Tuesday, December 22, 2009

There is a certain kind of chareidi askan who takes perverse pleasure in making trouble for anybody he perceives to be modernish. Not infrequently, such askanim are eventually exposed as personally corrupt.

For example, Leib Tropper is one of the tzaddikim who took upon himself the sacred work of pestering gedoilim to put Natan Slifkin in cheirem. He has also been a central player (through his organization, Eternal Jewish Family) in invalidating conversions in which either the convert's subsequent behavior or the theological views of the dayanim don't meet his standards. (The tie-in is that Tropper would disqualify a conversion in which one of the dayanim did not believe that the world is literally 5770 years old.)

Now it is alleged (I'm being cautious but the tapes are on youtube) that Tropper used his power over the conversion process to manipulate a potential female convert into providing sexual favors for friends of his (and possibly for himself).

One should not draw the wrong conclusions from multiple stories of corruption on the part of kannoim. It is not the case that all kannoim are corrupt. Some are genuinely zealous for truth or, at least, consistency.

What is true, however, is that people who are corrupt to the core often compensate by being especially zealous about upholding strict community standards. This is a perfectly reasonable approach to life. There are entire communities grounded in the unassailable principle that upholding strict community standards is far more important than an individual's level of piety. (Yoily, are you there?)

I have known several people in my life who were, to the best I could discern, completely devoid of any moral sense at all. Each was corrupt in a different way. One was simply violently mean to everybody, especially our teachers. Another was a shameless plagiarist. A third was arrested for breaking and entering a high school to steal the regents and subsequently molested children. But every one of them shvitzed about his yichus and despised YU.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only small point I could add to your always insightful comments is that I gleaned from R. Meir Simkha's comment on parshat b'shalach: given the choice of a community who's outstanding spiritually but lacking morally, versus the reverse, choose the latter. (That's why I cannot be haredi).

If more people thought like that, people like Tropper would have much less traction.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous yoeli from kj said...

you mean like people being pro jewish ,and wanting others to be more jewish, even though they neglect the torah?(get what i mean)

2:18 AM  
Anonymous Shave Ezra said...

I think he was misunderstand. He was just saying how he thought women shouldn't wear pants, and then, well...

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at an NCSY convention in the 70's where Tropper tried to convince me to go to Or Sameach. He gave me a pamphlet which he wrote. The subject: Hilchos Yichud :)

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Shlomo said...

Anonymous: Sometimes, when a person knows they struggle to deal with a serious problem, they become obsessed about it and it dominates their interactions with other people as well as their own thoughts. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Tropper, who had a problem with yichud-type issues in his own life, would be preaching on the issue to other people.

For another example, which I remember from college, see

3:40 PM  
Anonymous meta ben chorin said...

listen mr. ben chorin , you had no right to write on this topic.there are no halachic evidence to prove this . the tapes are not halacly valid.it is not beffiting for a man of halacha like you to go against it even if you hate chareidim .

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Isaac Balbin said...

Mr Meta (are you related to Zubin?)

Who gave you a hetter to read and post on a blog. If you won't publish your own name, at least publish the name of your Rov who allowed you.

5:41 AM  

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