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Out Of The Mailbag: Shelly Silver – Mass Chillul Hashem Without Protest

yw_story_logo1.jpgDear Editor,

Today on Lag B’omer, one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, a massive Chillul Hashem is taking place in Albany.

The Assembly of the state of New York, the state with the largest Orthodox Jewish population outside of Israel, is expected to vote for and approve by a large majority the legalization of same-gender marriage.

To make matters worse, the most prominent Orthodox Jewish elected official in the state, the one frum yid who has the power to stop all of this, Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the NY State Assembly, is expected to again vote in favor of this bill as he did on June 12, 2007.

Not one Jewish group has come out against Mr. Silver’s support of same-gender marriage. Of course, these are the same Jewish groups that have received millions of dollars from Speaker Silver over the years. For shame. After all, can we really put a price on the cost of this huge Chillul Hashem?

Lest you wonder why Sheldon Silver is kowtowing to the same-gender activists, he was quoted in today’s NY Daily News as saying that he supports same-gender marriage because he “think[s] it’s a matter of justice and equity.” Lehavdil, the most prominent Hispanic elected official in New York State, Senator Ruben Diaz, is staging a large protest against the same-gender marriage bill in front of Governor Paterson’s Manhattan office this Sunday 5/17/09 at 1pm. [633 Third Avenue, Bet,. 40th and 41st Streets, NYC, NY]

I therefore urge all my fellow Orthodox Jews to join the Hispanics in this rally to reverse the massive Chillul Hashem taking place today by making a Kiddush Hashem.

I called the Hispanic group and they told me that they would greatly welcome the participation of Orthodox Jews. If we don’t act, Chas V’Shalom, our fellow citizens will assume that we accept this reprehensible behavior.

Let’s send a message to all of New York that Hashem is the only one that represents us, not a morally corrupt politician like Sheldon Silver.

Click HERE for more info on this protest.

Thank you for posting my letter, and may Hashem stop this Chillul Shem Shomayim from taking place,

Shaul Plotzkin.

30 Responses

  1. Excuse me
    maybe he asked his rabbi how to vote and he is doing exactly what he told him. Lets open up jewish history what happend with our grand mother’s sara and paroh in mitzrayim or with rivka by avimelech or later wit ester by achashverosh. You can go on and on and find alot of things that happend with tzadikim. Here it is not for us yiden but for the goyim and “they” are the same as the used to be always.

  2. Mr. Plotzkin,

    Before you ask us all to join you in what you have decided is a Chillul Hashem, perhaps we should first find out why the major Frum organizations are not speaking out about this! Your letter seems to indicate that you feel it is a financially motivated reason. Maybe you are right – maybe you are wrong. I think that before ANY Frum Yid joins in a hispanic organized protest we first ask our Gedolim if #1 – should we be involved in a public demonstration at all? and if yes then #2 should we have our own or should we join the Hispanics.

    What we should NOT do is follow your lead and or suggestions unless of course Daas Torah has asked you to do this. If they have, I will join you. If they have not, then doing what you ask may be more of a Chillul hashem in the eyes of the RBS”O.

    Only our Gedolim can answer this not you or me.

  3. It reminds me of a fact

    Ben Gurion with a grandchild a goy
    Charushshov with a grandchild a jew

    The goy voting like a yid
    The yid voting like a goy

  4. The goyim have a lot of pervese practices. For the most part, they have no reservations about any form of gilui ariyos, regardless of gender, marital status, etc. They have social economic policy that are often oppress the poor and coerce women into abortions (emulating Sodom in more ways than the Christians realize).

    Given that government recognition of marriage only involves recognizing certain types of contracts pertaining to property (Dinei Mamonos), and has nothing to do with what is permitted or prohibited sexually, and even more so has nothing to do with what the goyim do, a very strong argument can be made that this is none of the government’s business.

    I don’t agree with Mr. Silver, but supporting certain economic rights for one group of goyim is hardly the end of the world (that the goyim, many years ago, came to support their perverse practices might be the “end of the world”, but that’s not what the legislature votes on).

  5. I think it’s funny that someone can throw in a bunch of Hebrew words to make himself look like a Tzaddik but has no problem slandering and speaking Lashon Horah about someone who has worked his entire career on behalf of the people of this state and has done more to benefit our community than you ever will.

    Plotzkin, go back to yeshiva. Maybe you’ll learn Derech Eretz there. Calling someone “morally bankrupt” because you disagree with him on an issue is disgusting. You have no concept of Derech Eretz, no concept of how to speak like a mensch and obviously you have no understanding of the political process in New York. Until you learn those above mentioned items I don’t think it’s particularly fair for you to come out with a letter like this.

    On this “holiest day of the calendar” (that’s news to me) maybe you should examine your words and understand why your behavior is disgusting. If you want to see a Toeivah, look at your behavior.




  7. concerned member.. one…. it is ONE of the holiest days of the calendar, not THE. It is a chag for Yidden around the world nu?! I dislike it intensely when people misquote people’s words. how is this loshon hora?! it is merely standing up for what is right, against someone who hasdone a blatant and grevious decision. he might have done good things in past, but this dosent give him ticket to do whatever now.

  8. I couldn’t agree more that this is a huge chillul hashem. By voting yes on this bill means you agree that someone has a right to live such a life style which hashem hates weather its a yid or a goy. Reb avigder Miller all ways would say hashem hates toava and it only brings tragedy to the world. its no excuse to say it whont make a diffrence if he votes no bec its a huge chillul hashem by a orthodox jew agreeing. If they were to be voting to make murder legal no one would say he should go along with it because his vote won’tcount

  9. The fact of the matter is that this is taking place in AMERICA-NOT ISRAEL. Yeah, it’s a toeva, so what do you care if goyim do it? Big deal. Additionally, people don’t care if it’s a frum yid whose voting on it. If the speaker were some mamzer who had the last name Schwartz or Goldman or Rosenberg, it’d still be the “Jewish vote”. There are worse things going on in this country than gay marriage. Seriously.

  10. There are numerous different reasons why a Orthodox Jew should be voting against this law, but let me mention a couple.

    -Any person understands that his thoughts and actions are affected by the society in which he finds himself. A vote to instate a law that legally allows one’s society to drop to the level of giving credence to what the Torah deems “to’evah” is an acceptance of all ramifications therein.

    -A Jew anywhere, especially one operating in a public arena, is expected to portray to his surroundings the truth and morality as defined by his Code of Law -the Torah. To vote to institute this law is divergent of this responsibility, especially when it is apparent to the secular world.

  11. Azi (#8) – I function quite well B”H. Thanks for the concern.

    Of course I agree gay marriage is wrong. However, I am a Yid first and an American 2nd. So if the AMERICAN way is to protest that is fine for Americans. The Jewish way to protest is not in a public forum. It is through Teffila, Limud HaTorah and Kiyum Hamitzvos. IF a time comes when our Gedolim feel we need to show a public support in protest of something I will be there.

    My point is not about gay marriage. My point is that we as an Am HaNivchar do not have the authority to decide on our own that this issue nor any issue requires us to protest in public. We have our leadership to tell us that. It may be a free country but we are Avodim to Hashem – which by definition means we are not free to do as we wish.

    That my friend is why I B”H don’t have any questions and as you said, I only have answers.

  12. #9… the way, just for the record, our President, our Vice President AND our Secretary of State, (whether we like them or not) ALL are AGAINST gay marriage.

  13. Shelly Silver is a walking, talking CHILLUL HASHEM!!! He should be put in Chayrem! To bad the “FRUM” organization’s are totally in the Chanifa mode! They will all have to answer to HKB”H after 120 and it won’t be pleasent! Anyone that feels that if he speaks out against him will lose money for their organizations are Apikorsim! (Eyin – Chovas Halvavos, Shaare Bitachon )What they are saying in other words is – Shelly Silver controls the money – NOT HASHEM R”L! Shame on the AGUDAH/YOUNG ISRAEL!

  14. actually obama said that “he respects the decision of the california supreme court”, which basically means he is pro gay marriage.

  15. #17 – I guess you must also feel shame on R’ Dovid and R’ Reuvain Feinstein who are in close contact with Mr. Silver? Are you saying that our Gedolim in Eretz Yisroel are also going to have to answer after 120 because just a few weeks ago when similar issues (not exact – but similar)were on the agenda around election time there were certain “understandings” for the sake of forming a government that were agreed to.

    #18 – Are you serious in your thought process? Mr. Obama is against gay marriage he has said it many times. He RESPECTS (not agrees with)the decision of the California Supreme Court because as the leader of this Country he must show support for our judicial system. (not that I am an Obama supporter or fan, just stating his opinion on the matter)

  16. Azi – The Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura tell us not to protest in public. Also, learn your Chumash and see how every time Klal Yisroel “protested” nothing good came of it. When they were mispallel they were answered. I am not a Rov or Posek but ask any for the sources and you will see where the official (as you said) decision was made on the proper way of Jewish protest.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Mr. Silver is doing an awful act for us by allowing this to even get to this point. The Mishna in Avos (1,13) tells us what will happen to him. My point was and still is only that even though we may all be angry – and rightfully so – we cannot just publicly protest without guidance from our leaders. Yiddishkeit can never become a free for all that we can act on impulse. We have rules and we must follow them especially when Chillul Hashem is at stake. Some may feel what Silver is doing is a Chilul Hashem while others may think seeing Frum Yidden and Hispanics protesting together is a Chilul Hashem. None of us know what Hashem considers to be the real Chilul hashem. Our leaders can advise us.

    Please don’t be worried for me and I am sorry it is upsetting you. I can promise you it is not upsetting my great grandparents they are very proud. You don’t know me nor my Yichus so you can’t judge me.

    Just because I know something is right doesn’t give me the permission to act on it as I see fit. There is a rule book (I like to call it the Torah) and we must play by the rules. One cannot just inject in himself his own version of HGH to get around the rules. You must stay honest.

    Again my issue here is not that Silver is right, its not that we should or shouldn’t protest and its not about how to win the battle, it is ONLY about making sure before we do something in a public forum that we seek guidance on how to act.

  17. Akuperma, this has nothing to do with “mammones.” There already are civil unions that provides those benefits. This is all about recognizing the alleged legitimacy and “morality” of gay marriage.

  18. #12,

    “What do you care if goyim do it?” Are you serious? What kind of hashkafa is that? What happened to the “or lagoyim” that we are supposed to be, what about the fact the “lifnei iver” is an issur that applies to our relations with b’nei Noach? The gemara says that the one z’chus that the umos have is that, even though they are nichshol in mishkav zachar, they don’t have the temerity to actually legalize it as marriage. Bavonoseinu harabim, one of our own is now facilitating the elimination of that one z’chus.

  19. #3, republican form of government does not work the way you describe. You don’t just take a public opinion poll if you’re a politician and vote with the majority. If that were the case, we could just have referenda and we wouldn’t need politicians at all. That would be called direct democracy. An elected official is supposed to do what’s right, not necessarily what’s popular.

    #7, where do you get the idea that Sheldon Silver has ever done anything good for anyone other than himself, and the public unions who only need to say “jump” and Silver will ask “how high?”

    Sheldon Silver should not even get an aliya in shul. Yeshivas and parents of yeshiva students(and parochial school parents, by the way) are choking under the crushing weight of the tuition crisis, perhaps the single biggest issue facing our community today, and one that threatens thousands of Yiddishe neshamos with public schooling. Yet this man is so beholden to the teacher’s unions and his own personal power that he cannot find it in his heart to do ANYTHING to help in Albany, whether through tuition tax credits, deductions, vouchers, ANYTHING. In fact, he is a primary force OPPOSING such measures. I don’t know how he sleeps at night, knowing that yiddishe kinder are going to public school in part because of him.

  20. I wonder what would happen if they wanted to raise our property tax, income tax, transit fare, etc. by %100. Would you consider it a Chilul Hashem to go out and protest? In other words, we have priorities. When it hits our pockets, we all understand that we’re entitled to protest.

  21. To #17 and all the organization bashers, for the record the following statement was released on April 17, 2009. The Agudah is on record with their disgust and protest against this bill.Posted here on YWN. That the Agudah had the courage to stand up for what is right in the face of potentialy staggering budget cuts from this same Governor, speaks volumes and should be acknowledged. The writer is correct ,silence on this moral issue would have indeed been a Chillul Hasem. Shtika K’hodah.But the politicians including Shelly know well that the Agudah and the OU came out against it. We live in a very sad world full of monday morning quaterbacks. I assure you, just as all of you took the time tonight to bemoan the passing of this digusting bill had you maybe done something more concrete and work together with our Klal organizations be it the Agudah, the OU the Young Israel etc…, to fight for our community we could accomplish so much more. The critics are full of things our organizations didnt do or couldnt do. Ask Rabbi Zwiebel next time you see him what you can do to help Klal Yisroel. Call Rabbi Lerner Im sure that these men would welcome your genuine help and support.
    We need more doers. Stop the crying and get up and fight for your communities. If you dont care for the way things are heading get involved. Im tired of reading the same critisim every day- enough get up or shut up. Now you want to protest? Vote on election day. Join the ranks of the doers and stop complaining.

    Agudath Israel Reaction to NYS Governor Paterson’s Marriage-Redefinition Bill
    April 17, 2009
    Following New York State Governor David A. Paterson’s introduction yesterday of a bill to legalize “Toeiva” marriage in the state, Agudath Israel of America reiterated its long-standing opposition to the proposed move. The organization’s official statement is below.

    Agudath Israel of America strongly opposes the proposed redefinition of marriage in New York State.

    Societies’ mores constantly shift, but eternal truths remain. The institution of marriage in its traditional form has served as the foundation of family and the bedrock of civilized society since time immemorial. In Agudath Israel’s view, tampering with marriage in the most fundamental way possible, by abandoning its definition as the sanctioned union of woman and man, is fraught with grave social danger.

    Moreover, as has been repeatedly shown over recent years, the push to redefine marriage seeks to belittle those individuals and institutions who refuse to abandon their deep-seated and sincere religious beliefs. It is that prospect, more than the preservation of traditional marriage, that should be unacceptable to anyone concerned with basic civil rights.

  22. david hamelech says in tehillim ‘i am a friend of all those who fear You, those who hate You am their enemy’

    we protest toeiva because our Father, Hashem, King of all of Mankind detests it. Anyone who loves Hashem and cares about Him minimally will protest this abomination.

    Proud to be a G-d fearing Jew

  23. Disgusting how far this Sheldon can fall. So if he has to resign as speaker does that give him a right to blatantly transgress 1 of the worst issurim in the Torah???? Second he has a right to vote how he sees fit. Do the majority of citizens in NY state support dirty stuff (I won’t call it marriage as my dictionary defines marriage as a bond between husband and wife etc etc)? Probably not. Plus he can at least abstain from the vote.

  24. Society has a definite obligation not to bestow a seal of legitimacy upon homosexual behaviour. Rabbi Yitzchak Arama, Zt”l, in his commentary on Chumash, points out that the homosexual conduct of Sdom and Amorrah was punished with much more severity than the homosexuality that was rampant in other societies. The reason, he explains, is because in Sdom and Amorrah, homosexuality was given a stamp of approval by the legislature! He writes, “The people of Sdom and Amorrah agreed among themselves that any stranger entering the city would be subjected to homosexual relations.” Removal of the abhorrence and odium associated with a transgression is even more serious a matter than the transgression itself! That is what Mr. Silver helped accomplish! Let us daven that it does not pass the Senate floor.

  25. Azi – just so I understand you clearly… feel that when YOU decide or know something is right this gives you the right to do as you see fit without the need to ask anyone?

    If your answer is yes then I wholeheartedly agree with you, we must be careful when choosing a school for our children. Your hashkofa is wrong and you couldn’t find a Gadol, Rosh Yeshiva or a Rov who would agree with you. We are an Am Echud. We are a Tzibbur. We are not a group of Yechidim free to do what we want. Our religion is based on a Mesora not based on personal feelings.

  26. Charliehall,

    Don’t blame Blaine only. There was an effort at a Constitutionally-sound tax credit program that was backed by the OU, Agudah, and l’havdil, the NY Archdiocese, and Sheldon Silver was the major force behind watering it down to the point where it was almost useless.

  27. dear #36, azi,

    the answer to your question of how to function is to have full emuna in hashem that all will be well

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