Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Honesty and the Jewish Community VIII: Quotable Interjection

(continued as part of this series)

"Anonymous" recently made the following comment on a post:
IMO as long as he is supporting frum families it makes no difference if it is stolen money.
It doesn't appear that there is a logical reply to someone who thinks in such a twisted fashion and truly believes this, but it brought to mind the following observation of a Gemara made recently by R' Yitzchak Adlerstein at Cross-Currents:
The latter version tells us that serious sin is no bar to emunah. Chonyo could try to kill his brother for his aggrandizement, but this would not get in the way of his seeing himself as remaining within the basic faith. People rationalize all sorts of things, including the worst transgressions.

The former version, however, shows us that an upstanding member of the community whose safety is jeopardized by someone close and trusted, and who is then let down by a community that does not protect him, will easily run headlong out of the fold, and take up the embrace of an alien ideology. He has had enough of the one he used to be comfortable in. If he can be treated so savagely by people he trusts, and if the community at large is powerless to save him, he will walk out.
In light of what numerous friends of ours (and we) have gone through the past years, it seemed an apropos pair of thoughts - particularly when combined.

There appears to be a general feeling among a thankfully small but unfortunately not insignificant portion of the Orthodox community which feels that various indiscretions and transgressions, no matter the size or impact, somehow do not take away from one's faith (or even enhance, as seen above). Worse in a fashion, however, is the shrugging of shoulders and sometimes outright support to the transgressors, even at the expense of those upstanding members of the community whose safety were jeopardized by these formerly close and trusted individuals.

Some of the primary thrusts of this series are to demonstrate just how dangerous this attitude is for those people who are jeopardized and how important it is that as a community we stamp out not only corruption, but support for corrupt individuals. It was unexpected to find that there are some who do not grasp the basic concepts of right and wrong, but as it is futile to convince those who are capable of rationalizing anything, this series will not attempt to do so. Those who believe evil is justified will continue to justify such acts to themselves and one another, and the only way to deal with such people is to isolate and expose them - at least, the ones who aren't placed in prison first.

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