We were a group of yeshiva Bochurim who came to visit the Kosel and Mount of olives and when I mentioned the need to perform Keria, a number of my friends from amongst the Bochurim told me that when the Rebbe Rayatz visited Jerusalem and the Western wall he did not perform Keria and hence from here we can learn that the custom is to no longer be particular in doing so. Is this true?
This is false. When the Rebbe Rayatz visited Jerusalem he did perform Keria as explicitly stated in the memoirs of his visit and in the newspaper clippings of that time! To quote from Sefer Hatoldos “at 9:10 in the morning the Rebbe arrived to Beitar and at 9:30 he saw Jerusalem for his first time, at which time he performed Keriah as required and said the blessing of Dayan Haemes” and from Masa Harebbe Laeretz Hakodesh “upon approaching the Western Wall in which thousands of Jews waited for him, the Rebbe performed Keria on his upper clothing” and from the daily Ha’aretz newspaper “when he came near the Western Wall the Admur tore his upper clothing”
Furthermore, the Rebbe and Rebbe Rayatz explicitly refers to this custom of doing Keria in Jerusalem as being in effect even today, and certainly even in today’s times the laws of Keria must be abided. As for the reason why we see that many are not particular in this this can be due to one of many reasons including: a) they are ignorant of the law; b) they forgot to do so or forgot to bring an extra shirt to do so with, c) they cannot fathom tearing their shirt which would cause them a loss of money, d) the shirt does not belong to them but to their parents, e) they visit at a time that Tachanun is not required to be said, f) they are within 30 days of visiting, g) they are Jerusalem residents. It is astounding that an explicit ruling in Jewish law can be so easily dismissed, no less under the false pretense that our Rabbeim did not do so when indeed they did do so and spoke about doing so.
Sources: Letter of Rebbe Rayatz to his daughter Shayna regarding his recent visit to Eretz Yisrael, printed in Sefer Hamamarim 5711 p. 122-124 and Sefer Hatoldos Rebbe Rayatz p. 27, 42; Masa Harebbe Laeretz Hakodesh p. 78; Igros Kodesh 15:452; Shulchan Meanchem 3:70; Igros Kodesh Rayatz 2:205 “On today’s Jerusalem in which they built theaters, one can perform Keria twice.”; Hiskashrus 262