JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Hakohen Aviner, a leading Religious Zionist rabbi and rosh yeshiva and the author of more than 200 books on Jewish religious practice, has issued a statement regarding the matter of Chaim Walder’s books. Rabbi Aviner enumerates 10 relevant points:
- Whatever is written further about Chaim Walder is based on the current level of knowledge we have. If there will be new revelations, we will have to reopen the issue.
- Every person is presumed innocent until otherwise proven. This is known in secular law as the presumption of innocence. He is not a rasha who needs to prove that he has not sinned. Nothing is yet proven.
- Proof must take place not in the media or social media but in Beis Din which investigates and probes, meaning that the investigation is adversarial and takes place in the presence of both sides as the Torah says “Hear disputes between your brothers” (Devarim 1:16)
- Up to this point the complaints from women were not investigated in this adversarial manner.
- The only woman who actually appeared before Beis Din said that she had adulterous relations with him and because her husband believed her, he is required by halacha to divorce her. However it was not proven in Beis Din that this indeed occurred.
- Regarding all the rumors spread about him, according to halacha there is a category of rumors but not every rumor is considered reliable. Moreover is a person has enemies the rumors are not valid, and he did indeed have many opposers for various reasons.
- The Beis Din in Bnei Brak which dealt with the issue said that if the things which were publicized about him are true, his books should not be read but it added that “the author has not been investigated and the claims not investigated according to Din Torah.”
- Even if a person has sinned and committed crimes, this is not a reason for a public lynching and widespread defamation which obviously also harms his family. All the more so when the matter has not been proved according to halacha.
- As for his suicide, the Poskim rule that person should not be judged for suicide as we assume that due to his distress he lost his mind.
- Therefore his books may be read