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Tokyo - Yeshiva Boy Jailed in Japan Writes Encouragement From Prison

Published on: September 1, 2008 10:56 AM
By: Arutz 7 - ladaat.net
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Tokyo - A letter written by a yeshiva boy imprisoned in Japan for apparently-unwitting drug-trafficking contains pages of spiritual encouragement.

The youth has been imprisoned in Japan since April of this year, together with two friends. The three are yeshiva students from Bnei Brak and Jerusalem, and were arrested after Japanese authorities said they found “an unprecedented amount” of narcotics concealed in artifacts inside their suitcase. An attorney for one of the detainees, Mordechai Tzibin, said they had fallen victim to a hareidi-looking trickster who paid them to take “ancient holy Jewish books” to Japan.

The trial of the 20-year-old youths is set to begin within a month. They are charged with drug trafficking - the Japanese authorities do not believe their claim that they did not know what was hidden inside the books - and face a possible sentence of several years in prison.”

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While the youths await trial, their jail conditions are described as merely “difficult,” especially in terms of being able to fulfill the religious obligations of avoiding non-kosher food and wearing tefillin. If they are ultimately convicted, however, the conditions are expected to worsen significantly.  Japanese prison conditions are known to be cruel, including hard labor, beatings, solitary confinement, long periods in which the prisoners are barely permitted to move or are restrained with handcuffs, and the like.

A glimmer of hope is that one or two of the youths were under age 20 when arrested, and were therefore still considered minors according to Japanese law.

Israeli authorities hope that they will be able to reach an agreement with Japan, as has been done in the past, that in the event of conviction, the sentences will be served in Israeli jail.  Arrangements for such can only begin, however, once a conviction is handed down - and then are expected to take a few months.

The eight-page letter written by Yaakov Yosef, avoids mention of the physical and spiritual hardships he and his friends are undergoing, “in order to avoid hurting you.”

The writer notes that he chose not to write a long letter to his friends and family, but rather to ‘my brothers, the House of Israel’ in general.  He quotes extensively from an ethical work named Shomer Emunim [Remaining Faithful, or Guardian of the Faith]. The work was written by Rabbi Aharon Roth, known as Reb Areleh, who headed the Toldos Aharon Hassidic sect in the Meah She’arim section of Jerusalem.

The letter includes a short introduction that the author wrote afterwards, in which he explains:

  “This letter is written by one of the ‘eunuchs of the King of Kings, the Holy One Blessed be He’ ... I barely wrote anything from my own head, but only sayings of our Sages and that which is quoted in the name of the Baal Shem Tov and his holy students in the work Shomer Emunim. I wanted to write more of that type, but at the time of writing I did not remember [everything], so I realized that it was not the will of the Creator, blessed be He and His Name… for it is not the time now.

“And I also did not want to write about my own matters, both spiritually and physically, because this is not the time, and especially since I didn’t want to break you too much, for there are things that above nature, and this happens every single day, without exaggeration.

“And because this is the first letter that the Holy One Blessed be He is meriting me to write, it will be very general and not to my family or to my friends, and the reason is because we, too, have received letters from people we don’t know, for all Israel is responsible one for another; ‘Who is like Your nation Israel’... and just as you [plural] wish to know about our reception of your letters, so too and even more I want to know how you [will accept] this letter, to which I have dedicated more than a week… and also, I saw your letter only a month after you sent it, and who knows how long it will be before you receive this.  I will end here, with G-d’s help… saying, ‘Even if I walk in the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me, Your staff and rod will comfort me.’

“Your son, grandson, friend, acquaintance, etc., Yaakov Yosef Greenwald.”

The letter itself contains references to Talmudic passages referring to trust in G-d, prayer for oneself and for others, love of fellow Jews, and the like.

The families of the three have asked that prayers be recited for them. Their names are Yaakov Yosef ben [son of] Raizel, Yoel Zev ben Mirel Risa Chava, and Yosef ben Ita Rivka

חלק מהמכתב:

לכבוד אחינו כל בית ישראל תרתי משמע, המכתב שלפניכם כתב אחד מסריסי המלך מלכי המלכים הקב”ה, ותדעו כי לא כתבתי כאן דברים השייכים אליכם וגם לא דברים השייכים אלי כי אפי’ אם אני ירצה לקיים את המצות האלה לא אוכל לקיים, לכן בחרתי לכתוב דברים שאי אפשר “כמעט” לקיימם כאן, וגם כמעט ולא כתבתי דברים על פי השכל שלי רק מאמרי חז”ל ומה שמובא בשם הבעש”ט ותלמידיו הקדושים בספר שומר אמונים, ורציתי להאריך עוד בעוד מאמרים כעין זה, ורק בעידן הכתיבה לא עלה על דעתי מה שחשבתי לפני שהתחלתי לכתוב אז הבנתי שאין רצון הבורא ברוך הוא וברוך שמו להוציאם אל הפועל כי אין זה הזמן עכשיו וגם לא רציתי לכתוב על העניינים שלי הן ברוחני והן בגשמי, כי אין זה הזמן עכשיו, ובפרט שלא רציתי לשבר אתכם יותר מדי, כי יש דברים שזה למעלה מדרך הטבע, וזה בכל יום ויום ממש בלי שום גוזמא.

ולפי שזה המכתב הראשון שהקב”ה מזכה לכתוב אז התחלתי שזה יהיה באופן כללי ממש ולא למשפחה או לחברים שאני מכיר וכו’, והסיבה לכך הוא, כי גם אנחנו קראנו מכתבים מאנשים שאיני מכיר, כי כל ישראל ערב זה לזה, ומי כעמך ישראל גוי אחד בארץ וכשם שאתם מעוניינים לדעת איך ראינו את מכתביכם, כאופן הזה ועוד יותר אני מעוניין לדעת איך ראיתם את מכתבי שהקדשתי לזה יותר משבוע, ומקוצר הזמן לא המשכתי את המכתב יותר וגם אני ראיתי אחר חודש ימים מזמן ששלחתם את דבריכם, ומי יודע כמה זמן יקח עד שתראו את מכתבי. ואסיים כאן בעזרת הבורא, כי זה כבר כשליש מעצם המכתב [בכמות] וכבר אמר החכם שההכנה של המצוה יותר מן המצוה לבד, ואסיים מעין הפתיחה גם כי אלך בגיא צלמות לא אירע רע כי אתה עמדי, שבטך ומשענתך המה ינחמוני. בניכם, נכדיכם, חבריכם, ידידכם, מכירכם וכו’. יעקב יוסף גרינוואלד.

בשלב הזה מתחיל המכתב המצוטטים בו דברים תורה, כלדהלן:  הגדיל השם לעשות עמנו היינו שמחים ערב ר”ח זמני תשובה משמשמים ובאים לכבוד אחינו כל בית ישראל הנתונים בצרה.. שבכל העולם חסד יבנה שבארץ ישראל ארה”ב אירופא אוסטרליה וכו’. הנני רוצה להציע לכם שראיתי חלק ממכתבכם ששלחתם אלינו [כי מקוצר הזמן ראיתי רק מה שרצו מן השמים והשאר עוד לא זכיתי לראות] אבל מה שראיתי אפשר להגיד כי כוח הפועל אל הנפעל, ובפרט שרובא דרובא ממש, איני מכיר [ובפרט אצל אלה אפשר להגיד הכלל הנ”ל]. הגמרא בריש מסכת ברכות אומרת שמי שרגיל ליתן שלום לחברו יקדים לו שלום... שנאמר ואתם בערתם הכרם גזלת העני בבתיכם, מפרש רש”י שהעני שאין לו כלום לגזול ממנו אלא שלא להשיב על שלומו עכ”ל.

לכן גם מה שהגמרא אומרת מיד אחרי זה, אמר ר’ ישמעאל בן אלישע פעם אחת נכנסתי להקטיר קטורת לפני ולפנים, וראיתי אכתריאל ק”ה השם צבאות שהוא יושב על כסא רב ונשא ואמר לי ישמעאל בני ברכני, אמרתי לו יה”ר מלפניך שיכבשו רחמך את כעסך, ויגולו רחמיך על מדותיך ותתנהג עם בניך במידת הרחמים, וכביכול נענה לו בראשו, מכאן שלא תהא ברכת הדיוט קלה בעיניך. כי מה שביקשתם ממנו עשיתי, ואני ממשיך לבקש על מי שביקשו לבקש עליהם, כמו שאומרים התם ומתמם עם תמימים. והנה ידוע הסיפור שכתב בספר זרע קודש להגה”ק בעל המחבר ספר ויקהל משה זצ”ל כי פעם אחת נכנס אצל נער רוח אחד ר”ל והיה אצלו שש שנים ועינה את הנער כל יום יסורים נוראים עד למאוד עד שהמקובל החכם והשלם מוה”ר ר’ משה פרעגער יעץ וכל המקובלים של הדור ההוא באו להוציא את הרוח [ועיין שם הסיפור באריכות] והיה קשה מאוד להוציאו, וטען למה אתם מרחמים על הבחור הזה ולמה אתם לא מרחמים עלי.

לענינינו, למה אתם מרחמים עלינו ולא על השכינה כביכול דאמרו חז”ל [ברכות ח’ ע”א] על הפסוק הן קל כביר לא ימאס תפילת רבים א”ר נתן מנין שאין הקב”ה מואס בתפילתן של רבים שנאמר הן קל כביר לא ימאס תפילתן, ועל הפסוק פדה בשלום נפשי מקרב לי וגו’ אמר הקב”ה כל העוסק בתורה ובגמילות חסדים ומתפלל עם הצבור מעלה אני עליו כאילו פדאני לי ולבניי מבין אומות העולם, עכ”ל.

ומפרש המהרש”א שהן ג’ עמודי עולם כדמפרש במסכת אבות, ובזמן הזה שאין בהמ”ק, התפילה של הציבור הוא במקום התמידין שנקרבין בכל יום, ואמר הקב”ה פדאני לי ולבניי וכו’ כי השכינה הוא בגלות כמ”ש עמו אנכי בצרה, ופירוש ההמשך שם על מקרב לי מלשון קרובים דהיינו בני, עכ”ל. ובזה הבחינה אפשר להגיד מאמר חז”ל שכל המתפלל בעד חבירו והוא צריך לאותו דבר הוא נענה תחלה, והבן הדבר.

ובגמרא [שם לב ע”ב] אמר רב פפא התפלל וראה שלא נענה יחזור ויתפלל שנאמר “קוה אל השם חזק ויאמץ לבך וקוה אל השם” וכמובא בשם הבעש”ט זי”ע ותלמידיו הקדושים שאין שום תפלה שמתפללים שיאבד זה התפילה, רק לפעמים צריכים זה התפילה בשמים בשביל העולמות העליונים, וכדומה, ולכן אמרו חז”ל שיחזק את ליבו ויחזור ויתפלל, כי קוה אל השם, וזה תלוי גם במצב הבטחון כי אחרי שנשלם בשמים וכו’ הענין הנרצה, אז ימשך עליו ג”כ לפי שעת ההתגלות, לכן קוה וחזק, ויאמץ לבך (ע”כ מספר שומר אמונים בשם הפורת יוסף]. וכשם שענין התפילה היא אחד מארבעה דברים שצריכין חיזוק [שם ל”ב ע”ב] ובפרקי אבות פרק ג’ אמר המשנה אל תפרוש מן הצבור ומפרש הברטנורא שכשהציבור בצרה תשתתף בצרתם, וכ”ש כשהשכינה כביכול והבן, וכל הפורש מן הציבור אינו רואה בנחמתם עכ”ל.

וכשם שידוע לכל בר ישראל שהאר”י ז”ל תיקן שבכל יום ויום לפני תפלת שחרית יקבל כל אחד מצות עשה של ואהבת לרעך כמוך, משום שע”י זה יעלה תפלתו כלולה מכל תפלות ישראל, ואם יש איזה בר ישראל בצרה צריכים לשתף עצמם בצערו, ויתפללו עליו, ובכן בכל תפילותיו וצרכיו ודבריו ישתף את חברו עמו, ובאותו זמן אבקש שגם אנחנו נוכל לקיים את המצות עשה של ואהבת לרעך כמוך [באם יש איזה צרה ר”ל]. וגם ראינו כמה פעמים בגמ’ במסכת ברכות שאין חבוש מתיר עצמו מבית האסירים, אפי’ שרבי יוחנן יהיב ליה ידיה לרבי חייא בר אבא, אבל כשהוא חלש יהיב ליה ידיה ר’ חנינא, משום הטעם הנ”ל וגם זה בקשתינו ברוחניות וכו’. ויה”ר שנזכה לאכול מן הזבחים ומן הפסחים שעוד לא אכלנו] ולהגיד בבוקר חסדך במהרה בימינו אמן. הכותב וחותם מריחוק מקום וקירוב לב אחד מסריסי המלך מלכי המלכים הקב”ה. יעקב יוסף בן רייזל.


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1

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:20 AM Anonymous Says:

is there a English translation anywhere?

2

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:24 AM Robroy560 Says:

Hmm... something tells me there is more to this story.

3

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:28 AM Anonymous Says:

i can't believe these buchirum, in this situation, writing this letter of chizuk; i don't think they wrote it; someone else wrote it.

4

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:32 AM Anonymous Says:

rachmonoh litzlon

5

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:34 AM mnan Says:

gvaldig moiredig thank you VIN for puting in this letter r"ch alyl

6

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:36 AM Anonymous Says:

ad mosia

7

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:38 AM Anonymous Says:

Sooo sad!

8

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:51 AM Anonymous Says:

this is unreal
hashem should give them much koach to be able to handle what they are going thru nebach

9

 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:57 AM A Mother who feels for 'her children' Says:

Our tefillos are with these bachorim. "Baruch Ata Hashem ELOKAINU MELECH HAOLAM Matir Asurim. Let us ALL daven to HAKADOSH BARUCH HU that these boys be released as quickly as possible. When sayiing the brochos, (matir asurim) have in mind the 3 boys Yoel ben Miril Risha Chava, Yakov Yosef ben Raizel, Yosef be Yuta Rivka. May their salvation come b'karov.

10

 Sep 01, 2008 at 12:02 PM Anonymous Says:

The Japanese are notoriously sadistic...look what they did to British POW's during the war. I will say Tehillkim for them every day B'ezras Hashem, now that you posted their names.

Can we petition the Japanese? Or is that something for Israelis to do? Their lawyer is very good, from what I understand.

11

 Sep 01, 2008 at 12:02 PM Anonymous Says:

THANK YOU VIN FOR POSTING THIS LETTER. My tears are flowing as I write this. I'm so touched by this letter as I and many of us acheinu Bnei Yisroel are praying constantly for their release, even though we’re just related by being children of Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov. May they be freed very, very soon. Would anyone have an address where one can write to them some words of chizuk? VN, please keep us posted of their situation.

12

 Sep 01, 2008 at 12:05 PM the geulah is around the corner Says:

the letter shows the passion and bitachon of the jewel of klal yisroel. don't know if we where able to pull trough those zures. may hashem help them be released soon. the roshoh that put them in this situation should come forward. how can he go to sleep at night?

13

 Sep 01, 2008 at 12:08 PM Anonymous Says:

So sad!! I hope they will be out before Rosh Hashana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

14

 Sep 01, 2008 at 12:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Is one of their names "Yosef ben Ita Rivka or ben Yita Rivka"? I want to make sure to say the right name. Does anyone know for sure?

15

 Sep 01, 2008 at 12:33 PM Anonymous Says:

is it possible to translate to english?
what is with pidyan shvuim...is there bail being set that we can contribute?

16

 Sep 01, 2008 at 12:35 PM Anonymous Says:

The Japanese are not sadistic, just very strict. By them a jail is just that > a jail > and not a vacation spot.
Don't knock them so fast; many Jews were saved there during WW2. I have had a lot us business dealings with Japanes about a decade ago and they were always honest, kept their promises and were a pleasure to deal with. "Hallevay of unsere Cheverah gesogt...!".
Do you really expect them to just release these 3 boys with a slap on their hands?
Rather 'daven' with 'kavoneh' the Berocho of Matir Assurim (as 'The mother who feels....' wrote earlier) and add in your Tefillos that the real perpetrator who set them up should receive his "reward" ASAP; no 'rachmonus' on him!

17

 Sep 01, 2008 at 12:54 PM Moishe Mulva Says:

Israle should offer to trade the 'Tznius 6' for these 2 young men.

18

 Sep 01, 2008 at 02:11 PM tzaddik ben Torah Says:

Please post comments responsibly as all comments are moderated.The grandfather of one of these young men was just recently niftar in Monsey after a stay in a nursing home.He was a Laivy and originally from Yerusholayim.I'm sure that the imprisonment of his grandson made him very depressed and he lost the will to live or to follow all his medical procedures. The person who gave them this "holy book"with the drugs inside the cutout,is a real snake. If he in fact is really chassidic,dressed like a B'nei Brak Yid,then it is a very grave sin that he cannot be forgiven for. The young men may have known or may have been too naive and did not suspect anything. One thing I find not clear-what were these yeshivo boys doing anyway going to Japan? Japan is not anti semitic or anti-Jewish,but they respect the law seriously. Let's hope and daven that the truth will come out and that these young men are free soon so they can learn Torah in yeshivo. Let this also be a lesson to all K'lal Yisroel about not doing wrong activities

19

 Sep 01, 2008 at 02:13 PM yossi Says:

i certainly sympathize with these boys, however regardless of what they claim, they were found with large amounts of drugs on them. What should the Japanese do, simply release them on their word? We have to let the justice system play out just as it would if these boys were jewish, christian, muslim, black, or yellow

20

 Sep 01, 2008 at 02:48 PM Moishe Zich Mich Says:

can someone please, please, please tell me what is the situation with the man who sent these boys to Japan? Was he arrested by the Israeli police or is he roaming free the streets? Are we also trying to protect his family from shame? So long as we wont publicly denounce such people and put them in cheirem along with the melamdim who hurt our kids and instead will worry about their families then no message will ever be learned.
This past Shabbos we leined in the parshah: "V'chol ha'am yishmi veyirai - and all the people heard and feard" People in aour midst are getting away with worse than murder for decades, are we gonna stop them or lay down for them to step on us?

21

 Sep 01, 2008 at 03:27 PM Anonymous Says:

What is the lesson here??

Don't get caught if you break the law.

22

 Sep 01, 2008 at 03:57 PM Anonymous Says:

Israel is investigating to find the real man behind once they do they will give over all the inforamtion needed as well as trying to get them to do prison time in israel

23

 Sep 01, 2008 at 05:20 PM machem Says:

wher can you writ them back? will you have an adress?

24

 Sep 01, 2008 at 05:36 PM Rabbi Lebovic Says:

The first and main active angel who is day and night in charge with all kind of mesiras nefesh for the relase of these poor bochurim, is Rabbi Hayim Yosef Dovid Weiss from Antwerp Belgium. Everybody who is interested to help the situation, should contact him so soon as possible.

25

 Sep 01, 2008 at 05:50 PM Anonymous Says:

to 12:27:
the name is Ita Rivka (not Yitta Rivka)

26

 Sep 01, 2008 at 05:54 PM chayaT Says:

They were given free tickets to Lisenks Poland for Reb Elimeilech's yahrtzeit, on the condition that they make a stop in Japan to drop off some books..nebach i hope this crook will be sentenced and not them, in the meanwhile we MUST continue to pray to Hashem that they are freed very soon and in good mental and physical health.

27

 Sep 01, 2008 at 06:14 PM mikey Says:

Anon 328 The lesson is Do not do the crime and you won't have to do the time (in prison).

If these guys were so innocent why have we not heard of the arrest of the person or people who were supposed to pick up the illegal drugs.
And I am sure they had contact information for the person who gave them the drugs we have not heard of that persons arrest.
They may well have been duped - but ignorance is hardly an excuse -

28

 Sep 01, 2008 at 06:31 PM Heshel Says:

Does any one know where I can obtain the entire letter, all pages? Thanks!

29

 Sep 01, 2008 at 06:49 PM Milhouse Says:

The lawyer's name is Tzivin, not Tzibin.

30

 Sep 01, 2008 at 06:55 PM ex frummie Says:

mikey -obviously they thought they were just smuggling books although thats a crime they shouldnt be sentenced to what theyre facing -if you think otherwise youre heartless they should find the guy who set them up and throw the key away

31

 Sep 01, 2008 at 08:38 PM mikey Says:

Ex frumme if you read what I wrote you would realize the question of their level of cooperation. If they have fully cooperated and given up the contacts on both ends they may strike a deal.
It would be nice to see them freed for time served if they were cooperative - we don't have all the details.

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 Sep 01, 2008 at 09:38 PM Betzalel Says:

Yosef's brothers were innocent when they had found money in their sacks (Bereshis 42). There is no reason to believe that this situation is any different. This type of charge is very common in the Far East against Western travelers.

The important thing here is to have respect for the Japanese judicial process and not to fight them. Fighting the Japanese can only hurt the Jewish boys in their custody.

In fact, a few years ago, an Australian traveler by the name of Schapelle Corby faced similar charges in Indonesia. Australians made loud protests against the Indonesians before her trial and in return Ms. Corby received 20 years in prison, all because she had arrived in Indonesia with a large bag of marijuana hidden in her boogie board bag.

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 Sep 01, 2008 at 11:51 PM a Jerusalem resident Says:

Never, ever, EVER take things on planes for other people, even if they appear to be frum and erlich. It's a sad world, but that's reality.

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 Sep 02, 2008 at 12:29 AM RS Says:

My heart is with these Bachurim. Their only crime is their Naivete. Don't we all do favors for Acheinu? how many of us?!! have taken packages for other people? (none of us SHOULD do it anymore.) it could have been anyone!!

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 Sep 02, 2008 at 01:24 AM Chossid Says:

Ater the Frierdiker Rebbe (of Lubavitch) was released from prison he wrote that nothing had strengthened him bruchnius more than this ordeal. We see that in extremely trying circumstances and nisyonos (lo aleinu!) the emes and chazaka comes out. May all the shivuyim of Klal Yisroel be released miyad mamosh and may the entire world be zoche to be released from the true "beis asurim," this golus which is darker than ever before. May this ikvos dmishicha turn into moshiach mamosh, right now.

36

 Sep 02, 2008 at 10:50 AM Ploni Ben Ploni Says:

They knew very well they were carrying drugs which may have killed other human beings.

I hope they stay in jail for along time and learn not carry drugs any more.

Yes I am Frum Yid

37

 Sep 02, 2008 at 11:56 AM member Says:

Ploni Ben Ploni Says: Yes I am Frum Yid

This has got nothing to do with being Frum or not. You've got to be kidding. I guess they were really excited about staying in Japan for a couple of months and torturing their lives.

38

 Sep 02, 2008 at 01:39 PM a Says:

Yes I am Frum Yid.

Even if you wrote your comment just to get people angry which I assume was your attention. You are the most cold blooded person never mind so called frum yid I hope never ever to meet.

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 Sep 02, 2008 at 03:57 PM YENTA PESHA Says:

Ploni Ben Ploni Says:
Yes I am Frum Yid!!!! how in do u know that they knew that there wass drugs????? i don't think you are jewish. u are missing the midah of mercy!!!! may hashem pay u for what u said about 3 innocent yidden!!!! just gehinom has an a vacancy for u!!!!!!

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 Sep 02, 2008 at 04:00 PM YENTA PESHA Says:

ploni ben ploni, are you trying to show off your wickedness????? the nazis yms would talk like u!!!!! close your mouth & go to gehinom!!!! u lost your chelek in olam haba!!!!!

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 Sep 03, 2008 at 05:34 AM Anonymous Says:

I agree with ploni ben ploni. Think of the people who could have been killed by those drugs. Yenta Pesha, Have YOU no mercy. Lock em up and throw away the keys!

From Isral to Lezisk with a small stop in Japan. Hmmm, look at a map before you say such silly things.

Do you really think that three chevraman who can travel to a forign country by themselves are naive about who gave them a package. They know who it is. Give him up!

42

 Sep 04, 2008 at 10:48 AM Anonymous Says:

To all who claim that the boys knew:

YOU ARE THE ONES WHO GAVE THE SEFORIM TO THEM!!! NO DENYING!!!!

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 Oct 28, 2008 at 09:51 PM Sherree Says:

This sounds like another case of greed. This is not the first time that these type of things have happened and innocent, or rather naive kids and families are targeted. When things sound too good to be true, they aren't. Why would these Israeli kids have a need to go to Japan? Why would other kids who were set up recently in, if I remember correctly, Turkey have a need to go there? They were enticed with a free trip to go somewhere that they wouldn't normally go to, which they couldn't afford to go to all expenses paid. They are told that they will be met at the airport and someone will drive them to their luxurious accomodations and relieve them of their packages. Then they will be given an amazing tour of the country and will be treated like royalty. Isn't that tempting?

In truth, the customs agents are tipped off that these kids will be coming through with drugs/contraband. And as the agents are busy searching, arresting, and questioning the kids, the real drug smugglers pass through the commotion undetected. That's the scam and that's how they pull it off. This is not the first time, and it is not the last time it will happen, because unfortunately we all want to get something for nothing and we are eager to jump at the chance of getting what we think we deserve. Unfortunately, there are no free rides and we wind up getting more than what we deserve.

Of course, these poor kids do not deserve this, the ganuv who set them up will eventually pay for his misdeeds, but unfortunately these poor kids and others are suffering the consequences for being greedy, naive and unfortunately very stupid right now. I ony hope and pray that they have a quick yeshuah and that people will spread the word on this scam so others will wise up and not fall for it and find themselves in the same unfortunate situation.

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 Jan 30, 2009 at 02:27 PM Amanwithaplan Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

What is the lesson here??

Don't get caught if you break the law.

What kind of lifeless and self-righteous bull of a remark is that!? These boys are naive and unknowing as to the sneaky and conniving way that people are willing to destroy others while keeping their noses clean! What is the lesson here? You are the lesson! It is people like you, the self centered uncaring mindless creeps that can even write the audacious statement and still sleep at night. You are the bane of your own existance, and may the teeth that speak this foulness, rot themselves out of their own accord! What is your take on that? Where is your sense of reason and loyalty!? If your kid messed up this way...would you say this!? Think long and hard before you answer this...i am not a god nor am i am man of vengeance, but i know a God that is and he will not be as sweet as to leave you a message on your computer!

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 Mar 09, 2009 at 10:35 AM STOP THE MADNESS Says:

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN ASKED:

"PLEASE TAKE THIS PACKAGE TO ISRAEL FOR ME TO MY MARRIED KIDS"

I feel very sorry for these boys. They are innocent victims of circumstances years in the making. Look at any Jewish calender and blog site and you will find requests to "take a package to Israel". Any time you mention you are going to Israel, people come out of the wood works asking you to "take a package to Israel, to my"...Brother...uncle...cousin...friends...married kids...

I have been ranting against this practice for years. Kids learn to lie when asked "has anyone asked you to take a package for them" question at the airport, because they are taking packages for their neighbors and friends all the time. Kids have learned in the Jewish world that this is an accepted practice, because they and their parents have been taking packages to Israel on planes for other people all the time!

I will never forget the time a stranger called me saying they had heard from so-and-so that my son was going to Israel, and could I please take a package for their married kids living in Israel who would meet me in my hotel and pick up the package. The items were kitchen knives, chulent beans, curlers, assorted ladies shoes and clothes and chocolate chips. I blew my top at this ludicrous woman and pointed out that these items not only were available for purchase in Israel, but how could my son explain these items being in his suitcase??? She proceded to argue with me as if I was wrong!!

No wonder these boys were so easily duped, as this terrible practice has become the norm for those flying in and out of Israel. This must STOP IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT ACCEPT ANY PACKAGES, EVEN FROM NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS TO 'PLEASE TAKE THIS TO ISRAEL FOR ME", AND DO NOT ALLOW YOUR KIDS TO DO THIS WHEN THEY GO TO SEMINARY AND YESHIVA. IT TEACHES THEM THAT ACCEPTING PACKAGAES IS OK AND NORMAL TO DO.

I pray that Hashem help these poor boys and release them from jail as soon as possible.

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 Mar 11, 2009 at 05:16 PM Dovid Says:

Surely we must all daven for these bochurim, and askonim should do everything possible to secure their release.

But there is an underlying problem that must be addressed in the Chareidisher community -- that dina de-malkhusa dina is not a joke, and geneivas akum is an issur like any other. These issues need to be addressed by mashgichim and rabbonim and not swept under the rug.

As for the custom of frum people to ask other frum people -- even strangers -- to bring packages for them to Eretz Yisrael or elsewhere, we all need to be a lot more careful as to whether this is chesed or abetting something illegal. My wife and I were once given a new video camera by someone we knew to take along to Eretz Yisrael, and we were pulled out of the line upon arrival in Lud and the camera was confiscated. We didn't know that it was a taxable item and we were being used by the owners to get out of paying. B"H, it wasn't anything worse.

47

 Mar 31, 2009 at 01:35 PM J. Says:

This is dreadful. I just found about this from my sister. And we just hosted a Japanese exchange student for three weeks! I left New York ages ago and literally had no idea. It is a tragic tale. I shudder as I read of Japanese prison conditions. My daughter wants to visit that country next year and now I will not allow her.

I will say this. Each day is a new lesson. Talk to your children, educate them. There are thousands of scams out there and they all pray on innocent unsuspecting souls. Teach your children to exercise caution. If it looks to be too good to be true, it is. I can't imagine my newly minted 17 year old daughter coming home, telling me she obtained funding for an overseas trip and me not investigating further. If my daughter walks down the street to visit a friend, I want to know about it!

I am baffled why this has not yet been cleared up. I am surprised it's been a year and I have not caught a whiff of this in mainstream newspapers. Why haven't these young men been freed yet?


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