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Rabbi Horowitz Stepped Over the Line
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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1/8/09



Dear Readers:

Someone penned a respectful post on another website, which took me to task for my column and interview.

Below, please find the full text.

I think a response is in order, to his comments and well-articulated thoughts. I can't do this in middle of a work day, but I will try and get something up before Shabbos.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts? If you agree with him, please post a comment to that effect, and perhaps offer your thoughts as well.

If you agree with me, I ask that you pen your thoughts in response to his.
I ask that we not get dragged into the entire abuse discussion on this thread -- only on the legitimate points that he makes.

My thoughts (hopefully) tomorrow.

Yakov


--------

Let me preface by saying, if he is still abusing children, members of the community should kill him with their own hands.

However if this is about past crimes, "brought to justice" is not a Jewish
concept.

The authority for justice in Judaism is as follows:

1) To repay monetary damages as spelled out in the Torah. That does not
apply here.

2) When there was a beis-din with semicha, they had the authority to give
a punishment in place of divine punishment, as spelled out in the Torah.
We no longer have that authority to punish, and in addition, it isn't
clear what the punishment would be for molestation had there been a
sanhedrin, and we have no right to decide on our own.

3) To stop him from future acts of assault.

This would be the case if it was known for a FACT that he is still endangering children. While many professionals agree that pedophilia cannot be cured, there is still some disagreement as to what extend this is true. (Why is this different from yesterdays "gay" issue, where someone could have feelings for another, but yet control his impulses? Maybe he learned to control himself?)

4) To teach a lesson to stop future potential predators.

Does this apply here? Maybe. Who has the right to decide this? Who has the right and to what extent?

While I personally would enjoy seeing him punished, the Torah has set guidelines when we as people or a beis din have the right to inflict
punishment, (for all practicality, bringing him to the US is guaranteed
punishment).

While R' Horowitz’s reason of "protecting the weak" is very noble, and the
quote from the Brisker is very nice, does this apply after the fact? Does this apply to "closure" for victims?

It's (probably) permissible to passively let justice take its course, but to actively get involved and bring him to justice, is not allowed by the Torah. Therefore R' Horowitz (in my opinion) has stepped over the line.



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