first posted in 2019
Twelve years ago Moshe Finkel was caught selling treyf chickens as kosher. It was truly a calamity. The community was thrown into turmoil, massive kashering and a torrent of explanations ranging from loshon horah to short skirts. Some rabbonim called for public fasts. He was kicked out of Monsey.
But now a panel of distinguished rabbis declared his teshuva is complete and he can return to selling chickens.
Some were surprised by the ruling of Rav Nistar Chelm. But his reasoning was solid and backed up by other rabbonim.
Rav Chelm based his ruling on the halachic response to child molesting. In those cases if there was no abuse for three years and the offender expressed regret he is assumed to now be safe to work with children. This is even true if he was not subjected to public humiliation, expulsion from town and forfeiting money.
Kal v’chomer, Rabbi Finkel, a well known talmid chochom, was humiliated, it is over 12 years in which he has not sold an ounce of unkosher or even non-glatt chicken, he has given a lot of tzedakah, and has spent a lot of time learning.
Many in the community were outraged, but they were warned not to say loshon horah. Besides, they were assured that “The rabbis would keep an eye out on him” just as they do with repentant molesters.