Profile Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wealth 4 - Wealth of Knowing This Physical World

Wealth 4 Knowing the Physical World

The Four Wealths are Torah, Money, Social Skills and Knowing the Physical World. Why is Knowing the Physical World an important Wealth?

The Chofetz Chaim’s major disciple, Reb Elchonon Wasserman, began his daily learning in Telzeh Yeshiva by spreading out a Russian newspaper and reading it. The Mashgiach was horrified but the Rosh Yeshiva permitted it. Reb Elchonon maintained that HaShem speaks to the Jewish people through the newspapers. The success of evil is because of Jewish sin. Therefore, when we know what evil there is in the world, HaShem is speaking to us. He tells us the forces of evil arranged against Jews and he indicates to the Jews what sins they did to deserve this.

Of course, not everyone could be like Reb Elchonon, and it was indeed rare for anyone to begin his learning in Yeshiva with a Russian newspaper! A prominent Dayan told me that his father imitated Reb Elchonon in Reb Elchonon’s Yeshiva. I told him I don’t know if today such a thing would be tolerated.

When some students wanted to study German, Reb Elchonon joined their group. But he let everyone know what he was doing, and this was not what they wanted. Reb Elchonon said that we must learn certain things, but we must be open about it, not keep it secret. There were those who felt obligated to read certain things and I strongly doubt that they wanted to advertise it. But Reb Elchonon felt it important to do certain things even things that nobody else did. But he didn’t want it to be a hidden venture. He let people know what he was doing.

The gemora says that Greater is he who works with the toil of his hands than the G-d fearing. Why is this? Isn’t one who fears HaShem greater than one who works with the toil of his hands? But we see from this that one who toils with his hands to earn a living, and participates with the world at its base level, has achieved a spiritual level. Working with one’s hands and working with the physical world is part of HaShem’s plan for Creation. The Creation was made for people to grow crops, raise cattle and sheep, make wine and oil, etc. All of these things connect the Created person to the Creator.
A person who understands basics in carpentry, electrical work, etc., can more readily participate in the world, the Creation and unite with the Creator.
Wealth 4 - Wealth of Knowing This Physical World

The gemora in Berochose discusses how much somebody must work and how much somebody should learn Torah.  There is a discussion between Rabbi Shimon bar Yochoi and Rabbi Yishmael. It seems that the ruling in the gemora is that people should work. But how much to work and how much to learn is a separate topic.  We turn in our next post to that question. How much do we learn and how much to we earn?

4Winds of Wealth for Happiness Post 4- - Wealth 3 - Social Skills

4Winds of Wealth for Happiness – Wealth 3 – Social Skills

The Four Wealths are Wealth in Torah, Wealth in Money, Wealth in Social Skills and Wealth in Understanding the Physical World.
We are now up to Wealth 3 of the 4 Wealths – Social Skills. Social Skills includes family, skills in marriage and raising children. Social Skills includes Derech Erets, the Way of the World, in dealing with others, Jews and non-Jews. Dealing with Human Beings who are in the Image of HaShem is a sacred skill. One who makes a good impression on others makes a Kiddshin HaShem; and one who makes a bad impression on others makes a Chilul HaShem.

Thus, this third wealth, as it creates with proper skill Kiddush HaShem, elevates a person to the highest pinnacle of kedusho, sanctifying the Holy Name. And lack of such skill creates the great sin of Chilul HaShem.

Recently, I told a prominent therapist of my concern that many people today don’t know how to behave in marriage. He responded, “Their parents don’t know how to behave in marriage,” he said, “so how are they supposed to know how to behave in marriage?”

I once spoke to a prominent Rov who told me, “You are from the old generation and I don’t know if you can understand the present one.” This is taught in the famous Mishneh in Sota about the End of Days when family itself will disintegrate and respect will disappear for elders.

Before the Great Light of Moshiach will come the Great Darkness of Evil. And the Great Darkness of Evil will produce a generation or so where respect for elders disappears. Therefore, today it is very hard to achieve a wealth of social skills because of this.

Is there hope? Reb Elchonon Wasserman zt”l taught that the Mishneh there tells us, “And we have nobody to rely on except our Father in Heaven.” Reb Elchonon says that people mistakenly interpret this to mean that only HaShem can solve the great problems of the End of Days and we are helpless. But this is a mistake. We must not forget that HaShem will help anyone, anytime, who wants to serve HaShem. Even in the greatest darkness, one who strives for holiness and Derech Erets can achieve it.
The Ponovitecher Rov was a Rov at a time when keeping the Torah was not fashionable. He asked the Chofetz Chaim what to do. The Chofetz Chaim answered that when there is a Civil War we have to choose the strongest side, that side that will win. The Ponovitcher Rov asked, “Does that mean that I must accept the dictates of the wicked?” The Chofetz Chaim answered, “HaShem is the strongest.”

Today it is very hard to maintain a marriage, raise children, even to get along with people. But if we apply ourselves and trust in HaShem, He can help us and bring us the Third Wealth, the wealth of marriage, family, and various social skills including Derech Erets that precedes the Torah.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Decide! Divorce or Not

Decide! Divorce or Not

People marry, have children, often many children, but the marriage isn’t working well. Should the couple divorce? What should be the factors in this matter?

We mentioned in our previous post that divorcing when there are children is very questionable. In fact, the gemora clearly forbids it in two places. And yet, every day another family with a large amount of children divorces. Perhaps this is wrong. But how can people live together and fight constantly?

The Chofetz Chaim once advised a couple to divorce. Somebody asked him how a tsadik can say such a thing. The Chofetz Chaim replied, “According to you, that you must always make Shalom Bayis, why did the Torah permit making a GET?”

A key element in this issue is the First Team of those who can make Shalom Bayis. There are, in very community, those people who are more capable than others in making Shalom among quarrelling couples. When these worthies have tried their best and nothing changes, perhaps it is time to look for other solutions to the crisis. On the other hand, what is so terrible if you fail once and try again?

They key in all of this is to reach  the husband and wife and create hope that maybe a divorce is not the only way. Maybe after years of suffering people will grow up and behave. Maybe. It is possible.

A major therapist told me that some people have bad traits that require dedicated work with a top therapist for years to cure. But the same therapist told me that he has worked for decades with the hardest cases and can achieve results. Of course, it depends how dedicated the people are because working on yourself is not an easy task.

Here is my plan. A and B have split. There are a lot of children. On the one hand, the children really need two parents in the house. On the other hand... There are two ways to approach things. One is negative and one is positive. Let us eschew the negative now because when I discuss it it makes me feel negative! So let's try positive!

It means like this. A and B are at loggerheads. How deep the pain is I can't imagine, and I go past it. What else can I do? Let's talk about positive things. The husband and wife have split, there are certain issues that will provoke bitter fights, and there are other things that won't produce bitter fights. Now, here is my plan.

Today is the end of Chanukah. Let us go to our couple and say as follows. Let's take a Holiday from war. Let's do the miracle of Chanukah. How? Each person will think only positive about the other at least for Chanukah, and at least for the experiment I make.

The couple at this point has not settled anything. Therefore, the wife is bitter and the husband is bitter. No, no, no. It is Chanukah. And if it not Chanukah, we will invent a new Chanukah. Any ridiculous thing is better than broken chldren.

So let us talk to A and B and say, Guess what! Today is Chanukah, the real or invented one. Let's do one thing. Let's make the children happy. What about gifts fo the children? What about a party for the children? Now, don't think this is an easy matter. For all of this you need somebody who is respected by both sides so much that they will put away their weapons at least for a limited period. That is no simple matter. When I get involved I don't take money so people have to respect that. And I am also too old to suffer from the fights so people have to behave. I also believe in miracles. So let us assume that there will be a miracle. The husband will come to the wife and the children with goodies or whatever and for a few seconds everyone can smile.

That is basically step one. But there is another idea. Now that somebody is involved in the whole thing, and that person obviously is enamored of fantasies, why not be truly ambitious? If the major therapists I spoke to assure me that the right person can fix a broken marriage, why are we different? If it takes two years to fix a bad trait, but the person tries hard from the beginning, maybe this makes a difference. When you see somebody trying, somebody who is the father of your children, you have to think twice before your break dishes.

I am seventy two years old and I married off nine children. But I am still running around to people who are experts to get advice how to behave in marriage. And when they tell me something, whether or not it hurts, it helps and I really try to behave. Let's consider that. What hope is there when a person splits in marriage and will sit with children from a broken family for long years. Who will marry these broken children? Maybe, just maybe, it will be possible to plant impossible thoughts.

I once made Shalom Bayis at a GET. The Rov worked for nothing. But isn't that what is it all about?

Jewish Torah people, who spend their whole lives learning Torah and musar, can't we somehow convince them to save their children from a broken family? Maybe I am just too optimistic. But when I come to the other world, that foolishness will protect me.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

May You Divorce When You Have Children?

 Let’s Talk about Divorce

So many people get divorces these days. Even those with children battle it out and aim at divorce. But this is surely wrong. First of all, is marriage something that we try on today and discard tomorrow? Kiddushin is a sacred thing. If husband and wife realized the sanctity of marriage and the holiness of the children, would they just divorce with all that implies? The popularity of divorce is proof that the entire Torah world is sick. Even animals love their children. But some parents love their rights, their freedom, etc. But once a person signs on to Kiddushin and has children, how will they answer in the Other World for the pain they cause the children? And who says that the pain of the spouse will not be judged?

The gemora in Eruvin 41b talks about suffering people. One of them is a man who has an “evil wife.” This is defined as one who yells at her husband during the day and when it come time to join him at the meal she turns away and will not sit with him. The gemora Yevomose in 63b says that “an evil woman, it is a mitzvah to divorce her.” On the other hand, maybe she has children, or she has a large kesubo. We see from that that if one has children, divorce, even for an evil woman, is not available.

I once was in a Beth Din during  a GET, and saw that the wife was crying bitterly. It seems that two Israelis married and had a wonderful marriage. But the husband became religious and Haredi, a real Yeshiva bochur. The wife tried very hard to be religious, but she could not be religious. So there was a divorce, and the mother took the child.

Not long after this, I went to Posek HaDor Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l and told him about this. I asked what right the father had to destroy his child by giving her to a non-religious woman. He agreed. He said, “If she will keep taharas hamishpocho, he should not divorce her.” Imagine, a person is learning in a Yeshiva, in a Kollel, and his wife doesn’t keep Shabbos. He has more children and this non-religious lady raises them. Fine. But not divorce. And today, children are tossed out to twist in the wind for all kinds of reasons.
When you have a child you are stuck. It is that simple. And guess what? When you marry, you are also “stuck.” Unless you don’t accept the obligations if marriage, which is not a Torah attitude.

There is a lengthy gemora about this, regarding the great prophet Hoshea. See Pesachim 87A that Hoshea was the greatest prophet of his time, greater than Yeshayeh, Omus and Michah. HaShem told Hoshea, "Your children have sinned," and Hoshea could have replied, "Are they my children and not Your children?" Not only did he not do this, but he told HaShem, "Change them for a different nation." HaShem was not satisfied with this and decided to teach the prophet a lesson. 

He told Hoshea to marry a noted prostitute. Hoshea did this (it is not clear if it actually happened or was just a dream) and had children from her. Then HaShem told Hoshea that his level of prophecy now required him to separate from his wife and be holy and together with HaShem with prophecy, as Moshe did. Hoshea was very upset about this. He said how can I leave my children? That was what HaShem wanted him to say. He therefore said to Hoshea, your wife has children but you are not sure if they are even from you. But you refuse to leave her. How can I leave my people?

Hoshea realized his mistake and his sin and began praying for the Jews that HaShem forgive them. This was what HaShem wanted. But we see from the gemora that to leave even a wicked woman is not so simple if children are involved.

And yet, today, there is a flood of people going for divorces and there are terrible fights over custody. Children who go through this suffer. And "Beth Din is the Father of orphants." Meaning, there is a responsibility to care about children whose parents are not taking care of them. Beth Din should protest the incredible divorce rate. But things just get worse.

4 Winds of Wealth for Happiness - Post 3 Money

The four wealths are Torah, money, family, and knowing this world. Let us now turn to number two wealth, money.

Rambam says that nobody may marry until they have a house and a steady income. But marriage is around the age of seventeen or eighteen. And before then the person learned for years in a Yeshiva. So when did he get the money to buy a house before he marries?

But we see from this that earning began with childhood. Yes, a child learned Torah for many hours. But he also did part time earning. When a child becomes an adult, he is ideally supposed to learn most of the day and work a few hours. And so when he is a child and learning in Yeshiva, he does what he will do as an adult. He spends most of his time learning, but he applies himself part time to earning. From the tenderest age, a child can learn this that and the other thing. His parents help train him. He learns how to take things to Yeshiva from his parent's farm or produce and sell them. He learns how to sell. He learns how to do business. He is on his way. And after a few years, he has some money saved up. After many years of part time working, the child reaches maturity with enough savings to buy a house, with no mortgage! He begins life with peace of mind. His learning is different, without stress of paying the bills.

Thus, Rovo told his students, you must have wealth, in order to learn without worries. But how could they spend their time learning and become wealthy? But if children began to earn, and reached adulthood with savings and going businesses, of course they could achieve wealth, again, with part time working. But it began years before they were ready for marriage. And this let them achieve a marriage with wealth, with peace of mind, and the gemora says that peace of mind from money makes for Shalom Bayis, and poverty makes problems with marriage.

Thus, the wealth of money makes one wealthy in Torah, and wealthy in family. It makes him a happy and settled person, proud of his work and happy with his important place in society.

But today people learn Torah and don't work until way after their marriage and a few years in Kollel. The bills are always there, and how they are paid is a sad story. People who live like that suffer from lack of Shalom Bayis, are themselves frustrated, and we see what kind of people are growing from this idea.

The incredible divorces, the putting the husband in jail, the stranding of the wife without a GET, the children being torn apart by all of this, this is the Yeshiva is Haschoso of our times, as we mentioned in an earlier post on this topic.

One of my young children was crying because he sold his bike and got the wrong price for it. I told him that I was overjoyed that he made such a mistake. Look, I said, my friend married, borrowed a fortune and lost it, and how what will he repay it? Why? Because he was never trained in business. But you, making a painful mistake over five dollars, have learned lessons that will protect you doing business the rest of  your life. How lucky you are!

How we can implement the idea of children earning in a country where this is illegal in some ways is another discussion. But it can be done in a legal manner. And a child can surely buy and sell things on his own, and learn business. If he does that, as the years go by, his savings will prepare him for a marriage with wealth and Shalom Bayis. He will learn better, he will be happier with his family, and he will have his place in the world.

Let us say that a child sells before each holiday things needed on the holiday. Is it against the law for him to do this? If the child works for others, this is a problem. But if a child helps out their father or mother in the family store, is this a violation? There are laws but it is possible within the framework of the federal and state laws dealing with child labor to find a way to make money. For instance, agriculture is not a forbidden job for children so much so that a very large percentage of food in America is harvested by children. This is a dangerous job and the children often work long hours, but it is not illegal, although maybe ht should be illegal. But there are other jobs that are forbidden under child labor.But if the child sells his bike or fixes bikes and charges for his work, is this child labor? We have to find the right job in the right state where a child can make money and work towards wealth.

But we keep in mind what we mentioned in the beginning of our 4winds of four wealth for happiness. Each of the four wealths, for Torah, for money, for family and for understanding the world, encourages the othe three wealths. Thus, if a person has a lot of money, his learning goes better, as Rovo told his students.

We mentioned with the First Wealth, Torah, that  if somebody did not learn properly for many years, no matter what his age, let him begin "today." And so it is with financial success. Let a person find a way to make some money. Let him ask people knowledgeable in the area and get their advice. Let him talk to people who will give him a Torah perspective. And then, try it out.

That is, don't ever jump. Don't get do anything, or even say anything, until you carefully weigh what willl happen next.

Caution and steadiness. But never forget that you are looking for wealth. May HaShem reward you with success.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

4 Winds of Wealth for Happiness - Post Two - Wealth in Torah

4 Winds of Wealth for Happiness - Post Two

We concluded Post One with the 4 Winds of Wealth. They are that each person from childhood and certainly later should aim at achieving wealth in Torah learning, in money, in family and socially, and in understanding the world.

Let us begin here with understanding Wealth in Torah, the first of the four wealths.

Wealth in Torah means what Chazal tell us. It does not mean what it does today, that people spend years listening to some convoluted interpretation of somebody even while they are missing basic mastery of the essential Mishnehs and Talmud and Poskim.

The 4 wealths begin at the earlier age. From early age on and certainly later, everyone must begin preparing the Torah wealth, the monetary wealth, the social wealth, and the wealth of knowing what goes on in the world. But at any time that a person begins the 4 Wealths program, a person will gain. As another day goes by and another day, the person will realize what it means not just to learn and forget, but to learn and retain. And the person begins to realize that as he continues, goals he never dreamed of are coming his way.

The Avneu Nezer explained today there are few great Geonim because the way we learn is backwards. We begin with a complicated discussion about a deep topic in the Talmud, perhaps a question of Rabbi Akiva Eiger on a Tosfose. But we never learned the material Rabbi Akiva Eiger is talking about, so we have to learn it. But if we had known the Mishneh and the gemora and the Tosfose before we entered into Rabbi Akiva Eiger's question, everything would fly right into our mind. Therefore, the person rich in Torah began learning by mastering the Mishneh and then the gemora and then the Tosfose. When he finished the Mishneh the gemora came quickly to him, because the gemora is simply discussions of the Mishneh. And when we learn the gemora, and know it, we quickly understand what Tosfose is saying when he quotes these gemoras. And when we pick up an acharon or the Shulchan Aruch and they quote a Tosfose, we are there and readily assimilate the gist of the discussion.

But today, says the Avneu Nezer, we begin with the difficult question of Rabbi Eiger without a backround, and at every step, we have to stop and learn up a whole gemora and a whole mishne that is foreign to us. That leaves us without a clear picture of the learning we do, and it readily fades.

When I learned by Reb Aharon Kotler, he asked my chaveruso where he was holding. How many blot he had learned in the masechto. My chaveruso answered, five or ten blot, I don't remember exactly. Reb Aharon put down his hands and said, "Oy vay, oy vay."

There is another aspect of wealth in Torah. The rabbis taught, "Greater is one who serves his rebbe than one who learns from him." While in my time people did not learn a lot of plain gemora, but spent time delving deep into parts of it, that is "learning." But I spent a lot of time talking with Reb Aharon, Reb Moshe, Reb Yaacov, Reb Elyashev and other gedolim. When I spoke to Reb Aharon I got beaten regularly (orally) until finally I latched on and got a compliment, a backhand one to be sure, but nonetheless a compliment, that I understood how to learn with the derech of Reb Chaim and Reb Baruch Ber. Later I spent much time with Reb Moshe Feinstein, and there, discussing halacha, I went through the same pain of getting my brain rearranged. But finally, I received a very warm haskomo on my sefer in halacha, where Reb Moshe said that he knows me for many years as one who delves deeply into complicated halochose. That is the ultimate semicha to pasken hard shaalos. I pestered Reb Elyashev zt"l and with pure chutspah asked him for name for my Beth Din in Gittin and he immediately granted it. When I presented my questions to him, he recognized somebody whose brain has been beaten and rearranged, and things went very fast.

Thus, wealth in Torah means learning basics, page by page, and spending time talking to rebbes who mold you in thinking in learning. This is Wealth One. End of Post Two. 

Frum Follies Attacks Me for Not Knowing the Laws of Coerced Gittin

The following is from a comment on Frum Follies, a blogspot devoted to destroying respect for Haredim. That blog is busy with defaming my brother Rabbi Dr. Daniel Eidensohn, but Sam here is quoted in his attack on me also.

Sam says:
I see eidensohn reads this blog. So this is directed to that loser.
.... You pretend to know Halacha , but all the poskim disagree with you,,especially on your wrong misunderstanding what constitutes a forced get. Your seforim are thrown in the garbage ,just as if an apikores wrote them. You are not accepted even to speak about child abuse anymore. Nobody cares anymore about your web site, except your few followers who think everybody is crazy except them. You and your brother bring shame to your family.END QUOTE

Hello Sam and regards to Yerachmiel Lopin or whatever his real name is,
Sam says that "all the poskim disagree with you, especially on your wrong misundrstanding what constitutes a forced get." That is very interesting, because I had an in depth discussion with Posek HaDor Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt"l about forced Gittin, and I asked him for his name for my Gittin Beth Din, and he immediately gave it. But don't believe me. Just allow me to  show you the clear sources in the Shulchan Aruch that coercing a husband to divorce in the vast majority of cases is wrong.

Even Hoezer chapter 77 paragraph 2 and 3. There the Shulchan Aruch, the Ramo, the Gro, the Beis Shmuel and the Chelkas Mechokake, all of the major commentators on Shulchan Aruch, agree that coercing a husband solely on the basis of the wife hating him, is wrong and is sinful coercion. The Vilna Gaon #5 says that nobody disagrees. Of course, Sam disagrees. Tell me, who besides  you disagrees?

Now you said that all of the poskim disagree with me. If so, show me one posek who disagrees with me.

You write that "your seforim are thrown in the garbage just as if an spikores wrote them." That is very interesting, because my  brother's seforim are best sellers, one after the other, and you are the first one who made up a lie, very common in these situations, and said what filth  you want, because  you are on a blog that encourages filth and lies about Haredim. Well, my brother called your hero Yerachmiel a liar, with proofs, not like the loser haters on that blog of haredi haters who are probably far removed from Torah. So, it is a free country. You go on Y's blog and specialize in lies about Haredim, attack me and my brother, and I am here to reply.

Incidentally, you also mention that you disagree with what I wrote about Pilegesh. I  replied  on frumfollies, but he would not publish my remarks. My brother publishes Yerachmiel or whatever his real name is whenever he comes on my brother's blog and treats him fare and square, even though he maintains that Y is a liar. He proves that he is a liar and leaves it at that. But Y would not allow me to respond to an attack on me and my brother on his blog. So I decided to reply on my blog. It is about time that people like my brother and myself who have great respect from the Gedolim of the past and present generations, don't just ignore the filth and hate that comes from people who don't love haredim and who knows if they are religious. The Talmud says that the Am Aratsim, the sect of ignorant Jews in ancient Israel, hated rabbis intensely. They were bitter about something that led them to hate. And that is happening now in the few hate blogs such as frumfollies and failed messiah. We can't stop their blogs but we can respond to them.

I am of course greatly distressed that Sam's friends don't respect me, so to comfort myself I looked into my seforim with Reb Moshe Feinstein's haskomo, and he wrote, "I know Rabbi Eidensohn for many years as one who delves deeply into complex halacha." That is the ultimate compliment from Posek HaDor Reb Moshe. My seforim have many such haskomose from Gedolei HaDor of the past generation. Of course, I am still waiting for Sam's haskomo.

Sam writes that "Nobody cares anymore about your web site, except your few followers who think everybody is crazy except them. You and your brother bring shame to your family." That is strange because my brother's blog is heavy in traffic, very heavy. And those who come are often very smart people who write very well and say interesting things. But Sam thinks they are people who think everybody is crazy except them.

As far as the frumfolly filth lies that our family is ashamed of us, allow me just to say that my brother and I have done very nice shidduchim. I spoke recently to a Rosh Beis Din in a major American city and he told me that he is a mechuton with my brother. My children married the top Torah, Yeshiva and rebbesheh families. So, if Sam has no respect for me, others do. I once sat next to my mecheton, the Mattesdorfer Rebbe, and he asked me how I merited to have such good children. I told him, "Mere reeren nisht on yenner gelt." He really like that.

And now baruch HaShem that we are going down into the marriage of grandchildren, HaShem has helped with wonderful shidduchim, powered by my rebbe's berochose, Reb Shmuel Toledano zt"l the Kabbala genius of Jerusalem, praised by Rav Kaduri as one who wrote Kabbala books on a level that could only be ruach hakodesh.

And to explain to people my teaching on Pilegesh is very simple. I clearly wrote on my post that it is a sin to marry a pilegesh, and I am only talking about people who should not take Kiddushin because they will not honor it, but force the husband to give a GET in a way that makes invalid divorces, or they declare the marriage not valid, which is an evil outrage. Such people should not have kiddushin, but they are not allowed to be alone because of biological pressures. Therefore, the only solution is pilegesh, to rely on those who permit pilegesh. However, because piilegesh chould result in a need for a GET, anyone who does pilegesh needs a  proper Beth Din to sign a paper for them that the marriage is not one that requires a GET.

But Sam just zips in and says lies that I permit Pilegesh. I can't stop the liars, but let them hear some truth for a change. I don't know how they will adjust to that. But I believe that people who see these blogs that specialize in hate of Haredim, made by people who may not be frum, or are not known to be frum, should realize that such people are suspected of saying what we have shown are obvious lies, and anything they say is to be suspect.

The sin of loshon hora is one thing. But to make up a lie about somebody, especially somebody who is involved with Avodas HaShem, is the kind of sin that Yerachmiel and his followers whatever their real names are will be judged for. Now, today they probably don't believe in such things.It is quite likely that these people are bitter about somebody in the Torah community for reasons real or not. But to devote one's life to lies about people who spend their lives helping people, is wrong. And when HaShem will judge Yerachmiel and his followers, all of those who contributed to that enterprise may be called in to testify for themselves.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hope for the Torah: 4 Winds of Wealth for Happiness - Post One

4winds of wealth for happiness This is a link to an audio tape of Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn explaining the Four types of wealth that make for happiness. You may begin by listening to the audio, or you can read this material first.

4winds of wealth for happiness is about the great decline of Torah especially in America, that has resulted in a great lack of prominent gedolim, and has brought to the leadership of the Torah community people who regularly do the opposite of the Shulchan Aruch and poskim, as we have often discussed on this blog and elsewhere.

There is now a great crisis with broken Torah families, often leading to terrible fights in secular court and Chilul HaShem, not to mention the suffering of the people involved. There is something wrong. But what is it? One thing is that when we hear what present Torah leaders in America want to do, they never talk about broken marriages. It is fighting the Internet or some such thing. This is how I got into the 4winds, as I will explain.

It all began some years ago when the Magid of Jerusalem was in Monsey. Since it was my style to pester every Odom Gadol who came my way, I used to regularly talk to him when he visited Monsey during his various campaigns to raise money for Israeli Yeshivos, etc. This time, I came to him after he gave a lecture with a new kind of request. I told him that a video store had opened in Monsey right in the center of town. In those days, Monsey was all about Torah. A video store was a shocking thing. I anticipated that Reb Shalom would say something fiery, perhaps in public, perhaps as part of his regular derosho, to arouse people to this problem. So how surprised I was that just the opposite happened.

Reb Shalom, a student of Reb Elya Lopin, was a master speaker and an artist with his gestures. He answered my remark about the video store by turning away from me, so I was staring at the side of his face, and the face was cold, very cold, granite that did not know I existed. I repeated myself, but no change. I tried, again, and no change. So I thought, "Here I am, Mr. Azuse ponim, because how else could I speak to all of the gedolim? I raised my voice and said, "Rebbe! Hashchoso!"

Reb Shalom was waiting for that. Suddenly, he woke up. His eyes flashed. With great theatric control he slowly turned and moved his hand and finger at my face and declared, "A Yeshiva is haschoso!" I felt myself falling down, down, down. But a still quiet voice said to me, "Just be quiet. He said this in public. He has to explain." Reb Shalom relished his triumph by smiling and saying, in a nice way in Yiddish, "That shut his mouth." I used to banter with him when he was in a good mood. Now he blew me away. But I was waiting. And then Reb Shalom explained why he said such a drastic thing. Yes, he was very upset about what was going on in Yeshivas, and he meant what he said.

A few weeks later, at the wedding of my son, I saw that a very prominent Rosh Yeshiva was there, as he was the mechuten of my mechuton. I went to pester him and sat with him for half an hour talking about my compalints about the Agudah and Rosh Yeshivas. He listened and did not dispute anything. I then mentioned about Reb Shalom's remark. The Rosh Yeshiva suddenly became aroused and enthusiastic as if to say, "Yes."

I asked my son how this could be, as he was a major Rosh Yeshiva, and my son answered, "He is always talking like that."

From that time on, I became even more critical of what was going on in the Torah world. And if today you read my ferocious comments about major RoshYeshivas who coerce Gittin and make mamzerim, that is when it really got started.

For a few years I battled major Rosh Yeshivas brutally because they were giving out letters commanding people to coerce a GET from somebody who was related to a Rosh Yeshiva and another person who was married to the daughter of a friend of a Rosh Yeshiva. I let loose and claimed that they were making mamzerim, which was true.

But as time went on, and I saw that I had succeeded in presenting the sources for my complaints, but I saw no change in the posture of those I criticized, even after Gedolim in Israel joined in the battle, I realized that the whole American Torah world was sinking. What could I do?

I recalled that the Chofetz Chaim said, "We don't punch darkness. We create light." I began to think how to create light. First I came up with the idea of Shalom Bayis Beth Din, to educate couples and to work with them when there were problems, and maybe to fine people who don't listen to the Beth Din that could save a lot of people from being forced to stay married with problems of coercion. But I realized that the problem would not be solved with that, as the problem is the great lack of Gedolim and the emergence of people who are not only ignorant about basic halacha in Gittin but they are also corrupt.

One day, I had an idea. The solution is really to reach into the schools where young people learn, and teach them the real Torah, the one I had learned from much personal talking to Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein, Reb Yaacov Kamiinetsky, Reb Yosef Shalom Elyashev all of them zt"l, and others. But what would be the focus, the program? I came up with the idea of the Four Wealths.

People must be taught from childhood to be great or wealthy in Torah, to be great and wealthy with money, to be great and wealthy with social skills and Derech Erets, and to be great and wealthy with knowledge of the world, the physical and political issues.

(Continued in Post Two)

Beth Din and Forcing a GET

Whereas few people know the laws of Gittin, but many people are free with their comments about the laws of Gittin, I wish to break the general pattern by stating the laws of Gittin with sources. Some people dismiss my sources by saying that "that is the opinion of the minority" but they have no idea who the "majority" is. Secondly, I talk about Torah matters with a very strong backround in talking intensively with Gedolei HaDor of the past generation such as Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein, Reb Yaacov Kaminetsky, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev and many others. If I say something, I can back it up. But the critics who have no proofs other than what they feel is right or wrong, have no sources. And this applies to nearly all of the Beth Dins and Rosh Yeshivas and rabbis who signed letters or who spoke out about coercing husbands to divorce. I never ever spoke with one of them who knew the laws of Gittin, although they surely thought that they did.

 Finally I contacted the Gedolim in Israel and they backed me up, sending out letters all over Israel, and finally making an entire Sefer on these topics. They say that any woman who receives a GET from those Beth Dins that coerce husbands in violation of clear halacha, that the GET is not recognized and the woman needs another GET. If she has children from the old GET it is a question if they are mamzerim.

We are thus anticipating a huge mamzer problem in the coming generation. Rav Elyashev zt"l told me that any Beth Din that coerces, he takes away from them chezkas Beth Din, meaning we don't respect their Gittin. They are not a Beth Din.

 I was once sent by the Beth Din in Jerusalem to Posek HaDor Reb Moshe Feinstein with a problem of a doubtful mamzer. I saw first hand what a horror it is. And now, we are going to have a flood of such people. Of course, if Open Orthox and Modern Orthodox parents have children like them, who disregard the Shulchan Aruch and invent the laws of Gittin, they may marry their own kind. But many non-Haredi children become Charedi. These children will be considered a problem, and I consider this child abuse. I visited a blog recently that pours scorn on me, and let them pour it. But why do they pour it on helpless babies? In fact, Rabbi Soloveitchik's son spoke out about this. He said, We must learn about the ways of the Haredi community, because many of our children will end up there. So why are we making mamzerim?

 And there are problems with Haredi Beth Dins also. One in Monsey has been censured severely by HaGaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlit"o. I wish to add here, that if chas vishalom somebody has such a problem, with a questionable GET or chas vishalom a problem with a child, please contact me. I once had a case of an utterly ridiculous GET, as somebody did his best but it wasn't wonderful, as he didn't know the laws of Gittin. I wrote a teshua on the GET and I was told that Reb Elyashev zt"l said when he saw it, "I never said the GET was invalid." Thus, on the one hand we have to prevent doubts. But if there are doubts and problems, we have to send the question to somebody with the extensive experience talking to Gedolei HaDor who can maneuver.

In the case I mentioned above about my mission to Reb Moshe, there was a huge argument among the greatest rabbis. It seemed that the boy would be ruined. But I have a lot of pure chutspah besides my training, and things were solved, beautifully. Of course, I cheated on that, as I merely did what a Gadol told me to do, but if you spend time with Gedolim, things can work out. The laws of coercing a husband to give a GET are found in two places. (Hint: ask your expert on Gittin where the laws of forcing a GET is. Probably, as I have found, they will point to somewhere in the laws of Gittin. Wrong. The coercion of a husband because of obvious physical faults, etc. in the husband is in the laws of Gittin. But this is extremely rare. The divorces today are about a wife who doesn't like the husband. The laws of that are not in Gittin but in Kesubose, because we don't want a GET, we want the family to continue.)

 In Even Hoezer Laws of Gittin 154 we have the laws of what husbands can be forced to give a GET. These are extremely rare cases, such as a husband who has an awful smell, etc., as well as a husband who cannot function as a man. Also there are very serious problems such as a husband who changes his religion, a husband who may hit or kill his wife, etc. But the laws of divorce that apply to the vast majority of Gittin are not in the laws of Gittin, but in Even Hoezer 77 paragraphs two and three. There everyone, the Shulchan Aruch, the Ramo, the Beis Shmuel, the Chelkas Mechokake and the Gro say that pressuring a husband to give a GET when the wife demands a GET because she loaths the husband is forbidden. The Vilna Gaon #5 says that nobody disagrees. And yet, right and left, we have Beth Dins openly demanding a GET and forcing it. The GET is invalid and the children are mamzerim, unless somebody finds a way out of it, which is quite a challenge.

 The Chazon Ish in EH 99 says that if Beth Din tells the husband that the Torah requires a GET and he gives it, the GET is invalid and the children are mamzerim. But this goes on all the time. Yes, there are great problems with Beth Dins that disagree with the Chazon Ish, or who never learned the Chazon Ish, or who don't really know the laws of Gittin. If you have a problem with a Beth Din, or in general, write me at or call 845-578-1917. Also, we are organizing nationally a group of people who want to fight back against the mamzer producers. Some of them are husbands who have been badly broken by the system. I encourage them to work with me and we will fight back. I am also interested in making a group for women mainly those who are stuck with problems of divorce. Children need a lot of help when the parents fight. I need some ladies who can help out in this. Shalom.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Teach Your Children - "Beware of Chazir Menshen"

Years ago, I got involved with fighting child abuse. But there was a problem in how to present the problem to young children. An experienced teacher once said that he was told about warning children about child abuse, that it could backfire. Only a very experienced and confident teacher should talk about such things to the class. One teacher said that his mentor did talk about these things to the class, but that he feared that he was not ready to do it. So what could I do? Because child molestation is rampant everywhere, even in the Torah community. I hit upon the idea of telling my children, "Watch out for the chazir menshen." When I said "chazir menshen" my face revealed my true revulsion for anyone who would do such a thing. Not long after this, my young son came charging into the house shouting, "Tatee! A chazir mensh is next door." It seemed that next door, in a shull, my son was learning, and a man came in and started learning. Then the man came over to talk to my son about something and suddenly, my son realized that this fellow had not come to talk. My son bolted for the door. I was out in a flash. I saw a fellow huffing and puffing on his way up the street, and I was after him. He beat me to the bus by a few steps. Which was very lucky for me, if not for him. It seems that one of the favorite tactices of molesters is to go to a different community where nobody knows them. Not long after that the police found a young child sitting in the driver's seat of a car that had just had an accident. It seems that the owner of the car was a molester who would let kids drive the car as a payment for their chazir help. When he saw the accident from the kid's driving he ran away, but the police had the car and probably traced the license plate to the owner. We have a great problem that biology begins way before marriage. Yeshivas have problems. When I was young, a Yeshiva expelled a large group of older students. That was why. Some despair of preventing everything. One student told me that he told his Rosh Yeshiva that a student was engaged in chazir stuff. Nothing happened. I don't want to discuss what happened when the student started pestering the Rosh Yeshiva about it. I once went to a prominent Rov in Israel, to discuss with him the laws of Gittin. After a while, he said that he was going to doven Mincha, and I went along. After Mincha, the Rov called me over. "Do you go to the Mikvah?" he asked. I answered, "You suspect me of going to a place that is tumoh, rima visolayoh?" He smiled and said to me, "Go back to Monsey and say that filters are wrong." That has to do with Mikvah laws, but he didn't contest my description of the Mikva. A Mikvah is a great problem. There is a new one in Monsey that is built in such as to avoid many problems, but taking children along with the father to the Mikvah is surely a questionable act. A friend who is very active in child molestation once told me that there is a Mikvah in Brooklyn known in the trade as "h___central." Men come in, look, lock on to somebody, and they are gone. Biology doesn't run away. What can you do about it? I told you what I did about it, teaching my children about chazir menshen. But that is not enough. A child must not be worried about eventually getting married. There are parents who do not want to suffer the humiliations and struggles that finding a shidduch for a child requires. When I was involed in shidduchin, mostly to Israelis, who have a different time zone, we had to dedicate a good part of the night to reach people who were not available by day. We struggled, we slept less, and we suffered the shame of being refused. And our children knew it. Once I turned to my young daughter at the Shabbos table and said, "When are you leaving?" She blushed happily. It means a lot to a child to trust the parents that they will work hard for a shidduch. When children trust their parents to deliver a shidduch when they need it, it is much easier to control the kedusho. But there are parents who get a phone call from a child, "Mazel tov! I am engaged." The parents are shocked and upset that they knew nothing about it. But why didn't they know about it? Today, in the Torah community, there is a terrible problem with kedusho. I once dealt with a lady who was a government employee dealing with certain problems. She told me she wanted to meet some Monsey rabbis, and I arranged a meeting with a rabbi who is heavily involved in marriage and divorce. I later went to the rabbi and asked how the meeting went. He told me, "She left me a video of Torah Jews swapping wives." I don't want to say where the video was taken. When I tell this to the "pros" who know all about life that I don't know about, they laugh at me. They say, "That is the problem/ Hah! hah!." I wouldn't dare write what they have to say. Somebody once told me that in his neighborhood of Torah Jews the bad things go on in the houses while parents are busy elsewhere or or know what they better not find out. A fellow told me his child was molested when he moved into Monsey and somebody came over to help him adjust because he was a new "baal teshuva." He found out why that individual wanted to "help out" rachmono litslon. We have to give our lives for our children, so that they know and you know, what is going on. The key, I was told by a major Israeli thinker, is to make the children enjoy Torah and mitsvah, and to be happy. And today, that requires a lot of effort. We have to fight for our children, because we have competition.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Why do People Refuse to Accept the Shulchan Aruch?

Why do People Refuse to Accept the Shulchan Aruch?

On my brother’s blog when I talk about the sin of coercing a GET when a woman breaks the marriage, people respond that this is a sin only according to the minority of authorities. And I ask, again and again, without getting a proper response, “If I am the minority, who is the majority?” And there is no answer. Why?
I once asked a friend of mine why he, personally, refused to accept what it says clearly in the Shulchan Aruch and the poskim, with no disagreement, that a husband whose wife has left him cannot be coerced to give a GET.  This is stated in Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer 77 paragraphs two and three. The Gro there says that nobody disagrees. And this is rooted in a Rashbo (teshuva VII:414) The Maharshal in a teshuva (41) in a lengthy discussion shows that a woman may leave the house of her husband if she truly despises him, but may not coerce a GET, even if he wears things that indicate a change of religion.

I never got an answer, and that itself was amazing to me. This was truly a pious person, and yet, when it came to coercing the husband, he was in favor, to some degree, of giving the wife what she demanded, although a lot of mumbling confused the issue. Why the mumbling, and why the refusal to accept what the Shulchan Aruch and authorities teach?

Jacques Barzun’s “From Dawn to Decadence” quotes Alexis de Tocquevilles classic book on America  “Democracy in America” (1835). This was a book that produced favorable impressions for Europeans about America. But Tocqueville had this warning, “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. The majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barrier an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.”

Thus, Barzun adds, “The great danger was the tyranny of the majority. No protection against it was provided--or could be, given the principle of one man, one vote. And that tyranny was not legal only but social also—pressure from the neighbors, tacit or expressed.”

Reb Yehuda HaChosid tells us that Jews in every country where they reside are influenced by their gentile surroundings. American Jews also are influenced to some degree by the way of the surrounding populations. And in America, when the majority has erected a barrier to an idea, it is a very powerful barrier. But what is the idea in America that promotes the coercion of men when the wife breaks the marriage and wants a divorce? We could say that Americans by majority have erected a barrier to causing pain to a woman, but there is more to it than that. And once again, we apply to Tocqueville who was asked about Americans, and the secret of their great success. He had various good and otherwise statements about the men, but he concluded, that America’s success was due “to the superiority of their women.”

Here we see in “the superiority of their women” a recognition that in America the success of the country was due to the women. This itself gives them a special role. And when we combine this with the natural tendency of men to want to help women, we see that coercing husbands to divorce when the wife breaks the marriage is a very powerful idea.

Now let us quote an unknown rabbi who said, “When you see a Jew doing a hideous sin, know that he does it leshaim shomayim, for the sake of heaven.” That is, a Jew has a limit when he sins, because he has a Jewish soul and can’t go too far. But once convinced that he is doing not a bad deed but a mitzvah, a Jew is capable of sinning hideously. And therefore we see that people can make a mitzvah out of breaking up marriages and destroying husbands, once convinced that this is a mitzvah. A woman once lied about her husband and got him jailed. Then she asked me to help her because she feared what the husband could do. It seems he knew a few things about her. I asked her, “Do  you want a GET?” She said, “No.” I asked, “So why did you jail your husband?” She said, “The ladies told me to do it.” Okay, that sounds ridiculous, but it happens. There are people who feel it is a mitzvah to save people from their marriage and they make more problems with their “mitzvah” than they would if they thought it was an aveiro.

A woman once called the police on her husband claiming that he attacked her little daughter. The police and the experts came rushing over, did tests, and found out that the story was a complete lie. This came to court, and the judge said that the mother lied, but she could still have custody of the children.

Coercing a husband to give a GET makes an invalid GET in almost all occasions. This itself is a hideous sin, because it produces an invalid GET that makes mamzerim and a wife a noef. A woman with an invalid GET who remarries must  get another GET. She is forbidden in marriage to the first and second husband. Her child may be a mamzer. And yet, we find major Rosh Yeshivas and dayanim who produce and indeed militate for coerced Gittin. They are in their opinion doing a good deed, although the Shulchan Aruch and poskim consider it a terrible sin.

And things just get worse every day. The Philly Rosh Yeshivas are working to “help” a woman who refuses to settle with her husband and get a GET. So to save her the trouble of settling with her husband, who wants to settle, and wants to go to Beth Din, these “Roshei Yeshiva” have permitted the woman to remarry without a GET! And guess what! Nobody except my brother and myself publically protest this!

But let us put aside the consideration of sin and the punishment of the Other World. Let us just note what suffering a husband has when his wife breaks the marriage. I know husbands who were successful in their lives and were happy with their family and children. One fine day the marriage is over. The husband leaves the house and his children and much of his assets. He must pay child support for children who may be learning to hate him. If the wife turns up the pressure on the husband to divorce with a GET, Beth Din or secular courts may take away the husband’s rights with the children, and drain him fiscally, even jail him, if he does not give a GET. And if he beset with such pressures gives a GET, it is invalid and the children are mamzerim. And if he refuses to give an invalid GET, he can be tormented by the courts even jailed.
A husband told me how he was on top of the world, with a wonderful job, plenty of money, etc., and his wife broke the marriage, took the children, took his house, and he ended up sleeping in a car and losing everything.

Let us not take sides, who was right and who was wrong. The process of war in marriage destroys, and the suffering of the children is also terrible. And yet, there are people who strongly believe in the need to educate women to break their marriages.

There are those who encourage women to make an order of protection by lying about their husband. And then whenever the husband comes to see what the child is doing in school, etc., the wife shows up, calls the police, and the husband is arrested. A major therapist told me that he had a man who was jailed 58 times but he insisted in participating in his son’s life, to watch him in school and in sports, and when he showed up, so did the wife and the police. Eventually, even in this extreme case, the judge may realize that enough is enough. And of course, there are those who are successful in getting an order of protection against the husband seeing the children. This is besides the ability of the mother to influence the children to hate their father.

How, in the name of Torah, in the name of being a human being, can people enthusiastically embrace the idea of coercing husbands to divorce their wives? How can a community, a Beth Din, or Torah people, destroy a husband because he wants his family, his wife and his children? Is this evil? Or is the destruction of such a husband evil?

When husbands are confronted with the pressure to give a GET or else, and refuse to give a coerced GET, and are driven from their positions in the community, and despised and humiliated constantly, some people rejoice. But why? Does the Torah permit this? Does human decency permit this? No.

Therefore, in the coming generation, children born from such Gittin will be unable to marry children from homes who accept the Shulchan Aruch and the pesak of Gedolim in Israel that a GET coerced is invalid. A woman who has such a GET may not remarry. And if she receives a GET from such a Beth Din that makes coerced Gittin, even if her GET was not coerced, we don’t recognize the Beth Din as a Beth Din and we don’t recognize their Gittin. I heard this personally from Posek HaDor Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l and it has now come out in a letter from Gedolim Rav Chaim Kanievsky, Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner and other Israeli Geonim.

Thus, the coming generation will be divided between those who feel it is a mitzvah to destroy the marriage and the husband, and those who believe in the Shulchan Aruch and the Gedolim. Only then will some people realize that they have the sin of child molestation, among other things, for their “mitzvah.”

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Male and Female - Who is Superior?

Underlying the great wars over coerced divorces is the gender war. Today, society is not prepared to accept that women don't have the rights of men. When the woman want a divorce and the  husband refuses, if we look into the Shulchan Aruch we usually find that the husband cannot be coerced. But today this is, even in religious circles, not acceptable. Even rabbis who do incredible and ridiculous things to "free" a woman to have mamzerim and niuf may be influenced by the fear that if women are treated shabbily they may give up Yiddishkeit. And that is no remote fear. Yes, they are wrong. But while we say what it says in the Shulchan Aruch is permanent, based as it is on solid halacha sources, we also must deal with the gender war. And we must do his for two reasons. One, we want to prevent mamzerim. And two, because we want to know the facts. Who is superior? Male or female? It would seem from society in general, and from physical attributes, and some say mental attributes, that men are superior. Women are weaker than men physically. And in the Torah we find that men dominate. Is that the end of the story? Let's see.

Let''s begin. The first Jews were Avrohom and Soro. They argued over Yishmael. HaShem said to Avrohom, "All that Soro tells you hearken to your voice." Rashi explains, "This shows that Avrohom was inferior to Soro in the power of prophecy." What does this mean? That Soro was greater than Avrohom? So then why do we mention Avrohom in the first prayer of the Amida and not Soro? We must remember this question as we go on to the next Jewish generation, with Yitschok and Rivka.

Yitschok wanted to give the birthright to Aisov, who was wicked, but Rivka intervened and saved the Jewish people. Furthermore, she had a prophecy to do this that Yitschok did not have. What would have happened if Jews would be led by Aisov?

The next generation was Yaacov and four wives, two of them sisters, Leah and Rochel. Yaacov didn't like Leah and loved Rochel. And yet, the great tribes of Israel and the majority of Jews come from Leah. From Rochel came Yosef who almost destroyed the Jewish people, with his fights with his brothers, and whose descendents took the Ten Tribes of Israel away from Judah and introduced paganism until they were conquered and exiled.

Let us go down to the time of Moshe. How was he born? His father, the greatest rabbi in the world divorced his wife because Jewish boys were being killed by the Egyptians. His little daughter Miriam protested, "Father, Pharaoah decrees on boys and you decree on everyone. Now no Jews will be born and we will disappear." Her father obeyed her and took back his wife and Moshe was born. Who took care of Moshe and saved hiim? Miriam. And who actually saved Moshe? Basyo, the daughter of Pharaoh. Thus, we see the great man destroying the Jews and the daughter of Pharaoh saving the Jews.

When the Jews left Egypt with great miracles the men took swords prepared to fight and the women took musical instruments out of faith in HaShem that He would save them from the Egyptians. When the Egyptians drowned with great miracle the men stood and said a praise of HaShem, but the women, led by Miriam, formed a circle and danced and sang with musical instruments. Not long afterwards, the men worshipped the Golden Calf but not the ladies.

In Jewish history, most leaders, including Moshe, had great misery with the Jewish people. The exception is a woman, Devorah, who was a Judge, leader in battle, and prophet. During her lengthy rule the Jews behaved perfectly. The only flaw in all of this is that her name is Devorah that means a "Bee." It would seem that Devorah and Chulda another prophet who was a woman were named after creatures such as a bee and a mole because being a woman in the house is a much higher level than being a prophet in the street, as "all honor of a woman is inside the home."

At any rate, who is superior? Thus, we have a great problem. If women are consistently superior to men, why are they not the rabbis and the leaders? Not only that, but we make a blessing "who has not made me a woman." Now, that sounds pretty contradictory. To understand, we come to the Diminishing of the Moon at the earliest week of Creation. It was then that the (female) Moon asserted herself and demanded that the (male) sun be diminished. Then the sun and moon were both equal in light. HaShem replied, "Go and diminish yourself." The moon was very upset about this and HaShem tried to pacify her and failed. So HaShem said, "Bring an atonement for Me because I diminished the Moon."

I don't know if we can understand this in this world. But basically, the Moon is the female force of DIN or justice. The sun is the male force of kindness. A world of DIN or justice would punish the wicked immediately. Thus the universe would shine with Kiddush HaShem. But Rashi tells us that to subject the world to DIN would destroy it. Therefore, HaShem brought in kindness. But this kindness allows the wicked to prosper. For this the Moon protested and HaShem agreed, but this is how the world would be. It would be a world filled with evil and Chilul HaShem. And it would be a world where those who honored HaShem in the darkness would achieve great reward in the Future World. The Jews were "diminished" and lived with exile and suffering. Women were diminished. And the Jews and women are closer to heaven and the Future World because of this.

Therefore, the gemora says that women are easily accepted in the Higher World  but not men. One who is diminished in this world easily merits the other world, but not the reverse. Thus, the suffering of women in this world is part of being diminished, a status that brought them, even in this world, to a special level.

The Torah begins with בראשית and the Zohar says that בראשית spells בית ראש meaning "The House is First." The Torah begins with the idea that the Torah begins with Bayis, or house, where the woman is dominant. She raises the children. But when she goes into the street like the man she loses her level.

 Only in the other world will be truly understand the suffering of Israel among the nations and women relative to men. In the meantime, HaShem has an offering brought for His decision to diminish women and with that His own Honor.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Modern Orthodox Marriage: May They Have Kiddushin?

Divorce in the Modern Orthodox World

On my brother’s blog about  a  hundred comments are raging, between pro-men and pro-women in the divorce situation. There is no way to resolve the debate and there is no way to see how we in the future will resolve it. The Modern Orthodox World, in which I include those in the Haredi world who invent the laws of Gittin when they have a cousin or friend’s wife who needs a GET, especially the famous Rosh Yeshiva who permits a woman to remarry without a GET because she is the daughter of his close friend, have their Torah, which says that a WOMAN MUST HAVE A GET and the rest of us have a Torah that says this isn’t so.  The result of this standoff is that children born from the Modern Orthodox and Orthodox with relatives and friends who need a GET will not be accepted by regular Orthodox Jews. They will be considered possible mamzerim. We are going around foaming at the mouth about child abuse, but when it comes to the greatest of all child abuse, the creation of a child as a mamzer, the very people who are making the mamzerim do the most screaming about abuse of women and abuse of children, not realizing who the culprit is.

Here I want to do two things: One, to show how the Modern Orthodox World got to this point, to challenge the clear teachings of the Shulchan Aruch about Gittin, and two, to provide a solution for the Modern Orthodox.  We will also touch on the problems of the Rosh Yeshivas of the Haredi world who have cousins or friends who need a GET and so they invent the laws of Gittin, but that is really a separate problem that requires its own discussion.

I was born in 1942. By the time I was able to run around by myself and play, WWII was over, and America was the refuge for many great rabbis who miraculously travelled through Communist Russia to China and Japan during the war and eventually came to America and Israel. As a child of twelve I was enrolled in Yeshiva Or Torah DiBrisk, founded in Washington, DC by two sons of the Brisk Dayan, the Malin Brothers. There were three rebbes and four students. For three years I learned there and then I went to Baltimore and Lakewood, to study from others who had escaped the war. These great rabbis Rabbi Yaacov Bobrowsky in Baltimore and Reb Aharon Kotler in Lakewood just picked up a gemora and went to work in America. They never talked about the war or anything other than just plain learning. By the time I turned twenty, and Reb Aharon departed the world, I had many years of the Torah of Europe.

But had I been born earlier, I would have entered a Torah desert. True, there was Yeshiva Yaacov Yosef and Torah ViDaas, but the vast majority of Americans had nothing to do with a true Torah, and they had very little interest in it. Then people who considered themselves Jews wanted an Americanized Judaism, Reform, Conservative, or nothing. In those days, most men had nothing to do with Judaism, but many women joined Jewish secular clubs.

For the very few who wanted a real Torah education, very early on, Yeshiva University beckoned. Indeed, the greatest American Torah stars of the Yeshiva world came from Yeshiva University such as  Reb Nosson Wachtfogel and Rav Mordechai Gifter. Yet even they did not become established Haredi Torah leaders in New York City. They went to Europe where they suffered the great privation of European Yeshivas to achieve greatness in Torah. But the fact that they had a beginning in America was due to Yeshiva University.
Yeshiva University had two giants who created a mighty institution for Modern Orthodox Jews: Dr. Revel and Dr. Belkin. They created an American Yeshiva experience that provided a thorough college and secular education with a Torah and Talmudic  training from the greatest Torah scholars. Those who taught Torah in YU were the son of Reb Chaim Brisker, Reb Moshe Soloveitchik and his son Reb Yosher Bre Soloveitchik; the senior European Rosh Yeshiva Reb Shimon Shkub, and the Meitseter Ilui genius. Dr. Belkin himself in Europe was known in the Yeshiva world as the Radiner Ilui genius. When he came to America he used his genius to do great things for Yeshiva University. He also regularly picked up more and more doctorates, and was known as a major scholar in Greek studies.

All of this was critical at a time when successful Orthodox Jews would often leave the Orthodox synagogue to go to a Conservative or Reform temple, because Orthodoxy was for the poor and those who could not speak a good English.

But there was a price for all of this success in YU. A young American who spent hours a day listening to a shiur in Yiddish from a European Torah great, and then spent hours a day listening to a lecture about apikorsus from an American in English, absorbed from both of them. This was the formula for the reality of Modern Orthodox. People were not ashamed to be Modern Orthodox, but they would be ashamed to be associated with the poor Orthodox Jews and those who could not speak a good English. Modern Orthodox trumpeted the greatness of having your cake and eating it too. Be Orthodox and be Modern.  But in reality, the cake you had was not the same cake as was eaten by a Torah Jew in the pure European style. It was a cake leavened with treifeh, and inevitably, it produced Treifeh.

There was however, some control over the Treifeh. When the rabbis trained in Yeshiva University wanted to introduce a change in sensitive marriage laws, Rabbi J.B. Soloveitchik thundered, “It is the end of all ends.” That was the end of it. The rabbis of YU had to get professional synagogue and other Torah jobs, and for this they needed semicha. The Yeshiva and the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Soloveitchik, controlled who was recognized as a rabbi. So Rabbi Soloveitchik had a certain control over things.

But today, the new Rosh Yeshiva is an American fellow who is himself introducing treifeh in sensitive marriage laws. He has called for coercing the husband to give a GET whenever the marriage is broken. Furthermore, he states in a recorded tape, that the husband should be beaten and beaten, if necessary to death. That tape was removed from the Yeshiva University website after the arrest of rabbis for torturing husbands to force a GET. But we see the picture.

Add to this the terrible gender war in America, and the fact that in the finest Torah homes divorces end up in secular court amid the worst accusations and Chilul HaShem, and we realize that our time is designed for desecration of family law.  The reason for this is that the Torah in the rishonim and the Shulchan Aruch makes it very clear that a marriage is a sacred thing that cannot be broken easily. Surely a man cannot be forced to give a GET to his wife just because the wife complaints about him. It is possible, in very rare circumstances, to force a husband to give a GET. But the vast majority of divorces are not ones that can be coerced. See Even Hoezer 77 paragraphs 2 and 3 that coercion and pressures are forbidden, and the Gro #5 that nobody disagrees. None of the commentators there disagree either. Coercion is forbidden, period. Posek HaDor Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l even has in his teshuvose proofs that it is not a mitzvah upon the husband to give a GET, even if the marriage is broken.  Such a terminology is quoted in the Shulchan Aruch and is rooted in the Rashbo VII:414.

But today, you cannot sell these things to the secular world, and much of the modern Orthodox and even much of the Orthodox world will not tolerate it either. Therefore, it is no wonder that the head of the modern Orthodox rabbis, Rabbi Herschel Schechter, has openly called for beating any husband who refuses a GET once the marriage is broken, even if it is necessary to kill him. This is not amazing in of itself. Rabbi Shechter once told somebody to kill the Prime Minister of Israel because of  his settlement policies. Now, of course, when he said this he didn’t  mean it, etc. But it surely sounds like he meant it on the tape that was made of his remarks, a tape that was removed from the YU website after the FBI captured rabbis who tortured husbands for money to give a GET. Whether he meant it or not, only he knows. But to even say such a thing says a lot about the state of things today, where the demonizing of men has reached such a level that you make points  in your Modern Orthodox audience by calling for a husband’s murder.

The Gedolim have called for people to understand that many Beth Dins and rabbis are coercing divorces and that these divorces and the Beth Dins are not recognized. As Rav Elyashev told me, “I take away chezkas beth din from them.” That means that a woman who has a GET from a Beth Din that does not honor the Shulchan Aruch because it coerces Gittin that may not be coerced, must go to a kosher Beth Din and make a new GET. Failure to do this could lead to problems with her child if she remarries without an accepted GET. In the next generation, many children will be problems. Making a mamzer or a doubtful mamzer is the ultimate child abuse.

For this I have called for Modern Orthodox and Haredi Orthodox who rely upon such rabbis who coerce Gittin that may not be coerced, never to marry with Kiddushin. It is forbidden to accept Kiddushin unless you accept that if you are a married woman, you cannot remarry until you have a non-coerced GET or the death of your husband. Otherwise, you may not marry with Kiddushin. I have suggested that such people marry with a marriage that is not Kiddushin, but as Pilegesh. The husband and wife are married; it is not zenuse. They live in the same house and have children who are completely kosher, as long as they both maintain the marriage. If the wife steps out and has a boyfriend other than her husband she is considered a Zona and the marriage is over, but no GET need to be given.  And if she sins and has a child the child is not a mamzer. This  is the obvious path for people to take who want to marry but will not commit to kiddushin, which includes a large segment of the Modern Orthodox world and even some Haredim.
On my website at I have a post about Pilegesh, for People who cannot have Kiddushin that explains this in more detail. Anyone who wants to discuss this with me can send me an email at