Aishes Ish on the Hierarchy of Severity

It endlessly frustrates me to encounter rabbinical coverups. Even when Haredi rabbis are given convincing evidence of sexual abuse of children by a rabbinical colleague they usually do not warn their public to avoid the offender. This is true even for the most severe violations of halacha (i.e., d’oraisa) such as raping teen boys or girls.

But there is one notable exception and it does not involve children. Let a rabbi be caught committing aishes ish (adultery with a married woman) and then the boom gets lowered. This happened to Meir Pogrow in Beit Shemesh. He was denounced as unfit to be dealt with. He was effectively defrocked and forced out of the community on the basis of public pronouncements of prominent local rabbis. The same happened to Dovid Weinberger in the Five Towns. And the same happened to Dayan Yonasan Abraham of the significant London Beth Din

Why this is so, I cannot say. But there is no question that their hierarchy of offensiveness is neither based on civil law which does not care about consensual adultery, nor on halacha which regards the violation of nida or mishkav zachar as aroiyos just like aishes ish. But there it is. I would welcome the thoughts of others on why this is so.

21 thoughts on “Aishes Ish on the Hierarchy of Severity

      • My comment was a little tongue in cheek, & I know it’s a sexist generalisation, but among many of the super-ultra I don’t think they have too much to worry about after their unrestricted procreation…

    • First, as anyone who knows me from this blog from some years, it is clear that I am not a lamdan.
      However, given that as start:

      Several thoughts:
      in no special order:

      children were not considered human, rather chattel. that is in keeping with the horrific radical liberal acceptance of post birth abortion and pre birth abortion,
      same framework. same concepts.

      However the list in tanach, ok, i am boor, but listed twice, second time kedoshim, first, well, you all know.

      The list of forbidden sexual intimacies, , arayot, in both cases omits father with daughter. Now Stand on your head, as many do, this is not an oversight, nor does claiming that by implication from granddaughter, tht clearly effin your own daughter is fine,

      NAH. children were chattel. to be used per the sexual desires of the male.
      on the other side of the coin, and i think insignificant, man’s desire for possession, might play a role, but i dismiss that hypothesis,
      Children were chattel Levit. 18 not by mistake leaves out the isur on father/daughter. not by a long shot. The many ravs who have tried to explain this using , well, “by inference, if not the granddaughter then clearly not the daughter”.

      these rabbanim are full of charah.

      Re men rapim their own sons, i have no thoughts, no ideas.
      i think two different currents, but i do not know, not having known men/sons in such a situation.


  1. Remember we are dealing with largely emotionally immature clergy who live a cloistered life, idolize 20yr olds, dont have a lot of professional outlets, are very concerned with appearances, refuse heroism generally, which is the mida needed to address such issues.
    Abuse of children is too complicated for them to handle. Also its too “icky”.
    Aishes ish is a “normal” aveira,, Its “just a taiva” . Thats why they can rail against the gay thing– its an obvious and “clean” aveira

      • Mishkav zachor at any age, is so pasul, so forbidden, that it is incredibly difficult to understand how aishes ish can be accepted, but not mishkav zachor. Are there any passages in tanach or talmud that would lead men to accept it as not sinful? ha’hefech,
        what about sedom v’gemorra?

        how does one reconcile this?

          • What ever happened with efraim becker who was caught by rav rubin of har nof rav david ostroff rav moshe shternbuch and rav david revson of neve you posted and article and signed letter by him that he wont see women and he still does he poisons husbands in the eyes of the wife to conquer their emotions a type of mind control please warn people and make sure rav rubin takes off his so called backing claimed so by becker

            • I don’t know why none of those involved are taking any action. It is disapointing but most such private agreements stop being enforced if enough time passes. It was a private agreement but someone leaked the document to me.

  2. The reason is the adultory is usually admitted. If both parties denied it, without proper evidence, you would see the cover up. As in London with the Halpern case (although it was never made clear whether the allegations included proper adultary)

    • Almost all offenders deny their misconduct. But in a number of these cases there was proof in the form of recordings or computer documents. Far as I know the evidence in the Halpern case was testimony by the women. But his protectors just played denial. What is striking in Halpern’s case was that a number of prominent Haredi rabbonim in Golders Green did publicly denounce him but it was not successful in dislodging him because his father was so prominent in the Stamford Hill Hasidic community. So I should add another factor- Family influence. It can immunize some of the worst offenders.

      • In combination with the apparent resurrection of FF. I just gave a very generous donation to JCW. Perhaps others would find this a good time to do such as well.

  3. I think the answer is that Aishes Ish is the only one that produces Mamzerim, and therefore has the does the most sociatal (rather than individual) Damage.

  4. Since most people are disgusted by rape and abusing children, it indicates that the offender has something wrong with him. For that reason, Rabbis don’t want to make other Rabbis look bad to the public. They will use any tactic to avoid facing the problem.
    However consensual sex is something that normal people including Rabbis would want to do. For that reason it is something they don’t want to let anyone get away with, even at the cost of making their colleagues look bad.

  5. Dayan Abrahams was employed by a responsible (non-Charedi) employer (US). If he was employed by the Charedi UOHC, and had been the subject of multiple allegations of abuse, and impropriety involving tens of women over decades, he would have been on the dais at the next Agguda siyum.

  6. The evidence in the Weinberger case was not of consensual adultary. It was of predatorial behavior and should not be included among the other examples

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