re: imperfect jewish world…
Well actually being Orthodox in theory means keeping Halacha but I’ll put that aside for now…
We are in agreement about certain points though. I think it is absolutely necessary to hold our leaders and rabbonim to a higher standard than the average person. I don’t follow leaders who display particularly abhorrent behavior. I also don’t think the majority of those identifying as ‘Orthodox’ do either.
There are always going to be so-called ‘leaders’ who do things however I would question the amount of shomer-mitzvos Jews they are actually ‘leading’. A great thing about halacha is that there is a lot of room for different hashkafos in that box of rules. There are many different communities; who they listen to is their own business and responsibility.
I would ask for specifics to what you refer but the point is moot. Obviously if a rabbi isn’t properly following the Torah including those laws under the “bein adom l’chavero” category, it’s silly to follow them. I don’t believe though among ‘our’ gedolim however, that this particular horrific behavior exists. Otherwise they wouldn’t be gedolim. Obviously no one is perfect but if such stories exist they usually prove to be motzei shem ra, fabrications and/or gross exaggerations.
Firstly, ever heard of a “naval birshus hatorah” - it’s an idea from the Ramban (I believe) which recognizes that people can follow halacha and still be complete asses.
Secondly, it sounds like your making a “no true scotsman" fallacy. It’s easy to say, "well, they’re not doing it right" or, "they’re a small number who don’t represent the whole." but that fails to recognize that orthodoxy is a tiny slice of the world’s jewry, and that tiny slice is truly broken into many smaller ones. you may consider one group kinda small and kooky, but they may just as well think the same of yours.
Thirdly, if the ways in which someone can interpret the torah and live an orthodox life vary that greatly, then what moral instructions is it giving? Sounds more like people basically interpret it to fit their needs and preconceived positions. So moral people will interpret it morally, and immoral people will interpret immorally. as such, it doesn’t seem to function well as a moral guide if you need to be moral in the first place to interpret it morally!
Lastly, one of my parents is a lawyer in the frum world, and both have been very active in the jewish community for several decades - and even though they’re religious, they readily agree with me bc they get to see a side of the frum world which many - particular the young and eager - don’t get to see. Even when I was super frum I had to accept the uncomfortable reality that there’s a lot of corruption throughout the system. (and, like in business, it’s often the most ruthless people who get to the top.) I know you’d rather consider it all fabrications or exaggerations, and I’m sure some of it is, but what does happen and is documented is often truly horrific enough itself.
Some examples: (and please tell me whether you consider these legitimate rabbis, or whether your legitimate rabbis are ok with this)
1) metzitzah b’peh (esp w/o providing any medical warnings to the parents)
2) stealing gov’t money with welfare so one can learn torah (e.g. the recent report on failed messiah, “93% Of Kiryas Joel On Medicaid Or Subsidized Health Insurance”)
3) covering up sexual abuse / abusing those who try to uncover it! (“Chabad Community Harasses, Ostracizes Child Sex Abuse Victim”)
4) hatred for lgbts… and basically anyone who doesn’t believe like they do. (e.g. “Senior Zionist Orthodox Rabbi: It Is Forbidden To Rent Apartments To Lesbian Couples”)
5) educational censorship for topics which aren’t “torahdic” e.g. science. (e.g. ” head of shas party forbids women from going to college.” or “"How Much Goyishe [Non-Jewish] History Do Our Children Actually Need To Know?"”)
those are just some examples off the top of my head and looking briefly at FM. The fact is, there are SOOOO many examples. When you’re in the frum world, you don’t usually hear about it bc people don’t want to speak “loshon hara” or simply don’t want to get involved in politics, or bc they simply blindly follow their leader. But oh yeah, this shit happens all the time.