In a letter written on Sunday, Chief Rabbi David Lau explained his decision to pay a condolence call to the shivah home of the family of disgraced author Chaim Walder, who committed suicide last week in the wake of revelations regarding his personal conduct.
“I wish to clarify my actions,” Rabbi Lau wrote, responding to an unnamed person who questioned his decision to visit the Walder family. “Unfortunately, there are people who wish to put a certain light on the fact that I paid a condolence call to a widow and to orphans whom I know personally. There is no need to elaborate in words on what they are going through [or suggest that] I do not identify with the victims, G-d forbid.
“It is important for me to clarify: My thoughts are with those who were harmed,” Rabbi Lau continues. “They have certainly gone through terrible times, and we must support them at all times, especially now, and validate their experiences. Unfortunately, such things do happen in many sectors of society and the cries of those who are harmed demand our response.
“Indeed, we must not simply move on without dealing with these issues – we must uproot them entirely, as I have said many times in the past. Whenever something like this is even suspected, we must report it to the authorities and not cover things up – and this is what I have said in the past, whenever such questions were referred to me, and I stress it again now.”