It's raining nutcase rabbis over in the Holy Land.
First, we have Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yona Metzger's slur against ba'al teshuvas.
Now, we have…
…Rabbi Elyakim Levanon's 'words of wisdom' to a 22 year old young man who comes from a family where the parents fight among themselves and then take their anger out on their small children by beating them:
…I well understand your difficult feelings when seeing your parents behave disrespectfully toward each other. And of course, the suffering of your siblings. But know that your self-control and your pain are not worthless, and they have an effect, both on the family and in heaven. An important principle: Parents educate their children, but children don't educate their parents. Nevertheless, it's proper to show your parents that their fighting causes you pain, and even to mention it [emphasis in the original].…
And regarding your younger siblings, who are hit by their parents. The terrible sorrow this causes is manifold. On the one hand, by parents who instead of influencing their children with love influence them through beatings, embarrassment and suffering. And second, by the children, who suffer physically and emotionally both now and in the future.
But, even so, one must be strong and not say anything to the parents [regarding the abuse] [emphasis mine]. Because it will cause greater damage. The main concern needs to be neutralizing the continuing negative influence on the siblings. Abused children can become abusive parents. Your ability to help is through love and encouragement [emphasis mine]. Try with all your might not to speak negatively about your parents, because this will cause additional pain to the children. Even abusive parents are parents. And each child must have a parental figure. Of course, there is no need to justify the parents' actions, but you can tell your siblings that the parents work hard and struggle for their children, which happens to be true. And this causes them to be stressed and easily annoyed, so they pour out their wrath on the children. A statement like this will comfort your siblings a little. And if you add a warm hug, they will no doubt be strengthened [emphasis mine].
Our dear rabbi isn't done yet. It's not enough to counsel this 22 year old to stand by while his younger siblings are beaten. He also has something to say about how society deals with children and with child abuse:
…Today the mistaken idea is circulating that one must distinguish between different parts of the family and relate to each one separately. This leads to organizations that promote the welfare of a child, as if he is an independent unit separate from the rest of the family. Therefore the court punishes parents who hit their children, causing serious damage to the entire family through the disintegration of the family hierarchy.…
This was printed this week, at a time that has seen a spate of horrific child abuse cases in Israel committed in large part by religious Jews.
Rabbi Levanon is the rabbi of Elon Moreh and the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Birkat Yosef, two good places not to send your money – or your children.