A Readers’ Scoop – With A Rav’s Response

dented-carHello TLS,a good friend of mine told me about your website and is allowing me to send you a email from his email address as well,i want to tell you about a troubling incident that happened to me in lakewood on wednesday,i am a non jew from jackson nj and i do a lot of business dealings with jews and i have never had a problem with any of them.

Last week wednesday,the day the winds were at 50 mph and the rain was coming down in buckets,i was in a nice kosher cafe which i often go to because the food is great,i was sitting down with my wife and just enjoying the food and the weather and looking outside when i see a car driving driving pretty fast in the storm with no regard for safety or anyone else that was in the parking lot at the time,he pulled into a parking spot next to my car,he was about to finish the park completely when all of a sudden he pulled out as fast he can,raced over to the other side of the parking lot and parked his car in a way that no one could see the right side of his car,then he gets out of his car and walks over to the cashier who is a nice jewish kid and asks him something,the cashier looks around,then points at me and then the driver who appeared to be a nice jewish man,glances at me,smiles says something to the cashier and then walks out of the cafe,i was a little disturbed because i had no idea what was going but didn’t think much of it and went back to my meal.

A half hour later i was done with my food,i walk outside about to get into my car when something dosen’t look right,I look at it and there’s a nice big dent on the side of my car,the same place where that other car came up to my car before he quickly backed out and went to the other side of the parking lot,i was pretty mad,i walked back inside the cafe,the cashier wasn’t there and i ask a few other people if they had seen anything,one of them said to me that the driver of that vehicle came inside and asked the cashier who”s vehicle it was when the cashier pointed out that it was me,a non jew,the driver felt that since i wasn’t jewish he didn’t have to pay for it,not only that,as i was walking away,i heard a different person telling the who was kind enough to tell me that he wasn’t allowed to tell me that because your not allowed to tell on another jew,that really got my blood flowing but i didnt say anything,i walked outside,drove home and the next day i took it to a body shop and had a insurance estimate wrote up and gave in my car.

Is this the way jews act? Now im not putting down jews at all,i understand that in every religoun theres good and bad,but what disturbs me the most is the attitude of”since hes not jewish you dont have to pay”imagine a christian or a muslim hit your car and said because your not one of us we dont have to pay you,it wud be insane what would go on,if that driver would have came over and aplogized to me,i would have gone outside with him looked at the damage,shook his hand and told him not to worry about it because insurance would have covered the whole thing and wished him a happy hanukah but because of this attitude if i find out who he is i prob would ask for money from him.
        Thank you TLS for posting this letter.


TLS brought this letter to the attention of a Rav, and the following was his response:

Dear Mr.___________
I have received your letter with regards to a letter which you received where a non-Jewish person wrote to you about having his car hit and thus damaged by a Jewish driver. In essence I believe your question was whether or not the driver was required to pay for the damage since the car he hit belonged to a non-Jew. From what I understood from your letter the driver maintained that he was not required to pay since the driver was not Jewish or at least that is what the victim felt was the rationale.
I am sorry if I can’t elaborate as much as I would like to since I do have a few engagements today which I must attend. However here is the short version.
Damaging someone and not paying for it is tanamount to stealing. Stealing is forbidden, illegal and contemptible, period. It does not matter who you steal from it is a sin and illegal. One of the most basic tenets of any society is to have a legal system where people can not just steal and damage others with no repercussion. This sentiment long preceded the giving of the Torah. We find that the reason why Hashm flooded the world in the days of Noach’s Ark was in part because society was immoral and dishonest-primarily they stole from each other.
Even if the Torah and halacha would have never discussed whether one is allowed to steal or damage others (which obviously it does) it would still be forbidden. As we know the law of the land is the law of the Torah. Meaning it is halachically forbidden to engage in any activity which was made illegal by the government despite them being secular.
All in all if this individual in fact hid behind the cloak of warped rationalizing he should know that should he go to Rabbinic arbitration or secular court he would be found guilty (obviously if he in fact did this damage). In addition, while I am not a lawyer or a law enforcement officer I do believe that this person can be arrested for a hit and run. I don’t know this person obviously (or I hope not), yet I can safely assume that this is the kind of person that would not have paid anyone regardless of their religion. If the person was Jewish he simply would have found other rationale to justify his devious manner in which he conducted himself. It is disgraceful though think that there is even a possible justification for antics not even acceptable in the most pathetic of societies.
I hope this is helpful to you and I hope that whoever did this comes forward and does the right thing. I must say having been involved in the community for so many years overall the community is honest civil kind and generous. In your shorter time here I am sure you have seen the same as well. we need to remeber whenever exposed to such behavior to not let the actions of an individual (or sadly at times a few) be your broad brush to paint the community.
If you have any further questions kindly get in touch with me.

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  1. This is crazy!!
    Mark I hope you find out who did this and get paid for the damage. I would have asked for the manager and see if there was a camera to get the plate and made a police report.

  2. Ki Yigach ish ..
    However Dina Demalchusa & Chilull Hashem change things when ain Yad Yisroel Tekifa.
    Are there not cameras in that mall? Can the parked car not get the police to get the camera film, & if so that would get the perp arrested, & probably jailed. What was that guy smoking?
    It is the law of the country one must call the police in case of an accident, sometimes the 2 parties agree to exchange papers & leave the police out, I am not sure that is legal, but it is understandable.
    Some leave a note, which is probably not legal, and could be damaging, thwe owner may add who knows what to the damage.

  3. Scoop thanks for this post. And thank you for the Rabbis clear and lucid response. I also know the community well and I have learned that they for the most part are very honest a few jerks should not make ppl stereotype.

  4. maybe the person who hit him should contact TLS and TLS fprward the payment to Mark.

    I am a jew. My car was also hit several years ago when it was parked and I have no idea who did it (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, undocumented immigrants????)..YES i had to pay and get it fixed.

    People must respect everyones property -jewish or not jewish. if you damage someone property- pay up!!!!!!

    if its not yours -dont use it.

    dont steal it or “borrow” it because it was simply laying on the front lawn…..

  5. I ditto what ever the Rav wrote. He is well written and expressive and right! Don’t hok a cheinik…ure a goniv and a lowlife and you have to pay. If this person does not come forward we should pay Marks losses. Mark how much is it and let’s get cracking!! Even though we can’t be responsible for every kook in town Jewish or other for some reason I feel bad personally and would love to help.

  6. Hi. Please do not quote this “Rav” in the future. A “Rav” that can write the words ” I dont know this jew or I hope not” is hopefully not the words uttered out of an orthodox jew let alone a so called “Rav”. The basics of judaism(ahavas yisroel) have obviously gone right over this “Ravs” head unfortunately. I for one feel bad for this “rav”. Also,to accept any negative story on a jew is unacceptable and forbidden uinless both parties are present and there is a clear need to verify the proposed wrongdoing in order to render a verdict.

    This is clearly not the case here.Thirdly, an accusation by a jew and definitely by a non-jew does not have validity in our religion on its own merit unless proven.
    Can the TLS kindly not publicize negative stories on our brethren, unless it is going to actually accomplish somethng and THERE IS NO OTHER OPTION, as you are a reasonable and nice fellow.A Happy Chanuka to all.

  7. # 9 WROTE “Can the TLS kindly not publicize negative stories on our brethren”

    Its that type of “secret society” mentality that keeps FRUM from being understood, accepted, and apart from the rest of the world.

    NO ONE IS PERFECT, so stop trying to cover up the jerks, to try and ignore them like they dont exist.

    Maybe next time people will think twice before fleeing the scene/doing something stupid.
    FRUM & not FRUM need to know that jerks exist in every culture. Hiding the jerks does nothing but give false sense of security to more trusting residents/members.

  8. I want all my non-Jewish brethren to know that I, as a Jew, and as your neighbor, am most careful when I park that I do not so much as allow my car to come near yours. I am very very careful with your property.
    I thank G-d every day that I am able to live in America, neighbors with many non-Jewish brethren, and we are great neighbors with each other. We are very careful with our neighbors’ property, cars, and we say good morning, we smile, and we are just very grateful that we are able to live here with you.

    There are many jerks among us. They are jerks to you and to us as well. Jerks are jerks. We hate them as well.

    Please realize that most of us are not jerks. The headlines are made by that minority who are. The rest of us are nice people, we respect other people, and we are good citizens and neighbors.

    Thank you.

  9. Mark,

    One thing you should realize is that unfortunately there are bad apples everywhere. No this is NOT how we act as a whole! I am terribly ashamed by this story. I hope this is all a mistake and whoever told you what transpired did not know what he/she was talking about. If it is true, I urge the individual that hit Mark’s car to come forward. I don’t envy your punishment for this blatant act of stealing and to top that; Chilul Hashem.

  10. #9

    And why can a Rov not say that he hopes he does not know this Jew?! I sure hope I don’t know him, he wouldn’t want to know me anymore! The Rov is saying he would be ashamed to know such a lowlife. Go ask R’ Forscheimer what he thinks about this whole story and the Rov’s response. And,no, to the best of my knowledge he doesn’t know about this whole thing. I only can say that I can almost tell you word for word what he’d say.

  11. Dear Mr Conservative. The true orthodox jew is defined as someone who follows the laws of the Torah.The basic concept of Torah, is about not deciding on our own what is right or wrong but rather let God decide that for us.It is about being humble.Its about trying to improve ourselves constantly in character and otherwise.
    One of the foremost positive character traits that one is to acquire in life – is focusing on ones own negatives but only on positives when it involves someone else. While wrongdoings by others should be corrected and points out by others- it is to be done in a friendly and positive manner. It is out of our mandate to love our fellow brother that we attempt to improve his behavior.That mandate is given to us by God. It has nothing to do with one person feeling superior to the “jerk”as you put it,but rather as a loving attempt on our part to better the offending indivudals behavior.

    Therefore one of the Torahs laws is as follows- 1) always focus on the positive in others behavior and never look for a negative.-2) if by chance you accidentally chanced upon something negative- rebuke him for the sole purpose of helping him, and not in any way have a feeling of superiority over that individual. God judges people and he does not want us to be judges.Thats his job.He can manage without our assistance.

    As far as jews being hated – that is a another topic that I will elaborate if you like but it does not have anything to do with any of the above.
    With love,
    your fellow brother and a happy Chanukah.

  12. Several years ago my wife was shopping in Target, and she had a full wagon so she place one item on the tray underneath the shopping cart. She forgot about that item and did not pay for it, when she got to her car and emptied the shopping bags in to the trunk she found the unpaid item. So she returned to the cashier and told her what happened, the cashier told her that only people from your community are honest enough to come back to pay for mistaken unpaid items.

  13. 1)Our torah writes- be dan lkaf zchus.
    2)Our Torah has clear rules, as to how and when to render a verdict on a jews behavior i.e for a constructive purpose, in a positive manner, with humility,not thinking we are better than them while rebuking them kindly, etc. none of which seemed to be fulfilled by this article.
    There is no one that disagrees with the above.

  14. Though I don’t agree on the ‘Rav’s’ personality, I believe he did make very valid points.

    Damage to a non-jew is still considered geneiva

    We as Jews are supposed to be an example for the rest of the world to learn from – lets remember that and act accordingly – our actions speak way more than words!

  15. The Rov simply said what we all think that based on what he heard the guy is a crook and he hopes none of his friends are crooks! He doesn’t know the person and he is not publicly humiliating because unfortunately this person decided not to fess up.

    There is nothing wrong with saying A. Hope none of me congregants or friends are thieves. B. Stating what the the halacha is. Why is everything a debate?

    Is it possible that the story is different and he didn’t hit the fellows are car or someone else did it withour realizing it…..I guess so but that is not the issue cause he is not involved in an arbitration meeting with them. Should that happen then it will no longer be theoretical rather it will deal with the facts. Until then thank u TLS.

  16. No matter what the crime or perversion there will always be people like #9
    that will try any which way to sweep it under the rug and we need to hush it up and not believe it etc. rather than condemn it & let every lowlife know that no more automatic support & business as usual & pidyon shevuim
    and criticizing the victims & anyone shining a light on their despicable
    behaviors (for toeles 1) The criminals should cease & desist 2) Others will
    think twice 3) potential victims know to be vigilant 4) etc. etc. )
    Kudos to the Rov – Halevai all Rabbonim should be so strong & candid
    “Lo soguru mipnei Ish” not to afraid of the rabble-rousers.

  17. wat a chillul hashem!!!!!! mr. hit and run ur now obligated (besides for paying) to make a kiddush hashem to counteract the chillul hashem.

  18. This is a very disturbing story, if this person feels he for whatever reason he dose not have to pay for damages he did to someone elses property he is very misguided. I have news for you it does not matter if its on private property or not he is still responsible.
    I have a feeling this person is probably driving without insurance

  19. TW although I commented above. This is a blog & I don’t believe it ever happened, although it could have, somone’s creative imagination working out loud.

  20. To # 30, stop being so blind. I live in a part near jackson. Every day people are giving me anti semetic look an gestures because of the town I live in. So even if it is “fiction”, it still is pretty reallistic fiction. Also, to number 9, if thats the way you feel, than pay for it yourself. Maybe u even were the one that crashed into marks car.

  21. Since we are supposed to give people the benefit of the doubt, let’s see is we can think of any possible scenario.

    What if the driver was pulling into the spot when he noticed what looked like a fresh dent? And, thinking he might be accused, since there happened to be a somewhat matching dent on his car, he decided to park elsewhere & avoid the accusation. Okay, this doesn’t explain his exchange with the cashier, but…I am just saying, sometimes there is more to a story than we can know.

    Did you hear Rabbi Krohn last night on 107.9? A man is on a plane to Israel & see a man who is dressed like a distinguished Rabbi, but he seems to be reading a secular book. Not only that, he does not join the prayers at the back of the plane. Really curious, he watches the man receive his breakfast & the man does not seem to make any blessings on his food. Clearly, the man is a fraud who deceives all who know him. He keeps the man in his sight on landing, and sees him joined by a group of people. The observer is all ready to go over to the people & ask who they think they are meeting, when he sees a coffin brought over to them. (Mark, if you’re still following the story, someone who is in the process of burying his relative is not allowed to pray or study Torah til after the burial.) So, says Rabbi Krohn, although we usually don’t find out ‘the rest of the story’, from the times we do, we should realize that there is usually more to most things we hear or even see, than we might think.

  22. My car also got scratched up!!! I parked and went to shop, and when I came out I saw a huge 15 seater van parked about 18in. from the side of my car. I knew that unless the driver was extra small, and careful too, it was impossible not to hit the next car. Whenever I see such things, I naturally go and inspect that side- and I found a nice big scratch. I decided that I’ll wait in my car until the driver came back. She came back, and when she saw that I was sitting and staring at her, she very carefully squeezed herself into her car- without any apologies or offers to pay for her damage!!!!! I was very upset, but for the 2-300 dollars to fix the scratch I wasn’t going to make a scene. And no, my car is not old, dilapitated and scratched that she would’ve thought that it makes no difference- it’s nice and shiny.

  23. To #9 actually as jews we shouldn’t hide our faults if you look in tanach it full of times when klal yisroel did aveiros the torah never hides the mistakes of klal yisroel

  24. I am a Jew I live in Lakewood I once parked my car in bmg when I came back after seder there was a big dent in my side with a nice note on my door ! Called I did , & my friend on the other line. Told he knows of some that hit my car but he can’t tell me (? ) untill I give him some information ! ” what time did you park there? ” how close to the line did you park ?” at the end he refused to tell me !! who did it!?! The next day I made my own little investigation (asking who had seen anything in the parking lot ) I was lucky to find a “Baal loshon horah” to lead me to …yes ! He was a jew! He had a “shylah” (1 sided) if he if puter , because he “didn’t have space to get out , so maybe its my Fault?”
    After finding out (from his friend who hung the note) that I was there before him! He decided that ” I sure parked in a non regular manor” because! Is not !? ” why would he have a problem getting out if had gotten in?”(¤) and so he decided=paskened (he is his own rov) he is puttur=does not owe me a penny!! Because he is a vady=sure (that I parked in a improper manor ) & I am a shemo=unsure (I can prove I parked properly)
    BTW ; I’m Jewish! But when someone is sick, he is sick!(& needs a Doctor)

  25. #16. lakewoodlandlord says:
    “Hit and run is only on the street, not in a private parking lot or other private property.”

    Can you please post a source of where you got this information from? Anything to back up what you wrote?

    Written in driver’s manual, which is available to the public, states by NJ Law, “(N.J.S.A. 39:4-129) Leaving the scene of accident involving damages to unattended vehicle or property. First offense: Fine or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both, and suspension of driving privileges for six months from date of conviction. Fines anywhere from $200 – $400.”

    -Cited from a government website specifically geared towards New Jersey: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us

  26. So whenever someone tells me how great it is to live in Lakewood because there is parking in every stripmall that u drive into, I will think twice! Im from Brooklyn, and if you dont want ur bumper scratched you buy a bumper bully, because everyone parks 2 centimeters from ur bumper and u have to hit his car to get out of ur parking space. But i guess u guys have it much worse!!!

  27. I don’t know what state #16 lives in but in NJ any time you hit a vehicle you need to call the police and make an effort to find out the identity of the owner of the damaged vehicle. Pleaser refer to N.J.S.A. 39:4-129 et. seq. Specifically, N.J.S.A. 39:4-129(b) and (c) states: “The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle, including his own vehicle, or other property which is attended by any person shall immediately stop his vehicle at the scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible, but shall then forthwith return to and in every event shall remain at the scene of such accident until he has fulfilled the requirements of subsection (C)… The driver of any vehicle knowingly involved in an accident resulting in injury . . .or damage to any vehicle or property shall give his name and address and exhibit his operator’s license and registration certificate of his vehicle to the person injured or whose vehicle or property was damaged and to any police officer or witness of the accident, and to the driver or occupants of the vehicle collided with and render to a person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including the carrying of that person to a hospital or a physician for medical or surgical treatment, if it is apparent that the treatment is necessary or is requested by the injured person.”

    Thus, regardless of the locale of the accident, it is the driver’s statutory duty to both inform the owner of the damaged vehicle of any accident as well as the police.

    Regardless of the legal implications, such actions are generally required in order to make an insurance claim (for those who actually care to correct any damages to their automobiles)

    Unlike the above posters, I am citing the current new Jersey statutory law and am not making incorrect statements in order to profer excuses for those persons who violate the law by thinking they are above such obligations.

  28. I’m not 100% sure I’m right, but I’m pretty sure.
    I believe that this story was not written by a goy but by some yeshivish guy who was looking for some attention.
    I have a few notes to point to:
    1. There are many “yeshivish style” words and grammer mistakes in the letter. . Yes, I know that there are plenty of goyim out there who are also English language illiterates, but the mistakes and especialy the nuances are very particular to the frum type rather than to a plain illiterate. Anyone who has experiance with reading material written by yeshivish people will recognize them immediately. (of course many write beautifully, but I’m reffering to those who don’t).
    2. Unless “Mark” identified himself to this rov, we have no way of knowing that he’s not an impersonater.Are we sure that there even is a rov? The “Rov” did not sign his name either. Does he have something to hide? or is the whole rov part also part of the fantasy?. Did TLS confirm with the said rov the details of the story?, as they surely didn’t speak to “Mark” himself.
    Like I said the whole thing sounds to me like a fantasy letter. BUT I will be dan lekaf zechus that the story was written by a yid who wants to bring attention to the unfortunate problem of others who don’t care about damage or theft of non Jewish property.
    Even if the details of the story are not true, whether the whole of it, or maybe he brought this story to a legitimate rov to get a response which he could publish here., If this is the case then his letter does have a good purpose.


  30. A good method for asessing as to whether a person’s opinion in any matter is on the right track, i.e.(to God’s liking) on should look out for the following:
    1)If there are any feelings of anger at all while commenting.
    2)If there any feelings at all of, bitterness,sadness,arrogance,loathing, or any other trait that is forbidden,etc.
    One can be assured that in cases of the above-he has unwittingly fallen into the the Yetzer Horas trap and in turn anything and everything from that point on is tainted and cannot be taken seriously.

    When a truly frum Yid is faced with any situation or controversy of any type-it is without those feelings. Any anger or similar feelingd displayed would not be of a personal nature at all but rather because it is dictated by God at that point to defend his honor.It has nothing to do with what sort of emotional reaction the person experiences but only with what is necessary to rectify the situation.
    This is a very easy (albeit painful to deal with one’s shortcomings)and effective way to know how to proceed with everything that you either see or hear,think.etc.

  31. Those who claim this is a ruse are in denial. Why would a person got thru this trouble? Didn’t he post a picture of the damage? Just as the parent who is told that their child did something wrong and they defend the child’s misdeed, you are accusing the victim of stating a falsehood. The situation appears to be that a frum would have identified himself as the person who dented a vehicle, if the owner was also frum. Since he was not, he just committed a moral and civil crime by not coming forward. That shows a prejudice on his part and is despicable. As far as #l9 who wants the victim to come face to face with the person he accuses, the perpetrator will not come forward. How can the victim accomplish this? I’m happy to see that most of the respondents disapprove of what has taken place here.

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