It’s the late 1990s. You are a teen and are totally stressed out. You are ‘getting hit’ from every side…. parents …teachers …peers… You need a release. What to do…?
Well there is always the drug solution. An altered state of mind can do wonders for stress. But as a religious Jew, you are totally out of the orbit of the drug world. Where are you going to find the drugs you need? No way are you going to go the ‘normal route’ in the ‘wrong neighborhoods’ to find drug dealers.
Not to worry. There are Frum drug dealers. And they have some youthful Orthodox Jews distributing for them. Here is a description of how it worked back then:
Orthodox kids were selling significant quantities of drugs to other frum children. Here’s basically the way it worked: If you were an adult or teen who wanted to purchase drugs, you would go to designated pay phones in the Boro Park/Flatbush sections of Brooklyn and pretend to make a phone call. Then, using prearranged signals, you would indicate the type of the drug you wanted to buy. For example, placing a hand in your left pocket meant that you wanted to purchase ecstasy pills, while a hand in your right pocket signaled that you were looking for marijuana. Then, after you would flash hand signals informing the pusher of the exact quantity you requested, someone would approach you and close the deal.
And who was the ringleader? A 50 year old Charedi man. He was caught selling drugs in the basement of a Boro Park Shul!
The dealer and his youthful distributors, all Orthodox, were arrested. How were they caught? Good citizens, upon being told about it and then verifying it, went to the authorities and told them what they knew.
How can this be? Isn’t one liable to the laws of Mesira... reporting a fellow Jew to secular authorites... by doing so? What about the Chilul HaShem that exposure of such an event causes? Isn’t repeating this story here Lashon Hara?
The answer is to all three questions is no.
It is not Mesira to report people to the authorities who have a din of a Rodef. These people were considered by Halacha tantamount to murderers out to kill innocent human beings. And yes reporting these people to the authorities does lead to a public Chilul HaShem. But reporting them was a Kiddush HaShem. The Chilul HaShem was caused by the Frum kids and their Charedi ringleader.
What about Lashon Hara. That too is not a problem here. It is certainly permitted when there is a Toeles… a purpose greater than the Issur of gossiping. What is the Toeles here? Rabbi Yakov Horowitz explains it masterfully in his weekly Mishpacha Magazine column – republished at his website from where the above excerpt was taken. It is a must read!
He tells us this story because he wants to show that when it comes to the welfare of Klal Yisroel, not only is it permitted. It is required. And there is no greater need to teach this message than right now.
The issue today is sexual abuse. I don’t know if the drug problem in the Torah world is solved, but the one thing that we should learn from the above episode is that there should be no hesitation in reporting a sexual offender to the authorities. They are Rodfim! If one is certain that someone they know is molesting children, they should not hesitate and report him to the police. This has been made clear by virtually all Halachic authorities of all stripes. Just as Rav Avroham Pam did when he told that good citizen to report the above incident to the police.
Why bring it up here? Because the Orthodox public must be made aware… again and again… until all cognitive dissonance disappears from our collective minds.
At this point I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to Agudath Israel. While some of their leadership may have dropped the ball on this issue in the past, I think it is worth noting that they have on their roster a man like Rabbi Yakov Horowitz. He is one of their biggest assets. I salute them for supporting him.
I have said it before but it bears repeating. Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is a genuine hero. He tells it like it is without fear of repercussions for himself. God bless him.