S-I-L of Rav Aaron Feldman of Baltimore’s NIRC Is Covering Up for Maklev

On 5/20/16 I reported the arrest of Naftali Maklev for hundreds of sexual offenses against his own female relatives starting when one was only six years old. Maklev worked as the spiritual advisor in

נפתלי מקלב Naftali Maklev

נפתלי מקלב Naftali Maklev

Yeshiva Beer Hatorah in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem.

I have heard from a number of sources that Maklev also molested boys in the yeshiva.

That yeshiva is run by Rabbi Gavriel Yosef Levi (aka GI”L), the son-in-law of Rav Aaron Feldman (RAF), the Rosh Yeshiva of Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinical College. In his circles he is called GI”L, the Hebrew acronym of his full name. GI”L has acquired a reputation for ruthless climbing on top of others, very sharp elbows, and invoking the aid of his father-in-law, RAF.

The Hebrew language Israeli website, Bichadrei Charedim ran a headline this morning (5/24/16) “Head of the yeshiva where the molesting mashgiach works: “Whoever talks will be thrown out.” While the report uses no names they are clearly referring to GI”L, the employer of Naftali Maklev at Beer Hatorah in Bayit Vegan.

According to this report, GI”L gathered a group of students in his office and declared:

If this [allegation] is not true, it is lashon horah [gossip] and obviously forbidden to say. If this [allegation] is so, one definitely should not speak of it and [instead] be silent.  For every moment that a person seals his lips he merits the great hidden light that no angel or creature can imagine.

אם זה לא נכון, זה לשון הרע ופשוט שאסור לדבר, ואם זה נכון אז בוודאי לא לדבר על זה ולשתוק, כי על כל רגע ורגע שאדם חוסם פיו– זוכה לאור הגנוז שאין כל מלאך ובריה יכולים לשער

Until I read this I thought he was merely a power-hungry scoundrel and a cover-up artist.

But I am now convinced every last parent should demand their tuition back. GI”L is either an ignoramus or deliberate liar who misrepresents Jewish law and tradition. For starters, lashon horah is repeating true facts which harms someone’s reputation and one is not supposed to repeat it unless there is a vital interest such as protecting others from harm. Yet he is labeling a falsehood as lashon horah, when it should be called motzi shem rah (slander). He is deliberately obscuring the principal articulated by the Chofetz Chaim, that when there is a toeles, a purpose, such as protecting others from harm, one is obliged to report derogatory but true facts.

The second part of his statement is more amazing. Having already misrepresented Jewish law he now tries to misuse Jewish mysticism in claiming that concealing the truth about a terribly dangerous man can confer great rewards such as sighting a supernal light beyond the ken of angels. Perhaps he wandered so far into the obscure because he fears some clever yeshiva boy will check the halacha. But this sort of mystical allusion is much harder for a student to refute.

He conveniently omitted the conclusion of the Torah’s verse prohibiting gossip: “Do not stand by idly on the blood of your fellow.” That would have really struck home for students who knew of their friends who were molested by Maklev.

But GI”L is not the sort of man to leave his fate hanging on Torah alone so he also did his thug routine. “Whoever talks to the media will immediately be thrown out of the yeshiva” (מי שידבר עם כלי התקשורת, יעוף מהישיבה לאלתר).

The threat clearly failed because this story appeared in Chadrei Chareidim the very next day.

The yeshiva did remove Naftali Maklev’s name plate from his office door.

This scandal is already sending shock waves throughout the entire Yeshivish world in Israel and abroad because Maklev comes from a prominent family and his child is married to the grandchild of the dominant figure of that world, Rav Chaim Kanievsky. I expect the scandal to expand with the revelation of additional victims, multiple cover-ups, and attempts at witness intimidation. Stay tuned.

Adding fuel to the fire is the division of the Yeshivish world between the dominant “Bnei Brak” faction of RCK and the “Yerushalmi” faction of Rav Shmuel Auerbach. RSA’s operatives, especially Nati Grossman, the editor of their newspaper, Hapeles, will make the most of this scandal by revealing all sort of cover ups. GI”L has his enemies inside the “Bnai Brak” camp gunning for him or his father-in-law, Rabbi Aaron Feldman.




25 thoughts on “S-I-L of Rav Aaron Feldman of Baltimore’s NIRC Is Covering Up for Maklev

  1. I appreciate the work you do for Klal Yisroel but I feel you sometimes make assumptions, connect some possible dots and then put together a catchy title. You are taking the fact that over years you have heard he is aggressive and adding to the fact that he is related to Rabbi Feldman’s (who has been involved in some controversial issues) and taking an excerpt from a speech to say he is involved in covering up and an ignoramus. We all know that technically lashon Hara is when it is true however it is also used as a general term for slander like he did. He is also just essentially trying to keep his yeshiva from falling apart. Everyone knows the story now and all he is saying is that guys talking about it will only take away from learning and ruin the yeshiva which is something he built up because of his own talents.
    Keep up your good work but please stick to real facts and stories.

    • I stuck to real facts. You disagree with my interpretation. Simply put, he is doing his best to not have the boys say anything about Maklev, even true facts. Given the timing, you can choose to believe he is a tzadik. But it is quite reasonable to believe otherwise, especially since it is known to me that the heard complaints about Maklev abusing his yeshiva bochurim for years. Given those facts, it makes more sense to believe his motive was covering up. When someone has a chazakah for covering up, he no longer has a chezkas kashrus when interpreting his statments.

    • “whoever talks will be thrown out,” will keep a yeshiva together?
      if i were in any institution and was told that, i would ruuuuun.

  2. Not only would I run from the Yeshiva, but I would try and gather several other parents of Talmidim who hopefully bolted, and file a class action suit against them (Mesira be damned) demanding a refund of all tuition. Anyone with the gumption to avoid nausea that should follow a reading of the facts attendant to this disgusting event should also realize the standard narrative associated with sexual abuse situations has again reared its ugly head: deceit, followed by denial or, at best, flaccid acknowledgment by the administration (i.e. Rosh Yeshiva) of the situation, then followed by overt threats made against the very same talmidim against talking about “it”. Again and again, it’s always the potential victims whose collective heads are placed on the chopping block lest they even attempt to discuss one of the most heinous crimes imaginable committed by a person of authority, who happens to be directly associated with the very institution that is charged with their spiritual welfare and development.

    As the saying goes, the fish rots from the head down.

  3. I am not disagreeing with the article but Loshon Hora is a general term used to include all sorts of negative talk including motzei sheim ra and many other assei’s and lo saasei’s. It is a fallacy that it excludes motzei sheim ra which is a type of loshon horra.

    • I agree that the term loshon horah is (mis)used that way colloquially by baal habatim (lay people). But a lamdan (rabbinic scholar) like GI”L knows better, especially a Litivsh lamdan since careful learning of sefer chofetz chaim and mishneh berurah is standard in their yeshivot.

      There is an important implication of the difference between repeating disparaging truth and lies. Falsehoods are always forbidden but disparaging truth, MUST be repeated when necessary to protect others from harm (li-toeles). Otherwise one violates the biblical prohibition (di-oraiysa) of “lo saamod al dam reyachah” (not standing by idly on the blood of your fellow).”

      One expects a lamdan and yeshiva teacher to be promulgating Jewish law understanding, instead of misrepresenting it to cover his situation and reputation.

      I stand by this specific criticism in my article, while i do acknowledge that some fuse and misuse the term loshon horah to cover repeating falsehood.

      • The very first halacha in the Sefer Chafetz Chaim says that the term lashon hara applies EVEN to telling the truth. Meaning that it applies to lying about someone AND EVEN telling the truth. Thus the term ‘lashon hara’ is a general term that applies to saying bad about someone whether it is true or not. Motzi shem ra is a more specific term only applying to a lie.

    • I am not disagreeing with the article but Loshon Hora is a general term used to include all sorts of negative talk…..

      But, wouldn’t you expect a ריש מתיבתא to use correct and accurate terminology rather than speaking like a בעל הבית? After all, the משנה clearly states חכמים הזהרו בדבריכם.

      • My son’s old Rosh Yeshiva criticized him for drinking water before Shacharis and then put me down to him when he quotes the halacha coming from me. Sometimes I wonder if they know anything practical. Same Rosh Yeshiva BTW who slams kids in to walls for having their shirts untucked.

  4. He is not giving a shiur that he needs to speak as a lamdan, if this is what you got on him that’s a real cheap shot, now since is arrested already I’m not in a position to harm anyone else else, what is the toeles by bucherim in Yeshiva speaking about it (besides prolonging his sentence maybe)? He did not say a bucher that was molested shouldn’t report it the the authority’s, talking about gossiping between the boys.
    Sorry but this is a very poor attack based on nothing.

    • Cheap shot! He said he will throw out anyone who talks, when there are credible allegations that GI”L knows about Maklev molesting the boys in the yeshiva. There is a need to communicate that the prohibition against speaking unpleasant truths falls away when dealing with dangerous people. How can a Litvish yeshiva in Yerushalayim ignore the psak of Rav Elyashiv ZTz”L that a child molester is considered a rodef and should be reported to the police?

      What’s if he manages to beat the charges because the accusing females are intimidated out of continuing the case? What’s about the fact that boys molested inside the yeshiva need therapy and other help to minimize the damage of abuse? What’s about the fact that it is geneivas daas (fraudulent misrepresentation) for parents not to know the yeshiva looks the other way about abuse.

      And for goodness sake, what’s about accurately representing halacha? Since when is that not a central goal of a frum school?

      I marvel at how you discard your education in halacha to justify loose and misleading messages because you are so obsessed with minimizing embarrassment to a culpable institution. You clearly thought through toeles enough to come up with the argument that he will no longer be a danger if he is convicted and sentenced to a long jail term. But you did not bother to think about all the other possibilities. The fact is you were shopping for heterim with more passion than many Conservative rabbis.

      Your use of the term cheap shot is a shoddy attempt to defend the indefensible.

  5. Wish individuals would use their GD-given seichel before diving into the halachic intricacies of L”H regarding the topic of speaking of abuse. This reminds me starkly of when Meir Kahane said the malachim in shamayim will speak bad about me if I chose to speak abt the Meisels case (me attempting to encourage and help the victims was part of that threat, I guess). Hopefully over time, the right wing community will shift perspective.

  6. A more recent article in bchadrei charedim reported that the Rosh Yeshiva is introducing a new requirement that the students study Musar. While the real question is when the Rosh Yeshiva found out about the allegations and whether he cooperated with the investigation both the obligation to change and the threat of expulsion are placed on the students. The response of the Rosh Yeshiva to the shocking discovery that a prominent authority figure in his yeshiva has been accused of utilizing claims about Torah to justify horrendous behavior was not one of taking any responsibility but to imply that the students are the ones who need to change.

    • Rabbi Blau
      What R’ GYL should be doing is offering therapy to anyone in the yeshiva who now has to deal with their Mashgiach being arrested for such crimes. And I f R’ GYL knew about him molesting boys in yeshiva or obstructed justice then there is a big story. But I think the point of R’ GYL is that having 18 year old yeshiva boys talking amongst themselves about an adult having sexual relations with six year olds does not have a place in yeshiva. Also, Rav Salanter and other greats would always say that even if you have a lot of Torah if you don’t learn mussar your priorities can be messed up so in light of the situation I don’t know if the new mussar Seder is to blame students or just to highlight its importance.

  7. The saying goes that the “devil is in the details”. The accusations against this scumbag are mind-boggling, including that he may have may have committed “hundreds” of sexual offenses. My mind cannot grasp the qualitative aspect of what “hundreds” actually represents. It is an enormous number that is representative of an immense and almost unimaginable degree of human suffering. If all or even part of this story is true, Maklev is in the same league as Mondrowitz and Elior Chen, to name a few, and he must be locked up for decades upon conviction. GIL appears to be a monomaniacal freak who is clearly out to protect himself. His threats against any buchrim who discuss this episode give further credence to a theory I’ve developed over the last few years, which is that loshon hara, motzie shem rah, and of course, tznius related fanaticism have all evolved into their own distinct religion.

  8. If it is letoeless it is not Loshon Hora—-mifurash in sefer shmiras halashon. Rabosai is there a greater toeles then this……
    What GIL should have said is ” don’t hock about it with your friends, if you have something to report tell your parents or the police or even me” But for him blanketly to say “say nothing” even if it is litoeles makes him an accomplice to the crimes. He is a Talmid chochom who knows the halacha, that is why this smells like a cover up

    • Can you please find out why Efraim Becker is still seeing women if he has a signed statement on hour website that he will stop 8yrs ago. Also does anyone know why Meir pagrow got divorced and where he is.

      • I am guessing you intended to write to the blog owner, not to R. Fried. I have no recent information on Ephraim Becker since I posted about him on this blog and his agreement not to meet with female clients or do marriage counseling.

        Indeed, Meir Pogrow is divorced from his wife. I am not sure of further developments in Beit Shemesh but I strongly suspect he is out of favor with the local rabbis. Whether there will be a public denunciation of his predatory behavior with women, I don’t know, yet.

  9. Abusers gain strength from the silence of those around them. I believe that this should be addressed publicly with the buchrim and encourage them to speak to each other. It will transfer the shame on to the perpetrator of this heinous act rather than on the victim. If this becomes the norm, then perhaps there will be less of these occurrences.

    • It is unfortunately that this case involves intra-familial abuse/molestation, by definition called incest, regardless of the acts involved.

      We don’t often read about these cases on Frum Follies.

      Young girls were being abused at home. How old were they?
      6? Where were the other adults? All terrified of ramifications and the young girls having no idea, at 6??? Obviously, there was no adult, no one perhaps even knowing right from wrong with this menuval (miscreant) preaching Torah to them.
      This is one very very sad story. We don’t know how many female children were involved. and at what ages, I would presume that they were all taken into child protective services. They have a painful traumatic life ahead, I also assume permanent gag order here????
      This guy should be strung up. in the worst way that is legal.

      • Just to be clear, while Maklev is indicted for sexually abusing three sisters, all relatives of his, Franny Ruth is referring to the additional allegation that he abused boys in the yeshiva where he was/is a mashgiach.

  10. Pingback: Raging Issues, Part II | Perceptions of Israel

  11. Interesting that you trust newspapers to properly report what the rabbi said.

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