The Illogical World of Chelm
For those of you wretched souls who watch TV shows either the old-fashioned way or via the internet, Hashem Yishmor, there is a very old show called Star Trek. One of the trademark lines from that show is, "Beam me up Scotty, there is no sign of intelligent life here". That is precisely how I feel right now.
For many years I have noticed that families who are being tortured and harassed by the State Child welfare authorities, receive no (emphasize ZERO) , support or compassion from the community. It takes very little to fall into their net. If you are involved in a divorce, your ex-spouse or their friends/relatives can make allegations against you. If you have a grievance against a neighbor, are jealous of someone, or want to retaliate against another parent causing trouble in your child's school, someone can make an anonymous phone call to the abuse hotline and fabricate a story, or embellish something that happened. No matter how flimsy the report,they are required by law to investigate. If numerous calls are made, a history is created and the children are forcibly removed from the parents home. It is impossible to describe the pain that these parents and children endure-sometimes for years on end. Lives, families and reputations are being ruthlessly destroyed.
On the one hand, this is an incredible community that provides a mind-boggling degree of charity and chesed. From Chaverim, Hatzala,Chai Lifeline, Bonei Olam to the plethora of gemachs of all types the list is overwhelming Boruch Hashem , Kain Yirbu. On the other hand, however, absolutely no support at all is provided to these tragic families. I am not even talking about the legal oskonus that is provided to your everyday, common white-collar criminal who delight in making a major chilul Hashem with his greed and arrogance. But rather a simple phone call, a visit, a sympathetic word, divrei chizuk. Even those individuals we look to as Robbonim and Roshei Yeshivos will usually tell these distraught families, albeit politely, to say tehillim, have a nice day and not to take up any more of the rov's limited time.
Thus I naively thought that this is a very insular community and most people can only respond to what they personally can relate. In the past few weeks, however, all my thoughts, illusions, and attempts to be mlamed zchus (judge favorably) were totally shattered.
It came to light that there was a totally assimilated Jewish man in a far off place who committed a horrible crime. He brutally and mercilessly bludgened a 26 year old gentile park ranger and mother over the head with a flashlight until her brains splattered. Then just to finish her off he shot her at close range. He was convicted of the crime and ended up on death row. Recently he became the cause d'celibre when, after many appeals, his execution date came up.
In contrast to the distinct lack of concern and care shown some local ehrliche families( a couple of whom I know personally ) who have been shattered by child protective agencies, the frum community was falling all over itself to help this convicted murderer avoid execution. The olom was urged to sign petitions, call the governor, write letters, make phone calls, etc. Tehillim was said in yeshiva, seder was extended an hour, all to help this convict avoid execution. The uproar reached a feverish pitch as frantic yungerleit proclaimed this convict to be their brother! Now,I am not an attorney or a Rov, so Im clearly not going to discuss the case here. Personally, I felt that if all the organizations involved asked the olam to email the Governer, why be a 'poresh min hatzibbur' (exclude onself from the Jewish community). Be that as it may, why is anyone who says this whole episode is over and done with and we need to move on labeled an anti-semite? Why are ordinarily very aidel and caring religious Jews saying that the victim was only a goy? Not only don't we feel any collective shame for the criminal act of one of our own, but the family of the victim is receiving phone calls from Jews calling them Nazis! Why?? Why is there no compassion for a family that lost a daughter, mother and sister to murder?
My confusion and anguis knows no bounds. All I can do is beg and plead to Hashem that I be given daas (wisdom) and siyata dshomaya ( divine assistance) to one day understand this...