My husband was personally involved in this recent situation:
Years ago, a man whom we'll call "Pinny" opened a felafel restaurant with high-level kashrut certification.
The organization certifying Pinny's kashrut was surprised to learn that he'd falsely maligned the kashurt organization on a standard Israeli news channel.
They checked it out and there he was, standing in his store next to their kashrut certificate with PINNY'S FELAFEL featured prominently on the certificate and reporting on their supervision as a substandard money-making racket.
Case closed, right?
Recently, Pinny contacted the same kashrut organization requesting certification for his new pizza restaurant.
The chutzpah of it all! How dare he turn to them for approval when he gave a false report on TV against this same organization?
They turned him down.
To make the "truth" even more evident, he demanded certification 2 days before Pesach, which is cutting things pretty close and puts a lot of pressure on the supervision.
What kind of a person does that?
When his calls weren't returned, he texted mussar to the mashgichim (kashurt supervisors) like: Derech eretz kadmah l'Torah -- good manners precede Torah, etc.
At the same time, a couple of guys in the organization felt uncomfortable with the stonewalling.
Sure, he'd maligned them on TV, but maybe he'd done teshuvah in the meantime?
And yeah, the mussar texts and the demand for kashrut certification the day before Bedikat Chametz didn't show great derech eretz, but nonetheless...something seemed "off." Something just didn't add up.
Finally, the Pinny's rabbi called the kashrut organization.
He'd known Pinny personally for years and found him to be a sincere and trustworthy individual.
Why wouldn't they even speak to Pinny? Why were they limiting Pinny's only means of livelihood?
"Pinny falsely slandered us on TV," they told the rabbi.
"Impossible," said the rabbi and decided to check things out.
He called them back after Pesach. "Gentlemen," he said. "You've got the wrong man."
What had happened?
Pinny sold his restaurant to another fellow BEFORE the televised interview.
THAT fellow stood next to the kashrut certificate which stated PINNY'S FELAFEL as he maligned the organization — when it was no longer Pinny's felafel joint, but someone else's.
Yes, it's very difficult to so when the "evidence" blares itself from a TV screen in front of your face.
But it's a major reason why you shouldn't automatically believe anything you see on the "news."
A Compassionate Mindset vs a Judgmental Mindset
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Those Left Behind in the Plague of Darkness