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Jerusalem - Rav Kanievsky to Bochur Who Drove Without a License: You're a Murderer

Published on: July 22, 2009 10:23 AM
By: VIN News By Ezra Reichman|Haredim
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Jerusalem - Three weeks ago a bochur yeshiva without a drivers’ license caused a dreadful car accident on the Ramot Road. Now another bochur was caught with the same irresponsible behavior. In preparation for his trial and out of fear that he might be sentenced to prison, the bochur decided to seek a blessing from Rav Chaim Kanievsky.

After VIN News verified that accuracy of the exchange, we are bringing the recording of the conversation between them as a service for the public:

Bochur: I have a trial in another week. They want to put me in prison. Would the rav please bless me so I’ll be saved from it.

Rav Chaim: What is the trial about?

Bochur: They caught me driving without a license, after I crashed into a wall.

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Rav Chaim: So you’re mamash a murderer! Adaraba,  let them put you in prison. Very good.

Bochur (shouts) What? Chalila, I didn’t kill anyone. I didn’t wound anyone either. I just had a small accident with a wall involving only myself.

Rav Chaim: But you drove without a license, right?

Bochur: Yes.

Rav Chaim: Nu, so you’re considered a real murderer. You could have caused an accident with people too.

Bochur: But I know how to drive well. Besides that, [being in prison] might ruin things for me with shidduchim and yeshiva.

Rav Chaim: There’s no such things as “I know”. Without a license, one doesn’t know how to drive. Concerning shidduchim, whoever doesn’t want you is right. It’s dangerous.

Bochur: I’m mamash sorry. Just let the rav bless me that I be saved in the trial.

Rav Chaim: What do you mean, you’re sorry? If you’re given a car tomorrow you won’t travel? For sure you’ll travel. So the best thing is for you to sit in prison and learn not to be a murderer.

Bochur: Please, will the rav promise that I’ll be saved if I’ll be careful from now on?

Rav Chaim: I can’t give a blessing. May Hashem help that they sentence you to what will really be good for you.

Rav Chaim’s family says that it’s rare that Rav Chaim speaks in such extreme language, but this is how he views a person who is caught breaking traffic rules or who drives without a license. Rav Chaim will refuse to bless him and doesn’t hesitate to say that it involves no less than “murder.”


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Total110

Read Comments (110)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:40 AM Anonymous Says:

That's right! All those young teenagers out there, YOU'RE PUTTING US ALL IN DANGER, get off the road right now

2

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:38 AM Shimshi brodt Says:

The rav is one million percent right bocherim should be sitting in Yeshivah and not driving cars. And of course not without a license that kid doesnt deserve a blessing

3

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:37 AM Anonymous Says:

He should go to jail and all the others should take a lesson from this one

4

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:37 AM AuthenticSatmar Says:

So where are all those that criticzed the Rabbonim?

5

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:37 AM Anonymous Says:

all i say, wow thats some harsh word from a rabbi. the thought the rabbi would give him a blessing that he is in the clear, instead the rabbi is calling him a murderer dont think he was expecting that.

6

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:35 AM Anonymous Says:

wow - i wonder how he would feel about a child molester?

7

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:35 AM Anonymous Says:

WOW! He is not afraid to say what's right.

8

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:35 AM Anonymous Says:

Its not the Rav's Job to punish. Its Hashems Job, this story is between the Buchor and Hashem. We just have to make sure that he is Safe, and be makaim the mitvah of Pidyen Shviem, Anyway, He'll get around without a blessing from him I'm Sure.

9

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:32 AM Anonymous Says:

There's got to be a connection here to between Rav Chaim SHLITA's words and all of the accidents that happen in the mountains. Rav Chaim is clearly saying that people need to take the blame for their own actions.
Furthermore, I wonder what the ramifications are regarding pidyon shvuyim. The tape (assuming it's accurate) shows that a Gadol feels that prison is appropriate, at least in this case.

10

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:32 AM Anonymous Says:

wow very well said . let all these buchirem know that its not a joke

11

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:29 AM Anonymous Says:

Poor guy he's gonna sit it is known that what R'Chaim hints at always happens

12

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:44 AM Steven Says:

FINALLY a rav that teaches responsibility to follow society's rules. Unfortunately, such behavior is not limited to Eretz Yisrael. Far too many drive here in NY without a license or insurance. Unfortunately, this story won't get the wide spread attention it not only deserves, but that the frum community in general needs to hear.

People, rules are made to protect us. When I see a Yid taking on their cell phone, even when it's on speaker it's not following the law of "hands free" operation. It's a chillul hashem when a frum yid is seeng blatantly breaking the law.

13

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Ah Emeseh Godol. (does NOT need my haskomah, of course)

14

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:42 AM Joseph Says:

Reb Chaim is such an ish emes, even if this bochur had money it wouldn't have made a difference in his decision.

All this kid is worried about is shidduchim as usual, not killing people.

15

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:41 AM Anonymous Says:

I can assure you that if this came from a judge you would call him all sorts of names including but not limited to being an anti semite. About time on e of our manhigim are speaking up . Still wating for someone to publicly address the molestation issues , especially after whaty just happened in lakewood the other day

16

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:28 AM Anonymous Says:

he's also a thief for causing damage to the wall and was it his car or his parents'?

17

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:27 AM Charlie Hall Says:

More Israeli Jews die from automobile crashes than from terrorism. Perhaps this will finally get people to do something about the problem.

18

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:48 AM Kol Hakovod to the bochur Says:

How did this story leak out if the bochur himself did not relate it? Was someone else in the room? If not, the it is VERY COURAGEOUS of this bochur to humble himself and relate his conversation. I am sure he learnt his lesson and hope he gets an easy sentence and a great shidduch!

19

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:47 AM Anonymous Says:

Same like the Bochur in Lakewood yesterday. The law is the law is the law.

20

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:45 AM Anonymous Says:

wow- I wonder what he would say about a mother who starves her child?

21

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:25 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

wow- I wonder what he would say about a mother who starves her child?

i am quite sure that if a woman came in and asked the Rav for a Bracha because she starved her child and now they want to punish her for it, he wouldn't have much kinder words for her.
Like a true Jew, Reb Chaim probably doesn't comment on a story until he knows it to be 100 percent true as in the case of the Bachur who admitted what he did, and even then only after being asked for his opinion.
Like a true Jew, you should follow his lead.

a gutten and gezunten choidesh

22

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:31 AM Anonymous Says:

It is very dificult for anyone to believe molestation as it is only between accused molester and child. When someone crashes into a wall everyone knows what occurred and there is no denial.
How can you beleive that someone did something when there are no witnesses?

23

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:30 AM Anonymous Says:

The Satmerer Rebbe, Reb Yoel explictly said, after inquiring about all the different warning signs posted on the highways including speed limits; that all the signs were put there for a reason to save lives AND MUST BE OBEYED without cochmes al pi daireysa.

24

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:19 AM We all make mistakes! Says:

It is very dangerous to drive without a license but I don't think he should serve time in prison for this one time and first offense (I assume its his first), we all make mistakes, give me a break.

25

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:14 AM Anonymous Says:

a while ago, I got knocked down with a baby stroller by a bochur with a suspended license. B''h I was alright, but these ppl need to learn a lesson.

26

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:11 AM ? Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Its not the Rav's Job to punish. Its Hashems Job, this story is between the Buchor and Hashem. We just have to make sure that he is Safe, and be makaim the mitvah of Pidyen Shviem, Anyway, He'll get around without a blessing from him I'm Sure.

My wife once heard from Rabbi Dovid Weinberger in Lawrence that Yad L'Achim is Mikayim Pidyon Shvuyim Min Hatorah. The rav said it's not so simple that everyone who is in jail falls under the Mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim. So its not so simple your words.

27

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

wow- I wonder what he would say about a mother who starves her child?

“wow- I wonder what he would say about a mother who starves her child?”

Its a shame Rav K didn't also speak out on the bochurim throwing rocks at the police which could have killed people too. His words are so unlike those of the Chareidi rabbonim in EY, I am not sure this whole story is not fabricated.

28

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Kol Hakovod to the bochur Says:

How did this story leak out if the bochur himself did not relate it? Was someone else in the room? If not, the it is VERY COURAGEOUS of this bochur to humble himself and relate his conversation. I am sure he learnt his lesson and hope he gets an easy sentence and a great shidduch!

Apparently one of the rebbe's gabboim relayed the story but it was not meant for public distribution...

29

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Could Kupat Ha'ir help this case too?

30

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:00 AM Anonymous Says:

but then we can go for pidyun shvuim ? or since its in israel there he is not byad nuchri and we dont have the mitzvah of pidyun shvuim ?

31

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:54 AM moshe g say Says:

at the end he did have racmanus on the bocuhur by saying
"Rav Chaim: I can't give a blessing. May Hashem help that they sentence you to what will really be good for you."

at least he blessed him with with "what will really be good for you"

at the end it will be a lesson they should post this in all the yeshivas and this applies to speeding,talking in cellphone, drinking, not sleeping and then driving, and all the other crazy things we all do when driving
may hashem watch us during these 9 days

32

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:52 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Its not the Rav's Job to punish. Its Hashems Job, this story is between the Buchor and Hashem. We just have to make sure that he is Safe, and be makaim the mitvah of Pidyen Shviem, Anyway, He'll get around without a blessing from him I'm Sure.

Good to know there are still bigger tzaddikim than rav chaim kanievsky shlita, like you, who know better what is right and wrong.

33

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:51 AM ben torah Says:

The ruv probarly wanted to give him the punishments with his mussar n strict words so he should do tshuva and not seat iy"h in prison. This is how a gudel thinks.

34

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:51 AM ...different rule Says:

the kid is not a murderer...not even an attempted one...
he is, however, irresponsible and may deserve time cause he did the crime...
why is this imam telling the kid now..why dont they teach them in class...where are the parents...this system is rong.

35

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:50 AM Anonymous Says:

may Rav Chaim also be that strict with smoking too,,,kills the smoker and/or the second hand inhalers, and sometimes its his own family, ch'v

36

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:48 AM Skeptical Says:

Forgive me for being extremely skeptical that this happened as reported here.

It should be pointed out that in the USA, certain offenses while driving, such as driving with an expired registration or no plates will get you is major trouble too. These are viewed as if you are using a lethal weapon.

37

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:48 AM davetherave Says:

wow. Rav K. is 100% right. People have to take responsibility for their actions, no ifs ands or buts. Now, if only all the other rabbonim would come out and say these like this maybe we will get somewhere. not just on driving, but on all topics.

38

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:34 AM clever Says:

I'd this wld b with r'aron or r' zalmen teitelbaum then I cld hear us debating & raisinf opinions if he said correct .. but w/harav kanievsky well he's just our true gudel & knows wjat he's doing!
besides its abt time these teens stop "knowing how 2 do everything" & stop endangering their & other ppls life...

39

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:33 AM Anonymous Says:

Point is misrepresented. and misunderstood.
Rav Chaim shlita is being understood by posters in glowing terms being described as "wow" "not afraid" "finaly a manhig".
the bochur was asking for a bracha that his future not be ruined period.
reb chaim refused to make light of the situation just because minimal dmage was done.

his point was that actions such as these lead at times to results that are inexcusable.... doesnt mean licensed drivers who kill arent guilty for their actions.

and of course again try not distorting the story and applying loosely like your favorite spread.
it was said in a specific case to a specific person for a specific reason with a specific lesson.

if you can gain and learn from it , wonderful by all means do so.

if reb chaim feels he needs you to teach this to others on his behalf, he might higher you.

remember to apply for the job, volunteers are not needed at this time.

40

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:05 AM Anonymous Says:

Dont think its only if you drive with out a license your a murderer it applies anytime you break a driving law. Even if you dont get cought you will have to give din vicheshbin one day!

41

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:04 AM Anonymous Says:

Since when does Maran Raban Shal Kol Yisroel, the Gadol Hador need everybody’s Haskomah

42

 Jul 22, 2009 at 09:53 AM Anonymous Says:

As one of those frequently frustrated with jewish leaders who fail to show any backbone and speak out against irresponsible behavior, Rabbi Kanievsky, seems to be an exception. Since he is apparently held in high esteem among some orthodox groups, hopefully this precedent will have more widespread ramifications.

43

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:43 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #33  
ben torah Says:

The ruv probarly wanted to give him the punishments with his mussar n strict words so he should do tshuva and not seat iy"h in prison. This is how a gudel thinks.

And how do YOU know how a gadol thinks?

44

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:42 AM joe Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Its not the Rav's Job to punish. Its Hashems Job, this story is between the Buchor and Hashem. We just have to make sure that he is Safe, and be makaim the mitvah of Pidyen Shviem, Anyway, He'll get around without a blessing from him I'm Sure.

pidyon shivuyim? i am sure the rav would be againest helping this fool out. wake up. save your pidyom shivum for shalit.

45

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:42 AM Jacob Says:

I think this article should go in to evrey yiddishe news paper (printed)
And sent out to yeshivos in the whole world maybe it will help

46

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:41 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Kol Hakovod to the bochur Says:

How did this story leak out if the bochur himself did not relate it? Was someone else in the room? If not, the it is VERY COURAGEOUS of this bochur to humble himself and relate his conversation. I am sure he learnt his lesson and hope he gets an easy sentence and a great shidduch!

if it is true that r chaim said this i accept it 100%. i just dont understand why he is considered a murderer just because he doesnt have a license. if you know how to drive and dont have a license its definitly illegal and therefore possibly assur but why would you be considered a murderer. a murderer is someone who kills someone. a rodef is someone who attempts to kill possibly even unintentionaly. why does not having a license make you either. again my understanding and knowledge is infintasmily small in relation to r chaims so im just looking for an explanation.

47

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:46 AM Anonymous Says:

If vosisneias didn't post what Rav Chaim said, a lot of you would be saying that this bochur didn't do anything wrong, and the seculars are out to get him, it's the greatest mitzvah to be podeh shvuyim, and bashing anyone who says otherwise.

Lesson for you: Use your common sense and be normal, just as Rav Chaim demonstrates here. With the exception of some chukim, don't go against reason.

48

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:48 AM Anonymous Says:

There are three things here that are amazing (not necessarily in this order):
1) People actually expecting the Rav to give a blessing in this case
2) The bochur's unmitigated chutzpa of not accepting the Rav's words the 1st time but continuing to argue and not showing any remorse for his misdeed
3) The profound difference between the Rav and his followers - apparently his views are not being taught or are being distorted by the teachers and the parents

49

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:49 AM cool masmid Says:

I have a hard time believing that this was really the conversation between Reb Chaim SHLIT"A and the bochur.... Remember it way just hearsay and so I for one don't buy into this story as far as the conversation went.

50

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:58 AM Zevsky Rebbe Says:

Bochur: "Please, will the rav promise that I'll be saved if I'll be careful from now on?"
Notice the bochur didn't say that "I wont drive till I get my license" ...only "I'll be careful"

51

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

I can assure you that if this came from a judge you would call him all sorts of names including but not limited to being an anti semite. About time on e of our manhigim are speaking up . Still wating for someone to publicly address the molestation issues , especially after whaty just happened in lakewood the other day

what exactly do you want rabbonim to say about molestation? everyone keeps on saying why dont the rabbonim speak about. what the hek do you want them to say?! "molestation is wrong" duh!! you think that there are people who do it but if they here r chaim say it assur the molesters will say "gee thanks for letting us know we thought it was ok i guess i'll stop now"

52

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:53 AM thats it Says:

what about teshuvah?

53

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:11 AM How True Says:

Driving without a license is not the only "murderer". Even one driving with a license can be a murderer - like when driving while on the cell phone, texting, driving too fast, or c"v intoxicated. ALL these people are irresponsible, and have a din of a "rodefh".
Should c"v something bad happen - they too would be considered murderers.
Please pay full attention while driving - it's a dangerous machine and has to be controlled by the driver. The life you save may be from your family (and maybe your own)

54

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:08 AM Anonymous Says:

i think the rav is very much right for telling this bochur that he`s a murderer. i also think that anyone who gives his car willingly to someone who doesn`t have license is considered a partner in his crime.

55

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:00 AM Shadchan Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Its not the Rav's Job to punish. Its Hashems Job, this story is between the Buchor and Hashem. We just have to make sure that he is Safe, and be makaim the mitvah of Pidyen Shviem, Anyway, He'll get around without a blessing from him I'm Sure.

u r obviously very ignorant. he is giving u a Psak according to the Torah/Shilchon Orech.
this has been discussed by many Gedolim going way back. There was one meeting where they came to a conclusion that were the Sanhedrin here today it would've been illiegal to drive a car EVEN WITH a license. the reason being- even if there is just a DOUBT of killing someone EVEN by accident, it's a Sufak D'Orissa and it is Osur. !!!!!!!!!!

56

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:00 AM SHOCKED!!! Says:

Reply to #34  
...different rule Says:

the kid is not a murderer...not even an attempted one...
he is, however, irresponsible and may deserve time cause he did the crime...
why is this imam telling the kid now..why dont they teach them in class...where are the parents...this system is rong.

How do you have the guts and the nerve to say that what Maran Harav Kanievsky Shlita said is not true??? If the Rav said that he's a murderer, then that's what he meant. If someone were to point a gun at somebody, and shoot and miss, were he not considered a murderer (in logic, not in court)? So is it here, he's considered a murderer in logic, he should be looked at as a murderer, but in court he probably won't be charged as a murderer because he didn't actually KILL anybody.

I personally think that you have to ask Mechila from the Rav!!!

May Hashem watch us now in the nine days, and always!!!

57

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #43  
Anonymous Says:

And how do YOU know how a gadol thinks?

“And how do YOU know how a gadol thinks?”

The Rav came to the right answer this time so why do we have to debate how he got there...its a no brainer that you don't give this kid a bracha in the hope that he could escape any penalty for his reckless behavior. You don't need to be a "gagdol" to come up with the right answer.

58

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:20 AM Anonymous Says:

Actually, there is a fairly well-known and similar story with the Steipler Zatzal in which he was asked by someone facing a trial on speeding charges for a bracha, and he was visibly angry, getting up and loudly telling the person "rotzeiach arois fun mein shtub!" (murderer, get out of my house)

59

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:20 AM REALIST Says:

Reply to #17  
Charlie Hall Says:

More Israeli Jews die from automobile crashes than from terrorism. Perhaps this will finally get people to do something about the problem.

Charlie, the statistic is even worse actually.
Israel has lost more people to MVAs, than in ALL ITS WARS COMBINED!!!

60

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:27 AM Chaim F Says:

Reply to #2  
Shimshi brodt Says:

The rav is one million percent right bocherim should be sitting in Yeshivah and not driving cars. And of course not without a license that kid doesnt deserve a blessing

As of an experience MASHGIACH OF BEIS MEIR I would like to inform all parents of teenagers and especialy from our Yeshivah That every teenager loves to drive some pick it up in high school some later and if you want make him license he'll do it 100% behind your back and especialy when their in israel so make sure before they go to israel or you see the prime teenage year coming out go and give them the license and show them that you can be a teenager and drive safe you'll save your self loads of pain and aggravation thanks for your understanding.

61

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:26 AM Long Beach Talmid Says:

My Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yitzchok Feigelstock, said over a story about a man that came to the Steipler zt'l for a brocho because he was facing charges for running a red light. The words of the Steipler were, "Rotzeach - arois from mine shtub".

62

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM moish Says:

And I thought the Rav only says "Mazel U'Bracha"

63

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:16 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #52  
thats it Says:

what about teshuvah?

Look coment #33 for ur answer

64

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:52 AM Mordy Neuman Says:

i told this story to two friends..... one replied that the boy should have gone to a chasidishe rebbe..... and the other one replied that..........the boy should have gone to a chasidishe rebbe.....lord have mercy.......

65

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #34  
...different rule Says:

the kid is not a murderer...not even an attempted one...
he is, however, irresponsible and may deserve time cause he did the crime...
why is this imam telling the kid now..why dont they teach them in class...where are the parents...this system is rong.

i dont agree with the name calling but i totally agree about your point of not just the lack of proper education but as a matter of fact they say that any law other then torah is not something to follow i know about dina demalchisa dina however we know how much it is followed in our community's.... so this bochur probably would be afraid to do a aveirah from the torah but wont fear anything about driving without a license cause thats the attitude they get in school.

66

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:06 PM Anonymous Says:

and then once his is in jail, we the rabbis, some unsung heroes, will have a cause to raise money for...

67

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:02 PM Rabbi B. Says:

"If" the story is true, the "Rav" is dead wrong! Believe you me, I have theoutmost respect to Rav Chaim, I don't think that anyone on todays age comes close to him. However, he is dead wrong, nobody deserves to be in prison, period. If he wanted to scare him to death or tell him mussar, he should recomend community service , perhaps educating bocharim not to drive without a lisence!

68

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:32 PM Mamash Says:

This is mamash an unbeleiveable story! It is mamash scary to think what the rav would say about smoking, abuse, rioting, destroying, burning property, ponzi schemes, abuse, kashrut scandals... Wow, this is mamash yeshivish raid!

69

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:39 PM pertcu Says:

#45..nu, so print this article and send it where ever you like...oh, excuse me you mean somone else shoul do this..sorry

70

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #67  
Rabbi B. Says:

"If" the story is true, the "Rav" is dead wrong! Believe you me, I have theoutmost respect to Rav Chaim, I don't think that anyone on todays age comes close to him. However, he is dead wrong, nobody deserves to be in prison, period. If he wanted to scare him to death or tell him mussar, he should recomend community service , perhaps educating bocharim not to drive without a lisence!

And I am sure that is exactly the point that Reb Chaim is trying to make, after the boy left I can guarantee you that Reb Chaim is being mispallel for him at the same time making a roisham as to the chumras ha'inyan.

71

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reminds me of the story with the Baba Sali.

A boy came in for a Bracha, (I think his friends stayed in the car). The Rabbi yelled at him (for sins that he had done) and caused the boy much embarrassment. On the way home, they got into a major accident. Everyone died except for the boy who saw the Rabbi.

He went back to the Rabbi, where he was greeted with a wonderful greeting and kissed by the Rabbi. The Rabbi explained that there was a decree on the boy that he should die on that day. Yet, we know that one who is embarrassed, it's as if he died. The Rabbi therefore embarrassed him to fulfill the decree, so that the boy would not die. It had worked and therefore the Rabbi was very happy to see the boy alive.

72

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:06 PM cool masmid Says:

Assuming that this conversation did happen (and I have my doubts as I mentioned earlier) you are all missing one point and that's where the difference is between the gadol hador and most of you bloggers who have such little ahavas yisroel. Without a doubt that Rav Chaim (if he said it) said it with tremendous ahavas yisroel and he wants the best for this bochur, nevertheless feel an achrius to speak out forcefully to make an impact on the bochur. Sadly the same cannot be said about a lot of you out there - you're bashing this bochur and condemming this bochur to no end for what seems like a careless mistake. Some of you have already paskened that there's no mitzvah in pidyun shvuim in this case. May we all take out the nain lesson from this story and that is; Rav Chaim's tremendous ahavas yisroel.(But I still stand by my origional position - that this conversation has been misconstrued). Safe driving out there!

73

 Jul 22, 2009 at 01:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Oy vey! Everyone knows das toyrah is hefech das bal habayis. And everyone knows das bal habayis is that kids shouldn't be driving without a license. Ergo, R' Kanievski is speaking hefech day toyrah, rachmanah litzlan, hashem yirachem.

74

 Jul 22, 2009 at 01:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Not only driving w/o a license is a murderer. How about embarrassing and degrading others? Especially young teens in camp?!? The bunk bully has a whole group on their side and the poor korban . . . ? Damaged for life. Isn't that MURDER

75

 Jul 22, 2009 at 01:05 PM Chaim friedman Says:

Reply to #2  
Shimshi brodt Says:

The rav is one million percent right bocherim should be sitting in Yeshivah and not driving cars. And of course not without a license that kid doesnt deserve a blessing

I agree with you one hundret percent. Is this why we're sending our children to eretz yisroel? So they should be busy driving around the roads? We should keep them here in boro park!

76

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:57 PM Aderabah! Says:

Reply to #67  
Rabbi B. Says:

"If" the story is true, the "Rav" is dead wrong! Believe you me, I have theoutmost respect to Rav Chaim, I don't think that anyone on todays age comes close to him. However, he is dead wrong, nobody deserves to be in prison, period. If he wanted to scare him to death or tell him mussar, he should recomend community service , perhaps educating bocharim not to drive without a lisence!

Actually, we have precedent for the the Torah scaring us to death but really only intending to impress upon us the severity of straying. See the Rashi on Atem Nitzavim.....the one about the tochacha. Also, one of the reasons for people having bad dreams is so that the *fear* of the dream itself be an atonement. In other words this nightmare for the bochur is just what he needs to come out of this standing tall - eventually.

So... the sheer agony and pain of uncertainty and the possibility of going to prison could be the kaparah that that boy needs to atone for this. I truly believe that Reb Chaim Shlita had this in mind. He would never happily subject a teyereh yiddish neshama to unjust treatment in a prison - but he would definitely agree to not *tell* him that he is getting his bracha so that the bachur takes this to heart (maybe even shed a few heartfelt tears) and never, ever, ever think of doing it again! Ever!

I speak from experience. I, too, had a similar incident in my youth and trust me the fear of heaven that was put in me taught me a lesson for life!

As to Reb Chaim not matching up to a chassidishe rebbe: As a born and bred chassid I will wager any money that as soon as this bochur left Reb Chaim took out his tehilim and shed copious tears on behalf of this kid. It's what his father zt"l would have done and what he has done in the past for no less heinous crimes.
And there is precedent for tzadikim of the chasidishe persuasion doing similar things so that the person involved rely on Heaven and not on any man, or as atonement.

My 2 cents.

77

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:48 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #67  
Rabbi B. Says:

"If" the story is true, the "Rav" is dead wrong! Believe you me, I have theoutmost respect to Rav Chaim, I don't think that anyone on todays age comes close to him. However, he is dead wrong, nobody deserves to be in prison, period. If he wanted to scare him to death or tell him mussar, he should recomend community service , perhaps educating bocharim not to drive without a lisence!

R' Chaim Kanievsky is WHAT? You're not a Rabbi. you're a fool! May Hashem endow you with saichel and binah, but obviously there are some connections that were crossed during your creation! BTW just curious who gave you semicha?

78

 Jul 22, 2009 at 12:45 PM eli Says:

Reply to #22  
Anonymous Says:

It is very dificult for anyone to believe molestation as it is only between accused molester and child. When someone crashes into a wall everyone knows what occurred and there is no denial.
How can you beleive that someone did something when there are no witnesses?

Do you think parents would put their child through the process of rehashing the "incident" if they didn't have good cause? Do you know what kind of emotional toll it puts on the child to make statements to prosecuters and police? No parent would put their children through such torture if they didn't think it was 100% true. I believe it is not at all "difficult" to believe a molestation story. Take your head out of the sand.

79

 Jul 22, 2009 at 01:58 PM Daniel Eidensohn Says:

This is discussed by Rav Sternbuch in volume 1 #850. A similar conclusion that the driver is a rodef and can be reported to the police is found in Minchas Yitzchok, Tzitz Eliezar and Rav Ovadiya Yosef.

Rav Sternbuch quotes the Steipler as follows:
...(R’ Yaakov Kaniefsky was very angry with those who violated traffic laws whose purpose is to protect the lives of the members of society. I heard that someone once came to him because he was worried that he was about to receive a very severe punishment because he had violated the traffic laws. He wanted to receive a beracha that he would be free of the punishment. R’ Kaniefsky replied with a very sharp admonition and told him that in truth he deserved to be punished!) (This was even though R’ Kaniefsky was not necessarily in agreement with the secular laws in general). Therefore it would appear that if the person is considered a danger to society and since we can’t punish him ourselves, he should be reported to the police – with the permission of beis din or the rabbi of the community. This is in fact a mitzva since it is saving the community from harm and possible death.

80

 Jul 22, 2009 at 01:53 PM Aderabah! Says:

Reply to #67  
Rabbi B. Says:

"If" the story is true, the "Rav" is dead wrong! Believe you me, I have theoutmost respect to Rav Chaim, I don't think that anyone on todays age comes close to him. However, he is dead wrong, nobody deserves to be in prison, period. If he wanted to scare him to death or tell him mussar, he should recomend community service , perhaps educating bocharim not to drive without a lisence!

Finally:

Did anyone think for a second that the "murder" this boy could have caused is his own?! Perhaps Reb Chaim's ahavas yisroel for this boy is embodied in a harsh reaction so that this boy remain alive and well to see future generations!

81

 Jul 22, 2009 at 02:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #77  
Anonymous Says:

R' Chaim Kanievsky is WHAT? You're not a Rabbi. you're a fool! May Hashem endow you with saichel and binah, but obviously there are some connections that were crossed during your creation! BTW just curious who gave you semicha?

Whats wrong with expressing disagreement with Rabbi Kanievsky if done so in a respectful manner as poster 77 has done. Even a respected rabbi can make unwise decisions and his harsh treatment of this bochur is indeed questionable.

82

 Jul 22, 2009 at 02:47 PM from all rabonim Says:


its not that R' chaim mean to say he wants to show to all bocerim a lesson even he kills himself he is a murdr!!!!

83

 Jul 22, 2009 at 02:43 PM moish Says:

Somebody who doesn't have a license (possibly bec he car hit the kerb when parking during a test) but truly knows how to drive as well as someone who has one, is no different then the one who has one. It would seem that Moreinu R' Chaim Shlit"a words were based on that most people without a license do not know how to drive, and especially that in this case there is a raglayim ledovor that he bashed into a wall.

84

 Jul 22, 2009 at 03:03 PM Rippin Pinchas Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

Same like the Bochur in Lakewood yesterday. The law is the law is the law.

"The law is the law is the law.”

Except when it comes to child molestors. Law is thrown out the window.

The issue here was not the law is the law, rather this story is similar to the Steipler. The Steipler called the person who did not follow traffic signs a murderer. The Steipler made the point how these laws are done with seichel and not following them puts people in sacanah.

When there are oppresive laws by the Medinah this logic does not apply.

85

 Jul 22, 2009 at 03:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

what exactly do you want rabbonim to say about molestation? everyone keeps on saying why dont the rabbonim speak about. what the hek do you want them to say?! "molestation is wrong" duh!! you think that there are people who do it but if they here r chaim say it assur the molesters will say "gee thanks for letting us know we thought it was ok i guess i'll stop now"

everyone knows that driving without a licence is wrong, yet the rav said what he firmly bbelieves about a person who drives without a licence . So why cant he adress the molestation issue . Im not following your logic . When something hurts you scream evn though everyone knows its wrong.

86

 Jul 22, 2009 at 02:58 PM Anonymous Says:

The Rav is sending a strict message to all these idiots who put our lives in danger. The Bochur's arrogance & lack of humility is appalling.

87

 Jul 22, 2009 at 02:33 PM moish Says:

Reply to #65  
Anonymous Says:

i dont agree with the name calling but i totally agree about your point of not just the lack of proper education but as a matter of fact they say that any law other then torah is not something to follow i know about dina demalchisa dina however we know how much it is followed in our community's.... so this bochur probably would be afraid to do a aveirah from the torah but wont fear anything about driving without a license cause thats the attitude they get in school.

"but as a matter of fact they say that any law other then torah is not something to follow i know about dina demalchisa dina however we know how much it is followed in our community's...." 1st of all dina demalchusa is in dinei momones, 2nd it is absolutely true "that any law other then torah is not something to follow" what obligates a yid to following it if it is not in the Torah, if you tell me that is dangerous then that is the Torah, if you tell me chilul Hashem then that is also the Torah, but if you have no other reason then bec that is the law, that is not a reason.

88

 Jul 22, 2009 at 02:25 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

Its not the Rav's Job to punish. Its Hashems Job, this story is between the Buchor and Hashem. We just have to make sure that he is Safe, and be makaim the mitvah of Pidyen Shviem, Anyway, He'll get around without a blessing from him I'm Sure.

Wow! Your Kovod for gedolim sure is screwed up!

89

 Jul 22, 2009 at 02:14 PM Anonymous Says:

There is an obvious difference between the “molester” and this boy. In the case of the “molester”, we are generally dealing with someone who is suspected and accused, perhaps even with a strong basis for suspicion. However, this “molester” is not yet guilty. The accusation is definitely denied, and the charges are not yet proven. So there is a tzad to consider him innocent, even if he is truly guilty. This boy is certainly guilty, and admitted this much to Rav Chaim. I can fathom defending someone under suspicion, but not the confessed criminal.

90

 Jul 22, 2009 at 03:39 PM Elliot Pasik, Esq. Says:

Agree with 86. There was no mentchlikeit. If there was, the Rav would have answered differently.

91

 Jul 22, 2009 at 03:37 PM Elliot Pasik, Esq. Says:

I love this story. We need more old-time rabbis like Rav Chaim Kanievsky. Blunt and to-the-point.

"Arois from mein shtub". Get out of my house. That says it all. Yasher koach, Long Beach talmid for sharing that story from your Rosh Yeshiva.

There's an excellent sefer I keep on my night table: "Eyes to See: Recovering Ethical Principles Lost in the Holocaust", authored by Rav Yomtov Schwartz, ztl. The sefer contains several chapters addressing the Torah mandate of, Lo sa'amod al dam ra'echa. Do not stand upon the blood of your brother. Years ago, Jews were zealous about protecting life. Rav Schwarz discusses some fascinating responsa, where authentic yirei shamayim Jews, who accidentally caused harm to another Jew, ask their rabbis on how to do teshuva. Today, anything goes: car accidents, sex abuse, and rock throwing are routine.

Some of us are trying to change that. Check out our web site: www.jewishadvocates.org. And yasher koach, VIN, for the story.

92

 Jul 22, 2009 at 04:04 PM Rabbi triger Says:

Reply to #2  
Shimshi brodt Says:

The rav is one million percent right bocherim should be sitting in Yeshivah and not driving cars. And of course not without a license that kid doesnt deserve a blessing

I always said that you speak for fire and water why are you looking for trouble your now in e.y. On vacation so enjoy yourself and make sure to stay quiet

93

 Jul 22, 2009 at 04:42 PM Anonymous Says:

This reminds me of a story of yid who once came to the Rebbe Rashab (fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe) and begged him for a brocho. Faced with a difficult problem, he was troubled and distraught. But the Rebbe refused to help. "There is nothing I can do," the Rebbe said. "I cannot help you."

The man left the Rebbe's yechidus chamber and burst into tears. At that moment the Rebbe's brother, Reb Zalman Aaron, happened to pass by, and asked him what was the matter. The Jew poured out his heart and told him what the Rebbe had said.

Reb Zalman Aaron immediately went and confronted his brother. "Is that how you treat someone who comes to you for help?" he asked him. "A Yid asks for a brocho, and you tell him you can do nothing? Why, even now that man is sitting outside your door, weeping in agony and distress."

At that the Rebbe Rashab put on his gartel and asked for the man to be led into his room a second time. The Rebbe gave him his brocho, and he was delivered from his terrible predicament.

It sometimes happens that a person may not yet be worthy of receiving the Ribono Shel Olam's brochos. When the Rebbe Rashab told the man that he couldn't help him, his words were so painful that his spirit was shattered. With a broken heart he called out to the bashefer, and was thus transformed into a suitable vessel. The Rebbe could then bentch him, and his brocho was fulfilled.

94

 Jul 22, 2009 at 05:27 PM Anonymous Says:

>if it is true that r chaim said this i accept it 100%. i just dont understand why he is considered a murderer just because he doesnt have a license. if you know how to drive and dont have a license its definitly illegal and therefore possibly assur but why would you be considered a murderer. a murderer is someone who kills someone. a rodef is someone who attempts to kill possibly even unintentionaly. why does not having a license make you either. again my understanding and knowledge is infintasmily small in relation to r chaims so im just looking for an explanation.<

My understanding is that the Rambam calls someone who doesn't put a fence around their (utilized) roof a 'murderer'. I believe I heard it from Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt'l.

95

 Jul 22, 2009 at 05:19 PM zurech Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

Ah Emeseh Godol. (does NOT need my haskomah, of course)

Think about it, if it be your child (or his) what would you say?

96

 Jul 22, 2009 at 05:35 PM Raphael Kaufman Says:

Notwithstanding the validity of the message, this sounds like one of those stories that "could be true". or ought to be true". I notice from the article and the above posters that no one claims to have actually heard Rav Kanievski or the Steipler make these statements. They all state that they "heard if from someone who was there" or "someone close to...". All the simanim of an urban legend. A good legend, but a legend just the same. If it keeps people from violating traffic laws, it serves a worthwhile pupose.

97

 Jul 22, 2009 at 05:51 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #94  
Anonymous Says:

>if it is true that r chaim said this i accept it 100%. i just dont understand why he is considered a murderer just because he doesnt have a license. if you know how to drive and dont have a license its definitly illegal and therefore possibly assur but why would you be considered a murderer. a murderer is someone who kills someone. a rodef is someone who attempts to kill possibly even unintentionaly. why does not having a license make you either. again my understanding and knowledge is infintasmily small in relation to r chaims so im just looking for an explanation.<

My understanding is that the Rambam calls someone who doesn't put a fence around their (utilized) roof a 'murderer'. I believe I heard it from Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt'l.

didnt get a chance to lok it up but isnt that only if someone falls off?

98

 Jul 22, 2009 at 06:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #85  
Anonymous Says:

everyone knows that driving without a licence is wrong, yet the rav said what he firmly bbelieves about a person who drives without a licence . So why cant he adress the molestation issue . Im not following your logic . When something hurts you scream evn though everyone knows its wrong.

everyone knows that driving without a license is wrong because it illegal and someone who does doesnt think anything bad will come out if he knows how to drive. r chaim was making a point about the seriousness of what he did which the boy himself didnt realize. personally if i didnt have a license but knew how to drive i would if not for the fear of getting caught. now that r chaim said this i know otherwise. molesters are sick psycopaths who dont care and all the gedolim could scream but it wont stop them. r chaim doesnt need to make a statement about the seriousness of killing someone or adultery or eating treif besides r chaim didnt make this as a public statement

99

 Jul 22, 2009 at 06:35 PM berel Says:

#85 so when this boucher came to him for a bracha regarding his violation , you wanted reb chaim should've addressed molestation issue to this bocher? ..see how a silly statement you made. or you wanted him to go on the street and stop everyone and ask him if he's into mol...and admonish him...so please explain yourself.

100

 Jul 22, 2009 at 07:35 PM Wondering Jew Says:

Reply to #98  
Anonymous Says:

everyone knows that driving without a license is wrong because it illegal and someone who does doesnt think anything bad will come out if he knows how to drive. r chaim was making a point about the seriousness of what he did which the boy himself didnt realize. personally if i didnt have a license but knew how to drive i would if not for the fear of getting caught. now that r chaim said this i know otherwise. molesters are sick psycopaths who dont care and all the gedolim could scream but it wont stop them. r chaim doesnt need to make a statement about the seriousness of killing someone or adultery or eating treif besides r chaim didnt make this as a public statement

When did this become a issue of that nature? What does one have to do with the other? He made a mistake of not having his license. Perhaps the story wasn't made clear enough.

101

 Jul 22, 2009 at 08:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #27  
Anonymous Says:

“wow- I wonder what he would say about a mother who starves her child?”

Its a shame Rav K didn't also speak out on the bochurim throwing rocks at the police which could have killed people too. His words are so unlike those of the Chareidi rabbonim in EY, I am not sure this whole story is not fabricated.

You should be looking at your own plate and not have the chutzpah to decide what Rav (K?!) Kanievsky should or shouldn't be saying. You had better ask for mechila for a) calling him Rav K and b) deciding for him what he should be saying.

Learn some respect.

102

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Ten years ago a boy (without a license) driving a station wagon crashed into my car that was parked just as my husband was putting my baby into the car seat. It was a miracle that no one got killed! The boys father who got there before the police asked my husband to lie and say that the father had been driving the car!!! This boy and anyone who does such a thing deserves to go to jail along with the irresponsible parents!!!

103

 Jul 22, 2009 at 10:31 PM golani51 Says:

Tough love from the Rabbi

104

 Jul 23, 2009 at 04:05 AM me Says:

A rotzayach bishogag is stilled called a rotzayach. It's especially fitting after the guys says "I know how to drive well" after being in a one car accident hitting a wall.

105

 Jul 22, 2009 at 11:53 PM Am Haaretzes Says:

This story IS a complete fabrication made up by some stupid dumb idiot, who is trying to intimidate those driving without a license.

Make no mistake about it. I agree 100% that it's dead wrong to drive without license and i agree that anyone who does deserves the consequences.

But to claim that anyone in their right mind would call an unlicensed driver a murderer when he crashed in to wall is simply STUPID. It is not even "Am Haaratzus" it;s just plain DUMB and STUPID to make such a ridiculous claim that anyone who knows how to learn even one word of Torah would say something OPPOSITE OF HALACHA.

There is no chance in the world that any Talmid Chacham never mind Rabbi Kandievsky would be a Moreh Halacha Sheloy kehalacha.

Halacha is Halacha - plain and simple.

Just because anyone is angry at bad kids who drive without a license and deserves true punishment - this does not grant anyone a license to me pasken NEGED HALACHA and call stupid kid without a license a "Murderer".

Poshut MESHUGA to say so and is NEGED HALACHA.

Just because you are angry and a bad kid without a license doesn't;t give anyone the right to pasken NEGED HALACHA and to LIE and say that big rav said so.

The entire story is one big fat LIE.

Rabbi Kanievsky never said such non-sense and neither would any other rav say anything neged Halacha like that.

106

 Jul 23, 2009 at 07:06 AM Yankel horowitz Says:

Reply to #60  
Chaim F Says:

As of an experience MASHGIACH OF BEIS MEIR I would like to inform all parents of teenagers and especialy from our Yeshivah That every teenager loves to drive some pick it up in high school some later and if you want make him license he'll do it 100% behind your back and especialy when their in israel so make sure before they go to israel or you see the prime teenage year coming out go and give them the license and show them that you can be a teenager and drive safe you'll save your self loads of pain and aggravation thanks for your understanding.

Do u reallysthink that u know what your talking about. Im a little longer in de Chinuch Line then all of u and plus Im the Magid shir of the biggest daf hayoimy shir in boro park And i think that a Bocher has no right to drive a car even with license (even a bike doesnt pas ) because its much easier to travel to places were a yeshivah bocher doesnt belong so please dont wright your stupid comments on the internet ill try to make time in my busy schedule to talk to u about it . Hatzlacha raba

107

 Jul 23, 2009 at 09:27 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #51  
Anonymous Says:

what exactly do you want rabbonim to say about molestation? everyone keeps on saying why dont the rabbonim speak about. what the hek do you want them to say?! "molestation is wrong" duh!! you think that there are people who do it but if they here r chaim say it assur the molesters will say "gee thanks for letting us know we thought it was ok i guess i'll stop now"

Ill tell you what I would like to hear them say. If you know about it report the person dont be complicit in a cover up. If someone claims it have the prper authorities investigate. Dont investigate it yourself, what qualifies 99.9% of people do make a determination as to the claim is true or not... the answer is nothing!

108

 Jul 23, 2009 at 10:24 AM Stupid Misnagid! Says:

Stupid Misnagid!

He has absolutely no rachmanus. Yes, the kid made a mistake, but instead of trying to mikarev him he probably accomplished in being mirachek him. I would be surprised if this kid stayed frum thanks to this Misnagdishe Rav. Mussar sucks!

There's a saying amongst Chassidim: "What a Misnagid says, the opposite will happen!"

I bet you this kid got no prison time!

109

 Jul 26, 2009 at 01:31 PM Anonymous Says:

To number 108: You should never curse out any Rov unless you are Hashem, and I'm guessing you are not.

110

 Aug 13, 2009 at 07:52 AM bukhori Says:

108 has a point, sometimes harsh words CAN distance someone from Torah. and eventually become a NEGED AM ISRAEL. i dont know how true this story is. but i am sure the Rav only has good intentions.

111

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