Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A Vizhnitzer Fraud

The late Vizhnittzer Rebbe of Monsey Rav Mordechai Hager, zt”l (Hamodia)
Vizhnitz is a pretty big Chasidus. It doesn’t get much bigger than Vizhnitz. They are right up there with Satmar in terms of sheer numbers. They have ‘branches’ all over the world, including Monsey  - each with their own Chasidic Rebbe. 

First the disclaimer. I am not a fan of this website.* I rarely use it as a source. Their over the top critiques are very distasteful to me. As is their occasional use of inappropriate language. I am not even sure how accurate or trustworthy it is. But in this case I am relying on a video clip they hosted which seems to be truthful. It does not sound like the individual in that clip made this up. So here goes.  

This website has reported that the Vizhnitzer Rebbe’s son (and heir apparent to the ‘throne’ of Vizhnitz in Monsey) has been caught perpetrating a fraud. I taken no pleasure in reporting this. The exact opposite is true. It pains me greatly to acknowledge that there are devout Jews who believe committing fraud is an acceptable enterprise when dealing with non Jews or even non observant Jews. And it seems to be a way of life for them – if they think they can get away with it. 

Of course Vizhnitz Chasidim are not the only ones that try and get away with fraudulent activity. Every segment of society – whether Jewish, non Jewish, religious, or secular has people like that. Lots of them. But when people that claim to live a life of holiness which suggests the highest form of ethics think it’s OK to fool people for personal gain do it, it becomes an unmitigated Chilul HaShem.

Here is what happened.  

Authorities at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv detained 23 passengers after their COVID-19 test certificates were discovered to be fraudulent. The forgeries were uncovered after United Airlines staff made their suspicions known to officials at the airport.

Upon further examination, officials determined that the certificates were indeed forgeries before detaining all passengers involved. The travelers, booked on a United Airlines flight to New York yesterday, were eventually fined and released on bail. Authorities have not ruled out additional punishment for those involved.

United Airlines is believed to have contacted the Israeli Police regarding their suspicions. The police then contacted the Health Ministry to check the claims. The Health Ministry discovered the test results to be forgeries before the police arrested all passengers involved. Additionally, the details of each individual were passed on to U.S. authorities.

What they didn’t realize in their infinite stupidity is that Israelis are pretty good at detecting fraud like this. They were caught. Upon which time they supposedly started screaming epithets at the authortities calling them Zionist Reshuim - evil doers. (Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!)

I do not use the phrase ‘infinite stupidity’ lightly. If this story is true, then the mere fact that they choose not to be vaccinated already qualifies them as stupid. A stupidity that is exacerbated by the belief  that they could so easily defraud Israeli authorities. Who are decidedly NOT stupid. 

Not only are these Chasidim stupid but they are selfish. Thinking only of themselves and not others. By sneaking into Israel at time where the extremely contagious Delta variant is rampant all over the world they could have easily have become infected while traveling without realizing it. Traveling increases contact. Which means they may end up getting the virus and- not only getting sick themselves but spreading it to others unwittingly before symptoms ever show up.  

One might argue that stupid people cannot be blamed for the  Chilul HaShem that might result from that. After all they aren’t aware that they did anything wrong. But when that stupidity is willful – that is a horse of another color. The fact that they isolate themselves from the world means that they are not exposed to the realities within it. The only exposure to reality they get is what their officially approved media tells them it is. 

But even leaving that out, the very idea that they believe that defrauding non Jews or non observant Jew is - not only OK but a legitimate way of life makes this such a massive Chilul Hashem. Making matters worse is that instead of being contrite about it after being caught, they add to the Chilul Hashem by calling the authorities ‘Zionist Reshuim’! 

One might argue that these particular Vizhnitzer Chasidim do not represent Vizhnitz. That they are outliers that distort the true charatder of this Chasidus. But it’s kind of hard to buy that when the people who led these reprobates is the son the Rebbe and heir apparent to the throne!

Sadly this is not the first time a prominent Chasid was caught perpetrating a fraud. A few years ago a  prominent Chasidic Rebbe (not from Vizhnitz) was caught doing it too and spent some time in prison for it. That two prominent Chasidic individuals from different Chasidus perpetrated a fraud kind of tells you that fraud against non Jews and non observant Jews is a way of life for them - if they think they can get away with it. These two prominent Chasidim were not the only one that have been caught doing things like that.

Lo Zu HaDerech. This is NOT the Jewish way. When this kind of thing happens it MUST be protested loudly and clearly. All the good deeds they might otherwise do become meaningless when they commit a public Chilul HaShem

Next time they try something like this, these Chasidim should take of their Yarmulkes; shave off their beards and Peyos; and throw away their Chasidic garb. At least this way no one will know it was religious Jews doing it. 

I urge everyone to link to this website and watch the video clip of a what looks like a Charedi Rav of Lithuanian extraction making a similar critique. I have no idea who he is, but he seems to know what he’s talking about. It is in Yiddish. If you understand the language, this clip will wake you up to the realities of a lifestyle I am sure they would prefer keeping under wraps A lifestyle that is the antithesis of how a Jew should live. A lifestyle that should be condemned.

*I have since been sent a link to a more reliable source from which I excerpted later in the post. I have also found a version of this story at VIN