Guest counsellor in Melbourne

The Australian Jewish News included an advertisement from Kollel Beth HaTalmud featuring Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser. Rabbi Goldwasser is described as an expert in matters of addiction and is widely respected as a counsellor. I do not know if Rabbi Goldwasser has any formal qualifications. Certainly in Australia, you can be an accountant, and advertise and perform the role of counsellor and not have your advice or counsel subject to any peer review or peer oversight. My view is that all counsellors should not only have formal training, but that they should be answerable to a counselling peer body if there are complaints about their para-professional counsel. A psychologist can lose their registration if they are found to be guilty of breaching the standards expected of their peer body. It seems that counsellors, for some reason, are not bound by peer based standards because they do not need formal qualifications.

I guess it’s buyer beware. There is advice, and there is counselling. They are two different things. Rabbonim have long given advice. Some of them are also incredibly good counsellors and possess the “wisdom of Solomon” by virtue of their acumen and life experience, laced with the values of Halacha. Rabbis Chaim Gutnick ז’ל and Yitzchok Dovid Groner ז’ל were both revered as advisers and counsellors in Melbourne, and rightly so.

A Rabbi with requisite wisdom will also know when something is outside their range of expertise and refer a congregant to professionals when that appears to be warranted.

This is not to cast any aspersions on Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser. He is highly visible on the internet, and would seem to have a very good reputation achieving lots of good.

That being said, he is also someone who was issued with a Ksav Siruv by Chabad on account of allegations that he wilfully mistranslated the memoirs of an elderly paragon of Russian Jewry by omitting all and every reference to Chabad! I’m not breaking any new story here. The issue is well documented here and here

Thank God, apart from my addiction to Herring, Tzibbeles, and Bromfen on Shabbos, I have no need to see the good Rabbi; although if he can tell me how to lose some of my tummy I’d be obliged. If someone does attend, it might be interesting to ask why he chose not to appear before Rav Osdoba to answer the complaints directed against him about the book.

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

17 thoughts on “Guest counsellor in Melbourne”

  1. Perhaps Kollel Beth HaTalmud can explain why they are supporting this guy instead of gettting him to go the Bais Din.

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  2. Isaac ask’s “Why is this alleged child abuser running free?” and I said because no-one cares (Except Bruce and a handful of others).

    This guy ‘raped’ Reb Mottel’s book, refuses to go to Bais Din, and not only does no-one, even anonymously, express outrage, but he is sponsored to come to Melbourne. And yet the same people nod in agreement to a drosha on Pinchas.

    kol yisrael arevim zeh lazeh. Yeah, right.

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  3. This is not only a Chabad question, it’s a question of truth. This self declared godol* took a ready manuscript and wrote that he collected this data for a long time from his ‘life long friend’ (what a lie) and then he went to change the story to his liking to the extent of bringing people back from their graves for a conversation when they were already dead, to changing who was related to whom and creating fictional pieces where he didn’t like the story (for the godol he was trying to create) and then goes and sells this as non-fiction. What does this “rabbi” think Judaism teaches us about truth?

    *This is what he wrote about HIMSELF in the book and disguised it as if Reb Mottel wrote this about him: “There is hardly a Jewish community [that] has not come in contact with [goldwasser]. He is described as patient, warm, and a giving character.” “[Which] is what makes thousands flock to seek his words, advice, and knowledge”, who “is renowned worldwide for his piety and for his efforts to spread Torah and Judaism”. He described himself as a “world-renowned Torah
    personality” in that introduction.

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      1. I don’t know the man. Let’s assume he has done the wrong thing; the evidence appears to be damning.
        It’s the three weeks. Perhaps he will admit that he made a big mistake? Maybe some sincere words to him will change his heart.
        Maybe he will go back home and decide to face the Beis Din and deal with the grievances that the family have against him.
        Try and be positive.

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  4. What’s the big chiddush with censorship anyway? Artscroll and Feldheim do it all the time (too many to mention but as one classic example, see the English translation of the Oznayim Latorah on “וזכרתי את בריתי יעקב” – great example of Artscroll’s political agenda driving censorship. The original is apparently way too Tzioni for their liking).

    Or what about the various Israeli publishers who do it all the time, not to mention Hebrewbooks.org (http://seforim.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/censorship-of-rav-kook-and-other-hebrew.html), or the book “Larger than Life” which could not be properly published due to physical harrassment by “frum” thugs, or the censored photos of the Rebbe zt”l (beige hat photoshopped) and his Rebbetzin (evidently not dressed tznius enough for some tastes). The list of deliberate fabrication goes on . . . .

    Chaim, I’m with you on “Midvar Sheker Tirchak” but let’s be candid – that dictum got thrown out of much of the Torah publishing window years ago.

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    1. The man has a Ksav Siruv over the issue. He isn’t a publishing house. He is alleged to have wilfully mistranslated a book, while the author was still alive, and caused him great pain. I don’t dismiss that.

      I’m advised that when he was confronted about the issue in Melbourne, he said “it’s no big deal”.

      Enough said.

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  5. Isaac,
    Cut your Lubob apologetics.
    The guy who publishes CircusTent is a Lubavitcher who always,always supports the Chabad individual and viewpoint no matter what(he has even claimed that he”ll not get into any Lubavitch issues/politics,while at the same using his blog to attack some of the most choshuve people.So much for objectivity and emmes)The blog for R’Lifshits is by the family members,is that what you call “proof”?
    Oh, and the seruv???
    When the Lubavitchers make their mind up who their besdin/dayanim are maybe they can get some credence.In the meantime they are busy fighting and sending ksav seruvs to each other.
    Hey, did you know that R’Goldwassers brother is a respected Chabad shliach in Pittsburgh,pa??
    Enough with one sided attacks

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    1. I notice that you have not provided one shred of defence for his action. I was well aware of all the things that you wrote. There is absolutely no excuse for what he did. Period.

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      1. Defense?
        Who said he needs a defense? You? Based on what? Anonymous web sites.Wow.Deep.
        Did you hear his side?
        But you “paskened”
        Way to go.
        Not

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        1. The Beis Din wanted to hear his side and so did the elder chosid.
          When asked in Melbourne he stated “no big deal”
          It is a big deal and has been for many years

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          1. For what it’s worth(nothing, without knowing the story) Rabbi Osdoba also got a seruv http://thefrumnews.blogspot.com/2008/09/crown-heights-ny-chk-is-put-in-question.html.
            So what’s the “din” now:Can someone in seruv put another one in seruv??
            Isaac, you know very well that this seruv is more than suspect.It’s a Lubavitch bes din with clear negios getting involved.Would you go to a Lubavitch bes din against a Lubavitcher?
            Since this is a couple of years old, this dispute may have even be settled, yet, you still mish zech arain without any objective info.Doesn’t sound right.
            Maybe it has something to do with your own little problem with Bais Hatalmud where you’d rather not enter.

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            1. Boropark,
              An erliche rid would respond and ask for a different Beis Din. They would not want such serious allegations hanging over their head, especially as the issue is well known throughout the world and hangs around his head like an albatross. Did he indeed suggest a different, seen to be impartial Beis Din? It turns out that the organiser of the visit (from Beis HaTalmud) apparently didn’t know about the issue. I suspect that next time he organises a speaker, he will do the required research.

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  6. Isaac,
    You are making a mistake.You”ve allowed yourself to fall into the same trap that Lubavitchers are snagged by:Living in a different reality.By the Lubavitchers it’s their reality that the whole world revolves around Lubavitch, like their reason for the U.N headquarters being in New York, since the Frierdiker Rebbe, was Nosi Hador and lived in New York (the only problem is that he was Nosi Hador only for Lubavitchers and nobody else had an inkling of this…)The reality is that Rabbi Goldwasser draws huge crowds to his shabbos shuva and shabbos hagodol derashos, teaches the daily mishnayos on the most listened to Jewish program in the diaspora, The Nachum Segal Show.Writes a weekly column in the Jewish Press, has a succesful shul,lectures widely and is one of the finest frum orators and is a widely read author of a bunch of books published by some of the largest frum publishers, artscroll, Israel Bookshop Publications etc.
    The albatross around his neck is in the eyes of the folks who think the Rebbe is shlita leolom voed, or at least Nosi Hador, the seruv is from a beis din that does not exist.Yup, the crown heights bes din is not a functional bes din for many years due to infighting, some of which was imported from “down under”
    So, to summarize:I”m sure the people in Melbourne enjoyed his presence besides for the few partisans,apologist and stam jealous imfarginners looking for a story that does not exist

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    1. a) There is no Nosi HaDor, in my opinion, amongst any groups. However, each group is entitled to claim what they like. When the Mashiach comes, we will have certainty about leadership. Gedolai HaDor, Poskei HaDor, MeOray HaDor … all these terms are meaningless except for those who use them.
      b) If you look at my post again, you will notice, hopefully, that I didn’t write unkindly of Rabbi Goldwasser. I do, however, question the business with the book.
      c) That you wish to discredit the CH Beis Din is your entitlement, and indeed also Rabbi Goldwassers entitlement. However, that does not entitle anyone to not respond al pi torah, through a formal Din Torah, Zablo or whatever to serious concerns.
      d) You should avoid straw men as part of your arguments (viz the Shlita business amongst Meshichisten). These straw men are not valid methods to put your point of view across.

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