Jun 30, 2010

Michael Streicher, Al Taamin B'Atzmecha Ad Yom Moscha

No matter how great, and straight, a person might be, he never knows how he will respond when he and his morals are tested. As Hillel says in Pirkei Avos, "אל תאמין בעצמך עד יום מותך" - don't trust in yourself [to not fail], until the day of your death.

Michoel Streicher was the singer/performer who, to me at least, always seemed to be the most stable of singers. Singers and performers live difficult lives in front of the crowd, traveling a lot, exposing themselves to situations that can be very difficult. Yet Streicher always seemed, to me at least, to be of a different mold than the average performer. He never really seemed to let his fame and popularity get to him. he learned in kollel, he seemed like a genuine baal aliyah who used his music and talents to inspire.

But, as Hillel says, one cannot be confident in his abilities to withstand temptation until the day one dies. Michoel Streicher, who seems to have fallen on hard times financially, like many others in these days of global recession, was convicted in court, and sentenced to 3 years of prison, for stealing $36,000 from a woman and her family who hired him to be the broker on their behalf to buy a Torah for her husband who was ill. He is now deceased.

Streicher returned the money a few days ago as he handed her a check, but the agony and stress he caused them over the years still prompted the judge to sentence him to 3 years in prison.

Streicher is quoted as having said in court that he was like Michael Jackson in Israel. The news reports are also saying he is mentally ill and is undergoing treatment.

A shocking story, and a reminder to not be overly confident in one's ability to withstand temptation


  1. As an ex-neighbor of his, when he lived in Kiryat Sefer, I know that all the travelling DID take a huge toll on his personal life. I am very saddened to read this story.

  2. a huge toll I am sure. any businessman who travels a lot for work is in the same situation as far as that is concerned.
    Performers are in a different category though. It is not just the toll on the family and personal life, but they often get involved in drugs and women, groupies, hedonism, and other base desires..
    You will say it doesnt happen to frum performers, but it does. Maybe not all of them, but it does happen to some.

  3. i am totally shocked. i met him about 12 years ago where i vacationed together with him over several days. i got to spend alot of time with him.
    i was very impressed by his penimiyus. he was a real ben torah then, in a real way.
    i am hoping that there is more to the story and he is not as bad as a guy as you make it sound. (there usually is) perhaps there was some kind of machlokes and he thought he was right, but who knows.

  4. I hope so too. according to the various news articles (go to google and type in michael streicher torah or jail and you will find plenty) he admitted to everything and even paid the money back a few days ago. He was arrested for this 2 years ago and at the time refused to pay the money back.

    I do not know why they did not go to beis din but to secular court, considering both sides are frum jews.

  5. A sad story indeed. At least he did not perform in front of a mixed audience, because then the Yated would be full of it.

  6. 20 years ago there was a katav si ruv against him regarding a dira. He claimed he had no money to pay. thats all i remember of this case.

  7. This guy is a dual personality. On the outside he appears like a ben torah. unfortunately he has done nothing but scam money out of unsuspecting victims for the past 25 years. This is not just one slip up of temptation. It is just the first time the law was able to catch him. It is a long well deserved punishment. I have first hand knowledge of all the details of the story.

  8. ... and you write this anonymously on a blog after he got caught while you were in the know for 25 years. Good for you.

  9. Chanokh, I didn't notice your last name or your address on your post. But I guess if you say your name is Chanokh then it isn't anonymous.

    I also know a bit about this case. This was no accident, no mistake and no small slip-up. Streicher puts on a very good show of being a ben-torah but hasn't lived an honest life for years. He rarely goes home to see his family and they've been living off tzedaka for years since he won't support his wife or kids.

    Like most professional criminals, sooner or later they get so arrogant that they forget to be careful. This was the first case where he left behind enough of a paper trail to be convicted of a crime.

    If anyone wants more verification, just ask any Rav who's involved with a Bais Din. He is well know to them as a man with no respect for Bais Din who uses the proceedings only as a way to further pain his victims before ignoring the P'sak anyways.

    He may in fact have a mental illness but it took jail to make him seek treatment. May Hashem have Rachmunus on his victims.

  10. Mental illness does not excuse criminal behavior.
    Only if it reaches the level of "shoteh"- halachicmental incompetency.


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