24 December 2017

An Angel's Advocate's Take on Sholom Rubashkin's Release

7 Tevet 5778

Sholom Rubashkin with three of his 10 children after his release. Source: his family; posted in The Algemeiner.

Last Thursday morning, Jerusalem time, we got the breaking news that Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin had been freed from prison by a declaration of commutation from US President Donald J. Trump. Here is a Google search on this event, for full coverage.

I had started writing this article last week, but life got in the way again. I have had a call for prayer for Mr. Rubashkin in the right top corner of this blog for quite some time, along with the other prisoners of Zion. This prayer has not been totally answered, due to the fact of the conditions imposed upon him, including that he must pay back whatever debt is claimed against him. Regular readers of this blog have seen headlines on the sidebar come and go regarding the case, and they will continue to see them, be"H, until Geula Shlema or until the outstanding problems are resolved, whichever comes first.

In case you are thinking how full I am of myself and think I'm an angel, please be assured that I don't. I just don't like the term "devil's advocate" and anticipate that some will think it particularly appropriate in this case. I don't. Especially when a large group of people who ought to know — judges, lawyers, serving Congresspeople and Senators, Jews and non-Jews, on both sides of the aisle — agree that anti-Semitism played such a large, obvious part in what occurred here. It isn't my (or our) imagination.

From Reuters:  "...Trump’s latest action leaves Rubashkin’s conviction intact, as well as terms of his supervised release from federal prison and his obligation to make restitution."

As the White House made clear: This does not clear his name or come even close to correcting the miscarriage of justice that has been going on for years. We all know that he did wrong; but the severity of the sentence and conditions have just been too much, compared to those of non-Jews who committed similar offenses and even greater ones.

Neither does it take into account that his business, Agriprocessors, was reduced in value to the point that it was sold for pennies on the dollar according to its true value, due to the "no-Rubashkin rule" the government imposed on it, specifically prohibiting any Rubashkin family member from, not only advising the new owners how to run it, but much more as well. Think how it would be if Mr. Trump had to sell his real estate business for whatever reason, and the prospective buyer would have to make do without his, or any of his family's, near-infinitely valuable experience! The kosher meat market is highly specialized (and no, it isn't like halal, veganism or any other food system, but their practitioners certainly make use of certain aspects of Jewish methodology, such as symbols on packaging), and the Rubashkin family, especially Reb Sholom's father Aaron, who originally owned the company, has a great deal of wisdom to share — but none of that for them. If you ask me: Because Jews. Better yet, read what Prof. Alan Dershowitz has observed on the case, having worked on it pro bono.

Some of my friends have said that Donald Trump released Mr. Rubashkin because of whatever money is left. Yes, Mr. Rubashkin was pretty much the Donald Trump of the kosher meat business, lehavdil (to differentiate; the comparison is far from apt.). According to Fortune magazine, "Rubashkin, 57, ran what was America’s largest kosher meat-processing company..." As we all know, the world hates successful Jews; and this time, it succeeded for a while in making one of them suffer for far more than his crimes warranted. And, as this CNBC article notes, they don't have much money anymore. Thanks, US Government.

Worse yet, the world hates happy, smiling, rejoicing Jews. Victorious Jews. So when they're freed from prison, there seems too often to be some set of conditions (see Jonathan Pollard's latest news...) that makes it impossible to celebrate a completely executed act of justice restored (and in Pollard's case, practically impossible to live a normal life...but I digress.). Even when they were framed and prevented from paying debts, as Mr. Rubashkin's defense team says he was.

Web sites everywhere (see the links at the end) are keeping many Jewish commenters ferociously debating this issue, among others. That's right: Let 'em fight each other. Sheesh. Over a crumb that was thrown our way. Let's have some dignity, please, and behave ourselves; we don't have to take out all our suffering on each other. We're not pit bulls; we are a nation anticipating redemption from the only One who counts.

By the way, in the article above, Atty. Dershowitz says we haven't heard the last from Sholom Rubashkin. Let's keep our eyes open, keep praying, and keep in mind that a Jew truly and appropriately freed is a sign of Geula Shlema -- Complete Redemption!

May the rest be appropriately freed as well.

More relevant reading below. I have linked to opposing opinions as well as those in agreement. However, I do not take responsibility for anyone else's words or of those who comment.

From 2010: NYTimes: 27-Year Sentence for Plant Manager | CNBC: Is President Donald Trump making a play for the Jewish vote? [-or not?] | The Slate: Why did the judge come down so hard on Sholom Rubashkin? | The Times of Israel: How Sholom Rubashkin's supporters got Trump to commute his sentence | The Forward : How Sholom Rubashkin Can Redeem Himself | Tablet magazine: To Understand the Reaction to Rubashkin's Release, Look to Chabad's History | Family and supporters celebrate Rubashkin's release |


Anonymous said...

B'H, Rubashkin is out of prison! His imprisonment #1, should never have happened and #2, he should have been released long ago. Neshama's 'Going Home to Yerushalayim' blog has Rabbi Balkany speaking about this whole ordeal that his brother in law, Sholom Rubashkin, suffered through. Heard it last night on the radio on Zev Brenner's Talkline program. When asked if this was anti-semitism, he told the story of how it's well known in that town that the judge isn't a friend of the Jews. The sentence given to him was so outrageous that so many in the U.S. Congress & Senate fought for him to no avail, until now and that is why hakorat hatov goes to the President for being the shliach that set him free.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Thank you, Anon, for your comment.

I had planned to listen to R' Balkany's shiur sometime today, but apparently it has been made unavailable at YouTube. Someone left Neshama a comment that many of his comments have proven to be untrue. I saw that Neshama had posted it last night after I posted this, but it was too late for me to watch it.

I came in this morning to correct something I wrote. I realized just before falling asleep that I meant to say *I* am not the "angel" in question, but Mr. Rubashkin is; while I am playing the advocate, so to speak.

If you listen to R' Sprecher's videos, you will often hear him ask whether a particular spiritual being that accompanies you is an angel or a demon, and then reply, "You make the call!" We create them, and we can also change their relationship with us by rectifying ourselves.

Also see what Devash (Tomer Devorah) wrote here and here. I agree with her when she says Mr. Trump is acting primarily out of self-interest, for whatever reason. So far, what he has done on behalf of Jews and Israel is only half-measures. So, an appropriate-sized measure of hakarat hatov, however small, goes to Trump; but the lion's share goes to HQB"H.

Trump still hasn't addressed the fact that most of the outrageous sentence Mr. Rubashkin received was due to government malfeasance! Whose head is going to roll for that??? Inquiring minds want to know.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

In my role as advocate, I must bring this article by Arnold Steinberg of The American Spectator. He summarizes all the fraud and corruption, and even enticement to make witnesses lie on the stand (perjury!!!) as to how they were treated at Agriprocessors, that the American government performed and then imputed to Sholom Rubaskhin, adding to his sentence manyfold:

A Righteous Presidential Pardon for Sholom Rubashkin

published 25 September 2017, during the Yamim Nora'im. At that time it seemed that Mr. Rubashkiin had been receiving a Jonathan Pollard-like punishment and might likely die in prison, has"v.

I found it while looking for an Internet site that would spell out Mr. Rubashkin's restitution terms, but could not find it. I am trying to confirm what an attendee at <a href="http://shiratdevorah.blogspot.co.il/2017/12/trump-jerusalem-rubashkin-hidden-meaning.htmlR' Mendel Kessin's shiur on Trump, Jerusalem & Rubashkin: The Hidden Meaning </a> said: He has to pay only $25 US every 3 months.

R' Kessin interpreted that as Pres. Trump's way of mocking the sentence and conditions. Perhaps the US President will find a way to overcome the political forces that "made" him keep conditions on Mr. Rubashkin after he was freed. After all, it is in his own interest as well as that of the US.

Now we need to see the felony wiped off the record.

Justice for Torah-abiding Jews is a sure sign of Geula Shlemah!

May it come now!!!

Anonymous said...

How pathetic that there are commenters who didn't believe Rabbi Balkany's explanation of Rubashkin's ordeal. Rabbi Balkany is sort of an insider in the Washington circle and knows and is friends with many in the Congress and Senate for many years. Everything he said was true. I've kept up with reading about the happenings since this miscarriage of justice took place. Firstly, the workers, whom Sholom went out of his way to check for their legality, loved the Rubashkins and their work because they were so well treated. Secondly, at the time of the trial there was collusion between the Judge and the prosecutors. Nat Lewin, one of Rubashkin's attorneys, a well-known wonderful religious Jew who is famous for defending religious Jews, said on the Zev Brenner show soon after Rubashkin was released that in all his years of practice, he never encountered such a miscarriage of justice. Those were basically his words. Am sorry you weren't able to hear/see Rabbi Balkany's video. As far as hakorat hatov is, H' gives credit for whatever reason the mitzvah is done and President Trump deserves the hakoat hatov for, at least, the commutation. We must also remember, presidents do not have the power as many believe; they are also told what and when, especially since he is constantly going against 'their' agenda. Any which way, everything is from H'.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Thank you again, Anon.

I searched Google for Rabbi Balkany and found there are two. Is the one you are referring to Aaron or Yehoshua?

I searched for Aaron and found only Yehoshua (Milton Yehoshua Balkany). A lot of bad things are said there about him, and very little good. For those who can stand to look, here.

Although I wish I had been able to listen to R' Balkany's shiur, whichever one you are referring to (or maybe someone else?), I have found other material that has had a similar effect on my thinking, as you may be able to see from my commentary above.

Neshama said...

Rabbi Balkany actually said that people in Postville knew the Judge to be very Anti-Semitic; she sat in on deliberations (we can only guess that she wanted to control the *outcome) which was illegal. He said so many other things that people have objected to. However, in the beginning, as I was in contact with the family, it was clear that the govt. was maneuvering things (and lying) to ensure a conviction. Cruelty reminiscent of hateful regimes.

* in my estimation this was al pi Obama

Neshama said...

Not sure about your posting times. Not to nitpick, but it seems you posted just seconds after me:

"Posted by CDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah at 12/24/2017 10:47:00 PM"
"24 DECEMBER 2017 Posted by Neshama at 10:39 PM"

My first article was posted 21 DECEMBER 2017 = Zot Chanukah Miracle

Regardless, we wanted to share in his pidyon shvuyim.

HDG, Yerushalayim, E"Y Shlemah said...

Wow, Neshama. Just eight (8) seconds after you.

Yes, we certainly did want to share in his freeing, and in his freedom.