15 Tevet 5778
It really disturbs me when people, especially people who promote themselves as trustworthy bearers of the Torah, play fast and loose with the truth.
I'm thinking in particular about a rabbi who is popular on the internet and who passed along the "Blood-Moon" myth that was created by Christian Evangelical "prophecy" whores* without bothering to check its validity first. It had already been properly and roundly debunked at the time. The "facts" which formed the basis of this myth were very simply untrue. I passed this information along, but I doubt it ever reached the rabbi since I never saw any correction or retraction.
Now, I'm thinking of yet another famous internet rabbi who I recently heard give over information in error during a recorded shiur. I heard a few students offer a correction, which in itself was noteworthy, but when the rabbi saw the students were likely correct, he waved his hand and blew it off saying that it didn't really matter since it was not information critical to the point he wanted to make. The thing is if we can't trust him to be correct on the minor points, how do we know we can trust him on the major ones?
I just turned off a video which left its advertised subject matter to opine about the corruption of the US legal system as demonstrated in the case of Sholom Rubashkin. The man in the video, who styles himself a factional leader in the Jewish community in America, began by claiming that Rubashkin's only "crime" was in not satisfactorily filling out a few bank and government forms. No honest person would make such an obviously ludicrous statement. The essential facts of this case are well documented and undisputed. There is no question that serious crimes took place. The problem lay with the unjust sentence applied to those crimes. Let's be honest!
The charge that Rubashkin was essentially an unwitting victim of outrageous antisemitism will spawn its own wave of antisemitism. Even the Torah does not attempt to gloss over the errors and outright sins of our ancestors - even the most righteous of them.
We are seeing this attitude of sloppiness with regard to the truth of our words and the information we pass along with greater and greater frequency and it is another sign of the degradation of our generation. We've become very sloppy with regard to many things and Hashem will hold us accountable for it. This is not the Torah way.
In your own dealings day to day, please try to be more aware of this and try very hard to correct it as much as you possibly can. Don't simply pass along everything you hear without doing your best to check the facts first. And I will do the same. Together, maybe we can raise our generation a bit up out of the mud it has sunk into. And thanks for listening.
* "Prophecy whores" can be Jewish or Christian. They sensationalize "prophecy" in order to sell it and make money off it.