Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Rav Sternbuch: Marry a 2nd wife if no shalom bayis?

Rav  Sternbuch (5:315): Abrogating the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom? I was seized by fear and trembling when I heard that one rabbi in America decided to abrogate the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom for the case where the couple had gone at least 18 months without shalom bayis (domestic tranquility). In such a case he permits the husband to marry another woman after he has deposited a Get and Kesuba and a guarantee of support for his first wife. I was upset because his words are against the poskim who agreed to abrogate the cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom only in the case where the wife is crazy or when the wife does not want to accept a Get when it is required by halacha. It is obvious that if you abrogate also in the case where the marriage lacks shalom bayis for 18 month then that effectively does away with the Cherem entirely. That is because someone who wants to end his marriage will simply make sure that he has no shalom bayis for 18 months and then he will be able to marry someone else. The seriousness of the Cherem is stated explicitly in the poskim and that is why it requires the agreement of 100 rabbis to abrogate it – even in those cases where it is permitted to abrogate it.
 
However I heard from the Brisker Rav that when there is a breach in the observance of Torah law that one needs to defend it didactically and to state forcefully that violating this particular halacha is absolutely forbidden and serious and not to explain any conditions. Because by presenting different aspects of the law it is likely that they will rationalize their violation and this will serve to weaken the prohibition in their eyes. I want to add that if we need to bring justification for the Torah law - that serves only to justify their view rather than to strengthen the halacha. Therefore we need to announce that this particular halacha is a very severe prohibition and the words of the Brisker Rav should serve to state this categorically and not to explain and qualify our words. Therefore it is necessary to announce that one who proclaims such a leniency is debasing the cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom.

I found someone who noted that the language of the cherem indicates that those rabbis who abrogate it improperly are also being placed in cherem. In my sefer Teshuvos v’Hanhagos (2:662) I wrote that the one who improperly abrogates the Cherem also violates that Torah prohibition of lo sasur. Consequently to the degree that there is fear that the words of this rabbi who is offering this leniency will be taken seriously – it is a mitzva to ask that the American rabbis sign a proclamation that this leniency is invalid and the prohibition of Rabbeinu Gershom remains unchanged. This will show that not everyone who wants to have the status of posek for difficult issues can come and simply take it.

48 comments:

  1. As an askan who helps facilitate the get process, I can share observations about some remarkable violations that occur, involving individuals who consider themselves dayanim/rabbonim. The suggestion of the woman who refuses to accept a get is usually related to the hurdle of developing a settlement that is suitable. I have observed instances in which the women are insisting on terms that are absurd, such as denying parental/custodial rights to the father, demanding monies that are beyond reason, etc. At least as common as this is where the husband seeks to obtain custodial rights in order to continue a pattern of abusiveness to the mother of the children, looks to get away with an intolerably low child support payment, seeks to avoid responsibilities while retaining his visitation schedule, or just to continue abusing the wife. The fact that the wife won't agree to crazy demands is broadcast as her being resistant while he is the one who is using the system to continue his abusiveness.

    There are so-called "dayanim" and "batei din", whose names are known (I won't mention them specifically) who become party to the ongoing abuse by soliciting the husbands to deposit a get with them, they write a "heter meah rabbonim", and notify the woman that her get is ready for her to pick up. Even if agreements have already been written and signed, these scoundrels demand a revision of the settlement that essentially excludes child support, frees the husband of responsibility of tuition and the like, fixes visitation schedules to oppressive levels, and requires a payoff to the dayanim. These "heter meah factories" are obscene morphs of what a beis din should be, and they are a disgrace to Torah and Klal Yisroel. Ask around, and the identities of these schemes are known. I know of more than 100 agunos who are stranded because of these resho'im.

    The get system is easily abused. We hope for some semblance of morality from dayanim to not fall prey to these schemes. But it happens, and it is comforting to see someone stand up for the cause of morality.

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    1. Would you be interested in writing a guest post?

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  2. It is very hard to tell whether "Just be a mensch" is a feminist or not.

    Firstly where does he obtain his statistics from?
    "I know of more than 100 agunos who are stranded because of these resho'im."
    Even the feminist Jewish press which allegedly advocated for the anti-halachik get law can only list 7-8, most of whom are not halachik agunos but mordos who went to arko'oys shelo k'din. Ditto applies to the 7-8 listed on the infamous GetOra web site.

    While I fully appreciate not every woman who is "denied" a Get legitimately or illegitimately wants publicity, it is a real stretch of the imagination to believe that you personally know of 90 such women.

    Furthermore what is an askan involved in Gittin? I have been around this parsha for half a decade now and have never heard of such a thing. A toen, a borer, a dayan a lawyer/ liar yes but an askan, never. Jeremy Stern, the notorious one and only, is the only askan I am aware of.

    I think it is easily provable that a far bigger problem than the one alleged of men witholding a Get is the almost universal practice of women going to arko'oys but not a sqeak round this matter from "just a mensch" is made.

    Why is he so afraid to mention the corrupt botei din he refers to? The only one that openly issues hetter meah rabonim does so is because of women who are in arko'oys shelo k'din and it charges not a cent for it. So please have the guts to openly condemn those that violate halocho.

    By the way what are "oppressive vistation" schedules? Even if you hold that for boys they don't go automatically to the father from age 6 because its not "l'tovas hayeled", it is universally accepted psychologically that it is l'tovas ha'yeled for children to have a loving father in their lives.

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  3. PS: The Achiezer says clearly in the case of a woman who is a moredes you do NOT even need a hetter meah rabonim and rabeinu gershom was not goyzer in such a case (he can take a second wife without a hetter) so I can only give rav Moshe Sternbuch the benefit of the doubt that he is talking about a case where she is NOT a moredes.

    While there are several actions which would put a woman in the category of moredes, refusing to go to Bais Din is one of them (e.g. see Divrei Chaim).

    In fact in the case where the woman went to arko'oys shelo k'din, the most prevelant problem of the age, Rav Sternbuch himself says deposit a Get and take a second wife (which is more machmir than Rav Chaim Oyzer).

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  4. Okay hang on, he's having no shalom bayis from one and he wants a second?!

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  5. I am not addressing the halacha of moredes, though many men consider their wives to fit that category when it does not apply. True, some women go to arkoyos without a heter. Most, however, go to courts only when they have obtained a heter from a Rov or beis din, and I am personally familiar with many such cases. As with arkoyos, I have also observed women who refuse to go to beis din, though the opposite (men refusing to go to beis din) is true at least 50% of the time.

    I am NOT a feminist, just a realist. (Ask my wife.) I am approached with requests for assistance in navigating the arena of get/divorce. B"H I am not a lawyer, nor am I a Rov who paskens shailos. I ask my halacha shailos from recognized rabbonim, and my legal questions from lawyers.

    For your records, I have dealt with many cases in which the woman was the "ikuv" in the get process moving forward, and just as many in which the husband was the problem. There are no statistics or scientific data, but I can report my experiences which are closer to 50-50.

    Case example - a wife took her husband to court while separated when she reported to rabbonim that he had "kidnapped" the children several times. Husband had a liberal visitation schedule, several times a week, shabbos, etc. He took the children from school without notification several times. Since he had not lost his legal parental rights, this was not a criminal case. But several rabbonim (it is in writing as well) paskened that she should get full temporary custody, continue visitation as before, but that he would face more serious consequences if his shtick continued. Husband continued to take her to court SIX times without a single heter for various other issues in which he wanted his way. He eventually earned himself two kisvei seruv from recognized batei din that tried hard to avoid doing this. The case had a happy ending. Here, wife went to court once with heterim, husband six times without any. BTW, he wasn't refusing the get. He was refusing to support his children. If I told you the dollar figure he offered, you would be shocked. I have the documentation of the settlement proposals. At the end, the get was going to be filed in family court with the settlement, and his attorney withdrew the original figure, substituting something many times more out of fear the judge would reject the agreement completely. Sometimes, my friends, the husband is the SOB, misusing arkoyos, ignoring beis din, etc.

    Another note. How often is there a completed get/divorce with an agreement filed in court, and the husband renegs on his responsibilities for child support or tuition? I watched a few of these lately. The wife was forced to go to court to enforce the existing settlement. Husband turns around (with his children denied admission to yeshivos because he, not she, failed to pay his portion of tuition from the prior year, and summons her to beis din for "going to arkoyos". This fellow earns a nice six digit salary, but refuses to allow his children in yeshiva because his abusiveness was not interrupted by divorcing. The use of court was recommended by rabbonim who stated this was only the enforcement of the already court sanctioned agreement.

    It gets nauseating to read the comments and complaints about how women run to arkoyos and force their husbands to patronize the resho'im of the heter meah factory when they go against halacha. Too many cases I have had direct contact with involved no such violation of halacha, only husbands that wanted to get away cheap. It is not without basis that countless other dayanim and batei din do not recognize these resho'im, and they have issued letters to that effect. I am aware that there are evil husbands and evil wives. And I think the score is close to even.

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  6. Halacha is that the husband is generally entitled to ALL marital assets, excluding whatever the wife owned prior to her marriage. If she attempts to ask for more in divorce proceeding than halacha entitles her, she is a thief and the husband may take action against her.

    Halacha, NOT secular law, also must be observed in determining who receives primary custody of the children. Otherwise the aggrieved party is entitled to seek redress.

    And there are too many so-called batei din that corruptly authorize arkoyos, going to secular court, when halacha does not allow arkoyos.

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    1. Primary custody of children is addressed in Shulchan Aruch E"H 71. It refers to custody and to support. Following the halacha that the custody and support of a boy is until age 6 with the mother (and the appropriate support), it is noted clearly that this is extended according the decision of rabbonim pertaining to the times. In all cases I ever was involved, the process of the negotiation of the agreement was done either through rabbonim or with their haskomoh before having lawyers rewrite in language that conforms to legal requirements. Thus all agreements were halacha consistent.

      Meanwhile, you made a sweeping assumption that women who go to arkoyos are doing so against halacha, suggesting that the "dayanim" who consider them in seruv and opt for the manufacture of a heter meah are legitimate. You are so inaccurate it is pathetic.

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    2. Child support must be just that, NOT ex-spouse support. All such support must be utilized exclusively and directly for the child. Furthermore, child support obligations must ONLY be ordered as per HALACHA and not secular law. Halacha stipulates up to what age a father is obligated to support a child and for what a father must support a child. Tuition for a Torah education is included. Non-essentials are NOT included. And a father does not halachicly have to support an upper-class lifestyle for a child EVEN if the child was previously used to such a lifestyle. If an ex-wife attempts to obtain more support than halachicly required, she is a thief and he may seek to undo her non-halacic demands.

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  7. @Stan - Thank you for your very valid and enlightening points.

    The comments of Just be a Mentch above represent clever feminist obfuscations of the real issues. I'll expose just a few of them here.

    Just be a Mentch states "I am not addressing the halacha of moredes" - Its utter hypocrisy to denounce allegedly bogus heter meah rabbanim while completely ignoring the rampant mesirah being commited by various moredes' operating in non-Jewish courts without valid halachic heterim.

    Just be a Mentch states "though the opposite (men refusing to go to beis din) is true at least 50% of the time" - This is pure flim flam. Anyone who has the slightest knowledge of the civil court system knows that numerous men in the US family courts are being subjected to brutal violations of their constitutional rights and human rights. No sane man is going to prefer a feminist police state apparatus over humane and just Torah law.

    Just be a Mentch states "But several rabbonim (it is in writing as well) paskened that she should get full temporary custody" - Which rabbonim allegedly paskened this? Most likely the wife's feminist handlers. If this psak was not made by a kosher Bais Din where the husband agreed to appear, the husband has no obligation to comply.

    In the many cases of moredes occuring now the husband clearly does have a right al pi halacha to deposit a Get. Yet Just be a Mentch and his cohorts would have us believe that the Get system is being abused, while they utterly ignore the ever increasing numbers of Jewish husbands who have been viciously mosered by their wives.

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  8. @Just be a mentch: "The use of court was recommended by rabbonim who stated this was only the enforcement of the already court sanctioned agreement."

    JbaM is caught once again trying to foist his ORA - MO - feminazi flim flam on an unsuspecting Jewish olam. Notice that no mention was made of the mother sending the father a hazmana to a kosher Bais Din. Only feminazi rah-bonim "recommend" psak to moseres women while never even bothering to send a hazmana to the father.

    The mother most likely obtained the "recommendation" from the ORA type new age feminist reformadox theologians whose "psak" is about as kosher as a pork chop with a glatt kosher label on it.

    That father may have lost his job, or else suffered economic losses like numerous other men in this depressed economy, or the Yeshiva may have raised its tuition to unsustainable levels.

    A Jewish father has every right to present his case before a kosher Bais Din before any "heter" is given to the mother to moser him to the feminist police state apparatus which will jail him with dangerous criminals, without providing him any due process or jury trial, and destroy his job, income, and life.

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  9. Stan and emes L'yaakov - please cut out the paranoid comments. @just be a mentsch is not a feminist mole. Please criticize and expand his comments without the nastiness.

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  10. You are entitled to your opinions, I am entitled to mine. He is clearly a feminist because he is inventing facts which only come from being a feminist. If I have time to refute his shtusim I will easily refute them, but I am tired of refuting all the feminists who are attracted to this web site.

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  11. I agree that the largest amount of corruption in Beis Din gittin cases is halakhicly unjustifiably authorizing using "arkoyos" or simply filing suit in non-Jewish court without any authorization or justification at all.

    ALL aspects of the gittin process -- marital asset dispoal, custody, child support, alimony, etc. -- must be decided upon 1) exclusively based upon halakha not non-Jewish law and 2) by a Beis Din not by a non-Jewish court.

    The largest problem by far is that far too often one side will see a benefit in utilizing non-Jewish law for custody decisions, child support decisions, marital asset ownership, etc., and will file suit in non-Jewish court to arbitrate these matters based upon non-Jewish law.

    It is true that Torah Law (halakha) is much different that State laws in the United States on matters regarding custody, support and marital asset disposal. And, indeed, U.S. laws will very frequently work in the womans benefit compared to Torah laws which are, comparably, less favorable to her. Nevertheless, as Torah observant Jews we MUST accept Torah law and implement these decisions exclusively based upon halakha.

    Anyone who abrogates this principle and attempts to unhalakhicly interject non-Jewish law into the gittin process, rightfully loses even rights normally afforded them under Torah law.

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  12. To Don, Emes lyaakov, Stan, and Fenster:

    I am not sure if your charging me with being a feminist is part of your "attack". In reality, I am not, and since you don't know me, I cannot successfully change your minds. Fact is that I have worked with too many cases in which the oppressive position you see as close to 100% of the time is not applicable. However, some of the assumptions and accusations you leveled against me need a response, though the tone of your comments and name calling suggests that I am yelling at deaf ears. But here goes.

    I agree that the situation of moredes sometimes occurs. I have counseled many women about what not to do because it could be considered moredes, and I was not going to let them fall into that trap. If there are shalom bayis issues, and a woman wants to stop intimacy, I send the shailoh to a Rov who will pasken, usually a temporary psak while reaching out to the husband.

    It is also correct that men resent going to the courts that are seen as favoring women. Men are usually the defendant, not the plaintiff. True. But the men are not running to beis din either.

    The rabbonim who paskened that this woman whose husband kidnapped the children were independent of the case, and had each reached out to the husband who refused to talk to them, even on the phone.

    The father who failed to pay tuition was not unemployed, had received countless messages from the ex-wife by text and mail, and was earning nicely. He could have responded that he was experiencing financial difficulty, but he never did so. Meanwhile, he was fully aware that his children were being denied admission to yeshiva. She contacted several poskim, all guided her to seek the court to enforce the ruling that was in the agreement he had signed prior to the get.

    This raises another issue that has you troubled. The court did NOT litigate any of the terms of custody, visitation, or financial support. These issues were all negotiated, involving toanim from each side, and written up into an agreement that was presented to beis din, and then to the family court. Your accusations about secular law being used to determine any of these issues are simply baseless. Just for added information, court decisions can always be appealed. Agreements cannot be overturned by a court.

    "A Jewish father has every right to present his case before a kosher Bais Din before any "heter" is given to the mother to moser him to the feminist police state apparatus which will jail him with dangerous criminals, without providing him any due process or jury trial, and destroy his job, income, and life."

    This comment is comical. A case about temporary custody is brought to family court with a solid heter, and you are fearful of the father being jailed without due process.....? Are you for real? Have you ever been to family court? There is no prosecutor there, and there are no allegations of a crime. What on earth are you talking about?

    It is actually rare that family court determines custody in gittin cases, and same goes for beis din. It is almost always the product of negotiations and an agreement. And each side gives and takes. It is unfortunate that sometimes one or both of the spouses (and/or their representatives, toanim or lawyers) is stubborn, and the give and take process becomes a battle. You are correct that beis din tends to favor the males and secular court the females. However, this is hardly relevant, since the courts do not litigate much. Most haggling is personal or through representatives.

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    1. Just be a mentch: Nowhere have I charged you with anything, least of all being a feminist. Please do not conflate me with others. Yes, I have disagreed with your perception and anecdotal projection. I was not discussing any particular case you raised but rather some general points I was addressing.

      Additionally, even when "negotiating" custody arrangements, the basis for the negotiations must be based upon Torah law and not secular law. There must be no starting presumption that the mother will get primary custody. The father is entitled to primary custody of his children at least as much (if they are about nursing infant age.)

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    2. Typo: If they *aren't* nursing age, rather.

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    3. I have watched negotiations involving rabbonim, lawyers, and professional mediators. In the end, the standards used are the result of the two parties, and are halachically acceptable, and approved by the rabbonim (toanim and later the beis din).

      Let's talk custody for a moment. Most every child is born into a normal situation of joint parental custody. It takes an agreement or court ruling to change that. If I ever watched a Rov or beis din challenge it, it was because of special circumstances. Every time I saw it happen through court, the beis din was involved, and were siding with the push to make sure it happened. Not because the beis din took a position of feminism or misogyny, but because of issues specific to that case. The case I cited was such that the rabbonim (several, reputable, recognized, independent) ordered her to get "temporary" full custody to stop the shenanigans. This was following numerous phone calls by the rabbonim to the husband/father to discuss the issue which were rejected. For the long term, there are no starting presumptions ever, except that the joint custody at birth should continue. In the past, I worked with cases in which the parties wanted all out war, and were crossing the lines of halacha. I backed out, as I cannot participate in such charades. Some of my closest yedidim are rabbonim who are steeped in halacha, and I share my questions with them on a regular basis. It is getting tiring to read the comments that suggest that I do anything outside the framework of halacha.

      I wish I could share some of the communications I have with divorcing spouses (who are the ones seeking my guidance). I just responded to one (for whom I advocate) to refrain from communicating with his ex in a belligerent and nasty manner. Believe me, she deserves it, but it is not acceptable for him to wage or continue a war. That's how I work.

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    4. JBAM: Even with "joint custody", one parent will be awarded primary custody where the children will reside with him/her most of the time.

      The father must have at least as much right to be awarded such primary custody.

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  13. Yes, courts can be abused. And so can beis din who can be manipulated to believe things without always getting all the facts. When I am involved, I put pressure to insure that all sides have been fairly heard.

    There are corrupt dayanim and batei din. I have encountered several. Corruption is not strange to the courts either.

    The place we need to be is where people are guided by fairness and menchlichkeit. As someone famous quoted, "People marry out of love, but divorce out of hate." The vindictiveness that characterizes many divorces is horrific, whichever direction it is, and I have seen plenty in either direction. Divorce is painful enough on the parting spouses and on the children. The wars that are added to the process are unnecessary and damaging. Too many people who get involved take sides and join the battling, but they are adding misery, not really helping.

    Lastly, there are fanatics who are misogynists and others who are feminists. If we think about fairness, neither extreme approach is useful.

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  14. "ORA - MO - femi****"

    אין מילים

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  15. @Just be a mentch - Once again your posting contains a slew of contradictory and misleading statements. You may not consider yourself a feminist, but your statements reflect a very superficial feminist halachic approach typical of ORA MO activists.

    "I have counseled many women...I send the shailoh to a Rov who will pasken, usually a temporary psak while reaching out to the husband." - This is feminist doublespeak. Translated: What's really occurring here is that a Rov selected by the wife's counselor is imposing a pasul, bogus "psak" on the husband, in gross violation of the husband's halachic rights, in attempt to give halachic legitimacy to goyish kangaroo court justice. The Rov's "psak" can only be binding on the husband if the husband also selected him as an arbitrator, or else agreed to appear before his Bais Din.

    "Men are usually the defendant, not the plaintiff. True." Finally you've recognized a basic truth. This basic cause of the fake "agunah" problem is continually swept under the rug by the feminist "agunah" activists.

    "But the men are not running to beis din either." - Wrong again. The Bais Din system has become a shadow civil court system in an attempt to earn huge profits while convincing women to participate by issuing anti-father rulings similar to the non-Jewish courts. Jewish men are not running to so-called Batei Din that charge huge fees all the while attempting to force a Get on the husband and turning a blind eye to the wife's mesirah against her husband.

    "These issues were all negotiated, involving toanim from each side" - Even if the issues were negotiated, enforcement of the ruling also requires a kosher Bais Din ruling, not just a bogus "recommendation" by feminist theologians. The wife has no right in halacha to jail the husband for non-payment of a debt. There is no cruel debtor's prison in Torah Judaism as there is in the US family court police state system.

    "There is no prosecutor there, and there are no allegations of a crime." - It is you who either knows nothing about how US kangaroo courts operate, or else you are just a flat out liar. I know numerous non-violent, non-criminal frum Jewish men whose wives obtained domestic violence "Orders of Protection", against them on advice of corrupt lawyers and feminist organizations. These "Orders of Protection" usually prohibit the fathers from having any contact whatsoever with their beloved children. These moseres wives routinely file court actions requesting their husbands be held in criminal contempt of court for allegedly criminal violations of the "Orders of Protection", after the moseres wife claims she saw the husband drive by in the neighborhood, or if the husband desperately attempts to contact his children by telephone or email, or if any local frum persons publicly request that the the moseres wife stop her mesirah. The men being charged with these criminal violations of "Orders of Protection" are routinely jailed for months after 30 second court hearings, without any jury trial, and without an attorney if they can't afford one (NY State may appoint an attorney for the "defendant", but most other states won't).

    In regard to these mosrim and their facillitators, "A moser is excluded from the community of Yisrael and is considered a non-Jew." Sefer Ahavas Chesed, by the Chafetz Chaim, Chpt. 3.

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  16. While "Just be a mentch" sounds like he knows what he is talking about (and most of those arguing against him sound like lunatics), the reality is that without any kind of identifying information, all we have here is noise.

    "Just be a mench" claims that there are ostensible batei din that are actually corrupt "heter meah factories". However, again, we have no idea who these corrupt rabbis might be, and so have no way of judging the truth of the claim.

    Those arguing with "Just be a mentch" appear to believe that in every divorce case, the woman is always a moredes and a moser, the rabbis that support her all always MO feminists, and is literally impossible for a man to get a fair hearing in any court. While such situations certainly do exist, their extreme rhetoric makes their claims implausible and seems to indicate that they are far from impartial on the topic.

    However, as an onlooker with (thank God!) no personal stake in this difficult subject, all I can say is that none of this "dialogue" contributes much to clarifying the truth.

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    1. I think if you read through the following links you will get a good idea of who is who and what is what in the various forms of the conversation.
      http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2012/10/rav-gestetner-no-need-for-heter-100.html
      http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2012/06/rav-gestetner-bitul-seruv-or-nidui.html
      http://daattorah.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/bitulseruv-aharon-friedman-rav-gestetner.html

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    2. Thank you, LazerA. I couldn't have said it better. After reading Emes LeYaacov's last diatribe I was torn between disgust and pity for someone who obviously is looking at this issue subjectively.
      I know two divorced families well. In the first case, the man received primary custody of the children from beis din, as best served the children, since the wife had a mental meltdown. In the second family, the wife received the children, as she deserved, since the husband was conducting affairs and after the get, chose to live in small apartments with his ladyfriends, rather than larger ones that could accomodate his children from time to time. In both families, the husband continued to support the wives because the women had married young and had been stay at home mothers for over a decade. I don't know if Beis Din ordered the first husband to support his sick, ex-wife. Perhaps he does so out of pity because she is vulnerable and he is a mentsch.
      I am not well-informed about halacha. That is why I prefer to believe that for the most part the men who judge these cases do so fairly and openmindedly, without predetermined gender preferences.

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  17. @LazerA,

    Hope you don't mind some feedback from one of the "Lunatics".

    If you think that us "Lunatics" who believe that (many, not all) Jewish women in divorce disputes are mosering their husbands in archaos, then we Lunatics are in good company. See this letter signed by 70 gadolim protesting the use of archaos and mesirah in Jewish divorce cases:

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/04/prohibiting-archaos-civil-courts.html

    If you doubt that the US domestic violence laws subject men to brutal police state violations of their constitutional rights, then perhaps you should review some articles on this excellent site:

    http://www.mediaradar.org/

    "A top-ranking judge, when training a class of other judges on how to handle domestic violence cases, stated:
    "Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional rights of the man that you're violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back and tell him, 'See ya' around.' We don't have to worry about the rights." "
    http://www.mediaradar.org/alert20060409.php

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  18. Just to update some information here, the "order of protection" (OOP if you are inclined to acronyms) is harder to obtain in New York. I'm not privy to the precise laws and what the changes were, but it is not so easy to get one. The abuse reported must be demonstrable, not just fear based on threats, etc. Inasmuch as it is only an OOP, and does not by itself result in arrest or conviction, there is still minimum burden of proof. Yes, one can trap the recipient into violation and get the arrest and incarceration. Part of the breakage of the system is that the false complaints of DV are ignored, with the case just being dismissed. There is no record (that I know of) in New York State of a reverse complaint being made against the complainant for "false reporting". This entire issue is discussed in the professions, and there are websites specific to the unfairness in the legal system with regards to DV complaints.

    The Domestic Violence (DV) systems in almost all states are rather easily manipulated. A huge percentage of DV claims are baseless and are eventually dismissed. The process is in bad need of repair, but it cannot be scrapped entirely because of the need for emergency protections.

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  19. Just a mensch would like to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. He will have you believe that in the very difficult parsha of divorce there are an equal number of men that are violating halochoh and morality as there are women who are doing likewise. Well he needs to understand you can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but not all the people all the time.
    Bottom line is that the system in the US is entirely stacked in the favor of the woman going through a divorce both in the secular courts or arko’oys and in the orthodox world.
    The very fact that the courts award monies in excess of halochoh is why many, many purported frum women go there. Even he was forced to concede this point. What percentage of men in the frum world are married to women who made their money after marriage and would benefit from equitable distribution? What percentage of men are awarded custody in the secular courts? NY changed the law that a person who files a false claim of sexual misconduct against her/ his estranged spouse loses the children because this was not in favor of the women although they couched it in more PC rationale. Contrary to one of the previous posters on this blog, it is very, very easy for a woman to get a temporary order of protection, then when it is overturned ignore the judge and the husband can go months without seeing his children.
    Furthermore in the frum world a man who won’t give his wife a Get even if she is not entitled to one al pi halochoh is ostracized and hassled – see the list of getOra where the women are almost all entirely to blame for their lack of receiving a get. Where is there an equivalent organization combating getOra ? it doesn't exist. Where are the blacklists against women in arko’oys?
    A husband who fails to pay his child support will eventually be thrown in jail. A wife who violates halochoh gets signs blasting her ex on the DC subway and 100s of idiotic YUers coming down and protesting on her behalf. No “Just a Mensch” the tables are very much in the woman’s favor. That is not to say there are not some men who get away with it, but since the system is so blatantly in favor of the woman in the divorce situation, this is the real issue.
    The fact that you make allegations against unnamed Botei Din is reprehensible. This blog is anonymous. Are you afraid of being sued? In the US its very hard to win a libel claim. If it’s true and in the public interest which you are obviously alleging it is for 50% of the population, then either name the Botei Din or frankly keep quiet.
    The fact that anyone who stands up for men’s rights gets besmirched speaks volumes about how the men get such a bad deal. Look at the false condemnations of Rav Gestetner. Rav Gestetner will never ever personally issue a hetter meah rabonim even though he supports others to issue it for the very reason that he does not want allegations against him that he is a hetter meah rabonim factory. Yet this blog allows lies and propaganda to be spread against him.
    Rav Abraham does issue them and they cost nothing, absolutely nothing. If the wife is a moredes he will give you one without charging a dime. If the wife is not a moredes even a billion dollars will not buy you one from him. So “just a mensch” come clean, who are those who issue hetter meah rabonim for thousands of dollars, it is not the last two botei din in North America that follow halochoh.
    As for the ridiculous calls that I and emes l’yaakov are lunatics, the reform view anyone keeping the torah as lunatics. Until such time as there exists a system in the US of putting each and every woman who goes to arko’oys in cheirem and utter ostracism, the baloney from “askonim” like “just a mensch” will continue to fill this and other blogs. I do not claim that men are inherently holier than women but the system is completely biased and hence women are exploiting the system and the halochoh. However there is a saying as “Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned." Which is about women not men.
    Doubt this posting will make it through the censors.

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    1. What on earth do you want from Just a Mensch? He only mentioned a "heter meah factory". You are the one who spelled out names. The commenter addressed a subject, but you're getting personal. Didn't RDE address the "nastiness" factor in earlier comments? I read through his comments. You seem to have more of an agenda than Just a mensch does. He seems to press the issue as being closer to 50-50, while you appear to take an extreme anti-women position. Does disagreeing with you make him a feminist? Sorry, but the voices of moderation always win. Just a Mensch noted that both BD and Court systems have biases, and that there are people who exploit them. You don't believe that there are men exploiting halacha? Ask any Rov who has ever dealt with divorce cases. So you disagree on the numbers, and you each reflect based on your personal experiences. What's wrong with some honest dialogue and debate?

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  20. I do not wish to sound rude but am left with no choice. mixing in needs to take a few comprehension lessons because it is clear that he has not read my previous post properly. all his concerns were already addressed in it.

    as for the nonsence about not wishing to name botei din, i challenge him and just a mensch yet again to come clean - either name the botei din you are referring to or keep quiet.

    anyone naive enough to think that men are not in the vast majority of cases get short thrift in the US and in NY in particular is obviously so out of touch with reality that he/ she should not be involved with divorce matters. again that does not mean that some men get away with terrible things. but they can easily be held accountable for their actions in court. unfortunately the reverse does not apply. just today i spoke to a divorce lawyer who tried to cover up for the system and when he was nailed had no choice but to admit women repeatedly get away with murder through the court system.

    even with botei din, where is there a list of women who are mesarev l'din that is equivalent to getora's list. where is the equivalent of the feminist dovid cohen who as well as being mattir cheating on your taxes allows women to go to arko'oys not just for orders of protection but for money and yet is still considered a very choshuv rov. where is the equivalent of herschel schachter and the whole yu crowd who are always on the side of the women? they don't exist. on the contrary, i just read in a book over the weekend that the agudah were responsible for the get laws.

    frankly i am tired of wasting my time answering people who are so out of touch with reality.

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  21. 2 questions:
    1) what is a normal amount written in the ketubah in the US today (if there is a normal amount)?

    2) in a regular divorce, assuming that both parties agree to go to a beit din כמו שצריך can the woman expect to leave with a get AND her ketubah (put aside issues such as custody, disposal of property, etc)?

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  22. Ben: It is a standard amount that hasnt changed in thousands of years. And it is enumerated in silver coins, if I recall.

    The ex-wife should get the kesuba value after receiving a "Get". But note that halacha states that the ex-wife gets ONLY the kesuba amount. ALL other marital propoerty (house, joint bank account, even her bank account and the money in her wallet, etc.) belongs to and goes to the husband.

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    1. fave

      nu bemet. the amount given in the gemara has to be translated into currency. no one writes 400 meah and leaves it at that, not to mention any tosefta.

      regarding property - she gets what she brought in, that is also halacha.

      so if the batei dinin can be expected to ask (demand?) that she forgive her ketuba, ya'ani she can expect to leave with nothing, than the batei dinim are not protecting her, pure and simple.

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    2. Ben I don't know about all communities in the US. However, my first marriage was via Chabad, and it was written 400meah, and that was it. Likewise the RCA Madrikh has that as the text without an actual dollar amount or translated into currency.

      As far as whether she gets her Ketuba. I couldn't tell you.

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    3. Michael: Did you have to pay your ex-wife her kesuba? I don't see any reason you wouldn't have unless she was a moredes.

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  23. Fave:

    The dollar value of the kesuba is one of the matters of "shiurim" that boast multiple opinions. I have heard amounts of anywhere between two and ten thousand dollars. The matter is complicated by fluctuating value of the dollar, silver, and the challenges in trying to set a constant between disparate denominations of monies. While an individual posek may reach an opinion or psak, there is rarely strong consensus. Since the payment of the kesuba is a mitzvah (we're not discussing instances in which the kesuba lien is cancelled through halacha), it is unacceptable for anyone to bypass this obligation, since it is a true mitzvah. The kesuba is frequently referred to by the non-Jewish world as a "marriage contract" which it is not. It is a financial lien that the Torah (or Chachomim) placed on the husband which must be given to the wife at the beginning of the marriage. It is sometimes viewed as an insurance policy (quite small). Some batei din who get involved in the mediation and negotiation of the settlement have been known to ask the wife to be mocheil on the kesuba to be replaced by any of several terms of the agreement. This releases the mitzvah and obligation of paying the kesuba, the value of which is uncertain. At the monetary and technical level, this may work, although some may consider this unfair. My friend who got divorced a few years ago was given a specific dollar figure, and informed that he could pay it off in installments over a longer period. The suggestion was that whenever he writes and sends the check, he should have in mind that he is fulfilling the mitzvah of paying the kesuba.

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  24. I agree that the wife should be paid the kesuba but it is equally important that the husband keep all other assets that Halacha says is his. This includes the house and all monies both spouses have other than any asset the wife owned prior to her marriage to him.

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  25. i realized that this discussion about how the husband has a torah right to all monies is disconnected from reality. the husband has a right to this, to that, great. however, as we all know, in financial matters people have the right to make almost any deal they like

    for example, when the husband marries a woman he signs a document in which he promises to get a job, provide food, clothing, etc. however, there are tens of thousands of families in which the husband learns and the wife works. what happened to the halacha? what happened to that contract that she signed? nothing happened. she relinquishes her rights to financial security.

    when you take into consideration the fact that very reason that he is tzocheh to her earnings (so that he'll provde mezonot) is irrelevant in the above situation, than it makes no sense what so ever for him "to get everything".

    bottom line - if to get divorced the husband is willing to give her the house, pay for the yeshiva, 50% custody, etc there is nothing wrong with that.

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    1. Mr. Waxman: Sure, there is nothing wrong if he gives her the house and 75% or even 99% of his bank account. But the bottom line in Jewish Law is that all the assets (excluding a limited amount such as what she owned prior to marriage) fully belongs to him and he need not give her a penny more than the kesuba amount. The entirety of assets, home, cash, etcetera is his to keep.

      As far as a husband learning in kollel while the wife works and him not supporting her during that time as agreed to in the kesuba, indeed he can only have such an arrangement with the consent of his wife.

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    2. if there is nothing wrong with making a deal than no one has any reason criticize women who manage to get those amounts out of a divorce. and not everything belongs to him. what she brings in is her. in addition, the woman has every right to say that she doesn't want the protection the rabbinic taqana and thereby keep her earnings.

      i didn't say that there is anything wrong with kollel. what i said was that the two situations are parallel.

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  26. Paying the kesuba is a mitzvah, as mentioned earlier. Otherwise, halacha dictates the rest. As noted by another comment, halacha does not stop the couple from making arrangements based on "fairness", and such settlements are the norm. Insisting that these agreements are against halacha is absurd. The money I earned is mine, and the schnorrers in shul are not entitled to it. Shall we stop all tzedokoh solicitation? (Some disrupts tefilo and is against halacha, but that's another discussion.)

    If we get into the details of the situation, the husband's obligations have not always been fulfilled either. Shall we make a din Torah out of this, or shall we just negotiate?

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    1. Tzedaka Tatzil MimovosJanuary 6, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Your tzedaka comparison is way off. It is an obligation to give tzedaka. And it is an absolutea mitzva to collect tzedaka for needy Jews.

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  27. Mutually agreeing to a deal different than the halachic default, based on "fairness" (something that has a different meaning to different people -- many people consider halacha to be "fair") or whatever other self-defined criteria, is absolutely permissible. But that is strictly if, indeed, the "deal" was fully mutually agreed upon without pressure. It is theft to pressure someone to give up his property or give you his money based on threats or using secular laws that are at odd with Jewish Law. And it certainly is outright thievery to actually go to secular court (arkoyos) and ask the secular court to award you money or assets that Halacha deem to belong to another party. This fact clearly forbids a wife from asking a secular divorce court from awarding her the house or even a portion of money in the bank or other assets if her husband is not offering it to her.

    Obviously something halachicly hers, such as an asset she owned prior to marriage, is hers and she may halachicly retain. As far as she keeping her earnings (and thereby releasing her husband from being obligated to support her), she does indeed have that right but only as it pertains to future earnings from the time she declares she wishes to change the halachicly default system of her husband owning all her earnings to her owning her own earnings and her husband no longer obligated to support her. She cannot halachicly retroactively say all my past earnings are mine, but rather only future earnings. So unless she made such a declaration towards the beginning of her marriage, declaring this when she is close to or within divorce proceedings is fairly meaningless for her as it halachicly does not change ownership from him of her past earnings.

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    1. ". She cannot halachicly retroactively say all my past earnings are mine, "

      obviously and in fact this (or some version of it) would be a good idea for a pre-nup.

      " It is theft to pressure someone to give up his property or give you his money based on threats"

      every day people make contracts based on positions of strength/pressure. it may not be nice but it isn't theft.

      as for the rest: it seems that most of this discussion is based on what happens in the US. about that i have no idea. here, a couple has to come to the beit din with an agreement in hand. the agreement has to take into consideration israeli law. for example, joint property is divided equally, period. of course one side can make a concession on this point and agree to 75:25 division or whatever. however if the husband comes to court and demands everything based on some mishna, the dayanim will throw him out.

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    2. Halacha is the same in Israel and in the U.S. (on these matters.) Israeli secular law has the same halachic status as American secular law. Neither are the basis of dividing marital property. Halacha lays out the laws of who owns what marital property.

      If a husband comes to Beis Din and insists that he receive ALL money and property that Halacha entitles him to, no true Beis Din can or will reject his Halachic rights.

      Pressuring someone to surrender money or property that he does not wish to give up is considered theft under Halacha.

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    3. i want to see someone try that in the jerusalem beit din and see how far a demand like that gets him. like i said, the dayanim (who know a bit of halacha FYI) will throw him out.

      how many times have you been in a beit din?

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    4. I don't know much about the Jerusalem beit din, which presumably is part of the Israeli state rabbunut, but what Hezkel is describing above is normalative halakha and it would surely be honored in any respectable beit din that follows normalative halakha. This includes what is probably the most respected beit din in the world -- Rabbi Nissim Karelitz's beit din in Bnei Brak.

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  28. Can either of the Rabbi Eidensohn brothers share their thoughts as to whether there is any legitimacy to the idea that a beit din can override the halakha that the husband is the owner of generally all marital property, money and other assets (house, all bank accounts, the wife's income during marriage [unless she previously declared he is absolved from supporting her], etc.) other than whatever she happened to own prior to getting married, and that beit din can replace enforcing the halakha with using the non-Jewish law of the land even if the husband in the divorce beit din proceedings insists on excercising his full halakhic rights in maintaining his ownership of all relevant marital assets and is unrelenting in his claim to such with beit din?

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