For Shame!

Terry K. writes:

Such a shame that such things are publicized in our community!

Our response:

In OUR community, we try to establish our norms by the guidelines of Chazal as codified in the poskim. In the classic Halachic treatise Chofetz Chaim (4:8) we find: “If Bais Din tells someone a halacha… and he absolutely refuses to acquiesce, and he has no valid reason for doing so, it is permitted to publicize his iniquity.”  (See footnote 32 that this publicity is permitted only for a practical purpose e.g. “to motivate the culprit to desist from his wrongdoing by utilizing the opprobrium of public opinion.”) This is further elaborated on ibid, 10:4.

You state that in YOUR community it is considered a shame to publicize such wrongdoing. The insinuation by omission is that perpetrating such wrongdoing is not a shame, only the publicizing thereof.

We find this puzzling. Could you identify your community?

– A Pushita Yid

Terry K Responds:

Well since you yourself state that you goal is NOT to point fingers, how can you defend publicizing this story by claiming it is permitted to “publicize his iniquity”?

And my community is Lakewood, NJ.

Our response:

Your quote is a part of one sentence from the front page of this website. Allow us to present the entire text:

“The purpose of this site and all the documentation is NOT to point fingers…in a personal sense. In any divorce, emotions run high, the pain is great and people are driven to act in a way that they themselves would never have contemplated under normal circumstances.”

Two paragraphs earlier on the same page we state, “This site is to provide information…that you will be spurred to ask yourself, ‘What can I do to help…’ Our other goal is that…the parties involved will go to a Bais Din…as halacha requires.”

It seems that the answer to your question is self-explanatory. We are NOT pointing fingers at anyone as being “to blame”, “a rosho”, etc. (see also earlier response to comment), but we ARE publicizing the facts in hope of achieving a settlement fair to all, in Bais Din. This is in keeping with the halacha cited from Sefer Chofetz Chaim, and the universal practice of Botei Din to furnish a Siruv for circulation, towards reaching that goal.

Incidentally, we note that you left unanswered our question as to why you seem so perturbed by the one who publicized the iniquity, but not by the one who perpetrated it.

We are still puzzled.

– A Pushita Yid