Chaim’ll Fix It: When Asking the Rov is Asking for Bovv[er]

With Golders Green reeling from allegations – they are, at this stage, just that – of sexual abuse against one of its foremost Orthodox rabbis, the only thing that surprises me is that anyone is surprised at all.

Going to see your rov for marital problems is, if he is not also a trained counsellor, akin to seeing a psychologist for lack of belief in God. And for a married woman to do so, and repeatedly, on her own would be as wise as consulting Norman Bates about your troubled relationship with your late mother. Tzores is certainly not all it is asking for . . .

Extending Al Pacino’s famous monologue (aren’t those Italians marvellous: first The Godfather, then The Sopranos, now this), “Hath not a rabbi a shmekel?” And finding himself in intimate situations with members of the opposite sex (in some cases, with members even of his own), the “Little Fella” has been known to entice all but the most proper and resolute of proprietors into doing all manner of things forbidden.

And, no, this is not a defence of pervy rabbonim. Even ignoring the filth who rally with anti-Semites (parading as anti-Zionists) on the streets of London and who have embraced the malevolent runt in Tehran, as well as the disgraceful shenanigans of the charedim over here, my experience of all too many Orthodox rabbis – from the assorted misfits and lunatics at Hasmonean Grammar School for Boys to those in the ever so shady world of “outreach” – has not been especially positive.

Standing over the ruins of the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau, a rabbi of one such kiruv organisation – with a clear talent for clairvoyance and no less modest than his new, 7-storey, Old City HQ, replete with Dale Chihuly glass chandelier and Kirk (“Married Out Twice”) Douglas Theater – informed our group, at its most vulnerable, that the (solemn, respectful) German teenagers we had just encountered by the mound of children’s shoes were just “sorry that their grandparents hadn’t finished the job.”

“Why have you got so much rachmones for the Germans, Michael?” he responded, with trademark superciliousness, when I tackled him over what I saw as a horrible abuse of power.

Growing up on the fringes of the more Orthodox world, all I ever heard from friends in it was of the unbelievable small-mindedness, idiocy even, of their supposed leaders: from the prohibition on husbands kissing their wives after shul to the outlawing of patent shoes that might allow a sly glimpse of some M&S undies (mmm…) in the kiddush.

In my community, at least, I was privileged to know rabbis who were first and foremost human beings, one of whom – through application of humanity and commonsense (an advantage, perhaps, of the United Synagogue?) rather than the letter of cruel, antiquated law – allowed my late brother to be buried in the main part of the cemetery. We will always remember him for that kindness.

If frummer-than-thou co-religionists, however, choose to follow leaders who instruct them – in addition to other assorted nonsense – that Hashem doesn’t want them using the Eruv on Shabbos, should it come as any surprise that they also trust in them to save their marriages?

Sadly, the title “rabbi” does not confer or guarantee moral rectitude any more than that of “lawyer” or “policeman” (or, for that matter, “yodelling, peroxide-blond, medallion-man TV presenter”). And the culture of unquestioning deference and soft-headed sycophancy that has been constructed around them, in the ultra-Orthodox world especially, has laid fertile ground for consequent misdemeanour and scandal.

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54 responses to “Chaim’ll Fix It: When Asking the Rov is Asking for Bovv[er]

  1. Philip Witriol

    Have missed your posts and this is as superbly eloquent and witty as ever. But I cannot help feel that you are being somewhat misguided in making such sweeping generalisations about the ultra-Orthodox based on (relatively) rare events.

  2. The thing about patent shoes is not an exclusive Jewish thing – they were forbidden in my school too for same reason (a non Jewish high school) and also gets a mention in the book “Frost of May” by Antonia White which is about life in a convent school….

  3. Great post Ian

  4. Philip, sadly in my experience, if anything Mike’s sweeping generalisations are understated. And what used to be “rare events” have in fact become all too common. It is now quite clear why our Charedi brothers want the internet banned from use in the community.

  5. I expected the “generalisation” response. And it is one I have always had to deal with. My posts are not scientific papers, but honest opinion pieces based upon what I see and hear. And, as Danny seems to have sensed, I was actually holding myself back!

    I have always been ‘connected’ with my chassidic roots, even visiting our shtetlach (plural as in “kneidlach”?!) in Galicia. But observe the charedim here, or even a lot of the carryings-on in N16 (I trained in criminal defence in the area), and it is difficult to come to another conclusion. And, remember, what we know is only the very tip of the iceberg: over 90% of it (and don’t ask me to justify the figure, Philip!), I suspect, we never get to hear about it. That might now change.

    As for the patent shoe thing, Janice, I have no doubt that other religions have similar shit. I watched a powerful German film, The White Ribbon, the other night, in which the Lutheran pastor tied his son’s hands to his bed at night so that he wouldn’t “bash the bishop”. No wonder I was always tired at Hasmonean . . .

  6. “….embrace the smelly brown runt in Tehran”. This ill-advised description hurt an other-wise good and entertaining piece. What does Ahmadinejad’s skin color have to do with anything? He may indeed be smelly, but his appearance is no different than most of us Semites. Oh, and does this mean that you do not want me to introduce you to the Ethiopian woman you asked about?

  7. Point taken. It was intended as purely descriptive. “Smelly [I imagine him being that!] little runt” ran off the keys, but then I realised that “little runt” was tautologous and just used “brown” instead. I think I will amend.

    Just to understand though, Joe, is derogatory stereotyping of African-Americans okay if it merely omits to mention the colour of their skin?

  8. Good post Mike. Puts the lie to the catholic celibacy debate. Ultimately I suppose it’s a power thing…

  9. Good to hear from you, Adam. I haven’t since . . .

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xx2g9g_leeds-vs-tottenham-2-1-goals-highlights_sport

    Mere coincidence, I am sure! 😉

    I am three months into the Israeli tour guides’ course, and hearing all about your favourite “melech” . . .

    http://www.amazon.com/King-Saul-History-First-Messiah/dp/0718830741/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362010831&sr=1-1&keywords=king+saul+adam+green

    [Link for benefit of John Fisher, refuting his belief that he is melchett mike‘s most highbrow reader/contributor.]

  10. Daniel Greenspan

    Patent leather shoes?

    Keep with the times, Mike. Even non-shiny shoes sitting in a drawer are problematic these days:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4341586,00.html

  11. Yes, Mike. Unless you yourself are Black, it is best to completely ignore a Black person’s skin color (colour) when addressing them or an issue. If you ARE Black, then you are free to use the “N” word and to be as racist and derogotory as you like. I remember well how the light-skinned but wildly popular (amoung Blacks) Muhammad Ali, would call the much darker Joe Frazer, “a gorilla” , “ignorant” and a host of other insults which would get a white person banned from sport for life, if not, killed. I never could figure that one out….I was strongly sensitized to these issues in the sixth grade when I was punched out on a near daily basis by a few much larger Black students in my class.

  12. It is a great shame and indeed an embarrassment to fellow Jews that orthodox rabbis permit themselves to get into such a position whether true or false in the first place.

    However you look at it it is a blatant chilul hashem.

  13. I’ve been waiting for your proposed post on Spurs and the ‘Y’ word (and related issues). I even thought that you might have used that particular game as a starting point since Leeds fans have been such notorious “hissers” in the past when the ‘Y’s came to Elland Road (I’m not sure if it was the Leeds fans or the Feyenoord fans who came up with idea, but most Spurs fans I know say they first remember hearing it at Leeds) . Fair dues on that result though and congratulations to Leeds Utd for finding a new way of nullifying the Bale threat; by eliminating grass from their pitch in favour of some form of greyish glue-like substance.

    Very glad and relieved to learn that my hero is not ignored in your tour guide education, even if no doubt you are being presented with his accepted image.

    Thanks for the plug though Mike; that’s another pint of ESB waiting for you here next time you’re in Hampstead.

  14. This proves that at least there’s one Arab who apparently has no problem with “Yid” success!! Worth listening to all the way through…AL’AH-HI-TOTT-IN-HUM…and so say all of us! I think might forward this to Udi Mike – to show him and his pals at Sports 1 how an over-commentary should be done…

  15. Thank you for the lesson in political correctness, Joe (is that the same “Joe” from Rechov Allenby?!) It did occur to me that your sensitivity to issues of colour, if not race, may be connected to the fact that certain people you are close to could also be described as “brownish”. Anyway, no offence intended. In fact, the “browner” the better as far as I am concerned . . . and, yes, get me the number of that Ethiopian sort! My mother couldn’t care anymore. 😉 (But why “Black” with a capital “b”?)

    Bale is clearly not up for the really big games, Adam. I did, indeed, bash out a draft on “the Y word” but think I got bogged down on my bete noire, David Baddiel (what’s in a surname?!) Perhaps I will finish it off some day. As to “hissing” by Leeds fans, I can confirm to having had to sit through it on more than one occasion in the away end at White Hart Lane. Talk about being put in a difficult situation . . . the Yorkshiremen I went to games with didn’t know where to put themselves! As for “who came up with the idea”, I can only refer you to the words of one of me main Bruvvas . . .

  16. “…bogged down on…Baddiel…” …sounds messy.

  17. On further contemplation, Adam, perhaps the hissing was aimed at you personally . . . when the Kop identified you as the authority on King Ssssaul. You know us Leeds fans . . . we are a highbrow bunch!

  18. One of the only two Jewish Leeds fans I knew before I encountered you was at Carmel, and he was indeed very intellectual but he also had a pronounced lisp – so in his case at least, it would have been more of King Thhhhaul… (but at least he actually came from Leeds…’smiling, winking emoticon’)

  19. I am from Leeds as much as you are from the Seven Sisters Road. Now let’s get back to those (“do they know know you’re here?”) rabbis . . .

  20. There is a rumour going around that someone is making a video accompanied by Joe Cocker singing “You can leave your hat on”.

    Noting MM’s various direct and indirect jibes at me above, I will not be drawn into the “don’t generalize argument”, because I really cannot be bothered.

    However, by far the most vitriolic comments on the alleged shennanigans have come from one Reb Nuchem Rosenberg, a Satmar Chassid in Williamsburg, who has a website דרשות וועגו אפהיטן קינדר פון חזירים which roughly translates as “Drashot about saving children from pigs” and exposes child abuse in the New York Charedi community. He has been interviewed at length on CNN and, I was told, recently had acid thrown in his face. He has some pretty hard hitting comments about the GG community and the present allegations on You Tube.

    How about a book titled “Fifty shades of black”?

  21. Rosenberg is a crank. He sees paedophiles round every street corner and has a recent public twitter spat with someone who after a few angry exchanges, he suddenly accuses of being a paedo (funny how it’s such a common term that it’s gained a diminutive form).

    The other side of the story, which you’re welcome to take with a pinch of salt but which I happen to believe, is that Rosenberg went into the guy’s store and informed him he was going to tell the world that his father was a paedophile. Store owner “knows” this to be untrue, gets enraged and throws a bucket of cleaning agent, apparently containing bleach (not acid) at Rosenberg.

    Anyway, Rosenberg’s form of vigilante justice certainly doesn’t help.

  22. Bengy

    I had a feeling somebody was going to put me right on that. My mother always told me never to trust men in black stockings. Do you want to let CNN know they have been duped?

    Thanks

  23. What bothers me most about this story isn’t that there is alleged to be a pervert rabbi. There will always be bad eggs. The thing that drives me up the wall is that many rabbis closed ranks. That is indefensible.

  24. How can you call this man a “crank”, Bengy? John Fisher wouldn’t mention a crank. Have you listened to his hotline? Apparently he was offered the headmastership at Hasmo in the late 70s. Though what has techina (“They know nothing about techina” – 0:22) got to do with anything?

    And there’s a great Pythonesque moment – at 1:09 – in this next clip. The reporter couldn’t have believed his luck as that ‘woman’ (Terry Jones?) appeared just as he was talking about “insularity” and “deep distrust of the outside world”!

  25. His hotline is great. It’s like a caricature of everything you hope a New York chossid (sorry, hassid) sounds like. I especially like the bits where, in mid-flow at maximum rage about the these allegations and the Chaim pigdog, he suddenly veers off to rant about some unknown story where Rabbi Elchonon Halpern ignored his mikvah-construction advice 10 years ago (obviously, no hard feelings there!) and all London mikvas are invalid.

    Obviously there is a very serious issue that should be discussed but such sordid topics appear to attract lunatics like a rotting corpse attracts flies.

  26. John Fisher

    I am glad to have been of service in helping take this blog to new depths of lowbrow that it did not know it was capable of, and not an expletive in sight.

    In listening to Reb Nuchem you have to make allowance for the fact that not everybody was zoyche to the same secondary school education as us. A little ranting, small grammatical embarrassments, Walter Mitty moments – how important are they in the grand scheme of things?

    One question. I was too busy concentrating on the CNN guy’s piercing questions (Michael Parkinson has nothing on him) to notice if Reb Nuchem was wearing black stockings. This could change my world view.

  27. You know he’s a bit of a nut within seconds – the “Ha-ha! You bet!” and the rotating hand gesture – but I kinda like him. I’ve sent a recommendation to Dave Meyer.

    “We’re up to six!”

  28. Danny Landau

    For pure entertainment, nothing can beat the manic rantings of an unhinged Stamford Hill chossid called Gaby Lock.

    Check out this guy on google/youtube. You’ll be in absolute stitches

  29. Thank you, Danny . . . though, imho, Reb Nuchem without the charm. Bottom line: we clearly shouldn’t trouble ourselves too much about “mistakes” where the only victim is, or rather may be, a woman. How the hell do people get accents like this? All in all, sickening.

  30. Machshovah Levatolah

    Interesting comments on Reb Nuchem, his modes of speach and hand movements.

    How much do you know about his community, where he was educated and even what his first language is………..

    As a long time resident of Brooklyn, despite my genteel English origins and upbringing at the unfashionable part of the North Circular may I make a few comments that might give you a greater perspective.

    I would strongly suspect that Yiddish is his first language, but even if not, based upon the type of schooling he had, English would have been learned formally quite late, certainly he would have learned to read English at a later age that most if us would expect. The English he heard would most likely have heard in his youth would have been heavily accented Brooklyn English. This is simply because the pressure to “normalize” ones accent, does not exist to the same extent in the US, there being no RP to aspire to.

    So judging him by how he sounds is actually quite amusing, one of those strange quirks that Anglos have.

    One thing is sure, whether you love him or hate him, he has done the Charedi community in New York a tremendous service. Anyone with any understanding of Charedi Chasidish or Yeshivish society will know that openness and transparency are not concepts that are widely accepted as having much value, the prevailing norm being to sweep things comfortably under the carpet. Certainly for the last 15-20 years many people within those communities felt that the way certain matters were addressed was wrong, but nobody felt able to speak out. Many people love to criticize insular societies, and castigate those who will not speak out. Little do they realize the tremendous unspoken (and perhaps sometimes self generated) pressure not to rock the boat, and draw attention to things that are wrong. Indeed for quite a long while people felt this was acceptable because they had confidence that the issues were being handled correctly, albeit quietly.

    I am NOT saying that I agree with this (I certainly do NOT) I am merely trying to explain it to those who would rather laugh at something they do appreciate. Reb Nuchem was the first individual of any stature WITHIN the very insular Brooklyn Chassidishe communities to openly speak out, and speak out LOUDLY, about things such as child sexual abuse.

    Sexual abuse, other forms of abuse, Sexual Immorality, fraud, theft, intimidation, all human ills occur within the jewish community. in exactly the same way as they occur outside of it. I am sure that someone less ignorant than I can provide the source, but somewhere fairly authoritative it says that the laws laws of arrayos (forbidden sexual relations) are as difficult to keep as the rest of the Torah. It happens, it is NOT right, and trying to hush it up and sweep it under the carpet at best is an abuse of our trust, and at worst is simply enabling a predator to continue to destroy lives.

    You can google away, or ask you friendly neighborhood clinical psychiatrist, how more or less prevalent these things are within the Jewish community, if that will make you feel better or worse.

    The fact that a guy who talks kinda funny to the average anglo, and who has poor grammar syntax etc. had the guts to stand up and shout this uncomfortable secrets from the rooftops, suffer the consequences and still be stubborn enough to keep shouting them so that people take notice and criminals who have destroyed hundreds and thousands of peoples lives are brought to justice is in my opinion no small thing.

    As far as how this pertains to the situation in Golders Green, I have no idea, but I am tempted to say that anything that stops a situation where the victim is made out to be the criminal is a good thing.
    —–
    There are two things of value that I have learned from thirty years in New York……. There are plenty of intelligent sincere and well meaning people who talk with funny accents, and you do not have to learn to get semicha, it is granted to you as a courtesy every time you receive an invitation to a frum enough wedding!!!

  31. Machshovah Levatolah

    Bengy,
    I disagree with you that “Nuchems Noise” has done nothing. It certainly has made the Brooklyn DA’s office start to get a number of stalled investigations moving.

    Thank heavens it has as there are some individuals who ruined hundreds of lives comfortably locked away. That sounds harsh but the sexual abuse of children is a condition that psychiatry and psychology cannot effectively treat…… Google it.

    The Wife of a friend of mine did her time as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, 20 years ago,and spent a year in the sex crimes unit. She did not then come across as your typical Brooklyn Jewish Woman (she grew up in a part of Brooklyn that was more Irish and Italian, and spoke like it).

    I remember the horror with which she told me of the way child sexual abuse cases were handled in certain areas, how cases had to be referred upwards, and how they got lost. She prosecuted a bunch of cases in just about every community in Brooklyn, and was amazed at how few if any there were in the frum community and how almost none ever made it to court, unless the perpetrator was a member of a different ethnic group.

  32. Machshovah Levatolah

    Just to lighten the mood and be annoyingly pedantic, Kirk Douglas never was Jewish, or rather his mother was not. But hey in Hollywood everyone is Jewish!!!! And Madonna aspires to far more……

    Anybody want a refill of Kabbalah water?

  33. Not “annoyingly pedantic” . . . but conclusively wrong! Kirk Douglas is as Jewish as Reb Nuchem!

    I think you may be confusing father with son, Michael.

  34. Machshovah Levatolah

    Often annoyingly pedantic is often conclusively wrong.

    I humbly bow to your greater learning and erudition, partly because you are a dog lover, but mostly because, on rechecking my sources, I see that you are right. Alas I cannot even fall back on the ultimate of lame excuses “epis Chilukei Deos in Vikipedia?”

    As to Reb Nuchem. whilst his approach may at times offend even my sensitivities, I certainly admire his guts, and that of his family, who support his stand despite the social and physical repercussions.

    Hameyvin Yovim, whilst he is sometimes very free with names, I believe him to be right in his statements about the Brooklyn DAs office and the holder of some of its odder positions. To simplify for clarity certain functions which in the UK are carried out by professional appointees are in the US carried out by directly elected officials. It may sound wonderfully democratic, there is a downside.

    Chasidish (Hasidic) Jews are a minority in New York City but they have a communal growth rate that is amongst the highest (Kein Yirbu). Similar to other minorities in New York they are also particularly political astute and are very pragmatic as to the alliances they forge with other minority groups.

    Who could imagine that one of the higher profile female hispanic US congresswomen owes her many terms to a bunch of men in black hats….. Improbable? look at the alliances between Satmar of Williamsburgh and the Puerto Rican community! Makes you think!!

    We all look alike to the politician on the make. If you think that sounds strange, consider how accurately frum jews are VISUALLY portrayed in Film and television?

    It is far easier to generalize and stereotype. We all do it. Next time you explode about those *@*#*$*@*@# (traffic wardens, Frummers, Charedim, TA Women, TA Men, JAPs, Arabs, Americans, Muslims, take your pick… stop and think what you are doing.

    Sufficient to the day its bullshit! as a wise woman once said to me!

  35. “I humbly bow to your greater learning and erudition, partly because you are a dog lover . . .”

    I have, indeed, ‘loved’ quite a few ‘dogs’ in my time, Machshovah . . . though how you would know anything about it is quite another matter!

    Thank you for availing me of your “greater perspective”. As a Menoyrah Primary (with ridiculously guttural “r”), and then Hasmo, boy, I am all too familiar with those folk who speak as if they had just got off the boat (as well as with your lovely Hasmo girls, who always wanted to know “Who are you eating/davening byyyyyyyy?”)

    As I believe I hinted above, I think Reb Nuchem (if not his N16 counterpart, Reb Lock) is an absolute star. Indeed, I was perfecting my “Ha-ha! You bet!” impersonation, together with rotating hand gesture, over lunch this very day!

    Anyway, without the “easy generaliz[ation] and stereotype”, I’d be nothing, Machshovah, merely commenting to other people’s blogs like you . . . instead of the blogging legend that I am! 😉

  36. Machshovah Levatolah

    Man!! I must have posted that before my first caffeine hit of the day….. I am mortified that I left myself wide open with such an obvious double entendre!!! Actually I was talking about the four legged, canine, floppy eared, long nosed, chasing around the garden, biting the postman. mans best friend non human but always house trained variety. Come to think of it even with all of those qualifiers, l still have not eliminated some of the dates I have had in my time…. I should stop bragging, my wife might see this and require an explanation! On second thoughts probably not, she has written me off a long time ago, bless her. Besides which the family pooch would be so offended.

    Now as far as Hasmo girls and ‘by’ (drumroll please…… if by now you have not got it, then you probably should not be reading this!)

    …Lowers glasses along nose…clears throat….scratches head, adjusts yarmulka, cigarette, underwear, sheitel, shpitzel, bra, earring (delete as necessary) and for good measure strokes beard.

    The usage of the word ‘by’ in the connotation to which you refer, is of course grammatically correct – unfortunately not in any kind of English our parents would wish we speak. However in spoken Yiddish, German, Switzerdeutsch, Yeshivish, FrumRap, HillBilly (as in Stemferd Hill) or WillyTalk (you guess) it is both grammatically correct and in at least the last four or five, the sign of a true insider!

    As to your nifty yet subtle cyber head-butt…… re-read my name!! 😎

    I am proud of my dilettante credentials! It took considerable diligence, hard work, and at least one career to gain them. I sacrificed many a sleepless night, spent time without measure, and droshos without end, talking in the back of all the wrong type of shtiebelach and at times even right kind of Veibershuls, in my quest. I sought out the worlds finest yeshivas and read assiduously from their toilet walls! I sold, resold, bankrupted, sold again and finally mortgaged to the hilt my pure (if mildly neurotic, schizophrenic, and confused) United Synagogue soul so that I too could master the skill of writing prose as purple as this (well perhaps a muddy maroon or faded mauve anyway).

    There was a point to this post….. but like the late, long-winded, great and overweight Abba Eban, and not for a moment forgetting the mythical Oozelum Bird about which which even the Yalkut Shmoni makes no mention ……………………………………………………………………….. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  37. John Fisher

    At lunch today, a lunatic in a Brazil football shirt who kept embarrassing me by trying to impersonate a Satmer Chossid (Ha-ha! You bet!), begged me to give him my thoughts on Reb Gabi Lock’s clip above.

    After painstakingly unraveling the syllables and reconstructing the words, if I understand correctly, the erudite gentleman seems to think that a nameless Golders Green Rabbi has been making mistakes in his davenning on Fast Days, or something similar (Er hot fargessen). He also mentions that he does not read Yediot Acharonot (it was my twin brother, Your Honour) remembering to remind us that that particular crime is normally reserved for Litvaks.

    The overall impression (perhaps incorrect) I have is that Reb Lock does not seem to read any newspaper and is living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

    Perhaps someone more intelligent than me (Reb Lock, perhaps) could explain why he has the camera facing up at him rather than level with his face. Is he trying to impersonate Jack Nicholson in The Shining?

    Although I am sure he is very busy making You Tube videos, he might take a few minutes to review today’s Daf which has some really interesting insights that could add to his intellectual worldview.

  38. Machshovah Levatolah

    I watched the You Tube clip, then again, and again.

    I took a break, made some popcorn and watched it some more.

    I just love this guy’s worldview…… really, it it refreshing to see someone who after careful preparation, just opens their mouth and says something profound without thinking through the implications of what they are saying.

    It suddenly realized why everyone pays so much attention to me, when I do the same thing.

    Do you think, if I brushed my hat really nicely, made sure that all four of my shoelaces were neatly tied……. do you think if I asked him really nicely, maybe even in poilisher yiddish, then do you think he could get me one of those special crisp black and white and gray all over cards?

    You must know the ones I mean, surely. On one side it says

    ‘Rrrrrrrrelax’

    and on the other

    ‘Just do it……. No consequences, in any life, Guaranteed!’

    I do get the logic, it all adds up.

    If his Rebbe forgets that there is layening on tzdoin gedalyah, then kal ve’choimer (rachmoneh litzlan) then we should all just forget that that some other Rabbi was maybe accused on just a little bit more than one occasion of improper conduct with a wife of the opposite sex who was not his, and that it happened then again just the smallest bit more than once, and then just barely once again at least another time, and also with a wife, of the same opposite sex, not opposite to the opposite sex of the same wife you understand, and never ever opposite to the wife of the same sex, no never that, but just to an different opposite wife again who was not his you understand not the same wife as the first wife which was not his was not appropriate with no never that wife was he appropriate with ever but you see not the same wife”s sex as was appropriately not his other mans sex just little again….

    Are you following along or should we not appropriately again start up?

    By now, anybody gebensched enough to be reading this understands why every Wedding and Barmitzvah invitation that pops through my letterbox is addressed to Rabbi & Mrs Levatolah.

    Oyyy……………. Gaoyyyyness!!!!!

    But seriously folks, yes, I would like some of your Prozac with my kichel and your schmaltz herring.

    [ pauses to put on a pair of proper chasidishe glasses, grab a stick of celery from the chicken soup and does a big Groucho Marx raise of the eyebrows whilst carefully coordinating the knocking off of the ash from his hand rolled, Corona de Corona, er, em, er boiled stick of celery ]

    Feh who writes this stuff anyway? What? You mean people are reading this? Now! Here? In their own house on my own computer?

    Oy gimme a a glass water!

    That’s better……

    Where was I? Oh I know in my house on your computer’s screen with her husband’s wife. Is that appropriate? No? OK so let me ask the big question….before I go…..

    So, a question to all you Lawyers barristers and solicitors [ cue Groucho stick again ] out there…..

    Does perverting the course of justice mean that in between courses, whilst being a pervert justice will be done?

    Or is it rather that my kind of justice is a coarse pervert?

    I know, oh this must be it……

    Justice is of course being a pervert!

    Oyyy……………. Gaoyyyyness!!!!!

    Ahh, the prozac is really starting t o w o r k

  39. I just watched Reb Gaby Lock (any relation to philosopher John Locke?) again with my son. Did readers know that they tried to change Rav Joel Moshe Teitelbaum’s (Satmer Rebbe to you and me) view on the possibility of moon travel when the Russians launched “Sputkin” (sic).

    They couldn’t make this guy up. He is up there with Eric Morecambe.

  40. Since no-one else has mentioned it…

    This has to be the worst headline you have ever published.

  41. How unkind, Allan (if not entirely untrue). Especially since I always credit you with the best (and perhaps shortest) ever comment to melchett mike . . .

    https://melchettmike.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/hasmo-legends-xiii-a-legend-osher-strikes-back/#comment-2985

    Though even Ronnie Corbett would have struggled not to come up with something good after that particular post!

  42. Machshovah Levatolah

    He is further up there than Eric Morecombe……..

    I ask you? I ask you?

    Did Eric Morecome,
    ever eat slices of fish.
    preserved with salt,
    smothered with onions,
    stored in oil,
    On top of a biscuit that looked like your mothers dried up Yorkshire Pudding?

    I think I may just have got the cadence of the great one, Eric Morecome that, not R’ Yoielish the Satmar Rebbe, as I recall it.

    Actually the the story about the Satmar Rebbe and a Man walking on the moon is somewhat based in fact (as I heard it).

    BYMASAOGWHIANASC

    Believe You Me, As Onions Go With Herring I Am No Satmar Chossid

    (But some of my best friends……) And one of them who was just married and living in Williamsburgh at the time the speech was made told me as follows…. If I recall it correctly

    If you Recall JFKs Moon Speach…..

    “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy…….”

    At the time Der Yid, the Satmar Newspaper, printed all in Yiddish, used to give a couple of pages to reprinting significant events, usually translated from US Government news feeds. If you have seen Hamodia, you will see a similar thing, but in English.

    If you think about it in 1962 the concept of a man walking the moon was outlandish to many. I just about recall watching it with my father when it happened and even he was amazed, and he was is very far removed from the worldview of Satmar. I believe that a University education in England and two years National Service will do that to a person.

    However, I digress. R Yoielish, was well known for taking very well defined and definite positions on matters that had a basis in Torah. This was his nature, however even in the 1920s/30s he was widely acknowledged in the Chareidi World even amongst those totally opposed to Satmar, and those totally from the Yeshivishe world who were totally opposed to opposed to the Chassidic world, that he was a significant Talmud Chochom, and if you think about who was around in the 1920s/30s…….. So those who disagreed with him, accepted that he did not pull what he said pout of thin air. I have spent a lot of time talking to a few frum people not of Satmar’s worldview before or since, people who were also on the Kastner train and who got to know him well then, and from what I leaned he was certainly a impressive personality and intellect.

    To wrap it up, and I am no talmud chochom, there are numerous places in Tenach where at first glance it appears obvious that man cannot walk on the moon. Even in the 1950s most people did not conceive of a moon landing being less that 20 years away. Sputnik (sorry Sputkin) changed how society at large in the USA looked at things, but even at the times of Kennedy’s Moon speech it was still within the realms of science fiction for most people, I mean even Star Trek was 5-6 years away from filming, google and see. So for the Satmar Rebbe to say that it was something that could not happen was not as outlandish as it sounds today.

    Once there was a moon landing he did not say that it had not occurred. From what I have heard and read the essential thing is that in his worldview it just was not relevant to him. He was nobodies fool, he had seen his whole world turn upside down twice in his lifetime, more than that if you want to look at the Zionist/Anti-Zionist dynamic.

    This has nothing to do with what Rabbeinu YouTube is talking about as far as I can make out. I posted a very detailed considered and closely argued analysis of that, emphasis on the first part of that word. If the owner of the blog has a really good sense of humor, maybe he will let it post, if not I will be forced to put up a blog……

  43. Mike, as Ronnie Corbett would doubtless tell you, short ones are best.

  44. Just in case you’re (insane and) wanting more . . .

    [A nice little game while you’re watching: look carefully & see if you can spot the subliminal goat.]

  45. What I loved most about this last clip is that, after talking himself into a sweat about brotherly love and all that jazz, by the time he turns off the camera there is hate written all over his face. Brilliant!

    BTW – Machshova Levatolah – to paraphrase Rob Reiner’s mother in When Harry Met Sally – “I’ll have what you have”. What exactly are you on?

  46. Machshovah Levatolah

    Pure Creative Genius.

    After all, how else can you fake it with a keyboard!

  47. It is, indeed, brilliant, John. Love that closing grimace! He even gives grudging praise to the “Tzi-o-nim”. My favourite bit, though, has to be . . .

    “Litvisher against Chassidim, Chassidim against Litvisher, Chassidim against other Chassidim, Satmer, two Satmers, two Bobovs, two Belzers”

    . . . and a par-tridge in a pear tree! 😉

  48. Macshovah Levatolah

    Vun Sekunt, Vun Sekunt

    Who gives dee chashgoocha un dee Partridge???

    Who said Pair Trrrreeeees. arre. Kusher snyvays???

    Nuu Nui…… So ansver me dat Mister Big Shot? Aha Aha??? (rotates wrist in time)

    {production notes}
    Cue background video wall of showing variously black clad, and highly fragrant Charedi Type Background Singers, rotating theirs wrists whilst repeating the refrain Nu Nu, Aha Aha?

  49. John Fisher

    I was just thinking to myself what Reb Gaby Lock would have to say about the following:

    At 6.10 this morning I was standing in shul in the silent Amida. Thanks to a wrong number, my iPhone 5 treated the entire congregation to a choral rendition of William Blake’s Jerusalem, courtesy of the audience at the 2010 Last Night of the Proms (NIS 3.90 on iTunes Ringtones).

    “Misnagdishe, tzionishe, behamishe, goyshe…… Achvo vesholom vereus”.

  50. Late minyan?

    You see, if it had been me, I wouldn’t even have heard it. If it had been vibrating against me knackers, on the other hand . . .

  51. Your reply provides a new angle on Coldplay’s

    “I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing”

  52. Coldplay?! If there’s a band the very mention of which gets my blood boiling . . .

    If it is not too late for a tax accountant (residing in Ra’anana noch) to acquire some credibility, turn up your speakers (and look out for the guest appearance of Reb Gaby) . . .

    Pete was our client (bloody hell, just spotted on Wiki that he’s “unzere”!) Brilliant video, too, especially the opening (to all those silly girls who wasted daddy’s money on a nose job, tell me a big ‘un’s not sexy!)

    And, to preempt the inevitable accusation, the choice of track has nothing to do with the title!

  53. Machshovah Levatolah

    Now that is my kind of heretic!

    And when you consider the words, it is Surreal!!

    “….In England’s (Golders) Green & Pleasant Land”

    My (American) kids, known that tune as our special shabbos lunch Shir Ha’Maalos melody, and they used to get so excited around St Patricks day when the local Irish would sing my tune for Sholom Aleichem (Danny Boy).

    Now if you are really up on your Sub-Carpatho Ruthenian Trivia…….
    What is the name of the famous (!?!) niggun that can be wonderfully mis-translated as “One Chocolate Cake Mother?”

  54. They say the best pick up line in GG is “do you want to come by for a Rb’Chaim”……

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