A legacy of silence and ignoring mitzvot

It is true that speaking lashon hara is grievous, and that defaming the dead also shows poor form. That being said, as an admirer of the man, I felt betrayed by what is mostly silence over the darker part of his legacy. I’m talking largely about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.

While I’m cognizant of the difficulties in being accusatory to a man fourteen years dead and unable to defend himself, I can’t help but feel that this is insensitive to the victims, and serves to humiliate them, and Jews quite likely know what the Talmud says about humiliating another human being.

And those who have spoken out only to be told “where were you when he was alive?”, well, the man had a huge following and was highly regarded by non-Orthodox Jews of all kinds, and when the man is considered to be tzaddik by thousands/tens of thousands/hundreds of thousands/whatever, it might actually be extremely difficult to stand up to those kinds of numbers especially when the natural impulse of most abuse victims is to blame themselves. When you are all alone in those kinds of situations and likely to have one’s reputation slung through the dirt, or met with incredulity from nearly all corners, why would you speak up?

Learning this of a man I once admired has disappointed me, partly in myself for believing all the hype about the man, that he was a man largely without fault, but mostly my disappointment lies with those who would rather point the finger at those who have had difficulty finding the courage to speak out about their ‘lashon hara’ and instead forgot the Leviticus injunction against letting a fellow Jew sin, which had been done for decades and continues now in spite of the growing campaign to let the truth be heard.

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