Jerusalem - Breslov’s Rav Shalom Arush: Rabbis Should Not Meet With Women Who Seek Their Advice, It Leads To Sinning
Jerusalem - In light of recent sex scandals in the Orthodox Jewish community involving Rabbi Ezra Sheinberg of Tzfat and Rabbi Eliezer Berland, Breslov leader Rav Shalom Arush, head of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva in Israel, has announced Sunday that he will no longer meet in person with women seeking advice or blessings, even if their husbands are present. Rather, Ynet reports (http://bit.ly/1RKcSYh), Rabbi Arush told his fellow rabbis, they should respond to women in writing, with just a brief message.
In a five minute video, Rabbi Arush said, “How could a rabbi meet with women? He doesn’t get aroused? He doesn’t have desires? Is he so holy that sees a woman the same way he sees a man? The evil inclination of rabbis is even greater than that of regular people. You can’t make the Torah crooked or pervert it. A person cannot rely on himself that he won’t sin, and that’s why he has to put a guard around himself to prevent him from sinning, and put practices into place. And to the women who are turning to rabbis for support, they should know that a rabbi is a tzaddik, but he also has desires.”
Rav Arush continued, “What? Does he [the rabbi] see these women like he sees geese? Is that what he sees that he doesn’t feel anything? That he doesn’t have desires? That he’s so holy, seeing a woman doesn’t affect him? Why does he have to look at her? Is he in shidduchim that he has to see her? What’s the purpose? There is no good reason for this type of behavior.”
He explained that the intention of these rabbis is not evil, but eventually morphs into the potential for sin. “Nobody starts off doing evil. It all starts with mitzvot, but the yetzer hara drives you to evil, telling you, ‘it’s a woman who needs you to be mikarev her, to help her,’ but really, eventually, it’s not l’shem shamayim, it’s in the worst way. Just as it is forbidden for a Rebbetzin to meet with men, so is it forbidden for a rav to meet with women. Even men like Rav Chaim Kanievsky and the Baba Sali who were glued to God in a very high level that we cannot understand, did not engage in this practice.”
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