Jewish Influencers: The Facts The Fears The Responsibilities - Halacha Headlines
07/28/23 - SHIUR 427

Jewish Influencers: The Facts The Fears The Responsibilities

What responsibility does an influencer have to do due dilgience when endorsing a product or business deal?
If an influencer didn’t do due diligence and people suffered financial loss is the influencer responsible?
Not letting people know you’re getting paid for what you’re promoting is it גניבת דעת?
Are you allowed to push people to live beyond their means or become envious?
What responsibility does someone on social media have?
Are influencers a danger to the influence of Rabbonim?


Raphael Z. Grossman

When I was in Camp Ohr Shraga, I heard a shiur from Rav Yackov Kaminetsky ztl. Rav Yackov said that just like when we left Mitrayim only one in five were zoche to leave, so too in the future geula, only one of five will be zoche. He added, some say it is one in fifty and some say only one in five hundred will merit to participate in the geula.
To be honest, I did not understand this since I and many others mistakenly felt, , “ That the entire congregation is Kodesh” (parshas Korach 16.3). It is well known that Rav Yackov was scrupously honest. He paid tax on a Silver goblet given as a present by his Yeshiva. Not even one of my five hundred clients would do this. When I first became an accountant, I realized that, including myself, very few of us could truly say that we were honest. My clients constantly told me how they were swindled with variations of Genavas Daas. This is perhaps what Rav Yackov meant when he said only a minority will be zoche to the geula.
I am a Certified Fraud Examiner. In criminal investigations the primary indication of Fraud is living a high lifestyle.
Forty years ago there was a famous debate in Brooklyn between David Schick and Rabbi Aharon Twersky. David Schick said we should “Live beyond our means, because that was how I was able to attract investment capital and become very successful “, and Rabbi Aharon Twerski debated that we should “Live within our means.” When Rav Shmuel Berenbaum, was shown the flyer advertising the debate, he stated, “ This is a mudena zach (This is a weird thing).” When rumors began that David Schick’s financial empire was collapsing, he contructed a Purim throne in his backyard, hired Neginah orchestra to loudly advertise his presence, and from his throne he wrote $180 checks to over a thousand needy charity collectors. However, only some found out that all his $180 checks bounced. I had a friend who davened with me in the Gerrer shteibel on Ocean Parkway. He went to David Schick and wanted to invest $180,000 so he could earn 12% on the money that he was saving to buy a house. He was told the minimum investment is $200,000. He borrowed an additional $20,000 and ended up losing it all. I was the accountant for Café Italia, the fanciest looking pizza store in the history of Brooklyn. Eli Weinstein, the owner of Café Italia, interviewed me and told me he became rich because he followed the path of his “Rebbe” David Schick. Almost everyone knows the extremely sad and disastrous end of these “Live beyond your means investors “ and the hundreds of families that had their lives financially ruined by their reckless deception. Just to be 100% sure that living “Beyond your means” is Halachicly not allowed, I personally asked Rav Dovid Feinstein ztl, after his weekly Chumush shiur, if a person is allowed to make believe he is rich. He asked me, “ Is he doing this in order to get loans and investment capital from people?” I said yes. Rav Dovid promptly replied in a load and confident voice, “ THEN HE IS A GANIF.”
Rav Herschel Schecter was asked, “Why are you and Rav Mordechai Gifter so machmir when it comes to Hilchos Choshen Mishpat?” He replied that, “ it so happens that Rav Mordechai Gifter is an expert in Choshen Mishpat and the other people whom you ask are often ignorant in these laws.” My Rov once told someone to ask Rav Pam about a Choshen Mishpat question and return with the response. He came back a week later and said he went to a local shteibel Rov and he was told that not only was it permitted but it was also a mitzvah to take the questionable money from the government. My Rov replied, “ I told you to go to Rav Pam and not someone else .” He eventually went to Rav Pam and was told it was GEZEL.
A layman on your show stated that we do not have to be overly concerned with what the Goyim think about us because they hate us anyway. This may not be correct.
Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein said in a taped shiur, “ When a Jew lies to an Arab and the Arab calls him a liar, THIS IS AN EXAMPLE of CHILLEL HASHEM. “
We need siayata dishmaya to be zoche to properly learn the halachos and/or find a Rov who will help us to Mekadeh Hashm in all our financial dealings.

Meny Hoffman

Hello, R’ Dovid,
Thank you very much for your work with the podcast and the light you shine on important topics for the Klal.
I particularly appreciated the last episodes about influencers in the Jewish community. Being in the marketing space and running one of the largest agencies that cater to the Jewish market, I always share with my team, the Achriyis they have with the creation of campaigns and how the next generations become accustomed to certain things based on the ads they see. With the rise of marketers and freelancers, I think a great follow-up would be an episode to educate people in the creative space on how their work goes beyond the talk-of-town ad to actually shaping trends in the Klal and so do magazines have the responsibility to help set standards in this regard.
Again, thank you for all the work you do.

Lchvod esteemed rabbanim. I love the show and I love the topics you discuss. I am a physical therapist here in Baltimore and I have a unique patient population that I treat. I work with adults undergoing cosmetic stature lengthening or limb lengthening. Basically it is someone who feels they are too short and want to become taller. So with surgical intervention these folks can gain up to 3.5 inches of additional height over a span of 6 months. The reason I am reaching out is that I am currently treating a frum person who chose this route to enhance their body image and it has brought up a number of questions regarding the halachik status of Cosmetic surgery in general. For instance, what are the sheilos regarding elective surgeries? Issues about changing one’s looks. Hair transplants. And this very intensive painful, but yet life changing surgery. Continue your wonderful work.

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Shiur 365 Riddle

Submitted by אהרון גולדסמית

אולי אפשר לומר שבגלל שעיקר השיבוח היה ללמוד על גודל המצווה ולא לשבח את הגוי כמו שמותר בשביל לשבח להשם (בגמרא ע”ז כ) שגדר האיסור הוא עצם שיבוח הגוי ונכד הגר”א בחידושי בני משה על הירושלמי פאה פ”א ה”א כתב שסיפרו על דמא בן נתינא כדי לדעת את שכר המצווה ולא בשביל לשבחו.

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Rabbi Michoel Frank, Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, Chaya Lichtenstein, Nachi Gordon
Jewish Influencers: The Facts The Fears The Responsibilities
Downloads :
Rabbi Michoel Frank, Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, Chaya Lichtenstein, Nachi Gordon
Jewish Influencers: The Facts The Fears The Responsibilities
Downloads :