Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Major Rabbi's declare that Rabbi Tendler must have a Bet Din

The following comes from this week's Jewish Press. see:

Major Blows To RCA Position On Tendler
In the past few days there have been some rather stunning developments in the ongoing
dispute between Rabbi Mordecai Tendler and the Rabbinical Council of America as the
leading Torah sage of our generation, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, and the senior rabbinic
court in America, the Agudath Harabbanim of the United States and Canada, made their
views known.
As The Jewish Press has been reporting, the Jerusalem Bet Din has nullified the RCA’s
expulsion of Rabbi Tendler over accusations of inappropriate behavior and ruled that
any charges against him must be brought before an independent bet din. The RCA’s
action was accomplished through an internal disciplinary panel which was found
unacceptable by the Jerusalem Bet Din. The Jerusalem Bet Din also ordered the RCA to
proceed to a zabla bet din. In addition, according to the Jerusalem Bet Din, until the
charges are brought before a bet din, any negative public statements or actions, by any
individual or organization, against Rabbi Tendler in connection with those allegations are
simple lashon hara and prohibited by halacha.
The RCA refuses to acknowledge its responsibility to proceed to a bet din, although it
has said that it will do so voluntarily. But the organization has unilaterally set such
unusual conditions for an appearance as to render it unlikely. In addition, the RCA
refuses to rescind the expulsion and continues to carry statements about it on its
website, all in violation of the rulings of the Jerusalem Bet Din. Now, however, the
conclusions of the Jerusalem Bet Din have also been reached by Rabbi Chaim
Kanievsky of Israel and the Agudath Harabbanim of the United States and Canada.
The Jewish Press has learned that Rabbi Kanievsky was presented with a halachic
inquiry or shailah which outlined the circumstances of the RCA’s expulsion of Rabbi
Tendler and the lashon hara issue – and he responded in writing that resort to a bet din
to deal with the issues mentioned was required by halacha in order to determine the
truth. In addition, Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Ginzberg, the administrator of the Agudath
Harabbanim, in a written declaration on behalf of its religious court, came to the same
conclusion, citing among other things, the statement of Rabbi Kanievsky.
Given the RCA’s conduct in this matter up until now, it probably is too much to hope that
the pronouncements of Rav Kanievsky and the Agudath Harabbanim will at long last
spur the organization to do what responsible Torah authorities seem to think it is
required to: rescind the expulsion of Rabbi Tendler, clean up its website and, if RCA
officials feel it appropriate to pursue the accusations against him, to bring them before
an impartial bet din for adjudication.
It was not been a pleasant undertaking, but over the course of several months we have
felt compelled to expose the prevarications of the RCA as it steadfastly sought to avoid
granting Rabbi Tendler fundamental due process. As we demonstrated with precision
and particularity some weeks ago, this included plain distortion and misrepresentation of
the rulings of the Jerusalem Bet Din.
In the final analysis, the RCA is not a law unto itself. And it cannot arrogate to itself the
power of life or death – in terms of public reputation and means of livelihood – of any
individual, regardless of what some of its officers may think of him. The transcendent
Torah figure of our generation has now spoken, the oldest bet din in America has
echoed his position, and the most respected bet din in Israel has reached the same
conclusions in several of its decisions. The time has surely come for the RCA to defer to
halachic authority, or minimally for its individual members to do so.


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