Losing YOUR Religion
Reading Jewboy's post about something in the orthodox world that saddened him reminded me of a New York Times article that a friend forwarded me a few days ago.
The article speaks about an Orthodox rabbi serving a 27-year sentence in an Otisville, NY federal penitentiary (where, I'm told there is at least 1 Daf Yomi Shiur) for fraudulently obtaining more than $4 million. Oh, and we're not talking about not-paying-your-taxes $4 million, we're talking collecting-money-for-a-fake-lottery $4 million. He is suing the Bureau of Prisons for the right to be able to pray outside of his cell. He claims that he cannot pray inside of his cell because of the presence of a toilet, and in doing so, he would be violating Halacha.
Thank G-d, we live in a country where we can pray where we want, when we want. We live in time period that is arguably the best for Jews in recent history. But, how do we obtain these liberty and freedoms? It doesn't come for free; it comes with the price of obeying the rules of this country. You steal money from innocent people who think that they can win money in a lottery - a clear violation of the laws of our land, yet you claim that you're owed protection from those same laws? Sounds like some real chutzpah to me.
I'm sure Rabbi Samet would scold me for speaking Lashon Hara. I'm sure Rabbi Samet could run circles around me in learning. But, I have to imagine that I have one up on him in the eyes of Hashem; after all, I didn't swindle $4 million out of anyone. I fail to understand how these people can be so Machmir in all aspects of life, but when it comes to money, they feel that they can do whatever they please. TAXES?! Who pays taxes? To a Goyishe government!? The hypocrisy in which these people live their lives is astonishing.
I would like to believe that Hashem doesn't as readily accept the prayers of people who live their lives seeped in such hypocrisy as he does mine and yours. Rabbi Samet - you know how you go about being able to daven whereever you want? A: Don't steal $4 million from innocent people and it wouldn't even be a problem in the first place. Deal with it.