Rabbi Ruben Suiza is head of the Sefardic community of Cape Town, South Africa. A little over a month ago, Rabbi Suiza’s wife Deborah, began receiving E Mails from another Rabbi no less, demanding roughly the equivalent of $4,500 U.S.D. Otherwise, the extortionist henceforth to be referred to as the “Blackmailer Rebbe” would make it public that Rabbi Suiza was frequenting prostitutes.
I wish it weren’t true, but historically, rabbis have been less than above reproach when it comes to denouncing one another and beating each other up in public. In the late 1700’s, rabbis, enraged by the upstart Hassidic movement, did far worse than send E Mails threatening to expose their antagonists with allegations that they frequented houses of ill repute. These enraged rabbis went so far, as to denounce the Hassidic Rabbis as agitators and heretics to the Russian authorities. As a result twenty-two Hassidim were arrested and incarcerated. While in no way wish do I wish to minimize the severity of the dastardly deed of the “Blackmailer Rebbe,” his shenanigans pale in comparison.
Perhaps the entire matter would have been put to bed, had the Rebbetzin possessed a sardonic sense of humor. Perhaps she could have sent a reply to the “Blackmailer Rebbe” asking for the names and addresses of the ladies of the night, in that she intended to send each one of them a condolence note, explaining while they had never met, she’s most certain that they deserve a better class of clientele than her husband. Reading such a reply, chances are that the Blackmailer Rebbe would have been left speechless.
Informed sources indicate that the “Blackmailer Rebbe” had it out for Rabbi Suiza. It happens. Maybe Rabbi Suiza delivered better sermons. Worse yet, maybe Rabbi Suiza had a habit of stealing sermon ideas from the “Blackmailer Rebbe” and delivering in a way that was simply beyond the abilities of the “Blackmailer Rebbe.” It happens. Worst of all, perhaps as far as the “Blackmailer Rebbe” was concerned, Rabbi Suiza was a phony able to fool some of the people all of the time by pulling the “shatnez” over their eyes and spiriting them away to his congregation. It happens. If any or all of this actually was the case, then it would have been much better if the roles were reversed and instead of being the “Blackmailer Rebbe,” he would have found himself in the position of the “Blackmailed Rebbe.” Can you imagine the leverage he would have had then? Why, he would have been able to ride his nemesis out of town on a rail!
The “Blackmailer Rebbe” is to be pitied. In a few weeks’ time, we’ll be reading about the biblical personality Balak, who had it out for Moshe and the masses. Balak went so far as to hire Balaam, a professional curser to place a hex on them. Commenting on this action, our rabbinic sages depict Balaam as having been blind in one eye. Perhaps Balak was no different. If Balak did in fact detest our ancestors, why see the need to curse them? Why not see the need to hire a professional blesser, so that rather than run others down, you build yourself up? The “Blackmailer Rebbe” could have done the very same. If the “Blackmailer Rebbe” actually did have a legitimate gripe against Rabbi Suiza, he could have spent his time E Mailing mental health professionals in an effort to boost his ego. Short of that, the “Blackmailer Rebbe could have resorted to extreme measures and let justice be wrought against his nemesis by the supreme judge, who dwells on high. Why go and sully two reputations – That of Rabbi Suiza as well as his own, when as a rabbi, he should know, that sooner or later justice will be served