Would You Get Spiritual Counseling From A Rabbi Who Had An Affair With A Congregant?

Around 2002, Rabbi Simcha Weinberg (brother of Rabbi Matis Weinberg) lost his job with Lincoln Square Synagogue for having an affair with a congregant.

He was caught in the act.

He was subsequently divorced (and I believe he married the congregant). He lost contact with his kids. He went into a tailspin for two years. He claimed he was paralyzed. He had all these people praying for him.

After about two years, he publicly announced there had been a great miracle and he’d been healed and he returned to his rabbinic work.

Simcha Weinberg was the only major rabbi who wrote a denunciation of Rabbi Wosner’s psak against Mordecai Tendler.

Rabbi Simcha Weinberg speaks annually in Pico-Robertson at places such as Bnai David-Judea and Aish HaTorah.

I Googled “Simcha Weinberg” today. The first result? http://www.thefoundationstone.org

The tagline reads: “Rabbi Simcha Weinberg / The Foundation Stone / Torah / Judaism / Hebrew Bible”

OK. This made me queasy. I understand screwing around. I’ve done a lot of it myself. But I don’t present myself to the world as a teacher of Torah. I’m just your run-of-the-mill Moral Leader who bothers no one and no one is bothered by.

What disturbed me most about this operation was the third link down on the left: “Spiritual Counseling

I’m not sure that rabbis who screw around should offer spiritual counseling. Even if Rabbi Simcha Weinberg does not do the counseling, I’m not sure he should have his name on a website and an organization that offers spiritual counseling.

It’s gross.

Rabbi Simcha Weinberg’s affair and firing has been widely known for years. The man seemed very broken by it. Nobody wanted to do a story on him.

Then, about three years ago, I found he was speaking on Torah at Bnai David-Judea where I was attending Shalosh Sheudos.

I let it go.

Then last night I started thinking about it again and I thought I’d just raise the question on my blog about rabbis who philander, should they teach Torah?

Then today I Googled “Simcha Weinberg” and found out he’s offering spiritual counseling.

It just seems like he’s pleading to be stopped.

Why can’t he be quiet? Why does he want to be the front of a Torah organization? Why can’t he sell insurance? Why does he have to offer spiritual counseling?

The day I offer spiritual counseling, I want Yeshiva University to revoke my semicha (rabbinic ordination).

From The Jewish Survivors blog: “Rabbi Simcha Weinberg is Matis Weinberg and Aviva Weisbord’s younger brother. His father was Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, and his mother is Chana Weinberg.”

“You should list Simcha Weinberg too. He’s the brother of Matis Weinberg. He didn’t molest children, but he did loose a rabbinical post for allegedly having relations with women he provided counseling to. He also has a Ner Israel connection. His father was a past head of the yeshvia.”

“Rabbi Simcha Weinberg was married to a niece of Rabbi Norman Lamm.”

If Simcha Weinberg did not have such illustrious yichus (lineage), do you think places such as Aish Ha Torah invite him to speak?

You can get away with a lot if you have the right yichus. Look at the cases of Rabbi Aron Tendler and Rabbi Mordecai Tendler and Rabbi Matis Weinberg.

PS. I get asked a lot about rabbis like Simcha Weinberg — what if they stopped counseling and stopped teaching Torah? Would that be ground to remove my posts on them?

I think it would probably be grounds to remove such posts. I’d have to talk to a rabbi about it.

PPS. In the Jul-Sep 1990 edition of Ultimate Issues, Dennis Prager wrote to Rabbi Simcha Weinberg: “As I regard you as a model of living Judaism…”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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