check out the issues.

Extradition Scenarios

To understand what the complexities are, we need to clarify our case. There are a number of extradition scenarios, the variations of which make it either very easy or very difficult to honor an extradition request. There are two very dominant considerations, one I will label with 1 and 2 and the second with A and B.

First consideration - citizenship:

1.   The refugee is a citizen of the requesting country. For example: The refugee is Australian and committed a crime in Australia. He ran to Israel where he is not a citizen. Basically, the requesting country is asking the refugee country for their citizen back. The refugee country has no responsibility to protect this person who is not their citizen. There is nothing to hold back extradition so it should be easy.

2.   The refugee is not a citizen of the requesting country but is a citizen of the refugee country. For example: The refugee is Israeli and committed a crime in Australia. He ran to Israel where he is a national citizen. Basically, the requesting country is asking the refugee country to hand over one of their citizens to them. The refugee country has a strong responsibility to protect this person who is indeed their citizen. As such, it is duty bound to challenge the extradition on any reasonable grounds, or to assist the refugee in his challenge. This makes it difficult.

Of course, there can also be cases of dual citizenship (or not a citizen of either country). I am assuming that Mrs. Leifer never obtained Australian citizenship and is only Israeli. I saw no mention of such a thing in any news clip. (Note - See Second Update at the end of this post)

Second consideration – level of guilt:

A.   The refugee has stood trial in the requesting country and has been found guilty by due process of law. Hence, they are requesting the refugee country to hand over a person whose guilt was proven. This justifies an extradition. Should be easy.

B.   The refugee is merely suspected of committing a crime but has not stood trial. The requesting country cannot assure the refugee country that the refugee is indeed guilty. There is much less justification for extradition in this case. Not as easy.

As you can see, from these two considerations we can create up to four scenarios: 1A, 1B, 2A, and 2B.

1A – a citizen who was convicted – justifies extradition on both counts. 1B and 2A each have a compelling side and a protective side. But 2B - a non-citizen who has not been convicted, has two strikes against extradition. From a moral standpoint, it is very difficult to justify the refugee country agreeing to extradite their own citizen on a mere suspicion.
It seems to me that extradition treaties were made primarily for 1A and possibly 1B and 2A scenarios. I don't think their main objective is to include 2B scenarios.

Clearly, 2B is the scenario that applies to Malka Leifer. And this was one of the concerns that I posed to the “legal professional”. His response was that he agrees in principle but the extradition treaties do not scrutinize.

This lawyer is an expert in Israeli criminal law, but I am not sure how much experience he has with international extradition. From the Google links I posted above, I see at least four issues he may not be aware of. Let’s examine:

1 - Prima Facie Evidence

In my previous post, I suggested that the extradition request from Australia may not be entirely legal for lack of "Prima Facie evidence". What is Prima Facie evidence?

YourDictionary says:

Prima facie evidence is a legal term used to mean that you have enough evidence to prove something by pointing to some basic facts, but that your proof can be refuted.

So it means that there are “basic facts” to prove something even if it is not irrefutable.  Now, obviously, there is a lot of subjectivity in how to understand these things, but to me, “basic facts” means physical circumstantial evidence that support the allegations of the accusers, or possibly, objective eye-witnesses. I cannot fathom that an unsupported accusation from nobody but the accuser is called “evidence” at any level.  But our case is even worse.

A homicide is established by the discovery of a dead body (with signs of homicide). This determines that a crime was committed. The only question is whodunnit? A homicide can be established years after its occurrence because the body will stay dead forever (though the signs of homicide may deteriorate).  Likewise, if the Mona Lisa is missing from the Louvre, this attests that a robbery took place. A burnt building attests that there was arson. In these cases, it is not difficult to establish that there was a crime. And once there was, circumstantial (Prima Facie) evidence can point to the culprit.

Assaults are different. Especially sexual assaults. Unless there are broken bones, stitches, pregnancies, or permanent physical injuries, after a week, or at most a month or two, there is no longer any physical evidence of an assault. If an assault is reported within that time, the police report and the injuries will establish that an assault took place. But if the assault is not reported within that time, there is no evidence of a crime whatsoever. There is nothing but the belated complaint of the “victim”.

In my judgement, Prima Facie evidence only applies when there is no question that there was a crime. But if even the mere occurrence of a crime cannot be established, what can be called Prima Facie evidence?

How does this apply to extradition?  This is critical.

I did not make up the distinction between a convicted refugee and a suspected refugee. It is clearly discussed in the IMFA report. The report says as follows:

There is a difference between the evidence required when the person sought is a convicted felon and the evidence required when he/she is a suspected felon. Where the requested person has already been convicted, prima facie evidence need not be shown

In contrast, when a requested person is only accused of committing a crime, the State must show a prima facie case.

This says that in order to approve an extradition, even for a non-citizen, if one is merely a suspect  (1B or 2B), there must be Prima Facie evidence of their guilt. In our case there isn’t even any evidence of a crime!

This is Israeli law. Has it changed since 1995?

For this reason, I maintain that Australia’s request for extradition does not meet legal standards and is not sustainable. In fact, my sources tell me that the Adass community in Australia does not want this extradition. May I suggest that they challenge the legality of it in the Australian courts?

2 - Article 8

Israel signed the European Convention on Extradition as well as a bilateral treaty with Australia. I don’t know if the terms match but, at least in the European treaty we have “Article 8”. Here I will quote from the Wikipedia page:

Article 8 states that everyone has the right to the respect of their private and family life. This is achieved by way of balancing the potential harm to private life against the public interest in upholding the extradition arrangement. While this article is useful as it provide for a prohibition to extradition, the threshold required to meet this prohibition is high. Article 8 does explicitly provide that this right is subject to limits in the interests of national security and public safety, so these limits must be weighed in a balancing of priority against this right. Cases where extradition is sought usually involve serious crimes so while these limits are often justified there have been cases where extradition could not be justified in light of the individual's family life. Cases to date have mostly involved dependant children where the extradition would be counter to the best interests of this child. In the case of FK v. Polish Judicial Authority the court held that it would violate article 8 for a mother of five young children to be extradited amidst charges of minor fraud which were committed number of years ago.

This basically says that if the accused person has a family and dependents in their place of refuge and the extradition would harm the welfare of the family members, extradition can be denied.

Most crooks are running away from their homeland and if they have family, they are probably not with them. But we are dealing with scenario 2, the accused is in her homeland with her family. This is certainly grounds for denying extradition.

This is obviously a highly subjective provision, but, as I wrote, if the accused is a citizen of the refugee country, they have a responsibility to uphold this challenge to legally protect their citizen. Of course, if the Israeli-Australian treaty does not include this provision, it may not be viable.

3 - Jurisdiction

In all of my posts, I have repeatedly declared that if anybody wants to prosecute Mrs. Leifer, they must do it right here in Israel. No extradition allowed.

Immediately, some of the lynch mob folks attacked me such as this one who commented on my keynote post saying: Incidentally you cannot be prosecuted in israel for crimes committed elsewhere.

I responded to him: Not so. Citizenship gives jurisdiction. If an Israeli punches me in the nose in China I can sue him here for it.

At the time, I didn’t have a black and white source to link to. But I do now.  The Wikipedia article says so. What’s more, they say, this is something that can be used as a reason to deny extradition, even for a non-citizen. Here’s what they write:

Jurisdiction over a crime can be invoked to refuse extradition. In particular, the fact that the person in question is a nation's own citizen causes that country to have jurisdiction. 

This is exactly what I wrote back in June 2016. But I have learned that it is not merely that the State of Israel has Jurisdiction, but that it is a legal excuse to deny extradition. Not just an excuse, it is mandatory as we will see in the next and final issue.

Before we go there, it is important to discuss the law of double criminality and what it means. Let’s again check out the IMFA report:

Double Criminality

Section 2(2) of the Extradition Law states that a person may be extradited if:

"he is accused or has been convicted in the requesting state of an offense of a non-political character and which, had it been committed in Israel, would be one of the offenses set out in the Schedule to this Law."

This means that the crime must be an offense both in the requesting and the requested state. This section is thus the source for the requirement of double criminality.

What it means is that, if he (or she) cannot be tried in Israel for this alleged crime because it is not a crime in Israel, then the accused cannot be extradited for this crime, either.  It must be a punishable crime in both places. This creates a one-two punch that says that extradition is only possible if the crime is triable in Israel, and once the refugee is an Israeli citizen, then Israel has jurisdiction to try the crime here. As such, they have no reason to extradite nor any obligation to.

But, what’s more, is that after all the above, the State of Israel has no right to extradite as we are about to find out.

4 - National

This is the treaty-breaker. The Wikipedia article says as follows:

Own Countries

Some countries, such as Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Russia, Switzerland and Syria forbid extradition of their own citizens. These countries often have laws in place that give them jurisdiction over crimes committed abroad by or against citizens. By virtue of such jurisdiction, they prosecute and try citizens accused of crimes committed abroad as if the crime had occurred within the country's borders

When I read this, I was a bit disappointed that Israel does not appear to be on the list. But, lo and behold, according to the 1995 IMFA report, it sure is:

(4) Nationals

Any person may be extradited from Israel except for a person who was an Israeli national at the time of the commission of the offense. However, to ensure that an Israeli national does not escape prosecution, Sections 7A and 10A of the Penal Law, 5737-1977 (as amended) extend the jurisdiction of the Israeli courts to hear cases in which an Israeli national is alleged to have committed a crime abroad, thus adhering to the rule "aut dedere aut punire".

What this says is that it is legally forbidden for the State of Israel to extradite somebody like Malka Leifer because she was certainly an Israeli National at the time of the alleged offense(s). Since they have jurisdiction on her crimes AND she is a National, she is exempt from extradition.

Israeli law, folks!

So we have just learned four reasons why according to the legal laws of the State of Israel, Malka Leifer is not eligible for extradition.

But I need to add one more thought.

This applies particularly to the lack of evidence of the occurrence of any crime whatsoever.

This extradition campaign is the result of a lot of noise from the Child Abuse Advocates plus a sense of diplomatic respect to the Commonwealth of Australia. But beyond this, it is lacking some very fundamental components which seems to indicate that such an extradition – one of an Israeli National citizen who has not been convicted of the alleged crime (a 2B scenario) wherein there is no evidence that a crime even occurred - is most likely an unprecedented occurence.

And it would be a very dangerous precedent to set.

We live in a very hostile world that is not sympathetic to the struggles of the State of Israel for survival and security. There are ubiquitous open ended “arrest warrants” in many countries for Israeli officials, politicians, and military personnel for bogus “war crimes” or “crimes against humanity”. Many of our leaders and military heroes are not free to travel anywhere in the world without diplomatic cover for fear of wanton prosecution in countries that have no moral jurisdiction (only self-imposed) to whatever events they would prosecute for.

It is unthinkable that the State of Israel should acquiesce to an extradition request for any natural born Israeli citizen under these circumstances; especially when the treaties themselves provide for the exemptions.

Doing so would set a horrible precedent and could open a Pandora’s box that will haunt Israeli officials forever. It would be political suicide.

For what gain?

Quoth the maven ---nevermore!

Update and Clarification - The information in this post was based on the two documents that I have referenced throughout. I subsequently checked out the current law in Hebrew. Surprisingly, there is no mention that an Israeli National cannot be extradited at all which was indicated in the IMFA report, but rather that they may be extradited on the condition that they must be returned to Israel to serve their prison sentence if one is imposed. Obviously, this mitigates the "treaty-breaker" issue in #4 above. Either the law was changed or the IMFA report is inaccurate.
The other three aspects are likewise not mentioned in the text of the Israeli law but I believe they are provisions of the multi-lateral treaties as specified in the Wiki article.  

Second Update - An astute reader has challenged my assumption that Mrs. Leifer is solely an Israeli citizen He claims that she is in actuality a dual citizen. He linked me to a Feb. 28 op-ed item in The Age (of Victoria) and that is what it says. This is the first time I have seen this assertion made anywhere in print.
If this is so (I never have complete faith in news items and especially in op-ed pieces), it creates a separate "hybrid" scenario between 1B and 2B. The Israeli government still has a responsibility to assist her to challenge but this will certainly give the Australian government more clout. Hard to tell how this would play out in the event of a serious challenge.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mishenichnas ADAR Marbim b’… Rechilus?

The hallmark of Amalek is the concept of “keri” – happenstance or occurrence. The notion that everything happens by chance – there is no Conductor to the orchestra. All is coincidence.

So the Torah says about Amalek: אשר קרך בדרך

They occurred upon you when you were traveling. A coincidence.

Of course we don’t believe in coincidence. As such, the first occurrence of the word keri - קרי - encoded in the Torah as a Sofei Teivos is (Shmos 17:9):

בחר לך אנשים וצא הלחם בעמלק מחר אנכי נצב...

(Note – there are only three occurrences of this word as a Sofei Teivos in the entire Torah and not a single occurrence as a Roshei Teivos)


Amalek may think so, but we think not!

Hence, Haman was very happy when his lots just happened to fall out on the month of Adar. It was not our best month. Moshe Rabenu died in this month. This is what we all learn in cheder.

But there may have been another reason why Haman was so thrilled that his lots fell out on Adar. Something that we don’t learn in cheder. Haman may have known something else about the month of Adar.

Adar is the month of malshinus, rechilus and loshon hara!

Haman may have known another “coincidence”. There are only two “occurrences” in the Torah where the word Adar (אדר) is encoded as a Roshei Teivos. And one of them is this pasuk (Breishis 37:3):

ויבא יוסף את דבתם רעה אל אביהם

And Yosef brought their evil reports to their father. 

Ther first thing we note is the association of Yosef to this encoded word.

The Arizal writes that each month corresponds to one of the Shevatim. The month of Adar corresponds to Yosef. Yosef was granted two tribal portions and was immune to the ayin hara. As such, the mazal for Adar is Dagim, fish, which multiply freely and are not subject to an ayin hara. And this is why the month Adar gets two appearances on leap years.

But what is the significance of the reference to malshinus?

The commentaries (See Kli Yakar – Breishis 37:26) explain that the brothers conspired to kill Yosef because he was a הולך רכיל. He was a rodef and a moser.

Although their assessment may have ultimately been erroneous, it was not totally baseless. The Torah indeed testifies in our pasuk that Yosef brought the “evil report” to their father. And it had all the divisiveness and ugliness of rechilus. Even though most of the brothers participated in the mechira, they were not of one mind. Shimon and Levy wanted blood. Yehudah wanted cash. The younger ones went along for the ride. Reuven abstained.

The brothers were divided. Each had a different motive.  מפוזר ומפורד. And all this, as we know, brought about the first of a series of bitter exiles.

Such is the price of malshinus. And the hidden word in the pasuk seems to relate it to the month of Adar.


[Incidentally, the other pasuk where Adar occurs in Roshei Teivos is Breishis 24:30 which states:

ויהי כראת את הנזם ואת הצמדים על ידי אחתו וכשמעו את דברי רבקה אחתו לאמר כה דבר אלי האיש

Here we see Rivka relaying to Lavan what was told to her by Eliezer. Although there does not seem to be anything derogatory or sinful about this exchange, it was nevertheless an act of one person telling over what they heard from another. Technically rechilus. And perhaps it was not so benign as the Midrash indeed tells us that Besuel subsequently attempted to poison Eliezer.

Lots of דיבור in this pasuk. Coincidence?]

Perhaps, Haman, who loved “coincidences”, was aware of this connection. Adar is a month where Loshon Hara does its damage. Adar is a great month to destroy Klal Yisrael

The gemara in Megillah 13b tells us:

אמר רבא ליכא דידע לישנא בישא כהמן 

Rava says, “There was none who could speak Loshon Hara as smoothly as Haman”. And the gemara goes on to relate a lengthy dialog of just that.

Haman was the king of rechilus. The gemara says (Chullin 139b):

המן מן התורה מנין ? המן העץ... (בראשית ג' יא)

Where is a reference to Haman in the Torah? Hamin ha-etz… (Breishis 3:11).

What is this pasuk? Let’s see the whole thing:

ויאמר מי הגיד לך כי עירם אתה המן העץ אשר צויתיך לבלתי אכל ממנו אכלת  

HKBH asks Adam HaRishon: Have you eaten from the forbidden tree? The Tree of Knowledge? Knowledge of what’s good and knowledge of what’s evil? Knowledge of what’s good about you and what’s evil about “him”?

Have you conspired with the snake? The same snake that Shlomo Hamelech is referring to when he will write:

    אם ישך הנחש בלוא לחש ואין יתרון לבעל הלשון  ?

The snake that bites and kills for no purpose?

And who is hiding in this pasuk - in plain sight?

המן העץ אשר צויתיך לבלתי אכל ממנו אכלת

Yep, this is Haman’s “reference” in the Torah. His Hollywood “credit”.

And what else is hiding in this pasuk? Very well concealed, I might add. You see it? Look. Still not? Look closer:

המן העץ אשר צויתיכ לבלתי אכל ממנו אכלת

Rechilus (only such occurrence in the Torah). Haman’s master craft!

כי משרש נחש יצא צפע

From the root of the snake emerged the viper… (Yeshaya 14:29)

עמלק = 240 = צפע  as if to say:  כי משרש נחש יצא עמלק

וירא בלעם כי טוב בעיני ה' לברך את ישראל ולא הלך כפעם בפעמ לקראת נחשים 


Haman, the star disciple of the snake, understood better than anyone what rechilus can do. And so, he was thrilled that he could ply his trade in the most auspicious month – Adar.

ישנו עם אחד מפוזר ומפורד

There is a nation that is scattered and disconnected. They are scattered in cliques that denigrate one another…they are guilty of rechilus…

Adar is the month of Yosef who brought evil reports to his father. את דבתם רעה … and caused his brothers to shun and hate him.

Thus, Haman’s plan could only be nullified by a descendent of Binyamin. Binyamin heard the bad reports that Yosef brought and he also knew what his brothers did as a result. This would have been a juicier report to bring to their father. But he was silent. He told nobody.

Binyamin’s stone in the choshen is Jasper – ישפה. Yesh peh v’shosek. He has a mouth and is able to speak, but he is silent. And so his descendant Esther saves Klal Yisroel by: אין אסתר מגדת


We have learned that the month of Adar is the month of malshinus. We will live or die at the mercy of our tongues. So it was in the days of Yosef and so it was in the days of Haman and Esther and so it is today.

Malshinus, Rechilus, Lashon Hara and Mesira!

The saga and Chillul Hashem of the Malka Leifer episode continues –and grows.

I have summarized the episode numerous times. See HERE for the original post. But, in this post, I want to reframe the episode this way:

Three Jewish women, all sisters, two of whom are non-observant, are spearheading a campaign to extradite to Australia another Jewish woman, who is observant, on the pretense that she molested them ten years earlier. Their intention is to have her judged and punished by the non-Jewish Australian authorities for the crimes that they claim she committed.

To accomplish this, one of the sisters, Dassi Erlich has opened up a Facebook page devoted exclusively for her campaign to moser this Israeli woman to the goyim in Australia. They have also instigated at least two petitions to that were delivered to the powers-that-be in Eretz Yisroel to cooperate in this mesira. In both cases the aim is to enlist the aid and support of ingenuous well-meaning Jews.

The petitions garnered between 16,000-17,000 signatures total; although there were surely numerous duplicates and double-dippers. The Facebook page dedicated to mesira is now holding at 1557 “Likes” – up from 1316 a mere two months ago.

1557 people “Liking” a campaign to moser an Israeli Jew and citizen to Australia for no toelles except to satisfy these sisters’ quest for personal “justice”. It is certainly not to protect anybody in Australia, and if anybody thinks people are in danger here in Eretz Yisroel, we have a fine, quite aggressive, local police force that serves and protects.

These Jews have absolutely no way of knowing if any of the accusations are true and, even if they are, to what degree. There is absolutely nothing of substance supporting the claims of these three sisters.

Yet it seems that all they need to do is cry “Rape!” and “Pedophile!”, play victim, and point to the villain and, without offering a shred of evidence, they will have hundreds, if not thousands, of do-gooders screaming for the blood of another Jew! Ready, not only to cheer them on, but to actively participate in this bloodletting and to pray for their success.

Just because these three sisters said so!

If this is all it takes to get thousands of Jews, some very observant ones, to ignore all of the Halachos of Mesira, Gonev ish u’mecharo, Lo tasgir eved, and more, then we have a much bigger problem than “child” abuse on our hands. (I am in no way undermining the problem of child abuse.)

Anybody who follows my blog knows that I have been writing about this debacle for close to two years. My main thrust is that the issue of whether the accusations are indeed true is irrelevant. There is no reason or justification to involve Australian authorities in this matter regardless. And it is only because of the impetus of Jews that it is taking place.

In my previous post on this subject I noted a few facts. One is that the accused Mrs. Leifer had left Australia in 2008 with no intention to ever return. Subsequently, it was only in 2011 – three years after Malka Leifer left Australia and after three years that nobody in Australia was molested or hurt in any way that these saintly Jewish sisters first approached the Australian police and opened up the case. Not the Israeli police, but the Australian police!

These actions instigated the senseless, Halachically forbidden, and arguably illegal (for lack of Prima Facie evidence) extradition request that has generated so much publicity and Chillul Hashem.

And, at least 1557 people are so very proud of them!

Now, here is the latest.

Up to very recently, the extradition campaign has hit a few snags. The main one is that for a while, Mrs. Leifer was able to avoid the hearings by claiming mental incapacity. To most of us (including myself), it seems like a ruse. But I was happy for it because I strongly maintain that this extradition should not be on the table under any circumstances.

At or around February 12, Mrs. Leifer was rearrested for “obstruction of justice” in the wake of her heretofore successful evasion of the extradition hearings (that should not be held in the first place).

Now, technically, the charges may be legitimate. However, the Israelis are very choosey about when they apply these obscure technical “offenses” and when they don’t. When they want to, they let these things slide. This time they didn’t.


Because so many Jews put pressure on the government to see to it that a Jewish Israeli citizen is extradited to Australia for crimes for which, aside from the word of the accusers, there is no proof that they ever took place!

February 12 was the 27 of Shvat. A mere three days before Rosh Chodesh Adar.


MiShenichnas Adar Marbim B’Simcha!

And all the Jews on Dassi Erlich’s Facebook page are so-o-o happy! Just look at all of the comments. So happy that “finally” a Jew can get extradited to Australia! So happy that the long-standing mesira may actually bear fruit!

It’s a Purim miracle!

MiShenichnas Adar  - את דבתם רעה - Marbim B’Mesira!

והעיר מלבורן צהלה ושמחה!

The Jews in Australia and in 126 other lands are rejoicing.

And so is the serpent  -  and so is Amalek!

Coincidence? I am afraid not.

And, as for me…

ידנו לא שפכו את הדם הזה...כפר לעמכ ישראל אשר פדית...