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A Distorted Conclusion

December 1, 2011 – 4:41 pm50 Comments

A 'Yechi' kippah, as per the story in question

By Rabbi Meir Rabi

A Great Story, a Disastrously Distorted Conclusion, or What’s Wrong with Super-Orthodox Thinking

Let me say at the outset, I am making observations about a frailty of humanity ; its ability to inflict on itself outrageous, mind bending, distortions.

Only a bizarre, foolish perversion could encourage the publication of the story below, in spite of it glorifying what is so obviously crooked. Only severe delusions could be responsible for so many readers who savour this and other such stories. In this story a crude, arrogant, obstinate man praises his shortcomings as being his saviour rather than seeing them as almost bringing about his own destruction.

By Rabbi Tuvia Bolton, as published on the Moshiach.ru website.

Dr X is the main doctor for the community of some 20,000 Satmar Chassidim in the city of Monroe New York.

The casual reader might not grasp the awesome novelty of this but I will try to explain.

Satmar Chassidim are among the most charitable people in the world. Their acts of kindness and aid to the needy are of epic proportions and what is advertised is only a small percentage of what they actually do.

But they take no credit, neither for this nor for their remarkable devotion to G-d and His Torah. Rather their pride is in their opposition to Zionism. To them, Zionism, Zionists and anyone that supports them are evil.

Only Moshiach, they say (as do all other Jewish sources) will gather all the Jews, certainly not an atheistic based movement like Zionism, and they hate anything and anyone that disagrees with them on this.

Therefore, years ago when the Lubavitcher Rebbe praised the Israeli soldiers that pulled off the Entebbe Raid, they came out with a strong condemnation and declared a ‘cold war’ on Chabad.

(Which is, in fact, totally unfounded, being that Chabad, especially through their Chassidic teachings, is devoted to bringing Moshiach against the basic tenant of Zionism: that Jews can solve all problems and end the ‘exile’ on their own.)

What magnifies the novelty of Dr X in Satmar is that he wears a Yarmulka that bears an embroidered declaration, in the spirit of Chabad, that he is waiting to coronate Moshiach.

Just a few months ago Dr X visited us here in the Yeshiva and told the miraculous story of his appointment.

Several years ago he saw an advertisement that the Satmar community in Monroe was seeking a Doctor and, being that he had to provide for his wife and budding family, he applied and was called for an interview.

When he arrived at the interview and they saw his credentials, portfolio and recommendations they were very pleased and were considering hiring him on the spot, until he took off his hat. Suddenly their eyes affixed on the letters decorating his Yarmulke “Long live King Moshiach” and for the rest of the conversation they heard nothing he said.

After a very short time they closed the meeting with, ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you’, didn’t even shake his hand and that seemed to be the end of it.

Although things looked dim, Dr X still had hopes.

But after five weeks passed and he heard nothing he gave up and began searching again, but nothing better presented itself.

Then, in the sixth week after his interview he received a telephone call. Satmar wanted him to come for another interview.

This time when he arrived and sat down opposite them they did not beat around the bush, they pointed to his head covering and said, “That Kippa” (nickname for Yarmulka)….

But before they could continue he interrupted them, “My friends, this kippa is part of the package. If you want me you want it, and if you don’t want it, you don’t want me. This is the first time we are talking about this and the last. If you hire me then in my office I will be the boss and you cannot tell me what to do, but outside of my office, in your community, you are the boss.”

They looked at him blankly and again said. “We’ll think it over.”

And, sure enough, a week later they called him and he got the job!

Now the story begins.

About a year later, one of the most influential members of the community came to him complaining of persisant stomach pain. It was rumored that this Chassid had over 100 million dollars in the bank, and he was in charge of all the finances of the community, assuring that everyone got paid fairly and on time etc.

After a thorough examination, Dr X gave him some pain pills to hold him over, and advised that he have a colonoscopy (a harsh intestinal examination) as soon as possible.

A few weeks the same Chassid returned and asked for more pain pills. “Did you have the colonoscopy?” Dr X asked. “Maybe later” was the reply.

“Dr X removed his glasses, stood, pointed at the door and said firmly, “Get out of my office …. NOW!”

“Excuse me!” The Chassid said indignantly. “No one talks to me like that here! I can have you fired in a second, do you understand?! You’re only here to serve us, so watch what you say!”

Dr X wasn’t affected. “In my office I am the boss! If you don’t like it then you can fire me! But as long as I’m here, you either do what I say or get out of this room. Either you leave here now, or you can fire me!”

“Okay! We’ll see who leaves!” said the Chassid as he angrily exited and slammed the door behind him.

A month later the Chassid returned with a large present for Dr X; a huge, pure silver, wine Cup of Elijah for his Passover table and a story.

“I had the colonoscopy test like you said and they found a tumor. A malignant tumor! They said it was the last minute, that there still was hope and that another week it probably would have been be too late.

They sent me to the operating room immediately and, well, thank G-D, they said that the operation was successful and they removed it completely! You were right. If you hadn’t yelled at me I would have pushed it off and who knows…so you saved my life!”

“Now I want to tell you something” The Chassid sat down and continued. “Do you know why it took six weeks for them to call you, back then when you were hired? Well I’ll tell you.

“Because when you took off your hat in that first interview and they saw that kippa of yours they thought you were crazy. I mean, you know what some people here think about Chabad. Well they figured you would hide your being Chabad and they would ignore it too. But not you! You threw it in everyone’s face.

“Anyway, no one wanted to hire you, but for the next five weeks they just couldn’t find anyone that had your credentials. And, not only that but before you took off your hat they really liked you. So they came to me for advice what to do.

“So I thought about it for a few minutes and told them like this. I told them to call you again and ask you if you’re willing to change that Kippa. And that if you say ‘yes’, that you’re willing to take it off they should NOT hire you because it’s a sign that you don’t believe in your principles. But if you refuse to remove it then it means you’ll be honest with us and won’t hide anything and they should hire you.

“So it ends up that because of your stubbornness we hired you and because of your stubbornness you saved my life! Another doctor would have worried about his job and let me do what I wanted.

“So it ends up that …. Well…. I saved myself!!! I gave them the advice to take someone as stubborn as you.”


However, I believe that authentic Jewish Life is devoted to correcting such distortions. Unfortunately it appears as though it is used sometimes and in some arenas of Jewish Life, to promote and glorify distorted thinking.

Here is the distorted conclusion of the story below.
“So it ends up that because of your stubbornness we hired you and because of your stubbornness you saved my life! Another doctor would have worried about his job and let me do what I wanted.
“So it ends up that …. Well…. I saved myself!!! I gave them the advice to take someone as stubborn as you.”

Here is the proper sensible conclusion as it ought to be.
“So it ends up that because of my stubbornness and arrogance, I would have killed myself, and because of your stubbornness you saved my life”

And here’s another perverse perspective of this story – would a doctor, should a doctor, may a doctor, adhering to Halacha and common sense, refuse the opportunity to serve a Jewish community rather than compromise superficial and artificial principles?

And another perspective of this story – Would a breadwinner who is responsible for supporting a family, should a breadwinner who is responsible for supporting a family, may a breadwinner who is responsible for supporting a family, refuse an opportunity to support his family due to these types of principles?

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50 Comments »

  • Naftoli says:

    Hi R Meir,

    The wife of the doctor in the story is a daughter of close friends of mine. I contacted her when I saw the story (on another Chabad site not the meshichist one that you obviously view :) thinking that they would be chuffed to have it in print. On the contrary – they were quite upset and told me that the story was a distortion, and was bordering on loshon hora, and they were actively trying to have it removed from the website.

    It is very easy to write a nice sounding story by being creative with the facts but not everything found in the interwebs can be taken as ‘gospel’ – as you well know by your own experience.

    I think, therefore, that you should retract your comments especially since the protagonist’s name has been mentioned.

  • HarryJohns says:

    Compromise superficial and artificial principles? If they made him change his kippa sruga for a black one, would that have been superficial?! Why not come out and say it R Rabi – you believe that any belief in “Yechi” must be superficial and artificial.

    I, as a non-Chabadnik, find the Yechi approach troubling, but I applaud those who do support it for being deeply committed to their beliefs. If they want to express their belief by wearing a kippa saying “Yechi”, then good luck to them. If the non-Chabadniks don’t like it, they should see another doctor.

  • Steven says:

    HarryJohns : “I, as a non-Chabadnik, find the Yechi approach troubling, but I applaud those who do support it for being deeply committed to their beliefs…”

    I find it ironic that that you find it ‘troubling’ but yet applaud those who are deeply committed to it. Hillel said something like “don’t recommend to others something you don’t like yourself.”

  • HarryJohns says:

    Steven – I am not recommending it, I am simply applauding the commitment they have to their belief system as a way of explaining that their belief system is not superficial. Similarly, I applaud those who ardently believe in environmental causes, even though I think at times the actions of some environmental groups can be excessive. I also applaud the faith of monks and nuns who have given their lives to a cause, even though their path and faith is not my own.

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    Rabbi Rabi, I am trying to contact you by phone but since it seems like your cell phone may be not charged, I’ll leave a message here until I reach you.
    My name is Sima Chana Zelenko, I am the wife of Dr. Zev Zelenko who repeated a story to someone who then took it to write for an article and so distorted and sensationalized it that it no longer resembled what actually took place. So far all the websites that posted it took it down as per our request. Unfortunately not only is the story extremely distorted but it compromises a patient’s confidentiality and speaks in a way about the incredible community we serve in a less than nice way. The actual story is a beautiful and inspiring one.

    Oh and I would like to make a point. When my husband was fresh out of medical school and looking for a residency program he made a decision that he would not enter a residency program that would not guarantee him a completely shomer Shabbos program. There are not many spots like this available in the USA and the places he interviewed at said that they would be sensitive but couldnt put anything shomer shabbos in his contract. My husband was ready to walk away from all the previous years of study if he had to compromise on Shabbos. (He became frum in medical school so it’s not like he went in shomer shabbos) Now, there are plenty of frum doctors in the states and from what I understand many of them did not get shomer Shabbos residencies. I know there are people who get heteirim to complete their training but my husband is not the type (not that I’m saying the people who do regular programs are doing anything wrong)

    So maybe instead on commenting on a story that is inacurate at best, would you comment on that? Should my husband have almost walked away from his medical career because of an issue who’s details could have been worked out to the satisfaction of halacha with our rav?
    Now that’s a great question!
    Oh and please take this down from here and kosherveyosher.com. There is nothing kosherveyosher about continuing the spread of something now established to be distorted and most probably lashon hara from a bunch of angles. It’s easy to post and repost things online it seems but what people aren’t realizing is that there are many people here who are being hurt by the further spread of this. .
    A gutten Shabbos,
    Mrs. Zelenko

  • Harry Joachim says:

    And there you have it. Galus Australis – you have been asked to remove the story by R Rabi on the basis that the story cited by R Rabi is incorrect, breaches confidentiality and is lashon hara. Nu, so what are you waiting for? Take it down.

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    http://www.kosherveyosher.com/blog.html

    here is the link to Rabbi Rabi’s retraction of the story on his personal site. Hopefully as soon as Shabbos is out the person in charge of this site will update it to reflect this change.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shavua Tov

    I will make the following observation – my comment was not so much on the story itself but on the fact that such a story, and there are many such stories being circulated every week in various publications and websites, is promoted, could be promoted, as an ideal and is generally read by many and thought of as an honourable ideal.

    For many years I kept a simple illustrated Chareidishe children’s story book that told of a father who left his children for a short while on Friday morning to fetch the Mezuzos that had been taken to be checked. As the father returns with the Mezuzos in his hand, he turns the corner and sees his house engulfed in flames and smoke pouring from the structure. He immediately runs as fast as he can to his house and – affixes the Mezuzah to the door as a means of ensuring that his children will be safe.
    It is not the story itself that creates the trouble, I would assume it was written by a half-witted businessman who just thought that this will sell and make some profit. My point is that the business mind was probably correct; there is indeed a willing audience to purchase this misguided trash and laud it as some type of holy spiritual ideal. Perhaps the thought of fire conjures in the mind images of Avraham Avinu accepting to be thrown to the flames rather than betray his loyalty to HaShem.

    I wish Dr Zelenko much success in his pursuits, and his Eishes Chayil, who I must note was most calm and honourable in her discussions with me, much Nachas from her support of Dr Zelenko’s idealism. As per your request, although I am insignificant and my applause is insignificant I will express it nonetheless, Dr Zelenko has clearly made tremendous sacrifice for his devotion and loyalty to HKBH. May HKBH assist you both to pursue lofty ambitions and inspire many people with a true loyalty to HKBH.

    To Harry Johns – I apologise that my wording caused you to misunderstand my intentions.
    It makes not the slightest difference what style of Kippah is being touted or slammed; those who have a duty, either to Gd or to their family and friends, and disavow that duty in favour of a style of hat, Kippa or other peripheral matter that is not essential to Torah and Halacha are perverting the Torah and HaShem’s word. The RaMBaM speaks of such perversions regarding the common custom of writing names of various angels into the Mezuzah. His revulsion of the mindset that promotes this is palpable.
    R Moshe also succinctly captures this in his Teshuvah where he rules that one may volunteer to be Moser Nefesh for Mitzvos other than the 3 Chamuros but only if one is prepared to be Moser Nefesh for all 613 Mitzvos. Otherwise, it is not Gd that is being honoured but the individual’s own distorted sense of values that are being honoured: this Mitzvah does warrant my being Moser Nefesh but not that one.

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    Please remove the text of the original distorted story as you did on your website. It is neither the fault of my husband or his patient that somebody took a story and rewrote it to promote his own agenda.

    Changing our last name to X does not change the problem with the story continuing in circulation. Just as many people may figure out the name of the patient by his identifying details so will they know exactly who the doctor in this story is. There is no reason for this story to continue to be up here. Lashon hara spreads so fast and is impossible to “clean up” especially on the world wide web. Please help the little you can by cleaning this shmutz up from your site.

    Mrs. Zelenko

  • meir rabi says:

    Sima Chana, if you send me an email and allow me to respond to you directly I would be grateful

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    I sent you a message through your website with my email address but wish to state here that I feel that what you are doing is the same thing or even worse than what you are speaking out against.

    At this point you are using lashon hara at many other people’s expenses to promote your own agenda. Too bad for us, the real people on the other side of the “story” who must continue to suffer agmus nefesh from this. Too bad for all those who stumble upon this article and may become party to participating in lashon hara, and too bad for you who actively are participating in it.

    Perhaps you should look to your Rabbinic council as in our eyes this violates multiple halachas regarding motsei shem ra, and lashon hara.

    I would like to reiterate to those reading this article and comments that the story cited is filled with falsehoods, is grossly inaccurate and only serves to increase in sinas chinam.

    A gutte Voch,
    Mrs. Zelenko

  • If anyone wishes to have an article altered or removed etc, the proper course of action is to contact the editors by email. As it stands, all the names of the individuals have been removed from the story. Currently, the main obstacle to the anonymity of the doctor is the presence of comments left under the name of the doctor’s wife. If the doctor’s wife contacts us privately, we can arrange a solution to this obstacle too.

    The factuality of the events behind the story are irrelevant to Rabbi Rabi’s article. R’ Rabi has written a critique of the story, and specifically, the conclusions drawn by the author of the story. R’ Rabi’s critique is not of the actual events behind the story. Therefore, we remain unconvinced that R’ Rabi’s article should be removed.

    To the person writing under the name Harry J…,
    You have been asked previously to cease using multiple pseudonyms under a single comment thread. Continuing to disregard these requests could certainly be seen as a violation of Jewish ethics and halacha.

  • Steven says:

    Dear Galus Australis

    There are a gezillion similar stories that could replace this one with the same critique. Mrs X is obviously suffering by the publication of the story, why not remove it? Is it worth making a stand for absolutely nothing at the expense of her anguish? Rabbi Rabi could even make up a story giving the same message. And what’s the message? Don’t be stupid?

    Yes, you told her to contact you, but even if she does, it sounds like you will only offer her more of the same as Rabbi Rabi wrote.

  • meir rabi says:

    I would like to add another general perspective to this discussion –

    all these stories that conclude “and they lived happily ever after” are deceptive, not because they are false but because they suggest that stories that do not have a happy ending are not directed by Gd, or even if they are, we are incapable of getting “the message” from such stories

  • meir rabi says:

    but in this case it is not so much the manipulations of Gd that are being glorified as the values of not compromising superficial and artificial principals

  • Dr. Zelenko says:

    Dear Rabbi Rabi

    I would like to know what your credentials are as a Rabbi. Where did you get Rabbinic ordination? Are you orthodox? If you are I may suggest that you take some refresher courses and brush up on your Halacha skills and well as common sense.

    Furthermore, you have taken a bogus and inaccurate story to further your obvious anti-Lubavitch and anti-meshichist agenda at my expense.

    I am a very famous physician with thousands of orthodox patients. By continuing this post against my will you have embarrassed me publicly. You have been asked multiple times in a very respectfull way the please remove this story.

    Your judgements about my “superficial and artificial principals” are a further sign of your low moral fiber and character when it comes to judging other Jews. You have not spoken to me about my beliefs, but clearly feel entitled to publicly ridicule them. I suspect that your are an unprincipled and unhappy person who likes to make himself feel better by putting down other drachim that you clearly are not capable of understanding. I wish you a refuah shlemah.

    If you dont remove this article then your are in violation of multiple Jewish laws as per my rabbinic counsel, and i do not moilchel you.

    All the Best

    Moshiach Now

    Dr. Zelenko

  • Steven says:

    Dr Zelenko, As I wrote above, I recommend cessation of action which has absolutely no benefit to anyone whilst causing anguish to others. What benefit is there in wearing a Yechi yarmulka? And yes, it distresses me and others.

  • HarryJohns says:

    Dear Galus (i.e. Frosh, or whoever you are),

    The reason I responded under a different pseudonym is because, frankly, I couldn’t remember what the pseudonym was I’d used previously was… I was too lazy to scroll up the page!

    Dear other commentators,

    This who posting is a real “sheinde”. Surely R Rabi could email the editors and ask that they remove the posting? The parties involved in the story are understandably upset and it is a travesty that GalusAustralis seems not to care about the Torah values that Judaism seeks to uphold.

  • frosh says:

    Harry J,

    If I wrote the kind of rubbish you did, I’d probably want to hide behind several pseudonyms also.

    The only Torah value being transgressed here is your continual disrespect of the house rules.

  • meir rabi says:

    Shalom to you, dear Dr Zelenko

    You have chosen to use this public forum to make your comments when you could have used my private email to engage in a private discussion. I will therefore respond in this same forum.
    I am an orthodox Jew. I have been most fortunate to spend many years learning and teaching Torah and I am still devoting the majority of my day to learning and teaching Torah.

    I ask you the following 2 questions: would you agree to abandon your special Kippa in order to gain the opportunity to help other Yidden, or would you prefer and perhaps even insist that wearing your special Kippa is more valuable than helping other Yidden?
    Would you prefer to wear your special Kippa and have less time and money for yourself and your family or would you prefer to wear an ordinary Kippa and have more time and money for yourself and your family?

    These questions lies at the heart of our discussion.
    I understand that you maintain that you would rather wear your special Kippa even if that denies you the opportunity to help thousands of other Yidden. I understand this from what Sima Chana has told me on the phone as well as from the story that was publicly circulated. As you can see and as Sima Chana noted, the amended version on my blog reflects the true facts and adequately protects the identity of yourself and your patient and you have no issues with the version as it is presently on my blog.

    So, I correctly understand that you have certain beliefs and you are proud of those beliefs. You are not ashamed of your convictions. You desire to promote your principles. You are to be admired and I do admire you for your strength of character. However, I disagree with your principles. I consider them artificial and superficial. I consider them to be distorted and not in harmony with the principles of our Torah.

    As you are prepared to promote your principles in the public arena, I feel that it is necessary to offer a counter balancing perspective. I do this by presenting information, true information, and probing to prompt people to ask questions. I believe that this dialogue is also prompting you to ask questions about your principles and the way you apply them.

    I do not fathom why you consider this discussion LH. It is no different to any debate in the Gemara or amongst Acharonim. Each side presents its arguments and finds weaknesses and inconsistencies in the opposing arguments. I have found weaknesses and inconsistencies in your principles; have you found any in mine?

    I now realise that you are deeply offended by my observations, I have not intended at any time to cause you any grief. When the story was first circulated I was sure that you had agreed to its publication and that the patient concerned was equally agreeable. Although you now make it clear that patient confidentiality was breached, it would appear that that was your doing. You may not have approved the publication of the story but it certainly appears that you told the story to a group of likeminded Chassidim and you included the pointers that made identification of the patient possible. I am sure that all who heard the story were under the impression that the patient was quite comfortable with having his identity known. I have unwittingly contributed to this and I do ask Mechila. However, it need not be said that there are others who are the primary parties in this.

    I bless you with much success in your pursuits. May HKBH assist you to pursue lofty ambitions and inspire many people with a true loyalty to HKBH.

    I understand that in the heat of your distress you have said things that should not have been posted in a public arena, and I am Mochel you for your indiscretions.

  • HarryJohns says:

    Thanks Frosh – you gave me a good laugh. Sorry you find what I write to be “rubbish”, but we can’t all be as eloquent or philosophic as you. I will endeavour in future to provide deep-thinking commentary that meets your exacting standards.

  • Dr. Zelenko says:

    First of all, what i say in private between close friends was not to be repeated in the public forum. Now that you know that the propagation of this article is based on on flasehoods, inaccuracies and is causing undo distress to several people why would you continue to propagate it? My Kippa is my business and whether or not I should sacrifice for it is none of yours. It was not ment to be a policy statement for other people on the world wide web. B”H, Hashem has repayed me multiple times for my pricipals. My family is very well taken care of both spiritually and materially B”H. While some people may disagree with my personal beliefs, many more respect me for not comprimising them for the sake of money or anything else. This has over the years only brought the community that I serve and myself closer together. We have learned to love and respect each other by choosing to stress what unites us over what seperates us.
    In addition running a VERY successful medicial practice (B”H), I also built a Shul called Beis Medrush Schneur Zalmen (after the Alter Rebbe). B”H, we have all types of people, Satmar, Lubavitich (with and without the Yechi Kippa), Litvish, Frum and not yet Frum, davening in one place with a very unusal sense of achdus and love. I give shiurim in Chabad Chassidus in a neutral and respectfull way, many Satmar Talmidy Chochamim attend and enjoy. I also gave in a Sefer Torah (B”H) 2 months ago and about 3000 thousnad Satmar Chassidim attended the event. My point is that you clearly possess a narrow, limited, and Golus mentality (as the name of your website clearly illustrates). Since you made a point of publisizing my Kippa on your website against my will, and continue to do so, My only conclusion is that Hashem is using you for a greater purpose, perhaps the propagation of my beliefs (thats pretty funny). Your FEELINGS about my Kippa should not replace Halacha, derech eretz, common sense, etc. I have spoken to many Rabbonim (Lubavitch, Satmar, even Litvish), My Kippa does not violate any Halacha (even if some of the Rabbonium did not share my personal beliefs). Your blog tries to protray itself as an authenthic Torah approach. However, in my biased opinion it serves to propagate your narrow views and uses the Torah as a secondary tool for such purposes. Do not cloak your religous bias and perhaps anger in the guise of “TORAH”

    Dr. Zelenko

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    I didn’t really want to have to participate in this anymore but feel like I must point out that these communications must stay in the public view Rabbi Rabi. It would be nice if it were not the case. Here is an illustration why.

    You write “I understand that you maintain that you would rather wear your special Kippa even if that denies you the opportunity to help thousands of other Yidden. I understand this from what Sima Chana has told me on the phone as well as from the story that was publicly circulated. ”

    I don’t know what I said to make you “understand” this. Actually I told you the real story of what happened which was a beautiful story of hashkacha pratis saving a man’s life and told you that the story published was not a true version of what actually took place. So I’m not sure why you’re still holding onto this.

    This could have been a private conversation had you had the decency to remove the story from the public’s view.

    Furthermore my husband did not almost give up the chance to help thousands of Jews for what you think is a superficial issue. This just never happened. In fact wherever Hakodosh Baruch Hu who have placed us would have been the place where we spent our lives in the service of the Jewish people.

    Lastly I would request that when addressing me or reffering to me that you call me by my title not by my first name. Where I come from its not tznius for frum people to call members of the oposite gender by their first name unless they are family or in their very close social circle. Even in the outside world people usually develop some sense of comfort with each other before addressing others by their first names be they of the oposite gender of not.

    Thank you,
    Mrs. Zelenko

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    You also write “As you can see and as Sima Chana noted, the amended version on my blog reflects the true facts and adequately protects the identity of yourself and your patient and you have no issues with the version as it is presently on my blog.”

    This is just not true. The story still does not reflect the true facts it just takes out identifying details. Actually I linked to kosherveyosher after you had pulled the story. It was only after I linked when you replaced it with your modified version. Nowhere did I ever say lead anyone to believe I had no issues with the new version on your blog!

  • Disgusted says:

    I am disgusted with this diatribe perpetuated by Rabi. For someone lving in a glass house, ostrcized by the vast bulk of the orthodox community except for a handful in the Adass due to his beliefs & activities I am shocked at the drivel being presented as ‘truth’. I am shocked that the self-righteous Rabi feels it his priviledge to grub someone else as a sport and then have the gall to liken it to the debates of the Gemorah.

    Perhaps we can re-write sone of Rabis commentary, like in the Gemorah to determine how the scenario can be expanded and expounded upon. Let’s try below:

    :
    I ask you the following 2 questions: would you agree to abandon your special Kippa in order to gain the opportunity to help other Yidden, or would you prefer and perhaps even insist that wearing your special Kippa is more valuable than helping other Yidden?
    Would you prefer to wear your special Kippa and have less time and money for yourself and your family or would you prefer to wear an ordinary Kippa and have more time and money for yourself and your family?

    :
    I ask you the following 2 questions: would you agree to abandon your special kashrut business in order to gain the opportunity to rid Melbourne of much Loshon Hora (that which was the cause of the Temples destruction), bring the community closer together and set the highest possible standards for Kashrut in this town rather than look for easy method of making money, or would you prefer and perhaps even insist that your special kashrut business is more valuable than ridding Melbourne of much Loshon Hora, bringing the community closer together and setting the highest possible standards for Kashrut in this town rather than looking for an easy method of making money?
    Would you prefer to continue your special kashrut business and have less macholket and a some respect in this town for yourself and your family or would you prefer to have more macholket and continue to have no respect in this town for yourself and your family?

    :
    As you can see and as Sima Chana noted, the amended version on my blog reflects the true facts and adequately protects the identity of yourself and your patient and you have no issues with the version as it is presently on my blog.

    :
    Blind Freddy can see through this nonesense. The Dr & his wife have repeatedly asked you remove the story and you have found every excuse as to why it is important to keep it in the public forum.
    “Ammended version” – You have replaced a surname with an X, are you kidding? – this supposedly now protects the identity of the Dr. You then go on to place the onus on the Dr and his wife for bringing this to the public forum when it is obvious that they have been trying to persaude you privately to no avail.

    It is now apparant that this is the same warped logic you applied to keep on your website the now infamous letter from Dayan Abrahams who expressly requested to have it removed from your website when your antics in Melbourne became the source much loshon hora and hate.

    :
    As you are prepared to promote your principles in the public arena, I feel that it is necessary to offer a counter balancing perspective. I do this by presenting information, true information, and probing to prompt people to ask questions. I believe that this dialogue is also prompting you to ask questions about your principles and the way you apply them.

    :
    What is this true information, you have only provided commentary of your own thoughts. Perhaps we can consider some real truths like the truth around the lettuce at “Lord of the Fries” which you claim is washed and pre-checked but as I have come to see last week Friday at the Flinders St Train Station outlet, have magically become lettuce heads again. A pity you don’t have machgichim onsite to help deal with these unimportant kashrut nonesenses…Perhaps you should update your website with the truth

    :
    I have unwittingly contributed to this and I do ask Mechila. However, it need not be said that there are others who are the primary parties in this.

    :
    You place the onus on the Dr to find a weakness or inconsistency in your diatribe as you have supposedly found in his story which he has BEGGED you to remove due to the known inaccuracies, distortions etc… that others have promoted and fostered.

    These two sentences you write above display your weakness in BOLD. You ask for Mechila in the first sentence and then caveat what is supposed to be a serious religious request. All the man wants is for you to remove this article and then Mechila by extension is not even required. Yet you, a supposed orthodox Rabbi would rather keep up the Loshon Hora (which you have negated as ‘cordial debate’ searching for the truth) and then at the back end look for a Mechila, with a clause built in…..

  • Naftoli says:

    Disgusted has expressed exactly what I, and presumably, many others feel.

    I may not have expressed myself so bluntly but the bottom line is the same. Are you using this ‘issue’ to seek the limelight again? After all it is still a long 5 months till Pesach when your name will no doubt be at the forefront when you will no doubt be pushing your laffa matzos.

    Sorry, now I am being rude and blunt, but it is amazing that you are using these people’s pain for your own supposed aggrandizement.

  • Jason says:

    Dr & Mrs Zelenko:

    You’re wasting your time expecting anything from Meir Rabi.

    Just look at previous blogs on this site dealing with his hechsher of laffa matza (which has been disowned and warned off by the local rabbinate) and you’ll quickly understand why you’re wasting your time..

    He has been asked numerous times to produce his smicha and all we see is waffle but no smicha. In fact that’s all we see…waffle.

    Perhaps he has one, but in the absence of him producing a copy, the title he (mis)uses may well have been delivered by some redneck backwater university in the USA…which exists only in cyberspace.

    This is what it is….he has no community so his never ending 5 minutes of fame may only be achievable here on Galus Australis.

    Shame on you Galus Australis…Shame on you!

  • Joel says:

    With all due respect to the Doctor and his wife, I would beg them to reconsider their request to have this article removed. I appreciate that this is hurting them personally and I think the vast majority of the readers here have sympathy for their cause.

    HOWEVER

    I believe this article has done a wondrous good for the people of Melbourne in exposing Rabbi Rabi. For quite some time many of us were on the fence, “is Rabi a unique pioneer being persecuted by ‘The Establishment’ or is he a ‘Fraud’ or some form of compromise in the middle.”

    As was noted in the blunt response from ‘Disgusted’, the way that this family has been abused by Rabbi Rabi shows us his true colours.

    He is willing to postulate and provide interesting ‘intellectual’ theological discussion at the expense of the dignity of another human being.

    Are you truly a Rabbi? I shudder to think how you got through the system with your blatant disregard for your fellow man

    Not so sure if you are ‘Kosher VeYosher’

  • meir rabi says:

    To all those who contributed to the discussion, thank you.
    It is pleasing to see that I have prompted you to consider your perspectives and their balance within the tenets of authentic Yiddishkeit. I suggest that by not introducing distracting irrelevant issues and by ignoring those that have been posted, you will be helping yourselves to focus on the real issues that are being discussed here.

    I too have principles that I stand up for, one of them is to not be dissuaded by those who attempt to mock. This is an instruction in the Shulchan Aruch. But a principle can not be any matter that I choose, it must be a Torah Value. Speaking truth is a Torah Value. I have endeavoured to speak truth in an honourable and delicate manner and I believe I have succeeded.

    To Dr and Mrs. Zelenko:
    When you phoned me, you introduced yourself as Sima Chana, in all following emails I addressed you as Sima Chana as I was sure this was the style of address you preferred and I had not the slightest inkling that you considered it inappropriate. Now that you have made your preferences clear, I apologise for addressing you by your first name.

    Re your suggestion that you did not approve the modified version I have posted on my website, http://www.kosherveyosher.com/blog.html, I was not and am not under that impression since you wrote the following on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 11:09 PM, in an email to me “I see your blog and how you changed the story. please do the same on the galusausstralis blog.” It is evident that you approve the version presently on my blog.
    I do not understand why this is so, but it appears that you are confusing my blog with the Galus Australis blog.

    Further; from the modified version, the version you approve, it is clear that it is admirable to wear special badges promoting Meshichist principles in spite of this making it more difficult to help other Yidden or help oneself and ones family.

    Your response to my 2 questions also makes it clear that you do place your principles of Meshichism above the values of having greater Mitzvah opportunities, more opportunities to do Chessed and better quality of a Torah life.

    If someone does not wish to seek leniencies in Halacha and this jeopardises his Mitzvah opportunities, his quality of life opportunities and/or his job opportunities, there is much to be weighed and contemplated and advice should be sought from seasoned Halchic authorities. But you are promoting and elevating an artificial and superficial principle to the same status and perhaps even a loftier status than Halacha and Torah. This is not the Yiddishe way. This is not part of our tradition. There is some clouding of your judgement. There is a conscious commitment to convolute truth and fact and substitute it with fiction and fantasy. Unfortunately, this type of distorted thinking has plagued us previously in our history. I mentioned in an earlier post the tragic “Yiddishe Minhag” of writing names in the body of the Mezuzah.

    I am sure you do not add any names to the body of the Mezuzos you have in your home or office. But let me ask you a question, if you would require a medical assistant and you find the perfect Jewish candidate; he is competent, Frum and caring; there is only one small problem – he insists on making a small addition to the Mezuzos in those places where he works, he insists on adding the name of Yerachmiel or Menachem Mendel or Gavriel or the message Moshiach Now, would you consider employing him? Even if you would, let’s say another employer would not, do you consider this candidate’s insistence to reflect the Yiddishe Derech?

    And I would say the same if you would insist that your assistants must wear a special Kippa: those who would rather abandon their job and have less opportunities to do Chessed, would be making a foolish decision. If you would offer me a job in which I could do more Chessed and expand my Mitzvah opportunities but requiring me to wear a Meshichist Kippa, I would accept it.

    I am delighted with your success, may the RShOlam grant you more, but do you ever wonder if your successes would be even greater and that you could be providing more Nachas to HKBH if you were to modify slightly your attitude and posture?

    You should also take note that LH is a problem whether the story is discussed privately amongst a few close intimate friends or broadcast on the WWW. But I have immediately amended the article to address these issues as soon as I was alerted to the fact that you had made a mistake in telling anyone about this story.

  • HarryJohns says:

    Disgusted, Naftoli, Jason and Joel –

    Whether or not you like R Rabi and his perspective on particular issues – including his soft matzah – you do not have to utilise offensive language concerning the Rabbi.

    I, too, feel that in this instance the Rabbi might have addressed the issue differently given the plethora of complaints from the key players in the alleged story. However, the Torah sets standards as to how one Jew should behave towards another, and insulting the Rabbi, accusing him of crimes against humanity, and calling into question his smichah, is really beyond the pale of acceptable behaviour…

  • Steven says:

    Rabbi Rabi, which part of “If you dont remove this article then your are in violation of multiple Jewish laws as per my rabbinic counsel, and i do not moilchel you” don’t you understand?

    A two year old would have got the gist of what Dr and Mrs Z would like done. And it’s not keep the story and change his name.

    Your repeatedly repitious repitions of ‘would you do or prefer this to this in halachic rhubarb rhubarb’ are getting inane and paling into total insignificance compared to your obstinate refusal to pull the story from your site in spite of the distress (warranted or not) you are causing.

    Same goes to GA for not pulling the story.

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    Wow, at this point I don’t really care anymore if he pulls it or not. If somebody comes across this at least they have the chance to see the comments from my husband and myself and won’t just draw inaccurate assumptions.

    I no longer feel the need to communicate with Rabi regarding any of his comments because it’s obvious to me that he must live in an alternate universe than me.

    None of his judgments or hypothetical questions he’s holding onto have any sort of connection to our actual lives. This is no longer bordering on ridiculous. I’m actually slightly amused at this point.

    Mrs. Zelenko

  • Andrew says:

    To the ‘VERY’ famous doctor and philanthropist: I am certain that Rabbi Rabi is a Rabbi, even without having met him or reviewed his ‘credentials’. After all, with the Smicha train broken for quite some time, a Rabbi is only a teacher. You see, for years I believed that members of Chabad took their messianic tenets from Christianity. And who could blame them. After all, millenia have proved these tenets to be quite popular, albeit when you’re ‘chosen’ you really do feel special. Well, this post encouraged me to translate what is written on your kippa. As a result, I now understand that I was mistaken. Whilst Christians believe in the ‘resurrection’ of the ‘savior’, members of Chabad believe their ‘lord or master’, their ‘king’ is still ‘alive’.

  • drew says:

    Just a comment about semichah these days…

    It is well known that the late Lubavitcher rebbe ztl demanded that every student of his yeshivos have a semichah in hand by the time he goes under the chuppah.

    Thus you will be hardpressed to find many (married) Chabadniks who don’t have that piece of paper and the title.

    However the sad fact is that95% of those calling themselves ‘rabbi’ really wouldn’t have a clue about most matters Halachik. My grandmother could open and look inside a chicken and immediately know whether it was kosher, treif – or a shaaloh to be ruled upon by a (genuine) rabbi.

    How many of our Chabad ‘rabbis’ can do that?
    V_E_R_Y few indeed.
    Semicha? Rabbi? My foot!

    But why go so far? Just ask the next ‘rabbi’ you meet what to do if you forgot to say Yaaleh Veyavoy at Mincha on Rosh Chodesh…
    In fact do better. Ask several of them and see how many different replies you get.

    (I recall davening a a Chabad House one such day when the rabbi himself forgot YV during the loud Amidah. He didn’t have a clue!)

    You get my drift. That is what ‘semichah’ is worth today.

    FACT: It was only approx a year ago, that Rabbi Yossi Braun, head of the Tzemach Tzedek shul in Sydney was appointed to the Crown Heights Beth Din.

    His opponents there made a huge hue and cry claiming that he didn’t have ‘semichah’.

    I wouldn’t know if that is correct or not. What I do know is that he taught an intensive Semichah course for group of young men in Sydney. I also happen to know that Rabbi Braun is a huge talmid chacham – with far,far more Torah knowledge than 99% of Chabad rabbis worldwide.
    So to attack him (as was done on many Chabad blogs)for not having a peice of paper that every other shmendrick has is a joke.

    Time to stop with the ‘semichah’ nonsense, seeing it has been devalued to a level of being worthless.

  • drew says:

    Addendum
    I know and understand nothing about soft matzos etc.

    But what I do know is that at least half the rabbis in the RCV that issued their ban wouldn’t have a tenth of the Torah knowledge (or yirat shamayim) of Rabbi Meir Rabi.

    Drew – who, btw, has never eaten soft matza

  • Hasofer says:

    Dear Meir Rabi, and to whom it may concern.

    I am a lubavitcher originally from Melbourne, i would just like to share my thoughts on this whole discussion…

    First of all, it is very clear that this doctor is part of the Mishichist movement, which is a clear breakaway from Chabad, and has been denounced numerous times by all Chabad leaders, and especially those Chabad leaders who the Rebbe personally appointed to head chabad after his passing, as well as all of the prominent Shluchim.

    This guy is obviously a baal tshuva, and has unfortunately fallen prey to the extremists and crazy’s among chabad, the Rebbe tried very hard to stop all of these activities, like at a Farbrengen in 1992 a few weeks before his major stroke, which left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak, the Rebbe OBM screamed at some of the Chasidim at the farbrengen for singing a song that implied that he is Moshiach, The Rebbe said that he should pick up and leave the farbrengen now, but said that for reasons of ahavas yisroel, he will not. The Rebbe went on to say that he knows that unfortunately this will not help… crazies are crazy and will always be crazy.

    There are many, many letters and sichos of the Rebbe against all such activities of this Mishichistim, but they don’t care… they have their own distorted interpretations and agendas…

    90% of all prominent Chabad leaders have come out very strongly against these fanatics for the past 17 years and till this day.

    The issue of the yechi Yarmulka, which this doctor is so connected to, to the point of not giving it up to help thousands of yiden, is outright outrageous, and a massive Chilul Hashem!!! Anyone who knows the slightest about the Rebbe, will no doubt condemn such behavior, and i am sure that however much good work he does, the Rebbe is having tzar about this behavior.

    This yechi yarmulka is not at all anything significant, it has no source at all, like all of the Mishichistims so called minhogim, it is part of the cults symbols, and source of identity, this doctor has unfortunately fallen prey to these people who are out there to make a Chillul hashem and desecrate the Holy name of the Rebbe OBM. he is a baal tshuva, and like so many of them, have a need to feel part of something, and feel like they are extreme… this Yechi business is obviously a strong part of his so called Judaism, to a point that he will sacrifice almost anything for it, for what? For a few dumb words on his Yarmulka!!!

    But fortunately these fanatics are shrinking in numbers and the Rebbes words will definitely prevail! the Rabbonim and shluchim who the Rebbe appointed to have a say in what goes on in Chabad will definitely prevail!!!

    Yitamu Chatoim velo Choitim…

  • Naftoli says:

    R Hasofer , it is very sad to read your rant against another Yid. While you and I may not agree with his views I would not sink to the lows that you have in the way you have attacked him and also in the way that you presented the Rebbe ZY”A.

    While we all know that the Rebbe was strongly against his chassidim publicly proclaiming that he was Moshiach he did not call those who did “crazy” as you implied. One of the Rebbe’s strongest points, which he imparted to his followers and especially his shluchim, is to treat every person – Jew and non-Jew – with respect. Not only did you completely disrespect the doctor as a person but you also chose to believe the story that R Rabi repeated in his post and which has been revealed as being false by both the doctor and his wife.

    We all have strong feelings about the meshichisten but I also feel strongly that we shouldn’t castigate individuals in the nasty way that you did. I believe that you owe him an apology.

  • I thank R Hasofer for his contribution.

    Naftoli, you are wrong, the story is true. The story as it stands on my blog, http://www.kosherveyosher.com/blog.html, (and you may see for yourself that it is essentially the same as the version here on the Galus blog) was ratified by the Doctor’s wife. I mentioned this earlier but you appear to have not noticed.

    But the story was only an illustration of a phenomenon that is well known. Please keep in mind that the purpose of publishing my observations was to present a perspective that I think is often overlooked.
    Such stories have usually a feel-good aura about them, that’s how they are constructed by the literary stylist and by the story-tellers, and many readers often feel an affinity and sympathy for the people and ideals expressed in these stories. I was alerting readers that there are inherent dangers of which we should be vigilant. Please read my introductory comments – “Let me say at the outset, I am making observations about a frailty of humanity; its ability to inflict on itself outrageous, mind bending, distortions.”

    “Authentic Jewish Life is devoted to correcting such distortions but it seems that sometimes and in some arenas of Jewish Life, it is used to promote and glorify distorted thinking.”

    The spitting and verbal abuse now surfacing in Ramat Beit Shemesh is also a similar distortion of overly intense orthodoxy which distorts the true nature of Halacha and Torah

    May we merit Moshiach soon

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    The only thing I will respond to is Rabi’s continuous insistance that this is an accurate story.

    Rabi writes :
    “The story as it stands on my blog, http://www.kosherveyosher.com/blog.html, (and you may see for yourself that it is essentially the same as the version here on the Galus blog) was ratified by the Doctor’s wife. I mentioned this earlier but you appear to have not noticed”

    Like I’ve said earlier Rabi must live in an alternate reality than the one I live in. I and my husband have stated numerous times that this is not an accurate story. This was embellished by the author until it no longer resembled what actually happened. There are many “added” details and this story was in no way approved of by us. It’s a shame that it ever got published and smeared around the world wide wide.

    the end..

    Mrs. Zelenko

  • Mrs Zelenko, Shalom to you.

    Do you wish to retract the email you wrote me in which you approved the story that I posted on my blog?

    Here are your words, posted to me on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 11:09 PM, in an email, “I see your blog and how you changed the story. please do the same on the galusausstralis blog.” It is evident that you approve the version presently on my blog.

    All Jews live in the same universe as do all people of the world – and that is why we all bear a responsibility for one another. Even if you feel I may never embrace your version of Lubavitch ideology, I assure you that I am open to criticism and change. Speak to my mind and we will be able to experience a dialogue. You appear to be brave enough to engage in such discussions and benefit from hearing an opinion that does not quite match your own.

    Shalom

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    Rabbi Rabi,

    When I had spoken to you on the phone before that email contact I had asked you to kindly REMOVE this story from your blog and from galusautralis.

    When I saw you changed the identifying details on your blog, I didn’t have the koach to discuss with you further if this story should or should not be propagated as you had altered it. I don’t know you and did not need to beg you from across the sea. Therefore I emailed you back I asked you to make those same changes on galusaustralis as well. (which you did not)

    Spreading around and commenting on a story of questionable background is one thing, and it’s your business if you wish to engage in that. What I wanted changed AT THE VERY LEAST were details that would identify us and our community and tie us to this mostly fabricated story. (better if you took it off and stopped certain back and forth that only can create animosity between yidden)

    I made this clear many many times!

    This is my only issue I feel like I need to communicate on this forum.

    Good Shabbos,
    Mrs. Zelenko

  • Rachsd says:

    The story published on Moshiach.ru is fiction although it claimed not to be. Therefore the name of the claimed protagonist has been removed from this site. That it was written by Tuvia Bolton and posted on the Moshiach.ru website is fact, and that is the important point. This story is just one of hundreds of similar stories with exactly the same message. Recently, I was told an a story with the same message and different facts (this one was about a man who preferred to buy an expensive etrog than food for his family and the story suggested that this was a good thing!) Similar stories are publicised regularly in the Lamplighter. The comments here that suggest that Meir Rabi’s article are innaccurate are completely off the mark either unintentionally or as part of a smear campaign against R Rabi. Until Chabad (and others) stop systematically publicising these types of stories, criticising the ‘moral’ is fair game.

  • Steven says:

    Wow, such a simple story still going on three months later.

    ‘A’ publishes a story about Dr X, who says it’s not true, and ‘C’ tries to convince others through lengthy psychobabble that Mrs/Dr X doesn’t know what s/he is talking about and in reality Mrs/Dr X agrees with the story.

    Perhaps Rabbi Rabi should re-read all the above comments.

    I await Rabbi Rabi’s next comment, and if he again concludes Mrs X agrees that the story is true, my head will explode, and you won’t hear from me again.

  • Sima Chana Zelenko says:

    Steven, that was a great break down. I really needed a good laugh after reading the last few posts….

  • Shalom to Mrs Zelenko

    So you have not retracted your email message to me that was posted to me following our phone conversation. Here are your words, posted to me on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 11:09 PM, in an email, “I see your blog and how you changed the story. please do the same on the galusausstralis blog.” It is evident that you approve the version presently on my blog.

    Also, you seem to be confused, I am not the editor nor the webmaster of Galus, I am responsible for what is on my blog, for which you have expressed your satisfaction. If you now wish to change your mind and retract that satisfaction, then please make that clear.

    There are many ways of resolving animosity between Yidden. I prefer to use an approach that is based upon truth.

    I think that it can be reasonably suggested that you must be living at different times in a number of mutually incompatible universes.

    Shalom to Steven.

    Shabbat Shalom to all, may we be energised to pursue truth and thereby bring Moshiach, speedily and in our days.

    Rabbi MGR

  • Naftoli says:

    R Meir, enough already!!
    It’s almost Pesach and you will soon be busy making headlines with your ‘matzos’ again :)
    Have a restful Shabbos.

  • Naftoli, Shalom to you.

    TRUTH knows no rest

    When TRUTH sleeps, Moshiach sleeps

    When we are outraged by untruths, then Moshiach is making progress

    Gutt Shabbos
    May the Beracha of Shabbos, which is a day of TRUTH, energise us to pursue truth with greater vitality

  • Avrumi says:

    Intresting article. It sounds like Dr. Zelenko is a legend in his own mind.I live in Kiryas Yoel. I promise he is not as famous as he and his wife think. I will to print and share this article.

  • Avrumi says:

    we know what this zelenko is about. he is not fooling any one

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