Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tel Conf #17 - Your Kesubo - Is it Kosher?

Tel Conf #17 - Your Kesubo – Is it Kosher? Aug 26 Wed 9:30 PM Call 605-562-3130 enter code 411161#Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn

Your Kesubo – is it kosher? Why not? Probably, some reliable person supervised the Kesubo writing at your wedding. Torah scholars were present.  So, what is the problem? We list below three problems. One is Reb Moshe Feinstein’s ruling that in large cities some kesubose may be invalid. And today most people are probably in such cities, certainly those in New York City. Another problem is that our Kesubose don’t really assure  a woman that she will be paid. And  the Talmud considers this an invalid Kesubo, and the marriage is considered Zenuse. This is even if the Kesubo is a proper legal document but the wife is not sure of that. Surely if there are real problems in making her sure of herself with the Kesubo. The third problem is that the Kesubo is read publicly, and some information in it may be hugely humiliating. Rabbeinu Yona considers such a humiliation to be worse than murder.
 Problem number one is from the Gaon Reb Moshe Feinstein אג"מ א"ה א' קעח' – The main thing in the Kesubo is the names of the husband and wife. But these names are Hebrew names. And there are many people with the same Hebrew names. For instance, how many people are named Reuven ben Yaacov in New York City? How many are named Yoel ben Chaim? If the wife produces the Kesubo and demands money from Yoel ben Chaim, the husband can claim that it was another Yoel ben Chaim not him who signed the document.
It would seem from the teshuva there that even in a GET, there are circumstances when it could be a problem because nobody knows exactly who the husband or wife is because in a large city more than one person has this name or these names. The only difference between a Kesubo and a GET says Reb Moshe is that in a GET we write names and nicknames so that each person usually has more than one name. So we are not so concerned that there may be two people with the same exact name. But with a Kesubo when we write only one name, it is a problem in a big city. And even in a small city, since basic Hebrew names are not so plentiful, who guarantees that nobody has such a name even in smaller cities? And if they do, the Kesubo is not a valid monetary document. And if the GET was written so that a name is that of one other person in the whole city, the GET could be invalid.

Problem Number Two is that a Kesubo is not like ordinary monetary documents, where A signs he owes money to B. The Kesubo was established by the rabbis so that a woman can be comfortable getting married. She needs a document that will make her sure she will get her money with no trouble. (See Rosh in  Kesubose 56b kol hapochase, and Tosfose Kesubose 51Aמני ר,מ היא  )But do our Kesubos allow her this peace of mind? And the answer is that our present Kesubo definitely provide no peace of mind for the wife, therefore, they are a problem.
The whole purpose of the Kesubo is to give the woman a guarantee that she will get a certain sum of money. (See above) But nobody in the world knows what the amount of money in any Kesubo is, for the simple reason that nobody knows the value of a ZUZ. So the document is essentially worthless in monetary terms.  A Beth Din rabbi once hired a brilliant scholar to figure out the value and he could not do it. The term Zuz goes back thousands of years, and the documents that refer to it come from countries throughout the world in various ages. What is there to convince anyone what a Zuz is in today’s climate? Even the Shekel in Israel where money is always going between America and Israel and people have to know the exact value of both coinages, the value changes every day. So what does a woman get in a Kesubo besides a word ZUZ that changes in value every day, and nobody in the world knows the true value ever? Of course we have in Yoreh Dayah 294:6 the value of a Peruto which is related to a piece of silver the size of a barley grain. One opinion is that it is the value of a half a grain of barley of silver. But then we have to know if we follow the value of a grain of barley in our country or just what. And is the value wholesale or retail? And doesn’t silver fluctuate in value sometimes very strongly? If so, the Kesubo can be interpreted as the value of its being written or the time of the wedding, or it can be when it gets collected? And the Shach brings other opinions. And even if you understand this, if the wife does not feel comfortable and secure in her kesubo, it is invalid. And how can she be secure if nobody knows for sure what the value of the kesubo is because kesubo can be dirabonon or diorayso and we will stop with that.
Problem number three is a problem of murder. A problem of murder? I feel that the present Kesubo system is a problem of murder. The kesubo in ancient times had to clarify the monetary value of a woman’s kesubo. And that was rooted in the reality of her marital status. That is, if she was never married and a virgin, she got two hundred zuz for her kesubo. But if she was married and no longer a besulo or virgin, she got a hundred zuz for her kesubo. But what happens if a woman is not a virgin and she was never married? This is very common today. And every woman whose marital status is an embarrassment must get married with a kesubo and somebody will read the kesubo out loud, announcing to the world that she is not a virgin. This is a humiliation in public that Rabbeinu Yona  in Shaarei Teshuva 139 considers to be worse than murder. There is a gemora in Berochos 23a  that some lowly pagan humiliated a Torah scholar, and he killed himself for the shame. The shame was that she found his tephilin outside a public toilet and brought it to the Yeshiva and claimed that he had slept with her and given her the tephilin as payment. Now, this was obviously a lie. And yet the shame was too terrible and he killed himself. What about a woman who is not a virgin and the kesubo will tell the truth? Is this not murder?
So what is the solution?
The solution is to make a Kesubo using names, addresses and family names, exactly as they are used in legal civil documents.  The sum of money the husband promises is in dollars. It is much easier to collect money with such a document than one with Hebrew names and Hebrew texts. And yet, people will continue doing what everybody else does, to write Hebrew Kesubos with Hebrew names that have problems.  Therefore, we need two Kesubos. One written in Hebrew and one in English. The English one is probably more kosher than the Hebrew one. Therefore, we will add to the English one, “This document will be part of the Hebrew Kesubo, and will override any conflict between the two documents.” This way the wife cannot collect twice with two Kesubos.
But she will be confident of collecting her Kesubo, and be comfortable that her Kesubo is kosher.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Why a Prenup is Forbidden by the Mishneh, the Rishonim and Poskim

Tel Conf #16 – Prenups Force a Husband to Divorce His Wife
Wed 9:30 PM Aug 19 - Call 605-562-3130  code 411161#
Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn\845-578-1917/eidensohnd@gmail.com


Prenups are documents a husband signs at his wedding, empowering the wife to leave the house at any time and force the husband to give her a GET. The husband, from the time that the wife leaves the house, must pay his wife a large sum of money regularly, a sum designed to overwhelm his ability to pay and to force him to give her a GET. The Modern Orthodox world is working hard to force every husband to sign a prenup. When that happens, may truly Orthodox people marry children born from Modern Orthodox women who got divorces because of prenups, or not? And what happens if Orthodox husbands sign a prenup and there is a GET? That is our discussion here.

Proof from a Mishneh in the Talmud that Prenups are Forbidden

See Nedorim 90b. The Mishneh says, “Originally the rabbis taught that three women who make claims may leave their husbands [the rabbis force the husband to give a GET] and are paid their Kesubo: 1) A woman who tells her husband, ‘I have profaned myself to you’ [she slept with another man]. 2) The heavens are between us [she claims that the husband cannot ejaculate and thus cannot have children and she wants a GET]. 3) I am away from the Jewish people [she forbids herself to have intercourse with anyone, perhaps because intercourse causes her pain (Tosfose 90b). The rabbis changed their minds, because we fear that women will want to remarry with a different husband if a wife has the right to just say something and get a GET.”
We see from this that women who have a right to go free with a forced GET from their husbands lose that right when we fear that this freedom will lead women to say lies so that they will be able to remarry another man.
A prenup is exactly what the Mishneh describes. A woman is given the right to force a GET from her husband just because she asks for the GET. Now every Jewish woman can easily leave her husband and find somebody else. The Mishneh makes is clear that we must guard that women do not have this right. If so, how can we permit prenups?

They Claim Proof from Nachalas Shiva to Permit Prenups

Some claim a proof for prenups is found in the classic Sefer Nachalas Shivo. Chapter 9 deals with documents signed at the Chupah. The long version contains the following condition: “And if chas vishalom the husband should do to his wife something that she cannot tolerate and she needs a Beth Din, then the husband will immediately with no delay give her ten gold pieces for her food. And so shall he give her every month of the contention. And she gets her clothes and jewelry she needs to wear. And the husband will go with her to their Beth Din. (And if there is no Beth Din in their city they will go to one in a nearby city or make zabla.) This is to be done within two weeks after she made this request of him. And the Beth Din will settle any argument and difference between them. And after they come to terms the wife will return to her husband’s house. And she will return any remaining money and her clothes and her jewelry to her husband’s house, where they were originally.”
Some infer from this that a husband can sign a prenup that obligates the husband to pay a monthly amount to his wife when she demands a GET and leaves the house, until she gets a GET. But this document says something much different.
First, the obligations of the husband only begin when the wife suffers at his hands, perhaps from a beating. And the Beth Din that will hear the case  has the authority and ability to find out the truth if he did beat her. If a woman is beaten and she screams people hear it. And if he did something else to torment her, the Beth Din is trained to find out exactly what happened. This is crucial because we explained above that the Mishneh in Nedorim clearly forbids any ruling that gives women the right to force a GET from the husband. We fear that ladies will find  somebody more interesting than the husband and leave her husband whenever she wants. That is exactly what a prenup does. The wife is empowered to force a GET anytime she wants.
See also Kesubose 63b ד"ה אבל אמרה about if a woman who claims that her husband disgusts her can force a GET. Rabbeinu Tam says she cannot otherwise women would find somebody else to marry and force a GET on the first husband. Thus, Rabbeinu Tam would surely forbid a prenup, because it permits a woman to leave her husband against his will and remarry somebody she likes better. We pasken like Rabbeinu Tam see EH 77 par 2 and 3. Thus, it is forbidden to give a woman the ability to force a GET from her husband anytime she wants.
The Tosfose there says that if a woman can force a GET but get no money from the husband not even a kesubo, some would permit it. But if she gets money, such as a kesubo, everyone holds it is forbidden to coerce the husband. Thus, everyone would agree that a prenup is wrong, even those who disagree with Rabbeinu Tam.
The prenup is quite different from the above document protecting the wife who must flee the house of her husband because he did something terrible to her. He and she must  go to Beth Din and while she returns to her parents or some other house, the husband must give her some money for food. With a prenup, the wife, for any reason, can leave the house and demand a GET. And the husband must pay the wife  a large amount of money monthly or weekly or daily until he collapses and has to give a GET. This GET is forced by the prenup, and it says that clearly in the prenup.
The Nachalas Shiva document mentions nothing about a GET, only about going to Beth Din. And once the couple is in Beth Din and the Beth Din clarifies what has to be done there is no longer any payments. This is surely different than the huge sums demanded for not giving a GET by prenups. There the entire purpose of the prenup is to force a GET, and this is forbidden by the rabbis of the Mishneh.

Comments from Rabbonim on Prenups in Daas Torah

I saw in my brother’s blog Daattorah a letter from rabbonim attacking Prenups. HaGaonRav Shlomo Yedidiah bReb Zifroni shlit”o quotes the Gaon Rav Ovadiah Yosef zt”l quoted below that if a wife leaves the house and does not want to return to the husband there is no obligation to pay her money for mezonose or to give her mezonose. But if she left the house because of a fight with a mother-in-law and will return when the mother-in-law leaves, the husband must give her mezonose where she is staying. It all depends whether she maintains the marriage and wants to remain his wife. But if she wants to leave him, he has no obligations to her. Thus, Rav Shlomo Yedidiah shlit”o rules that the prenup forces the husband to give a wife mezonose of a huge sum of money has no place, because since she wants a GET, and does not want to return to him, the husband has no obligation to provide her with mezonose. Thus, the prenup is simply a tactic to force the husband to give a GET, and the GET is thus a GET MEUSO and invalid.[1]
Also in my brother’s blog a letter appears against prenups from Rav Eliyohu Shlesinger shlit”o who stresses that Gedolim of past generations knew all of the problems about women needing a GET and husbands refusing, and they knew all of the tricks to force a GET, but they refused to introduce these things. And that is how we should behave. We are not a generation that can invent devices that could produce invalid Gittin.
In the time of the Gaon Rav Yosheh Ber Soloveitchik as Rosh Yeshiva in YU, people came forward with these ideas, to make changes in divorces that would free women from the obligations of the GET. He responded, “Kolu kol hakaitsim.” The end of all ends. This is the pits. Once we start playing around with the laws of Gittin, we will have a disaster. And today, things are not any better than in his time. In his time the world had many great Torah leaders who could speak and be heard. Today we don’t have any such personalities. And to listen to the mice and their squeaking will introduce destruction.

[1] וז"ל הגרע"י זצ"ל בתשובה - ולפ"ז אתי שפיר גם ד' העדות ביעקב, דמיירי שהמניעה ע"י פשיעתו שבא עליה בנדתה וכיו"ב, לכן יש לחייבו במזונות אף על פי שאינה דרה עמו. אבל נידון הרא"ש והטור דהוי ע"י מחלת עצבים אין לחייבו במזונות. אולם יותר היה נ"ל לחלק כמש"כ שיש הבדל בין כשאינה חוזרת אליו לצמיתות שדעתה להתגרש ממנו, ובין כשהיא מוכנה לחזור אליו מיד כשתתבטל הסיבה והטענה שלה כלפיו. ושו"ר בשו"ת זכור לאברהם אביגדור (בדף קנח ע"ג), שהביא מ"ש ה"ה (פי"ד מה' אישות) בשם הרשב"א, שהמורדת בטענת מאיס עלי אין לה מזונות וכו', ודייק מדבריו שאפי' אם נותנת אמתלא לדבריה למה הוא מאוס עליה אין לה מזונות, כיון שאינה רוצה בו, והקשה ע"ז, ממ"ש הריטב"א הובא בשטה מקובצת (כתובות קג), שאשה שיצאה מבית בעלה והלכה לה, אם נתנה טעם לדבריה חייב לתת לה מזונות שלמים במקום שהיא, אבל אם לא נתנה טעם לדבריה פטור ממזונותיה, ואפי' למ"ד יש מזונות למורדת גמורה, התם ביושבת עמו בבית וכו'. [א"ה, וע' בשו"ת הריטב"א הנד"מ סימן קנ. ודו"ק]. ולכאורה דברי הריטב"א אלו הם דלא כמ"ש הרשב"א שאפי' נותנת אמתלא לדבריה אין לה מזונות. ותירץ, מיהו קושטא דמילתא שאינו חולק, דהריטב"א מיירי כשהיא חפצה בו, אלא שמשום איזה סיבה עזבה את הבית, כגון מפני קטטה עם חמותה וכיו"ב, ומש"ה חייב במזונותיה, אבל האומרת מאיס עלי ואינה רוצה להיות אשתו עוד למה יתן לה מזונות. ובודאי דלדידן דקי"ל שאין כופין אותו לגרש בטענת מאיס עלי, אין לה מזונות ג"כ, שאם יכפוהו לזונה, הוי גט מעושה, כיון שכופין אותו באונס ממון. ע"כ. והוא תנא דמסייע לן. (וכמ"ש ג"כ הגאון מליסא בס' בית יעקב הנ"ל

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Torah World Sleeps as A Woman Prepares to Remarry Without a GET

The Torah world is trembling because  Rosh Yeshivas in Philadelphia encouraged a woman to remarry without a GET. I have protested this full blast, and have stated many times on this blog and elsewhere   that if the woman, Mrs. Friedman, remarries without a GET, her children will be considered mamzerim.  Members of her family and associates who encourage her will share her Gehenum. 

A major American Torah personality asked the Gaon Reb Nissim Karelitz shlit"o if there was any heter for the woman to remarry without a GET. He replied that in order to remarry she must have a GET. The Gaon Reb Pinchas Rabinowitz told me that he once spoke to Posek HaDor Reb Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt"l about such problems and the Rov said, "American rabbis can go so far as to declare a woman free because of Kiddushei Toose." They can think the woman is free, because of their ridiculous ruling, but she is still married. And when she remarries her children will be mamzerim. She will be a sota forbidden to marry either her first or second husband.

Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur are coming soon. We are in the month of Elul. And still, the Torah world sleeps. Who has come out openly against this abomination of permitting a married woman to remarry without a GET? VERY FEW RABBONIM! And the few who did protest or sign a protest did it in a very quiet way. 

Now is not a time to be quiet. If this lady follows the Kaminetsky derech and remarries, every woman will feel free to emulate her, especially as almost no protest was heard from the rabbonim in America despite the fact that this has been going on for a long time.

Those who are silent now, before Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, show just how much fear they have of HaShem, of Chilul HaShem, of mamzeruth, and what some people may say about them - which is their main problem!

This itself is a great Chilul HaShem, And those who create Chilul HaShem and lower the standards of kedusho so that married women can consider remarrying without a GET are worthy of Nidui even if nobody is declaring it. There is a discussion about the laws of Nidui if it is deserved and nobody declared it, if it happens anyway. That is pretty scary. But some people are more scared of other things.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Audio of Tel Conf EH #15 - Wars of Rabbis and Mamzerim

Click here

audio file - Wars of Rabbis and Mamzerim

or here
#15 tel conf Wars of Rabbis and Mamzerim

If problem with clicks the address for the audio is:


or simple torahtimes.com and the audio is on the top line of windows.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015



Today a man called me and told me an incredible story about his going to a Beth Din. The Beth Din destroyed his life. I called up a Rosh Beth Din I knew, and he told me that if I didn’t believe these stories I had no idea what is going on in the world.

A second Rosh Beth Din told me there are two types of rabbis who specialize in divorce issues. Some like money and some like women. Two husbands told me of their own experience with such people, rachmono litslon.
Now, note that I quote two prominent Rosh Beth Dins that I surely believe are honest and good people. But there are others out there.

I therefore offer the following: If you have a problem with a broken marriage, don’t rush off to sign any papers with a Beth Din. Call me up, for no money and no obligation.

HaGaon Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev gave me his name for my Beth Din for Gittin years ago.  HaGaon Reb Moshe Feinstein wrote a haskomo for my seforim in halacha that “I know Rabbi Eidensohn many years as one who delves deeply into complex halacha.”  I learned under HaGaon Reb Aharon Kotler two years until he passed away.

 Take a look at my blog www.torahhalacha.blogspot.com and my websitewww.torahtimes.com . You can reach me at 845-578-1917 oreidensohnd@gmail.com

Telephone conference EH #15 Wed night 9:30 Aug 12 – Call 605-562-3130 then enter code 411161#

Call 605-562-3130 then enter code 411161#Telephone conference EH #15 Wed night 9:30 Aug 12 – Call 605-562-3130 then enter code 411161#Wars Between Rabbis Make: Mamzerim, Doubtful Mamzerim, and Laaz about Mamzeruth
By Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn

This week a prominent Posek called me and said he wanted to come over to my house. He came and we spent a long time on a case where a woman is planning to remarry without a GET. For a long time I was the only one publicly protesting this in my blog www.torahhalacha.blogstpo.com. However, when the rumor began circulating that the woman was ready to remarry, and that a prominent Rosh Yeshiva was encouraging her, I began attacking prominent rabbis who were silent and threatened them with being put in cherem if the woman remarries. Then some prominent rabbis did get involved and did some real things including signing a letter that the woman was still married and could not remarry without a GET. Some of these prominent rabbis would call me up and thank me for protesting, but they did not protest.

The rabbinical world is split. The major Gedolim stay with the Shulchan Aruch, but others break with it. They want to help “Agunoth” by coercing husbands to divorce their wives even when not permitted by the Shulchan Aruch. Some states in America and Canada have passed laws forcing husbands to give  their wives a GET when the wife demands it. Major rabbis consider this GET invalid and the children born from it to be mamzerim or doubtful mamzerim.  But some rabbis are silent or feel that pressuring the husband is a good deed, in defiance of the Shulchan Aruch Poskim and Gedolei HaDor.
In the recent trial of rabbis who tortured husbands to force them to give a GET, the defense was that some rabbis felt that torturing a husband to force a GET is a mitzvah. But they had no source for this to violate the Shulchan Aruch and the major Poskim and Gedolim.

Thus, in the next generation, people from Torah and Haredi homes will become engaged, and somebody will find out about the GET the mother had;  then people will decide if they want to marry somebody considered to be a mamzer by Gedolei HaDor who stick with the Shulchan Aruch, such as Rav Chaim Kanievsky and Rav  Shmuel HaLevi Wosner, or maybe they should allow the marriage that will produce more mamzerim, generation after generation.

In our previous telephone conference the topic was What Beth Din is Kosher? Forcing a GET is permitted only with the permission of Gedolei HaDor according to a letter from Gedolim including Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner zt”l. But many rabbis such as Rosh Yeshivas who don’t know halocho so well and therefore rule against the Shulchan Aruch, cannot be a Beth Din. If they coerced a GET the mother is considered as one who got a GET from an invalid Beth Din. The coercion is surely not valid. See Mishpitei Yisroel pages 5-12, with letters from Gedolim in Israel and America about coercing a GET and going to civil court.

Rabbi Heinemann obviously does not know that the Rashbo VII:414 states that even a husband who is commanded by the Talmud to divorce his wife may not be humiliated. The Radvaz and Chazon Ish agree with this. But Rabbi Heinemann congratulates an organization that produced 150  coerced and probably invalid GITTIN and who knows how many mamzerim!

We thus see how bad the situation is. Rabbi Heinemann those who violate the Rashbo, the Radvaz and the Chazon Ish, the Shulchan Aruch 77 par 2 and 3 and all of the poskim there, and the Gedolei haDor in Israel such as Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner and Rav Chaim Kanievsky, as quoted in the work Mishpitei Yisroel. That means 150 women who probably have invalid Gittin, and 150 women who may have children from other husbands who are mamzerim. And Rabbi Heinemann rejoices at this.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Audio for EH Tel Conf #14 What is a Kosher Beth Din and What is Not?

Audio tape of Tel Conf EH #14 - What is a Kosher Beth Din?

Jewish Outreach Congregation - Program and Progress

Jewish Outreach Congregation – Plans and Programs – Elul 5775-6
Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn
Jewish Outreach Congregation has now several programs.

We give a weekly telephone conference on the laws of Even Hoezer, marriage and family. Very few people know these laws. People are inventing laws that create invalid Gittin. Women who remarry with these invalid Gittin may have mamzerim for children.

Our blogspot www.torahhalacha.blogspot.com. has over a hundred posts.. So far this year we have over 15,000 page views. The emphasis is on Halacha in marriage and divorce. Few people know these laws and a mistake in a GET can invalidate it. A woman who remarries with an invalid GET can have children mamzerim.

We also have a website www.torahtimes.com, with text and audio, and a blogspot with videos, www.torahmarriage.blogspot.com . The videos are mostly about Rabbi Eidensohn’s personal study under Geonim Reb Aharon Kotler and Reb Moshe Feinstein zt”l.

There is a growing trend for governments such as New York and Quebec to force husbands to give a GET or lose custody or money. This makes an invalid GET. Nobody is fighting this as we do. The disgrace of Rosh Yeshivas and prominent rabbis coercing husbands who are married to their relatives, etc., is also something we openly fight. And the Rosh Yeshivas in Philadelphia who are encouraging a woman to remarry without a GET, despite the fact that the husband would give a GET, is also publicly opposed by us, and we don’t know any competition.

People have lost confidence in rabbis. Families are collapsing. Children are leaving the Torah. Some don’t want to get married at all. We are with our very limited resources, getting a small group of people organized to fight these things.

I need about two hundred dollars a month just to survive with the present programs to pay Verizon for the internet and the telephones and upkeep of the old computers.

We are planning on putting our material into books, which could produce income. But it costs money to produce books.  I published some books that people read and enjoy. But without money I could not advertise them, and the stores are not interested in books that have no advertising. One book, Secret of the Scale, deals with the critical issue of the gender wars and what the Torah in the revealed and hidden law tells about male and female. I also published a book The Torah that Was, the Torah that Will Be: Stories of Rosh Yeshivas, which was the personal experiences I had with Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein, and other Gedolim. I have a new volume there bringing things up to date. It also attempts to solve the present family and Yeshiva problems with past solutions. Gedolim told me that the situation in Yeshivas is critical and must be fixed. But I don’t see anyone doing any fixing.

We therefore are trying to expand our programs and the funds needed for their upkeep.
I have done what I can. I am seventy-three years old. Alone, I can’t continue. But with some help, we can really move.
If anyone wants to help, please contact me at:

Thank you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Tel Conf EH #14 What Beth Din is Kosher? Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn

Wed night 9:30 Aug 5, ’15 – call 605-562-3130  code 411161#

Years ago I spoke at length with Posek haDor Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l about coerced Gittin.  This was about the time that New York State began coercing husbands to give a GET upon demand when the marriage was over. The Rov feared that such a law could create invalid Gittin and mamzerim, chas vishalom. I asked him the following question:

Let us assume that I go to Beth Din and protest that I do not want to give a GET to my wife. The Beth Din then coerces me, maybe even beats me, until I say, “I want the GET.” The Beth Din then writes a document that the GET has been properly performed and that the wife is free to remarry. I then go outside in the street and begin complaining that I was beaten and coerced and that the GET is invalid. And the Beth Din maintains that I gave the GET willingly. Who will believe me?

I am now disputing a BETH DIN, who are at least two witnesses that are believed over everything else. And furthermore, they are a BETH DIN that may be stronger than two witnesses. See Sefer Raviyo #919 about witnesses and Beth Din. (Raviyo was Rebbe Eliezar ben Rebbe Yoel HaLevi, from a famous family of gedolim who lived in the early period of the Tosfose, after Rabbeinu Tam.)

On the other hand, I am not even one witness, as I am talking about myself and not a witness. So what can I do if I am coerced to give a GET?

The Rov replied, “A Beth Din that does things in defiance of the Shulchan Aruch loses the status of Beth Din.” His exact words, as I remember them, were that he removed from the Beth Din “the Chezkas Beth Din.”

What does this mean? It means two things. One, the Gedolei HaDor have the power to define a proper Beth Din, surely regarding Gittin that can end in mamzeruth. Second of all, the gemora in Gittin 88b tells us that  the power to coerce a GET is reserved for those given the privilege by the early musmochim, those who had semicha from Moshe Rabbeinu’s musmochim. It goes without saying that these musmochim of early generations only gave the privilege of forcing a GET to the greatest rabbis in the world, not to people who violate the Shulchan Aruch. Thus, a Beth Din that violates the Shulchan Aruch is denied a status of a Beth Din by gedolim such as Rav Elyashev and others we will mention soon. Also, the status of a Beth Din to coerce Gittin is a very high level given only by the musmochim, those given Semicha  by Moshe and his disciples who passed on the Semicha to latter generations. When this ceased around the time of the Talmud, coercions by Beth Dins can only be done in a Beth Din whose standard is accepted  by the early musmochim, those who received semicha with the authority of Moshe Rabbeinu. Surely, those that defy the Shulchan Aruch are not included. Thus, a Beth Din that violates the Shulchan Aruch has no status as a Beth Din, not by the standards of great rabbis today who are decisive in this, but even more by the obvious instructions of the disciples of the Musmochim of Moshe Rabbeinu, that only the greatest rabbis can coerce a GET. Surely those who tamper with the Shulchan Aruch and invent things are invalid and not recognized as a Beth Din.
I saw a letter a while back signed by Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner and a few other greats that nobody can coerce a GET without permission of Gedolim. Of course, many Beth Dins do just the opposite. And if a woman received a GET from them there is a problem, as such a Beth Din is not a Beth Din and its Gittin are not recognized.

Recently a book was published about these laws called Mishpitei Yisroel that contains copies of letters from Gedolim in Israel and America about the sin of coercing a GET and the sin of going to secular court instead of Beth Din. Going to an invalid Beth Din is not going to a Beth Din.

A Beth Din that commands a husband to give his wife a GET may by its command create an invalid GET, as the Chazon Ish rules. (See EH Gittin 99:2 par 2 יש לעיין .)
Therefore, before going to a Beth Din a person must clarify if the Beth Din has chezkas Beth Din or not. And it must clarify if the Beth Din commands a husband to give a GET.
In the next generation, many children will be born from mothers who went to an unrecognized Beth Din. What will happen with these children?

New York State has passed a law that forces a husband to give a GET to his wife when the marriage is over. Such a GET is quite possibly or probably invalid. If the wife remarries and has a child the child could be a mamzer. The terrible thing about this is that the New York Law was passed by Orthodox people, one a Modern Orthodox rabbi with great political connections. These laws have been passed in Canada but there the law is much worse than the New York GET law. And the pressure to make more states and countries force a husband to give a GET is a terrifying problem. And of course, the sad thing is that the people pushing these laws are mostly Jews, many Orthodox.

Reb Chaim Soloveitchik, son of Reb Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik, has said, “We have to learn about haredim, because many of our children will be haredim.” But if Modern Orthodox and even some Orthodox rabbis make coerced Gittin, and children are born from them when the mother remarries, how can those children who become Haredi marry? Does anyone care?

What will these people who got the GET laws passed do when a child comes to them and asks how a mamzer can marry? In the next generations there will be many such children, and today, nobody talks about these things. Who cares? So, it is child abuse. But is this as bad as a woman who wants a GET?

If the Shulchan Aruch forbids a forced GET, those who disagree will answer to heaven. What will they answer?

To purchase a copy of the book Mishpitei Yisroel on the issue of Kosher Beth Dins call in Monsey, NY at 845-352-0532.

Dovid Eidensohn - 845-578-1917