Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Early Divorce for "trivialities" amongst Orthodox Jews

crosscurrents  Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein

Shaya Ostrov, an Orthodox marriage counselor, relates how he was told recently by someone he was counseling, “So what if I get divorced? Most of my friends already are, and they’re waiting for me to join them.” And this from a young kallah: “I’m not thrilled by his looks, and I don’t see why I should settle. Most of my friends have broken engagements and seem to be doing just fine. According to Rabbi Weinberger, a shocking percentage of the young divorces are over “trivialities,” not triggered by the serious issues that typically compromise marriages of middle-aged couples, such as familial trauma, unremitting financial pressure, or an affair. As an example of such “trivialities,” Shaya Ostrov cites a young kallah from a “heimish” background who decided her chosson was too boring because he did not fully appreciate her love of bungee jumping.

Rabbi Doniel Frank points out [that] for those couples who have not navigated the developmental stages leading to young adulthood, expanded pre-marital training will be neither welcome nor engaging, and is unlikely to have much impact. More and more of our young people have not passed those stages. In an era in which social scientists speak of a period of “emerging adulthood” (which resembles an extension of the teenage years) into the late twenties, it is hardly surprising that the Orthodox community should have been adversely affected, and with particularly tragic results due to the societal norm of comparatively early marriage.
As noted by Dr. Yitzchak Schechter and others, too many Orthodox young people enter marriage with unrealistic expectations of instantaneous bliss and without any commitment to the hard work necessary to build and sustain a marriage. They have never had to work hard for anything in their lives or been forced to deal with situations outside of their “comfort zone.”

Shmuli Margulies, the founder of MESILA, an organization that trains individuals and families in issues connected to money management, points out that even the basic principle of financial education – a person’s spending is determined by his income – is unfamiliar to many young couples. Spending decisions are dictated more often by what their friends and neighbors have than by what they can afford.
But the problem goes deeper than that many of our children are spoiled and overprotected, argues Rabbi Frank. Many Orthodox young people have never adequately developed a sense of their own individuality (Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky once described every yeshiva as, to a greater or lesser extent, a “S’dom bed,” in which students are cut to the needs of the institution). And this lack of self-knowledge is expressed in deficits in their ability to make decisions, set goals, establish priorities, and plan for the future – all of which are crucial to a successful marriage. When it comes to shidduchim, they have long lists of what they want but a much weaker sense of what they have to offer a spouse.

As summed up by Dina Schoonmaker’s title “Marriage Preparation Begins at Age Two,” children must learn early in life that their emotional state need not be determined by whether they attained some desired object or not, and taught techniques in controlling their emotional states.


  1. Many orthodox jews marry without knowing each other properly. So I am not quite astonished that there might be a hard awakening after the honeymoon. On the contrary, I am surprised that it does not happen more often.

    I don't think it is a bad idea to separate as soon as one realizes that the unknown spouse is not what one expected. As long as there are no children yet, the damage is limited. It is better to separate immediately rather than try and make it work for 20 years, under great sufferings for both sides and the children.

    1. From the little bit I have observed, many marriages end up in divorce because one of the sides hid something from the other. Many medical conditions are hidden ,and they are not conducive for normal living. And by the way, I know many Rabonim allow hiding certain illnesses. My Rav told me, he knew of cases where one could not have children and yet the boy hid it from the girl.

  2. If you look at the superficiality prevalent in the shidduch system, it is a true miracle that the proportion of instant divorces is so low.

    Take last week's mishpacha (issu 421, 20. Av 5772) where a reader writes (p.12, "she married what she could find"): "When I arrived at the vort and saw her standing next to a man in a pale-blue shirt and small leather yarmulke, I nearly cried". The story has a happy ending and the guy in the pale blue shirt and leather yarmulke turned out to be a good husband - but I think that judging persons according to their pale blue shirts and leather yarmulkes is prevalent in the "heimishe" communities.

    Or take this in the same issue of mishpacha, p.77 "I became engaged to Rochel, a girl with alle Mailes, including a father in real estate" ... "my inlaws were left practically penniless - and so were we" ... "I felt gypped. Here i was, less than a year after my wedding, and I wasn't getting a red cent of support" ... "I knew I shouldn't be angry at my in-laws, but I felt resentful anyway"

    This is the prevailing culture in heimishe circles. I do not know how they make fit their superficiality and greed with the torah-values they purport to live.

    or take this example from your article,
    "And this from a young kallah: “I’m not thrilled by his looks, and I don’t see why I should settle""
    This is a classic, although, most of the time, it is the other way round, the potential chatan or his mother refusing to even consider a kallah who is not pretty enough. Not so long ago a young yeshiva bochur I know decided not to get engaged (hall was already rented, guests invited) because "in the end he did not like the looks of the kallah". I think her legs were too short, in his view. And this is not an exception.

    How is it possible that young men who do nothing but study the holy torah judge their potential spouse only according to physical appearence?

    I suspect that something is seriously wrong with the whole system.

    1. The shidduch system produces better shidduchs and much much less divorces than the general divorce rate among those that meet on their own and fall-in-love.

    2. The "system" is nothing more than a reflection of the values of the culture and of human nature.

      If you want to change the "system," you'll have to first change both of the above.

    3. "The "system" is nothing more than a reflection of the values of the culture and of human nature."

      I agree with you. My conclusion is that the so called "heimishe" culture has shallow, superficial values.

      Now I let you decide whether this is a reflection of torah values or not.

      if it is, too bad for torah values, if it isn't, too bad for the haimishe culture.

    4. It is not a reflection of Torah values, but it is a reelection of haimishe culture.

  3. When you push everyone to become bnei and benot Torah, it doesn't mean they all make the grade.

  4. Shaya Ostrov, in the Cross Currents article above, mentions one young wife who demanded a Get because "her husband was too boring because he did not fully appreciate her love of bungee jumping."

    Well, this wife needs a few petch. She is entitled to no Get. Her husband has every right, and should be encouraged, to deny her a Get. Even if she runs off to Mommy for a few years or longer. Too bored? He doesn't appreciate bungee jumping? This is no basis in Jewish Law for a wife to demand a Get. And Halacha fully empowers the husband to permanently deny her a divorce for this reason. Even if she runs off for any amount of time. That would just make her a moredes. Which still does not entitle her to a Get.

    Such a case is precisely the type of case Halacha says a husband shouldn't give his wife a Get because of the concern she is interested in another man. And, unfortunately, probably most Get demands by wives these days fall into this category. And most wives who are refused a Get, and call themselves a so-called "aguna", are nothing more than a moredes, are not entitled to a Get, and the husband is fully correct and empowered by Halacha to rightfully deny her a divorce.

    Perhaps Rav Eidensohn shlita can start a new post on this website exploring in more depth the halachic ramifications of a situation where a wife demands a Get because she is "too bored" and says he doesn't "appreciate her bungee jumping" hobby. The bottom line for such a wife under halacha is clear in such a situation and the many many other similar types of Get demands made by wives these days.

    1. And if the father of four decides that his wife has suddenly become too boring or not thrilling enough for him and has a little affair on the side?

      He does not deserve petch, of course, rather the wife is told to put up with it, or he can divorce her, if he wants, or withhold a get, if he wants, or even have a pilegesh, if he goes according to the ravad or to rav yakov Emden...

    2. Read the article again.

      It was a kallah who wanted to break off an engagement, not a wife who wanted a get.

    3. Here is the quote from the original article in Klal Perspectives: "I was recently taken by surprise when a young kallah from a “heimish” background told me why she was breaking her engagement: her chosson was boring because he didn’t appreciate the thrill she felt in bungee jumping at the amusement park. This may sound like an absurd exaggeration; I wish it was."

      Even if it was a question of divorce, your rant about women is disturbing.

    4. Are you off your rockers
      Your encouraging people to refuse to give a get when their is no relationship.
      Were you abused as a child or something ?

    5. This isnt about Agunot or contentious divorces. Adlerstein is discussing the increasing phenomenon of broken marriages. Lets stay on point.

      You can post your rant on the Aharon/Tamar thread.

    6. The bungee jumping kallah was married and seeking a divorce. I agree it should be denied to her. Let that little moredes learn what marriage is all about.

    7. No, no, no Drudge.
      Read my earlier posts or better yet read the Ostrov article in the original.
      She was engaged. Engaged! Doesn't anyone READ anymore???

      And even if she were married, what would she learn about marriage if she is chained to be married for the rest of her life to someone she doesn't love and doesn't want to be with?

    8. Oh, okay. I only read the excerpt on this blog, above. It sounded like she already got married. Still, it pretty pathetic and shallow for a kallah.

      But make no mistake. This happens all too frequently even with married women. And the law is (Jewish law, that is) if the wife has a shallow reason to demand a divorce, the husand can rightfully deny her the divorce. And he is fully supported by both law and ethics. And the wife is required to stay with the husband and fulfill all her wifely duties.

      And if she refuses, or runs, she is a moredes. And must be treated accordingly, until she returns to her husband as his wife.

    9. Do you happen to be "emes le yakov" who thinks the easiest way to relate to a woman is via sexual relationship? And who asked for guidance from the blog author?

      Well, let me give you a tiny, little piece of advice: first start by not demanding sex against a woman's will. That's called RAPE in common language. Then stop treating her like an object. Then start respecting her and engaging with her on an other level than the purely sexual one. By the way: they say that's what niddah is for... Then put her wishes first and yours last. and perhaps, lo and behold, she will stop fleeing from you and start loving you and sex will come without you DEMANDING it. Because men are not entitled to sex according to the halacha. They have the obligation to satisfy the wife, not the other way round. Please try to get this into your head.

      And, if you do not want to spread lashon hara about the torah and propagate the idea that the torah accepts spousal rape, please abstain from comments like this one in the future.

    10. ORA, you are clearly suffering from severe feminist delusions while exhibiting irrational anti-male gender hatred and tirades. Not one man posting on this blog here made any comment that could be remotely construed as advocating sexual violence or rape against women.

      My previous comments were simply explaining that in secular, Western culture, men and women both tend to engage in voluntary, superficial physical relationships without making the effort to develop their relationship on non-physical levels. Women can be just as guilty of this mentality as men. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence can observe this all over the Western world.

  5. This is why the Gerers do so well. Other than wedding night and mikveh night the spouses have pretty much separate lives so who cares what he/she looks or sounds like.

    1. Not that they can see much anyway...

    2. C'mon, haven't you seen the adorable couple from the documentary Kosher Cruise:,7340,L-4265849,00.html

  6. The real problem is that in the frum community, boys and girls get married, not men and women. The chasan and kallah are still dependent on their parents, who end up calling the shots and eventually messing things up.

    A man should only get married when he can make it on his own.

  7. Recipients and PublicityAugust 15, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    True Rabbi Adlerstein, but MORE importantly what do you recommend to fix the problem?

    While it's very easy to be a "social scientist" however, it's much, much more difficult to be a "social engineer"!

  8. The bungee jumperette was engaged, not married.
    What does Rav Shternbuch (Daas Torah) say about this?
    Otherwise, I suspect that this is yet another modern phenomena (which this blog should really not get involved in)..

  9. Shaya Ostrov and R' Dovid Weinberger live and work in Lawrence, NY. Looking for sanity in Lawrence, NY is like looking for a sober person on Purim.

    Just like drinking causes drunkenness, money causes insanity. You might say, I can drink and not get drunk. That's because you just haven't had enough yet. Everybody has their limit on how much they can handle.

  10. Rabbi (Daniel) Eidensohn,

    I'd greatly appreciate your thoughts on the following.

    Ora commented about single men who appraise a potential wife by her physical appearance. As a man, I believe that although men may connect with women most easily on a physical level, men are also capable of developing satisfying connections with women on a number of other levels, not just the physical. However, for men to connect on more levels than just the physical does requires some effort, focus, and motivation. This may not come as naturally to men as the physical connection.

    If single men and married men learned to develop stronger emotional, spiritual, and intellectual connections with their actual or potential spouses, wouldn't physical appearance become less critical?

    Can you recommend any self-help books or web sites to teach single men to learn to connect with potential spouses on other levels besides physical?

    1. "As a man, I believe that although men may connect with women most easily on a physical level"

      How sad!

      "I believe that (...) men are also capable of developing satisfying connections with women on a number of other levels, not just the physical"

      Well, at least you believe it is possible, even though you do not bear testimony about having experienced it yourself...

      "However, for men to connect on more levels than just the physical does requires some effort, focus, and motivation. This may not come as naturally to men as the physical connection."

      Is this how religion, through strict gender separation, (and treating women like property?) brings out the purely animal side in men? Most men I know, who grew up in a context of coeducation, don't experience the problem you point out. They are able, quite naturally, to relate to women on a level other than sex. And your holy torah-education did not allow you to learn it?

    2. Good comments, indeed. From my own experiences in life which currently find me as a forty-something divorced Kohen, it is definitely possible to develop strong feelings for someone you didn't initially find attractive. Sadly, however, the initial lack of attraction will almost always deny one from having the opportunity to develop strong feelings for that person. I don't like beer. People tell me it is an acquired taste, and I have no desire to keep drinking beer on the possibility that I will acquire the taste for it. So too with dating a woman I am not attracted to. I agree it is not a good thing, and I wish I could rise above it. There have been women I know (but not dated) that I did not initially find attractive, but after getting to know them either through a work setting or some other setting ended up asking myself how on earth I could ever have found that woman not attractive! It is the catch 22 with seeing a possible shidduch's picture. If I don't like the picture I will likely not give myself the opportunity for her to "grow" on me. Maybe she would, maybe she wouldn't, but I'll never find out. It really isn't because I think I'm so great, but just because I am a man who is sometimes slave to human nature. It isn't the ideal but it is what it is. Please know I am not comparing women to beer. That I choose not to drink beer is not anything I wrestle with on a personal level. The woman thing I really do.

    3. Reply to ORA - "(and treating women like property?) brings out the purely animal side in men...":

      Your blatant distortion of my earlier comments betray your feminist contempt for Torah and men.

      Torah in no manner considers Jewish wives to be "property" of their husbands. Torah does grant Jewish husbands a certain authority over their wives, a cardinal sin in the feminist "religion", but not the authority to treat them like property.

      Nor did I ever imply in my comments that a man's simple physical attraction to women means that the man is bringing out his alleged "animal side" (as per feminist mythology).

      You show contempt for Torah while conveniently ignoring how secular Western society relegates women to sex objects while being obsessed with sex and superficiality. So your claim that men in coeducation situations are somehow altruistically relating to women in non-sexual ways is more fantasy than reality.

    4. My previous comment (directed to Rabbi Eidensohn) needs to be clarified and corrected to the following:

      Although men and women may experience attraction or relationships most easily and naturally on a physical level, they are also capable of developing satisfying relationships on a number of other levels, not just the physical. However, for men and women to experience connections on deeper levels than just the physical does requires some insight, effort, and motivation. Regrettably Western society largely encourages relationships on the superficial physical level only.

    5. From what you wrote (and from what I see in the shidduch world), I got the impression that a culture with strict gender separations, and particularly a culture in which women do not enjoy the same rights as men encourages men viewing women only as sex objects, as you expressed in your prior comment.

      I was really, really sorry when reading your previous comment, because it made the whole torah system look so counterproductive, i.e. all they do to achive something achieves exactely the contrary.

      but perhaps I am mistaken and you did not even go through the hareidi education system, and how you view the relationship between men and women is only your personal idiosyncracy.

    6. itchiemayer, why not just skip the picture then, if you know it will prevent you from giving women a chance?

      Don't take this personally, please, but I think part of the problem is the expectation of instant gratification; it includes an expectation of instant attraction. Western society has led people to expect perfect, airbrushed and cosmetically altered faces and bodies as the norm. You know this, but you just can't seem to get beyond it. Maybe not asking for or just not looking at a picture is the first step? Judging by your stated age, when you were dating the first time around not everyone provided pictures.

    7. emes le yakov, I suspect that you did not enjoy a thourough jewish education and that you are just playing the macho here, on the cost of the reputation of the torah world.

      Marriage is considered a "kinian", an acquisition, so the torah treats the wife like property. And you, in your unreflected comments under another nic really do rub it in that she is property, since you assume that she has to satisfy her husbands sexual needs (which, in my opinion is not correct), that she can be held in the house of her husband against her will (which, in my opinion is also incorrect), and that the husband has every right to refuse her get if he cannot understand why she wants a divorce.

      the torah puts great emphasis on the midah of rachamim, the torah prohibts to make other people suffer, the torah forbid putting a stumbling block in front of a blind person (i.e. bring someone into a position where they might sin). What you propose is against those three prohibitions, and many more.

      the torah is very aware that positions of power are dangerous, since they might lead to sin. This is exactely the problem with the attitude you defend. I think there is even a technical term for it "naval be darchei torah".

    8. Ora, batmelech, helas et al - cut out this drivel. I have told you in the past not to make your feminist tirades with your caricatures of Torah positions. When you shift from asking questions - which you are very good at - to making anti-Torah polemics - which you are are not good at - it is simply unacceptable.

    9. Reply to ORA - "a culture in which women do not enjoy the same rights as men encourages men viewing women only as sex objects"

      Nowhere did I imply that because halacha may not be egalitarian by Western standards, therefore frum men view women as sex objects.

      It is liberal Western culture which has relegated women to sex objects, not Torah.

      If any frum men are treating women as sex objects, it is due to the influence of Western culture, and is certainly contrary to Torah values.

      If any frum women are viewing men as "animals", this is due to the perverse, sexist gender hatred being promulgated by the lesbian feminists who dominate the universities and wield great power in Western culture.

    10. Wow, I touched a raw nerve here... but I am not sure you understood what I wrote, according to your reaction...

    11. "It is liberal Western culture which has relegated women to sex objects, not Torah."

      I think you are following pre-conceived ideas here.

      You state earlier that to you, the easiest way to relate to a woman was through a physical relationship- so she is nothing but a sex object to you. In order to have another type of relationship with a woman - purely intellectual, emotional on another level then sex, etc - you stated you had to make a special effort.

      According to what i see in normal men around me, who are primarily marked by western values, they engage in intellectual and emotional, but non-sexual relationships with women quite easily.

      So you, the representative of the torah-world, have a difficulty in viewing a woman differently than a sex-object-that men raised in western culture don't have.

      So I think it is a mistake to assume that western values make sex objects out of women, while the torah world does not.

      I suppose that this mistake comes from the fact that in our world, you see pictures of women made into sex objects everywhere - which the torah-world frowns upon. But exhibiting those pictures (which were taken, in general, with the consent of the women pictured) does not necessarily imply that every relationship with every woman in the western world is of this nature.

      On the contrary, the western world has done a lot to give women a chance to be defined by more than just her bodily qualities, by giving them access to education, by allowing them access to the labour market, by allowing them access to public functions, by allowing them to express their opinions in public.

      I suppose that this deep transformation also affected how men view women. this might be the reason why normal western men quite naturally engage with women on a different level than the purely physical one, without particular effort.

  11. OT but might be of interest due to parallel problems:

  12. Too much experienceAugust 16, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    The absence of proper values prior to entering into the scene of marriage eligibility (shidduchim) is at epidemic proportions. This matter is multifaceted, and no comment, article, or even book could cover this issue exhaustively. Here are a few issues that I did not find in the issue of Klal Perspectives (correct me if I missed something).

    The meddling of rabbonim, dayanim, chosson and kallah teachers, and other non-professionals is most destructive. Their noble intentions are obliterated by their taking sides and their bad advice.

    The role of HKB"H in the home must be low for there to be fighting. I'm involved in many cases, and this is clear as day. Making minyan 3X/day, attending daf yomi, filtering water, and cholov yisroel are not the criteria for hashro'as haShechinah.

    The extent of dishonesty was alluded to in the article and some comments. It is far beyond just the failure to disclose medical or emotional issues.

    The sense of entitlement bred into our younger generation is pathetic.

    The "kollel" ethic as exists in both E"Y and America bears no resemblance to what the gedolim of yesteryear intended to transplant Yiddishkeit and Torah post-Holocaust.

    The basics of social skills needed for marriage are taught by no one, rarely the home, never the yeshivos or schools, and only exceptionally by a chosson or kallah teacher. How about the concepts of the husband being the King (only if he treats his wife like a Queen)?

    Most mussar promulgated in yeshivos and schools is about bein odom lamakom. No society since matan Torah has been able to standardize as many chumros as today. Our capacity for achdus was demonstrated by brief flashes in Citifield and in MetLife Stadium. Within 24 hours, the critics were in full force. Our bein odom lachaveiro midos are seriously lacking in every area, and the spike of marriage breakups is, at some level, another symptom of that.

    Divorce is a bitter, highly volatile process. Believe it or not, there are some people who get a charge out of this activity. If they do not know how to value and appreciate marriage and family, the thrills of the fight (while often quite costly) may be more appealing.

    It is a shame that people do not seek professional guidance sooner, putting their hopes in those who have no training or background in marital therapy and reconciliation. Many have no clue about the post-divorce state and its problems. Many use the process to continue the abusive patterns that existed in the marriage.

  13. Ora - I think you are mixing apples and oranges. It is one thing to relate to women on a non-sexual level such as at work or at the store or whatever. I relate to women all of the time, but not in the dating world which completely changes the equation. Also, I am not convinced that the co-education vs. separation of the sexes is the key to how an individual relates to women. I honestly don't know, although I suspect there is minor correlation but not a lot. Anyhow, I'm a product of the co-ed world, but I know many couples that are Yeshivish/chareidi that appear to have very healthy relationships.

  14. I would not be so sure the woman with the bungee jumping is being silly. I assume the bungee jumping per se is not so much the issue as the fact that he won't unbend enough to appreciate her desire for a little adventure. And that is no small matter. My wife (of 30+ years) is far more adventurous than I, and while it has occasionally caused some friction, I generally appreciate that she keeps me from being too much of a "stick-in-the-mud". If I didn't, I doubt our marriage would have worked as well as it has.

    Yerucham, conceding that halacha does permit a husband to withhold a get from a wife if she wishes to dissolve the marriage for insufficient reason, what kind of man would do so? And does not the Torah (this week's parsha even) also require us to act "lifnim Mishuras Hadin"? It is one thing to argue against the tactics of those who want to pressure recalcitrant husbands. It is another thing entirely to suggest that it is a positive value to keep a woman in a marriage she no longer wants.

    1. thank you! you made my day by proving that not every jewish man subscribes to the positions propagated by the blog author, his brother and Yerucham, dovid, drudge, Yis. Stein, Emet le yaakov. I was starting to loose faith in jewish values when reading the other comments.

    2. Mike: What kind of man? A Jewish man who is a Yirei Shamayim. If a wife wants a demand for a silly reason, not only is it his right under Jewish Law to decline to give her a divorce, it his his ethical and correct approach to decline to give her a Get.

      Just because a wife wants a Get for an absurd or unjustified reason, she does not deserve one nor is it right to give her one. The idea that wife is entitled to a divorce-on-demand simply because she wants it, is a modern, western, liberal value that has no relation to the Torah or Judaism.

      Such a wife (who runs away from her marital home or makes a halachicly unjustified demand for a Get) should be taken to Beis Din by her husband where he should rightfully demand she return to their marital home and she perform all her marital duties. Her failure to comply with that halachic obligation of hers, would deem her under Torah Law as a moredes and she should be treated accordingly. (Which would not entitle her to a Get.)

    3. Obviously, Yerucham is this kind of a man and I would not be surprised if he was identical with "yy", who commented here and, according to his own statements, refuses his wife a divorce, because he wants to spend her heritage, after having lived on her income for more than 20 years....

    4. ORA for one who professes "true" Jewish values - you seem to enjoy bloodshed and causing others - in particular males as much pain as possible. YY is someone who is wrestling with a difficult situation who attempted to open up his life to us to try and reduce the pain of marriage conflicts. He is not perfect but he certainly is sincere and want to do the right thing. He did not refuse to divorce his wife - only requested that they have a reasonable shot at marriage counseling and he is not interested in spending her heritage. You are really pitiful! Your compassion seems to only apply to females- even though men are also human beings and the Torah applies to both.

    5. True Torah values permit a man to marry off his pre-teen daughter to another man. Any man that would do that today is despicable!

      There is halacha and then there is the way halacha is lived.

      When a marriage is completely over, when both parties have already gone to court and are fighting for years, the marriage is over. Not granting a GET in that position is pure cruelty.

    6. Do you agree that "If the beith din cannot understand why a woman wants to divorce, they should force her to go back to her husband and fullfill her marital duties" (I suppose the author includes sexual relations in the marital duties, so this would mean that she has to have intercourse, whether she wants or not). Even the rambam rejected this view! He said a woman is not a slave, so she will not be brought back to her husband against her will!

      Why do you let such comments stand without a comment? Do you really want to convey the impression that halacha condones spousal rape?

    7. Yes, I not only agree with that, but that is Jewish Law.

      The Rambam's position on maus alei is rejected by virtually all other Halachic authorities, including Shulchan Aruch.

  15. "This kind of man" is a person who wishes to follow the Torah and Halacha scrupiously. And what is described above, is the Torah Law. And how the Torah expects us to live.

    "yy" is someone else. I haven't followed the comment thread closely enough to know if he agrees.

    1. No. What you describe is a monstrous distortion of the Torah. Chazal are quite clear that the mitzvah of "Veahavta l'rayacha camocha" applies to relations between husband and wife as much as anywhere else; see, for example, the first sugya of the 2nd perek of Kiddushin. And Posekim from the Rishonim to today echo that. And even where the woman's behavior is unquestionably despicable they don't permit the husband to make her an aguma; for example, Igros Moshe EH 4:3 deals with a wife who is a moredes, stole from her husband and is herself refusing to accept a get. Nonetheless, Rav Moshe requires the husband to leave a valid get with the beis din as a condition of permission to remarry and adds: ושום ב"ד דגאונים לא תיקנו ולא יתקנו באופן שיוכל הבעל לעגנה לגמרי או עד שתתן לו כמה שירצה, ובשביל עניני גיבוי ממון לא תיקנו ולא יתקנו שום תקנות שיהא ביד הבעל כח בעצמו לעשות כרצונו ולעגנה

      The "punishment" decreed by the Halacha for a moredes is that the husband may divorce her without paying her ketubah if he wants to. Not that he may turn her into a chattel slave or an aguna. Jewish wives are neither the property nor the captives of their husbands. The fact that a beis din will not compel a divorce does not prove the husband should withhold one. There are many obligations people have toward one another that are not enforceable in beis din. For an example that may excite less emotion, the beis din will not enforce compensation for damages that aren't visible (hezek she eino nikar) but the Mazik is still supposed to pay them (latzeit y'dei shamayim).

      It is one thing for a husband who hopes to reconcile to delay a get for a time in the hopes of achieving that. it is another thing entirely to withhold one to exert control over his estranged wife.

    2. When Torah Law prohibits her from getting as divorce, she is not an aguna.

      "Veahavta l'rayacha camocha" would entail her returning and loving her husband. And acting as his wife.

      A husband is not obligated to divorce his wife against his will when she has no halachic justification to demand it. If he desires Shalom Bayis, he can await it.

  16. @Blog author
    You see, I was thinking hard on what you claim are "true torah values".

    How come, for example, that Rabbi Gershon prohibited polygamy if polygamy was a true torah value? Is someone who opposes polygamy just deeply marked by christian values and incapable of appreciating true jewish values?

    How come, for example, that Rabbi Gershon all of a sudden demands that a wife should agree to divorce and that her husband cannot just throw her out? Is someone who insists that a wife has to take the get before the husband can remarry incapable of appreciating true jewish values?

    How come that most families, even hareidi ones, split a heritage more or less evenly between sons and daughters, when the torah commands that only sons should inherit? Are they all incapable of appreciating true jewish values?

    History has shown that surrounding cultures mark the sense of justice, even among jews, and ultimately halacha is adapted in some way or other.

    1. good questions. 1) apparently the Christians didn't approve of polygamy and apparently the decree was made to save Jewish lives. This is the nature of rabbinic decrees. If something is permitted by Torah law but it is producing harmful effects in a particular time and place - there is no problem for it to be prohibited - as long as the decree is accepted. In general you are raising the issue of why their are rabbinic decrees to restrict that which is permitted by the Torah.

      If the rabbis today would similarly issue a decree - as they did in the time of the Gaonim - that a man is to be forced to divorce his wife if she wants out - I would have no problem accepting it. But that is not what most contemporary poskim say.

      Bottom line - I have no problem with the possibility of rabbinic change or restriction or that which the Torah permits. I just would like you to show me that the rabbis agree with you on a particular point or at least don't disagree with you. I insist that change be agreed to by gedolim while you apparently have no need for rabbinic or halachic support

    2. "If the rabbis today would similarly issue a decree - as they did in the time of the Gaonim - that a man is to be forced to divorce his wife if she wants out - I would have no problem accepting it. But that is not what most contemporary poskim say."

      Actually you should have a problem accepting such a new decree. Which is one of the reasons the rabbonim shlita never issued such a decree. That reason being, what you are describing is not simply something "to restrict that which is permitted by the Torah." It, in fact, entails permitting what is prohibited by the Torah.

      Since, per accepted Torah Law, a divorce issued against a husband's will (on the basis when the wife simply "wants out", without a substantially justified halachic basis for demanding a divorce) means the divorce is a Get Meusa, and thus invalid and she remains married to him, a contemporary rabbinic decree allowing such a divorce to be considered valid would essentially be telling the wife she can remarry even though under Torah Law that is considered adultery and forbidden (and future children being mamzerim and forbidden from intermarrying regular Jews.)

  17. Well, its a question of who the gedolim are. I do think that that inequity is what the Ora rabbis are attempting to address. I'm sure if you and your brother had been in the time of R. Gershon you would have trashed him on your blog in the same way that you are currently trashing R. Shacter. Things look very different in retrospect than how they appear at the time that the change is actually occurring.

    And besides, now, we're NOT afraid for our lives, but there is a sensibility about monogamy and a women not being divorced against her will and we CHOOSE to continue with the practice, which definitely helped to level the playing field between men and women and definitely eroded some of men's "Torah-given" rights.

    It seems like the rabbis believe that the "Torah-given" rights were being exploited by men in ways that were never intended by the Torah actually...that the Torah never intended for women to be disadvataged in the ways that the laws were being used...that the men were assuming the Torah had extended certain privileges to them when, in fact, that was not the case. They were exploiting a loophole to act against the Torah's intention of how women should be treated. And maybe that is also the case with the git issues now.

    1. Chaim you have a reading comprehension problem - or more likely you never bothered reading more than a post or two and have ignored the majority of the posts that I have made on the subject.. Despite the fact that I have consistently shown that the majority of poskim throughout history have not allowed forcing a get in the case of ma'os alei you have concluded that I would have rejected the R' Gershon?! Your comparison of R Schachter to R' Gershon is really amazing. However I think that is perhaps the key to this dispute. While in some fantasy world you might want to equate them - there is a critical difference. The strength of R Gershon's takana is because IT WAS ACCEPTED BY THE COMMUNITIES. However in those communities where it was rejected it has no significance. If the present day gedolim wish to state the R. Schachter ruling are accepted as were R Gershon - I WOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM FOLLOWING THE GEDOLIM. That has been my point that I have repeated over and over again. The fact is that the gedolei haposkim have not followed R' Schachter and thus his understanding is very problematic.

    2. With the exception of rav Gesterner, who is not considered one of the gedolim and who is not accepted by any recognized BD, not one American Gadol has openly come out against ORA. They all know what ORA does. RSK openly stated that he knows what ORA is doing and has not opposed it. Not one major Rosh Yeshiva has openly condemned ORA. In some sense, Rav Shachter's position IS accepted. (The truth is that while Rav Schacter Is the halachik advisor for ORA, he doesnt act alone and would never pasken an issue of gittin in an unconventional manner)

      Nonetheless, I don't believe consensus really matters because Rav Gesterner is cited and supported by this blog and we all know that the consensus is to reject him and his BD.

    3. What DT and Stan are using is the No true Scotsman fallacy. This fallacy is where someone says there is no Scotsman who does not like whisky. When you find scotsman who dislikes it, they say "oh, he isn't a True Scotsman".
      Now the Gedolim argument, is again such a fallacy. With due respect to The Eidensohn family, R Kamenetsky is on the Moetzet HAGedolim in America. R' Dovid mentions R Elyashiv as Posek HaDor, but he cannot impose R Elyashiv's rulings on the entire world. That has never been the case in Halacha. Even Rambam was not universally accepted in his halacha.

    4. Exactly.

      Rabbis Kamenetzky, Belsky, Roshei Yeshiva, the entire Moetzet Gedolei Hatorah, Agudas Yisrael, YU, the RCA, the Rabanut are all corrupt. Gestetner is the only one who counts. Then, when they want to attack someone like Rav Schachter, they say he needs a consensus.


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