My daughter told me that a lot of her classmates were really, really upset about it, and that it had put a severe dint in their belief in our holy rabbis. I don't blame them. Every time I meet another fraudulent rabbi or self-serving 'spiritual mentor', my heart also sinks a couple more notches.
But it doesn't stay there for long.
You know why? Because so many of our holy people explained that in the generation before Moshiach, a huge number of our leaders and rabbis would be fakers.
There are many definitions of what these fakers do and how they act, but their main identifying traits are that they are in the game only for their own honour, power and kudos, and that they excel at being the most arch hypocrites you'll probably ever meet in your life.
They'll make it seem like they hold themselves to super-high, super-strict standards of everything themselves, and that they're incredibly holy and beyond reproach, but to put it bluntly, they lie about everything and often treat their fellow man like rubbish.
Now, in the Levy household we've unfortunately had far too much experience with 'holy fakers'. As each 'holy faker' exploded in our face, my husband and I had to pick up the pieces of our emunat tzadikim, rebuilt our faith and emunah, and work really hard to see God behind it all.
At the same time, we had to educate ourselves, and our children, about what was really going on in the world, to ensure as best we can that neither we, nor they, would be hurt by any more 'holy fakers' in the future.
That means I've sat my kids down, and quoted them bits from Rebbe Nachman, and from Rabbi Chaim Vital, and the Gemara in Sanhedrin and a few other places too, where it talks about how a huge number of our leaders and rabbis would be fakers, before Moshiach comes.
Forewarned is forearmed, so my children are not fazed in the same way now, to hear that yet another 'holy faker' got unmasked. But their peers are not so fortunate. Their peers are still being told by the adults in their lives to 'stop talking lashon hara', and to 'stop questioning our holy rabbis' - which was the correct response 50 years' ago, but is definitely NOT the correct response now.
Simply put, because this is the generation before Moshiach, and a huge number of our leaders and rabbis are fakers.
I want my kids to grow up believing in God, serving Him happily, and having a strong connection with the true tzaddikim who do still exist, and are still out there, albeit currently a quiet minority.
We need to teach our children (and also, ourselves!) to listen to the inner voice that's telling us something isn't 'quite right' with many of the people in authority positions in our lives. If more of us would advocate for judging people on the basis of their personalities, instead of being blinded by their reputation and title, things would be very different, and these unholy fakers would find it much harder to take us all for a ride.
It's all so heavy and unpleasant, isn't it?
I wish from the bottom of my heart that all the lies being told would vanish, so that we could all have a clear picture of who's really holy and good, and who isn't. But that's one of the biggest tests of this generation, that no-one is going to spell all this out to you except God.
That's how God wants it, and as I explained to my kids, the single best (and probably only) way I know of being able to distinguish between who's a faker and who's for real is personal prayer.
Personal prayer enables you to have a real conversation with your 'inner voice', and it gives your soul the space it needs sometimes to convince you of the things you really don't want to hear or believe.
Like, a huge number of our leaders and rabbis are fakers.
In the meantime, I'm sticking close to Rav Arush, Rav Ofer Erez and Rav Berland, because I know from personal experience that they're the real deal.
And I'm encouraging my children to trust their gut instincts, and to not assume that a big beard and a bit title automatically equates to 'holy', because sadly, even without keeping up with the news, I've had enough fakers in my own life to know that in 2015, genuinely holy leaders and rabbis are pretty few and far between.
After I wrote this article, I attended a shiur by Rav Shalom Arush where he spelled out categorically that it's forbidden for a rabbi to receive women under any circumstances.
Rav Arush said: 'The bigger the rabbi is, the bigger his yetzer hara. No-one should assume that any rabbi is so holy that he can receive women with impunity. Even Rebbe Nachman - who said of himself that men and women were equal to him - didn't receive women. We got confused and made a mistake about this, but from now on, this is how we have to act - with no exceptions."
More on this in another post, God willing.
Selection of Quotes about the false leaders in the time before Moshiach:
"It will be very difficult to remain firm in faith, and not be misled by everyone's mistaken beliefs in the pre-Messianic era. At that time, many who call themselves religious leaders will preach falsehood…..There will be some truly religious individuals, but they will be very few and far between." - Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, Sichot HaRan 126
"And the well was empty ('REK'), only ('RAK') without Torah, but snakes and scorpions are in it, and this is the fourth exile, a generation of reshaim (evildoers), deceivers like snakes and scorpions that uproot the laws of the sages and judge in falsehood, and on them it is written 'And His enemies became the head'." - Zohar HaKadosh, III Parshat Ki Tetze
"They desire to become a Rabbi in order to be proud of this and not to do it Leshem Shemaim (for the sake of Heaven). They desire to rule over the Tzadikim with the full force of his ego, the everyone should be subservient to him under his rule, and this person that wants to rule is an empty pit full of serpents and scorpions and the person who is led by him and acknowledges him is actually serving idols." - Zohar Chai, Shmot 86
"[The Satan] thought that he would also create many Chassidim, and they would multiply greatly and they would mix with the true Chassidim…And when I saw what the Satan planned to do, I also fasted many times to eliminate this thought from the Satan, because this is the worst possible situation: That there will be many kosher-looking people, deceivers, and one will not be able to distinguish who is authentic and who is false." - From the writings of Rav Michela of Zlatchov, a leading follower of the Baal Shem Tov.