“The Rabbi from the North” Scandal

“The Rabbi from the North” Scandal

A few years ago, I heard there was this amazing rabbi from Tsfat who would be giving a lecture on “10 Tips for a Better Marriage.” The rabbi, I heard, was a great kabbalist, a miracle-perfoming tsaddik, a revered rosh yeshiva with hundreds and maybe thousands of students and followers around Israel.

Intrigued, I attended the lecture along with about 500 other married women. The rabbi walked into the lecture hall with his head turned to the side, so as not to see any of us women, and a student led him by the arm to the podium. Then the student announced that while the rabbi would not be able to speak with any of us privately after the lecture since he had to rush to teach elsewhere, he promised the rabbi would bless us as a group at the end of the class.

And then the rabbi began his lecture. I cannot say the rabbi (who modestly kept his eyes averted throughout the lecture) taught me anything new, but he reminded me of some important Shalom Bayit ideas, and spoke in an entertaining way which managed to keep me paying attention and taking notes for over an hour.

Looking back, I can guess what quite a few of the women sitting beside me were thinking about the charismatic young rabbi lecturing to us on the secrets of a happy marriage….

“If only!”

“If only my husband was more like this rabbi!”

“Such a scholar—he knows all of Shas and the Zohar inside and out!”

“Such a tsaddik—everyone’s heard of the miraculous power of his blessings!”

“Such an amazing, sensitive husband—just listen to his wisdom about marriage and a woman’s needs! I wish my husband was hearing all this!”

At the end, the rabbi invited us to contact him through his yeshiva’s website, and assured us that even though it might take him a while to respond, he eventually would.

And that was the last I heard from that rabbi until I saw a headline this week announcing that a “Rabbi from the North” (the court is still blocking publication of his name) had been arrested on multiple charges of sexual assault after confessing his crimes to local rabbinic leaders.

B”H, the Jewish world is blessed with so many rabbis who are true tsaddikim, true scholars, true servants of Hashem.

But this shocking story, I think, should still serve as an important reminder of two things…

1. A small number of rabbis are not who they appear to be

2. Appreciate your husband.

It’s true, your hubby’s not as big a scholar as so-and-so’s husband.

He’s not as big a tsaddik as so-and-so’s husband.

He’s not sweeping you off your feet with romantic getaway’s like so-and-so’s husband.

But the various scandals I’ve witnessed over the last few years have granted me a newfound respect for the normal guys who fill our communities—for the well-meaning husbands and the good-hearted fathers who go to shul and keep mitzvoth and do their best to not break any laws–of the Torah or civil type.

Because the husband who appears to be perfect sometimes isn’t. But a true mensch is a mensch is a mensch.


  1. If only Pinchas would blot them out and we would not be silenced,, silent, abused and there would be justice so crime would not be so rampant.

  2. Unfortunately, I have become pretty apathetic about this kind of thing. Although, I was kind of shocked at first, because I, too, respected this rav as a mekubal.

    I definitely agree – it’s better to just be happy with the normal, faulty, good-hearted mensch you married, instead of wishing he was more like X. Actually, every time I see a “perfect” family/couple, I tell m yself that 95%, there is something really wrong under the surface.

  3. Chana Jenny, you got it!

  4. a good rule of thumb in my opinion when your spouse is doing something annoying (or for the hundredth time not doing something) Look the other way and get over it. it’s not life threatening is it?
    and by the way, comparing your spouse to another person (who has more admirable qualities) quickly and immediately cure yourself of this very destructive habit.
    i think those two points might save time and heartache. (the time you save going to long lectures, one quarter of which i retain in my memory)(if at all)

  5. Good point
    Thank you

  6. really good point

  7. Is is a shame that there are phonies out there. This was worse (if true) not only a fake but using it to entrap women. I personally have a hard time if a holy person cannot look you in the eye – and make connection with your soul. The Lubavitch Rebbe OB”M always did this with individuals – men and women alike.

  8. its so hard to hear of stories like these, a rabbi or person who portrays themselves as holy people whom you may have learned from, who you end up finding out some horrific things they did….
    but i think we need to remember that we are living in times of yeridas hadoros, that not everyone is perfect, (even holiest of ppl in our torah have sinned…)
    and although we expect more from great people, we should try to remember that everyone is human. and if this great person has sinned in some way, doesnt mean that what they taught me was not emes.
    take the good that youve learned from them….

  9. Apparently he used date rape drug, at least in some of the incidents. Ugh. Gross. I think that makes what he did ten times worse. DATE RAPE DRUG??? SERIOUSLY??? Ugh. Just ugh.

  10. As it is written: kabdehu vechashdehu……

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