Friday, May 11, 2012

Does ORA want halacha changed?

*Do ORA and its supporters believe that halacha should be changed so that a get can be given or received with the consent of only one spouse?* [guest post]

Asked whether rabbis could just agree to permit a religious divorce without the man's consent, [Rabbi Shmuel] Herzfeld said, "It's very complicated."
He [ORA’s Rabbi Jeremy Stern] said the Jewish community certainly has started to discuss whether a rabbi should be able to officiate a divorce without one party's permission -- but said the community "is not at a point right now where they're willing to fundamentally change how Jewish marriage
and divorce works."

Rachel Levmore’s May 11 op-ed, “Should the Government ‘Get’ Involved,” raises a multitude of questions.

Let me address just two points. Levmore errs in stating that the proposed Maryland “barriers to remarriage” law would have protected Tamar Epstein from becoming an agunah. Epstein filed for the civil divorce and has done all she can to remove barriers to her ex-husband Aharon Friedman’s remarriage. Thus even if Maryland had passed the proposed law, Epstein would rightly have been awarded the civil divorce she sought but remained an agunah. [Rabbi Jeremy Stern has repeatedly and falsely claimed (although not on ORA's website) that it was Friedman who filed for divorce.] Maryland’s proposed “barriers to remarriage” law, similar to the first New York State “Get Law,” only helps if the husband is the plaintiff in the civil divorce suit. In 99% of agunah cases, the wife, not the husband, is the plaintiff. The second NYS Get law, which allows the judge to give the agunah a larger financial award, has some teeth, but the Maryland law was not patterned on this second law.

Levmore also states that Aharon Friedman, exercising his constitutional right, has turned Epstein into an agunah, but it is the Orthodox rabbinate’s refusal to embrace available halachic remedies to the agunah problem and the communtiy that keeps these rabbis in leadership positions and adheres to their decrees who have turned Epstein into an agunah. Susan Aranoff Director, Agunah International


  1. Actually I like to drive to the beach on Saturday and eat a cheeseburger there and look at all the pritzus there.

    I am waiting for the community to get there to change the halochoh.

  2. While there is no doubt that ORA and it's stated desires here are outside of normative practice, the question remains if it is outside of halakha or if it is just outside of erroneous minhagim that should accordingly be dropped.
    Rav David Bar-Haim(starting at min 17) argues that denial of Get on demand is actually a violation of halakha and instead erroneous minhagim.

    1. outside normative practice" are you for real? It's way beyond that this is a dangerous movement that needs to be stopped now. While I don't always agree with R' eidelsohns views, he is right on the money on this one. This is a reform movement cloaked with an endorsement from r' shachter to come across as a "kosher" organization. Their true colors have finally come to light. The fact that no clarification has been made and this has been public for months now proves what their real agenda.

    2. Did you listen to the shiur of Rav Bar-Hayim? Or are you simply offering a knee-jerk reaction?

      The actions of a single organization or a couple of Rabbis does not determine the direction or "real agenda" of an entire diverse movement.

    3. The fact that no clarification has been made and this has been public for months now proves what their real agenda.

      What do you want them to do? Call up Fox News and say, sorry, I misspoke, what I meant to say was that the Jewish religion allows women no freedom of exit from a marriage without the express consent of her husband.

      To which the reporter will respond: Does that work both ways.

      To which R'Herzfeld/Jeremy Stern will reply(after an embarrassed silence)... Um no... well you see, there was this guy name Rabbeinu Gershom... but well he gave a work around...

      Yeah, that will play well on US national news. Like anti-semites needed any more fuel for the fire. With anti-semitism on the rise in the US do you really want them handing out soundbites to be used to incite further hatred of Jews? Do you want Judaism to be viewed in the same negative light as Islam currently is?

      None of us know what is going on between their ears, however, I would say that in making statements to the secular press, they should be allowed to say whatever necessary, no matter how unhalakhic, so long as it does not violate Rambam's 13 principles, to reduce, or at least not increase, hatred aimed at Jews.

    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    5. >With anti-semitism on the rise in the US do you really want them handing out soundbites to be used to incite further hatred of Jews?<

      I keep hearing that bandied about, but as someone who lives here, I just don't see that at all.

  3. To my knowledge Jeremy Stern or RHS have not come out with a public statement to clarify the comments made to fox news. It seems that ORA has crossed over from Conservadox to Reform.

  4. ORA represents the storm troopers and street thugs of the modern Orthodox feminist religion, a religion that pretends to be Judaism while promoting the worst possible violations of Torah law.

    Modern Orthodoxy has engineered a shatnez abomination of goyish anti-male feminism and Jewish shul ritual. Anti-male feminist hashkafos have become so ingrained into the modern Orthodox mentality that they cannot distinguish Judaism from feminism any longer.

    So the answer is yes, ORA and its supporters certainly believe that HALACHA must be changed whenever it conflicts with their feminist agenda of female initiated - forced GET on demand, suing husbands in ARCHAOS, persecution of Jewish husbands, female rabbis, etc.

    But as Rabbi David Eidensohn has shown, ORA's so-called rabbis do not hesitate to use blatant falsification of halachic sources to make the ORA agenda appear to comply with HALACHA.

  5. Bingo! The feminists show their cards.

    In the Forward article linked to above an agunah activist stated:
    "... the civil divorce suit. In 99% of agunah cases, the wife, not the husband, is the plaintiff."

    Based on that statement, see Rav Sternbuch (4:301) (on this blog): "If she forces him to accept the rulings of the secular court in marriage matters he has no obligation to give her a get...he deposits the get with beis din until the judgment of the secular court is nullified. "

    Also Mishna Halachos 14:60 (on this blog): "when a woman goes to the secular courts and intimidates the husband with an Order of Protection or other techniques, it is subsequently prohibited for the husband to give her a get because it is an invalid get"

    Its clear that 99% of the so-called agunot are not agunot at all, and their husbands are either not obligated to or else are prohibited to give them a Get!

  6. Emes L'yaakov I am surprised its as low as 99%. It's probably more like 99.99%.

  7. Does ORA want halacha changed?

    The answer is an unequivocal NO. They want it scrapped all together.

  8. Unfortunately, this is how the reform movement began. It starts with minor changes in halocho until major ones become normative. Jeremy Sterns comments show ORA;s true colors and why their rulings andn methodologies cannot be trusted.

    1. Is not adding humrot chaning halakha? If as Rabbi Bar-Hayim states, the Gemarra insisted upon a woman's right to demand divorce, and that we beat the husband if he refuses, how is it that later generations were able to change this?

      He actually reads an article written by Rav Yehoshua Kohen(and I am pretty sure no one is going to confuse him for MO) that says essentially the same thing as Rabbi Jeremy Stern.

      So either:
      1) You object to the statement simply because of your hashkafic differences with the source... or
      2) You object to changes in halakha that you don't like...

      Either one is equally disingenuous.

  9. Reminder - I don't post anonymous comments

  10. Thank G-d for people like Rav Bar-Haim for bringing sanity back into our religion.


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