Crime and Punishment in Jewish Law: Essays and Responsa

By Walter Jacob; Moshe Zemer | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
ASSISTING THE GUILTY Halakhic Considerations Clifford E. Librach

As a modern American rabbi serving in a suburban metropolitan congregation,1 I have been routinely exposed to the delicate problems of individuals, some of which involve criminal behavior. Specifically, my experience as a congregational rabbi and advisor to colleagues has brought to me the following personal crises of people whom we have served in the past.2 One individual revealed and confessed criminal complicity in a scheme to harbor an illegal alien and thereby to defraud federal and state authorities, participating in a criminal scheme of misrepresentation; another individual sought spiritual guidance during the course of which he revealed his own criminal culpability in a complicated enterprise of bank fraud involving real estate sales to middle income households; and, in perhaps the most difficult case, I was faced with the evident confession by a father to the routine physical abuse of his children.

In this paper, I propose to address the halakhic considerations involving an appropriate professional response to these

____________________

Notes for this section begin on page 42.

-34-

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