Are we to consider conservative rabbis and reform rabbis as reshaim? Aren’t they simply products of a society of Jews who ran away from Yiddishkeit and are ignorant?
That’s two questions. And the answers are yes and yes. Certainly they are resha’im. A rasha doesn’t mean somebody who is going to knife you. A rasha means, as we defined earlier, somebody who is opposed to the Torah. And the conservative rabbis are opposed to the Torah. Most of them don’t believe that Hashem ever gave a Torah. So that’s a rasha. If a person denies מעמד הר סיני, he denies matan Torah, then what is there to talk about?
Now the second question, is it their fault? Could be not. Could be it’s not their fault. But suppose a person grew up in the darkest corner of Harlem and he never went to school for a day because he was the worst kind of delinquent. And all he learned was how to handle a dagger. And he handled it. And there are victims. So you’re going to say he’s not a rasha because he’s the product of his society? He’s a rasha and he’s the product of his society. His society made him a rasha. It’s a pity on him and when he’ll come to the next world, in the lower department of the next world, and they’ll be stacking the coals in the furnace for him, so they’ll take out one coal to compensate him for his lack of education.
Because how many Jewish boys grew up in just the same environment and they fought their way up and they finally went to college and became lawyers and doctors in the midst of abject poverty? So what’s the rachmanus? But even let’s say it is a rachmanus, let’s say it wasn’t his fault. Alright. But a rasha he is anyhow. Anybody who kills, anybody who rapes, anybody who makes violent attacks on innocent people, he’s a rasha.
It doesn’t matter what society he grew up in.
TAPE # 204 (February 1978)