Rabid Rabbi vs Humble Hunchback

Has there ever been a rabbi, rebbe, prophet or sage in history who publicly “admitted” to the world that we Jews have not yet suffered enough? That the number of sacrifices and historical data of our slaughtered children by mortal enemies are all mistaken and the quota, therefore, for all intents and purposes, not yet met? 

I know of none! Not from a biblical, talmudic or post-talmudic perspective. Yet, when you live long enough and you think you’ve seen it all, you realize you haven’t. All of a sudden there’s a “leader” looking to sweep the pain of his people under the rug. Instead of following Moses’ example from this week’s parsha, when he takes G-d to task, “…[why] have You made our scent so abhorrent in the eyes of Pharaoh…to place a sword in their hands to murder us! …why have You done evil to this people [and for that matter if so] why do You send me [as Your emissary to free them]? …he continues to do evil to this people but You did not rescue Your people!!!”

Today, instead, you have a Joseph Mizrachi who blames not G-d but the Jewish people (and I paraphrase): God, your people are lying. They stink period! They’re fornicators, assimilated, idolatrous and adulterous, Shabbat-desecrators, pork-eating and shrimp-swallowing devourers. I can understand — God — why you kill them. It makes sense that their children and grandchildren were used for scientific experiments. That their brothers and sisters were grafted, shafted and drafted into the worst nightmare of history — concentration and death camps. Oh, God, don’t fret if your children continue with this silliness and accuse you of allowing 6,000,000 of your children to die innocently, don’t worry, I got your back. I’ll tell everyone how it’s not true and how they’re not so innocent as they seem. Ye, God, me and you!

Anyone discern the incongruity? Anyone want to hazard a guess who G-d considers a “real” leader of the Jews? Moses — the one who spoke up to G-d on behalf of Israel — or Mizrachi — the one who defended G-d on the backs of Israel?

Have you met a rabbi of any of our present-day denominations who gives legitimacy to known rabid anti-Semites and their age-old conspiracy theories? Ye, you know it; the Jews are liars. 6,000,000 Jews never died in the Holocaust. Jews are libeling that hero of their’s, Adolf Hitler, ym”sh, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

For the first time, I can recall, you have a “spiritual” leader, a so-called Torah-scholar and lecturer, listened to by many, publicly proclaiming all the above. That whatever we Jews know to be historical fact a decimation of a third of our people less than a century ago really is untrue. It’s all a canard! In any event, Jews deserved it and thus those who died are not to be revered or treated as “kedoshim“. They may not even be Jews!

Ignoring for the moment the veracity of his sick statements they definitely give fodder and support to the ideology perpetrated for decades by the KKK, neo-Nazis, fundamentalist Muslims and other anti-Semites. To have a religious rabbi literally echoing this garbage is a feather in their cap. As such he is betrayal to Jews, a traitor, who should be shunned like them!

What is particularly disturbing is why he said them. They have no substantive value — right or wrong. None! It is a statement made to shock others and aggrandize himself. It is an attempt to reignite an old wedge issue between Sefardim and Ashkenazim — which has been brewing for quite a while — and instead of healing the breaches he wants to widen the fissures by trumpeting history’s recording of Ashkenazic persecution while supposedly downplaying Sefardic persecution. As if suffering is some great quality in and of itself to look forward to and to hold up with pride. Not realizing that the Ashkenazic community would gladly and graciously pass that suffering on to anyone who wants it. Instead of being a healer he foments anger and chaos like the demagogue he is: If you think you’ve suffered enough and you’re better than us we’re going to prove you haven’t and make you suffer more. As long as you suffer!

The damage and destructive ramifications of these statements are difficult to gauge and I hope and pray that in spite of him and his toxic pronouncements we will overcome and overwhelm him and those like him. Nevertheless, practically and halachically speaking I believe that true scholars must rise up and put an immediate stop to this danger. He and those like him (and there are others out there) must be cut off at the pass and not be given any legitimate platform in any Jewish forum. He must be ostracized forthwith! There can be no quarter given to this parasite. He is a fire waiting to engulf us all. We’re talking lives and treasure.

Isaiah put it well when he said, “…your demolishers and destroyers will emerge from [within] you.” Our greatest hardships have shamefully come from those within. Going all the way back to the story we read in this week’s parsha when we read about the first Jewish rat-finks all the way to the Holocaust when “capos” caused the death of so many Jews to save their own skin. I believe the known billionaire, George Sorros is an example and proudly admits it as an act of survival.

Only we can hurt ourselves and this is another shameful example. When a vile Jewish leader publicly negates those who died in the Holocaust, casts doubt on its historicity and thereby assuages the guilt of our enemies who are constantly looking for an excuse to whitewash their bloodied hands, he loses all rights to lead with this public desecration of G-d’s Name. He has slandered Jewish souls, their descendants and all future souls who will emanate from them. He will pay dearly and those who defend him no less.

An outcry must ensue. On a practical level every Jew who had any connection to the Holocaust should take him to court and sue him for punitive damages and pain. He must be made an example to all those rabbis and leaders who think they can protect themselves with a cloak of righteousness and use Torah to clobber Jews. Our enemies do a good enough job of that! Such Torah is not an “Elixir of Life” but “deathly poison.”

Ironically, in the same Book of Exodus we’re treated to the story of suffering and slavery of the Israelite’s in Egypt and their ultimate Exodus. The Talmud in Sanhedrin (91a) tells us about an individual called Gevihah ben Pesisa (the “hunchback”) who asked and was granted permission by our Sages three times to defend the Jewish people before Alexander the Great. The first time against an African [descendants of Canaan] nation, the second time before the Egyptians and the third time before the descendants of Ismael. It is the second one that is of interest here, and I quote:

It happened again that the Egyptians summoned Israel before Alexander of Macedonia, demanding from them the gold and silver which they had borrowed from them at the time of their exodus. As it reads [Ex. 12:36]: “And the Lord hath given the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, so that they gave unto them what they required; and they emptied out Egypt.” And G’biah b. P’sisa requested from the sages permission to be the advocate in defense of Israel… He got this permission, and did so. Then he said to them: What is your evidence? And their answer was: From your Torah. Then said he: I in defence will also bring my evidence from the same, which reads [ibid., ibid. 40]: “Now the time of the residence of the children of Israel, which they dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.” Hence I demand of you the wages for the labor of six hundred thousand men whom your parents compelled to work for them all the time they were in Egypt. And Alexander decided that the Egyptians should give a proper answer–for which they requested three days’ time, which was allowed to them. But they could not find a satisfactory answer, and they fled, leaving their sown fields and their planted vineyards…

Now, I always wondered, if the Sages agreed for Gevihah to represent them at the “world court” how is it he could make such an error and say the Jews were exiled and compelled to work without compensation for 430 years??!! 1) Even if that was true we know that out of the time the Jews were in Egypt as long as any of the sons of Jacob were alive Pharaoh honored his pledge to the Israelite’s and they lived virtually free. Slavery did not actually begin until Levi, the last son of Jacob, died. From the time he entered into Egypt till he died almost a century passed. Subtract that from 430 and at best you have around 340 years. 2) Most importantly, as we are taught in the Talmud and Rashi spells it out mathematically for any layman to see we were only in Egypt for slightly less than half that time!! 210 years in total! [Why Torah uses the number 430 is not in the scope of this article]. That minimizes and diminishes his claim considerably and should’ve been sufficient to allow the Egyptians to demand at least some of their money back!

For that matter why is no national holiday proclaimed in his name? If not for Gevihah Jews would’ve lost the Land of Israel to the descendants of Canaan and the just rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. Alexander could’ve easily taken it away as he originally intended. Why is he not hailed as one of our greatest heroes?

Yet no one says anything in response to his glaring and obvious mistake. Utter silence! Not one Sage or scholar of the remaining Men of the Great Assembly protested and corrected Geviha or offered their own services instead for this mission. For that matter they entrusted this delicate diplomatic effort with possible earth shattering consequence to a simple layman.

You know why? BECAUSE IT DIDN’T REALLY MATTER!!! Our Sages could have defended the Jews just as well and used the same ploy. It was not rocket science. Simon the Just, the High Priest and last member of the Men of the Great Assembly, the spiritual leader of the Jewish people did exactly that once before to Alexander at great personal peril and came out victorious, making an ally out of Alexander thereafter. Why not now again?

The reason was Gevihah was a simple man. Even if the Egyptians would’ve bothered to do the math and he was caught inflating the numbers –which he did– all he’d have to say is, “whoops guys, sorry, made a mistake… I’ll look it over talk to my rabbis and get back to you…” If Simon or another sage of the time would’ve used that ploy and got caught he loses all credibility and it’s over. As such, they knowingly sent Gevihah even though they knew the thrust of his argument hoping it’d work, if it does great and we’re home free, Jewish wealth would remain with the Jews. If not, we have a second chance and this time the scholars will have to come up with a more scholastic response.

How ironic that a “rabbi” like Joseph Mizrachi uses his offices and leadership to denigrate and diminish Israel. Diminish the numbers of those who were sacrificed because they were Jews. Diminishes the rights Jews fought for to receive adequate reparations even though it would never be enough. And how shameful and vile it is he learned nothing from a simple ‘hunchback’ and the great leaders of that day who were complicit in inflating the sorrow suffered by the Jews in Egypt so their enemies had no standing and had to flee in shame.

This is a week that shall live in infamy. A Jewish ‘leader’ with a bully-pulpit disgraced the meaning of leadership and soiled the rabbinate. Instead of being a pastor and supporter of his own brethren he has denigrated their numbers and degraded their value.

May Almighty G-d, now more than ever, send His righteous redeemer so we may rid ourselves of the Korachs and farcical leaders of the world and all the evil they wrought upon us. May our saints who died sanctifying His Name have the justice they deserve and in spite of such hate see them rise in the Resurrection of the Dead with all prophets and tzadikim NOW!

About the Author
Graduate of the Rabbinical College of Greater Miami and Central Lubavitch Yeshivah in NY. Rabbi in Hollywood, FL leading its community as the Chabad Emissary and member of Florida Friends of Lubavitch for over 25 years. "Father and grandfather is something I'm most proud of and strive to get better."
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