Sholom Rubashkin’s sentence remains outrageously harsh

I have previously blogged about this issue here.

The latest appeal failed. However, there would appear to be a “people’s” based approach which may influence the American administration to review the case. Technically, one needs to be an American. I used my google mail address to register (rather than an email address which ends in “.au” and then sign the petition. It’s a tad irregular given that one ought to be an American, however, I’m prepared, even in Ellul, to be found guilty of the עבירה of parading as an American. God only knows it will be nothing compared to the big ones he will judge me on.

Accordingly, I would have no hesitation in asking each and every one of you to please do likewise by clicking here, after which it would also be great if you could pass this onto others by simply clicking one of the options near Share this: attached to the end of this blog post.

Whatever he did, he did, but the punishment meted out is just way over the top.

My take on the Rubashkin issue

In studying the laws of דינא דמלכותא, I heard a shiur from R’ Schachter. In one of his comments he stated that if the law of the land meted out a form of judgement that far exceeded the expected outcome of a prosecution under a formal פסק דין from a סנהדרין, this implied a situation where there is a clear conflict between Torah Law and the Law of the Land, and creates Halachic tension.

We are limited in what we can do in such a situation since we live under שלומה של מלכות and, in the main, are very appreciative of the system of laws enacted, even if they aren’t completely motivated by satisfying the requirements of the דין of a בן נח.

Accordingly, in this case, based on what I have read, there may have been a miscarriage of justice in that (amongst other things) the presiding Judge exercised irregular behaviour. This would then imply a new court case after which, presumably, justice would take its course. Given that Rubashkin is widely known as an איש צדקה it seems to me that his efforts for a new trial should be supported in any way that people are able: either through דורון or תפילה.

In summary: until the judicial process is fully exhausted, he is the proverbial  חצי עבד וחצי בן חורין in my eyes. There is a ספק and in the case of a ספק we help someone seek a just outcome. At the end of the day, he may well be found guilty in a new trial, or may receive a lesser/larger sentence, or may get off on a technicality. Que Sera Sera.

Until and if that happens, those who are uncomfortable with supporting the effort—and I understand their viewpoint—should simply adopt שתיקה. There is no חיוב to protest against your fellow Jew until the process has ended and something else unfolds.