Luke Ford on Marc Gafni
May 28, 2006
An annoymous Orthodox rabbi responds to Marc Gafni's confession
He is getting good at this; while he claims to have taken responsibility – he takes no responsibility – he claims to have an illness, he is sick, illness can be treated he is seeking treatment. The implication is that soon he will be healed and life can go on.
If he is taking responsibility then why doesn’t he get on the next plane and go back to Israel and turn himself in at the closest police station, at least give a statement – see if they wish to press charges, if they do plead guilty to spare these women from testifying, and if the court finds him guilty sit in prison. He writes “I promise you from the bottom of my heart and in the name of everything that is holy, I am taking this crisis with utmost seriousness. I am making healing the number one priority of my life.” That is not called taking responsibility, it is called working on a defense. Curious no mention was made of his previous victims – he is only admitting what the public already knows. He says “I am taking this crisis with utmost seriousness.” Good thing he just got fired and publicly humiliated – imagine if he didn’t take this seriously! Amazing.
The odds of Mordechai getting a paying gig in the foreseeable future is nil – yet he is taking responsibility so he writes “In light of all that has happened I am leaving all of my rabbinic teaching capacities” did he have a choice? Can he continue the charade as rabbi?
Mordechai made a similar statement when he left his second wife to be with a woman he claimed he loved and wanted to spend the rest of his life with – he stood up in a synagogue in Kfar Saba and said that was leaving the rabbinate. Unfortunately he has since pledged his love to numerous women has been engaged numerous times and has promised many people to spend his life with them. Unfortunately he forgot his declaration to leave the rabbinate and snuck back in. Of course by this time nary an orthodox congregation would have him. After his “counseling” a young woman, led to his leaving his wife – her irate father went right to the chief rabbi of Israel. After an investigation, the chief rabbi’s office declared him a “non-rabbi” he would never practice in Israel in an official position.
Mordechai couldn’t stay away, had he stayed a computer software salesmen – he could have been as sleazy as he chose (no offence intended to people in that field of work) and when he got caught in his indiscretions it wouldn’t have caused this public spectacle. But Mordechai in a perverse way is so narcissistic that he is probably enjoying the publicity – the same man who shaved his rabbinic beard and publicly announced that he was leaving the rabbinate 10 years ago stood up again and wrote an apology – because he is taking responsibility. He is getting good at this.
When he could no longer serve in an orthodox congregation on any continent – despite his name change, Mordechai became new-age, he even created a philosophy that could provide his libido with victims. If he is sincere about his taking responsibility, about dealing with his sickness, I would assume that he would move far away from this new-age philosophy. Return to his orthodox roots. Deal with the real sickness – his need for power and publicity. But this won’t happen, Mordechai will not have the guts to take that much responsibility. If he did he would have to apologize to the scores of woman he told he loved, to the scores of woman he forced himself upon.
To all the people he stepped on making his way to the “top”. To all the rabbis he ripped off and claimed their Torah as his own. To the people who wrote his books for him and did his research. To all the people whom he paid off over the years - buying their silence. To all the listeners on radio and television to whom he would have to admit that his programs were bought airtime – in an attempt to satisfy his insatiable need for power fame and recognition.
If Mordechai really takes responsibility for all of this what would be left? Mordechai is a talented orator a charismatic teacher, he is not the great philosophical thinker that some of his fans think he is – can he admit this? Can he move away from the lime-light? Can he lead a life without adulation? Can he stop lying and abusing? Will he seek forgiveness from the victims of his youth – for the abuse and the years of emotional pain that followed? For causing them to lose their faith in Judaism? For destroying their sex lives and future relationships? Will he apologize to Rabbi Yosef Blau who years ago identified Mordechai for what he was - a slick talking dangerous abusive con-artist?
When Mordechai returns to Israel, seeking his penance, when he swears he is leaving the rabbinate and public life forever. When he returns to G-d with sincerity, not to perform a tango with the Schechina - which he deems to be in pain, because of the pagan Eros, which he declared to have been exiled from Judaism. When he leaves his narcissism, his self serving manipulative philosophy and sits in prison I will believe that he has taken responsibility. But I won’t hold my breath.