Section:  Avodah   Category: Ahavas Yisroel
Our Heros Over The Hudson?
The flip side of Lashon Hara is Chanifa, flattery.  Speaking highly of people undeserving and holding them up as examples of tzidkus is not only a big aveira, but people who do this will sit right alongside the group of Baalei Lashon outside the camp when it comes to greet the Shechina because that are just as unwanted.

In a tragic accident on Shabbos, in broad daylight over the Hudson River, three Jews were killed when their small plane crashed into a sightseeing helicopter.  Some of frum media covering the story spoke about them in glowing terms reporting their honesty in business, philanthropy, and active involvement in their community and Synagogue.  This was met by people screaming that they were Michalilei Shabbos and others screaming back that we cannot be judgmental or "holier than thou" and Halevai all Shomrei Shabbos should be honest in business.

The victims of the crash may or may not have been Tinokos Shenisbi'u and may not be accountable for there actions.  But do they get instant admittance to Gan Eden because their dramatic plane crash received front page coverage all over the media?  Does that make them big tzadikim?  What would we say if their car turned over on a side road in the Catskills?  No one was up there with them during their last moment on earth and they may have had hirhurei tshuva which will surely help them before the Bais Din Shel Maala but will their choice to play it straight in business, (which incidentally is seen by many people as a very effective business strategy or believe it or not some people are straight by nature),  going to earn them many points, maybe or maybe not.  Hashem does not accept bribes.

In more tragic recent events, the frum community has been hit by a wave of financial scandals that cause a true Chilul Hashem.   Has our guilty conscious caused our self esteem as a people to sink to such low levels that anyone honest in business is a hero regardless of whether he is Michalel Shabbos or not?  Because of five, ten or even ten thousand frum crooks can we not find true heros within our own community?  Is every Ben Torah who works for an honest living, yet keeps his priorities in order also a suspected thief now?   Why are we so quick to defend Michalilei Shabbos and give them the benefit of the doubt without thinking twice about slandering our neighbors.  

The great tzaddikim  loved every Yid, frum or not.  But don't compare their love for a frum jew to that of a non-frum jew, as the fools and people who like to distort the truth would lead us to believe.  Don't hide behind the banner of Lashon Hara when it is convenient for you.  The Tomer Devora says that we must love every Yid in our heart like a brother and even more.  We must cry for them and daven that they will return to the right path.  Rav Moshe Shternbuch says that our love for Jews who have strayed should be done in quiet manner and with a stern outward appearance to show our disapproval.  Praising their actions and excusing their ways is an attack on Hashem as it weakens our core emuna.

If we really cared for the victims of the crash we'd wouldn't paint them as tzadikim, but we would do what a man I once had the zechus to speak to, did.   He hung around a Bais HaKvaros near Tel Aviv and when he saw a non-frum levaya he would ask lots of questions about the niftar then after getting the complete picture he would organize Mishnayos for them.  He had some amazing stories about some of the worthy, unsung, and trapped Neshamos that he was able to elevate.

Talk is cheap.  Let's not talk Ahavas Yisroel let's do it.  If you need role models look around near you and discover the tzaddik living next door.  Stop looking at the fault of your neighbor and find the one thing that you can emulate.  Surely there must be something they do that you can marvel at.  Imagine they exploded over the Hudson and look past their other faults.  The Hudson victims were not role models for the frum community in their lifetime, and they were not heros in their death.  They may have been worthy people but we cannot deduce that from the information we know.  

All that being said, if you really care it would be very nice to do something L'Iluy Nishmasam (I will post their full Jewish name if the email I sent to their "Synagogue" requesting their full Jewish names is answered.)  I volunteer to learn Masectos Bava Kama .  Anyone who cares to join is welcome to  join and post their contribution below be it Tzedaka, Mishnayos, or a resolution to be more more honest in business.