Friday, December 21, 2012

Must husband be informed of wife's adultery IV - Rav O. Yosef

Rav Ovadiya Yosef (Yabiya Omer E.H. 2:2.13): Question: A man who had an adulterous relationship with a married woman and therefore she is prohibited to her husband and then he repented. Is he obligated to inform the husband in order that the husband divorce her since she is prohibited to him or is it possible to find a leniency not to tell him because of the damage this will do to the status of his family and the embarrassment this will cause?... Answer: We can conclude from this discussion that in order not to prevent a person from repenting that it is possible to be lenient and not require that the husband be informed to avoid degradation of the family and embarrassment. We don’t say that there is absolutely no benefit in the lover repenting as it seems to be saying in Chagiga (9b), “The crooked thing cannot be fixed – that is referring to a man who has an adulterous relationship with a married woman and she becomes prohibited to her husband and he is banished from the world and passes away.” That is referring to the fact that even if the husband is informed and divorces his wife – he still cannot correct the damage that was done as Rashi explains there. That is because she will always be irrevocably prohibited to her husband. Since there are views that whenever there are not witnesses to the adultery she is not prohibited to her husband – it is appropriate to rely on these authorities in situations of great need. This is so that it doesn’t seem as one who immerses in a mikve while holding on to the source of spiritual contamination as the Shaarei De’ah (2:81) writes. However the psak is different if this baal teshuva is a heroic man and has a courageous heart to completely repent. Then we let him know – but only as good advice - that if it is likely that when the husband of this woman is informed of the adultery he will divorce her because he believes him as if he were two witnesses – then in fact it is very good to inform the husband. In that way the burden of the prohibition of having intercourse with his unfaithful wife is removed from the husband. Furthermore this repentant lover should forever be involved in repenting and doing good deeds with all his strength and should rejoice when he suffers and he should fast according to his strength. Also look at the Genizei Chaim (150b). He should be involved in a great deal of Torah study. This will restore and cure him.

16 comments :

  1. So really the husband should be informed and divorce his adulterous wife. But we don't do so by cases if we think he'll disregard the information and stay married to her. (Since we'd rather he sin inadvertently than repeatedly sin knowingly by continuing to be married and having sex with her.)

    So even where we didn't tell him, he is constantly sinning every time he has marital relations with his wife. He just doesn't realize this.

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  2. What is the halachic consensus if the husband has strong reason to suspect his wife committed adultery but he is not absolutely 100% certain?

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  3. Why can he be *restored and cured" for an aveira that carries a death penalty?

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    1. Good point. I assume he means that he can make significant strides in the direction of repentance - but that it is not complete

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    2. What's so shvere? Anyone can do a full teshuva for any aveira, including for murder and other capital crimes. This is a tenet of our faith.

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    3. The problem is that in order to do full teshuva the punishment must be given. If she is executed that completes the teshuva - which obviously won't happen at the present time. See the citations from Hilchos tsheshuva in the comments section further down this page

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    4. Even during the time of the Sanhedrin she wouldn't be executed unless she received prior warning by two eyewitnesses. So how would she do a full teshuva even then?

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  4. Recipients and PublicityDecember 21, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Add this to the Divrei Chaim's position not to tell the husband. Chacham Yosef's teshuva is in congruence with that of the Ben Ish Chai's and its more updated, incidentally they both put great emphasis on the fact that there were no witnesses to the adultery, and most certainly not like the position of Rabbi Y.Y. Fischer who leans towards the strict views of the Noda Be'Yehuda. Even Rav Wosner is more lenient than Rav Fischer, "Rav Wosner (Shevet Halevi 8:287.1): I can’t go into detail in this matters but we typically follow the view of the Divrei Chaim (O.C. #35) who permits hims to turn a blind eye. According to this principle, even if he tells the husband, the husband is not obligated to divorce her unless the husband believes the testimony as is stated in Shuchan Aruch (E.H. 115:7). Consequently as long as he doesn’t believe her she is permitted to him according to the halacha. In such a case where he is not going to believe the testimony, it is permitted for the person not to inform the husband. Look at the Divrei Chaim itself."

    Rav Yosef seems to be making an ambiguous statement by saying "Then we let him know – but only as good advice - that if it is likely that when the husband of this woman is informed of the adultery he will divorce her because he believes him as if he were two witnesses – then in fact it is very good to inform the husband" which could be construed as meaning that b y repentant lover asking the shaylo he can even be given a response "as if the husband was informed" -- which seems to be an unclear answer.

    So some of the basic factors NOT to inform the husband are that:

    *The husband will not believe the woman, he does not have to divorce her.

    *The husband is allowed not to believe the person making the claim.

    *There were no witnesses.

    *The unknown dangers and harm it could cause since the response/s of the husband and the woman cannot be known or predicted.

    *Is the one asking the shaylo really telling the truth, how do we know he is not a liar with an agenda or vendetta?? Is he an honest man who would otherwise be believed as a kosher witness himself?

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    1. The point of this teshuva is that the sin of the husband doesn't go away. There is simply a heter according to most poskim not to inform the husband - but he is still being caused to sin by his adulterous wife.

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  5. What is necessary during the time of Sanhedrin in order to execute two adulterors? Would the woman and man have to be forewarned that if they commit adultery they will be killed, then they have to both acknowledge the warning and say we don't care, and then proceed to have the sexual intercourse physically in front of and in full view of the two eyewitnesses? Do all those conditions have to be met in order for Beis Din to execute them?

    And what do the two witnesses have to actually witness?

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  6. שולחן ערוך אבן העזר הלכות אישות סימן כ

    הבא על אחת מן העריות דרך איברים, או שחבק ונשק ונהנה בקירוב בשר, הרי זה לוקה וחשוד על העריות. הגה: והבא עליה, בין כדרכה בין שלא כדרכה, כיון שהערה בה דהיינו שהכניס העטרה, חייב עליה מיתה או כרת. ואין צריכין לראות כמכחול בשפופרת, אלא משיראו העדים אותם דבוקים זה בזה כדרך המנאפים, נהרגים על זה (טור), והאשה נאסרת על בעלה (נ"י פ' שני דיבמות). אשה גדולה שבא עליה קטן פחות מבן ט' שנים, אינה חייבת מיתה על ידו (טור). ונראה לי דה"ה אינה נאסרת על בעלה. ולכן כתב הרב בעל הטורים הרבה דינים אימתי חייבים מיתה או לא, נפקא מינה בזמן הזה באיזה ביאה אשה נאסרת על בעלה, ועיין בפנים. אשה פחותה מבת שלש, אין ביאתה ביאה (טור), דכל פחותה משלש שנים אין ביאתה ביאה ובתוליה חוזרין (בהגהות דיבמות). אפי' נתעברו השנים, בתוליה חוזרין (דברי הרב מהירושלמי).

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    1. What's the Mechaber paskening?

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    2. And why is the Mechaber paskening halacha that is only applicable during time bais din exists in yerushalayim? I thought SA is only halacha lmaaisa. There's no death penalty today.

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  7. a person committing a sin punishable by capital punishment can not fully do teshuva unless he/she dies and sufferers. See following post

    http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2012/12/teshuva-for-capital-crimes-requires.html

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  8. What is the status of the children they have once they are assur to one another...?

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