This letter was written by Reb Zalman last week.
He has now sent it to the Forward , and is sharing it with the ALEPH community. Please, if you want to respond, do so to the ALEPH office only, not to Reb Zalman.
Blessings and Shabbat Shalom.
Susan (on behalf of the ALEPH Board)
I’m getting pulled from all sides to make statements that I’m unprepared to make.
What I can say at this time is that I’m in mourning, in some form of Shiv’ah, I’m grieving like one bereaved for an ideal that I held in my mind of a genius, though erratic, but ultimately at the service of the values he claimed for himself. This image has been shattered.
I’m also devastated by what see as my gullibility, to be taken in by a brilliance that had a dark center. And this way I am chiding myself, although that is too mild a word for the feelings that I have, for having been an unwitting accessory to his depredations.
It goes without saying that I withdraw my support of the Smikhah he obtained from me by deceiving me concerning his past unethical behavior. It is null and void.
In searching my conscience I find that I was influenced by the fact that my daughter had attended one of his seminars then called Torah Light or some such name, an event that turned her from a worldly secular person to one who is deeply committed to a beautiful Judaism.
I’m praying for clarity and discernment.
What is yet to happen beyond all the tempests, beyond quarantining him, a surgically separating ourselves from him, is not yet clear to me. So please allow me my process of grieving, praying and learning more about the devastation he caused before you ask me to make any other statement.