THE COUNSELORíS CORNER

 

 

Did you see the story in early May about the murder of a rabbi's wife in Cherry Hill, New Jersey?In this matter, Rabbi Fred Neulander is alleged to have hired a hit man to kill his wife.It has been said that he was involved in numerous extra-marital affairs.Apparently the rabbi, wishing to avoid a high-profile divorce, hired a hit man to kill Carol Neulander, who owned a bakery shop and raised their three children. The prosecution was faced with a case that was pretty much circumstantial until just recently when two roommates at a halfway house for recovering alcoholics confessed to the murder, claiming to have been hired by Rabbi Neulander.

 

What I want to focus on here is one of the alleged hit men named Jenoff.Mr. Jenoff is a private investigator who had consulted with the rabbi in 1994 after his marriage collapsed.During one of their sessions, the rabbi told Mr. Jenoff he had a special assignment for him.Jenoff describes himself as a major admirer of the rabbi who would have done anything for him.According to Jenoff he did not know who it was the rabbi had asked him to kill.He went to where he was told and bludgeoned the woman to death.According to Jenoff, he "vomited when he learned on the radio the next morning that the woman whose death he arranged was Mrs. Neulander . . .I never would have done it if I had known it was the rabbi's wife . . . I'm not a bad person.I just did a bad thing."

 


What a wonderful defense.He thinks it is much worse because it was the Rabbiís wife?Does Jenoff become a better person depending on who his victim is?†† How can he possibly think that he is not a bad person, based on what he did?Thatís how bad people are defined, they do bad things.Good people do good things.If you do more good things than bad things, you're generally deemed a good person, depending on the relative importance of the things you are doing.

 

I judge people on what they do, not on what they say.It is easy to consider oneself a good person.I believe that most people go to bed at night thinking they are good people.That is why we need an objective code of laws and some would argue the Ten Commandments in order to provide an objective basis of right and wrong.If you murder someone, rabbi's wife or plumber's wife, you are vile.

 

I do not judge people by what they think.Often people will think evil or inappropriate thoughts, however, as long as they do not act on them, in my book they are OK.Jimmy Carter may not have been proud of himself for lusting after his neighbor's wife, but that was Jimmy being human and acknowledging his humanity.It is one thing to lust, it is quite another to act on the lust.

 

In this case, Mr. Jenoff killed a woman at the request of Rabbi Neulander.I don't need to know much more than that to conclude that Mr. Jenoff is a bad person who has an extremely skewed view of the difference between right and wrong and on what makes one either a bad person or a good person.