HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shternbuch Rules to Get Rid of Walder Books

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by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com

HaGaon Rav Moshe Shternbuch’s gabbai reached out to this author and forwarded the following Teshuvah from Rav Shternbuch shlita. Rav Shternbuch is the Raavad of the Eida HaChareidis and is one of the Gedolei HaDor. [The Rav further conveyed orally that the obituaries on Walder published in the Charedi press [in Eretz Yisroel] constitute a CHILLUL HASHEM as were the hespedim that were given.  He (Walder) is a מאבד עצמו לדעת [and should not have been given them].

5 Shvat 5782

In regard to the question of the masses as to whether it is permitted to hold on to the books of Chaim Walder, I am responding [as follows]:

Whomsoever wishes that his sons and daughters be raised in the path of Torah and fear of Heaven, should not retain any of his books, neither in his home nor in his possessions.  For the ru’ach of the aforementioned author is contained in his books, and one may not read them.

And that which some are publicizing that one should explain to children that it is permitted to hold onto his books, Chash v’Shalom (Heaven forbid) to say such a thing, as Rabbis and Dayanim have ruled that it is forbidden to read his books and it is a Mitzvah to listen to the words of Chachomim.

[The aforementioned words do not apply to the sons and daughters of the author, they have received a proper chinuch in Yeshivos and houses of Chinuch and heaven forbid to hurt them.]

One who prays for much Divine Mercy,

Fortunate are you Israel, who raise their sons and daughters in holiness and purity!

!אשריכם ישראל שמחנכים בניהם ובנותיהם בקדושה ובטהרה

[Rabbi} Moshe Shternbuch

This author’s previous article on 7 Thoughts about Chaim Walder can be read here.


19 COMMENTS

  1. This should shut up all the am horatzim so ignorant that they couldn’t see that hushing crimes up of this nature by crying ‘loshon hora’ will create further victims whose lives we have a duty to save

  2. This is completely unrelated to the current situation.

    The Badatz disagreed with his hashkafos (and likely those of Rabbi Hoffman and most readers of this blog), and therefore prohibited his books years ago.

    Other than the portion about his suicide, the rest of the letter would’ve been written by Rav Shternbuch years ago.

  3. 1) Are Amazon & Ebay going to follow this פסק, otherwise this פסק helps nothing, as can still obtain these wonderful ספרים form Amazon & Ebay
    2) Despite his position on the Eida HaChareidis, I note that he hasn’t mentioned anything about getting rid of Zionist books on the מדינה and on the התקווה, so I have to assume that he is just fine with these wonderful educational books.

  4. Reb Moshe Shterbauch shlita would have said this about these books even before this episode.

    He would also tell you you may not read most of the American frum news publications. Forget some of the non-Jewish books found in some of our homes.

    If you would ask him if its better to read these books, or to read blogs or even frum newsites on the internet, he would definitely tell you it’s better to read the books.

    Maybe someone can reach out to him and ask him about smarttphones, even with a filter.

    Then ask him about the American Kashrus scene.

    We should definitely adhere to the Gaavad’s psak. To all of his psakim, across the board.

  5. It was extremely important to inform people in our communities about dangerous predators such the like, however; there are dozens more that are kept protected and continue to commit atrocities because they have some form of protection. Many victims of protected abusers will go on suffering until we all decide to treat both abusers and victims equally.

  6. Unfortunately R Shternbuch was able sidestep the main issue because Walder killed himself while of sound mind = מאבד עצמו לדעת. But what if Walder had not committed suicide ? Would it then be acceptable to distinguish between the evil ways of the man vs his books and the numerous people he apparently helped. I know many who are still trying to make this distinction.

  7. I’m a talmid in Ner Israel in Baltimore. Reb Aharon Feldman Shlita told us last week that he doesn’t feel that there’s a problem with reading the books.

  8. I see some strange ambiguity here.
    From what is quoted it seems that Rav Shternbachs main objection is only because Walder was מאבד עצמו לדעת (suicide)? and not his decades of abuse?

  9. Unfortunately, we keep looking (based on the headlines these past weeks) at this as if we are learning a piece of gemoroh, is it “mutar” to speak about this? Is this “Loshon horo” ? What about “lechaf zechus”.
    This is Pikuach nefesh! We are talking about HUGE long lasting damage! Survivors are reading this “headlines” and just put yourself in their shoes! Who are we to “take sides”? there is a lot of evidence and, regardless, He commuted ״רציחה״ how long are we going to pretend everything is ok, “you never know”, “there is always two sides”

    Hope we can all learn from this, huge “chilul hashem “!
    To all the survivors I’m sorry, we are with you.

  10. Let’s not hurry up here. With a little time, and our participation, there hopefully will be more clarity. We have discussions in Gemora where multiple views are listed until, often, one prevails over time. Different Talmidei Chachamim may initially focus on different aspects of the issue, may be addressing different communities, and may have different, and not always correct, information supplied to them. Halakha does not get resolved in 10 days.

  11. To all those balabatim out there who are throwing out books,

    Just remember that these charedi rabbis would tell you to burn your smartphone even with a filter. They consider you pasul laedus for it. But just dont think about that.

    Ppl like to feel righteous, but don’t want to do real righteousness, so they latch on to these stupid little things that make them feel good.

    Nobody cares about anything these rabbis say when it means something real, like no internet, etc…… but this Uhhhhhh

  12. There is a big difference between smartphones and these books. Smartphones can be used for good and with a proper filter, can be perfectly fine. There are many great respectable rabbis who have smartphones. It’s fine if some people are against it and some people are for it. Everyone should follow their rebanim.

    These books on the other hand, horrible. So, a Jewish author abuses kids. At the same time, he is writing stories to help kids. He is a deceitful man who claimed to be frum. You’re going to read those books now? When a non- jew writes a book- you know it’s a non-jew. He most probably did unmoral deeds. But raping kids? And a frum guy who raped kids??? You’re going to read those books????

  13. “Nobody cares about anything these rabbis say when it means something real, like no internet, etc…… but this Uhhhhhh..”
    I would respectfully submit that investigating and acting quickly against those accused of sexual and child abuse does “mean something REAL” and is a lot more important than smart phones and internet access.

  14. Books contain stories sent in by innocent kids. Could someone go through the archive and re-publish them in their original form? Proceeds could be used to support victims.