Official Response To Walder Affair By Rabbi Edelstein Shlita: ‘These Matters Must Be Dealt With Confidentially’


JERUSALEM (VINnews) — An official response to the Chaim Walder affair has been published in the name of Rabbi Gershon Edelstein. VINnews published a response immediately after the suicide but since then we have learned from Rabbi Edelstein’s family that the response (i.e. that adulterers receive the World to Come but public shamers do not) was based on what Rabbi Edelstein told Chaim Walder himself before the suicide. The addition stating that the suicide was murder (because he was driven to it by those criticizing him) was not apparently said by Rabbi Edelstein himself but was said by some of his close disciples.

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The official response as published in the Yated Neeman newspaper Friday says as follows:

“The Gemara says: David Hamelech said to Hashem: I told them “he who is adulterous is liable for death by strangulation but receives a share in the World to Come but one who publicly shames his friend does not receive a share in the World to Come.” When we come to discuss this issue it is imperative that each person comprehend that his World to Come depends on this. Therefore it is necessary to know:

  1. Those who have been sinned against or whose whose dear ones have suffered must refer to the relevant authorities, whether this will only help them or whether it will prevent others from being hurt. Anyone who knows testimony on the matter must act similarly and obviously it is not Loshon Hora. However these matters must be dealt with confidentially, as it says “with discretion there is wisdom” and only by those who are experts on the matter and after consulting with a rabbi who is expert on the matter.
  2. The media is not the place for this! All the newspapers and journalists whose goal is to publish widely are transgressing a serious issur of public shaming and they need to be concerned about destroying lives and murdering those who they are publishing about, which is also totally prohibited. Since in each case the matter causes additional people’s lives to be ruined, the matter must be dealt with according to din Torah in a professional and discreet manner and as confidentially as possible. One must anticipate every issue and act in accordance with Torah law.
  3. All those involved in the matter who are not those suffering damage or their relatives are not helping the victims at all. All those who are involved in spreading things in the media, including obscene descriptions, are not coming to fix but rather to cause harm. Heaven forfend that children of Avraham,Yitzchak and Yaakov should follow the path of wicked people and seek “vengeance” and talk Loshon Hora publicly and a person cannot take the law into his own hands. This is the opposite of the holy Torah and he is deemed a murderer.
  4. These points are correct regarding every aspect of involvement in publishing in mass media, particularly in a generation of fast communication as in our time with “sites” and internet news and their terrible faults, as well as lehavdil in Chareidi newspapers which have always demonstrated responsibility regarding what is not reported and covered since “sometimes we must ignore” and the matter is determined by Gedolei Torah.
  5. Every fearing person should act wisely and educate his family, stressing the matter of reward and punishment, as well as Chazal’s statement “do not let your evil inclination persuade you that you can hide in the underworld, since you are born and die against your will and will give account on all of your actions.” Chazal mean also to say that a person should explain to his family that a person should never imagine Chas Veshalom that there is any justification for an act of suicide, which is very severe as explained in Chazal and in the poskim

These words were reviewed by Rabbi Gershon Edelstein and he requested that they be published.


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