JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Rabbi Moshe Meiselman, the esteemed Rosh Yeshiva of Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim, spoke at length about the Chaim Walder case. His comments were nothing short of explosive.
The Rosh Yeshiva said that Walder was a “rasha merusha, absolutely without question.” He added that in addition to his years of abusing people, the fact that he took his own life renders him a murderer.
He said that over fifteen years ago, Rav Moshe Mordechai Shulzinger of Bnei Brak said that Walder was chashud of transgressing all aveiros in the Torah, including the three severe sins of murder, inappropriate relations, and idolatry.
He said that when Walder once requested a meeting with Rav Shmuel Auerbach zt”l, he was not allowed in, because the Rav felt that Walder was a rasha who would twist his words around. Some said it was well-known in Bnei Brak circles that Walder was guilty of the now infamous allegations.
The Rosh Yeshiva spoke sharply against the claim that Bais Din did not have the right to embarrass Walder in public, or that they were guilty of lashon hara.
He said that a respected Bais Din heard testimony from 22 people, and the Rambam says that if there are continuous rumors that someone is evil, first you need to confirm there is a basis for the claims, and then you can embarrass and humiliate him. You can say to his mother, “Look at this disgusting person you gave birth to.”
The Rosh Yeshiva said, “What about his mother’s feelings? Too bad. This person is dangerous.”
He added that the Rambam clearly does not require two witnesses in such a scenario, contrary to the rhetoric of some skeptics in the aftermath of this story.
He also observed that when some people suggested Walder’s suicide was justifiable, that led one victim who was trauamatzed by Walder’s defenders to tragically take her own life, because it was implied by some that the suicide was justifiable.
The Rosh Yeshiva said that If someone is falsely accused of something, the normal response would be to defend himself, not commit suicide.
Rav Meiselman said, “A certain Rosh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak repeated some of the stupidity, and a group of bochurim responded, ‘What about the victims? You don’t know the facts.’”
Rav Meiselman continued with harsh words: “So shut up if you don’t know [the facts].”
He said that his son did not allow Walder’s books into his house for years, because he felt they were not the proper hashkafa. For example, in 15 children’s books, he does not mention the Ribbono Shel Olam once, which is highly suspicious.
Rav Meiselman added that he knows a therapist who never took a female patient, because he would need to develop an emotional connection which is inappropriate. In addition, the therapist-patient relationship gives the therapist too much power over the patient.
He said that Walder did not learn in yeshiva very long and was not successful there, plus he went to the army, which elite bochurim don’t do. Yet he was a genius at manipulating public opinion as well as creating a false image of himself. He did not have a therapy license, and took advantage of naive people. To protect himself, Walder became the head of the organization in Bnei Brak in charge of evaluating abuse threats.
Addressing the question of whether one should read Walder’s books, the Rosh Yeshiva said, “To use an extreme example, if Adolf Hitler had written good children’s books, you would be disgusted.”
He closed his remarks by saying that this behavior comes from rampant exposure to pritzus. We are so exposed to pritzus everywhere, it keeps inching us closer to aveiros and gets worse and worse. When we have devices, you have to be the tzaddik hador not to be nichshal, and even the tzaddik hador needs to have syugim to protect himself.