Sunday, January 02, 2022

Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman on Walder

R' Ron Yitzchok Eisenman (IJN)
I thought everything that needed to be said about Chaim Walder was already said. I therefore thought my last post would be the final word on the subject. But last night someone forwarded me The Short Vort - a weekly message sent out by Mishpacha columnist, Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman. The subject - as one might guess is Walder. This week's message is so profound, so on the money, so important, that I am going to make one of my rare exceptions and publish it in its entirety. It follows

The Short Vort

Good Morning! 

Today is Friday the 27th of Teves 5782 and December 31, 2021 


*yemach shemo-may his name be obliterated

 In Memory of Shifra Yocheved Horowitz Zecher Tzadekes L'Brocha

Shifra was a victim of the vicious, pernicious, and malicious monster whose name I shall not utter.

Ms. Horowitz committed suicide this week as a result of the crippling abuse she suffered at the hands of cw.

Where were the throngs at her levaya?

I will no longer give this evil, demonic maniac the "honor" of upper-case letters; rather, he is lower-cased to cw. 

And In Honor of The True Heroes- The BRAVE VICTIMS who came forward and as Shimshon did years before them, they showed gevura in the face of the multitudes who were against them.

Ultimately, they brought down the predator forever and prevented more boys, girls, women (and who knows who else) from being abused, humiliated, and destroyed.

We honor these victims of terror.

They are our heroes

We thank Hashem that cw can no longer continue his reign of terror against our people.

May the name of the evil rot 

In this article, I will convey universally accepted Torah principles and present a true Torah approach to the disastrous debacle of cw. 

Part One- What's in a name?

Some of you may be surprised and shocked by my usage of the term: yimach shemo. Let me explain.

Although usually the phrase is used concerning known enemies of the Jew, there is precedence to use it here.

We follow in the ways of the great giants who lived before us and who instructed us in proper Torah conduct.

If we would not have proof from the Chofetz Chaim himself, the man who personified proper speech, and if we would not have Rav Shach himself authenticating this anecdote, we would not be permitted to add such an epithet to a Jew.

We read in the wonderful sefer "Rav Shach on Chumash" (author: Rabbi Asher Bergman, son-in-law of Rav Shach (2004) page 248. ArtScroll / Mesorah. ISBN 9781578193615):

 "Rav Shach used to point out that the revered Chofetz Chaim took great care never to speak ill of a Jew, whomever he might be. There was one exception— the leader of the Maskilim in Vilna, Adam HaKohen, to whose name the Chofetz Chaim would add Yemach Shemo (may his name be erased). And why? Because when the Chofetz Chaim studied in Vilna in his youth, he became well known as a very bright young man who held great promise as a future Torah giant. Adam HaKohen himself came to him and tried to convince him to abandon his studies." 

If the Chofetz Chaim was insistent on referring to a man who "just" attempted to convince him to abandon his studies with the epithet yemach shemo, notwithstanding this person was unsuccessful; then certainly, the Chofetz Chaim would insist on using the phrase yemach shemo when referring to a person who was successful in causing many Jews to abandon and question their Jewish faith.

Therefore, the term yemach shemo is unfortunately appropriate here. 

The evil of cw will live in infamy as long as the legacy of his heinous actions affects his victims

There are heroes, and there are villains.

The villains are well known: cw and anyone who covered for him.

 Who are the heroes?

The heroes are the victims who had the almost insurmountable challenge of coming forward and testifying, thereby eradicating forever the festering venomous virus known as cw.

The freakish pedophilic foe would have continued in his destructive ways, leaving a multitude of emotionally crippled Jews in his wake if not for the heroic bravery of the victims.

These victims stood straight and tall before the Tzaddikim Rav Silman and Rav Eliyahu despite their emotional pain.

They painfully retold the holocaustic horror they endured at the hands of this psychopath.

They are the ones we honor.

They are our role models.

They are the ones who need our support and our validation. 

Another reason to utilize this epithet to describe cw is to emphasize the truth and dispel the claims of those attempting to distort the truth.

The repulsive usage of the epithet -Zecher Tzadik L'Vrocha- "the remembrance of the righteous should be for a blessing"- shockingly and appallingly appended to cw by (formerly respected) Jewish newspapers, is a corruption of the truth in the highest degree.

Indeed, it smacks of an Orwellian mindset by the newspaper's writers.

The sages have taught us, "Believe that there is wisdom among the nations of the world."

Here is an example of such wisdom which describes to a tee the mindset of such newspaper writers:

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

(1984; George Orwell)

Therefore, according to this way of thinking- the future is guaranteed by spinning a present false narrative.

If someone can be classified as a Tzaddik today, you have ensured his inclusion into the pantheon of acceptable transmitters of authentic Judaism forever.

In this Orwellian narrative, all members of The Party are good.

There are no molesters among the righteous.

There is nothing to fix, for nothing is broken.

Such an approach is not only untruthful; it is an insult of the highest degree to the victims of cw and facilitates and indeed encourages the cws' of the world to keep molesting, safe in the knowledge that they will never be taken to task.

Shockingly, they will be elevated to the status of Tzaddik.

Such thinking is not only Orwellian; it is heresy.

However, in the Orwellian world in which some choose to live, "The heresy of heresies is common sense." (1984; George Orwell)

Therefore, yimach shemo is needed, not just because of its applicability, but also and just as importantly as a counter-weight to the un-truths being disseminated. 

Part Two - Why go public?

Some people have asked me why everything had to go so public?

Once again, we look for guidance from the true Torah leaders of past generations.

Let us turn to Rav Shlomo Kluger's and his granddaughter Sasha Mindel Hertzberg née Kluger.

Rav Shlomo Kluger (1785-1869) was a world-renowned Talmid Chochom.

Rav Kluger was famous for being the Rav and Dayan in the Galician town of Brody in Poland for over 50 years.

Rav Shlomo Kluger is one of the great Rabbinic stars in the heavenly firmament of the Torah world.

The Beis HaLevi- Rav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik learned with Rav Shlomo Kluger as a young man.

He authored over 160 works. Some of which have yet to be published.

In 1854 he published a work titled "Nidrei Zerizin."

 The Sefer contains novella on the tractate Nedarim.

What is unique about this sefer is to whom it is dedicated.

Rav Brody dedicated the work to his granddaughter, Sasha Mindel.

On the title page of the book, Rav Kluger writes, "I am publishing this word as a memorial and for the sake of the soul of my dear and wise granddaughter, Sasha Mindel, who died at an early age. She was the daughter of my son Rav Chaim Yehuda, and she passed away on Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Shimini on the 24th day of Nissan in the year 1854."

What was so special about his granddaughter that he dedicated the sefer to her?

The Tragedy of Sasha Mindel

The Sefer contains an introduction explaining why Rav Kluger dedicates the Sefer to his granddaughter Sasha Mindel.

Rav Shlomo Kluger explains that he was very close to his granddaughter, Sasha Mindel, who grew up in his house.

He wrote how he was personally involved in her shidduch and was convinced she was marrying into a beautiful Torah family after making the proper inquiries from trusted friends.

Alas, it was not to be.

Rav Brody records unabashedly and graphically the evilness of the family into which Sasha Mindel found herself.

He writes explicitly how he was lied to concerning the family's respectability and refers to Sasha Mindel's husband and family as "Anoshim Ra-im Me'od" – "very evil people."

He continues to tearfully and painfully describe what happened just a few weeks after Sasha Mindel's wedding.

 "After her husband (Yakov Hertzberg) and his family (her father-in-law- Yechiel Itzik Hertzberg) realized that my grandaughter is not choosing their ways of life nor acting as they act.

 They began to abuse her until, after just a quarter of a year of marriage, she developed lung disease."

Rav Brody writes that no one told him about his granddaughter's abusive relationship, and if someone random had not informed him of the dire circumstances, he never would have known.

Once he found the truth, he spared no expense in extracting his granddaughter from this abusive household and brought her to live with him. Unfortunately, she was already too sick and died shortly after on the 24th day of Nissan in 1854.

After begging Hashem to exact divine judgment against these evildoers, he shockingly states, "Hashem should avenge my vengeance quickly."

To create a memorial to her soul, he decided to publish a Sefer in her memory.

He stipulates that if this Sefer ever merits future editions, this introduction never be excised from the text as "this is my primary intent (in writing this work) that it should be a memorial to her soul…."

That is the tragic story of Sasha Mindel bas Rav Chaim Yehuda.

She was a woman who suffered in silence from spousal abuse.

Rav Kluger was a Gadol B'Yisorel.

He knew the halachos of Loshon Hora better than us. Yet, he felt compelled to publicize his grandaughter's tragic plight and explicitly write the names of her husband and father-in-law.

We can only imagine the painful situation his granddaughter suffered through in silence.        

Rav Kluger writes that none of this would have occurred if any of the people he inquired of and who knew the truth about the family (as he claims they did) had been open and honest with him.

Rav Kluger explains that his friends who repressed their knowledge of the abusive behavior of the family led to his granddaughter's death.

He writes, "May Hashem pay back these evil people and all else involved. They knew about this abusive, dysfunctional home, and they hid from me this information! May Hashem pay them back. "Hashem, be not be silent. Judge my judgment, do not be silent to my tears, stand up Hashem, and fight my battle. As the Torah says, "The murderer shall surely die".

As the Chofetz Chaim teaches us, Rav Shlomo Kluger reminded us that silence is the single greatest facilitator of continued abuse.

We cannot be silent when lives are at stake.

We do not have the luxury of changing history and corrupting the narrative.

Jewish lives are hanging in the balance.

Imagine how many people could have been saved if the rumors circulating about cw years ago had been disseminated to the public?

Imagine how much suffering could have been avoided?

Perhaps cw could even have gotten help?

Alas, it was not to be.

No one spoke out, and if they did, they were silenced.

Those who repressed the information and refused to tell others have blood on their hands.

Therefore we salute the true heroes of this horrific incident, the victims who dared to come forth.

And we censor those who pay tribute to the devil by attempting to create a delusional new reality where evil is good and good is evil.

I trembled as I read the account of the pained grandfather, the great Rav Shlomo Kluger, as he describes his granddaughter's suffering and ultimate death.

I can feel the loneliness of Sasha Mindel being trapped in an abusive marriage and the pain of her grandfather as he heard about her suffering.

How many women, children, and, yes, sometimes, men feel trapped in abusive situations?

A man of the stature of Rav Shlomo Kluger chose every word he wrote carefully and with precision.

Therefore, we dare never be silent when credible, continual, and multiple allegations of abuse are leveled against someone, irrespective of that person's position in public life.

Three-What to do?

1.      Teach your children never to let anyone touch them, period.

2.      Tell them to tell you everything and anything that went on in school. Please make sure you tell them repeatedly that you will NEVER be angry with them for informing you of what happened.

3.      Find out the safeguards the school has regarding children.

4.      Therapists can never have free reign with your children. The best system would be a two-way mirror as the child feels comfortable yet; the therapist is monitored.

5.      If two-way mirrors are not feasible, doors must be somewhat ajar, and given the reality of our world, someone must have access to enter unannounced. This person can be a supervisor or another therapist.

6.      Never let your child go in the car with anyone you have even the slightest suspicions.

7.      Constantly be open with your child and watch for any changes in their mood or behavior.

8.      Report all credible allegations to the appropriate law enforcement agency

9.      Make sure your child feels unconditionally loved and secure in your house.

10.  If you don't feel right about someone, you don't tell the world based on a "feeling"; however, you have the right the tell your child not to go to that house. 

These are just basic and incomplete suggestions. They are a start.

However, only if molesters know they will be outed and there will be consequences can we prevent further horrific Chillul Hashem and prevent innocent people from being victimized.

We close with the unequivocal statement that I stand proudly with the victims and just as proudly distance myself from the perpetrators. 

As previously mentioned, all of cw's writings must be trashed immediately. However, public book burnings should not be done. They are counter-productive and present us as vengeful, and it reminds us of times in Jewish history when our books were burned. This is not a time for fun, it is a time to cry.

By doing so, you state unequivocally and categorically that you support the victims.

May Hashem dry up the tears of all those who suffered and continue to suffer.

With hope for a better tomorrow, 

"If Not Now, Then When?"- Hillel

Ron Yitzchok Eisenman


Congregation Ahavas Israel

Passaic, NJ