Article by Aharon Shwartz: Who is a Pious Fool? Anyone who Doesn’t Immediately Protest!

Aharon Shwartz explains the Torah obligation to protest against the Rav's abominable mistreatment

Legal murder
Illustration by S. Salmonovitch

Who is a Chasid Shoteh (Pious fool)?

Anyone who doesn’t immediately go out and protest!

It’s brought in the Gemara (Sotah 21b): “Rabbi Yehoshua would say a pious fool, a clever wicked person…these are destroyers of the world.”  The Gemara brings an example of a pious fool: such as, a woman is drowning in a river and a man doesn’t hurry to immediately to do something to save her — because this is unseemly, to look at a woman and to jump in to save her.

In Tosofos, in the comment beginning, “What is a pious fool similar to…,” it’s brought in the name of the Jerusalem Talmud a definition that’s even worse — such as a person who is already prepared to jump in to save her, but pauses so that he can take off his Tefillin and doesn’t jump in immediately.

And so too in the Gemara (Yoma 84): A possible danger to life pushes off [the laws] of Shabbat, and this isn’t done except by the great Sages of Israel [that is, in order to demonstrate that it’s forbidden to be stringent with oneself in a matter that’s a danger to life, it’s best if the greatest Sages stand up first to violate Shabbat in such a case]; and those who are quick to act are praiseworthy; and one doesn’t need to receive permission from a Rabbinic court, and all Torah prohibitions are put off in the face of a danger to life, aside from three cardinal sins [murder, idolatry, and forbidden relations].

And the Rishonim (Ramban, et al.) say that anyone who puts off violating Shabbat in a case of danger to life is also considered a pious fool.

And he obviously also violates the Torah prohibition of “Don’t stand on your fellow’s blood.”  Besides what is defined by the Gemara mentioned above, all of his piety is vanity and he’s considered a fool without knowledge.

And this was said about the lowliest Jew, to save his own life from his would-be murderer; all the more so his Rabbi who taught him wisdom and brought him to eternal life, that [returning] his [Rabbi’s] lost item comes before [returning] his father’s lost item (Baba Metzia 33a).  And all the more so, the loss of his Rabbi’s life — he is all the more so obligated.

And when they are deriding his Rabbi’s name, he’s halachically obligated (through the law of honoring one’s Rabbi) to protest and to express outrage against those who are blaspheming and deriding him — in this world and not only towards heaven with Tikkun Clalli’s and prayers.

Behold, a wicked government has arisen with its crooked laws in order to wipe out, to kill, to destroy a Jewish soul of a Tzaddik through insane cruelty, and how can we just stand still and stay silent in the face of such an abominable attempt at deliberate murder?

Also “under our wings” is found the blood of Tzadikim if we don’t rise up and scream out the scream of our father, our Rebbe, who is tortured with suffering and with iron combs by the wicked government.

Because what life do we have without him — he sacrifices his body, his soul, and his family for our sakes, and we don’t jump up to save him immediately from those who seek his harm and who have risen up to kill him?

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Is a Chasid who doesn’t protest against his Rebbi’s would-be murderers not considered a pious fool?

Legal Murder
“Legal Murder — Man with gun says: Confess or die — A year in jail without trial — Also Rav Berland deserves a fair trial”

Definitely a matter of life of death

Because of concerns [of violating] what are not even [definable] as a Rabbinic injunction and because of delusions of foolish piety, people are abandoning the positive Torah obligation to rescue.

We ourselves see that from the [time of] the arrest of the Rav some 10 months ago, his state of health has deteriorated to the “gates of death” G-d forbid.  According to eyewitness testimony which has mamash reached us recently, those who saw the Rav [report] that he appears extremely emaciated like the figures of those who appeared in Nazi concentration camps, Rachama l’tzlan.

Accordingly to all the facts before us, we’re talking about a case of definite danger to life, and [if necessary], we’re obligated to violate even severe Torah obligations in order to try and save him, even in a case of questionable success, because the practical halachah is to be lenient in questionable danger to life MeD’Oraisa (Tosofos Baba Basra 50b), and we are stringent in saving life and lenient if we need to violate a prohibition, even in a case of questionable [success in] rescuing.

When there is a doubt in the facts on the ground, we ask experts (Rashbam, Baba Basra 56b).  According to the opinion of experts and we also see according to the facts on the ground in Israel, that it’s proven that protest gatherings work, and help advance various goals, and in particular in the subject of human rights and justice in releasing those illegally imprisoned.

Even in a case of questionable success, we are commanded by the Torah to go out with a loud voice and protest on the streets of Israel, and there is no man amongst the students of the Rav who can exempt himself or others from that obligation.

On Thursday, Erev Shabbos parashas Vayetzei, in a prayer gathering at the grave of the Chalban, Rav Aharon Shtern said publicly in the name of his father the Mebukal Rav Alter David Chaim Shtern that:

“One who doesn’t participate in protests in the streets and protest in public over the spilling of blood of Rav Berland will have to give an accounting in Heaven.”

Rabbanim Tzaddikim and the greatest scholars of Torah and Hora’ah are commanding us to go out and protest, and we are silent and don’t object to the deliberate murder of our Rebbe, the Rav shlit”a.

If there is a Torah obligation to rise up and act, upon whom does the main obligation rest, if not on his students and members of his community?

If we don’t rise up and scream and arouse regarding the grave danger to human life at the hands of the government to the point life and death, who will do this in our place?

For every time, for every need

Yaakov Avinu in this week’s parasha prepared himself for “gift, prayer, and war” — to be prepared to utilize all these means to be rescued from the hand of the wicked Esav.

Ma’ase Avos Siman L’Banim — the acts of the forefathers is a sign for their descendants.  Behold, we fulfilled the obligation of prayer in all the prayer gatherings and Tikkun Clalli’s in the 100,000’s and we still haven’t been saved.

The obligation of an expensive gift we also fulfilled in a sizeable and exaggerated payment of over 2,000,000 NIS in fees to act against the statutes of the wicked government, and it didn’t help.

Why don’t we utilize the third option — war — and especially when we are halachically commanded to fulfill it?

If a tenth of the amount of fees had been put aside to pay for advocacy and the public struggle, perhaps we wouldn’t have reached this point of injustice and terrible criminal behavior, which is so severe that it has reached mamash a threat to the life of the Rav shlit”a.

We have reached the red line in the spilt blood of the Rav shlit”a.  His health is very weak and in a serious state, and all the other attempts to save him have failed.  It’s upon us to understand that we have reached the time to scream in a war of protest in the streets and squares because we need to protest.

Also Rabbeinu HaKodesh (Rebbe Nachman) was stern with his Chasidim when they didn’t go out on their feet outside the city and wait with sticks in order to save him, when they knew that his disputants were trying to injure him on his return trip.

Would Rabbeinu not call us pious fools?

“A prisoner can’t free himself from prison”

These words were said about King David at a time of danger, when he was hanging between heaven and earth and Avishai ben Tzruyiah sought to rescue him.  The Gemara says that David couldn’t rescue himself because a prisoner can’t free himself from prison (Sanhedrin 95a).  And this is said even about David, King Mashiach — the soul-root of all Israel.

A serious mistake and cold-heartedness has spread in our community — that we aren’t obligated to act for the rescue of our Rebbe the Rav shlit”a — with all types of delusional explanations.  However, as we have seen, this isn’t the opinion of our holy Torah, and not even in the category of piety — rather foolish and mistaken piety.

We are obligated to rise up and act — it’s forbidden to sit quietly — we’re obligated to make our voice heard all over Israel!!

Everyone is obligated to register to protest.  For coordination, call 053-315-5313 or be email: (we also need donations to print signs).

Everyone arrives at the protest tent opposite the Supreme Court in Kikar Agranat in Jerusalem

Prepare for powerful protests in one of the intersections in Gush Dan with the participation of Clall Chasidim

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