By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
There is not a person on this earth who sometimes does not err or miscalculate. Rashi tells us that Sher Nasi yechetah – Ashrei Hador – fortunate is the generation in which its leaders can admit error.
The essential points that Rabbi Shafran (see here, here and here) was trying to bring out were in fact correct – Teshuvah penance is a remarkable thing – a gift from G-d and when done properly is something that is certainly quite admirable. It is an unfortunate reality that the examples that can be drawn out from contemporary society of true penitents are few and far between. Rabbi Shafran erred in choosing Mr. Madoff as his model – but his underlying point was most assuredly correct. Penance and facing the music of one’s actions are most certainly wonderful things.
By the same token, Rabbi Shafran’s next point about “moral choices are what makes heroes” is also undoubtedly correct. Once again, however, Rabbi Shafran’s choice of a contemporary hero Captain Sullenberger was mistaken. “Sully” is truly a genuine hero who had made thousands of correct moral choices.
Rabbi Shafran is an exceptional writer who has served Kal Yisroel faithfully for many years. I and thousands of others would hate to see his accomplishments eclipsed because of one error. We all look forward to seeing the fruits of Rabbi Shafran’s mind and pen put to continued good use for Klal Yisroel’s benefit.