Rabbi Avi Shafran finally, finally has shown his true colors. In his article “Bernie, Sully and Me” carried in the JTA April 2, 2009 he revealed the corrupted understanding that he and obviously other hareidi Jews have for halacha. True to his twisted understanding of Jewish law he was able to reason that Bernie Madoff isn’t so terrible. After all there is no difference according to Shafran between stealing a dime or a billion dollars. And there is no distinction according to him with regard to scope and severity. Anyone, according to him who has a creative accountant is guilty of defrauding 300 million Americans. Using Shafran’s reasoning the murder of six million Jews in Europe would have been the same as murdering one Jew. And the murder of one Jew during the crusades would have been no different than the hundreds of thousands that were killed. And continuing his line of reason it matters not if one chayal is killed or many during a campaign. Scope and severity do not play a role in the world of Rabbi Avi Shafran. Interestingly though it does play a significant role in halachic Judaism if one is vaguely familiar with Talmud.
Tell me Rabbi Shafran do you really think that if someone steals a candy bar from a kiosk it’s the same in the eyes of halacha as someone who not only defrauds family and friends of billions but also bankrupts charities? Do you believe that the anti-Semitic backlash around the globe would have been as virulent had Bernie Madoff stole a carton of cigarettes off of a truck?
Disturbing as all this is however, is his comparing Bernies’s misadventure to the successful adventure (thank god) of Captain Sullenberg. While Shafran considers Madoff’s decision to turn himself in as sublimity of spirit, Captain Sullenberg did what he was supposed to do and there is nothing sublime in what he did. I suppose that if ones’ logic is as faulty as Shafran’s that he believes stealing ten cents is no different than stealing a billion dollars than I really can’t expect him to understand that Captain Sullenberg’s skill and disregard for his own safety ought not to be referenced in the same essay as the likes of Madoff. And certainly no comparison should be made between the two. One is a crook; the other is a gifted pilot who placed the lives of others before his own.
If ever there was sublimity of spirit it was that manifested by Sullenberg. As the aircraft was sinking he repeatedly walked through the aisle, checking every seat making certain that no one was left behind. Madoff on the other hand made sure that everyone and every charity was left behind.