Breslov rabbi: A rabbi must never receive women

By Kobi Nachshoni
July 21, 2015,7340,L-4681862,00.html

Rabbi Sahlom Arush. 'If a woman wants a blessing or advice, she can write, and the rabbis will answer her'

Following senior rabbis' alleged sex offenses, Rabbi Shalom Arush slams fellow religious leaders who meet with women seeking their advice or blessing: 'How can a rabbi receive women? Doesn’t he desire? Doesn’t he crave? His evil inclination is much bigger than an ordinary person's.'

Rabbi Shalom Arush, one of the leaders of the Breslov Hasidic movement, has called on fellow rabbis not to meet with women seeking an advice or blessing from them, but to settle for a short correspondence with them. According to Arush, it is also women's responsibility not to meet with rabbis.

Kabbalist Rabbi Ezra Scheinberg, who founded a yeshiva and a devoted community in Safed and became famous across Israel for his alleged supernatural powers, tries to flee the country following suspicions that he raped and molested 10 women who sought his advice.

Last Thursday, it was cleared for publication that Ezra Sheinberg of Safed is the kabbalist rabbi suspected of raping some of his female followers.

In a lesson he delivered last week in his yeshiva, Chut Shel Chessed ("a touch of grace"), Rabbi Arush said: "You can't twist the Torah. Our Sages of Blessed Memory said: 'There is no guardian for promiscuity' (i.e., person cannot trust himself not to engage in forbidden sex, and should therefore impose commands on himself to prevent it)."

Addressing women who turn to rabbis, he said: "You are deceiving yourselves. The rabbi is a righteous man, but he has lust. His evil inclination is much bigger than an ordinary person's."

"How can a rabbi receive women?" Rabbi Arush asked. "Does he see the women as geese? He sees the geese as women! Doesn’t he ponder? Doesn’t he desire? Doesn’t he crave? Has he been working on himself for so many years that he is so sacred he can see a woman like he sees a man? That's the reason for everything happening in our generation."

'What does he have to see her for?'

According to the rabbi, the passion of sex approaches a man with a robe of holiness, thereby making him sin despite being a righteous person.

"No one starts with evil. Everyone starts with mitzvot. The evil inclination applies itself through mitzvot. It's a mitzvah to bring people closer, isn't it? A woman should be brought closer, shouldn't she? She should be saved… You start with mitzvot and there is no guardian for promiscuity – and then you reach what you reach, until you reach blasphemy in a shocking manner." 

"Men and women must not work together, absolutely not," Rabbi Arush added. "A rabbi's wife must not receive men… and no rabbi in the world is allowed to receive women. It's prohibited!"

He said that even people like the Baba Sali (Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, who was a leading Moroccan Sephardic rabbi and kabbalist) and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsy (a leading authority in the ultra-Orthodox society), "who stick to God in levels one can't understand," avoided doing so. 

"If a woman wants to, she can write. And they (the rabbis) answer her. Does he have to see her in order to answer? Is he coming to meet her for the purpose of matchmaking? In matchmaking he has to see her. If the rabbi meets the women at a matchmaking reception, because he is looking for a match – that's okay, what can you do? He is allowed to. It's a mitzvah for him to look so that she won't humiliate him. But the rabbi only wants to give her an answer, to bless her – so why does he have to look at her? What does he have to receive her for?"

During the one-hour lesson, the rabbi ruled that it is also women's responsibility not to meet with rabbis. The woman "should write him a letter, whatever she wants to ask, shortly," he told his followers.

"Every woman who respects herself won't go to any rabbi. What for? Write a short question, make a short request – and you'll see God's salvation. A miserable woman is innocent. She thinks the rabbi is a righteous man. The rabbi is righteous, but he has an evil inclination and he deals with thing, endless things – and then you see what is happening in our generation."


Rabbi Arush, who is known as the student of senior Breslov Rabbi Eliezer Berland (who is also suspected of committing sex offenses), added that "we came into this world to pass this test. If we read the affairs and they don’t make us wake up, and if we hear what we hear and say, 'No, but this rabbi is like this' – sir, if you don't take care of yourself, you will also sin!"

He slammed the rabbis who receive women, saying that "there is no reality in which a man who has a relationship with any woman in the world can be a rabbi, can be a rebbe, can be the father of all rebbes. Who allowed him to covet another man's wife?"



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