Showing posts with label mistakes about forcing a GET. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mistakes about forcing a GET. Show all posts

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mistaken Teachings about Gittin

Exhibit number one of mistakes:
"Ironically, this type of agunah, the one whose husband is very much present but refuses to give a get, is a relatively new phenomenon. According to halachah, though it is the husband who gives his wife the get, a woman too may demand a divorce if she can prove that the husband is neglectful, repulsive or abusive. In such an instance, the halachah is unequivocal:
"One who is halachically required to divorce his wife and refuses to do so, a Jewish beth din – at any place and at any time7 – corporally punishes him until he says, 'I wish [to divorce].' The get is then written and it is a kosher get."8
In short: the beth din is empowered to use any and all methods at their disposal to compel the husband to "agree" to divorce his wife. This includes imposing sanctions on having casual or business dealings with the noncompliant husband, and even using brute force if necessary

End quote

This is completely wrong. Beating a husband and forcing a divorce is only permitted in extreme cases that almost never occur in real life. A husband marries a woman forbidden to him, even dirabonon, is coerced even with beatings to divorce his wife. But a regular divorce case, where the wife simply claims that she hates her husband, she surely cannot have him beaten to give a GET. Nor can she have Beth Din make any coercion, period.

There is an in between level, between an absolute mitzvah to coerce the husband even with beatings, and the prohibition to coerce at all, at any level, that operates in most cases of divorce. And that is a husband who is not a man. In such a case the Talmud demands a GET. However, the Talmud does not specify the pressure, if any, that is permitted to make to force the GET. Therefore, in practice, we do not beat the husband. We follow the Rashbo, Radvaz, Beis Yosef and Chazon Ish and others that we may not put the husband in cherem, we may not humiliate him, and we may not hurt him physically. But a husband who is a normal person and surely one who had children with the wife cannot be forced with a beating and surely not with cherem, humiliation or physical pain. Furthermore, coercion with great financial pressure is also grounds to invalidate a GET.

Beth Din does not have any power to force a GET other than the exact cases taught in the Talmud and Shulchan Aruch. These cases usually have nothing to do with the vast majority of marriages, unless the wife starts to lie and gets others to agree with her. Even then, a reliable Beth Din doesn’t pretend that it accepts everyone’s claims in a Din Torah and the truth will out. The Chazon Ish writes that if a Beth Din told the husband that the halacha is that he has to give a GET but this was not true in the husband’s case, then, if the husband issues a GET, it is invalid even by Torah law, because it is coerced and because the husband  was in error when he gave it. Had he known the truth, that he was not obligated to give the GET, he would not have given it. So the giving was a mistake and worthless.