Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz vs Rabbi Barry Freundel, who is worse? A lesson in inverted Tzedaka from the Rambam

Here I go again, looking for trouble. Something tells me I’m going to get it. Before everyone gets all “what in blank’s name are you talking about Captain Ahab?” on me, let me set up the comparison first. I know I said I’d lay off him after he thankfully advocated organ sales, but the hypocrisy just boiled over the surface of the pot again and I can’t take it.

A spate of articles came out recently about Barry “Tom” Freundel the “Peeperer Rov” Shlitah (everyone rise). One article was published in the Washingtonian on January 3rd, brought to my attention by my wife, that brought to light even worse aspects of the case than we knew about previously. Apparently, Barry set up hidden cameras in a vacant apartment he had set up for a Haredi woman as a safe shelter who was fleeing from her abusive husband. The woman had gotten in touch with him for help and he took advantage of the opportunity to see her naked.

The schadenfreude instinct in all of us loves to squirm at the thought of something like that and denounce Barry for being even more heartless than we thought. It certainly is quite gross. From his perspective though, there wasn’t any difference between that and spying on women in the mikveh. In both cases he assumes he will never get caught, nobody will ever know, and therefore no harm will be done because none of the women will ever find out.

So practically it doesn’t matter if he’s peeping on an abused woman he himself is helping shelter from an abusive husband, or converts dunking in the mikveh or whatever. There’s no nafkah minah (practical difference) assuming he is never caught, and all criminals assume they will never be caught or they would never commit their crimes.

The Eight Levels of Tzadaka, The Eight Levels of Harm

But let’s consider harm in levels parallel to Rambam’s 8 levels of Tzadaka, or charity. Rambam, Zra’im, Hilchos Matanos Ani’im 10:7 says that the highest form of charity is giving someone a loan or a gift (notice Rambam does not differentiate between loan and gift) or a job so that he does not have to rely on charity any longer. This level is higher than the ever-praised level of giving anonymously to people who not even the giver knows the identity of, which is only the second level, and called a Mitzva Lishma, a Mitzva for its own sake, by the Rambam. The third is knowing who you give charity to but them not knowing who gave it.The lowest level is giving tzedaka grudgingly, publicly with a sour resentful face.

Conceptually, this means that employing someone at $10 an hour who needs a job is considered better than  dumping a million bucks on the same needy person who will simply consume it and continue to live off charity. Hiring someone, whether to help him (Lishma) or make money off him (Lo Lishma), is a higher level than anonymous giving. According to the Rambam then, the highest form of charity is not even charity, since it could even be a loan or employment. The highest level is to lessen the need for charity in the first place.

Before we even flip that around, it’s amazing to consider that hiring labor at any wage or extending a loan for someone to start a business (which could include buying shares in an IPO or buying corporate bonds, setting aside the issue of interest) is a greater level of charity than giving a billion dollars anonymously to anonymous people. In today’s world though, those who give away $1 billion anonymously are considered gracious selfless philanthropic saints. A business owner who hires a worker at $10 an hour, which is a higher level than giving $1 billion anonymously to charity, is considered a cheap selfish misanthropic schmuck.

Now let’s invert that. If the highest level of charity is turning unproductive people into productive people, then the highest level of harming a person or people is turning productive people into unproductive people, necessitating that they live off charity, or worse, taxpayer money. Harming anonymous people anonymously, say by being a sadist for fun and setting a bear trap for random people on a sidewalk you will never see and just reveling in the thought that someone you will never know got seriously hurt, well that would only be the second worst way to harm someone. That would be harm for the sake of harming people, “harm Lishma”, paralleling Rambam’s description of anonymous charity to anonymous people as a Mitzva Lishma, but still only second level.

The third worst way to harm someone would be to harm people anonymously, they no knowing you but you knowing who they are. The least bad way to harm someone would be to harm him grudgingly, he knowing you and you knowing him, but not really wanting to harm him at all, and the victim knowing that you don’t really want to harm him.

Barry is on level three in terms of the harm he inflicted. He inflicted it anonymously against people he knew about. He wasn’t as bad as harming anonymous people for its own sake. He wanted to see them naked. He didn’t want them to be harmed Lishma. If he did, he would have uploaded the videos so everyone could see them. Had he taken videos of anonymous women, never watched them or knew who he was videotaping, and simply uploaded them to the internet just to cause harm, that would be harm Lishma, only the second level.

Still not as bad as turning productive people into unproductive people.

But let’s face it. Had Barry recorded women in the mikveh, not knowing who they were, never watching the tapes, and uploading all of it to the internet just to harm them for fun but not watching because מסתכלין בעריות (watching pornography) is assur and he’s too frum, we would consider that even sicker than what he actually did. We would consider that really incredibly sick and bizarre. But it’s still only level 2.

That incredibly bizarre sickness of harming anonymous people only for the sake of harming them, is not nearly as bad as turning productive people into unproductive people living off charity or taxpayer money, according to the Rambam-1.

It is fascinating how the Rambam’s top level of charity is not even considered charity in the popular sense. Employing a worker or giving a loan is not generally seen as charitable, though it is, and the highest level of it. By the very same token, turning productive people into unproductive people is generally not seen as all that harmful, but it is. It is an even higher level of harm than hurting anonymous people for its own sake.

And how does one turn productive people into people dependent on charity?

Let’s take one example from the Social Justice Rav’s Facebook page. He hasn’t blocked me from seeing the page yet, even though after this post he might. (I dare him.)

I mentioned that the reason Rav Shmuly “unfriended” me years ago was that I yelled at him publicly for supporting American intervention in Syria. He was busy thwacking about trying to get politicians to send lethal weapons and training to “the Rebels” to unseat Assad. These weapons and training ultimately ended up in the hands of ISIS, and led to the civil war that caused the Syrian refugee crisis.

And now, Rav Shmuly Yanklowitz, who advocated for the very cause of the Syrian refugee crisis in the first place, is scoring even more social justice publicity points by diarrheaing about how he has personally invited Syrian refugees to his home for Thanksgiving and New Year’s and Whatever.

So not only is the Social Justice Rav advocating for turning productive people (former Syrian citizens) into unproductive people (current Syrian refugees) by rooting and lobbying for war in their former country. He now wants US taxpayers to support these people with free immigration, free healthcare, free education, food stamps and whatnot. And to add even more insult to that injury, he gets all the publicity for helping them out.

Disclaimer: Helping out refugees is a great thing. But not in this case, where he was the one who was rooting the refugee status on in the first place, and he now wants others to pay for it. In this case his hachnasas orchim (taking in guests) is manipulative self-righteous BS, which seems to be the essence of nearly every single one of Rav Shmuly’s initiatives. I support the actual act of taking in refugees, but cannot refrain from calling hypocrisy on the people who help cause the problem to begin with.

This is just the one thing that set me off this time. Shmuly tries to turn productive people into unproductive people by advocating for minimum wage laws, equal-work-equal-pay laws, and boycotting products made in third-world sweatshops. Minimum wage laws prevent the least productive workers from working at all. Equal-work-equal-pay laws prevent women from being productive. Boycotting sweatshops unemploys destitute third world kids from earning enough money so they don’t have to choose between starving to death and performing sexual favors for a piece of bread.

Shmuly spends a lot of his time advocating that unproductive people remain unproductive with labor legislation. He spends the rest of his time demanding that taxpayers support these unproductive people by force.

And then he takes the fruits of his anti labor (Syrian refugees) and manipulates the whole situation to make it look like he’s the good guy.

The harm Rabbi Shmuly “Social Justice” Yanklowitz causes is much worse than the harm that Barry “Tom” Freundel ever caused. Yes, Shmuly has good intentions, and some of his initiatives are good, like this one. and Barry’s intentions were neutral to bad. He never tried to actively harm anyone, but he did cause harm. I’m sure Barry also had some good initiatives over his career as well. They don’t count for much now, at least not in the public consciousness.

But Mao Zedong, the biggest murderer in world history who killed 45 million people in 4 years in an attempt to create a socialist utopia, was filled with good intentions just as well. Good intentions count for nothing. Zero. The only thing that matters is whether you support liberty, or control over other people’s lives. Ultimately, life and death comes down to that single question. This is reality folks, and as Ayn Rand liked to say, “Existence exists.”

If you advocate for a war in a distant country, don’t be surprised if there is a refugee problem. And when there is, don’t you dare ask that other people pay for it.

Shmuly Yanklowitz Supports Human Organ Sales!

Wow!

Shock and awe!

I checked Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz’s facebook page for I don’t know what reason. I almost never do that. I don’t know why I did just now. And THIS is what I find! Shmuly Yanklowitz now supports a market for human organs! My God. I’m so happy my eyes are welling up. As you’ll see in this paragraph, he also hints he would support the legalization of sex work, which would ALSO save many many lives. Who knows how many. The article is titled “We Badly Need More Donated Kidneys. Let’s Start Paying For Them”. It fills me with hope.

In this worst of all possible worlds, only black-market incentives are offered. Since underground organ sales are happening en masse, we must look deep inside and ask vital questions: how can we re-channel this exploitative industry to one that ensures the health of the donor? How can these people be adequately protected in the procedure in such a way that non-coercive consent is ensured? How can exorbitant profit opportunities for organ brokers be eliminated? How do we ensure a level playing field to ensure fair distribution of donated organs? Those who support the prohibition of offering incentives think it will prevent the enormous ills of this abusive black market. But like the prohibition of sex work, it has failed. Miserably.

I now ask his forgiveness publicly. And I hope that my incessant, and admittedly vicious attacks against him were part of the calculus that inspired this reversal.

 

He still needs to reverse his positions on equal work equal pay, sweat shops, minimum wage and general infatuation with government, but organ sales are much more important than any of that.

The next most important issue is his warmongering and encouragement of weapons trafficking to terrorists. Maybe he’ll reverse that as well at some point, but I’m done attacking him. Mission accomplished.

Even the most ardent Statists can change for the better. There is hope for the world.

Libertarian Summer Wrap Up So Far

I’m on vacation so less writing and more vegging out. Here’s a rundown of recent goings on, off the top of my head.

Murdering people celebrating homosexuality is wrong. The solution is not a government education program that will teach people that murdering gay people is wrong. The solution is to privatize the public roads so these parades take place on private property only and so nobody who opposes them is forced to fund them. Also to privatize the police and courts so that a guy who was previously convicted of attempted murder of gay people during their parade is not released while he makes public statements that everyone should stab gay people at their parade. And prisons should be privatized so the inmate must pay for his own incarceration through slavery rather than having me pay to give criminals free rent.

Donald Trump is the embodiment of the frustrated American whose standard of living is in decline who doesn’t know why it’s happening but wants to blame China. Trump might actually try to start a war with them, or Russia, or both. He could end up killing a lot of people.

Venezuela is collapsing in hyperinflation, to the collective yawn of every other country that has a government monopoly system of paper money.

China is on its way down again, with a big 10% decline in one day this week.

Money supply growth has now been stalled for 15 weeks. In 2008 it was 22 weeks. But on a longer term average it is now very close to actually shrinking.

I saw the Rabbi of a shul here in Miami who gave me a yasher koach (congratulations) for calling out Shmuly Yanklowitz for his organ donation stunt which, among other things, was meant to promote government laws against a free market in organs.

Another guy forwarded me a recent Yanklowitz status that claims that abortion is a “Jewish Value” and therefore Planned Parenthood must be continually force-funded by people who believe that abortion is murder. I can also imagine someone in Germany theoretically claiming that genocide is a “Jewish Value” citing the example of Amalek and urge the government to subsidize it. Same logic. (No, an analogy does not mean A = B. It demonstrates a common logical fallacy.) He further pointed out to me that Planned Parenthood frequently sells aborted baby organs to recoup its costs. And Yanklowitz supports this because he calls for more tax funding of Planned Parenthood. Fascinating. I need not delve further into my disgust here.

I have no problem with Planned Parenthood, provided it is privately funded and does not intentionally kill human fetuses that could be saved after being evicted from the womb, which is owned by the mother. I am an Evictionist. Evictionists hold that a woman may evict a fetus from her womb at any stage, but may not intentionally murder the fetus if it can be saved and taken care of by someone else. Late term abortions, therefore, are murder, legally and morally. Therefore, and I am not recommending this by any means and would never engage in it myself, anyone who stabs a late term abortion doctor at a Late Term Abortion Pride Parade of doctors who intentionally kill viable human babies when they could save them and parade that around, is not morally guilty of murder.

Full circle. Good Shabbos.

Praise for the Social Justice Rav on Slave Reparations

I’m going through Shmuly’s various articles looking for something I agree with entirely. I do feel a little malaise for yelling at him when he’s in the middle of healing after surgery. I have found a position of Shmuly’s on social justice that fully conforms to a libertarian position. Thank God. Maybe there’s more. I’ll keep looking.

Shmuly supports slave reparations to descendants of black slaves, but not through taxes. Way to go! OK, so he didn’t say he was against tax-funded reparations. He just said that tax-funded reparations would be practically impossible, and then offered a reasonable and just solution. Close enough. (Emphasis mine. Not yelling, just highlighting the good parts.)

Yet, for too long taxpayers have resisted paying new taxes for anything, let alone reparations for an institution that was abolished by 1865, long before many millions trace their ancestors’ arrival in America. Oddly, the only compensation based on slavery ever given was by the federal government as a reward to loyal Washington, DC slave-owners who gave up their slaves during the Civil War.

Mary Frances Berry, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, is among those who endorse a “Reparations Superfund” derived from industries that benefited from slave labor, like those of cotton and tobacco, as well as corporations such as banks and insurance companies that practiced racial discrimination in the years after slavery, could be created. This fund would be paid to those who could provide proof that their ancestors had been slaves. Professor Berry maintains that this fund should be dispensed regardless of any other consideration: “Reparations for unpaid labor are restitution, payment for damages to make whole for harm done. No restrictions should be made on how the money is spent. If their ancestors had received wages for their labor they too would have bought what they wanted, invested it as they desired, or given it to churches or schools or charities.”

Good job! How will this be enforced? Well, here’s my idea.

It would have to ultimately be through government force, because government has a monopoly on force in the US. But just like I drive on the public roads because I have no choice, I would support a government law mandating that two sides meet together with a mutually agreed upon judge because there is no other way. These two sides would be a committee made up of representatives of descendants of slaves on one side, and representatives of the companies they are claiming reparations from on the other. The mutually agreed upon judge decides the arguments and who gets what. No politicians involved.

Then, when a deal is worked out, the politicians can vote yes on it and that’s all they do. Then the money transfers start.

That is an idea I can fully support. Praise to Shmuly Yanklowitz. And a refuah shleimah to him.

Should I be More Respectful towards Shmuly Yanklowitz?

Update Hoshana Rabba 5776: R. Yanklowitz has reversed his position and I publicly apologize for attacking him on this issue.

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This is a question I’ve been pondering seriously for a few days. Admittedly, I have a natural tendency towards sarcasm and cynical writing. That’s where I go. But I’ve been struggling over the last two days, because I thought perhaps those arguing for a more civilized debate had a point.

But I have now rejected that position. Here’s why.

Respectful disagreements should be reserved for purely intellectual or ritualistic arguments. What’s kosher, what’s not, what happened 3,000 years ago at Sinai and what didn’t. Is there only One God or 17 Gods? Is He physical or not? Those that cannot conduct themselves respectfully in those realms, their arguments will be lost, because nobody will pay attention to two people yelling at each other over issues that do not involve life and death, and they will relegate them to two curmudgeons yelling at each other in an alleyway. Respectful debates over purely religious matters will outlast, in books, treatises, and debates. People will read and think about them for centuries.

A teacher of mine implicitly compared me to one of Rebbi Akiva’s students that disrespected his peers and died without having made any influence. But that does not apply here. Why? הכא במאי עסקינן? There, Rebbi Akiva’s students disrespected each other over purely intellectual matters. They all died without any influence. But Shmuly Yanklowitz’s positions are life and death. And he is on the wrong side.

People will die TODAY because they cannot purchase a kidney on the free market. People will die TODAY because they cannot sell their kidney on the free market. People are dying NOW. And Shmuly is egging it on.

If you, dear reader, were on dialysis, and you needed a kidney, would you not purchase one one the free market from a willing seller?

Would Shmuly Yanklowitz, if God forbid Chas Veshalom his remaining kidney malfunctions, want to purchase one on the free mraket if no one donated to him? Or would he rather die for his anti market principles?

When it involves life and death, you throw out diplomacy. With life and death, you go for the jugular and you hold nothing back. That is what I have done and that is what I will do, whenever life and death comes up again with Shmuly.

What’s my evidence? Rashi called the Biryonim, those that wanted war against the Romans during the 2nd Temple Period, אנשים ריקים ופוחזים למלחמה. Empty worthless warmongerers. That was their argument. Even though the Biryonim had a moral position, to get rid of the invaders, Chazal had to delegitimize them because it was a life and death issue.

Shmuly has no moral position, so Kal Vachomer he deserves no respect.

If it were just minimum wage, I wouldn’t scream. If it were just equal-work-equal-pay, I wouldn’t single him out. If it were just Rubashkin’s, I wouldn’t take him into the ring and challenge him publicly. If it were just Pollard, not a word from me. None of that is life or death.

I didn’t even yell at him when he came out against organ sales, when he called that “shameful” in a 2009 article in HaAretz. Even though that is a life and death issue, because many people can make that mistake, and I know what fights to pick. Nobody who said that those Rabbis were shameful for trafficking kidneys was being manipulative. They were simply understandably mistaken.

I DID publicly attack Shmuly when he advocated sending weapons over to Syrian terrorists, because not only is that life and death, it’s MY OWN life and death, because I LIVE HERE. He doesn’t.

But when that artificially sweetened article came out about Shmuly donating his kidney to an orphan was published, that was it.

Shmuly isn’t just another Statist who makes mistakes sometimes about his positions. There are people who are for minimum wage who I still respect, because that mistake, while resulting in an immoral position, is common and understandable. Equal-work-equal-pay I also get, even though it still results in an immoral position, I wouldn’t say anyone who holds those is immoral to his core.

But once you combine no organ sales with a manipulative publicity stunt via donating an organ, if you don’t have the courage to come out and support a free market in organs, I’m coming after you for everything.

Shmuly Yanklowitz embodies everything I am against. He is essentially political, with everything he does. He is a perfect target, and I will use him for publicity just like he uses publicity for himself. If I can get him to publicly support a free market in organs, I have succeeded. I will publicly apologize for everything I have said, take it all down, and become his loyal supporter, even though he still is against sweatshops, for equal-work-equal-pay, and for minimum wage – which by the way all stem from a minimum wage argument and are all the same issue anyway.

So once I was going to attack him on organ donation, everything else came with it.

Support a free market in organ sales Shmuly. And donation. And I will be on your team. And I will beg your forgiveness and God’s.

Actually I’ll make it even easier for you. Publicly admit that maybe you are mistaken about organ trafficking, and say that only people who steal organs and sell them are shameful, but not people who traffic voluntary sales on the black market. Say publicly that you will consider the position, and take back your shameless reproach of those Rabbis, assuming they did not steal or traffic any stolen organs.

Tell us, Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, if you needed a kidney God forbid, and you could either purchase one from a willing seller, or die, would you rather die for your principles? Tell us. Answer me. I want to know.

And even if you would rather die, what right do you have to condemn death on others?

More Detestable Public Positions by Shmuly Yanklowitz: Forget about Pollard!

Here’s an article Rabbi Yanklowitz wrote admonishing people for supporting the release of Jonathan Pollard. Pollard was a traitor to The State. Just like Shifra and Puah were traitors to their State of Egypt and its Sovereign. They took a vow to serve Pharaoh and broke it, while taking money (probably Egyptian State money) to deliver babies from Hebrew slaves. Pollard took money for betraying the State. Oh no. Anyone who takes money for stuff is evil, ESPECIALLY betraying politicians, who Shmuly is busy panhandling all the time:

Jonathan Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy, was found to have spied on his country, and in so doing he violated his oath to secrecy, jeopardized American security, and contributed to straining relations between Israel and America while receiving thousands of dollars for his work. According to one estimate, he would have earned about $600,000 over the 10-year period had he evaded capture. Once again, Pollard made both sides believe that he was a patriot instead of a gun for hire. When Pollard misused his words, he did great damage.

Anyone who engages in international espionage breaks his or her home country’s laws in an effort to benefit another country. They know that if they are caught there will be severe consequences.

The definition of fascism is the State Always Comes First. NO MATTER WHAT. Shmuly Yanklowitz is a fascist.

Pollard betrayed the State. Pollard therefore deserves to rot:

The spiritual leprosy case as described in Tazria-Metzora reminds us of the Jonathan Pollard case. There are times we must separate from people we care about. While we would certainly encourage that he receive all necessary physical, mental or spiritual care, he must dwell outside of our community until he completes his sentence, while we commit our communal resources to pursuing crucial issues that enable the Jewish people to survive and thrive. There are too many life-and-death global issues for us to waste our limited political capital on defending one guilty individual who has unfortunately caused damage to the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Let’s cut out the bullshit and bare Shmuly’s position down to the truth.

Fighting for Pollard is politically contrary to his other causes where he goes around lobbying government to give money to this and that. So he wants to get in bed with them and dis Pollard. Supporting Pollard will lose him some government money. Screw justice. Politics rules all.

And he uses TORAH to justify this! THIS is what I detest about this man. AGAIN. It’s so CLEAR.

More on Shmuly Yanklowitz Why I Attack Him Personally, and Defanged Rabbis

Update Hoshana Rabba 5776: R. Yanklowitz has reversed his position and I publicly apologize for attacking him on this issue.

———-

Hehe…now I’m having some fun.

The responses to my post about organ donation have been bifurcated into two general camps. The first are academics who accuse me of jealousy and don’t deal with any of my logic, but merely fling academic jargon at me while calling me uneducated. I am uneducated, and proud of it. I have no doctorate and will never get one. They say Shmuly is amazing. They think I’m obsessed with him. The truth is I haven’t even thought of the guy for a year or more.

The last interaction I had with him was on Facebook, maybe a year ago, where he started advocating sending more tax money and deadly weapons to a bunch of Islamic terrorists right on my border (Israel) because he thought it was “social justice” to do that. So I got pissed because he was advocating putting my life in danger by putting other people’s money in the hands of insane murderers in Syria caught eating people’s hearts on camera. So I responded, saying he was irresponsible, and that arming Islamic terrorists on MY border while HE sits across an ocean is dangerous and infuriating.

So he defriended me, which was probably a good thing for my stress level, but then I saw that sycophantic hypocritical hack piece on Times of Israel, which I don’t read, but I saw this huge smug picture of Shmuly on my Facebook page and was drawn in and my fire was lit again. (Again, Shmuly did a great thing donating. Good for him. He saved a life. But he’s still a hypocrite because he is against making it legal to save so many others.)

Oh sure, he couches all of his funneling and directing of tax money to his pet causes in wonderful “social justice” language using catchphrases like “Tzedek” (justice) and “lovingkindness” and whatever other sophistry he weaves up to drug his audience into complacency with his pinpoint good deeds of selflessness. This is how you control the masses and I don’t buy it.

That brings me to the other camp of responders. Those who applauded me and thanked me for calling this fraud out, and said to me that Shmuly totally rubs them the wrong way. I AGREE. Something’s off about him. It’s a sort of overbearing fakeness couched in this overly sweet and enormously generous artificial persona, that on the very klipa (shell) of it looks so giving and wonderful, but you know there’s something dark underneath there that you dare not go near. I’ve always sensed it and it always scared the shit out of me especially because the man is so physically big and strong as well, but it only scared me subconsciously. Those who feel this know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s a sixth sense about people, some have it, some don’t.

I’m the exact opposite of Shmuly. On the outside I’m biting, sarcastic, cynical, and not very warm at all. But on the inside all I want is FREEDOM. For EVERYONE. Because I really love humanity. To know that about me, to see my deep caring for the liberty of every single person on this planet, and my insane dedication towards that goal, takes a lot of deep understanding, it takes time. But once you understand the beauty of liberty, it will make you cry in its sheer beauty and in total pain because everyone lacks it due to government. That’s what’s at my core. Don’t believe me? Fine.

Those that don’t sense this, look at his klipah (outer shell), his donating and his political work that no matter the consequences of it, people see the “motivation” behind it, the klipah, and then say whatever the consequences of it, the motivation was good so Shmuly’s an angel. Who cares about consequences, they all say. What counts is the intention. It doesn’t matter how many people die in the middle as long as you felt you were doing something good. That’s the message from our “Rabbis” these days.

Here’s one example. He destroyed Rubashkin’s because he felt the workers there were being mistreated. So he shut the place down. He makes his living destroying things that he personally finds objectionable without a second thought about the consequences of his actions.

Did he ever do a follow up on the Rubashkin workers he put out of work? (I realize that if he did, I’m going to look pretty stupid, but I’m so confident he doesn’t care, because mission accomplished he shut down Rubashkin’s, that I’m putting myself on the line here.) Did he make sure they had work to replace their jobs? Did he ever give two shits about their future? I seriously doubt it. He “ended injustice” even though those workers chose to be there and could have quit at any time, but never chose to. And nobody else cares either. It’s not about the workers. It’s about a fake persona of “justice seeking”.

Shmuly goes from cause to cause, either funneling tax money (other people’s money) or destroying entire industries. He never creates a damn thing.

It breaks my heart though. Because to see such on-the-surface superficial goodness being used so manipulatively really hurts. It just hurts.

And that takes me to defanged Rabbis. One guy contacted me on Facebook, some modern orthodox Rabbi in his words, and said that I spoke the truth, but wouldn’t be popular for going against mom-and-pop apple pie issues like organ donation.

I mean what guy in his right mind would go after a Rabbi who donated his kidney to a dying man for God’s sake and call him an immoral hypocrite? Nobody but me. NOBODY but me. The naysayers say I’m insane. I guess I am, in that sense.

More importantly, after that, I said to this Rabbi that I was looking more for notoriety than popularity. And he responded that he “can’t do controversial issues because it’s against his line of work”. How true.

And that’s the point. Chazal (the Rabbis of the Talmudic era) are very against using Torah to earn a living for that very reason. TO BE CLEAR, I am not against anyone who trades Torah for money. It is fine and good and great. My father accepts money for teaching Torah. I am alive because of that. Every Torah teacher I ever had does the same. It’s fine. (Unless it’s government money. Then it’s not fine.) I’m just saying Chazal are against it, because when you accept money to be a Rabbi, or teach Torah, you are inherently limited by your employer and you can only challenge evil so far until it threatens your job.

No paid Rabbi can go after a kidney donor and call him a hypocrite. I can. The most important thing about being a Rabbi, I think is challenging evil. But if it’s hidden by a paper thin veil of goodness that looks so beautiful, forget it. Try to lift that baby up, expose the ugliness under that shiny red sheet, and you’ll get fired in a second, and never rehired as a Rabbi anywhere, ever again.

I am not limited. I can lift up the satin red stain, because I do not accept money for teaching Torah or Rabbi’ing. I wonder if, theoretically every single paid Rabbi were suddenly unemployed, how many would be telling me that I should tone it down? They’re used to toning it down, because they have to tone it down or lose their jobs. I would be getting a lot more vocal support, because all the Rabbis would suddenly be economically able to lift up that glorious red sheet and expose the rot underneath it. They could finally talk about real stuff instead of feel-good mom-and-pop superficial vague mussar (morality speeches) that’s obvious to everyone.

I don’t have to tone it down. So I won’t. Shmuly Yanklowitz is a dangerous man who destroys without thinking, and couches it in terms of chessed (generosity) and lovingkindness. He uses tiny acts of real beautiful good (saving one life) to legitimize big acts of evil – preventing dying people from buying organs freely. And nobody sees it and I’m the only one calling out Emperor Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz for strutting around nude in the town square.

Finally, let’s deal with one more thing. Am I jealous of Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz? Do I really secretly want to be the one who bounces around trafficking tax money from cause to cause, did I really want to be the one to gloriously destroy Rubashkin’s, send money to terrorists without thinking of the consequences, force women out of work with equal-work-equal-pay schemes, and unskilled people out of the job market by jacking up minimum wage?

No. I don’t want to be any of those things. All I want to do is promote liberty. It is my single-minded insane goal in life, forever, for the rest of my life.

Shmuly is an enemy of liberty. He is a very efficient, shrewd enemy of liberty, because his causes seem so damn wonderful. But they are all based on theft, taxes, regulation, social and economic controlNone of them are based on production of any kind, or standing up for the Non Aggression Principle.

And the saddest part is I bet he doesn’t even realize it. He’s not some malicious guy trying to hurt people. He’s a tinok shenishba (a baby taken captive), but instead of mi’bein hagoyim (taken captive by non-Jews), he’s mi’bein ha’academics (taken captive by academics). He has no idea of the damage he causes. He really thinks he’s doing good. Because he cannot think more than one single step deep. He sees an “injustice”, he doesn’t analyze what’s going on, he immediately wants to send weapons to syrian islamists, or destroy rubashkins, or forbid dying people from buying organs, he never thinks about or even acknowledges that there MAY BE consequences. He just attacks.

And all of the people applaud.

Last thing. Here’s proof that Shmuly is 100% against a free market in organs. Not only that, but he calls it shameful that Rabbis engaged in a black market organ trade. What does that mean? That Rabbis matched dying people with organs, and saved lives. They just got money for it. And what’s black about it? That the government says you can’t do it. And these Rabbis went against the evil laws of the Malchut (State) to save lives.

Chazal (the Rabbis of the Talmud) do not say you should not get money for organs. They DO say you should not get money for Rabbi’ing. If Shmuly thinks those kidney-trafficking Rabbis are evil for saving lives just like he did, he is even more of a hypocrite than I thought.

And if you say that those Rabbis are shameful because they broke a law and you pull dina demalchuta dina (the halachic principle that the law of the State is the law) on me, because they were not doing honest business, then as a friend of mine aptly wrote:

“When the Talmud spoke of “honest business”, it cannot possibly have meant, “obeying unjust laws”. By that logic, Shifra and Puah (the two Egyptian midwives who disobeyed Pharaoh when he ordered them to murder all newborn Israelite boys) were guilty of dishonest business practices.”

In that article, Shmuly begins by quoting the Talmud. Says Shmuly:

According to the Talmud, the very first question one can expect to be asked at the gates of heaven pertains not to belief or ritual, but to whether one acted honestly in all of one’s business dealings.

Yes. That IS the non aggression principle. That IS libertarianism. Did you steal? Did you take other people’s money without consent? Did you live off taxes? Did you destroy other people’s jobs in the name of justice without giving a damn about what happens to them next?

HY-PO-CRITE.

 

On Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, Hypocrisy, Organ Donation and Exchange

UPDATE: READ THE FULL POST HERE. SHMULY HAS SINCE REVERSED HIS POSITION AGAINST A FREE MARKET IN ORGANS AND I HAVE APOLOGIZED.

Oh boy. I’m gonna get it for this one.

I wrote a blog for Times of Israel that dumped on a Rabbi, one who I do not respect very much, Shmuly Yanklowitz, for donating a kidney to a dying man. That sounds bad even to me, and I wrote the thing. The problem is not the donating. Donating is good. The problem is donating in the face of advocating against a free market in organs.

If Shmuly publicly supports an absolutely free market in organs, I will retract my criticism and issue a public apology.

Some of the sharper points. Read the rest at the link above:

And that takes me to the kicker. Here’s the kicker. Shmuly is an incredibly ambitious man. There is no problem with being ambitious. It’s a good thing. The problem is when you use unjust laws, like the law against selling organs, to further your agenda of political force.

Now, please, imagine for a moment that selling organs on the free market were legal. If you wanted to sell your kidney to a dying man on dialysis, nobody would stop you. Women can sell their eggs already. There is no difference. Now, in that case, the supply of those willing to sell a kidney at whatever price agreed upon greatly exceeds those who need them. One could even theoretically contract people to sell their organs upon death with the money going to their heirs. Imagine the enormous amount of kidneys that would result from just that.

If that were the case, if people all over the world, destitute starving weak people, could sell a kidney for money voluntarily, then how much publicity do you think Shmuly Yanklowitz could get for donating a kidney?

The answer is ZERO. The price of kidneys would be low enough that whoever needs one would buy one immediately rather than wait for a donor at the risk of his life on dialysis.

If Shmuly donated in a world where there was a free market in kidneys, donating one would just be viewed as idiocy. There would be no need to do so.

But instead, in the world we live in, it is illegal to exchange a kidney for money. That DOES NOT mean that nothing is exchanged when someone donates a kidney. Shmuly gets a LOT out of donating a kidney. He gets publicity. He gets recognition. He gets reverence. He gets a following. He gets all that, and more. These are very valuable goods. This is VERY valuable to him personally, because he knows how to use all of these goods. To further his goals. To broaden his name. To further his own career.

In the same way that computer parts are only valuable to someone who knows how to put them together, so too publicity is only good for someone who knows how to use it. But it is a good nonetheless, just like money, only less marketable, and only marketable by publicity experts. 

Am I saying it was not selfless of Shmuly to donate a kidney? It was certainly selfless, in a very shallow strictly monetary interpretation of selflessness. It was selfless only in the sense that he did not get actual money for the kidney. But he got other things, other goods, less marketable for others, but very marketable for him. He got a barter exchange – a kidney for publicity – instead of a monetary exchange – a kidney for money. Anyone can use money. Money is the most marketable good, by definition. But only very skilled people, like Shmuly, can use publicity. It is a very specific kind of economic good. He will take this publicity and exchange that for money instead to complete his barter, for donations to his causes, for better job opportunities as the Rabbi who donated a kidney, for further publicity advocating for violence against women and the poor, by outlawing voluntary employment relationships for women (equal work equal pay) and low-skilled workers (minimum wage).

But even then, it is not a moral problem to exchange publicity for a kidney. That’s perfectly fine and moral. What is IMMORAL, however, is to exchange publicity for a kidney when at the same time you advocate outlawing any monetary transactions for kidneys, thereby jacking up the value of the publicity you obtain from donating, and then using that to further your own goals at the expense of the starvation of others, who cannot legally sell their kidneys for money when they desperately need to do so.