Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Philip Zodhiates Deserves Better - A Martyr Against Hedonism

Phil Zodhiates has been a friend and mentor to many conservative non-profits throughout America.  It was he who helped make Col. Allen West's election to Congress in 2010 possible, as was the case with many other conservative candidates. 

Phil saved a child from terrible abuse and gave a ride to the child's mother from Virginia to Buffalo, NY.  For this he has been ordered to report to federal prison tomorrow, with a three year sentence.  May G-d Almighty make a miracle for him and free him. 

The entire story is sickening.  It is also a prime example of how hedonism corrodes society and destroys parental rights and even the definition of what a parent is.  Phil is a true martyr and has shone a light onto the cruelty that follows when society throws away its values and even its common sense.  His suffering has brought down a light from above.  We must each ask ourselves what we can do to help him.  Indeed, organizing for  a presidential commutation seems to be the least that we can do.

Here's what happened:

Ten years ago, a mother in Vermont who had repented and gave up a relationship with a woman in order to seek a righteous life.  She took her little daughter with her.  She is the real (biological) mother.  Because her former girlfriend had formally adopted the girl as a co-parent, this former friend of the mother was given significant time and overnights.  She used this time to force the girl to bathe with her against the girl's will and tried to brainwash her.  The daughter started wetting her bed and threatening suicide. 

The family courts, instead of seeing the case for what it clearly was, a mother fighting to protect her daughter from someone who was not even a relative, saw the mother as a religious person to be held in disdain, and the LGBT former girlfriend of the mother to be an untouchable icon by virtue of her LGBT status.  Yes, bigotry is alive and well and more insane than ever.  The targets are just different.  The judge didn't even allow for an investigation into the matter.  The mother refused to comply with further visits absent significant and monitored changes and the judge announced that he would terminate her custody in favor of the mother's former girlfriend.  The serious allegations made by the daughter and the child's deterioration were of no consequence in the cruel and heartless PC mind of the judge.

The real mother, who had moved with the daughter to Virginia fled to Canada with her daughter and went from there to Central America.  In the process, she received a lift from Virginia to Buffalo, NY from Phil Zodhiates.  Phil did not know the details of the case.  He was asked by a mother to help save her child from profound and repeat abuse and decided to help.  He was not told of court proceedings.  For this act, he is set to report tomorrow to federal prison.  His sentence is 3 years.

Phil is Christian.  I'm Jewish.  I only mention this because he is set to report on the third day of Chanukah, the holiday that was established when the Maccabees rose up to fight against hedonism.  The 3rd day especially is connected with liberation.  I believe that G-d is sending a special sign. 

Chanukah commemorates Chana, who had 7 sons, all of whom chose to die rather than serve idols.  Many thousands fought with the Maccabees, whose main war was against the rampant homosexuality that the Ancient Assyrian Greeks sought to introduce into the Holy Land, heaven forfend.  Phil is a modern day martyr.  We cannot and must not sit back as this happens.  Our job as human beings of any faith is to speak out.  We must ask for a commutation and we must ensure that such a thing never happens again. 

A mother tried to save her daughter from unwanted bathing and berating from a non-relative who believed that previous relations with the mother should upend the definition of parenting.  A judge sought to take a child from her real and only true mother, sacrificing the child's well being and setting her up for clear and articulated abuse, all in the name of PC correctness.  This should be ok by no one.  Everyone must speak out.   

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Thoughts on President George H. W. Bush

A few exceptional things stand out about President George H. W. Bush. First and foremost, the Soviet Union, which was on its last legs after 8 years of Reagan-Bush, finally collapsed under his watch. The Evil Empire falling with Dukakis as its main foe seems improbable at best.

He was an example to society and to the next generation. He was also the first to battle someone who ended up eroding societal values and that too is a great credit to him.

He recognized the danger of Iraq. Saddam Hussein had the fourth most powerful army in the world and was a menace to his neighbors and a murderer of millions.

From a spiritual aspect, the Messianic Era, when "nations... will beat swords into plow shears," happens in stages (there can be a 40 year initerval, or less based on merit, between the initial miracles and the manifestation of the eternal redemption). In 1991, when the US under Pres. Bush's leadership, diverted funds to feed the starving Kurds in the aftermath of the Gulf War, the Lubavitcher Rebbe pointed out how this was the first time ever that nations would feed another nation's hungry with absolutely no benefit to themselves at all. This, he said, was the beginning of this prophecy. This happened under a president who made kindness his mission, President George H. W. Bush.

Saddam's containment was also of profound spiritual benefit. During the last weekend of the war, the Rebbe commented on the rumor that Saddam had fled his palace. He specifically said that it's a rumor (untrue at the time), but one with significance. When the speech was being published the Rebbe edited the draft, writing next to those words, "od chazon lmoed," it will come to pass in the appropriate time, something that seemed improbable, as the war was winding down.

Saddam was no puny enemy, as people made him to be for the purposes of dishonest politics. Aside from the 2 million he killed in the region, he was also cutting 10k and 25k checks to suicide bombers in Israel. His attempted assassination of by then former President GHW Bush showed that he was capable of trying to transfer or spread such havoc to America and GHWB's son, 43, was right for calling the danger what it was.

The Rebbe also explained at the time that the famous quote of our Sages, that Tzur, the principal city of Babylon, was built from the destruction (gold, silver, marble, etc.) of Jerusalem, is applicable to our times in reverse. When evil in the place of Babylon is eradicated, Jerusalem is built up materially and spiritually. Indeed, Saddam was finally captured on Yud Tes Kislev (the holiday of the 19th of Kislev, which focuses on spreading Chassidus, a remarkable part of Torah, which concentrates on developing ultimate fear and love of G-d and understanding that which we can understand of His interactions in the world) in Iraq during the 9th hour of the night (G-d runs the world differently with each hour). Fourteen years later, on Yud Tes Kislev in the 9th hour of the night in Jerusalem, Israel was declared by the leading nation of the world, Pres. Bush and Pres. Trump's America, as the eternal capital of the world. The word "eternal" is itself a clear recognition of G-d Almighty by the world, another part of the prophecy of the complete and eternal redemption. This process started under President Bush 41's watch.

When leadership was removed from the WW2 generation, the world lost competent leadership and elders who youth naturally respected. The world would have been much better off keeping that generation in charge for as long as possible.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Facts Show Rubashkin Case to be a Travesty and Nothing Less Than an Old Time Libel

An innocent man is freed.  Alan Dershowitz and numerous congressmen, senators and former US attorneys general spanning the entire political spectrum all put their names and reputations on the line for him.  Hundreds of thousands of Jews, and many Righteous Gentiles, celebrate around the world.  As usual, that doesn't stop the social justice warriors (what a complete misnomer if ever their were one).  

And if that were all that happen, who would care?  If PETA wants to go around smearing the kindest and greatest we have, that's between them and the bird brains they represent.  But when people who know better start hemming and hawing for fear of offending those who are perpetually offended, it's time to respond with the truth. 

In fact, since none of the allegations of criminality hold up (we'll get to that, painstakingly so), the PETA activists have now taken to spreading an outright lies, such as “mistreatment of workers.”  This is an especially heinous accusation being that Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, was not only never accused of mistreating anyone, but was known for paying medical bills of his worker's children (yes, prosecutors were so shocked by his generosity that they turned over every stone, assuming that he must have been using the children as laborers.  This was met with laughter by all workers, the numerous youth organizations that he sponsored generously regardless of religion or creed, and disproven by the very PETA tapes that were used to go after him when one wild bull out of thousands caught itself on a hook in the slaughterhouse).

Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin was the man to work for.  Several people who he has helped have recently come forward.  A young student who was getting married relayed how Rubashkin gave him thousands for his wedding, a shock as he didn't even know him at the time.  Among those who testified to his great spirit were his workers and none had a bad word to say about him.  In fact, it's the people who are making these claims that did untold damage to his workers, shutting down the plant and ending their employment for months.  This is so ridiculous it's like Josef Goebbels accusing Simon Wiesenthal of being an anti-semite.  Of course, this is above the heads of most who've taken to discussing the case.

Most troubling of all are the cacophony of so-called rabbis and religious social commentators entering the fray.  In fact, this case more than any other is separating the wheat from the chaff.  While many point out that Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin was the victim of nothing less than a modern blood libel (the facts show it and this is the point of the rest of this piece) and while the brilliant and indefatigable Rabbi Yitzchok Schochet has documented how political leader after political leader, including retired attorneys general with little to gain and much to lose, have all put themselves on the line for Rubashkin, others have taken a different course.

There's an extremely unhealthy desire among talking head rabbis to be all things to all people. Rather than tell people the Torah truth, that modern society and philosophy has little to offer in any area (harsh prisons that ruin lives, fomenting of strife within families and hedonism that makes people unproductive and prevents them from succeeding on any level), they seek to “understand all sides of an issue” and pay homage to same.  They generally know nothing of Torah, or at least little of its supremacy over modern Western pop-psychology.  That doesn't stop them from prognosticating on all matters of societal importance. 

They've certainly shown their true colors in the Rubashkin case.  Conrad Black is a man who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth, and as a results has made more enemies than even Rubashkin did for dedicating his business to making kosher meat affordable.  Having sat on numerous boards (and having paid a price and faced his own high-tech lynching for having raised their ire), he spares no words in calling what the prosecution did in this case demented.  Yet these “learned writers/thinkers” and self-proclaimed “rabbis” have taken a different line.

Historian par excellence Conrad Black, Attorneys General from Edwin Meese III to Ramsey Clark (the irony of which likely goes right over the heads of these “learned rabbis in their eyes only”), numerous members of Congress and no less a legal professor than Alan Dershowitz have gone to bat for Sholom Rubashkin with nothing to gain for having done so.  Supposedly learned rabbi columnists and “noted thinkers” have taken another route.  While freely admitting that they know nothing of the applicable laws, in their ever increasing need to be adored by all and garner influence with the social justice warriors among us, they write that if the social justice network claim that Rubashkin did a crime, then he must have and they accept it, but hey, he is a great man of faith and that's what's worth celebrating.   

Well great scribbling sages of our times, “you're great men of faith too, despite the fact that you shot Abe Lincoln, are secret Columbian drug lords and are responsible for the Rwandan genocide.”  Don't like the characterization pinned on you?  Then don't do it to Rubashkin and give a pass to a modern day blood libel spurred on by PETA and the forerunners of Antifa in the process.   

Still, we must refute the allegations head on, even painstakingly so.  So let's go over the facts:

PETA – No Longer Just for Holding Falafel

Let's start at the very beginning of this sordid, anti-semitic, libel of a case.  To do any less is to fail to recognize a modern day Beilis Trial.  The talking heads will think I'm exaggerating.  They would have given Russia a pass back then too.  If “Never Again” means anything, then we must at least look at the fact. 

PETA, probably illegally so (all is fair when it comes to saving insomniac squid, oysters with heartburn and apparently now, raging bulls), decided to tape hours of footage of Rubashkin's plant.  Sadly for them, they found no illegalities. 

The tapes are actually the best proof that no laws were broken, not even the flimsiest of local ordinances.  If they could have caught any infraction in the upkeep or housing of the animals, PETA would have gone to every governmental agency in a 500 mile radius.  They did not because they could not.  Yet when it comes to going after the murderers of Fluffy the Chicken, one cannot let facts stand in the way of pursuing “justice.”

So all laws and ordinances were followed, which means that the animals wBut what counts is PR, or in their case PS – publicity stunts.  And so when one bull out of thousands fell upon a hook meant to draw the blood out of the meat immediately after slaughter (a very beneficial process found almost exclusively in kosher, but obviously only of benefit to humans), the world had to be alerted.  That wild animals happen to sometimes jump up and fall was of no consequence.  That reams of humanitarian laws were followed was also of no consequence.  PETA had video of (one) bull (in ten thousand) falling momentarily on a hook and someone's got to hang. 

Just Who Are PETA

Well, they're a great and caring organization that in just one recent incident had to pay out almost $50,000 to a family for stealing and “euthanizing” their dog.  And here's what even the Washington Post, hardly a conservative mouthpiece, has to say about them:

But that's not all.  They're also the kindred spirits behind the mocking of those who perished in the Holocaust, something that they find comparable to the slaughter of chickens before Yom Kippur.  Certain special members of theirs have been known to join in chants in support of Jews in ovens.  Fortunately for them, they've gained a level of support among the “reasonable” and “even-handed” talking heads in Crown Heights.  They're the same vicious and noxious organization that put pressure on the court, resulting in Rubashkin's initial 27 year sentence.  May the Almighty save all from their hands.  

Here's an op-ed by The Yeshiva World, a website that more often than not takes a moderately socially conservative line.  This piece is worth reading, although other pieces on their site are very favorable to the left -  Enough said.

When All Else Fails, Turn to Immigration Enforcement

I'd imagine that PETA would lose much of its support if it was found to be working with immigration officials and encouraging the rounding up of Mexican farm workers.   Well, since they did just that and bragged about it, please send a copy of this to their donors.

I'm not advocating for the hiring of those who are not allowed to work here.  I will say that the every meat processing plant and slaughter house in the country does this in plenty.  I will also point out that in the case of the Agriproccessors employees, none had a criminal past and most were family people.

Let's also remember that Rubashkin did not do any of the hiring.  Let's also recognize that all of them submitted paperwork to the HR director.  Rubashkin was also charged and acquitted of any involvement.I'm not saying that this is right.  I am saying that there isn't a plant that hasn't done this, Rubashkin's involvement is a guess at best and when only one in the country is targeted by PETA, something isn't right.

When Even That Fails, Yell “Bank Fraud”

If someone accidentally overspends on their debit card, that can be considered bank fraud.  Likewise, if someone overdraws their account.  Accidentally bouncing a  check is even worse.All of these can technically be considered crimes.  Calling someone who did this a criminal is another matter entirely.

Rubashkin didn't bounce a check, so what did happen?  Why was anyone neutral who knew anything about the case so vociferous in his defense?

The most serious of the “crimes” was that his company misused the revolving line of credit.  The line of credit was supposed to be accessed based on a customer having received the purchased goods.  Rubashkin's company, Agriprocessors would access the line of credit once the purchaser had placed the order, but before it was delivered.

A few crucial points here:

- The line of credit was arranged, managed, accessed and paid off by the CFO, not Rubashkin who had nothing to do with the handling or management of company finances.  This was presented in court and the answer of the other side was something to the effect of “it's his company, so he's responsible anyway."

- Even the CFO was likely unaware of the fine print, that this line must be accessed “upon receipt” and not “upon order” of goods.

The bank lent the funds based on purchase orders, not delivery slips.  This pretty much proves the point above.

The line was maintained in good stead and paid off regularly until the plant was closed down by immigration officials (based on allegations that Rubashkin was formally acquitted of). 

There's also an over 95 year old Packers and Stockyards Act.  One of its provisions is that livestock cannot be sold on credit.  One runs afoul of said provision if purchasing a bull on Mon. and paying for it with a check the next day.

No one has ever been criminally prosecuted under this act other than Sholom Rubashkin.  Companies have been fined for running afoul of other parts of it, but not usually this part, but no one was prosecuted.  Sholom Rubashkin was given years in prison for paying for a bull 11 days after he received it. 

Agriproccessors needed to be and was mindful of a slew of laws and regulations.  That's why PETA could get them on nothing, even after hours upon hours of secret and probably illegal tape.  They were not mindful or knowledgeable of a 1921 act that no one had ever been prosecuted under. 

Then there's the allegation that the value of the plant was inflated.  If you based it on 2005 and 2006 sales and not on 2008 (when it was shut down, although this year was used in the argument, being that it predates the actual “inflation” charge), there was no overvaluation.  If you base it on the market share, pricing and demands for glatt kosher (a higher level of kosher, based on their being no holes at all in the animal's lungs) meat, there was no overvaluation,  Rubashkin did indeed lower the prices of the entire glatt kosher meat market and that public service was his main drive in business, but it resulted in him having a huge share of the market. 

Many consumers specifically demanded Rubashkin meat because of its extra reliability as far as kosher laws were concerned.  Restaurants purchased from him because of this customer demand and because of his commitment to comparatively low prices.  At one point, the retail market was his.  This changed with the PETA onslaught. 

The judge in the case also committed numerous improper acts.  She was the judge who signed off on the immigration warrants, a fact that she failed to disclose to the defense.  This itself rendered her unfit to oversee the criminal trial. 

This was not the worst of it.  Her husband owned stock in the private prisons that were used in the raid on Rubashkin's plant.   In fact, he purchased additional stock in the private prison company just 5 days before the immigration raid.  And as for the immigration raid that Linda Reade signed off on, well, Congressowoman Zoe Lofgren termed it “a cattle auction, not a criminal prosecution.”   

This isn't the worst of it either.  Linda Reade's husband was also a partner at the Bradshaw Fowler law firm that worked extensively on the sale of Rubashkin's plant.  In short, the husband of the judge who sentenced Rubashkin to more than the prosecution asked for, profited mightily from the extraordinary raid that his wife had ordered on Rubashkin's plant, from the stock he purchased 5 days before and from the forced sale of Rubashkin's plant, due to his wife, the “presiding judge's” actions. 

Bottom line:  To say that Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin knowingly committed a crime in this case is nothing more than a disgusting act of libel.  The facts alone speak for themselves in disproving it.  As such should have been clear just be seeing the list of people who put themselves and their reputations on the line for him.
To Reb Sholom Mordechai and family and all who care:

I can only imagine the pain of, after having being released, having had senators, congressmen, former attorneys general all putting themselves on the line for you, including many who are retired from political life and need no favors, and then seeing the wanton defamation from people who have no knowledge of the case, spewing the most ridiculous spins and making it up as they go.  Bear in the mind that the Baal Shem Tov, the Alter Rebbe and others were all false branded criminals or worse by those who had lost their reason. 

Also realize that 500 times more people feel and know that you were wronged and that you are right.  Pray that those who err so publicly and who would jump to destroy anyone who's not a fellow traveler in their circus caravan see the light.  But recognize in the meantime that anyone with a head or a heart or who just has decent intuition can tell light from darkness, good from bad and smut peddling from innocence. 

If you can judge a man by his enemies, then you Sir, so defamed by PETA, the Open-Orthodox social justice warriors, the ham eaters at “Hekhsher Tzedek,” and every other bag of mixed nuts, are a source of light beyond any imagination.  Of course, we all knew this.  Sometimes it just takes an opponent to prove it.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Yes, Sholom Rubashkin is Factually Innocent

Yes Sholom Rubashkin Is FACTUALLY Innocent

For my dear friends who have embraced darkness at a time of great joy, understand that your scary swan song is reminiscent of one who greets the news that a 95 year old has survived a quadruple heart attack (may Hashem protect all) with a loud “he's not worth celebrating. I remember him when he was six months old and he once spat up on his grandmother.” The only difference here is that the only vomit in this case are the lies and negativity themselves.

Before jumping head first into the mud (we will, for those who can't wait), let's first and foremost deal with who Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin is. Anyone who knows him will tell you that he never legitimately turned away anyone who needed anything. Of his income, he did not give 10%. He did not give 20%. He gave far more and everyone who came to him was well received. May Hashem bless him to give and nurture the world.

Even his business was centered around helping people. He and his father single-handedly lowered the price of kosher (Biblically mandated) meat throughout North America. His whole live revolved and revolves around helping people. He is also a deeply spiritual man. On top of this, he has given countless donations and sponsorships to youth teams, assistance centers, etc. regardless of religion, race or creed. This is all fact and has been attested to by said organizations.

“Oh, but he committed a crime.” No, not to any sane person who actually looks at the facts, HE DIDN'T.

He did not do anything untoward with regard to banking – which we'll get to. He did not bring in illegals, as two levels of prosecution both lost in this regard, one having to withdraw and the other resulting in acquittal at trial. His HR staff didn't double/triple vet them, but the same can be said for any slaughter house (the only difference is that Rubashkin treated these stable hands far better than any of his competitors, even giving them money to pay their medical bills and other serious needs). And he was not even cruel to charging bulls, which was the opening salvo in the public relations war against him.

He did sell Biblically sanctioned meat at a low price. But that was only a crime in the now defunct USSR – and to the great beacons of a light at PETA. A close look at the facts shows that that's about all he did, aside from his charitable work.

But don't just take my word for it. Let's start from the beginning:

No one disputes that his slaughter house was targeted only after AND AS A RESULT of PETA's persistent harassment campaign. For those who don't know who PETA is, while their no longer associated founder seems like a decent person, they are now the group that holds memorials for the 6 Million Chickens “murdered” before Yom Kippur, complete with Holocaust-mocking/”wanting another one” (ch”v) undertones. Some of their other acts of glorious wonder include encouraging parents to give their kids beer instead of milk (because beer isn't “stolen from cows without permission”) and, more recently, kidnapping dogs from people's porches and euthanizing them well before the mandatory wait time for owners to reclaim them.

In short, they'd be up for the Humanitarian of the Year if they didn't so disdain humankind. So let's make them happy and give them the Braying Mule of the Year Award instead.

These PETAites, complete with quite contagious PETAitis, placed hidden cameras in Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin's barns. And lo and behold, wild animals acted like wild animals. One cow, out of thousands, even jumped up and caught its neck on a hook, or something like that.

So they raised a cry of outrage to everyone who didn't stop and think for a second. Never mind that weekly government visits showed that all storing conditions were met, that the animals needed to be kept in good shape in order to produce marketable meat and that independent ritual slaughterers who could have worked anywhere were there on a daily basis and are generally loathe to work under dire circumstances. No, no, one cow jumped up and had an accident and everyone from the CEO on down is now Heinrich Himmler with peiyos.

Now, Rubashkin did slaughter a lot of cows – and he ate them too! So if we go with PETA's motto that “Chickens Are People As Well,” then Sholom Rubashkin is a mass murderer and a cannibal, as are 95% of Americans.

Even then, one has to wonder:
a) why not go after the makers of Barbecue Sauce, the real enablers in this situation, instead and
b) doesn't all this take away from effecting real positive change, like finally giving disenfranchised wild wombats the right to vote?


Now the genocidal murder of raging bulls is not an official crime. Nor is the general safe herding of animals. In fact, the biggest proof that the living conditions of Rubashkin's animals were above board is that if any laws were actually broken, even local ordinances, the kind folks at PETA would have been on it like a piranha let loose in PetSmart. They weren't because there was nothing there.

So what was PETA to do when their hours, upon, hours, upon hours – enough to fill a whole mental ward and its bedpans – of footage ended up producing diddly squat on toast? Well, let's look for other crimes. And as it happens, those valiant saviors of “chickenkind” didn't care much for migrant working Mexican people.

Now Rubashkin's meat packing plant did have workers who were not allowed to work in the country. He did not hire them. His HR actually did vet them and they provided bogus socials, and in many cases bogus ID. He did not bring them into the country. He did not seek them out. He also factually had no way of knowing that they were illegal.

So his HR team didn't vet all employees with extra care and scrutiny. I'm not going to say that's right. I am going to say that:

a) this is the case with almost every single meat packing plant in the nation, none of which were raided by ICE with the owners arrested
b) these were people who were already here and would have likely turned to robbery had no menial jobs been available
c) it may not be right, but you don't shut down a plant that legitimately employs hundreds while doing nothing to any of its competitors
d) this does not warrant cooking up a charge with which to give the owner a 27 year sentence, may no one know of such things
e) no one disputes that the plant was shut down after being targeted by PETA and made fodder of in the press, mostly over the cow that jumped up onto (or fell back on, or danced musical chairs around - whatever) a hook in the barn

Moreover, neither he nor his then 80 plus year old father, who was dragged into court and tried over this as well, were directly involved (or even indirectly involved) in hiring. This also seems to be the one and only issue that no one involved quite cared about, other than to use as an excuse to shut down the plant, close Rubashkin's business and drive up the price of kosher meat.

His plant raided and him charged with flimsy immigration violations in spite of the above, the now temporarily defunct plant could no longer repay its loans. And looking at the fine print that no one looks at on a revolving line of credit is how they finally stuck it to him.

This becomes more complicated. This is also why Sholom Rubashkin went to trial on the merits, yet the accusation of “white collar” crime has poisoned many a jury, and has caused them to convict based on the principle of “there must be something here.” To understand what happened here one has to understand the nature of such a charge and such a dog fight.

If someone takes out a home mortgage and is specifically prohibited from transferring the property to a company, this can be “bank fraud.”

If someone writes a check or uses their debt card in such a way that causes an account to be overdrawn, the case can be made that one has engaged in “bank fraud.”

In none of these scenarios is the person seen to be the living, breathing, reincarnation of Al Capone. In none of these scenarios should the person be prosecuted or did the person have intent to commit a crime. And if such a person has received a 27 year sentence, then they are the victim of abject cruelty beyond belief on the part of the judge.

The True Judge has reasons and “All of His Ways are Righteous” and much has been written of the suffering of the righteous. It is for this reason that Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin has so merited to awaken the collective Jewish heart and to awaken goodness and kindness among the leaders of the nation. It does not for one second excuse the cruel, callous and contemptuous acts of Linda Reade, the true criminal in this case.

Rubashkin's CFO had opened a revolving line of credit. It was used whenever an order was placed. It was maintained in good stead for years. But officially it was to be used only after an order had been delivered, not once it had been placed. And therein lies the “bank fraud.” A ridiculous technicality that the bank did not care about and that the credit holder would not pay attention to.

Not that it matters, due to the sheer ridiculousness of the case, but Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin himself had nothing to do with the bank loan, its draws, the receivables or anything of that nature. He was charged and sentenced because his financial manager arranged and utilized the loan, in a way that the bank had no problem with and in a way that few would think twice about. If not for the plant closing, the revolving line of credit would naturally have been maintained in an up to date manner unto this day, just as it was for years.

It gets worse.

Rubashkin was sentenced to much extra time due to the Packers and Stockyards Act. This Depression Era law stipulates that one may not purchase livestock on credit. In other words, one may not buy and receive a cow on Wednesday and pay for it on Thursday. Rubashkin's company often did this. While this ordinance has been used (usually maliciously) to shut down and fine companies, no one other than Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin has been prosecuted and sentenced for it. Certainly it doesn't sound like something worthy of prosecution.

In short, all creditors were paid except for the revolving line of credit, which was also paid off reliably for years – until the company was singled out and shut down by immigration enforcement on charges that were only brought against it and not against 30 companies that did worse.

It gets worse still.

Linda Reade's husband profited mightily from the forced sale of Rubashkin's company, Agriproccessors. She was also found to be the judge who signed off on the immigration raid against the plant, something she never disclosed when presiding over the trial over the “financial crimes” (using the line of credit after an order was placed instead of when the goods were received one or two days later – there were no other “financial crimes”). This is the same judge who held up appeal after appeal totaling a span of years, all out of pure spite. And is she usually a tough sentencer? No, she recently sentenced a terrorist collaborator to 5 years, less than a fifth of Rubashkin. The words “may the name of the wicked rot” apply to her, and may she meet the True Judge speedily in our days, who alone decrees – and may He do so.

When the USSR of old rounded up shochtim, ritual Biblical slaughters, took them into a forest and shot them in the middle of the night (I'm not exaggerating and have met many of their descendants, may they live long), people decried their actions. The KGB were fools. They should have given them a bank loan and found a contractual violation on Page 57B, Subsection F, Paragraph 2. That would have taught them.

The Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin case is nothing more and nothing less than a case in which a religious person selling religiously mandated meat was targeted, hounded and made fodder of by PETA and their friends in the media. Yes, the same PETA that ridicules the Holocaust every year, seeing it as a joke with which to deride the descendants of its survivors on the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year.

Let's not help them. Let's actually do what any decent person would do. There's a reason why 6 former US Attorneys General, spanning the entire ideological spectrum of the nation, saw fit to stand up for Sholom Rubashkin.

In 1952-53, the Soviet Union accused Jewish doctors of trying to kill Stalin. This “Doctor's Plot” was about to be used as a pretext to send Jews throughout Russia to Bessearabia, on what would have been a trail of suffering. The plot was only abandoned after Stalin died on the Jewish holiday of Purim 1953. Mapam, a communist party in Israel, wholeheartedly announced its support for the Kremlim during that terrible time. “If the Soviet Union says so, it must be true.” The only difference between PETA and the Soviets is that one was a country and the other are wannabee lunatics. In over 60 years, we should have learned better than to take either at face value.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Defeating Ayatollahs With Laughter?

In 1981, Israel launched Operation Opera and directly saved millions of Israeli and Middle Eastern lives, while also making conditions far safer for Americans and for the western world. The task was clear and simple. Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak Nuclear Reactor and prevented Saddam Hussein from wreaking havoc in the Middle East.
In 2006, those who opposed then President Bush yelled that he should have gone to war against Iran instead of Iraq. It is true that these chorus cries had little to do with military strategy and everything to do with politically inspired baseless hatred, but the idea brought forth in liberal circles was that Saddam was harmless and that President Bush had averted his eye from the real danger, that being Iran.
(This was completely wrongheaded. The primary danger that Saddam posed, after Israel knocked out his nuclear plant - quite possibly with the help of one Jonathan Pollard and the intel he provided - was always about taking dangerous pot shots that could have knocked out thousands. He was a lunatic who had tried to assassinate a former US President, with complete disregard to the consequences for himself and for his country. He was already sponsoring suicide bombings in other parts of the world and American prowess did not serve to deter him. Iran, by contrast, would do nothing until it could do so. This was before it too became thirsty for immediate war.) See written at the time.
They were wrong about Iran then. Diplomacy was being tried. It failed. Therefore, what they said then is 100% correct now.
Today, on the one hand we have the usual wishful thinkers. Wish all you want, but when you're entrusted with the task of securing the lives of millions of people, your wishful thinking becomes dangerous, callous, babyish and shameful.
If you are a member of any body whose decisions affect the lives of millions, such as a member of US Congress, the Knesset or any other such body, and instead of performing your potentially lifesaving task, you instead choose to engage in hippie-like absentminded neglect, then for the sake of the world please resign your seat. Play your role. Open up a psychic hotline instead.
Then we have the other side. The "mature and responsible side." The side made up of,.... apparently made up of people who've been smoking that which is not quite legal in most jurisdictions.
And they propose a "resolution." Now, of course a resolution is warranted. Of course a deal that gives Iran 24 days minimal notice prior to inspections and allows Iran to "inspect" itself is ridiculous and must be rejected. But the answer does not lie in passing a resolution and then washing one's hands of a situation that does not go away by itself.
Unfortunately, saying "bad bad bad Ayatollah" won't cut it, unless your strategy is for said Ayatollah to die of laughter . And it's high time that people in decision making positions to realize their task, do their job and stop pretending that they're characters on Sesame Street.
The Only Strategy
The only conceivable, responsible and adult strategy is the one that will totally avert war. Yes, the hippies should love it. The Iranian people would love it in the long run. And the western world has nothing to lose. It would save countless lives and avert further crises.
But it ain't politikally korect. It gonna be looked at funnie...
Yet it is the only hope and the only reasonable solution.
That is to simply, without hurting or targeting civilians, bomb and take out Iran's nuclear sites.
Simple, not painless, but nothing compared to all out war. It's responsible, reasoned and would serve to protect lives on an unimaginable scale.
In any reasonable period throughout history, this would long ago have been done. During the Age of Buffoonery, neither side can bring it to their lips.
"אמר רבי יהושע בן לוי: כל שהוא רחמן על אכזרים לסוף נעשה אכזר על רחמנים"
(ילקוט שמעוני, טו:קכא).
It says in Yalkut Shimoni (15), "Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi says, anyone who is merciful upon cruel people will in the end be made cruel toward merciful people." This has proven itself throughout history.
The good news is that it also says:
"שומר פתאים ה'"
(תהלים קטז)
"G-D protects fools" (Psalms 116).
This equation, however, is not supposed to factor into military or national defense planning.
It says that in the time directly before G-D Almighty perfects the world through the advent of the Messianic Era, after Hashem has given us ample time, throughout all generations, to partner in perfecting the world, and completes the job (as is promised), that the footsteps of this great and eternal era will be heralded by birth pangs that cannot be believed. Our Sages describe the prelude to this era at the end of the Talmudic Tractate of Sotah.
According to all of these signs, we are well on the way and the Redemption, a central tenant in Judaism (and in most religions), without which the purpose of the world's creation cannot make sense, is imminent. For the first time ever, all Torah leaders seem to agree on this point today.
It also says that during the final era of darkness we can rely on Our Father in Heaven and that every little bit of good, of connecting with G-D Almighty and of doing something to partner with G-D in making a better world brings salvation to the world in its entirety.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Pre-Nup Is Not the Answer, Saving Marriage Is

By Yomin Postelnik

The sum total of all of the recent discussions about gittin from a halachic and moral standpoint is that while everyone should strive to alleviate suffering and seek to resolve marriage disputes so that both can move on peacefully, we must first do everything possible to save the marriage.

Gittin are a hard process halachically, largely in order to minimize their number.  Civil jurisdictions that have a one year waiting period before divorce (a concept that originates with Maimonides), such as Canada, have seen 60% of petitions withdrawn.

Such precautions are not only clear Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 119), they are also fundamental to Judaism.  Saving a marriage was the key mission of Aharon HaKohen and it is the responsibility of all to try to save as many marriages as possible.  The continuation of the Jewish people depends on it.  The affects of divorce on children (exponentially higher rates of truancy, substance abuse, delinquency, suicide and other factors, G-d forbid), make saving a marriage akin to saving a life.

Marriage is not seen merely as a relationship.  It is both the building block of the family and of raising children.  It is a responsibility far more than it is a matter of love, although that aspect is also important.  It must be protected, even in spirit, and Shulchan Aruch mandates that people help save and repair a stumbling one and to look for ways to do so, first and foremost.  By contrast, anything that threatens its spirit is harmful.

There are other important considerations as well, such as parental alienation and from a halachic standpoint, the exact wording of a Beis Din’s advice, since what they can and cannot say to a divorcing couple have intricate laws.  If a mistake is made, the divorce can be invalid, just as one wrong word in the get may make it equally null and void.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s words on precisely this subject are noteworthy. In Tammuz 5727 (summer 1967), the Rebbe wrote a letter in favor of sane, rational solutions within halacha (the framework of Jewish religious law) favoring saving agunos (the definition of “aguna” then was clear and is misunderstood today, as will be explored below).  Going one step further in Likutei Sichos Vol. 4, the Rebbe brings the Rambam, the Chelkas Mechokeik and others about not divorcing one's first wife quickly, even in the worst of scenarios. Mainly, the Rebbe strongly cautioned against crossing the line of changing halacha.  This is not only because interference in such cases would be wrong (against Hashem’s will) and therefore harmful, as we see clearly today but because going too far in this matter tears at the fabric of the Jewish family.

Of course, as a practical matter, one should not stay in a prolonged standstill, but defined steps to prevent divorce are an obligation.  Also, a non-obligatory divorce can only be suggested. Ordering one or attaching a monetary fine to it can invalidate it (to the same extent as a textual mistake in the document renders it void).

The Pre-Nup

Aside from the spiritual problem of mentioning a divorce document prior to marriage, which is a concern and serves to dampen the importance and strength of the commitment, the RCA/Tzohar pre-nup has profound halachic and even potential legal problems.

The post-nup is even more problematic and if pressured socially, falls into the category outlined in Targum Yerushalmi (mistakenly called Targum Yonason), Deutoronomy 24:6 of one who interferes in a marriage and therefore loses their portion in the World to Come, G-d forbid.  Fomenting worry and talk of divorce are extremely harmful.

The main problems with the pre-nup are:

a) There is no provision for counseling or attempts at reconciliation.  Almost all civil jurisdiction have such provisions, which can be requested by either party.  Torah marriage is more serious and greater commitment than secular marriage, not a lesser one.  With today’s plague of divorces, anyone wanting to find solutions to Torah family problems would not exclude such a provision.

b) Far more serious, the usurpation of a local Bais Din and its replacement with the Beth Din of America or of Tzohar has the ability to render the get produced from such an agreement invalid.

A local Bais Din is best positioned to advise on marriage matters.  A get is specifically supposed to be handled locally for this reason.  But that is only part of the problem in designating the YU/RCA’s Beth Din of America, an organization whose attempted usurpation of local Batei Din has already been the subject of numerous legal complaints.

Stating that one is obligated to give a get when doing so is merely advisable, is not only far less effective than the persuasive language that is recommended when a marriage cannot be saved, but makes the get a “get mutah” (given based on incorrect halachic information, and therefore invalid).  The Beth Din of America has a history of running roughshod over these clearly stated halachic laws, the result being “gittin” that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.  This is obviously not my own opinion, but the written opinion of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Rabbi Sariel Rosenberg, Rabbi Yechezkel Pales and others.

The RCA has also engaged in mass impropriety, some of it documented by the American Beth Din project.  One of the leaders of the “Beth Din” has two open seruvim against him from a Monsey Bais Din.  Having represented someone in a momenus (monetary) case in 2008 in front of that body, I have evidence of impropriety with regard to financial decisions as well, and although the “dayan” in that case was the now discredited Michael Broyde (founder of the Beth Din of America), the litigant’s rights were also usurped by Mordechai Willig, their senior “dayan” whose actions in several other cases were also found to be beyond the pale.  Documentation is available upon request.  Barry Freundel was also a high ranking member of this body.

In short, the body is recognized as an embarrassing Modern Orthodox farce among the entire yeshiva world.  From a purely legal standpoint, it should take a good lawyer all of two seconds of pouring through the American Beth Din Project’s research to invalidate any prenup listing the Beth Din of America, based on fraud and gross misrepresentation.

Simply substituting another, more reputable Beis Din, makes the prenup somewhat less halachically problematic and also less open to legal challenge based on fraudulent misrepresentation.

It should also be noted that David Stav of Tzohar ran for Chief Rabbi of the Rabbanut with a promise to force local rabbonim to bend, not to Hashem's will, but to his own. Jewish history has seen that those who have sought to counter established halacha have failed, yet have often caused much destruction before doing so. There can be nothing more un-Jewish than promoting a “pre-nup” that takes no steps to save the marriage and that opens the door for instant divorces in a way that even most secular societies recognize is wrong, a point that researcher Menachem Lowy has painstakingly pointed out in this regard.

  1. The halachic logic behind the prenup is faulty.

Reb Moshe Feinstein ruled that one may coerce a get if all that the person wants is ill-gotten money, because such coercion does not seek to force a get but to cause him to forego the money (this does not apply to a case in which he is asking for a settlement al pi din).  However, all agree that money may not be exacted as a punitive measure if the husband does not want to divorce, except in those rare cases (extreme violence, etc.) outlined in Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 154. The sum of $150 a day mandated upkeep for the wife is only warranted in those defined and limited cases.  In most cases, the fine renders the get “meusa” (forced and therefore invalid).

Rav Chaim Kanievsky has already written that one who gives a get based on such agreements must give a second get.  To have a “solution” that will cause questionable divorces isn’t proper.  A person who is divorced with a prenup will not find that get accepted by the Yeshiva world and any kids from a second union would, G-d forbid, be viewed with suspicion.  You can argue as to the merits of this, but since Rav Kanievsky’s ruling, along with others, it is a fact that this would happen (and is pretty clear from Shulchan Aruch, with solid reasoning).  This is especially not worth doing if when another solution exists, such as the detailed involvement of local rabbonim.

Get refusal in any meaningful sense is rare.  The recent use of the term placed on anyone who refuses to give a get without a set number of counseling sessions or until the settlement of all marital issues (without which any get, which must be a “sefer krisus,” is highly questionable to begin with) is not only ridiculous, but immoral.

Marriage is serious and divorce is a lifetime of pain with devastating consequences to children.  The Torah, in its wisdom, allows both sides the ability to try to prevent this, within reason.  The prenup and destructive YU theology disagree, but this is Hashem’s Wisdom, not to be usurped by self-styled leaders who cannot answer basic questions of morality.

A Possible Solution

One “bedieved” (not preferred, but possibly halachically acceptable) solution might be to have an agreement that upon separation, may Hashem save everyone from such things, both parties agree to go to a proper Beis Din with jurisdiction in their area for all matters, to handle the entire divorce process.  This would also avoid costly lawyers who seek to promote strife for their own gain. 

A number of the standstills in gittin stem from insane “orders of protection,” not taken out for any safety reasons, but as a one-up on custody or assets.  This is a violation of Torah law and divorce proceedings must take place in a Bais Din.   The consequences of not doing so are outlined in Choshen Mishpat 26.  This is not only the Torah right of each litigant, but also saves each much heartache and money in the process, not to mention how it facilitates dialogue and resolution, absent cases of real danger. (This does not negate protection in cases of clear and verifiable danger, but any divorce lawyer will tell you that such methods are rarely used for that legitimate purpose.)

As touched on above, the definition of aguna is also important.  While it was the obligation to find any leniency to permit a war widow or someone whose husband had disappeared and to pressure a husband who would not care for the wife in extreme ways, it is also an obligation to seek to repair even other marriage, as outlined clearly in Even HaEzer 77 and 119.  Doing so also facilitates a get even if all else fails by giving the rov or community leader who properly and tirelessly tried to save the marriage as is mandated, great influence with both parties, and would end the standstill in almost all cases. More importantly, it will lead to thousands of marriages being repaired and reinforced, which is absolutely key to a continued strong and vibrant Jewish people.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Torah Position Regarding the Case of Meir Kin and the Travesty Wrought by ORA

By Yomin Postelnik
As religious Jews, we believe that Torah, the word of Hashem, contains the ultimate morality.  Political fads come and go, and most of them are seen in the end to be harmful. 

The case of Meir Kin is one such example.  He followed Torah law and, just as importantly, was willing to settle fairly, at one time offering a choice of four Rabbinical Courts in which to present his divorce case.  Those who trashed him did not follow Torah and, just as importantly, sought to wreak havoc for their own monetary and political gain - mostly at the expense of the woman who they feigned caring for. 
As Torah Jews, we do not have the right to trash people over disagreements, especially if they are following Torah law. As sensible people, we do not trash people in middle of divorces. Indeed, the actions of the activists have not only hurt Meir and his child, but have also caused a standstill that hurts the woman who the activists supposedly sought to help.
Get ORA (a criminal organization that self-styles itself the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot) is known as a group that has wreaked havoc in almost every divorce case that it has touched, often taking easy to resolve cases and making them impossible to resolve, all the while collecting money on behalf of their "work."  In other cases, they've gotten involved in custody battles, in clear violation of Jewish law.  Most despicably, they often seek to procure divorces in cases in which the husband seeks to save the marriage and insists on counseling or on an evaluation for postpartum anxiety, even when medical or therapeutic experts have called for same. 
Get ORA has also been involved in several violent acts and has been the subject of at least two documented police reports.  Their website boasts of having caused false arrests.  They work in tandem with an activist group masquerading as a Rabbinical Court that calls themselves the "Beth Din of America." Their leader, Hershel Schachter of Yeshiva University (a place where the open immorality of university campuses is all but encouraged and never stopped, yet which seeks to disguise itself as a religious institution), has encouraged despicable acts of violence and has been recorded doing so. He cares as much for Torah law as did Saddam Hussein in his time. And he cares almost as much for the wellbeing of the women whom he purportedly seeks to help.
In the Kin case, Meir Kin had offered 4 Rabbinical Courts that were acceptable at the getgo. All were refused as his wife received advice from GetORA and self serving rabbis from the Rabbinical Council of California.  This Council's members were excommunicated by a Monsey Rabbinical Court for their actions and then proceeded to issue a retaliatory "contempt" ruling from an ad hoc court that never before existed.  At no time did they have any jurisdiction in the case.  Obviously, such actions, and the trumpeting of such actions by violent activist groups like ORA, are shameful and represent a threat to Judaism. 
What's even more shameful is the human aspect.  These self-aggrandizers claim to be helping his wife.  They're doing no such thing.  Every divorce mediator knows to settle things down before there can be any negotiation.  Any divorce lawyer who cares for his or her client's long-term interests does the same thing.  Not so Get ORA.  Instead of working with any one of the four highly respected rabbinical courts that Meir Kin had agreed to, they wrought havoc in the case and made sure that it could not be resolved for years, all the while portraying themselves as great warriors who needed money to further harm the woman who they purportedly wished to save. 

Divorce cases are easy to resolve when people who care about both parties seek to calm things down.  Of course, people who truly care about both parties usually try to save the marriage, as did all sages and rabbis throughout all times.  Our tradition from Aharon HaKohen (Moses' brother Aaron) on, and replete throughout the Talmud, stresses the primary importance of saving marriages over all.  Sure, sages sought to help "agunos," women whose husbands were lost, or who had abandoned them.  Using this term in the full and traditional sense to describe someone who's lashing out at her husband and who refuses to adjudicate in a proper rabbinical court, or who refuses counseling sessions (which even non-Jewish courts often order absent a settlement agreement), is to rewrite the Torah.  We can't do that. 
Along those lines, when a Jew wishes to know what Hashem's ultimate morality dictates, he or she consults halacha.  Jewish law treats both parties fairly and does not sacrifice either of their rights.  The Shulchan Aruch, in Even HaEzer Section 154 outlines the cases in which some pressure may be applied by a religious court in a divorce.  Ninety five percent of cases in which activist rabbis, who openly admit that they care little for what the Shulchan Aruch says on the matter, don't fall into this category.  This isn't some side point in Jewish law.  The same Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 134 and 77) invalidate gittin (bills of divorce) that do not fall under the categories outlined in section 154.
Those who have found a new "morality" for themselves by falsely pitting men against women, attempting to deny fathers and mothers the rights to seek custody, encouraging divorce in all cases while preventing counseling, advising people to "do the get" first and then work on it later as a way of "ensuring" rights (and rendering marriage meaningless in the process, similar to how the baby killing crowd encourage abortion as some kind of perverse "right," with not totally unsimilar consequences for many of the children involved), have indeed supplanted Judaism's inherent goodness with their own wreckage.  But make no mistake, there's nothing Jewish about it.
And they care for no one.  Just ask Lonna Kin.  A decent person could have sat down with both parties.  Even people who are only interested in her side should have known better than to do everything in the world to make resolution for both impossible, all the while masquerading as her concerned friends who only aggravated the situation while collecting money for their continued destructive efforts.  They are true enemies of her, of the Torah and of Hashem, unless they are too dimwitted to see the clear effects of their actions. 
As to Meir Kin, he's done nothing against Jewish law.  In general it's always important to try to save the marriage (which today can also involve the necessity of ignoring screaming loons who care for no one and who have sacrificed many couples in the name of a very irreligious cause), and then, if that fails, to resolve these things. Yet at the same time, a father who poses no danger has a right to meaningful custody.  What is against Jewish law, and what has only prolonged this case and made settlement all but impossible, is embarassing him or humiliating him.  His case has nothing to do with those mentioned in Shulchan Aruch (EH 154) and listening to a retaliatory siruv (contempt finding) from a court that does not exist makes those who heed it guilty of sin and purveyors of nothing good for anyone. 

As Rabbi Avrohom S. Y. Gestetner (a dayan - qualified religious judge - who sees fighting the tactics of the get activists, and their attempts to change halacha, a core mission of his) wrote to a group of rabbis who sought to exact a get based on the woman's demands, against the opinion of poskim (true arbiters of Jewish law) and those of medically licensed experts (loose rendition): The Torah is no one's private toy with which to play games with and the sin of embarrassing one's fellow applies fully in such cases.  I'd personally add to his words that their tactics make no sense unless they purposely want to wreak havoc with the lives of all parties involved.

If the guidelines of Jewish law would be followed, far fewer divorces would happen and those that would would have been worked on to a point where coparenting is possible.  Meir Kin's case is a travesty and according to clearly stated Jewish law, and backed by a rabbinical court and many leading rabbis (not to mention clearly stated Jewish law), it is an absolute sin to participate in it.  From a standpoint of common sense, doing so only harms both parties, as is usually the case when one confuses Hashem's holy commandments that lead to peace with political posturing that has only lead to years of harm.  Anyone who can speak out against the self-aggrandizing activist havoc wreakers should be blessed, by both parties, as well as by G-d Almighty.