Monday, December 14, 2009

Mind Boggling Comment of the Day...

OnionSoupMix put up a post about a Spinka fundraising letter that went out. The Spinka yeshivos are facing some financial difficulties due to the financial improprieties of it's leadership.

In response to OSM's post, a poster named Mindy went on to state that the only reason the yeshiva was financially viable was because they were defrauding the government*. Now that they can't do so anymore, they need to find alternative sources of income. A poster responded to Mindy that aside from the financial harm, there is also the fact that the Spinka Rebbe probably taught the kids (if not in words then certainly through his deeds) that tax fraud is perfectly acceptable.

Mindy's response:

and I still dont consider tax fraud stolen money. He committed a crime against the US govt, he didtn still from people.

Words just fail me on this one. Money gained through tax fraud isn't stolen money because it's not stolen from "people?" The government IS the people. The government of the United States is owned by me, by Mindy and by every other U.S. citizen all over the world. When you steal from the government, you have the unique opportunity to steal from over 300 million people at once.

How a frum Jew comes to this type of mentality (that stealing from the government isn't the same as stealing from "people") is just mind boggling.

The Wolf


* I have no idea whether that's true or not.

25 comments:

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

I don't know what's worse.

That frum people like that don't see stealing from the government is like stealing from the people?

Or that the government doesn't see it either!

G*3 said...

It’s not a frum thing, it’s a human thing. We don't instinctively think of large faceless groups as "people."

Fortunately, most of us realize that the large groups are made up of individuals, and intellectually arrive at the conclusion that stealing from the group is stealing from each of those individuals. But we’d still feel guiltier taking something from an acquaintance’s house than from a large store.

There are also other factors in play, such as, “everyone is doing it, so I might as well do it too,” or, “everyone is doing it, so it can’t be so bad,” or even, “everyone does it, it’s expected.” There’s also diffusion of consequences, since the amount stolen from each citizen is negligible; and the feeling that its really my money anyway, so tax fraud is just keeping what’s really mine.

SuperRaizy said...

That type of thinking is a direct result of the way that some frum communities disassociate themselves from the larger population. They view themselves as Jewish and ONLY Jewish- not as New Yorkers, not as Americans- and so they don't identify with the government or the people of the United States. And so they think, "what's the big deal about cheating the government? The government isn't US, it's THEM." I think that this is a shameful and ungrateful attitude for Jews (or anyone) to have.

onionsoupmix said...

Other posters are now arguing that defrauding the government is fine b/c tuition is expensive and the government won't give us vouchers. The mentality is just mind boggling. What good is a yeshiva education when these basics are missing:(

In good news, I have my own tagline! Wow :)

Anonymous said...

Also, because WIC check limits are not high enough to buy cholov yisroel items. The government is clearly discriminating against us and forcing us to either buy cholov stam cheese or lose out.
>/sarcasm<

KKR said...

You want to know another type of "stealing" that goes on in MO communities? Scholarship fraud. Why does my neighbor on scholarship drive a nicer car than me, take fancy vacations, have a big screen tv, a cleaning lady etc.... all the while being too happy to brag about his kids getting a big tuition break from the local MO yeshivah. This type of fraud is rampant throughout MO communities in the NY/NJ area.

BrooklynWolf said...

KKR,

No one was saying that that doesn't go on. In fact the post even about stealing at all... it was about one person's attitude towards stealing from organizations.

The Wolf

david berg said...

many poskim are to blame because they mention this idea.

HOWEVER, even if wolf is wrong and stealing in this case is not considered technically stealling, it is still osur according to all opinions since it leads to chillul hashem.

but, again, many charedim do not give a f*ck about chillul hashem, even though it is in shulachan aruch, because most poskim do not mention element of chillul hashem at all, when dealing with these issues.

but hey we are all machmir on shemurah matzah.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what's worse, either,
the sentiment expressed or that an adult Jew wrote the line, "he didtn still from people".

Hashem yerachem, how is it that someone so abysmally ignorant is unafraid to post an opinion?

Yossi Ginzberg

RAM said...

English as a third language?

ProfK said...

Wolf,
A little bit of that attitude that cheating the government is not cheating is a holdover from the European view pre-WWII. The governments of most European countries were blatantly anti-semitic and the only way to hold on to your possessions was to lie and cheat. Of all the things that were done "in der heim" that should have been dropped when coming here, rooking the government is tops on the list.

david berg said...

Despite my negative previous comment, I agree strongly with ProfK.

2000 years of often extreme persecution made jews think of how to avoid being killed, robbed, raped by next door gentile. and thinking about how to make that gentile appreciate the G-dly nation was definitely not on front burner. jews were trained by galus to think - well the goy is not massacring us now- thank Hashem for that.

browser said...

hey Wolf,if you would take 10,000 people at random,doesn't matter if jews gentiles black white polka dot,and ask them to tell you honestly if they ever cheated on their taxes if they are honest i am pretty sure that 99% will admit at cheating,now if you will ask the same groop of people,if they ever stole the same amount of money from one of their friends?
would the figure be the same 99%.
of course not.
so there is your answer Wolfi boy
this has nothing to do with frum people,it is universal.
by the way wolffy,have you ever cheated on your taxes?{:
CHAIM

BrooklynWolf said...

Browser,

The issue is not so much about dishonesty but about the complete lack of shame.

For the record, the answer to your question is no -- I have never cheated on my taxes. But I'm also not going to tell you that I was never dishonest in my life. We're all human and we're all subject to temptation. But even though I may have stumbled in the past, I feel shame about it and I resolve not to do so again. I don't justify it and say that it's okay. *That's* really the point.

So, yes, people of all stripes may sometimes cheat and steal. But not everyone is shameless about it and thinks it's not theft.

The Wolf

Ahavah Gayle said...

This is the fine education your donations have been providing for impressionable schoolchildren - that defrauding taxpayers isn't defrauding "people." What you don't hear here is that they aren't "people" because they either aren't Jewish or aren't Chereidi. Solution: don't give one dime.

Anonymous said...

It's an ingrained philosophy. I recently won a raffle from an institution and they called me in to "discuss" with me how to better help me. I stated to them I'll take the check so I can pay the taxes even though they are supposed to withhold them. I then brought up the theme of the aguday convention that was the prior weekend and the response was, that they don't want to go there.

BrooklynWolf said...

Please keep the comments on topic. Thanks. (I had to delete an off-topic comment.)

The Wolf

free dating said...

You want to know another type of "stealing" that goes on in MO communities? Scholarship fraud. Why does my neighbor on scholarship drive a nicer car than me, take fancy vacations, have a big screen tv, a cleaning lady etc.... all the while being too happy to brag about his kids getting a big tuition break from the local MO yeshivah. This type of fraud is rampant throughout MO communities in the NY/NJ area.

Anonymous said...

is it any surprise peple don't see tax fraud as a big deal - just look at all the politicians blowing tax money on ridiculous projects or giving crazily priced contracts so they should get kickbacks etc...

megapixel said...

ridiculous! but also people have not prob defrauding insurance co.s saying they are not hurting anyone when in fact insurance fraud causes everyone to have to pay higher premiums. this is definitely not just a jewish thing. the reason wolf is so shocked by mindy's attitude is that once again, we EXPECT better from fellow jews- we put such a stress on honesty...

Moshe said...

"The government of the United States is owned by me, by Mindy and by every other U.S. citizen all over the world."
You think she pays taxes?

BrooklynWolf said...

Moshe,

Don't know. But even if she doesn't, she's still a person here in the country (or at least I'm presuming she's in the US) and so the government represents her too.

The Wolf

Moshe said...

If she doesn't, she's not much different from illegals.

BrooklynWolf said...

Moshe,

It's also possible that there are legitimate reasons for her not to pay taxes... no income, for starters.

My mother, who is disabled and does not work, pays no taxes. And she's still a citizen and she has a "share" in the government.

The Wolf

Moshe said...

Your mother has a government approved reason.
By no income you mean cash income? ;-)