MAILBAG: I Speak Because I Must


After hearing about the tragic events last week, I read an article about how to talk to children about what had happened. One of the things it explained was how suicide is a final solution to a temporary problem. After reading the article I thought about how lucky I was that I didn’t need to speak to my kids about this. It also spoke about protecting the innocence of children. In my naivety, I thought they were too young, only 9 and 11. I would be saved from the hassle of needing to have a talk with them. Boy was I wrong. When they came home from school, they brought it up. However, the narrative was one that I did not want them to hear. It was full of falsehood and lies.

When I asked them why he killed himself, in order to learn about what they knew I was told a story that did not ring true. People had embarrassed him, and his books got stopped from being sold, and he was so ashamed that he killed himself. I was a bit shocked, hurt, and angry that this is what my children had been told. I needed time to formulate a response, and I thought long and hard about it. I realized that my children had been lied to, and were told many untruths.

When I heard about the unfortunate victim who took their life, I was filled with pain and sadness. Another suicide. So much hurt and confusion. I made a decision. If the naivety of my children must be broken, then I will be the one to do it. I will not wait for another crazy story to make the headlines and allow them to be scarred by the narrative of falsehood and cover-ups. We must be passed that, the time has come to uncover and face reality. Sexual abuse happens even in religious circles. They need to know about it. Awareness is protection. Through the knowledge that this exists, they can keep safe. I must protect them. It is not enough to just read books about safety in the general sense, and have it hidden amongst the importance of wearing a helmet and the like.

We took out the safety book and started to read it. When we got to the part about body safety, I stopped and said to them “He did not kill himself because he was embarrassed about his books. He killed himself because he did a terrible thing. He hurt children very very badly. He touched them in the places where you aren’t supposed to touch them, and then he got caught. He was so ashamed and scared of being in trouble that he killed himself. He used a final solution to a ‘temporary’ problem because he couldn’t take the responsibility for his actions, and that’s why he killed himself. His books aren’t being sold anymore because of the terrible things he did. Not because of Lashon Hara.”

I explained to them practical steps to protect themselves from such behavior, and if anyone would ever violate social norms, then they must report it to me as soon as anything happens. Even if they are threatened to keep it secret, or face grave consequences. Bad people say that because they are afraid of the consequences. One of the tactics that this predator used was if you tell anyone, no one will believe you because I am famous, and the victim was a nobody who would not be believed. I explained to my kids that we need to tell these things to adults.

It is so important that we take this seriously. Our children need to know that they can come to us with anything. It doesn’t need to be hidden. We need them to know that it is safe and that they will be believed. Our job is to then turn it over to the authorities, who can handle the information with professionalism.

I don’t speak because I want to, I speak because I must.

Please speak to your children, so that they don’t need to speak about themselves.

Binyomin Finkelstein

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.



[Rabbonim Instruct Feldheim To Cease Publishing Chaim Walder’s Popular Children’s Books After Serious Allegations Surface]

[Leading Bnei Brak Dayanim Pasken Not To Read Walder’s Books Until ‘Further Clarification’]

[Chaim Walder Summoned To Beis Din Regarding ‘Extremely Severe’ Allegations]

[Support Victims Of Abuse: Let not History Repeat Itself!]

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Shkoiach, and a big thank you.
    Finally a balibatisher yet realistic “Mailbag” article about the issue on hand.

    (Although I’m quite upset at the fabricated lies that were being spread at school, from other kids?
    Was it from the administration told to distort the story?)

  2. Kol Hakavod to YWN for allowing this voice to be heard!!
    It’s not as though we accept the allegations necessarily. Who knows if they are 100% true. But on the other hand how can anyone HONESTLY state as a fact that “he was so ashamed that he killed himself”. Who can verify that this is 100% true??

  3. 1. We must take HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein shlita’s Psak on this recent tragedy to heart, very seriously, and follow Rav Gershon Edelstein’s words.

    2. As an interesting aside, leading DL/RZ Rabbi Shlomo Aviner has said essentially the same thing as Rav Gershon Edelstein regarding this tragedy.

    3. There was no conviction in Beis Din of bah al eishes ish in this case. Or, for that matter, of ANY thing else at all. If there’s even an accuser, it is anonymous. The accused never was even given his day in Beis Din.

    4. All the accusers are anonymous. All the accusations are hearsay. Even the number of accusers is all based merely on media reports, which have zero credibility. For all we know they are all completely fictitious.

    5. The rogue so-called dayan/”rabbi” who conducted a “beit din” trial in absentia, KNEGED HALACHA, has no credibility whatsoever, his a Kangaroo “beit din” notwithstanding. Rav Gershon Edelstein shlita said, as a result of his pubic accusations without a true Beis Din, that fellow with the kipa sruga covered up by a black hat lost his chelek in Olam Habah, he has blood on his hands and is responsible for driving the person to mental insanity resulting in taking his own life.

    There is not even a single accuser against him. Other than anonymous claims by anonymous third parties. None first hand. 22 people did NOT go to beit din. The so-called beit din had *third parties* testify (allegedly) on behalf and in the name of the 22. But the supposed 22 never showed up to that “beit din” that, kneged halacha, accepted testimony outside the presence of the accused. For all anyone knows there could have only been 2 accusers with the rest fictitious; or none at all. And it could all be complete lies. All made only to the media or a kangaroo so-called beit din that operated kneged halacha.

    HaGaon Haav Gershon Edelstein shlita denounced the travesty that was done against Walder, leading to his going insane and taking his life. Rav Edelstein said that person has Walder’s blood on his hands.

  4. The conversation should NOT be about books or even about this one guy.

    It should be about stooping others from continuing or starting.

    THE MAJORITY OF CHILDREN TODAY, suffering from sexual abuse are from OTHER KIDS THEIR AGE.

    THESE KIDS NEVER ARE HELD RESPONSIBLE OR STOPPED, and there is ZERO help for the victims because the predators are kids.

    I know of a kid who was EXPELLED from one camp because if this, but was FULLY allowed to attend SCHOOL and OTHER CAMPS and continue abusing other victims.

    Nothing ever happened to him. Today he us an adult and living his life with other adults SUFFERING IRREPARABLE DAMAGE, while he goes Scott free.

    Who knows how many kids are still suffering from OTHER KIDS????

    This IS THE DISCUSSION we should be having!!!!!!!
    The adult abusers are a TINY FRACTION from the real abuse from other kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I find it not normal that loud mouths are jumping on this guy Walder as if he was not only found guilty but a Nazi war criminal lehavdil. I myself did not and will not throw out his books and in fact will be willing to take in any of his books that anyone throws out. Leave them at the table in the sukkah at the Shomer shabbos shul and I can use it for my kids and their friends who visit. Just as Rabbi Moshe Feinstein as well as the vishnitzer rebbe had no problem listening to reb Shlomo Carlbach music,there is no problem reading the Reb Chaim Walder books. Rabbis in Israel have stated that. My kids read many jewish books and don’t care to know the authors. When we hear that not one of the so called 22 cases appeared before beis Din,something smells fishy. Why all these years nothing happened and now suddenly cases from twenty, thirty years ago are propped up. People who deal in therapy sometimes gain serious enemies. If they take one side over the other especially in family squabbles you are sure to gain serious enemies. I think that’s what happened with Walder. Had he stuck to just writing books and avoided helping people he would still be alive. Rabbonim who are great have defended him and the more I read up on the case I see they are correct. We must stop attacking Walder. We can not allow a few upstarts who hate chareidi Jews to taint our community. I as a true jewish activist will back our Gedolim who speak the truth. Walder is innocent and was driven to suicide by the speakers of Lisbon hara and Motzei Shem rah. Now what’s most interesting that there is a clip of the Rabbi from Tfas who conducted this Din Torah dancing at the Shlomo Carlbach yahrzeit in the carlbach shul in Tzfas. Will he be one day dancing at Chaim walders yahrzeit as well. Bring back Chaim Walders books and let a chareidi beis Din of Bnei Brak look into any possible misdeeds by speaking directly to these so called propped up accusers.

  6. that also doesn’t explain why we shouldn’t continue talking about that cesspool of humanity who was too cowardly to face the consequences of his actions and who took the easy way out.

  7. ujm,

    Thank you for bring this up! If there are accusers or angry husbands wouldn’t they pen an anonymous letter at some point?
    Until that happens it’s just accusations.

  8. Noooo! We must teach our children that suicide is a terrible aveira. There is no plausible excuse except that it is against the Torah and must NEVER be contemplated. Please do NOT sugarcoat this issue. Whatever Mr Walder did or did not do, only Hashem knows. HOWEVER his taking his life is something that should make us all ANGRY. No worse than if he publicly promoted eating treif. His being ashamed is NOT an excuse for taking his life. His loss of income and having his books banned is NOT AN EXCUSE to take his life. He had so much to live for , his family and friends, his religion etc. Please tell your children that he can no longer do mitzvot and learn Torah, He can no longer say Baruch Hashem, He can no longer enjoy a Yuntif with his einikelach. What he lost in his reputation and income is nothing, nothing. We put ourselves in Hashems hands and all can be returned be Heref Ayin. However his choice to take his life has NO EXCUSE. We dont really know why he did it and we should never give an excuse to such an avayra. Its ok to say, we dont know why. This is not the time to be Dan LeKav Zechus. Regarding the issue of impropriety, I am sad to hear that it is the first time you are bringing it up to your children. Proper chinuch on this issue begins much earlier, I would say age 5 (each case is individual). And PLEASE make sure your kids know they can tell you anything, and I mean anything and you will listen. You are always in their corner. And be there for them. But suicide, NEVER!!

  9. ujm,

    You make very valid points.
    I’m curious; where did you read/hear what Harav Gershon Edelstein shlita said? Any source you can provide?
    Not contesting you…just asking.

  10. “Chaylev Halyah” you’re totally wrong. It’s rarely someone the same age. Usually it’s either a trusted adult or occasionally an older child.
    Usually when a child of the same age is relating sexually to others his/her own age, well in that case, chances are that sadly that child had been previously abused and is sadly now “acting out”.
    (My laymans 2 cents)

  11. Please listen to the opinion of Rav Yitzchok Berkowitz Shlita, one of the senior poskim in E. Y. for the American community before quoting from newspapers the words of great Gadol, Rav Gershon Edelstein Shlita about this tragedy. It is available online.
    I wish YWN would post the shiur on this site & restore the faith of those who feel hurt by the “Official” response of the chareidi leadership.
    After hearing Rav Berkowitz, I now know the truth & also know why it was covered up.
    I agree that much abuse is done by close or extended family members & older boys. but there are plenty of adult abusers as well. Parents need to keep a sharp eye on their children to protect them. This abuse, if not dealt with properly shatters people & creates a mountain of misery for a lifetime. RCh”L

  12. @Chaylev Halya, I don’t know what your credentials are for saying such statements that sexual abusers are kids. That is far from the truth from what I’ve encountered and the CSA numbers state that adults are the predators, not children. Words matter, especially for sexual abuse victims.

  13. Moderator: Are there no limits to the filth that is permitted in these comments? Mavazeh talmid chahom and beis din are both enough to lose chelek in olam habah, yet the published comments are full of the most vile bizayon and sheker against R’ Shmuel Eliyahu’s beis din. (For the record, he publicised the halachic basis for trialing Walder in absentia in this case, and even if he hadn’t, the grobber am aharetz who are posting here are not qualified to have an opinion.)

    PS R’ Moshe Shternbuch said to throw out Walder’s books, a friend asked him in person and that’s what he told him. Av beis din of the Eida HaChareidis, is he chareidi enough for you?

  14. Haimy: Yes I listened to Rav Yitzchok Berkowitz, Rabbi Moshe Meizelman and others who clarified the whole saga. Suicide is murder and we may never support that! And to those who are keeping his books, would you allow your kids to read books by an adulterer or murderer? I certainly wouldn’t!

  15. I don’t understand how the author of this mailbag doesn’t see that he accepted the lashon hara hook, line, and sinker. Even the (many) illustrious rebonim who made very public statements against Walder after his suicide didn’t buy into the lashon hara and say “he did this horrible abuse thing” they had different complaints while leaving open the possibility that the accusations might be true. But to tell your children “Walder did this evil thing”!!? Do we not have halacha to keep? How can this build them into erliche yidden? How is this possible protecting them?

  16. “Moderator: Are there no limits to the filth that is permitted in these comments? ”
    AGREED! what on earth???? It’s hard to fathom that after a week of living with this world-class shonda there are still people who believe that this rotzeach who certainly killed himself and was a known menuval well before last month’s accusations by 22 people deserves our respect — or even the slightest benefit of the doubt. DEAR MODERATOR< PLEASE HAVE A HEART!! These Walder supporters are most likely menuvalim masquerading as chareidim!! Who else would try to block improvement in chareidi handling of child abusers and frauds? I'm thank GD not an abuse survivor nor do I know anyone who is, but I cannot bear seeing these reshaim getting to stand up and claim it is tzidkus to be silent. Just imagine what this does to those who have been molested and were marginalized for so-called holy reasons. This kanaisdik click-bait is straight up damaging and dangerous! (I never thought I would comment online but the horror of these heartless and soul-less loshon-hara peddlers has driven me to speak out to stand up for the Torah we live by.)

  17. Nobody knows what R’ Edelstein holds on this issue. He has made no public statement, and there are contradictory reports of what he has said, or if he indeed has said anything at all.
    Many other Gedolim have come out against the perpetrator, however.

  18. mobico,

    You’re 100% correct. Despite the usual definitive-sounding claptrap by trolls like Joseph attempting to whitewash even the worst failings in charedi communities, nobody knows what Harav Edelstein, Shlita actually holds.

    R. Yitzchak Berkovits explicitly states in his video that Walder’s suicide note makes it very clear that he wasn’t insane but a manipulative, narcissistic sociopath who committed abuse and finally murder by offing himself. He also decries the usual chardei responses of cover-ups and accusations of lashon hara, to defend the indefensible.

  19. Like I said above. There are certain elements who seek to undermine chareidi Jewry. They try to magnify any wrong doings by an individual Chareidi yet look the other way if it’s a modern or secular person. How many of the very same people who curse out Chaim Walder and yet kiss up to the likes of Clinton who was as immoral as you can get. I heard a podcast where one rabbi who was condemning Chaim Walder yet admired Bill Cosby. Little did this Rabbi know that the problem with Cosby was that he supported Dinkins running for mayor after the crown heights pogroms. Cosby tried to break up a jewish rally against Dinkins fundraising. Yet because he watched Cosby as a good actor on TV as a youth he admired Cosby. We mail st follow our real gedolim. Not the loud mouth OTD types. There is nothing wrong with them CW books. If you want to boycott books go into seforim stores that sell books on apikorsim like Golda Meir,Ben Gurion,Yitzchok Rabin and others in that ilk. Why are those books kosher and Walders not.

  20. Very important message. Thank you for sharing. As uncomfortable as parents may be with this story and topic it is so important to have this conversion with our children.
    JUST ONE CLARIFICATION: It is important to stick to facts and not make this story more hurtful than it already is.
    The Horowitz girl who commited suicide a few days after CW had nothing to do with him. She never crossed paths with him. This is sourced from her father. (The family did not elaborate more).

  21. I’m moving on from this subject but will leave this comment just to set the record straight.
    There are baalei Taavah & then there are predators of the young & weak. Please don’t compare the two.
    Shlomo Carlebach may have had personal failings & that’s not our business right now. He wasn’t a predator who preyed on troubled young people. He wasn’t an adulterer to my knowledge, & he didn’t commit a pre-announced suicide either. As a society, there are certain nono’s that we simply cannot look past.

    Don’t bring up Shlomo Carlebach in this conversation.

  22. ppl who have smartphones and their kids have access to the internet and who knows what else,

    THROW OUT YOUR SMARTPHONE!! thats much worse than some nice jewish books, which frankly are much better than most other books.

    ESPECIALLY ppl, who have goyishe books in their house that are much worse and the authors were much worse than walder!
    what walder did a few times in his life, these goyishe authors did 10000’s of times!!
    but goyishe books and tv and internet and smartphones, UHHH thats ok!!???????????????!!!!!!!

    This is all a way for pp to feel good about themselves while still keeping their smartphones and internet!!!!!!

  23. ppl let their kids watch and follow sports and players who are MUCH worse than walder!!
    but nice wholesome Jewish books – THROW IT OUT??

    Stop watching football!! dont let your kids watch sports!!
    these players are million times worse than walder – google what they have done, all of them,
    even Maholmes is worse than walder, certainly Brady who happens to be the GOAT!

  24. Very well said by this letter writer. I would just add an important point that was made by Rabbi Berkowitz, when speaking to children about this, it must be stressed that suicide is NEVER an option. Hashem loves and will help us no matter how dark and gloomy things may be.

  25. The one thing that I noticed about all the commenters both pro or against Walder as opposed to the OP is that we all chose to post anonymously, hiding behind some shield, and Binyomin up top stated his name.

  26. mobico: HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein shlita was very loud and clear. You’re not liking what Rav Gershon Edelstein shlita said doesn’t mean he didn’t say it. There was nothing confusing or contradictory.

  27. Joseph:

    Harav Yitzchak Berkovits, Shlita was very loud and clear. Your not liking what Rav Yitzchak Berkovits, Shlita said on video doesn’t change the fact that he said it. There was nothing confusing or contradictory. Walder was an abusive, manipulative, narcissistic, sociopathic murderer, regardless of the lies you sickeningly parrot to defend him.

    You have no proof whatsoever that Harav Edelstein, Shlita said what your claiming in his name.

  28. @chiyuv Halyah Children the perpetuate sexual abuse on other children are almost always survivors of sexual abuse themselves. It is their response to the unaddressed trauma that they pass it on to others. The answer is obviously to stop adults from abusing children, and then there won’t be abused children to pass on the abuse.

  29. Also @Chaylev Halyah, watching sports is not worse than child sex abuse, from both a religious and moral perspective. I feel like that should be obvious.

  30. Answer to chaylev and rats rats and their ilk:

    Disgusting how you can’t figure out that the difference between Bill Clinton and Chaim Walder is that Clinton or global sports icons etc. don’t parade around in the mantle of Torah and chessed. Would you keep books at home by Shabbetai Zvi for your children to read? Walder wasn’t a false meshiach but he was a false provider of Torah chochma. There are a lot of good things in the “New” Testament too. Would we find that in your house as appropriate children’s reading? AND THIS IS WITHOUT GETTING INTO WHETHER OR NOT HE WAS THE MENUVAL THAT OVER 22 PEOPLE CLAIMED HE WAS. THE MAN COMMITTED SUICIDE RATHER THAN FACE HIS ACCUSERS – IN COMPLETELY CHILL DISREGARD FOR HIS FAMILY AND THE TORAH.

  31. Hadofi: HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein shlita spoke in public. If you want to bury your head in the sand and pretend that Rav Gershon Edelstein shlita didn’t say anything, no one can help you.

  32. @fghij
    The kid predators are very rarely caught or reported, that’s why you won’t hear about it.

    But kids who actually went through the system, went to school and camps and had friends, myself included, we know the sad truth, that it’s the kids who are the majority.


  33. Joseph:

    Harav Yitzchak Berkovits, Shlita spoke in public on video, available at multiple websites.He called Walder an abusive, manipulative, narcissistic, sociopathic murderer, regardless of the lies you sickeningly parrot to defend him. If you want to bury your head in the sand and pretend that he didn’t say anything, no one can help you.

    Please provide video evidence for what you claim HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein, Shlita publicly said.

  34. Hadofi: HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein shlita is two tiers above Rav Berkovits shlita. Rav Edelstein shlita denounced those who accused Walder of anything outside Beis Din as an accessory to the murder of Walder, by having driven a presumed innocent man to public embarrassment and insanity.

    Moderators Note: Rav Gershon took his fourth vaccine shot today. How many have you taken? PS: Rav Gershon grandchildren send videos all day long of every single thing that Rav Gershon says and does. Daily. Strangely, not a word about this. Not one word.

  35. Joseph,

    Still waiting for you to guide us in locating the video of Harav Edelstein, Shllta actually saying what you falsely claim. Or are you just going to keep parroting the same lies in his name to defend an abusive, manipulative, narcissistic, sociopathic murderer?

  36. has a Frum Tznious educational program to teach Parents, Yeshivos, Rabbeim, Teachers, and Children on how to protect kids from CSA (Child Sexual Abuse).
    Lots of information on their website.
    R’ Shmuel Kaminetsky Shlita said “Its a Derech Eretz Program and should be in every cheder”, and R’ Elya Brudny Shlita said “Its Hatzalos Nefoshos”

  37. Hadofi: Keep your head in the sand. The Rav shlita said it b’rabim in front of countless talmidim. It is well known and accepted in Eretz Yisroel, especially, and around the world. It is far from a secret; you can ask anyone in the Yeshiva.

    Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein from Los Angeles wrote about the Rov’s comments in his well known cross-currents site (even though he’s personally not happy about what the Rov publicly said.) Other sites have also quoted the Rov’s comments.

  38. Furthermore, Rav Gershon’s response to this tragic episode is the official response on how this incident is being related to the Chareidi community and advised to our tinokos shel beis rabban in Eretz Yisroel, when such a pep talk becomes necessary to them. Indeed, it is the only response being related.

    Additionally, after his official comments on the matter, the Yated (in EY), which obviously follows his direction, published an official statement on this matter on his authority, that you’re more than welcome to look up a copy of.

  39. Joseph:

    As the moderator correctly noted, Rav Gershon’s grandchildren send videos all day long of every single thing that he says and does, yet there are none regarding Chaim Walder. So you keep parroting the same lies in Harav Edelstein’s name to defend an abusive, manipulative, narcissistic, sociopathic murderer. You’re the only one painting him as a victim and it’s your head that’s impaled in the sand.

  40. Hadofi: I can assure you first-hand that there’s no filming crew with running footage running after the Rosh Yeshiva shlita most of the day. If what the Rosh Yeshiva shlita published in the Yated and what he said b’rabim in front of numerous of his talmidim and others is insufficient for you, that is easily verifiable with the talmidim and many others, than nothing will help you dig your head out of the sand.

  41. Joseph:

    As the moderator confirmed, there is plenty of video of Harav Edelstein, Shlita speaking about all kinds of matters but none about the abusive, manipulative, narcissistic, sociopathic murderer, Chaim Walder.

    In a recent video, R. Moshe Meiselman called Walder a Rasha U’merusha, Rotzeach, Menuval and said B’avdan Reshaim Rina – we should rejoice that this evildoer is gone from the world. He also said that keeping Walder’s publications is like having children’s books in your home written by Adolf Hitler, yms”h.

    Video after video and article after article by leading Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim have come out decrying this devastating failure in the charedi system. Yet you persist to lie in Harav Edelstein’s name and defend a horrible monster.

  42. Hadofi: You are playing too many video games if you think life is always recorded 24/7 on video. Torah Judaism doesn’t need videos in life. Torah Judaism is based on eidus and neimanus.

    Get out of your virtual reality and enter the real world. Denying facts that were witnessed by the velt and testified by the Yeshiva world discredits you. What the Rosh Yeshiva shlita said is an indisputable reality that you are in denial about.

    To note, the Rosh Yeshiva shlita isn’t the only one who took this position. Rabbonim from many sectors, including Rabbi Shlomo Aviner among others, took the same position as the Rosh Yeshiva.

  43. Joseph:

    As the moderator confirmed, much of Harav Edelstein’s activities are actually recorded on video. It’s laughable to call the fabrications of charedi apologists and geichazis printed on wall posters and in journalistic rags “eidus and neimanus”. The comments of chardi leaders like R. Yitzchak Berkovits and R. Moshe Meiselman about the abusive, manipulative, narcissistic, sociopathic murderer, Chaim Walder are hardly “video games”.

    Get your head out of the sand and enter the real world. Denying the facts of this devastating failure in the charedi system while defending a molester and murderer discredits you. What they have explicitly said about this Rasha U’merusha, Rotzeach and Menuval is an indisputable reality that you are in denial about.