Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Forcing a GET and Permitting a Woman to Remarry with No GET


Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn
A Critique of ORA and Rabbi Moshe Heinemann
6/14/2018

Contents


Critique of ORA and Rabbi Moshe Heinemann


Our critique of ORA and Rabbi Moshe Heinemann is because ORA, as related in the statement by Rabbi Heinemann below, “has freed  over one hundred and fifty women which is a tremendous achievement…I strongly encourage the support of this important endevour. Moshe Heinemann.” As one who has studied intensely under the Geonim Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein, Reb Yaacov Kaminetsky, Reb Yosef Shalom Elyashev and others all zt”l, I feel that ORA and Rabbi Heinemann are wrong to free women from husbands the way they do. To prove my point, I must say what ORA does to force the husbands to divorce their wives, and then I must bring the halacha sources to support my criticism. I wish to offer Rabbi Heinemann the opportunity to refute my criticism, to reply on my blog that criticizes him, and if I am wrong, I will concede, and if he is wrong, I will continue to oppose him.
We present here the letter from Rabbi Heinemann below encouraging everyone to support ORA, and the letter from the Gaon Rav Gestetner and the Rabbinical Court of SHAR HAMISHPOT 17 Mosier Court Monsey NY 10952 which strongly condemns ORA for forcing husbands to divorce their wives in ways that the women are trapped with the demands of ORA and end up Agunose for years or forever, or else, maybe give up Yiddishkeit. (The letter is found in the Desktop of Ora and Heinemann but would not paste on the blog, same with letter from a prominent posek attacking ORA that is found on the desktop but not on the blog here. I also emailed to my fifty people who follow my email blasts and there the above letters are pasted.)
We then discuss the machlokess of Rambam and Rashbam who permit forcing the husband with Rabbeinu Tam and the Ri who forbid doing this. We also bring the Ramo who quotes a posek that the Rambam permits forcing a GET only when the wife is a moredess and has no relations with the husband and he is the תובע and she does not demand a GET. But if she demands a GET we suspect that she wants another husband and is lying about her husband and she does not get a GET. See also the תשובות חכמי פרובינציא  page 297 and “88 there that the gemora does not permit forcing a GET when the wife claims her husband is disgusting to her, but there were times when the rabbis permitted it against the Talmud. Those were days when women who wanted a GET went to goyim and were freed from their husbands. This led to forcing husbands to give a GET so the wives don’t go to goyim.
The problem so far is that Rabbi Heinemann and the Beis Din in their letters do not bring the sources in the Shulchan Aruch and the Poskim to prove their point. This is our job here.

May a Woman Force a GET from Her Husband?


The Mishneh in Nedorim 90b states that originally women were believed to make a claim against their husband and Beth Din believed her and forced the husband to divorce her. Later, the Beth Din realized that women were taking advantage to find a different husband, even though the story she told about the husband was not true. From that point to the present, women are not believed to say stories about their husbands to force a GET. Of course, the Beth Din can look into the situation and if it realizes that the husband is doing what she says, and the Beth Din feels that such a behavior entitles the wife to have a GET, they will force the husband to divorce her and the Get will be kosher. The husband, however, must tell the Beth Din that he gives the Get willingly even if it was forced with a beating, as Rambam explains in the beginning of Gittin.
This Mishneh is quoted in Kesubose 63b d”h אבל אמרה by Rabbeinu Tam who says that we don’t give a woman a GET when she makes a claim against her husband, because we fear that she is lying because she is looking for another husband. Thus, the Mishneh makes it clear that a woman cannot force a GET on her husband. ORA that forces a GET on the husband therefore is making an invalid GET and the children from an invalid GET are not kosher children, maybe mamzerim.
Let us now turn to the sources in the great Rishonim to prove that a GET may not be forced from the husband by the wife, nor may it be forced by anyone, unless a Beth Din finds that the husband is one of the very rare people who qualifies for a forced GET, but again, this is quite rare. Some say that even a Mumar who denies the Torah cannot be forced to give his wife a GET. See Shulchan Aruch 154 and the poskim with their comments there, such as the Ramo in teshuvose 36 and 96.
Rambam begins his work on Gittin with the ten rules of the Torah to make a GET. The first rule is, “the husband may not divorce unless he does this willingly…as it is said, ‘And it will be if his wife does not find favor in the husband’s eyes…and he will write for her a document of separation, and he will put it in her hand and send her out of his house. ‘If his wife does not find favor in the husband’s eyes’ means to teach us that the husband cannot divorce his wife unless he does it willingly. And if he divorced her with a GET unwillingly she is not divorced.” Thus, any husband who gives a GET not because he does not want his wife but because of pressure, has given her an invalid GET, which is worthless. If she remarries with this worthless GET and has a child, the child is a mamzer, as is the law of a married woman who leaves her husband and sleeps with another man and has a child, that the child is a mamzer. ORA specializes in forcing the husband to give a GET precisely in the case where the husband does not want to give a GET, and it is necessary to force him. ORA was inspired to do this by the Rosh Yeshiva in Yeshiva University, Herschel Schechter, who is recorded calling for serious pressures on the husbands including a beating and perhaps worse. Thus, the forced Gittin done by Herschel Schechter and ORA are mamzerim.[1]
The Rashbo in Teshuvose VII:414 writes, “We never force the husband to divorce. Rather, if he wants to divorce, he divorces. If he doesn’t want to divorce, he doesn’t divorce.” And even though the Rambam did not write this, this is the halacha when the woman demands a GET by saying ‘my husband disgusts me.’”
We mentioned previously the Mishneh in Nedarim 90b that a woman who claims that she cannot relate to her husband with a variety of claims, originally we believed her and forced the husband to divorce her. But later, we suspected that she said claims just to force a GET and then find another husband. If so, how could the Rambam say that a woman who denies her husband marital relations that we force the husband to divorce her? What do we do with the Mishne that we don’t believe the woman because perhaps she lied just to find another husband? If so, maybe her claim that her husband is disgusting to her is a lie to find another husband?
Therefore, the Ramo in teshuvose 36 and 96 goes into this kind of a problem and looks carefully at the words we just quoted.
Let us look closely at the words of the Rambam. See Ishuse 14,8: “A woman who denies her husband marital relations is called a moredes {rebel}. And we ask her why she rebelled. If she says “I am disgusted with him and I cannot tolerate having marital relations with him,’ we force him to divorce her to his hour because she is not a slave to sleep with somebody she hates.’ She then must leave him with no Kesubo at all…”
Note the extra words here. The Rambam does not say what the Rashbo quotes him saying that whenever a woman claims that her husband is disgusting to her that we force him to divorce her. What he should have said, if the Rashbo is correct, is “A woman who says my husband is disgusting to me we force him to divorce because a woman is not a slave to sleep with somebody she hates.” But Rambam never said this. He added words, and the Rambam never says an extra word. Therefore, the Ramo brings an opinion that the Rambam deliberately did  not write what we just thought he had to write if the Rashbo was right. He added a critical phrase, and began his entire discussion of this issue with a woman who did not say anything but simply refused to have marital relations with her husband. The woman maybe said nothing but just locked the door and kept the husband away, with no explanation. The husband then complains to Beth Din and they investigate and ask her why she denies her husband marital relations. She responds, “He disgusts me and I cannot tolerate having relations with him.”That is all that she said. She did not go around saying he is disgusting to her. It all began when she refused relations with him. When the Beth Din inquired about this, the wife answered the truth, “I cannot tolerate sleeping with him because I despise him and cannot have marital relations with him.” Rambam says that she is not a slave to sleep with people she hates so we force the husband to divorce her. But pay close attention: Again, the Rambam adds a word that seems to be unnecessary. The husband must divorce her in his time.” What does “in his time” mean? And why, if the Rashbo is right, does the Rambam write these words, if he maintains that a woman who claims to despise her husband automatically gets a GET from her husband?
These are questions that everyone must ask, and the Ramo quotes the great scholars who delve into the Rambam, and come up with an entirely new interpretation of the Rambam. No, the Rashbo is wrong, they say. The Rambam never said, “A woman who claims her husband is disgusting may force her husband to give her a GET.” The Rambam adds two things. One, that all of this began with her denying her husband marital intimacy, but she said not one word to anyone that her husband is disgusting. Beth Din asked her why she denied her husband intimacy, and she answered them, as she must, “I despise him and I cannot have marital relations with him and tolerate it.” Now we see the entire structure of the woman is totally different from the Rashbo. The only reason she mentioned that her husband is disgusting was to answer the demands of the Beth Din which she had to do. And her answer also had an extra word “I cannot have marital relations LDAATI which means intentionally or perhaps and tolerate it. Now this is exactly what the Mishneh was talking about that a woman tells her husband or Beth Din that she cannot for a variety of reasons maintain a marriage with her husband with marital relations. And we suspect her of lying because she just wants a different husband, but she really could sleep with him without the impossible suffering that she claims.
However, the poskim say that sometimes we don’t always suspect that what the woman says is a lie unless it smells like a lie. That is, if she comes to Beth Din and says, “I am in a state where it is a sin to sleep with me,” she is saying that her state precludes by itself any marital relations. If so, it is a sin for the husband to have marital relations with her. Thus, if a woman is married to a Cohen and somebody has relations with her who is not her husband, she is forbidden to be with the Cohen anymore. If so, there must be a GET, because a marriage that is pure sin is forbidden and a GET must be given.
Thus, if the woman says something that if true means that there must be a GET, it is the same as if she said clearly that she wants a GET, and then we don’t believe her, less she wants very much to marry  different husband, so we don’t believe her.
But this only applies when the woman claims something that true must result in a GET. Then the woman is not believed even if she doesn’t ask for a GET, because she is claiming a situation where there must be a GET from the husband.
But if the wife never asked for a GET, and never claimed to be in a situation which must produce a GET, we then have no reason to suspect her of lying. And without a suspicion she is lying, the Rambam holds that we don’t suspect her of lying. Therefore we have no choice but to force the husband to divorce her.
See the Ramo in his teshuvo #96 in the name of Rav Eliezar Ashkenazi, that a husband can be forced to divorce for various reasons. That is, basically if the husband treats his wife well but personally is not religious, even if he is a sinner even a mumar, we don’t force him to divorce according to some major poskim, unless his evil deeds hurt the woman. But if his evil deeds impact upon the woman in a severe way, we can contemplate forcing a divorce.
In the case of the Ramo, the wife complained about the husband things that people knew were true. One that he stole and was dishonest and corrupt. He had a terrible reputation and was unable to live in cities where he committed serious crimes. This caused great anguish to the wife whose family were respectable people, and how she has a husband who is the opposite. For this alone there is a factor to force him to divorce her.
Also, the husband had a son from her but no daughter. He thus has not fulfilled the mitsvah of pru urevu which requires a son and a daughter. And as he runs around stealing and finding corruption, it is unlikely that things will change. This itself is a factor in the mitsvah to force a husband to keep the Torah to have a son and a daughter. One who ignores this obligation can be forced to give a GET.
The final opinion is to force the husband to divorce his wife for four reasons: One is that the Rosh wrote that a man of corruption and evil who marries a woman who is the opposite, and thus causes her great shame and pain constantly, we may force him to divorce her. As we mentioned earlier, if the husband does something that a normal woman would find intolerable, he must be forced to divorce her.
Second of all, the wife says that they agreed to live in Prag where her husband lived. But he went to Prag and was arrested and he cannot return there, and she is not willing to leave and follow him around the world. And also she utterly despises him for disgracing her and her family. For this alone, that a husband must travel to escape the police and the wife has no obligation to follow him around and leave her home and community, for this we force him to give a GET.  This is the opinion of the Tur. Also, the husband has not fulfilled pru urvu and the wife doesn’t want relations with him a wicked thief. If he remains married to her and is unable to marry another woman he will never have a daughter. This requires us to force him to divorce his wife. This was written by Rav Eliezar Ashkenazi and quoted by the Ramo in the teshuvose 96. The main conclusion is at the end of the teshuva we just quoted.

Rabbeinu Tam and the Shach – Forcing a GET with Passive Coercion


Years ago, I called Rabbi Heinemann and asked him how he could encourage people to support ORA and its forcing husbands to divorce their wives. He responded that he recalls that he once came across Rabbeinu Tam who permitted such things. First, Rabbeinu Tam only permits passive coercion, meaning that people don’t talk to the husband or don’t do business with him, but the style of a mob of people coming to somebody’s house or place or work and screaming “give a GET” or such things, is not permitted by Rabbeinu Tam. There is even a Shita Mikubetses in Kesubose that Rabbeinu Tam opposed telling a husband that it would be a nice thing to give a GET.
See Shita Mekubetses written by Rav Betsalal Ashkenazi, who was  rebbe of the Ari z”l, on Kesubose 1190: “Rabbeinu Yona wrote: ‘When a woman claims that her husband disgusts her, we don’t force him to divorce her. This applies to beating him with sticks, this we don’t do. But Beth Din notifies him that it is a mitsvah upon him to divorce her, and they advise him to divorce her. And if he refuses to divorce her, we say to him, one who violates a command of the rabbis, it is a mitsvah to call him a wicked person. And Rabbeinu Tam would say, that even this we don’t say to him. But if he comes to us and asks if he should divorce her and not give her a Kesubo, Beth Din advises him to divorce her immediately. The above was written by the disciples of Rabbeinu Yona.”
Second of all, the Shach, one of the very greatest poskim, says clearly in Gevuras Anoshim, quoting a posek, that nobody ever heard of doing what Rabbeinu Tam permits, even passive coercion.
Let us now turn to the Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer 154 at the end. It begins with a machlokess. One opinion is that when the gemora says that such a person must divorce his wife that we force him to divorce even with a beating. And another opinion holds that we may not beat a husband unless it says clearly in the Talmud “we force him to divorce”. We can only tell him orally that he is obligated by the rabbis to give a GET, and if he refuses, people may call him wicked. The Ramo then says that since it is an argument if such a person can be forced with a beating to divorce, and one opinion forbids any physical pressure but only permits telling him that the rabbis consider him a sinner and he may be called a wicked person, we should not get involved with forcing but only to tell the husband that because he is sinning he may be called a wicked person.
Thus, unless the gemora clearly establishes that for such a wicked person we beat him to give a GET, we don’t do anything other than to tell him that he is wicked and that therefore people may call him a wicked person.
We see from this that the entire discussion about forcing the husband with either a beating or calling him wicked refers only to a person who has a defect that the rabbis considers a cause for him to divorce his wife. But if a person has no such defect, it is forbidden to call him a wicked person or to pressure him.
Now, to return to the above Shulchan Aruch that deals only with a person who is definitely a sinner and who may be called a wicked person according to all opinions, it is there, and only there, that we find the passive coercion of Rabbeinu Tam. But passive coercion is not permitted in a husband who is not clearly wicked. And the vast majority of husbands are not clearly wicked. Thus, ORA and Rabbi Heinemann who backs them to the hilt to gather at the home of people who don’t give a GET and say threatening things, have no source in Rabbeinu Tam, who only is applied in Shulchan Aruch for a husband who is clearly labelled by the Talmud as a wicked person, not the vast majority of men.
And even if we do have a husband who is wicked but the Talmud did not declare that he deserves physical force, the Shach at the end of Gevuras Anoshim brings opinions that today passive pressure is such a sensitive and painful thing that we never heard of anybody doing it and it should preferably not be done. And as I mentioned, the Shulchan Aruch only applies the passive coercion idea to a husband who clearly is labelled by the Talmud a wicked person for not giving a GET. Meaning, the rabbis demand from him to divorce his wife but they did not specify to beat him physically. But he is surely violating the Talmud for not giving a GET. But most husbands are not violators of the Talmud for not divorcing their wives.
Nor is that all. See the Gro in Shulchan Aruch there 154:67 that tells us that when the Shulchan Aruch there permits passive coercion for a person who is labelled by the Talmud a wicked person, not all wicked people may be pressured with passive coercion, but only one who can find a city to escape those who would call him “wicked.” If, today, with modern communications, word travels quickly where the wicked man is staying, and people can find him and call him “wicked,” even this is forbidden according to the Gro. The Gro states clearly there that we only call him “wicked” because he sinned against the command of the rabbis of the Talmud. But plain husbands, who are not labelled by the Talmud as sinners, cannot be pursued even with passive coercion. Especially when the Shach paskens that nobody ever heard of doing this because today passive coercion is considered a very severe pressure that is no longer appropriate, all passive coercion is suspect. ORA is a program of active coercion to force husbands to divorce their wives who are not sinners and who have no obligation to give a GET in the Shulchan Aruch.   The children created by the inventions of Moshe Heinemann may surely be mamzerim.
Indeed, throughout America, prominent rabbis invent the Shulchan Aruch or ignore it, and a woman who marries with their ridiculous inventions and has a child has somebody who is quite possible a mamzer.
The passive coercion of Rabbeinu Tam is mentioned in his work Sefer HaYoshor liRabbeinu Tam number 599[2]. This is the correct text taken from Levush 134:10 See footnote below.
“A woman claims that her husband disgusts her, and Beis Din feels that their marriage is a problem, and the husband is not a person who is obligated to give his wife a GET, nonetheless, Beth Din may make a Cherem  upon every Jewish man and woman to decree upon them a severe oath that nobody may speak to the husband, or to do business with him to give him profit, or to give him food or drink, or to [walk with him or lend him money?[3]], or to visit him when he is sick, and other strict rules as they desire  upon all people, if the husband does not divorce his wife and free her with a kosher GET. Because this does not force him to divorce, because he can refuse to divorce his wife and go find a place where nobody will stay away from him. And this curse does not affect him physically because it has no reason to affect him. Because it was not directed at him but at us, the people, if we refuse to stay away from him. And no GET was forced from him. And see Moharik 102.”
We see from the words of Rabbeinu Tam in Sefre HaYosher liRabbeinu Tam, and from the Moharik and the Levush, that the curse on the community does not apply only to people who have clearly sinned against the rabbis in the Talmud. But the Shulchan Aruch, as we explained earlier, clearly states that any community obligation to avoid the husband with the passive coercion of Rabbeinu Tam is only about a husband who sins a rabbinical sin and is therefore punished with this loneliness, to force him to give his wife a GET. But this is clearly different than the texts of this decree in Rabbeinu Tam who created the program of passive coercion, the Moharik and Levush, who all agree that it applies to all men who refuse to give their wives a GET. The issue becomes even more confusing when we realize that the Shach asks us to refuse to practice at all the passive coercion of Rabbeinu Tam.
If the Vilna Gaon says on the Shulchan Aruch that the only reason we may practice passive coercion is because the husband is clearly a sinner against the rabbis of the Talmud, it would surely not apply to most people. Furthermore, the Shulchan Aruch surely teaches the same, that the passive coercion is only directed at a sinner who by some opinions should be beaten to force him to give a GET. But ordinary  husbands must not be punished with passive coercion.
I present the problem, and I greatly fear the Shach a very senior posek, and of course I am afraid of the Gro, and the Shulchan Aruch, who permit passive coercion only if the husband is a clear sinner against the rabbis of the Talmud. I personally feel that the Shulchan Aruch, with not one comment against it among its major commentators, and the Shach who urges us to refuse to make passive coercion, and the Gro, should lead us to refuse to practice passive coercion.
Of course, all of this leads us to have a great shock that a person who is a major Torah authority in Baltimore, who has a major kashruse center used by many people, urges people to support ORA, an organization that regularly publicly tortures people to force them to divorce their wives. A child born from these “saved” women are probably mamzerim. I feel I have proven that point without any doubt. But if Moshe Heinemann has an answer, let him tell me what it is, or he can say it publicly and feature his response, “why David Eidensohn was wrong to criticize me about ORA.” I, of course, am awaiting this, but if I disagree with his ideas, I will say so.

Mishne in Nedarim and Rambam in MOUS OLEI


The Mishneh in Nedarim 90b tells us about women who say things that indicate that they are forbidden to their husbands and he must divorce them. At one time such women were believed and Beth Din forced the husband to divorce her. But subsequently, when women had a lower level of honesty and were suspected of pritsuse, we didn’t believe the women to force a GET from the husband.
The women there say one of three things. One is that “I am profaned from being with you.” This means she was married to a Cohen and claims that somebody not her husband slept with her. If so, she is now forbidden to ever sleep with her husband the Cohen even if she was forced by her rapist. When the woman says that she is completely forbidden to go near her husband we fear she is lying in order to remarry. The second thing a woman could say is, “The heaven is between you and me” meaning, her husband is unable to have children and only HaShem or heaven know his condition that he cannot produce the seed that creates children. If so, she will never have children and will have nobody to take care of her when she gets old. This is a condition which requires a GET. But we don’t believe her less she lied to find a new husband. The third thing a woman could say is “I am removed from Jews.” This means she will never sleep with a Jew. If so, she may not be married to any Jew. For such an extreme statement we suspect that it is only said to find a new husband, but if she said such a thing, she could never marry anyway. But Tosfose explains that if she said this as a lie, it is only because marital relations caused her intense pain and she wanted no more of it from anybody. But it could also be a lie and therefore she is not believed.
This brings us to the Rambam and his statement about MOUS OLEI.
The Rashbo we will soon quote writes that a woman cannot force a GET by saying that her husband disgusts her, but it would seem that Rambam permits it. However, the Ramo in teshuva 96 brings the teshuva from Rav Eliezar Ashkenazi that the Rambam did not permit this, as we will explain.

Rambam in MOUS OLEI


The Rambam in ISHUSE 14:8 says, “A woman who denies her husband marital relations with her is a MOREDES. We ask her why she rebelled. If she says that she despises him and I cannot tolerate relations with him, we force him to divorce her according to his schedule, because she is not a slave to sleep with somebody she loathes.”
The problem is that the Mishneh in Nedarim clearly denies the woman the right to demand a GET, so what does the Rambam do with this Mishneh? And indeed the Rashbo when he says that a woman cannot force a GET from her husband by saying he is disgusting to her claims that the Rambam is wrong.
However, the Ramo in teshuva 96 brings a lengthy teshuva from Rav Eliezar Ashkenazi to answer the Rambam. To understand why, let us look at the exact term of the Rambam. We return to what we mentioned before the exact term of the Rambam.
The Rambam in ISHUSE 14:8 says, “A woman who denies her husband marital relations with her is a MOREDES. We ask her why she rebelled. If she says that she despises him and I cannot tolerate relations with him, we force him to divorce her according to his schedule, because she is not a slave to sleep with somebody she loathes.”
Note that the Rambam does not say “a woman who claims that her husband is disgusting to her we force him to divorce her.” If he had said this, it would clearly violate the Mishneh in Nedarim 90b we mentioned above. So let’s see the exact wording of the Rambam, what he says, and what he didn’t say.
The Rambam in ISHUSE 14:8 says, “A woman who denies her husband marital relations with her is a MOREDES. We ask her why she rebelled. If she says that she despises him and I cannot tolerate relations with him, we force him to divorce her according to his schedule, because she is not a slave to sleep with somebody she loathes.”
Note that in all of this the women made no oral demands, she said nothing about her husband, only to him, she refused intimacy. Then the husband went to Beth Din to complain that his wife is a MOREDES, a rebel, and he wanted the Beth Din to require her to have relations with him, her husband. Of course, the wife never mentioned the word GET or any word that is a request for such. She did not exercise her right to leave the husband’s house, which indicates that she was not interested in breaking the marriage, but merely refused to suffer from intimacy with him. Yes, she is a MOREDES, but has not asked for a GET and has not left the house, which is her right in such circumstances.
Rambam then says, “If she says that she despises him and I cannot tolerate relations with him, we force him to divorce her according to his schedule, because she is not a slave to sleep with somebody she loathes.” What does “we force him to divorce her according to his schedule” mean? But when the wife told the Beth Din that she cannot tolerate relations with him, the Beth Din sat with the husband to get him to improve his relations with his wife. He surely agreed and tried his best for a few weeks. If she accepted him, end of story. But if she continues to despise him and refuse marital relations, Rambam says we force the husband to divorce her. What is meant by “divorce her according to his schedule”? It means that the schedule the husband specified perhaps to Beth Din how long it would take to convince the woman to return to him ends, and he must give a GET. Before then he does not.
Again, when the woman said nothing about the husband other than he was so disgusting to her that she cannot tolerate with him marital relations, but if he improved himself maybe she would accept him, we give the husband time to improve and impress her and she will take him back but if not, that means that she really means it and she will never take him back. If so, the husband must divorce her rather than have a wife who simply tempts him with her beauty and he has no way to maintain his holiness as she rejects intimacy with him. If so, it is a sin to live in the same house with her and he must give a GET. In this case it is possible that as she has not asked for a GET she is only asking for relief from the marital intimacy and we believe her and demand a GET for her as she has not asked for a GET before so we don’t suspect her of lying.
In the Rambam’s terminology she said nothing about being in a state where she would sin if she decided to sleep with her husband. She can say that her husband is disgusting, and she can say that sleeping with him in intolerble for her, but if she does it, it is not a sin similar to what she said in the Mishneh that considered her a liar. If she claims that sleeping with her husband would be a sin, we don’t believe her. But if she claims she cannot relate to him in marriage but does not claim that to sleep with him is a sin, we are not in the mood to claim that she really wants a GET, because the husband like other husbands has the ability to learn how to behave with his wife until she forgives him and enjoys being with him. This is what the Rambam means when he adds the words “the husband will give her a divorce “IN ACCORD WITH HIS SCHEDULE.” What does “IN ACCORD WITH HIS SCHEDULE” mean? It means that the husband and the Beth Din accept that the woman is not lying. The husband obviously knows what it is that angered the woman, and if he is not an imbecile he will get to work to repair the damage. It will take a while. But it can be done. Let us say he did the best he can for five weeks, and she hasn’t budge from hating him. If Beth Din and especially if the husband realized it, and surely if he gave up trying to change her mind about him, it is time for a GET. All of this, of course, is much different from what the Rashbo says, but the Ramo quotes others who reject the path of the Rashbo in Teshuvos of the Ramo 96. This interpretation answers strong questions on the Rambam who seems to defy a clear Mishneh in Nedarim 90B, but now all is clear as day.
This does not mean, however, that all poskim accept what the Ramo and his scholars say about the true meaning of the Rambam. Rather, this does not mean that all poskim accept that what the Rambam says about forcing the husband is true. Maybe most poskim disagree even with this new interpretation of the Rambam and feel that no woman, even who acted as the Rambam writes with the extra words, can force a GET. And when we study Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer 77 paragraphs 2 and 3, we will study the Gro and others, who don’t seem to have such a positive attitude towards the Rambam, and perhaps at least some of them feel that to force a GET with the Rambam’s words could still be forbidden.

Various Opinions and Customs with MOUS OLEI


In our work here we have various objectives. One, we want to know what the halacha is about forcing a husband to give a GET when he doesn’t want to give it. Two, we want to know, as we saw in the Mishneh in Nedarim 90b, that even in the Mishneh there were periods when women could force a GET from their husband with certain claims against him that were believed, and that this was eventually revoked, because “maybe she says it just to find another husband but is lying.”
After the Mishneh we also find an incredible thing, that there were periods when women could force a GET, but as time went on, the opinons of Rabbeinu Tam and the RE dominated that a woman could not force a GET with her claims against her husband. The Poskim do, however, bring gedolei harishonim who  accepted the claim of a woman that her husband was objectional or disgusting to her. These were Rambam and Rashbam. The Ramo, however, discusses whether the Rambam permits forcing her husband to divorce her just for her claim that he disgusts her, or there must be a stronger issue involved besides her verbal complaint. The Ramo in Teshuvoso 96 brings the Rav Eliezar Ashkenazi, that the Rambam only permits forcing a GET on the husband when the wife claims her husband is disgusting to her, does not demand a GET, but rebels against him not to have relations with him. Then the husband, not the wife, is the Tovayah, as she does not function as his wife. But if she demands a GET the Rambam does not permit the GET as we fear that she lies to get another husband. This interpretation is a new one in the Rambam, as generally we assume that the Rambam and the Rashbam permit forcing a GET when the wife claims her husband is disgusting to her. But if so, we have a problem that the Mishneh in Nedarim 90b says clearly that if a woman claims a GET we don’t believe her because “her eyes are to find another husband.” Thus, this strengthens the opinion brought in Ramo from Rav Eliezar Ashkenazi, that the Rambam himself only permits her to force a GET when she does not ask for a GET but only refuses to be with the husband. She is a Moredess and since she does not ask for a GET we don’t assume that she is rebelling because she wants a different husband, and if so, we believe her that she finds her husband disgusting and that causes us to force him to give a GET.
            And see the sefer תשובות חכמי פרובינציא near the end of chapter 73 and then the beginning of chapter 74. One place it says that we don’t force the husband to divorce and we don’t ask him for a divorce, and the other place says that we don’t force the divorce but we do ask him to divorce. The Chazon Ish says that if a Beth Din forces the husband to divorce and he is not obligated to do so the GET is nothing by the Torah because it was forced by the Beth Din and because if the husband would have known that it was a mistake he would not have given it. But asking for a GET could be different. However, the Shita MiKubetsess on Kesubose says that Rabbeinu Tam forbade suggesting that a GET would be a good thing. This could probably mean that the Beth Din suggests this, which is very close to forcing a GET but if plain people or relatives of the wife who want for her a divorce suggest it it is clear if this is a problem. It is not clear what Rabbeinu Tam said other than the brief comment of the Shita.

How to Make Kiddushin Easier on the Wife with Kesubo


About two years ago in Israel, I attended the wedding of my grandson, and since I was the grandfather, I sat next to the Rov who made the Kesubo. I saw him working on the Kesubo and had an idea. I introduced myself as not only a zeideh but as one who studied intensively under the Geonim Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev, all zt”l. I then offered advice how to make a Kesubo that would strengthen the woman in her marriage.
He accepted my thoughts, and when he left the wedding, I went over to him and reminded him that he agreed to my idea and asked if he remains interested in it. He assured me that he was interested in my idea. I was greatly encouraged, because this Rov who was the senior Rov of Beis Shemesh in Israel was a direct descendent of the Gaon Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld zt”l.
So I don’t mind presenting my idea.
But before I do, I have been reading a book about the Gaon Rav Yaacov Kaminetsky recently, time and again, and every page just takes my brain and shakes it up. Reb Aharon and Reb Ruderman would not make sensitive decisions without talking to Reb Yaacov, who was considered to be the Pikayach of the generation. Not only could he give incredible advise to all kinds of people in seconds, but he was a master of physics and medicine, who mastered a thick medical book in one night and a doctor spoke to him at length about a case and was sure that he was talking to a doctor. The doctor was not Jewish, but when he found out that Reb Yaacov was not a doctor, he moved out of his city and came to live in the small town where Reb Yaacov was the Rov. A Yeshiva graduate who ended up helping Einstein with the math of the Theory of Relativity came to Slobodka Yeshiva and asked the Rosh Yeshiva if he could talk to a student who knew physics. The Rosh Yeshiva suggested Reb Yaacov. They had a good talk and then the visitor went back to the Rosh Yeshiva and said, “Reb Yaacov knows physics, and he has a quick response.”
Back to my thoughts how to write a Kesubo, let us talk about Reb Yaacov. He had a constant flow of visitors to his house, because he was able to speak to everyone on their level. It was very hard for his wife because Reb Yaacov used to tell the peole who came to talk to him, “The berocho is from the Rov and the cookies are from the rebbetsin.” The wife worked hard to make him the best meals, and with all of the people waiting to talk to him, it was not easy. But Reb Yaacov would accept his meal from his wife and finish with the visitors and tell them, “I wrote a Kesubo so I must please my wife.” 
Now let us return to my ideas how to improve the wife with a stronger Kesubo.
We know that the Kesubo is written for those with Kiddushin. The gemora in Sanhedrin  21 presents that two legal ways of marriage. One is Kiddushin and the other is Pilegesh. Kiddushin requires Kiddushin and Kesubo and Pilegesh does not. Most women are married with Kiddushin. Thus, they must have a Kesubo. But a Kesubo considers the wife under the direction of the husband, and this entails a kosher GET written with the will of the husband to free her from the marriage. With Pilegesh a husband or wife can just leave with no penalty or problem. However, it is advisable for a Pilegesh especially today to marry and leave her marriage only with the guidance of a Rov who is an expert in the laws of marriage.
Thus, a woman married with Kiddushin who is unhappy with her husband is stuck for ever unless the husband dies or changes his mind about giving her a GET willingly. Some modern people want to create a prenup that forces all Kiddushin husbands to give a GET whenever the wife demands it. But this is strongly criticized by senior rabbis, and openly conflicts with a Mishneh Nedarim 90b that states that a woman cannot force a GET from her husband because we fear that she is lying with her claims about the husband only because she wants a different husband. If so, prenups which force the husband to give a GET immediately whenever the wife demands it are wrong.
What we must do, however, is to somehow level the playing field between husband and wife in Kiddushin if possible. What can be done?
The laws of Kiddushin, described by Rambam as three Torah rules and ten rabbinical rules,  have various intreprations. For instance, the first three Torah rules are SHARE, KESUSE, VIONAH. KESUSE means buying the wife clothes, because KESUSE means “clothes.” VIONAH means “and marital relations.” But what does SHARE mean? Rambam says it means giving the wife food. But the Shulchan Aruch says that it means that intimacy is with husband and wife together with no clothes between them, only perhaps above or beneath both of them but not in between them. Because a Torah rule is much stricter than a rabbical rule, it is important to define if each rule is a Torah rule, which would force the husband to obey it strictly, or a rabbinical law, which is less severe. Furthermore, with a doubt of a Torah rule we take the stringent side, but a doubt of the rabbis could be decided in a lenient way, at least most of the time.
A plain kesubo does not talk about this. So the husband is free to be lenient with certain rules which may mean a lot to the woman. If we add a phrase to the Kesubo that in arguments about if a rule is a Torah rule or a rabbinical rule, that the husband pledges to be stringent, we give the woman power in the Kesubo that would ordinarily be lacking.
To take it further, if the husband adds that he accepts upon himself the obligation to treat an argument about rabbinical laws as if it was a Torah rule, that would force him to be even more strict about keeping the rules of the Kesubo, although it is also possible that another phrase should be added that “this applies only if the wife agrees to be stringent” because she is not looking for rules making life harder for her but better for her. Again, when we change rules in the Kesubo to improve the happiness of the woman, we have to be sure that there is no part of the change that makes things harder for her. In that case, we can add a clal that those stringencies added by the husband only apply if the wife truly wants the change, and the husband may not pressure her to take off his acceptance of the stringencies.The fact that the husband accepts stringencies but the wife is free to disregard the stringencies accepted by the husband for himself should be written in the Kesubo and signed by both husband and wife or at least their legal representatives. That is, the signature of the wife should contain her statement only about the husband’s acceptance of stringencies, and should not be written in a way that anyone could make a mistake that it is about other aspects of the Kesubo.
I wish to mention here that for a variety of reasons some women marry when they are no longer Besulose. Everyone comes to the Chasuna and listens to the person reciting the Kesubo and if the woman is not a Besula if they call her a Besula that is a lie and if they call her something else they are making a major disgrace. Many non-besulose are not guilty of any evil but it happened that they are no longer Besulose. Is it permitted to announce to the world a terrible disgrace on her wedding day? What kind of wedding is that?
We are talking about improving a Kesubo. A Kesubo that is pure disgrace and humiliation is surely a terror. I suggest therefore that the Kesubo be written in English with no mention of the status of the lady, without using terms for Dinar, but dollars, and a large enough amount that will surely reach the level of two hundred dinar. Of course, if the only one who gets an English Kesubo is the lady who is afraid of her disgrace, that would make things worse. I am therefore suggesting that many or all people make an English Kesubo, or another language without talking about sensitive matters.
But since Kesubose are usuallly written in Hebrew, all of this would seem strange. Therefore, I would suggest that we write a Kesubo in Hebrew but instead of describing the lady as a Besula or otherwise, we would establish a financial amount and state that it includes the sum needed for both an almono 100 Dinar and Besula 200 Dinar or say 350 DINAR in silver coin or dollars, because we want to be sure. We have mentioned the words Besula and almona without making problems. I found no source to force a public statement that a woman is a Besula or otherwise.
Some may want to let people know that the woman may or may not marry a Cohen. But an almono may marry a Cohen, usually. So that is not a real reason. The women forbidden to a Cohen are not things that can be put into one word or even words that should be recited in public. So, let us stick with my idea, to mention the basics, the value in coin of the Kesubo of Besula 200 DINAR and almono 100 DINAR combined = 300, but whereas we are really not perfectly clear on the value of a DINAR let us add some more until we no longer have any doubt. We may write this way 300 DINAR paid in American dollars. If the suggested amount is X dollars, let’s add to that enough to be positive that everything is correct.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are various customs in various communities about describing the monies promised by the husband or wife to each other, or promised by family member to this or that one. Some say that the terms used are for complimentary purposes but not accurate. For instance, a person can promise a thousand dollars in a community that exaggerates that but people know that really it is meant to mean only two hundred dollars. If everybody in that family does these things people know what it means.
Problems briefly of mamzerim from rabbis in America and perhaps Israel, the new ideas of Beth Dins in Israel and America and elsewhere, such as I heard from a senior Rov in Brazil, that in his community they allowed a woman with no GET to remarry. Ditto with a senior rabbi in France. And we have that in America also.  






[1] See also Rambam in Laws of Divorce II:20 regarding the mitsvah of obeying the rabbis who command the husband to give a GET in the event that it is not done willingly but only with the force of the Beth Din. It is willingly given out of respect for the rabbis of the Beth Din who require him to give the GET. But this holds only if the law of the Shulchan Aruch agrees that the husband must give his wife a GET which is very rare. If the Beth Din requires a GET when the Torah does not require a GET the Chazon Ish says that the GET is invalid by the laws of the Torah.
[2] There are two 599 paragraphs and this is on the first 599. The text there is somewhat a problem but the correct text is found in the Moharik 102 and the Levush 134:10.
[3] The Hebrew word ללוותו can mean to walk with him or it can mean to lend him something.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Joe Orlow Discusses the Agudah and the Hate Crime Bill of Nine Years Ago

About nine years ago, the U.S. Congress was considering passing a hate crimes bill. The Agudath Israel supported this bill. I confirmed with Rabbi Abba Cohen that Agudath Israel supported this bill. Please confer this link:
http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/agudath-israel-endorses-hate-crimes-bill-rejects-claims-of-christian-right/

As I recall at the moment, Rabbi Cohen, in a phone conversation, told me the Aguda is against hate. This statement of his became the basis for a segment on our weekly one hour show.

I would like now to explore the implication of this bill.

Say that I go into a Mikva. I happen to surprise two men who are disrobed there. They are about to engage in what appears to me to be the homosexual act. This act, as we are all aware, is proscribed by the Torah.

In a moment of righteous anger, I use my physical strength to separate the men. They in turn call the police. I am arrested and charged with assault and battery. A judge finds me guilty and I go to jail for six months.

Now, let's change our hypothetical case. At the time I separate them, I yell, "How can you do this?! The Torah has a Posuk forbidding homosexuality! The Rambam rules that way!! Reshaim!" (Confer source below)

Now, they call the police and they call the FBI. I am charged with assault and battery and convicted and serve six months. When I get out, I am charged with a hate crime and convicted and serve ten years in federal prison.

What is the difference between the two cases? The answer is that I quoted the Torah.

The intent of the bill is to label teaching the Torah a hate crime under certain circumstances.

Thus, the effect of the Aguda supporting the hate crimes bill was to make the quoting of the Torah an act of hate punishable under U.S. law in certain circumstances. Those circumstances include doing the Mitzvah of preventing two Jews from transgressing one of the most serious sins in the Torah.

Source of Rambam: Volume Gimmel, Kedusha, Hilchos Issurei Biah, Perek Aleph, Posuk Daled. The Arayos that Bais Din punishes with death, some of them the punishment is carried out through SKILA or stoning. Stoning is the worst of all punishments prescribed by the Torah, which are here listed in order: Skila, Sraifa, Chenek, Kores, Lav, Aseh. And Skila, the worst, is meted out to male homosexuals.

Furthermore, Rabbi Yehuda Levin has shared a letter from the Gaon Reb Moshe zt"l that everyone is obligated to fight against gay rights in the political realm. Jews have to make it known to elected officials that we stand against gay rights. In other words, we Jews are a pack of haters. This is not personal hate -- we hate the perpetrator, and we are obligated by the Torah to hate, and to give him, through Bais Din, the worst punishment of the Torah. Other Gedolim of past generation also taught similarly.

Anybody who says we can't oppose gays because we're against hate, is ignorant of this Rambam.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
Joe Orlow
(202) 251-3866 courier@softwine.press


Will England Forbid Religious Organizations from Fighting Same-Sex Marriage and Transgenderism?

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government prepares to make it mandatory for all schools–including private, faith-based institutions–to teach an ultraprogressive sex education curriculum. Under the proposal, all schools would be required to teach children from age 4 and up “age-appropriate” content that includes information about same-sex marriage and transgenderism. Catholics, evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and others with traditional views on sex and gender would have to comply. No exceptions.


A prominent rabbi has said that the law would require all Jews to leave Britain. There is some backpeddling in Britain and the law may be modified, but everyone knows that the law is bound to be restored, and ultimately, it may remain on the books and then, Jews may have to leave England or else have their children forced to study toeivo.

The fear is that this law in England will be introduced by certain powerful elements in other countries, and America is suffering now from battles on these issues. In a recent poll, the majority of Americans backed gay rights. What will the future bring? Do all Jews have to go to Israel? At least, let them obey the great rabbis of the past generation, such as Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, whose paper demanding fighting gay rights in America was published on this blog. If we fight back, there is some hope. If we don't fight back, there is no hope.


The saddest thing is that we have people, even prominent Torah Jews, who have taken to saying, "We are against hate" and therefore we must not fight gay rights. This is a violation of the written Torah that we read on Yom Kippur, warning us about toeivo such as same-gender marriage and transgender sins. But now we have some prominent Jewish leaders who tell us that we are against hate, although the Torah demands that we hate evildoers.   


How sad that those prominent Torah Jews who “are against hate” are working for the toeiva and may change the law eventually even in America so Jews cannot any longer live here.


Monday, June 11, 2018


Two Kinds of Wars for Morality
By Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn

There are today two kinds of wars for morality. One is the great battles between biblical people with those who are immoral. The other great battle is even more serious, the battle in the Torah world between those who know that the Torah demands that we fight immorality, and those who claim to be Torah Jews who oppose battling immorality, as incredible as this sounds.
Years ago, senior older rabbis told me that we must fight immorality. I then called up the two senior Rosh Yeshivas in Agudas Israel of America, and asked them to help with the battle against immorality, the fight against a burgeoning gay rights campaign. They both answered the same way, “We are against hate. It is forbidden to fight gays.”  Recently, somebody who is known as an expert on what goes on in the Agudah told me that senior Agudah members have accepted the obligation to support gay rights. Yes, this is the Chofetz Chaim’s Agudah, now in America, and now treifeh.
            At Mincha of Yom Kippur we read from Vayikro 18:1 a lengthy warning about the evils of sexual sins. It would seem that to do this on the holy day itself, at Mincha, is a strange thing. Who on Yom Kippur is the slightest bit interested in the hideous abominations described there? But, unfortunately, this question is answered by a gemora in Yuma and a gemora in Megilah. The gemora in Yuma 19b tells us that the Cohen Gadol did not sleep during the night of Yom Kippur for fear he may become tomay and invalid to do the avodah of the holy day. In order to make sure that he stayed awake the city came out of their houses and would talk loudly so he would hear and stay awake. “Abo Shaul said that even with no Beis HaMikdosh people continued to walk at night and make noise to remember the Beis HaMikdosh but they sinned. [It seems that when the Temple was there and the Cohen Gadol had to be prevented from sleeping people walked around talking loudly to keep the Cohen Gadol awake and there were no sins. But when there was no Temple and people stayed up at night simply to imitate the actions of the Temple period, people did sin. The gemora continues.]
“Abayeh, and some say Reb Nachman be Yitschok said in the name of Nehardo, that Eliyohu spoke to Rav Yehuda, the brother of Rav Salo Chasido, ‘You ask why Moshiach did not come? But today is Yom Kippur and many virgins sinned with men in Nehardo.’ Rav Yehuda asked Eliyohu, ‘What does HaShem say about this?’ Eliyohu replied, ‘Sin waits at the door.’”
The gemora in Megilah 31A says that on Yom Kippur we read the section of the Torah about the sin of sexual sins in Vayikro 18:1. But why? Rashi explains, “So that whoever has sinned with arayose will cease sinning, because aroyose is a common sin that a person desires to do it and his evil inclination entices him.” Note that Rashi writes two things about arayose: One that a person desires to do it, on his own, by his own biological forces he is pressured to sin with arayose, and besides that, Rashi adds, “and his evil inclination entices him.” This is double trouble, and even Yom Kippur requires a Torah reading warning people about sinning. When we recall the above gemora in Yuma how many people sinned on Yom Kippur with arayose, we see how powerful the evil inclination and peoples’ desires are to bring people, even on the holy day, to great sins.
Interestingly enough, Rashi does not mention the gemora in Yuma how many women were ruined by sin. Perhaps after that period of sin people realized that walking around at night was a formula for disaster and ceased doing it. But we continue reading about arayose for the reasons Rashi mentions, because today we no longer stay up all night and allow the worst sins to happen on Yom Kippur.
Tosfose there in Megilah says another idea, that because women dress nicely for Yom Kippur there is a problem of Arayase. Even though the problem is probably not as bad as what the gemora says in Yuma before, even on Yom Kippur, the sight of a well-dressed woman is a problem. Maybe on Yom Kippur it is better not to leave the house and go to shull. But we have to go to shull, and we then have to hear the reading of the Torah to warn us against evil thoughts. Let us hope that it works.