Child Slapped By Rebbe In Talmud Torah Summons Police – Rabbonim Intervene And Complaint Canceled

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In a moshav in southern Israel, a child in a talmud torah was struck, shocking the child’s parents and reportedly, many parents in the community.

According to the Kikar Shabbos News report, a veteran melamed in one of the older grades struck the child quite hard after the child was not behaving. The child decided not to remain silent, for this was not the first time the melamed struck a child. He phoned police and a patrol car responded to the talmid torah and a complaint was filed against the melamed.

A number of rabbonim intervened, speaking with the parents of the child who phoned police. They pressured parents to have the complaint dismissed, explaining it was a chilul Hashem, and for other “unspecified reasons”. The parents gave in to the pressure from the rabbonim.

Parents were angered, as they feel this particular melamed “was too quick to use his hands against children”. Kikar News quotes them saying, “Now, this שור המועד’ is once again free to continue to act as he does towards his victims”.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




34 COMMENTS

  1. This שור המועד is once again freed,. Not really,
    He ain’t gonna raise his hands so soon again if he knows what’s good for him

  2. It is again sad to see how a rebbe is given carte blanche to be abusive, while preaching that his behavior is somehow Torah sanctioned and holy. I know there will be a rash of comments about how the rebbe in der alte heim smacked talmidim and that this did not have any negative outcomes. These defenses are inaccurate, boring, and actually serve to support a method of chinuch that is more destructive than useful. I am saddened that this rebbe was not subjected to the challenges of Israel’s secular court, as he is reportedly the שור המועד who richly deserves to be contained by whatever power will do it.

    Today’s Torah community is fortunate to have a wealth of resources to guide a rebbe in providing chinuch al pi Torah. Visit your favorite seforim store, and peruse the shelves of volumes on chinuch. These come from the Gedolim of Klal Yisroel, and their works on chinuch cannot be traced back to a Dr. Spock culture fo the secular world. Review what they had to say about a rebbe delivering a potch. A hard potch that caused pain, injury, and/or embarrassment is not permitted at all. The second potch is not chinuch but assault. The use of degradation and shame as a disciplinary tool is a grave sin. These statements are direct from these Torah resources.

    This article spares us the names of the rebbe and the yeshiva. And readers will breathe a sigh of relief that this reduces the chilul Hashem factor. It would arguably be even lower had this not been reported in the media. WRONG. The chilul Hashem occurred when a rebbe, a representative of a yeshiva, a representaiive in our generation of Moshe Rabbenu, behaving like an animal. It occurred when this rebbe exploited the Torah to commit an assault on a child, when he whited out the words of the Chachomim יהי כבוד תלמידך חביב עליך כשלך. The publicity is an added factor. This rebbe was a מחלל שם שמים בסתר. Our Chachomim guide us נפרעים ממנו בגלוי, that the consequences for this מחלל are to be administered in public.

    It is sad that the Rabbonim involved addressed the wrong chilul Hashem. Even sadder that this רשע is protected and permitted to return to his position of authority for which he has proven himself irresponsible.

  3. Im in chinuch over 30 years. When I began teaching hitting was still an acceptable punishment in many yehivos. Today the pendulum has swung the other way. I was in my principal’s office this past Friday. A parent of a fifth grader called to complain that his son was given a prize and a glet by the sixth English teacher who is a very respected rebbi in the morning. The parent thought it is inappropriate for someone, not his son’s teacher to be friendly to his son.

  4. This שור המועד urgently needs to study ספר עלי-שור by the saintly Rav Wolbe זצקללה”ה who forbids hitting a child in this day & age.

  5. Obviously this melamed has mental health problems. The hanhala should remove him from the classroom until his issues are dealt with, and if they can’t be, he should be helped to find a different profession. By no means should he be allowed to be in a position where he can hit children and not suffer consequences.

    We moan about children who go off the derech, and then we allow this? For shame on us!

  6. we’ll if a mechanech cannot slap anymore say goodbye to chinuch! sounds extreme but thats the fact the only people who hold otherwise are those who never sat in a classroom its like liberal college students who never lifted a finger say to take away every body’s money because they never worked for money!!!!!

  7. I love the way all the comments on YWN automatically assume the veteran Rebbe and Rabbonim involved are all wrong, on the basis of the child feeling he should call the police, and one bitter parent who called him a shor hamuad. One fellow writes “it is sad” how the Rabbonim reacted; and the Rebbe gets promoted by him to Rosho status; someone else implies the Rabbonim aren’t totally sane.

    Yes of course hitting children is not correct at all. However we have absolutely no info about what happened. Perhaps the child was doing something really dangerous and this was the only way the Rebbe could stop him. Perhaps it wasn’t as hard as implied. Perhaps it was a one off.

    Re the criticism of the Rabbonim. The article doesn’t even say they said he should be left in the job. All it says is that calling the police isn’t the right way to handle this. IMHO if the Rebbe is indeed bad for the children, then the correct thing to do is to get him to retire or failing that remove him without police involvement which would kill him. It’s not like anywhere else would hire him without a reference.

    I just find it incredible the way people sit on YWN and read an entirely one-sided story and think they are qualified to pass judgement, whereas the Rabbonim on the scene who are presumably not complete fools and undoubtedly know the full details are dismissed out of hand. yes they may be wrong, but there is also a slight chance they’re not.

    I love the way the article describes the kid “The child decided not to remain silent, for…” as though the writer is sure the kids cheshbonos were 100% lesheim shomayim and thought through. Possible, but only just.

  8. To quote Rabbeinu Yona at the beginning of Pirkei Ovos:

    הוו מתונין בדין. למורים הוראות ולפוסקין הוראות ולפוסקין את הדין אמרו לבל יסמכו במחשבה ראשונה אך בהמתנ’ גדולה ובעיון הדק לבל יטעו בשיקול הדעת

    כי האדם הממהר להורות נקרא פושע ואע”פ שחשב לומר האמת אין זה שוגג אך קרוב למזיד הוא אשר לא נתן בלבבו לאמר לבב הנמהרי’ לא יבין לדעת כי הטעות בכל אדם מצוי הוא

    ועל ענין זה אמר שלמה ע”ה (משלי כ”ו י”ב) ראית איש חכם בעיניו תקוה לכסיל ממנו. וכמו שאמר חז”ל (אבות ד ז) הגס לבו בהוראה שוטה רשע וגס רוח.

    לכן האדם המורה יש לו לישא וליתן בדבר ולהחמיץ המחשבה ולהשהותה כענין שאמרו (סנהדרין לה.) מחמיצין את הדין שעל ידי חימוץ והמתנה מוסיף סברא על סברתו ופלפול על פלפולו עד שידין דין אמת לאמתו כי במחשבה השניה יראה לומר מה שלא ראה בראשונה

    – not only applicable to Dayanim, whenever you judge a situation a sensible person considers this.

  9. The extremists have deviated so far from the Path of Torah , DISTORTED Halacha to such a degree that in the past year they’ve Ignored Halacha Diyuraisa And Rioted and PROTECT Murderers, Rapists, Molestors , thieves, And other Lawbreakers. They actually riot when even murderers are arrested.

  10. If these extremists don’t want to follow Halacha or the Law of the land they live in, they should leave- they can’t live in a country and Abuse and harass people who follow the Law

  11. I dont know any of the details here except a Rebbe hit a kid and the kid called the police, However under no circumstances should a Rebbe hit a child and I mean NO CIRCUMSTANCES, and for that reason he should be fored

  12. There are two possibilities. Is this rebbe just reflecting local norms, or is he simply unfit to be a mechanech?

    Many or most mechanchim today see slapping as very ill-advised or forbidden. But there are opinions and environments where it’s still seen as ok/normal. Whether this person is fit to be in chinuch is an issue that should be judged in terms of the norms in the environment in that yishuv and that talmud Torah. It’s not a big red flag in some places unless he goes “overboard”. But If the rebbe is actually deviating from the policy deemed acceptable in the society in which he operates, that’s in itself a significant red red flag and some remedial action (counseling or dismissal) is certainly needed.

  13. Gavriel:

    Wise comment. I wonder whether you directed this at the commenters who are livid about the tragic events, or perhaps at the rebbe who used seriously and dangerously flawed judgment.

    I will paraphrase statements made by many of the Gedolim about using the potch as a form of discipline. It can never, ever be used when the rebbe is angry. If it is done out of anger, there is damage. If it is purely (100%) out of chinuch, then it must teach something. A potch cannot be administered as a reaction. It must be after having had time to think, process, and reach a decision. The first potch can be permitted under these circumstances, never the second one. A potch that causes injury is completely ossur. It is often that a rebbe is less aware of his anger, and must consult with others (menahel, etc.) to insure that his decision is correct.

    Police departments have a standing rule, carved in stone. An officer who discharges his weapon must complete a report that details the circumstances. If the situation turns out to have been unjustified, there can be consequences. I also know of yeshivos where any rebbe who administers a potch is required to debrief the menahel. Where a potch was once given as a deterrent, it is used today as a punishment, and this opens a can of worms. Does it teach, or does it damage? We are living in a different world. The use of the potch a century ago does not pasken that it is ok today. I cannot repeat enough that the seforim from well known Gedolei Yisroel provide guidance of chinuch al pi Torah, and all are unanimously against using a potch. Buy these and study them.

  14. Gavriel, your comment that we should not rush to judgment is acceptable. Your comment that if it turns out that the rebbe actually hit the child for a reason other than safety the police should not be involved is only partially acceptable to me. If it happened to my child, I would not call the police either, I would put the rebbe in the hospital.

  15. To Gavriel: My comment was directed at anyone who seeks to judge this (or any) matter. It’s along the lines of your quote from Rabbeinu Yonah. In essence. these matters are complicated and some of the comments in this forum are simplistic knee-jerk reactions which take one side or the other without appreciating that it’s more complicated than emoting or choosing sides. That’s totally antithetical to derech haTorah.

  16. Whether you think that in modern circumstances it’s a good idea or a bad idea, one thing is certain: the Torah and Chazal not only permitted but explicitly endorsed and encouraged corporal discipline by teachers, even those not teaching Torah subjects, so it cannot be condemned as forbidden, and there is no room at all for mesirah. The kid who called the police needs a severe strapping to teach him never to do so again. THAT is what our sages said, and no modern “godol” has the right to contradict them.

  17. For all those who think that chinuch cannot be done without hitting: I went to public school in the Middle West back in the day (50s), in a mixed middle class and working class neighborhood. The teachers were absolutely forbidden to hit the students. One teacher who did was summarily fired. And yet we had orderly classes and got a good education, all without teachers lifting a hand (although occasionally a voice) to the students, a few of whom were real vilde chayas. If this can be done in a public school, how can we not do it in yeshiva, with children from frum homes?

    If the teacher cannot teach without hitting, then the teacher is not suitable to be a teacher and should find another line of work.

  18. MIlhouse:

    Do yourself a favor. Visit your favorite seforim store. I will provide you here with a partial list. Your comment about “modern godol” is beyond stupid. The use of a potch where it is damaging is ossur, and anything to stop this abuse is a mitzvah.

    זריעה ובנין בחינוך – הרב שלמה וולבה
    שכר והענשה בחינוך – הרב מאיר מונק
    נתיבי חינוך – אדמו”ר מסלונים
    לחנך, הדרכה בחינוך הילדים – הרב אליהו שלום ברקוביץ
    משנת החינוך – אדמו”ר מפינסק קרלין
    מסורת החינוך – הרב אלעזר מנחם מן שך
    לחנך בשמחה – הרב יצחק זילברשטיין
    מעדני מלך, חינוך ילדים – מרן הראשל”צ הרב עובדי’ יוסף
    טיב החינוך – הרב גמליאל רבינוביץ
    שלום בנייך – הרב דוד לוי
    הלכות מלמדים – הרב ישראל יוסף ברונשטיין
    כבדהו וחנכהו – הרב אהרן פרידמאן
    בני הנעורים – מרן החתם סופר

    This is a short list. Several of the listed מחברים are comparatively contemporary. But if you will actually learn what they had to say, you will see that they quote earlier poskim and Gedolei Yisroel. Your nonsense about corporal punishment as something the Chazal considered virtuous is too tragic to be comical. I would hope that anyone who considers taking your comment seriously will stay away from any form of chinuch (even as a parent) until they review what real Gedolei Yisroel stated. The Gemoras about how hitting with a strap refers to a shoe lace, that the scaring of a child with a stick – even if not used, etc. are null and void according to your psak. In light of Chazal, your comment is destructive, and probably a form of מגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה.

    I also omitted another sizable list of seforim on chinuch that are basically ליקוטים in which there are treasures of verbatim quotes from Chachomim of many generations. Having listed these with the name of the מלקט would have failed to provide the actual sources of these halachos.

    While I may disagree with you about the matter of making a police report, it is blatantly clear to anyone with a heart that this child was assaulted by someone who lost his cool, and that the perpetrator of this abuse must be held responsible. If this rebbe lacks the self control, and becomes a frequent giver of petch, especially if he smacks hard, he should not be allowed in a classroom. Rabbonim, Menahalim, and the community have an obligation to insure that our children are safe in the yeshiva. If his lessons are not interesting enough to captivate the young minds and keep them motivated to learn, then he cannot teach.

    Your conclusions have nothing whatsoever to do with our sages,, and you should stop implicating them in your defense of abuse.

  19. I can see that we’re heading in the direction that one day, a rebbe will hit the wrong kid, and the kid will smack the rebbe back.
    As for Milhouse, I’m hoping you’re never tempted to become a teacher. If you do, I have sincere pity on your students. I hope you don’t practice what you preach on your own kids.

  20. > Milhouse June 12, 2018 10:17 am at 10:17 am

    “one thing is certain: the Torah and Chazal”

    Would you care to tell us exactly where in the Chumash any teacher hit a child? How about somewhere in Navi? And Ketuvim is ambiguous enough to mean anything one wants it to mean. But the one thing that is certain is that Chazal made it clear that hitting anyone reaching adult age (13 for males by commonly accepted Bar Mitzvah rules) would be violating Biblical injunctions by such an act.

  21. Its possible I was fated to marry so late and not have children, because Hashem knew if a teacher struck my child, that I would break the teacher’s jaw.

    Same for all this abuse of girls /women. If your daughter/sister comes to you and says “so and so put hands (or worse) on me,” where is your honor? Give the perpetrator a chance to deny it, you will know if they are lying, and if they are, potch the daylights out of them, and drive them out of your community.

  22. In some jurisdictions, the state’s attorney will pursue child-assault allegations (similiar to the prevailing practice in spousal abuse cases) even when the party bringing the complaint is pressured to withdraw their allegations as is the case here. I’m not sure what the practices are in EY but if this Rav is a repeat abuser, he should be investigated and prosecuted. To the trolls like Milhouse who endorse physically assaulting children as somehow OK under halacha, your sick distortion of daas torah is offensive. It is never OK as several other posters have noted.

  23. gavriel, substitute molestation for abuse and your defense of the rebbe was virtually identical to the those of the defenders of on this blog five years ago. They also claimed that children were not to be believed, that somehow 20 children of 10 different ages all hated thr rebbe and, even though they didn’t know each other, all made up with the same story. They also claimed it was wrong to go to the police. Well, we now know how that turned out.

  24. The Rebbi does not need writing off because of what he did. I don’t condone corporal punishment because it doesn’t work in this generation. It may have worked in the shtetl, but today it doesn’t. It just makes kids angry and then they resort to rebellious behaviour to manifest this anger. We are a people that bangs our chest three times a day and even more times on the high holy days, asking for forgiveness for our errors. We err. Humans do. I believe the Rebbi will have been pushed to his limit by an extremely badly behaved cheeky rude kid., and he made a poor judgement call. Yes, we are the adults and we need to know better etc…but let us remember that however thinly you slice it, there will always be two sides. I repeat I don’t condone corporal punishment…but by the same token I don’t believe in writing anyone off.

  25. Guila:

    I withhold opinion in this comment about the police matter. If this guy makes mistakes on a frequent basis that damage kids, then he needs another career.

    I have close knowledge of a case where a rebbe beat up a kid in his class, about age 11. The kid refused to return to the class until he was assured safety. The options presented were – rebbe asks mechila from the victim or the school places another person in the classroom to be a guard for the kids’ safety. Neither happened. The school could simply not afford the additional wages for this shomer. The rebbe claimed in was beneath his dignity to ask mechila from the victim. The kid transferre out to another yeshiva. That rebbe repeated this event with two other students in the ensuing months, and was taken out of the classroom. He was placed in a beis hamedrash to be a resource to answer questions. He beat up another student in front of crowds. He was finally fired. Terminating him several months earlier would have protected at least three other students.

    The seforim I listed earlier contain discussions about the halachic requirement of a rebbe to ask mechila from a talmid who was punished beyond limits or unfairly.

    Again, the police issue is not my focus. This fellow, as described in the article here does NOT belong in a classroom.

  26. Yid,
    “Today the pendulum has swung the other way.”

    Agreed, although hitting should really be out of the chinuch system (asides that is not even effective), however it shouldn’t be totally off the table, if the child knows there is a chance he might get slapped he might think twice before acting out. although, it should always be with content of both parents and NEVER in anger.

    What’s REALLY happening nowadays; if a child is somewhat not exactly in compliance they just get rid of him, toss him out on the street — Is that better?

    I don’t see any better results with this system..

  27. GAON:

    You nailed it! The way many in our current system approach the problem of misbehavior is misguided, ineffective, and ultimately anti-Torah. The role of discipline in chinuch needs to be very small, actually tiny. No rebbe should need to spend any more than a single digit percentage of his classroom day engaging in discipline. If he does, it is because he is unskilled at teaching. Using corporal punishment is potentially damaging, especially because those that administer it have not spent as much time studying the halachos of mechanchim as a shochet needs to spend on hilchos shechitah. Yes, completion, and review every month. Expelling a kid to the streets is tantamount to murder, as is quoted from the Chazon Ish. There is a simple alternative to punishment and expulsion. It is called chinuch, you know, really teaching. No one can honestly call discipline or expulsion chinuch.

    Discipline should not be taken off the table. That is what Shlomo Hamelech stated clearly in Mishlei – חושך שבטו שונא בנו. But, apparent from the way he expressed it, it is a last resort. And a rebbe who resort to a last resort often is undeniably not doing his job. But we should be clear to note that chinuch is an awesome responsibility. Those that do it well deserve lots of praise, and then some.

    Several Baalei Mussar are quoted explaining the Chazal “כל המלמד בן חבירו תורה כאילו ילדו” as not a statement of merit but one of responsibility. One would not punish and dispose of his own child. One might impose a negative consequence, but would also fight tooth and nail against someone that would injure his child. That is the type of love a rebbe MUST have for a talmid, and that is a secret that good mechanchim that rarely utilize discipline have.

  28. This is reminiscent of a case in Los Angeles years ago. There was an infamous Yeshiva Rebbe who used his hands and belt liberally. One day a mother of an abused talmid came to class and started yelling at the Rebbe in front of all the boys. Rabbi T, you have no right to hit these boys, she said. And went on and on. It’s not clear if or to what extent he stopped hitting. But he lived until 94, so pity the boys who were the victims of his wrath either way. This mother should have called the police on him and the other abusers in that Yeshiva. The PTSD is significant for those boys, future spouses and their progeny. This unaaceptable behavior must be put to an end in E”Y, Europe and the USA.

  29. As a parent of a child who sat in the classroom of a rebbe who hit his students – I mean really hit, multiple times, one child for apparent misbehavior, I feel I would like to register a comment here. My son sat and watched this day after day. I feel that this Rebbe never learned to control his temper and simply acted out against his students in such a grossly abusive way that he took my son, who was beloved by the rebbe and at the top of his class the previous year (Rebbe in that class had taken a shvua to never hit), to being a student who was angry and acted out in class inappropriately to the point where, even a year after he finished with that Rebbe, he was not back to where he was the year before and it took another year for him to hopefully get it out of his system and return to the way he had been as a younger child. He is a very smart boy but because of his emotional reaction to the whole thing (I do not believe he was hit much but watched it aplenty), he suffered many scars. I hope he has been able to finally put that year behind him and can go on now to really shteig in his learning.

    As far as the Rebbe, I will admit that my son did not report back to me often enough about how much the rebbe was hitting boys in the class, but we did finally raise the issue with the principal. Basically we spoke to other parents and got parents aware that they needed to take action by calling the principal and once they did they finally got this Rebbe replaced by someone who was good for his talmidim. A real shame that I did not recognize what was going on with my own son before the damage was done.