I've sat through many a tirade about "pick and choose Judaism." As a matter of fact, I've had a few tirades myself on the subject. But, I choose to no longer have such tirades because quite frankly there is enough of a mess in my own backyard.
This article is perhaps even more despicable than Rabbi Shafran's (later retracted) column extolling Madoff and denigrating the achievements of Captain Sully. When that, now famous, article was published, I wondered how it made it out the front (or back?) door of the Agudah. And, now we reach a new low. To defend his kehillah, a Syrian Rabbi of Long Beach, NY has declared that the Rabbis involved with money laundering have fulfilled the mitzvah of loving a friend b'hidur and brings a mashul that seems to emanate from the handbook of the Crips or Bloods rather than from Torat Emet. He writes the story in the name of Rav Noach Weinberg zt"l, but I will not accept the source of the story without hearing it directly:
A gregarious son partying each night brags to his father that he can count 100 true friends. The father congratulates his son, noting that in all his life, he has only achieved half a friend. The father suggests a test. “Take a goat, slaughter it, put it into a sack, get some blood on you and in the middle of the night go to your friends,” the father says. “Tell them you got into a fight with a guy at the bar, one thing led to another and you killed him. Beg them to help.”
As so the son goes to each of those friends and all slam the door in his face. Dejected, he returns to his father and asks what the father’s half friend would do. His father tells him to go and see.
In the middle of the night, still holding the sack and covered in blood, the son knocks at his father’s friend’s home. He tells the same story. And the half-friend hesitates,
saying, “Although I shouldn’t do this, you’re Chaim’s son, and I’ll help you.”
They take the sack and bury it together.
The boy returns to his father in shock.
The story continues and the father explains that a true friend would never even hesitate.
The Torah states, you should love your friend as yourself, I am G-d. If you truly fulfill this, G-d promises then He is the third partner in your friendship.
The author then asks if we have true friends? I would respond that true friends are those whose actions are routed in sechel and yashrut. A wise friend sees beyond his friend's immediate "needs" and sees a larger picture. If we have issues in life, they certainly don't participate. If they really care, they hold us accountable and help us help ourselves. "Justice, justice shall you pursue" would not allow them to be a "friend" to the detriment of another person/family.
If you have a friend who is a lush, you don't give them your car to drive their children home. If you have a friend who is a gambler, you do him/her no favors by lending additional money. If you have a friend with issues in yashrut, you don't wash their money for them. If you have a friend who is a philanderer, you don't help them hide the affair from their spouse. And if you have a friend who is a murderer. . . . . .you sure as heck don't help your friend bury the body!!!
The real question is where are our true friends? Loving one person to the exclusion of others hardly seems like a mitzvah to me. In criminal fraud cases, that "other" is those who now have to prove their integrity in job interviews because a bad light in continually cast upon Orthodox Jews as a whole.