The Munkatcher Rebbe (Moshe Leib Rabinovich), speaking yesterday on the yarzeit of his grandfather, the Minchas Elazar, denounced those who commit mesirah (informing) and even have the chutzpah to think it is a mitzvah. He declared it one of the major problems facing Jews in America.
I have no recordings of this speech. Not surprisingly these are the sort of speeches given on shabbos so there won’t be any recordings. I have a reliable report from someone who was there and heard it.
The Munkatcher Rebbe had the reporting of molesters in mind. He was speaking to a crowd of Hasidim. Mesirah is a big no-no unless it is overridden by the rule allowing self-defense against someone bent on homicide (rodef). Recently poskim have been allowing reporting a molester to the police because molesters tend to repeat their acts and their actions result in terrible harm to their victims and are thus considered rodfim. Flatbush’s Shomrim recently urged adults to report child abuse directly to the police.
I am guessing he spoke about this now because one of the weekday regulars in his beis medrish, Baruch Lebovits, just started serving a 10-32 year sentence for molesting a boy. The trial revealed an attempt to intimidate the witness by brandishing the prohibition of mesirah. The father of the witness against Lebovits was manhandled and forced out of the Munkatch beis medrish.
The Rebbe is active in pidyon shvuyim. These days that often means deterring complainants within the frum world , trying to put the fix in with the police and the prosecutors, and collecting money for legal defense funds.
I find the speech encouraging. Rabbi Rabinovich made this speech because more hasidim are reporting molesters to the police. The Rebbe is wrong, unconscionably wrong. He shows a deficit of rachmonis for the victims of molesters. His position gives them free rein. In time his views will be eclipsed. But the Munkatcher Rebbe’s speech gives you an idea of what we are up against.
Streimel Tip: A
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