Thursday, Jul 25, 2024

Making The Appeal Count

Dubious claims made in the government's oral arguments before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals at the Rubashkin appeal hearing continue to roil followers of the case. Key assertions by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Deegan in response to questions from Chief Judge Riley replay in one's memory, raising troubling doubts about the credibility of the statements.

Judge Riley: Mr. Deegan, this Executive Summary that identified Agriprocessors as the target of the raid….Did Judge Reade have the benefit of that information?


Deegan: No, your honor, there is no evidence that she did.


Riley: What is the Executive Summary? I haven’t seen it.


Deegan: I haven’t seen it either. I don’t know. I don’t know.


The government had asserted in its brief to the 8th Circuit that the Executive Summary, which contained ICE’s operation plan for the Agriprocessors’ raid, was never shown to Judge Reade, and that she therefore did not know the target of the raid.


This is improbable, appellate attorney Nathan Lewin pointed out at the June 15 appeal hearing, because the ICE memoranda report that Judge Reade frequently asked for this document. Implicit in the ICE records is the fact that Reade’s requests for detailed information about the operation plan spurred the U.S. Attorney’s Office to press ICE officials for the document.


According to the ICE memoranda, ICE officials complied with the U.S. Attorney Office’s request. Higher-ups directed subordinates to show the Executive Summary, which included the operation plan, to Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Murphy so that he could “incorporate it into his report to the judge.”


Yet Assistant U.S. Attorney Deegan (echoing the assertions of both his superior, Richard Murphy and Judge Reade) explicitly denied that Reade was aware of information about Agriprocessors that was splashed all over the operation plan. Deegan denied that she had read the Executive Summary.


Will the public ever learn the truth about what Judge Reade knew and when she knew it? Much depends on the 8th Circuit’s ruling on the Rubashkin appeal.


As the public awaits the Court’s ruling, hopes for a favorable decision remain strong in the Rubashkin family. This is evidenced by the vibrant trust in Hashem flowing through letters from Sholom Mordechai to his children and his deep belief that His rescuing help is imminent.


Letters leading up to the June 15th appeal hearing are infused with uplifting thoughts about the upcoming yom tov of Shavuos. Letters following the disappointment of the bail denial a few days later flow with loving encouragement and certainty that Hashem is in complete charge, that everything He does is for one’s good, and that the most important


The following excerpts have been shared with Yated.


‘In Your Hands Is My Time’


Dear Kinderlach Sheyichyu,


It’s erev Shavuos, and we are about to receive Hashem’s most precious gift, the Torah Hakedosha. This year, Shavuos falls out on exactly the same days as last year, which makes the memories of what happened to me last year at this time extremely vivid. I don’t want to make you sad by reminding you but I do want to express my overwhelming gratitude to Him.


Thank You, Hakodosh Boruch Hu for the infinite chesed and rachamim you showed me one year ago, at this exact time. I remember being in the hospital, where I was treated for a serious infection that spread from cuts and wounds on my hand caused by being beaten and dragged through the county jail. My yarmulke and tzitzis had been forcibly removed… there was no kosher food… I was put into a dirty solitary confinement cell for being “defiant.”


Preliminary hearings for the trial had already started but I was in terrible shape for the trial itself. As I lay in the hospital, with my feet chained and one hand connected to intravenous, it seemed that I was totally alone, because nobody in the family knew where I was and what had happened to me. I had no siddur or tikun forleil Shavuos.


I thought about how the state had charged me with 9311 counts of employing minors and exposing them to dangerous conditions. Shortly before the trial started, they dropped over ninety percent of the charges. All this was going through my mind over Shavuos as I lay in the hospital. I had no phone and could not even talk to Mommy and consult with her about my medical situation.


A Yid who has bitochon is never alone. Boruch Hashem, I was healed enough by the Friday after Shavuos to be released. They took me straight from the hospital to the court to continue the trial. Days and weeks passed. To our great rejoicing, the outcome was a verdict of “not guilty” on all counts. The victory healed me spiritually, because the child labor charges were an attack on my humanity.


I believe the achdus and ahavas Yisroel among Yidden who were davening and doing hishtadlus for me was directly responsible for this part of the yeshua. It is always so mechazek me.


Now a year has passed. I have complete bitochon in Hashem that I will be released from prison very soon, and we will be reunited to serve Hashem at home, in freedom. And that we will be able to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu together b’simcha, bm’hairah biyomeinu.


Kinderlach, the important thing to keep in mind on Shavuos is that on this yom tov we became complete avodim of Hashem Yisborach. The most important midah in being an eved Hashem is bitachon, so let’s learn about this wonderful midah and force in the life of a Yid.


Our bitachon and trust in Him is in direct proportion to our leaning Torah and coming to recognize His protective care over every aspect of our lives.


The Chovos Halevovos teaches us in Shaar Habitachon that when we become too involved with what seems to be the immediate cause or instrument afflicting us, we don’t realize that the closer the instrument is, the weaker it is and the least able to help us out of the tzoroh. Yet we often appeal to that instrument instead of to the only One who can help us.


Here’s a moshol: If a king wants to punish one of his servants, he gives an order to his deputy; the deputy orders the commander; the commander gives it over to the officer; the officer orders the sergeant, the sergeant orders the policeman and the policeman inflicts the punishment with instruments reserved for this purpose.


The punishment seems to come from the instruments, yet it would serve no purpose to appeal to them–they are inanimate with no will of their own.


The policeman has some power and the sergeant even more. The commander is higher than both, and the deputy king who is very far removed from the punishment and less visible than the subordinates, is much more powerful than all of these.


Yet it is only the king who can bring about the servant’s total rescue from punishment. He alone can grant a full pardon. This is how we must perceive things when troubles overcome us. We have direct line of appeal to the One Above and must use it.


This is the lesson of Shavuos; we need to study Torah and the mitzvah of bitochon until we know in our deepest hearts that it is only Hashem we are turning to for help and Him alone whom we trust. We will not become distracted with the “instruments” and the many ministers the king uses. They have their uses but only Hashem has power.


A guten yom tov, besuros tovos,








Dear Kinderlach Sheyichyu,


In this week’s Parshas Behaaloscha, we learn how the Yidden traveled from place to place as they went through the dry, desolate midbar on their way to Eretz Yisroel. The pasuk points out that some stops were as short as one day and some encampments were much longer, as long as 8-19 years.


What determined the length of the time spent was the will of Hashem. The posuk says, Al pi Hashem yachanu, al pi Hashem yiso’u. The Yidden were following Hashem’s direction in terms of the time needed at any single place.


Take a minute and imagine the type of work that went into every place they stopped. They had to construct the mishkan and put in all the keilim, prepare the korbonos and more. All of this effort was done immediately upon arrival, and they never knew on one day if they would be there the next. Yet the Yidden knew that in whatever place they found themselves, however short or long a time, they must make it a place where they could serve Hashem and make sure that it would be a place where He would rest his shechinah with them.


The lesson is clear. The length of time a Yid remains in any place is in the hands of Hashem. In Tehillim, Dovid Hamelech says, “Beyodcha itosai,” in Your hands is my time.


The only concern a Yid has is to make the place he finds himself in, a place where the shechina could be there with him. Even in this dark cold desert filled with klipah where I am now, a Yid must serve Hashem in the same full measure, with all the keilim of his personal mishkan, with every fiber of his being. Hashem will then guide him and take him out of the desert and bring him to tovah urchovoh.


Yehi ratzon that the time here in this desert should be finished and Hashem in His chesed and rachamim should lift me up and bring me home together with all of you, and together with Klal Yisroel.







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