Spinka rebbe: It was out of “sheer desperation”


The haredi newspaper Hamodia has an exclusive interview with the Spinka Rebbe, who made headlines for admitting publicly that he had broken the law. It’s a pretty fascinating read, mostly because rabbis of the stature of Naftali Weisz rarely speak to the media.

In the interview, the rebbe says that no one should be in "awe" of his speech, which was "what I as supposed to do." But he also tries to contextualize his crimes by claiming his motives were pure.

What happened at our institutions occurred out of sheer desperation. We had a large and devoted staff, many of whom were supporting large families. For instance, there was a father of ten children who was about to lose his home to foreclosure unless he would get paid.

I never put away any money for myself or for my children, but we had an enormous pressure to keep the institutions afloat, which included a preschool, elementary school, a high school, and a kollel with hundreds of married yungeleit.

Yet this is still not an excuse for what occurred. What happened should not have happened; I made a mistake, and I truly regret it. I should have had a more watchful eye, I should have educated myself more to assure that everything was done legally.

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