`192 Two Rabbinic Distortions – Part Two
Chananya Weissman
February 28, 2022

Back to the Walder situation. One of the Torah sources the Erev Rav distorted to justify throwing out all the laws of lashon hara is the beginning of Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 11. They claimed that if there are rumors circulating about an alleged abuser for more than a day and half, then anything goes.

They were counting on you not looking up the actual source. I looked it up. You can find it online here.

The Shulchan Aruch is discussing a case of a suspected adulterous wife. Her husband did not warn her not to be alone with a specific man, in which case witnesses that she was subsequently alone with the man would be sufficient to render her a sotah. In the case at hand, there were witnesses that she and the man engaged in extremely unseemly behavior, but it is not conclusive that they had actual relations.

If the husband divorced her based on this, she is not allowed to marry her romantic partner. If they got married anyway and had children together, she is not obligated to leave him.

However, writes the Shulchan Aruch, this is only the case when the townsfolk were murmuring about her and her romantic partner that they had relations, and these rumors persisted uninterrupted for at least a day and a half. Furthermore, neither the woman nor the man had enemies who were spreading the rumors. Otherwise, the woman would be allowed to stay married to her romantic partner even if they didn't have children, and even if there was a single witness that they had adulterous relations – in addition to the rumors!

Don't you see how clearly this source applies to the Walder situation? Me neither. Unless you surgically remove the line about a rumor persisting for a day and half, ignore the entire rest of the source, then just make up a new law.

How any rabbi can derive from here that the rumors about Chaim Walder justify the wild, unrestrained campaign against him is a mystery. The source has literally nothing to do with the Walder situation. The fact that general rumors persisted about him for more than a day and a half in no way justifies concluding that the allegations are true – in fact, this is forbidden. There was certainly no halachic justification to declare him public enemy number one.

This is especially true in light of the following:

1. The rumors were not based on halachically valid testimony of unseemly behavior, but hearsay from completely unknown sources. Such information is nothing more than forbidden slander and is halachically worthless.

2. The rumors were fueled and spread by people with an agenda, and given credence by a kangaroo court that trampled on Jewish law every step of the way.

3. Despite the oft-regurgitated propaganda to the contrary, it was not common knowledge that Walder was a predator with dozens, hundreds, thousands of victims over a period of decades. That claim was always highly suspect and the loud protestations have failed to support it.

In a recent podcast, dubiously called “Don’t waste a tragedy; Chaim Walder exposé and death”, the host, Dovid Lichtenstein, asked his final guest, Jonathan Rosenblum, if he had ever heard any whispers about Walder. Rosenblum said no. Mind you, Rosenblum has been a very prominent columnist for the so-called Charedi community in Israel for decades. Supposedly Walder has been abusing dozens, hundreds, millions of people for decades, and everyone knew about it, yet Rosenblum had never heard so much as a whisper.

Nevertheless, he was absolutely certain that Walder was guilty. The kangaroo court said so, Walder's alleged suicide (highly dubious in its own right) was an “admission of guilt”, and that's it. It is incredible and tragic that highly intelligent Jews can draw such firm conclusions, with such dangerous implications, in defiance of halacha, yet believe this is their religious and moral duty.

The fact remains that any rumors against Walder have no halachic value. He was never the talk of the town. People believe he was always the talk of the town because that's what they are being told only now. That's not how it works – at least as far as the Torah is concerned.

(It's also worth listening to the conversation with an earlier guest, Rabbi Zalman Graus. The host tried very hard to justify the official narrative against Walder, and was frustrated by Rabbi Graus's clear, knowledgeable explanations of why the Torah simply isn't on the side of Shmuel Eliyahu's kangaroo court. Did the host issue a mea culpa and change the trajectory of the show, or did he carry on implicitly supporting the self-righteous moral crusade against Walder? No need to ask.)

The damage caused by the normalization of kangaroo courts, worldwide lashon hara campaigns, book burnings, and throwing out halacha for "the greater good" is far greater than anything Walder could possibly have done. There is something very sinister going on here, and it has nothing to do with Torah or protecting anyone from abuse just the opposite.

Once again, Erev Rav distorted clear Torah sources, and many supposedly Torah-observant Jews fell for it. This is not acceptable. We have an obligation to study the sources and refrain from jumping to conclusions. The Erev Rav want us to rush headlong into irresponsible behavior that jeopardizes our physical and spiritual health, just because they give it a kosher stamp.

Everyone who concluded that the accusations against Walder are definitively true violated halacha and must do teshuva. Everyone who continued to spread this lashon hara and took other actions against him committed monumental sins that will be difficult – perhaps impossible – to fully rectify. We are talking about some of the most severe sins a person can do.

As for the instigators: We must expose the corrupt rabbis who distort the Torah, confront them, and banish them from our midst. There is no place in our community for Erev Rav who lead the people down such a destructive path. They need to face the music. They need to stand before a rabbinical court themselves and answer for their behavior.

If there are genuine rabbis out there with a real spine, this is your time.

Do not fear them. Let them fear us.