Parshas Shoftim, which we read in Shul this week, tells us to establish a system of jurisprudence with judges and officers of the law, none of whom are compromised by bribes.
But our entire system of theological governance is riddled with bribes.
Who pays for the shuls, the schools, and the camps? Who pays the rabbis' salaries?
As soon as someone hands you money, YOU OWE THEM.
The Parsha tells us clearly that HaShem only implemented human prophecy because the people could not bear to hear His "voice" (in the giving of the Torah) - they feared that they would die from it.
So HaShem says - you are right - I will send you Prophets, and they will speak "Komoni" - "Like Me" - they will instruct you.
Today we do not have the Prophets to give us rebuke.
The Torah is riddled through and through with stories about how our forefathers and foremothers, unbelievably great people, made mistakes.
We hear how the kings made mistakes.
The people made mistakes - they were constantly straying to the foreign peoples, their idols (meaning their occult rituals), their women, and so on.
Everybody's mistakes are told, but somehow the mistakes of the rabbis are never discussed.
EXAMPLE #1: Christianity**Preface: I am not a Christian, a hidden Christian, a Jews for Jesus advocate, etc. - so please do not read this and freak out thinking so.**
In order to prevent Jews from assimilating/converting to Christianity, the rabbis promulgate the tale that Jesus and the religion are one and the same. Factually, historically, this is completely false as the man (named Yehoshua, not Jesus) was essentially a Zionist and a kiruv rabbi who gained a following. (read Rabbi Shmuley Boteach "Kosher Jesus").
We know that the man did not claim to be Mashiach because the rabbis do not even use the term "false messiah" (mashiach sheker) for 500 years until after he was killed by the Romans.
Why can't the rabbis allow for the fact that two distinct truths exist:
1. The story of Yehoshua who was executed
2. The founding of Christianity the religion
There is no discussion allowed about this. And as a result, much confusion and anti-Semitism has resulted.
Understanding the difference between the man and the religion is not going to make Jewish people convert to Christianity. The truth does not make people convert.
The fact is that Yehoshua the historical figure advocated for Jewish people to be better Jews, and for Eretz Yisrarel to be free of the evil Romans.
HaShem did not appoint a body of people called "rabbis," the Torah therefore has no mechanism to hold them accountable for their mistakes (like an Inspector General for rabbis), they have unlimited power religiously, and "absolute power corrupts absolutely."
EXAMPLE #2: BruriahThe story of Bruriah, wife of Rabbi Meir, is another example. Rabbi Meir was a great man and she was a great woman.
The dispute was, in Rabbi Meir's mind, "L'Shem Shamayim" - he wanted to prove that women were not of the mind to study Torah, by and large.
So he set up a situation where his student would seduce his wife.
The student was successful and the tragedy resulted in Bruriah committing suicide.
Rather than the rabbis using this story as an example of rabbinic overreach, it is used as an example that Rabbi Meir was in fact correct.
EXAMPLE #3: Shabtai TzviThis false messiah arose in the 1600s after the horrific Chmielnitzki massacres in the Ukraine left hundreds of thousands of Jews dead. Not only dead, but the butchers forced the Jews to actually kill each other. The trauma is beyond what any of us can ever imagine.
In the wake of this tragedy, a manic-depressive who knew the Zohar and who already had proclaimed himself the Mashiach, now gained a following and much of the Jewish world accepted him.
Shabtai Tzvi renounced the authority of the rabbis, "empowered" women, and defiled the Torah. He wound up converting to Islam under threat of death, and even then his followers said it was "part of the plan."
Tzvi was followed by Jacob Frank, who called himself Tzvi's "reincarnation" and who was even worse. He promoted the idea that we had to be so bad, HaShem would be forced to bring the Mashiach.
The Frankists converted to Catholicism and there is evidence that their influence continues today.
Nobody taught me about this in yeshiva. The threat of being sucked into these New Age occult "kabbalistic" cults is an avodah zarah threat, but it is totally suppressed.
EXAMPLE #4: The Agunah ProblemWhy, in 2019, are any women "chained" to recalcitrant cruel husbands who will not give them a divorce?
The rabbis have the ability to annul a marriage based on mental un-fitness on the part of either spouse.
The answer is that any admission of systemic error, and remedy of this, makes them look terrible.
EXAMPLE #5: Rabbinic Child Sex Trafficking and PedophiliaWell it goes without saying that for decades we have known this problem existed, and for decades it has been covered up and then minimized, while the "Internet" is deemed the crisis (because the Internet is how people found out what was going on).
"Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons or modern-day slavery, is a crime that involves compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or services, or to engage in commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological. Exploitation of a minor for commercial sex is human trafficking, regardless of whether any form of force, fraud, or coercion was used."
It is Elul and I say this with anger mixed with love.
Come on already, people.
The boundless cult of the rabbinate is a form of avodah zarah in and of itself.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe would not have tolerated this.
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions my own. Public domain.