JERUSALEM — In a long letter published after his meeting with Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi Tzvi Tau, head of the Har Hamor yeshiva and the most prominent student of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, presented his opinion about the Walder affair.

Rabbi Tau wrote privately to a person questioning him:

In response to your question about what I said in the last few days regarding the purity of the camp. Purity of the camp is a dual entity: Purity from foreign viewpoints taking control and sentencing a person in absentia, transgressing “You shall judge your friend favorably” and purity of the camp from severe acts which harm the sanctity of the covenant and cause damage to boys, girls, men and women.

In the last few years it has become a matter of routine that whenever there are claims and counterclaims against a certain person, especially in matters of modesty and warped morals, the right to discussion is removed, the law of ‘judging your friend with justice’ disappears,  the obligation delineated by Chazal to “judge every person favorably’ is forgotten and all the rules of Loshon Hora are left behind. A new mitzvah is proclaimed, to publicize the matter and uproot evil from our midst and to publicize and continue to publicize until everyone is persuaded that so-and-so definitely sinned and harmed and the newspapers already publicized what he should sentence himself to or what the public should sentence him to.

The source of this approach is unholy and stems from a foreign influence which has been absorbed by us and which creates new “articles of faith.”

Nobody disputes the fact that when there is a possibility of harm to a man or women we need to take courage and fulfill the command not to fear any person, in order to eradicate the evil acts. This includes immediate reporting to police who will investigate and clarify the matter at depth. Contacting the police is not designed just to punish the sinner but to prevent him from harming others. This is what I have always counseled and this is how we should act at present.

Almost imperceptibly we have become a society involved in mob justice towards any person accused of intimate crimes. The mob justice is led by the media, corridor discussion, messages and every other technological medium available in our time and the accused is hung in the center of town with a great roar of approval.

Chazal says that one who publicly shames his friend is worse than a murderer and we see that this is the case, since a person on whom accusations are levelled whether they are true or not becomes a pariah wherever he goes, to the point that none of his near and dear ones are prepared to support him, and what can be done about this. Additionally, we must consider the great responsibility we have to maintain the purity of our children, purity which has been sullied by exposing children to the public discussion of the matter with no discretion.

It is clear that our restraint as a society from publicizing and unnecessarily humiliating people without the authorization of the greatest dayanim in Israel does not in any way reflect our acceptance of any kind of crime or misdemeanor and does not reflect any contempt for female or male victims who may have been harmed.

The claim that those who do not denounce the accused, who was not yet convicted in court and was apparently not even under police investigation but had been subjected to mob justice – the claim that those who do not denounce this person are harming the victims is the “mother of all sins.” It does not allow anyone to investigate the truth and does not allow people to claim their innocence by intimidating all those who might wish to speak favorably about them.

Just as we must be concerned about the suspicions being properly investigated with no preconceptions and without harming those who feel they were already harmed, we have an equal obligation not to allow a person to be judged and convicted without completing the investigations and examinations. Just as a person who has committed grave acts must spend many years behind bars, a person who has not committed grave acts must be treated by professionals and allowed to return to his community.

The judicial, social and media situation we live in, where every person is in fear of being exposed as an abuser despite his innocence, is due to the epicenters of power being held by the extreme left-wing, from the courts to the prosecution. These people have no compunction in framing people and we have seen in the past how low this can make us stoop. We must stop cooperating in silence with this shaming method, a method which can turn every honest and law-abiding person into a pariah.

All treatment of these issues should be in the hands of rabbinical courts led by responsible dayanim. In order to warn a person there is no need for clear evidence and the court can decide that “we must be wary” and publicize the matter. It can also rule halachically based on evidence and in the presence of both parties.

After a person has died there is no need to warn against him and if the Beis Din wishes to adjudicate it must do so based on the Torah’s laws. Let us purify our camp from all defilement of the covenant, that of the tongue and that of all foreign influences harming the purity of our camp and turning everything upside down.

As reported by Vos Iz Neias