How Did Rabbis Determine Someone Was a Miscreant before Electronic Recording?

Mordechai Tendler

Mordechai Tendler

In three important cases, rabbis relied on audio or video recordings to publicly denounce rabbis or force them to resign. I am referring to Rabbi Mordechai Tendler, Rabbi Leib Tropper and, most recently, Rabbi Dovid Weinberger. In each case, dozens of victims had complained to many rabbis, but to no avail, until the recordings surfaced.

Leib Tropper

Leib Tropper

The technology for audio recording is about a century old. Only in recent decades has recording capability become cheap, inconspicuous, and ubiquitous. But we know that rabbinic misconduct did not suddenly start a few years ago.

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger

Rabbi Dovid Weinberger

We know that Jewish law empowers communities to remove religious functionaries (e.g., rabbis, teachers, ritual slaughterers) for misconduct. We know that rabbis and communal leaders have “fired” functionaries in various times and places over the centuries (e.g, Shoel Umeishiv in 19th century Lvov/Lemberg).

So I have to ask how was it done before they had electronic recordings. Put differently, why are hyper-traditionalist rabbis demanding newfangled forms of electronic evidence and not using the old methods?

Cassette audio

Text of Infomercial for Borger’s For-Profit Venture, TEARS FOR MOSHIACH

Below is the full text of the tape of Borger’s infomercial which I wrote about in my post, Take the Borger Challenge.

Notable details include:

  • Borger’s exploitation of his son’s death,
  • his improbable attempt to claim there was no suicide,
  • his grandiose belief that G-d killed two innocent Jews in Teaneck because others were attacking Sammy Borger,
  • the fact that he does not name a single individual or organization that is endorsing this venture, not even the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation.

Read it for yourself and decide. Continue reading