The Chillul HaShem in Lakewood

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  • #1308461

    simcha613
    Participant

    I have read many comments about this travesty like be careful about loshon hara, innocent until proven guilty, let’s withhold judgments, etc… I think some of those are important, but up to a point. I think that hiding our heads in the sand under the guise of preventing loshon hara or dan lechaf zechus is part of the mentality that empowers people to do things that are wrong. I think we need to be realistic… this was a public embarresment and I don’t think loshon hara applies when it is public like this… or when there is such a toeles in discussing this topic… it becomes more real when we accept the fact that real people, in our community, whom we respect, did something wrong and that there are likely others who did it as well. I believe in innocent until proven guilty, maybe there is some sort of loophole or other that they maybe didn’t commit the exact crime that they are being accused of. But a Chillul Hashem it was. The FBI doesn’t conduct lengthy investigations only to very publicly arrest random people. We wouldn’t assume that if any other person is arrested, I have no reason to assume the FBI is suddenly more lax and wanton when it comes to a frum Jew. Something terrible was done. A Chilul HaShem was commited. What exactly they are guilty of is for a court to decide… but we need to recognize it instead of wasting our breath trying to pretend that this isn’t a big deal, or maybe the people arrested are scape goats. Let’s use all of our breath to use this as a strong strong example of what can go wrong when cutting corners or bending the law… and let’s educate educate educate so this never ever happens again in our communities.

    #1308560

    Joseph
    Participant

    Okay, you don’t like the Halachas of loshon hara and dan lechaf zechus. Got it.

    Besides, you “don’t think” they would apply even if you did like them. Got that too. We’ll pasken Halachas how you “think”, and condemn anyone you “think” we should.

    Because, after all, the FBI never arrests innocent people after an investigation. Why even the need for a trial? If the FBI has an investigation and makes an arrest, guilty! Lock ’em up and throw away the key! Court is a waste of time.

    I mean, all those stories you hear of innocent people who were falsely convicted and years or decades later, after they spent years or decades in jail, and then were retroactively exonerated? Those are all bubbe maaisas! So what there’s another such innocent wrongly convicted story breaking almost every day. So what that for every falsely convicted that comes to light there’s probably another ten that are still rotting in prison despite being falsely convicted and not exonerated.

    That these families weren’t even tried yet? Guilty. Throw away the key.

    #1308587

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Joseph, keep your comments in mind when you go back to commenting on the Kushners.

    #1308592

    Joseph
    Participant

    LC: The Halachas of loshon hara and dan lechaf zechus only apply a) to Yidden and b) even among Yidden they only apply to a Shomer Shabbos.

    #1308659

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    LC: The Halachas of loshon hara and dan lechaf zechus only apply a) to Yidden and b) even among Yidden they only apply to a Shomer Shabbos.

    A real shomrei Torah V mitzvoh wouldnt be stealing

    #1308662

    Joseph
    Participant

    A real shomrei Torah V mitzvoh wouldnt be stealing

    Of course not. And 1) that has nothing to do with the comment you quoted. 2) Nor does it have anything to do with those families who were recently falsely accused.

    #1308681

    chaimss
    Participant

    @joseph: I agree with you that the Halachos of L”H and DL”Z are in full force, but I think OP has a point worth considering.

    Whether or not this is true, what is true is that Frum Yidden often rely heavily upon government assistance, and, for a large enough number, they are ok with bending certain things in order to get more money. These may not be illegal, but it has given our communities a “sheim” in the world, both in the non-Chareidi Frum world and in the non-Frum/non-Jewish world.

    Whether or not any crimes were committed and whether or not anyone did anything wrong, it’s fact that many people in Lakewood were calling up in the following days to correct some perceived errors and downgrade or cancel their assistance. This means that- illegal or not- there were perceptions of impropriety that were occurring, and according to the article posted by YWN June 28, 2017 9:30 am, even perception can lead to CH”S.

    I think that- without talking L”H about people, and without judging whether they were right or wrong- we can take this opportunity to conduct a general cheshbon hanefesh into how we’re dealing with the government as a community (or as multiple communities) and if we should possibly change some of the things we’re doing.

    #1308741

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I think a fair, halachically acceptable discussion to be had is; what might drive an otherwise ehrlich person to commit the type of fraud it is alledged these people perpetrated. Is it nothing more than greed? Is it sheer and utter desperation to make ends meet? Is it social pressure to keep up with the joneses (or in this case the cohens)? Honest introspection might help prevent this from happening again.

    #1308747

    Health
    Participant

    Simcha613 -“I think that hiding our heads in the sand under the guise of preventing loshon hara or dan lechaf zechus is part of the mentality that empowers people to do things that are wrong.”

    There are worse things that go on! But just because, certain people/org. are well protected, they & their enablers will have to give a Din V’chesbon and it won’t be pretty.

    #1308748

    adocs
    Participant

    Joseph,

    “Nor does it have anything to do with those families who were recently falsely accused”

    And you know this for certain how?

    I certainly don’t know if they are innocent or guilty as i dont have any knowledge other than whats been reported to the public.

    Do you have specific knowledge of this case that other people in the CR dont?

    #1308749

    Joseph
    Participant

    APY, it is neither halachicly acceptable to 1) believe this happened in the first place nor 2) to have a discussion off the backs of your innocent brethren who were falsely accused for you to base your “discussion” on.

    If someone is falsely accused what are you going to do to prevent others in the future from being falsely accused?

    #1308766

    Avi K
    Participant

    Joseph, have you done teshuva since the threads on the Kushners? BTW, the laws of LH also apply to tinnokot shenishbu and certainly where you do not know if the Jew is observant. It is technically permitted regarding gentiles and Jews who are evil doers (and that includes any aveira which is generally known as well as baalei machloket – see Sefer Chafetz Chaim ch.8). However, it is not a good habit to develop as one will come to say it about observant Jews (Tanna d’bei Eliahu discusses this and see Devarim Rabba Ki Titzei 6:9 with Radal, Sheilta 28:1, Orchot Chaim of the Rosh 83 with Rav Yehezkel Sarna, Rav Binyamin Zilber, Rav Menashe Klein and Rav Chaim Kanievsky,, Responsa Az Nidbaru 14:69:4 and Hut HaShani Hilchot Shemirat HaLashon p. 357). Not to mention that the fact that there will be a chillul Hashem if it is discovered.

    #1308772

    The little I know
    Participant

    There are a few issues that seem to elude most of the previous comments.

    1 – Federal investigations rarely end up in trials. The pattern of the Feds is that they get involved in investigating, and utilize several different arms of law enforcement to get at all angles. The FBI is only one investigative arm. There are others, including postal service, IRS, and others. If there are state crimes involved, they can easily connect and collaborate with those investigators. By the time there are arrests, and the investigations are permitted to take time and be thorough, the evidence to convict is established. There are exceptions, but the rule is that all that one can do is to plea bargain, and there is rarely much wiggle room.

    2 – It seems that the public assumes that chilul Hashem is that which occurs in the media. That is categorically inaccurate. What is the mishna in Pirkei Avos about מחלל שם שמים בסתר? One may review the Rambam (הלכות יסודי התורה פ”ה) to see that he discusses קידוש השם and חילול השם without regard to publicity, noting that if the event occurs before 10 Yidden, than it becomes ברבים. The issue of defrauding the government is a serious issue, and the chilul Hashem existed before there was media attention. And upon review of what Chazal say about chilul Hashem, it is clear that talmidei chachomim are held to a higher standard, and must be impeccably honest, completely above reproach. It is undeniable that that was the case here, and the fear that spread through the Lakewood community is testimony that the high standards that are a requirement for bnei Torah were not upheld.

    There are lessons to learn here. The ניצוח about הלכות לשון הרע might be a wonderful academic discussion, but fails to address the problem in a meaningful way. There is a huge problem to fix, and the smokescreens do not help.

    #1308787

    Eliezer8687
    Participant

    For the past 10 years I have been working as a health care provider in Boro park. Tha facility provides Healthcare for a population that 95 % is on government assistance. This includes medical and dental benefits and in many cases (SNAP). Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program aka food stamps. Some,not all of these individuals are able to spend the chagim in israel,go to “the country” for the whole summer. Dress their kids in the finest and latest fashions. The mothers are dressed equally as well and wearing the latest sheital that cost thousands of dollara.People (non jewish and frum,not frum) realize that something is “off” with this scenario. This is a chilul hashem. On the other hand there are many who need the assistance from the government just to feed their kids and supply them with the basic necessities. Then there are the families stuck in the middle,the ones who both parents work just to get by and make “too much” to qualify for help. If you need help then by all means apply for it and use all the resources possible,just don’t lie and embarrass the whole cimmunity. As an aside the FBI doesn’t play games,you don’t get arrested unless they have a case and the District attorney decides. They don’t want to cry wolf and not get a conviction.

    #1308786

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Until the leading rabbonim in Lakewood speak out forcefully and unequivocally about these low-lifes who steal from the public (which means stealing from you and me), than the type of anti-Semitic vandalism we saw at the Jersey shul last night will proliferate. All of these “innocent until proven guilty” and “maybe they didn’t understand the law” excuses are simply another form of denial. These ganovim and their families who were complicit in this fraud, if convicted, should be publicly cut off from the Jewish community and treated like pariahs. Welcoming them back into the tzibur after they get out of prison will make them seem like conquering heros. If people know that they and their wives and children will be treated like pariahs, then maybe there would be some deterrent effect.

    #1308792

    TheGoq
    Participant

    A and B get married and want to build a bayis neeman yisroel and wants what is the new normal 7- 10 children they have no means to support their budding brood but they have bitachon that HKBH will provide A shteigs and B works but its not nearly enough years pass and things have not changed so when an opportunity presents itself to add to their income and ease the burden maybe they rationalize that they are doing Hashem’s will and even though the laws of the land are ignored and even bent or broken they have to do what is right by their children and they allegedly decide to do it what results is an embarrassment for the community and cause distaste to outright hatred for the community to grow a very sad tale indeed.

    #1308957

    Health
    Participant

    GH – “Until the leading rabbonim in Lakewood speak out forcefully and unequivocally about these low-lifes who steal from the public”
    This will never happen! Do you know how the average guy in Kollel in BMG survives? Well, I’ll tell you – it’s with gov. programs. Unless the Yeshiva starts paying a normal salary, which is very unlikely considering the amount of guys in Kollel!

    #1308945

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Joseph, you say that loshon hora and dan lechaf zechus only apply to Shomrei Shabbos.

    But your own acceptance and spreading of loshon hora is what brands the Kushners as non-Shomrei Shabbos. However, in most respects they could be far more ehrlich and greater shomrei mitzvos than you. Does that mean that people are permitted to spread loshon horo about you?

    You are dan lechaf zechus for yourself but not for others. Don’t you have anything to do tshuva for on Yom Kippur?

    #1308970

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    SNAP and Medicaid go by income eligibility, not fancy clothing or lack thereof.

    #1308975

    simcha613
    Participant

    Health-care are you suggesting that the Rabbonim won’t come out forcefully against this fraud because that might turn people off to utilizing government programs and assistance (legally or illegally) which might hurt Kollel enrollment as that is a significant portion of their income?

    #1308979

    Joseph
    Participant

    cherrybim, they spread it themselves by regularly and very publicly travelling on Shabbos in cars and airplanes. And publicly attending church services for avoda zora. And eating treif in very public settings.

    #1308987

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Joseph, would you swear in Beis Din that the Kushners eat treif, in any setting.
    Otherwise, you continue with your MotziShemRa ways.
    But we are not surprised.

    #1308985

    Joseph
    Participant

    RebYidd23, well said. Someone can be of poor income and 100% legally qualify for SNAP, WIC, Section 8, etcetera, while family members provide them nice decent clothing and pay for them to travel to Eretz Yisroel for a simcha or whatever.

    This false idea that to qualify for government assistance you need to wear rags, or even that you cannot wear very nice clothing, or that family members cannot pay for your travel, is just that… flat out false and with no legal basis.

    I’m also wondering how Eliezer8687 is valuing women’s sheitels every time he signs in a patient to the healthcare provider he’s a secretary at. Is he a sheitel appraiser too? Does he asks his customers where they’ll be for yom tov and summers everytime a Medicaid patient comes to his sign-in desk?

    The bottom line is that these charges are שקר וכזב. Completely and utterly false. They are innocent people.

    #1308990

    Mammele
    Participant

    Avi k: I know I owe you a reply, but you failed to address mine about the Kushners taking a chartered bus to a political wedding. The (non Jewish) media couldn’t really care less about their kashrus or Shabbos observance (let alone tznius) to malign them. Hence when time after time photos and articles depict violations of such, it shows a pattern which can no longer be considered mere conjecture.

    We must protest these fully, as they are done publicly by so-called observant Jews and are the true definition of chillul Hashem.

    Stealing from the government must also be condemned, however when we are not privy to the facts and these are mere allegations by agencies that may or may not have their own agenda to advance (a very typical one which they keep on stating albeit indirectly, is to scare others into following the law to a “t” because of perceived laxity) hence they may need some people arrested to show they are serious about enforcement. I won’t use the anti-Semitism card, but there are definitely those against the expansion of Jewish Lakewood that may have instigated these investigations. (There are usually anonymous tip lines where one can report such allegations.)

    In this case we need to wait for more facts to be established and not bash anyone personally, however educating the public about legality can and should be done. As I mentioned it’s already being done, I’m not sure if in all communities, and there’s always room for more education and chizzuk as needed. Exaggerating the scope of the issue is definitely a chillul Hashem as well, especially since none of us know the truth about enough people’s true situation to judge a community. We can leave that for the haters, they know the Halacha of eisav…

    #1309003

    Avi K
    Participant

    Eliezer, I am willing to judge them favorably and assume that they get hand-me-downs from rich people who change their clothes every few months and have rich relatives who foot the bills for their vacations (I personally have friends whose lifestyles are more than what their incomes – from work – would allow because they have parents who would rather see them enjoy the money than leave it to them after they are gone). However, people should not be ostentatious even if they can afford it. Rambam says in Hilchot Deot that a talmid chacham wears average clothes, not expensive and not cheap. The Chatam Sofer adds that ostentatious living in Chutz laAretz arouses the jealousy of the gentiles (if I may I will add that in EY it is a kiddush Hashem as they want to learn from us).

    Health, so cut down on the number of kollel guys to a few outstanding learners. The rest should get jobs. Ner Yisrael has a deal with Johns Hopkins to give a recognized BA in Talmudic Literature which can be used towards an MBA or law degree. The Aguda runs courses in Brooklyn for professions that do not necessarily require a degree. Why can’t they do that in Lakewood? Do they believe that poverty is a virtue (se Nedarim 64b)?

    #1309009

    simcha613
    Participant

    Joseph… What’s שקר וכזב? Are you saying they didn’t do what they’re accused of… Or anything similar that might constitute bending the law? That everything they did was 100% ישר? Or are you arguing that what they did wasn’t really so bad as there is nothing halachically/morally wrong with trying to get as much as we can from the government?

    On a related note… Do you feel that we have acquired realization that there is a serious problem in our community? Or is today no different than last week as no one is doing anything dishonest anyways and we are just exaggerating over a completely false claim?

    #1309021

    Meno
    Participant

    I don’t know anything about any of the cases, and I’m not here to say who is innocent and who is guilty, but I doubt the FBI arrested people based on the clothing they wear or the vacations they take.

    #1309025

    Joseph
    Participant

    The NJ prosecutor told the media b’feirush why he went after the Yidden. 1) He wanted to make an example out of Yidden since the local goyim were yelling for years that “The Jews” unfairly get too much welfare. (Of course that’s a lie. For example, the black and Hispanic communities collect far more welfare than the Jewish community.) 2) So in response he went digging specifically into the files of Jewish welfare recepients. 3) He’s making quite a number of blatant assumptions regarding businesses owned by family members of the charged in claiming that they’re really owned by those being charged. 4) He claims he warned the community in 2015 against welfare fraud and is thus saying it’s coming to them since he warned them in advance. Yet all the charges are for activity between 2009 and 2014, all before his warning that he’s tying into these cases. 5) Notice that all 14 charged are Orthodox Jews. Is he seriously claiming there’s no welfare fraud to be found among non-Jews? Of course not; they’re simply specifically targeting Jews. 6) Did you notice that the prosecutor illegally tipped off the media before the arrests to go to the specific personal home addresses to take pictures of the arrests? Is he a public servant/prosecutor seeking justice or is he a publicity seeker seeking the limelight in embarrassing people who are legally considered innocent prior to any conviction?

    #1309047

    Health
    Participant

    Avi K -“Health, so cut down on the number of kollel guys to a few outstanding learners”

    Why are you addressing me? Maybe I’d agree with that?!?

    #1309054

    Health
    Participant

    Mammele -“I won’t use the anti-Semitism card, but there are definitely those against the expansion of Jewish Lakewood that may have instigated these investigations. (There are usually anonymous tip lines where one can report such allegations.)”

    Now you’re sounding like Joe! All Goyim don’t want different types in their neighborhoods.
    The fact is – this investigation started because of a Frum beeper store.
    It wasn’t because the gov. woke up one day & decided to get the Jews!
    Stop with the Antisemitism card!

    #1309074

    joseph” you wrote ” Did you notice that the prosecutor illegally tipped off the media before the arrests to go to the specific personal home addresses to take pictures of the arrests?”

    Please tell me under what Federal or NJ State statute that states it is illegal?

    #1309073

    huju
    Participant

    Re Joseph’s comment about Kushners eating treiff in public: I agree. I eat treiff only in private. And not just because eating lobster is so messy.

    I am strictly kosher, in public and private, when eating hot dogs, because the kosher ones are the best-tasting anyway. (And Hebrew National are not kosher enough for me, even though they are tasty enough.)

    #1309083

    Joesph: You also wrote: Someone can be of poor income and 100% legally qualify for SNAP, WIC, Section 8, etcetera, while family members provide them nice decent clothing and pay for them to travel to Eretz Yisroel for a simcha or whatever.

    Yes family members can pay for certain things……but gifts over a certain amount are also taxable and are supposed to be included in income.

    #1309081

    cherrybim
    Participant

    Orthodox Jews are held and should be held to a higher standard. Torah Jews broadcast to the world that are we are the chosen people and on a higher level than others so the goyim make sure we keep to our commitments.
    And, who is fooling who? We have been through this many times before in different situations. And when found guilty, we Orthodox receive the highest penalties available; again because the goyim hold us to what the Torah demands of us.
    The vast majority of goyish welfare cheats are not shown living in massive new houses with manicured gardens. But the non-Jewish populations are justifiably chagrinned when the abusers are displayed living the lifestyle out of a movie set. I am too.

    #1309104

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Joseph, there you go , playing “look the goyim do it too!!!” card. So, if they arrested 5000 goyim, would that excuse what the frum Jews did? So, you trust the media when they say what you like ( the procecuter) but they’re sheker when when you don’t like what they say?

    #1309105

    Meno
    Participant

    gifts over a certain amount are also taxable and are supposed to be included in income

    I thought the same thing so I looked it up. I don’t think it’s true

    #1309112

    gettingby
    Participant

    Test

    Did it work?

    #1309113

    gettingby
    Participant

    Joseph,

    Who are you kidding? We don’t have to believe this story at all to know many instances of people we know in our own lives (and maybe even us in certain instances) who do the same thing. Contractors who only take cash, service providers who ask you to write the check to their tuition or landlord, and many other stories that we may know firsthand. It’s worth learning from this even if it is not true because so many of us know real stories anyway.

    #1309352

    Mammele
    Participant

    Gettingby:

    True story since you’re mentioning anecdotes. We had a non-Jewish immigrant Uber driver recently. He was openly discussing his finances, past (different job) and current. He said since he doesn’t earn too much (drives about 10 hours a day, 5 days a week) he’s covering his expenses and earning what he needs, apparently for a single guy. His accountant “writes-off” expenses such as car-washes, insurance, gas, etc. and he doesn’t work more hours so he can be eligible for Obamacare. He said his friends that work longer hours aren’t as profitable since they can’t have so many expenses. (He didn’t FULLY spell it out, but the way he mentioned it, it seemed there are only so many car washes one can logically claim…)

    This was all said openly, and apparently he’s not the only one. The system is almost rigged in the name of progressive taxation. I’m not condoning anything, just pointing out facts about our system and how it’s manipulated by many, not davka Jews.

    #1309119

    oyyoyyoy
    Participant

    Please please be careful with lashon horoh. Please do me a favor i know u dont know me but do me a favor please and be careful with lashon haroh, it’s not worth it. It’s the time of year when were supposed to remebr that moshiach would come if we avoid sinas chinam. Oh please be careful please please please!!

    the summer months are dangerous times for the us jews, we need a sanaigor, there are enough mekatrigim.

    #1309641

    gettingby
    Participant

    First, the way you tell over the story it sounds completely legal. Twisted that the programs incentivize not working, but legal.

    And if it’s not legal, we certainly don’t take our morals from him. We need a higher standard. I too have had non-Jews ask me to do some things when they did work for me that I refused, so I’m not by any stretch claiming that this is not widespread. It is; there is hundreds of billions of dollars of Medicaid fraud yearly, and our community can’t possibly AC AC account for more than a small fraction.

    And I don’t desire to bring out more real anecdotes because why should I say bad about us? But we have to recognize that it’s a huge problem, and we also have to recognize that when so many of us go on programs, isn’t it asking that this happen?

    There is one other community that might be on programs in the widespread way that we are, and believe me we don’t want to be affiliated with them.

    I myself learned in kollel for several years as did many members of my family. After living the really nice lifestyle that many of us were able to live while learning and being supported (not on programs), no one was really in the mood to go to work afterwards. You had men who were meeting their first financial responsibility at thirty one years old.

    Does that make any sense?

    #1309726

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Gifts over a certain amount ARE taxable, I think the amount is $13,000

    However that can easily be strteched. Each Parent can give one child $13,000 for a total of $26,000 and the Parent can give the In-Law child also $13,000 x 2 for basically a total of $52,000

    Also the parents can give the grandchildren money as well

    Also money given to other sources like Yeshiva tution doesnt count, It has to be direct cash.

    However some things are non cash income like if a Yeshiva gives a tuition discount in Lie of income, that can be taxable under certain circumstances

    #1309719

    Mammele
    Participant

    Gettingby: Sorry I didn’t relate the exact expression he used, but IIRC I should correct it to say his accountant “makes” expenses, instead of “writes off”. Which I understood to mean makes up.

    #1309729

    Meno
    Participant

    zahavasdad,

    That’s not how the gift tax works.

    First of all, the requirement to pay tax is on the giver, not the receiver.

    Second, it’s very unlikely that a person would ever have to pay a gift tax. The way it works is that you only start paying a gift tax once you’ve given more than $5.45 million total in your life. Additionally, the first $14,000 of each individual gift doesn’t even count toward that $5.45 million.

    Source: TurboTax (the info is also on the IRS website but the numbers haven’t been updated)

    Bottom line, these people didn’t have to pay a gift tax.

    #1309778

    MDG
    Participant

    The gift tax is 14,000 per person, giver and receiver.

    For example, let’s assume 2 parents and 3 kids, a family of 5. The grandfather can give the family 70,000 each year, 14,000 times 5 The grandmother can also give 70,000. Therefore the can give 140,000 yearly without paying taxes.

    #1309786

    Meno
    Participant

    Mdg,
    They can give a lot more than that. Read my last post

    #1309788

    Eliezer8687
    Participant

    Many not all,especially in the chasidish community do not get married civilly, thus the mother can claim 10 dependants and collect government benefits. I wasn’t saying the women and children need to dress like paupers. But why give the goyish world more ammo to hate us and resent us we are still guests in this country, israel is the land that is truly ours. We are supposed to be a light unto other nations. Unfortunately in this instance we were not.

    #1309797

    Joseph
    Participant

    Do you also ask patients for their marriage license when you sign people in at your health clinic?

    Government benefits are the same whether the mother is married or not. Benefit calculations depends only on household size. Whether the mother is married or unmarried living with her boyfriend or unmarried living with her best friend from school, the benefit amount is the same. Marriage license or not makes no difference and there’s no benefit to not having one.

    #1309800

    commonsense
    Participant

    Although it might be legal for people to get hundreds of thousands in gifts. If is not right that they get to spend it on wants like upper scale housing expensive cars sheitlach and clothing and then us poor tax payers get to pay for their needs such as healthcare food etc. it may be legal but it certainly does not look good.

    #1309814

    yehudayona
    Participant

    gettingby, since the entire amount spent on Medicaid in FY 2016 was less than $600 billion, it’s highly unlikely that “there is hundreds of billions of dollars of Medicaid fraud yearly.”

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