Here are the facts of the case. Martin Grossman, an apparently charming fellow with a 77 IQ and a criminal record, was caught firing a stolen\found gun by a female wildlife officer. Grossman then beat her with a flashlight and shot her to death. Finally umpteen years later, his death penalty got applied. And my inbox got jammed with pleas from Chabad and other groups to SIGN A PETITION TO SAVE THE LIFE OF MARTIN GROSSMAN.
No I didn’t sign any of those petitions. You know why? Because Martin Grossman, a convicted criminal, beat and killed a woman. Yes some of the testimony against him may have been invalid and he may have been traumatized from caring for his father and his IQ may be low and he may have been afraid and on drugs and yadda yadda yadda… but he beat and killed a woman, not that much older than him. Then he got to live for decades afterward, while she stayed dead. Until finally he got the death penalty.
I can’t express my disgust for the petitions or the self-righteousness that accompanies them. Especially from a community that normally favors tough on crime policies. None of these people would have been circulating petitions to save Martin Grossman if he was a black 19 year old who beat and killed a wildlife officer.
No all they could see was that Martin Grossman was a Yid!!! Sure he was a Yid who might have broken into your home. Who might under the right circumstances have killed one of your kids. But he did Tesuvah!!! Just like every other jailhouse killers who finds Jesus, Buddha, Allah and the Ghost of the Lone Ranger. But Martin is different!!! He’s a Yiddishe Neshome!!! So would you take him to babysit your kids? If not then, ^&#! off.
I am not against Jews standing up for our own. And you know where there’s plenty of chances to do it. Israel is under siege. There are Jewish poor around the world. There are Jewish kids who are going hungry to bed while the big Federations neglect them so they can hand out the money to more image friendly minorities. There are Jewish kids in danger, on the street, homeless, in trouble and in need of help. If they can be worked with, maybe they won’t turn into Martin Grossmans.
But there’s something sick about running out to save a murderer. And we’re not talking Jonathan Pollard here. We’re talking about a drugged up retard criminal who murdered a woman and then went off to try and burn his clothes and bury the gun he used to kill her. And Aish.com insists on still dragging this embarrassing incident up as an example of Jewish Unity.
My flagging faith in our ability to unite was restored from the most unlikely source: my inbox. One day a couple weeks ago I received an email from Chabad asking — no, pleading with —me to sign a petition to save the life of Martin Grossman. Two days later another appeal to save Martin Grossman’s life appeared in my inbox. This one was from a different organization, one on the left of the spectrum of Orthodox Judaism. The next day I received another appeal for Martin Grossman from an organization on the right of the Orthodox spectrum. I was amazed. We were doing it! Groups, and tens of thousands of individual Jews, who rarely agreed on anything were uniting in a campaign to save the life of one admittedly guilty Jew. And this is the crux of that campaign and of all efforts at Jewish unity.
While Sara is having her achdus orgasm, maybe she might want to stop and think that all these organizations coming together is actually a bad thing. If these organizations rarely agree on anything, is their coming together on behalf of a convicted killer a good thing or a bad one?
Let me give you a hint. Most of these groups couldn’t unite on behalf of six million dead Jews during the Holocaust. They can’t unite for six million living Jews in Israel today? But they can get together to plead for the life of a man who murdered a woman and now supposedly feels bad about it. Achdus? No. Rishus.
Let’s recap Parshas Mishpatim. You know the one with all those laws which says, Lo Tihyeh Acharei Rabim Lehatos. Nope gang, Achdus on those terms is a bad bad thing. Achdus with evil is evil. It’s not an orgasmic moment of Jewish unity when left wing groups campaign for a murderer and right wing groups decide to join it because he happens to be Jewish.
When we hate other Jews—individuals or groups–we point to the fact that they are WRONG. Wrong in their theology. Wrong in their politics. Wrong in their conduct. Of course it’s easy to love individuals and groups with sterling character traits and viewpoints similar to ours. There can be no Jewish unity, however, without loving Jews we don’t admire, don’t agree with, and don’t even like.
Here Sara Rigler confuses Judaism with Christianity. There can be no Jewish unity without hating people who do wrong. It’s easy to go around all day with a drugged up smile loving everyone. Cults do it all the time. Judaism isn’t based on showering everyone with unlimited love because they happen to share our DNA. If that was the objective, the second Kasha during the Seder would end with a hug, instead of a Hakhe et Sinav. Instead it tells the bastard that we would have left him behind in Egypt.
Unity with evil is like adding to zero. Whatever you add, it’s still zero. And when you admit that these organizations are wrong in their theology, politics and conduct, when you find yourself on the same side as them, it’s time to wake up and reconsider your position.
There’s nothing wrong, Mr. Fleming, with Jews rallying to save a fellow Jew even though we will not be launching a campaign to save the next death-row inmate. There’s a mitzvah to visit the sick. No one, however, has the time and energy to visit every sick patient in every hospital. But if my brother or cousin is sick, I’ll interrupt my schedule and make even major efforts to get to the hospital, because the patient is my family. And as I walk to his ward, I don’t have to apologize to every patient along the corridor that I will not be visiting her as well.
There’s nothing wrong with visiting only your sick family in the hospital, but if your cousin happens to be a killer, agitating for his life because he’s your cousin is disgracefully selfish because it undermines the criminal justice system on your own behalf. There is something wrong with pretending the law doesn’t apply or suspending your own values because the killer in this case happens to be Jewish. There’s something wrong with turning him into a martyr while trying to excuse his crime, and completely ignoring the woman he killed.
That is not Jewish. That is not moral. that is not the way of Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof. That is not Emet. It’s blind, stupid and saccharine. And it’s inexcusable. There might be Jewish unity on the day that even people like Sara Rigler put away the emotion and pick up some actual standards and values, instead of treating love as the answer.