I apologize for having added to your pile of e-mail, but I am in a somewhat unique position in all this. I am a proudly “modern orthodox” Jew who learns and lives by halacha and attempts to hew to R’ Soleveitchik’s hashkafa and derech halimud – which is important only in as much as I am not chareidi and have no particular attachment to either the Dodelson or Weiss families. (Full disclosure: if anything, I have some connection to the Weiss family, as R’ Moshe Meir Weiss, who knows my in-laws, spoke beautifully at my chuppa . . . more on that in a moment).
I have also had the “pleasure” of going through the divorce process. I have children – three wonderful, amazing young kids who I would absolutely die for. I worked out custody with my ex-wife cooperatively (though we don’t do much cooperatively these days); she has them during the week, and I get them 3 weekends out of every 4. That works out to 6 days with my children out of every 4 weeks, less than the 12 every 4 weeks that Mr. Weiss gets with his son on the “every other weekend plus 2 days a week” schedule the Court ordered (I decided I did not want to seek mid-week custody, as the children need the stability of being in one home for periods of time, rather than being shuttled back and forth every other day). I am, unfortunately, fully conversant with the pain of not being with my children every day, of not being able to tuck them into bed every night, of aching to see them more than I can, and of hearing them cry on the phone because they miss me. It is a torment I would not wish on anyone.
I also have the pleasure of being remarried to a wonderful eishes chayil; a tremendous human being who the children look to as a third parent. (Yes, third. One of the first things they asked me and my ex when we told them we were divorcing was “what happens if you marry someone else.” Without having talked about it beforehand, we simply said “well, now you have an Abba who loves you and a Mommy who loves you. If Abba gets remarried, then you’ll have a Mommy who loves you, an Abba who loves you, and an Ima who loves you. If Mommy gets married again, you’ll have an Abba who loves you, a Mommy who loves you, and a Daddy who loves you.” There is room in a child’s heart for 3 or 4 parents, and the introduction of a step-parent into a relationship does not inherently imply that step-parent is “taking the place” of the ex in the child’s heart). The joy of that relationship, which began after I gave my ex-wife a get but before the terms of our civil divorce were worked out, sustains me through the most difficult moments of being away from my children.
It is from that perspective, and with all of my heart and soul, that I say to you: “Avraham Meir must give Gital the get. Without conditions, without delay, without demands.
I say this for two reasons.First, regardless of what his halachic “rights” might be, refusal to give a get after a marriage has irredeemably broken is never justified. We are all well aware of the principle of “m’nuval b’rshus haTorah” – that one can act unethically while scrupulously adhering to Halacha. I can think of no greater example of this than a willingness to withhold a Get in order to receive financial reimbursement even for money halachically owed (assuming that it was halachically owed). The very act of doing so is a proclamation that “my financial benefit is of greater concern to me than your emotional torment.” Prizing repayment over another’s emotional well-being – let alone the mother of your child, whose emotional state will impact the child – is reflective of warped priorities. I am well aware that money is critical to many things, and of the stress that comes from its lack. (My own divorce is financially onerous). Still; unless the money will make the difference between privation and survival, that is irrelevant. Give the get.
Second, for Avraham Meir’s own sake, and divorced (pun intended) from any benefit to Gital, he must give the get and move on. Staying in this stage of limbo is doing him no good. Fighting to “win” is only causing him more misery. Give the get, and let everyone move on. Please.
A father, husband, and ex-husband