A reader writes:
Businessman Herman Oberlander is very rich – it is said he is worth over $200 million. Herman – known in the yiddishe velt as Mechel – is Rosh HaKahal [head of the community, president] of the Pupa chasidic sect based in Williamsburg. His son Gedalia Oberlander of Monsey is a Lubavitcher who runs Heichal Menachem, a Chabad library named after the late Rebbe located in Monsey.
Herman Oberlander doesn’t live in Monsey, but he keeps a summer home there at 4 Roman Blvd. Oberlander was trying to get out of paying taxes, so he claimed that he has a synagogue and is its rabbi. (The township can’t locate the synagogue – because it does not exist!) He also claimed all his tenants – who are, incidentally, also his grandchildren – as his ‘assistants.’
Nothing Herman Oberlander claimed is true. He does not have a synagogue. He is not the rabbi of a synagogue. His grandchildren are not synagogue rabbis either.
Herman’s son Gedalia Oberlander, the Lubavitcher, also claimed to be a rabbi of a synagogue called, get this, Merkoz Halacha (center of Jewish law!). He also claimed his tenants as his ‘assistants.’ Although he might call himself rabbi, Gedalia Oberlander is not a rabbi at any synagogue. His tenants are not synagogue rabbis either.
Chazal (our sages) say that a father should teach his son good working skills. Well, Pupa’s Rosh HaKahal adhered to our sages – he taught his son how to steal from the government, just like tattie.
But the government caught them and stopped their scams.
The Oberlanders have no economic hardship. So why steal? To paraphrase Pirkei Avos, I think the answer is they believe what you have is rightfully theirs, not yours, and what they have is theirs as well.