Monday, February 13, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Shalom uvrachah! Thank you for responding to my enquiry last night!
I received your follow-up e-mails. As I was going through your blogspot I saw it necessary to add the following comment, and the computer gives me problems trying to upload it directly:
"Someone in Yeshiva could go for a few years on the sums of support demanded for marrying a Kollel fellow, and people were found who would pay it."
FUNDAMENTAL ERROR HERE!!!
The Shulchan Aruch (Even Ha'ezer 2) says clearly in the name of the Rem"a that one should not bicker over money in regards to this - as it is not "properly earned money". See the Biur HaGr"a 7 [regarding the apparant internal contradiction upon face glance in the Rem"a] that "if he would marry her anyway (without money) then he need not worry".
This is not a "technical issue" - it is fundamental! All of the raving and ranting against fraudulent Ra-bannim distorting Torah and divrei chaza"l - the "quiet defection" all began years ago when these "top talmidim" sold themselves to materialistic families in marriage; with the "holy" ideal of being able to "live and learn in peace and comfort without financial worries". It was ultimately this "peace and comfort" which caused them to slip and slacken from the duty and authority that the Torah will demand of them as recognized Rabbanim - aside from the obvious fact that there is nothing more lethal to a person's Yiras Shamayim than living together with a materialistic woman. This type of defection did not begin in America either - it was tragically prevalent in Europe as well.
The Chafetz Chaim told his son in his old age that all of his Torah is credited to his wife - from a poor and simple upbringing. He said, "What would have been with me now, had I not married your mother?". What would have become of me had I accepted then the offer of 10,000 rubles from a distinguished tycoon in Vilna?"
Yes - the Chafeitz Chaim worked for a living - writing and selling books. And this certainly did not detract from his Torah in any way!
END QUOTE FROM CHAIM LEVIN
Comment from Rav Dovid Eidensohn – [The Vollozhner Yeshiva had the world’s leading Torah scholars but they learned and did not earn. Top students there could eventually find rabbinical positions, some that paid well, and some found wealthy families that supported their learning in Kollel for some years. Some had little support but lived with little and relied on HaShem’s help. When I learned in Lakewood under Reb Aharon we stayed in Yeshiva because of Reb Aharon’s influence, and I don’t know how many people had big backing, but it was generally limited. There was a top student who learned by Reb Aharon but his father said if you learn in Lakewood you are not my son. Those were difficult times. When Reb Shneur took over Lakewood he realized he could not support the influx of students and was worried about taking over the Yeshiva which under his father had very little money especially for the students when they married. But Rav Yosher Ber Soloveitchik saw that Lakewood was at risk that it may close down, and he ordered his students, the YU rabbis, to support Lakewood. Other factors such as President Johnson’s war on poverty where huge sums were disbursed for the poor, and who is poorer than a Lakewood Kollel person? made a difference. There were various American Kollel students, and I don’t think it is fair to lump them all together. Some I know were worried that the influx of money was detrimental to the Yeshiva, and some welcomed it. But still some where tsaddikim and not interested in money per se, and some were interested. But I don’t think there is a rule to just dismiss everyone who had some money to be considered a spiritual failure.]
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Joe Orlow talks about Chaim Levin’s complaint that a Beth Din accepted a GET from a man who was a vegetable. Comments from Rav Dovid Eidensohn.
A report about a Bais Din in Eretz Yisrael has been brought to my attention. The Bais Din was petitioned by a wife seeking a divorce from her husband. The husband is in a state where he is uncommunicative. Let me expand here for a moment why I use the term "uncommunicative". There are cases where people come out of comas after years. A while back there was an article about a normal boy who was "missing" a part of his brain. The amazing thing is that when someone does not have activity in this part of the brain, doctors will declare this person "brain dead". Yet this boy, without this section, was fine.
Experts like brain surgeons and others who study the brain probably have many cases that don't fit the accepted medical models. This is important to consider in light of the following. The Bais Din decided that they could act on the husband's behalf. This is without precedent in Halacha, according to my understanding. The husband, being alive, cannot give his wife a Get. So his wife remains his wife. But the Bais Din decided that were the husband to be communicative, he would communicate that he wants to give his wife a Get because he, the husband, is in an apparently permanent uncommunicative state. So the Bais Din "divorced" the wife.
The Bais Din issuing this ruling was overruled
by a higher court in the Bais Din system known as the "Rabbanute".
The higher court decided the wife remains married. Then the higher court of the Rabbanute was
overruled by a civil court. The civil court said the Rabbanutes's lower court
ruling remains in effect and that the wife is divorced. This raises two questions:
What kind of education and vetting is there
for Rabbanute judges? Clearly, the lower court did not act according to
Halacha. [Comment from RDE –Major
rabbis in America such as Moshe Heinemann in Baltimore, Hershel Schachter in
New York, and Shmuel Kaminetsky in Philadelphia promote forced Gittin by
humiliating husbands and such devices, something clearly forbidden by all
commentators to the Shulchan Aruch in laws of Kesubose 77 paragraphs 2,3.
Plainly, these rabbis, the cream of the students of Rabbi Aharon Kotler and
Rabbi Yosher Ber Soloveitchik, do not follow the Shulchan Aruch, as all of the
commentators there forbid pressuring a husband to give a GET. I spoke to Moshe
Heinemann and to a student of Herschel Schachter while the student was on the
phone with Schachter, and I am sure that Schachter does not know the laws of
Gittin either. Shmuel Kaminetsky is considered by the Agudah to be a Gadol but
the major poskim rabbis who criticized him for telling a married woman to
remarry with no GET and make mamzerim had only derision for him. The Gaon from
Brisk in Israel said that Kaminetsky is forbidden to teach Torah.]
(2) What kind of high court puts itself in a
position where it can be overruled by a civil court? [Commentary from RDE - This took place in
Israel where the majority are not Orthodox Jews. And yet, the government
accepted Orthodox rabbis to have official government positions. Having little
choice because of their minority status, many prominent rabbis accepted that
Orthodox rabbis will have governmental power but not Conservative or Reform
rabbis, and with this came the problem of the government courts who can
overturn at least some rabbinic decisions.]
In the U.S. we are in a similar position where
unlearned and/or renegade Batei Din are releasing women wrongly from marriages.
Furthermore, civil courts, under so-called "Get Laws", force Gittin,
thus leading to women wrongly released from marriages. This leads, in some cases, to Mamzerim being
[Commentary by RDE – Joe is right about that and in his original paper continues about the great problems of Kiddushin making women helpless if the husband does not want to give her a GET. Let me explain a bit. I believe that a woman who won’t honor Kiddushin by remaining with their spouse even when the marriage is broken until the husband gives a GET willingly, is forbidden to make Kiddushin. And to remain single is also a sin, as taught in Shulchan Aruch. The only solution is to marry with Pilegesh. Pilegesh is a real marriage and the children are the true family of the parents. The basic condition is for the woman to come to the husband’s house and live there with him as husband and wife, with the understanding that there is no Kiddushin, but Pilegesh rules, so that either spouse can leave whenever they want to, with absolutely no penalty. The couple must behave as a married couple regarding not having relations with others. If somebody wants to marry with Pilegesh another thing is to have a rabbi tell a few other rabbis and people in the community that these two, the husband and wife of Pilegesh, are not married with Kiddushin. Again, in my blog torahhalacha.blogspot.com I devote more detail to Pilegesh. Anyone interested can write to me email at email@example.com or call me at 845-578-1917.]
Question from Chaim Levin:
I'm trying to clarify why there isn't more outcry over this new "ruling" by the so called "Safed Rabbinate" to invent a non-existant "get" that someone classified as a "vegetable" can divorce his wife...
It is clearly discernable from the Shulchan Aruch Even Haezer 121 that a "shchiv mera" cannot arrange that a get be given to his wife unless we ascertain that he was in full faculty of his mental state at the time (also at the time the get is given).
Reply from Rav Dovid Eidensohn:
Chaim, very good question. Let’s first make clear what your question is: A married man became a “vegetable” and had no normal mental capacity to decide and declare things. His wife was therefore trapped in a marriage with a vegetable who could never give her a GET willingly, as he had no capacity to decide to give his wife a GET and to utter the statements that are required to give one’s wife a GET. And you correctly quote the Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer 121 that a GET may only be given when the husband gives it willingly and says that he wants his wife to be divorced. A vegetable cannot do this. But an Israeli Beth Din ruled that the woman is free to remarry, because the husband would surely want his wife to be divorced in light of his situation. When a senior Israeli rabbinic court decided to overruled the first Beth Din and declare the GET for a vegetable invalid, a secular court overruled the religious court and said that the GET was valid, even though the husband never said one word about giving his wife a GET and had no mental capacity to even think about doing such a thing.
And Chaim, your point is “why there isn’t more outcry over this new ruling" is surely a very valid point. It is not a point against the Beth Din which surely erred in its ruling. It is a ruling against those of us who were not moved to protest such an outrage as accepting a divorce from a man who was a vegetable and could not think or speak those things needed to produce a GET.
As for myself, I feel the real discussion must be something else: What can we do when there is a government sponsored rabbonuse where people are free to invent rulings that produce mamzerim and the secular courts back them so there is no recourse?
In such a case, who should we attack? The erring Beth Din, or the entire system? And if the entire system, does that mean we do away with the rabbonuse? If there were reasons to make an Orthodox rabbonuse, do we now reverse this?
Yes, Chaim, your question is a good one. But many people are confused. If there is an Orthodox rabbinate, and if it is under the control of a secular government, we are inviting the outrage of the Tsevas Beth Din. So who do we scream at, the Tsevas Beth Din or the secular court that backed them or the entire structure of an Orthodox Beth Din capable of making such rulings that are backed by a secular court and a secular government. This makes for a lot of confusion, and confused people don’t usually sound off when they don’t know who to complain about.