A sex scandal is set to shake the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) world after the leader of a prominent Jerusalem Hasidic sect was recently caught in the company of a naked woman.
The rabbi's acolytes have tried to hush up the affair, but a note left on the rabbi's car added grist to the rumor mill and has led some of the rabbi's most ardent followers to abandon him. The Hasidic sect involved is one of the more prominent ones.
The scandal erupted over a week ago, when one of the rabbi's closest proteges came to his house late at night. This was not unusual as the rabbi often holds classes and gatherings late at night and even leads overnight pilgrimages to the graves of righteous rabbis.
The man climbed up to the rabbi's window and was shocked to find his teacher wrapped in a prayer shawl standing opposite a completely naked woman in her 30s.
The rabbi's follower, a well-known and trusted member of the community, was deeply unsettled by the sight. He wrote his rabbi a letter asking for explanations.
The letter remained on the rabbi's car but was soon found by other followers of the rabbi, and a firestorm erupted. Members of the rabbi's inner circle even tried to hush up the affair. According to one account, the woman was even threatened with violence if she did not keep quiet.
The rabbi admitted to his followers that he had had sexual relations with the woman. He admitted to having "fallen." This sparked a serious crisis of faith among his followers. Some of them, even prominent members of the Hasidic community, left him.
"We've experienced troubling incidents, but this is probably the worst," one associate of the rabbi told Israel Hayom. "This isn't something we can recover from. This rabbi is like an angel to his followers rather than a mere mortal, a man who inhabits the higher planes. The knowledge that he succumbed in the worst way has made everything collapse and led many followers to leave him."
According to the same source, the details of the affair revealed so far are merely the tip of the iceberg. More details will likely emerge in the coming days.