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Jun 5, 2008

Three rodfim in Japan


R' Moshe Grylk, the editor of the Mishpacha Magazine, wrote a knockout editorial in last week's edition.

The editorial was on the topic of the three yeshiva boys who were arrested in Japan for smuggling (hard drugs supposedly).

The past few weeks, there have been many calls for assistance for these young men who were enticed into carrying a suitcase to Japan. They did not know what was inside, but whatever it was they were offered as compensation must have convinced them not to ask any questions.

So they took a risk, now they are sitting in a jail in Japan possibly facing 12 years for their crime. The conditions in Japanese jails are extremely harsh, as a way of deterring crime (I think the Western world is wrong for not making their jails just as harsh, but they make it like summer camp behind bars, giving prisoners all sorts of rights) and the boys are suffering under very harsh conditions.

As I have said once before, I am kind of ambivalent to their plight, as they committed a crime and got caught. Why is that Pidyon Shvuyim? but while I am ambivalent, others are more attuned to the chessed wavelengths and want to help despite the fact that these boys are guilty of a crime.

So, we have seen flyers calling for monetary donations to help them get legal assistance and political influence. the flyers talk about how they were duped, they had no idea, how great the mitzva of redeeming captives is, etc.

So R' Grylk wrote an editorial. While he did not touch on the topic of pidyon Shvuyim and whether he thinks this categorization does or does not apply in this case, and whether we should or should not be helping them, he did write about the situation.

R' Grylk blasted these boys for putting all Jews at risk just so they could make some money for carrying a suitcase. Because of them, and a number of other recent similar incidents in other places, frum jews are being spotted and stopped at customs stations in ariports around the world, as they are considered highly suspect as possible smugglers.

As R' Grylk said, these boys, these people who smuggle, they share with us the ramifications of being caught, but they were not willing to share with us the ramifications of not being caught.

In other words, had they slipped through and not been caught, they would have deposited in their bank accounts a nice sum of money. They wiould not have shared that with me or with you. now that they were caught, you and I both have to suffer the ramifications of his smuggling, as they gave a bad name to frum jews all over.

Grylk asks where are the askanim getting Rabbonim to sign declarations saying it is prohibited to smuggle or to carry suitcases for other people? They sign papers on so many issues banning things and warning us of various possible spiritual stumbling blocks, why can they not do so to stop this phenomenon of people carrying suitcases for others, and getting caught?

While Grylk does not come out and say that this is not pidyon shvuyim and that they should just be allowed to sit out their crime in jail, he does say he does not forgive them for their crime, for the chillul Hahsem they caused or for the problems they have caused for frum jews all over the world, and he does not forgive the smugglers who not get caught either. They have no right to put the rest of us in any danger. Grylk calls them rodfim against the rest of us.

23 comments:

  1. who is R' grylk?

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  2. he is the editor of mishpacha magazine

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  3. Jonathan Rosenblum wrote an even better response this week.

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  4. I wondering if R'Grylk would write the same article if it was one of his sons sitting in Japan. Somehow I think not.

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  5. >I wondering if R'Grylk would write the same article if it was one of his sons sitting in Japan. Somehow I think not.

    You're right, he wouldn't. In that case, his responsibility would be as a parent, but he'd also be nogeah be-davar. It's fine and appropriate for a parent to advocate for their children even when they're criminals, but this does not mean that the rest of society ought to, at least not without proper reflection.

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  6. bluke - I saw his article on cross currents. I was not that impressed. I did not see the point of it. He wa sbasically saying that these boys are charedi and Rav Grylk was wrong for indicating that they are not really charedi.

    I did not see that at all from R' Grylk's editorial, so I did not see the point of Rosenblum. Maybe in the english mishpacha it was translated a bit differently. I only saw the Hebrew article.

    Jewishmama- I agree with Mississippi Fred.

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  7. MISS FRED:

    "In that case, his responsibility would be as a parent"

    which brings to mind the story attributed to golda meir during the munich crisis. an interviewer asked her why she didn't negotiate with the terrorists and wanted to know if she would have done anything possible if it were her own child held hostage. she replied, "i would demand that the government do anything to get my child back . . . but i hope they wouldn't listen"

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  8. "others are more attuned to the chessed wavelengths"

    i don't know the specifics of this case, but chesed can be misplaced. (there is a good line, that i can't remember, about what happens to a society that applies chesed where it doesn't belong.)

    "In other words, had they slipped through and not been caught, they would have deposited in their bank accounts a nice sum of money. They wiould not have shared that with me or with you."

    i assume i am not understanding this. is he saying that it would have been ok if they would share it?

    "So, we have seen flyers calling for monetary donations to help them get legal assistance and political influence."

    as if a chillil hashem hasn't already been created in these types of situations, what is the point in showing the goyyim that we close ranks regardless if they are guilty or not. i.e., we abet crime post facto.

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  9. >i assume i am not understanding this. is he saying that it would have been ok if they would share it?

    I am sure he means it facetiously. Let's say they were paid $10,000. What, they would have shared $10,000 with "Chareidi society"? Everyone gets a nickel?

    That's not what he means. I think he means that the mentality was that they want us to be there for them, but they are not there for us. He gave a facetious example, but what about the more serious one where traveling Chareidim may come to fit one profile for smuggling in the eyes of customs officials, if they aren't already?

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  10. In today's environment,everyone has an opinion that can be insantly available to everyone and his uncle. Who is R. Grylk? an editor of Mishpacha. So what; his 'Daas Torah' is as valuable to us as yours & mine. The Rabbonim should make it clear that the ability to print articles carris as much weight as 'mikveh neias'

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  11. >>I think the Western world is wrong for not making their jails just as harsh, but they make it like summer camp behind bars, giving prisoners all sorts of rights)(I think the Western world is wrong for not making their jails just as harsh, but they make it like summer camp behind bars, giving prisoners all sorts of rights)

    I happen to agree with you about the issue of the boys, but about Western prisons you are wrong. Don't you have American television there? Haven't you seen "Oz"? I hardly think any state correctional facility can be accurately deemed a "Summer Camp". Go spend ten minutes at Riker's Island and see if you disagree.

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  12. ok, summer camp was an exaggeration. But prisoners get a lot of rights and privileges, and can sue when they feel slighted.. sure some prisoners have it worse, because their crimes may have been more violent, but western prisons offer most criminals much more in the ways of amenities and privileges than do Japanese or non-western prisons.

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  13. Sadly the problems are much deeper than being soft on drug mules and misplaced sympathies for law-breakers. It's a deep-seated problem in our educational system:

    A) We need (at least in Westren countries and Japan) to update our attitude towards goyim.

    B) We need to re-sensitize ourselves to the mission of
    וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ, כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה.
    and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.'

    C) we need to end our unremitting hostility towards secular education and manual labor so that instead of being easy marks for get-rich-quick schemes our youth will be empowered to earn clean and honest livings instead of being "trained-for-nothings" constantly using their Yiddishe kep and ample wits to figure out how to "get by" and "get over".

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  14. So what; his 'Daas Torah' is as valuable to us as yours & mine. The Rabbonim should make it clear that the ability to print articles carris as much weight as 'mikveh neias'

    Why are you being so hostile? Have you or your kids been drug mules? Where is your kovod HaBriyos? No one is giving Grylik the cache of Rav Cahim Kanievski but why do the opinions of the askonim who asked the Rabbonims signature on their pidyon Sh'vuyim kol korehs opinions any more or less wighty than Gryliks? maybe had Grylik approached the Rabbonim first we'd have a whole different set of kol Korehs!

    Ever heard of קבל את האמת ממי שאמרו?

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  15. My point is that Mishpacha should report the news, period. No one on their staff has the credentials to impact the fate of fellow Jews. The ability to publish does not an authority make.

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  16. anon - I hear your point, but why are they less entitled to write an editorial than Hamodia and Yated?

    Mishpacha claims they have a vaad harabbonim that provides oversight and direction, so I doubt they are posting such editorials without their "vaad harabbonim" approving it...

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  17. I am not sure if any of you know these boys. I happen to know one of them personally, his name is Yoeli Goldstein. He comes from a very poor family in Meah Shearim.
    Apparently the boys were offered $1000 dollars plus a free trip to Lizensk for transporting a suitcase of antiques from Amsterdam to Japan.
    Now anyone who even contempates transporting drugs for $1000 dollars obviously hasn't got the vaguest idea what drugs are nor the cosequenses of smuggling them.

    I wonder why every one is having a go at them and have completely ignored the Rodfim who expoited them?! They were also frum and they knew full well what they where getting these boys into! They exploited these boys innocence to their advantage to make lots of money which they were not going to share with us!

    As to the Kol Korehs etc..
    Rabonim in Europe have campaigned repeatedly in the last couple of years that anyone knows of another Yid dealing in drugs, may report him to the authorities immediately.......BECAUSE HE IS A RODEF!!!!

    PEOPLE PUTTING DRUGS INTO THE HANDS OF UNASSUMING CHASIDISHE BOYS ARE RODFIM!!

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  18. PEOPLE LOOOOOOVE TO JUDGE! ITS IN OUR BLOOD! JUDGE THIS ONE AND THAT ONE, BUT WERE YOUUUU THERE WHEN THIS INCIDENT TOOK PLACE? MANY POSSIBILITIES COULD HAVE HAPPENED?! MAYBE THEY WERE INTIMIDATED, OR SAW THE MONEY AND WERE NAIVE ABOUT IT. IN ANY CASE WHATEVER THE REASON WAS THEY MADE A GRAVE MISTAKE, AND I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE CAN JUDGE THEM AND EVEN SAY IT MAY NOT BE OBLIGATED TO SAVE THEM! WE THE JEWISH NATION WHAT SEPARATES US FROM ANY OTHER NATION IS THAT WE ARE A NATION OF RAHAMIM(MERCY).WHEN WE HAVE MERCY ON OTHERS HASHEM WILL HAVE MERCY ON US. MAY WE ALL BE FOREVER UNITED,FOR WE ARE A BLESSED NATION.

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  19. jails all over, including Israel, house many jewish criminals. Are we obligated to fight to get them all out of jail? maybe we should not have jails at all....

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  20. i think we should send r' grylk to prison in japan for 1 day !!!

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  21. R. Moshe Leib Sasover ZY”O used to take out Jews from prison no matter what their Jewish status was or what they have done and he used to be mchlal shabbos for it as well !!!
    Jacob L.

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  22. I swear no one here knows what is going on. Japan labor prisons are torture cells and if you look at the clock or make noise during the 12 hours a day of forced labor or look at someone's eyes or look up before meals or step out of line in a march you get 10 days of hellish solitary confinement where they force-feed you and do not let you move! I am a human rights worker and I know intimately about world prisons. So every one in this blog please shut your mouth and stop condemning the boys! If you were born in their situation and a friend or trusted person asked you to bring antiques(don't forget that he brought them the suitcases minutes before their departure time when they were already in the airport) and you were young and naive and eighteen years old and you were so damn sheltered like they were...... Of course the guy who sent them was wicked. Ya the Chareidi world has some wrong-doers and they also have many many sincere caring sweet and loving individuals who do much good to the world. And every soceity in the Western world also has evil people.
    The world is a crazy place and its hard not to go insane-- so some people think over sheltering is the answer---maybe they are wrong ---still I know where they are coming from bc I've seen hundreds of people going crazy from the jungle of the world and everyone is trying to stay sane in an insane world.
    Anyways lets feel for one another and stop bad mouthing everyone

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  23. actually a friend of mine from japan (he no longer lives there but used to live there for over 10 years) says that they are lucky they were caught in Japan.
    Prisons are harsh everywhere, but he says in japan they are protected whereas in other countries they would be victims of rape and beaten and whatnot by other inmates. In Japan it is harsh but as prisoners they are taken care of and protected.

    Again, prison is harsh no matter where it is. That's the point.

    I wish them well. I dont WANT them to sit in prison and have harsh conditions. the only thing I dont like is when people (askanim and the like) try to portray such people as being innocent, tzadikim and the like and those who caught them as being anti-semites. They were caught smuggling drugs. if they were caught smuggling drugs to any country they would have been arrested and put in jail. they were taken advantage of. I hope they dont get too harsh a treatment, but they are a far cry from being innocent tzadikim.

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