Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Rabbis and Rumours

Harav Wosner's T'Shuvah, Highlights
By ‘Moish’
Much of the confusion in the recent case has been due to the fact that there is so little by way of precedent in terms of how to deal with rabbis who are alleged to have acted 'improperly'. Within the Charedi world, although such issues have surely arisen, they have been dealt with (if at all) so furtively as to leave barely a smidgen of record in the halachic literature. Precedents from the Modern Orthodox community are easier to find, but, well, they're modern anyway so what do you expect?
The one recent case that does spring to mind is that of Rabbi Mordechai Tendler of Monsey. Without going into details, the rabbi concerned was expelled from the American RCA on account of his alleged misbehaviour with women in a counselling context (ring any bells?) and a group of his local colleagues took it upon themselves to examine the evidence against him and proceeded to publicise their verdict.
Whilst the parallels are far from exact, many of the technical issues that have been raised in our case, such as the admissibility of women's testimony and the propriety of local rabbis taking a public stand, were dealt with in a responsum by Rabbi Benzion Wosner, also of Monsey.
The full text of the responsum is reproduced above, with relevant quotes highlighted. (Due to Scribd’s rendering of Hebrew it may be necessary to download the document first.)
See here for an English summary: