Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Rivky Stein & Yoel Weiss : Is Rivka Stein a Rodef? - Protecting the real agunos

Guest Post: Rabbi Michael Tzadok Elkohen

We are faced with yet another very public and very ugly Jewish divorce dispute being played out in the public. The salivating masses have lined up to lynch the evil abuser of a husband for the unspeakable horrors that he has committed upon his wife. The only problem is that more and more there seems to be no substance to the accusations, just as there was none to any of her previous accusations. 

In this case we have a man, and his business associates, that have been accused of unspeakable crimes against a young woman. These accusations have been taken as fact by the mainstream media and published, causing untold damage both to the husbands reputation as well as to the business itself.

If, as it now seems to be most likely, that these accusations, like all the former one's brought against Yoel, are shown to be false, this man and his business will have been needlessly harmed. Further, the cause of true agunot will have been harmed as well. There are women who suffer horrible abuse in their marriage and who are fully deserving the support of both Rabbanim and the Jewish public. My fear is that if such behavior as this continues, where women make these shameless public claims of the worst forms of abuse, and later are shown to be liars, that both the Rabbanim and the public will cease to listen.

We saw that with child abuse. On account of the many false charges presented in the '70s and '80s, some even where innocent people were indeed prosecuted, the public and even the Rabbanim simply stopped listening, they stopped believing and we ended in the mess that we have today. We can already see this thing happening with women who claim abuse. Simply look through the comments on the earliest posts regarding this case. There were many individuals who simply disbelieved, without any evidence aside from, "well this is what women do."

This is a situation that needs a remedy. Given all the parameters of this case, I believe there may be a remedy. If, as seems most likely, it turns out that Rivka Stein's claims were false, then poskim need to be consulted to see if Rivka Stein and her cohorts are rodefim. If, as it seems to me, though admittedly I am not an expert in those halakhot, she and her cohorts are rodefim, then I think we should all urge Yoel Weiss to counter file a RICO complaint naming Rivka Stein, Shira Dickerson, Her lawyers, and any other party to these seemingly false accusations as co-defendants. While I am not aware of any individual that has done this, several corporations have quite successfully.

Perhaps if these supposed "agunah" supports, that in truth only harm real agunot, were held accountable for their lies and the damage that they do, they will think twice about doing it again the future. In one of her interviews Rivka Stein makes the argument that she is doing this, not for herself but for other agunot. I urge Yoel to take up the fight, not only for himself, but for other men, and for real agunot.

27 comments :

  1. Note how in Stein's fantasy claims against her husband, she also accused his brothers, sister, parents and anyone else associated with her husband (a nice long lost of people) as being part of some secret mafia that steals millions of dollars in a "criminal enterprise" and all these people worked together to hatch a kidnapping against her.

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  2. Thank you Rabbi Tzadok.

    I agree. If counter filing a RICO complaint against Shira Dicker, Rivka and their lawyers are serious possibilities, fully support him doing so. Now that he has unfortunately been thrust into this, he should help other men and real agunos. We should be supporting him completely now.

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  3. From reading the court documents you see she even accused a grandfather (or great-grandfather) who was in a coma, and has since passed away. It was mentioned to say that she was never able to serve him with her suit.

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  4. "Rodef" in the sense of "Din rodef", in the sense of "if someone tries to kill someone, kill him first"?
    So you propose to kill Rivka Stein and Shira Dicker and all those who participate in the media campaign? Interesting suggestion!

    "The salivating masses have lined up to lynch the evil abuser"
    I suppose you do not mean this literally. Actually, I suppose that the "salivating masses" just think that this husband is an asshole. They might perhaps boycot his business, but I suppose that most of the "salivating masses" have no business dealings with him.

    So I propose that Yoel Weiss, if he feels libelled, should just file libel charges against the newssources. Very easy solution, within the regular court system. No need for death penalty or voodoo rituals.

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  5. I think this is something that is very important. My problem is simply time.

    Perhaps we can make this a joint venture - why don't you start writing it - and it can be added to or edited as we go along.

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  6. I'm wondering if the wife would be more aptly described as "moser" rather than a "rodef".

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  7. What is the halachic situation of a wife who underwent spousal rape once and decides to move out of the marital home because of it. Since she has two small children (a boy and a girl, ages 2 and 3), she takes the children with her. She is not married civilly.



    1) Can she file for an order of protection?
    2) Can she press criminal charges?
    3) Will a beith din help her obtain a get from her husband?
    4) what is the beith din's reaction if the husband refuses to give a get?
    5) What is the beith din's reaction if the husband asks for a six-digit-sum in exchange for the get?
    6) Will the Beith Din consider she is allowed to file for child support?
    7) What if the husband refuses to pay child support?

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  8. What is the halachic situation of a wife who discovers that her husband generates his income through white collar criminal activity (like money laundering). She wants nothing to do with crime and therefore leaves her husband. Her husband refuses to give up criminal activity, but is otherwise an examplary husband.

    1) Will the Beith Din help her obtain a get?
    2) What will the Beith Din's reaction be if the husband refuses to give a get?

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  9. interesting questions - If the husband is a criminal - for example he is a pimp - and the wife didn't know about it before marriage - I think that not only would he required to give a divorce but Rav Moshe indicates it might be grounds for invalidating the marriage.

    If this took place in Israel the husband could be put in jail - there is not much leverage elsewhere.

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  10. None of those descriptions in your hypothetical question apply to this case.

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  11. Interesting point. A person who not only tries to ruin a man's reputation by calling him a rapist, kidnapper, thief etc but institutes a major law suit where if she wins he will surely be bankrupted for the rest of his life etc etc.

    This is clearly mesira - but if you look at C.M. 388 such a person is also called a rodef and the halachos of mesira are based on that of rodef.

    Shulchan Aruch[i](C.M.
    388:10): It is permitted to kill a moser (informant) even in modern times.It is permitted to kill him before he has informed. Even if he threatens tohand either the Jew or his property to non‑Jewish authorities – even if it is a small amount of money – he can legitimately be killed. If when he is warned andtold not to be an informant, he arrogantly replies that he will be an informant – it is a mitzva to kill him. Whoever is first in killing him is meritorious. Rema:However if there is no time to warn him, there is no requirement that he be informed. There are those who say that a moser can not be killed unless it is impossible to guard against his action with a less drastic approach. However if in fact the moser can be stopped without killing him – e.g., by cutting out his tongue or blinding him – it is prohibited to kill him. That is because the moser is no worse than any other rodef.

    [i] שולחן
    ערוך (חושן משפט שפח:י): מותר להרוג המוסר אפילו בזמן
    הזה. ומותר להורגו קודם שימסור, אלא כשאמר: הריני מוסר פלוני בגופו או בממונו, אפי' ממון קל, התיר עצמו למיתה, ומתרין בו ואומרים לו: אל תמסור, אם העיז פניו ואמר: לא כי אלא אמסרנו, מצוה להורגו, וכל הקודם להרגו, זכה. הגה: ואם אין פנאי להתרות בו, אין צריך התראה (המגיד פ"ח דחובל). וי"א דאין להרוג המוסר אלא אם כן אי אפשר להינצל ממנו באחד מאיבריו, אבל אם אפשר להצילו באחד מאיבריו, כגון לחתוך לשונו או לסמות עיניו, אסור להורגו, דהרי לא גרע משאר רודף (תשובת מיימוני הנ"ל ומרדכי הנ"ל בשם מהר"מ).

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  12. Imho the problem lies in the vacuum left when Rabbonim are not taking
    care of these shalom bayis and divorce cases. In their place are the dubious mediators mentioned above and lawyers who are the only winners in these cases. The adversarial legal system encourages building a case on as many accusations as possible as to create a negative of the other party in the eyes of the judge. As it is hard to prove anything, the judge makes decisions based on the credibility the various parties manage to establish in his eyes. Trying to find mutually satisfying solutions is pretty difficult as there is an internal need for people to continually find support and validation of their opinions of the other party. The more the other party behaves in a negative way, the more the person feels validated and his opinion and feeling about the other justified.If parties with shalom bayis problems felt that they felt understood , their concerns were being heard and attempts were being made to address these concerns, they would be more likely to be willing to hear the other sides concerns. The proviso is that both parties don't have an inner need to justify their opinions of the other. The brilliance of CPS is that we focus on concerns and forget the solutions. People often present their concerns as solution. When parties put solutions on the table, we have the dueling of solutions rather than the solving of the problem.

    Rabbi Tzadok says - My fear is that if such behavior as this continues, where women make these shameless public claims of the worst forms of abuse, and later are shown to be liars, that both the Rabbanim and the public will cease to listen.

    I think the problem has less to do with people but the system which
    encourages the inappropriate behavior of both men and women and the loss of ' common sense ' needed to resolve these problems. As a Dayan here in Israel said to me , these problems are not about Halacha , but about people having the seichel and common sense to find mutually satisfying solutions that address their concerns and helps them to leave the past behind and create a new vision for the future .

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  13. I warn against over-extending the acception of the terms "Rodef" and "Mosser". As the blog author cited below, designating someone as a "Rodef" or "Mosser" is a licence to kill him. I do not think that this is what we want. And therefore, we should not use those terms.


    Neither do I understand why a frum jew needs a Beith Din permit to press criminal charges against a fellow jew who wronged him.


    The Dreh of resorting to "rodef" or "Mosser" in order to allow pressing charges seems disingenious. Find a new dreh. Throwing "Rodef" and "mosser" around is dangerous (see Rabin assassination).


    Furthermore, I think we can agree that the term of "Mosser" is not applicable in a country where the rule of law reigns.

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  14. On top of all you said, she is also trying to have her husband and his siblings and his parent incarcerated in prison with her false criminal RICO complaints and her false criminal claims that she has publicly written on her facebook and website that she is reporting to the Kings County District Attorney, which is another big factor in her falling under the category of moser/rodef.

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  15. ...and, I suppose, the licence to kill only applies before the fact, not after... once it is too late, even killing (or less drastic measures) won't help, and therefore you would have to revert to the regular justice system.

    Nor can you kill a rodef once he killed the person he persecuted. (assuming he threatens no-one else).

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  16. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 2, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    So you propose to kill Rivka Stein and Shira Dicker and all those who participate in the media campaign? Interesting suggestion!

    Shoshi your credibility is wearing thin. You raised this same misunderstanding of Rodef when when we spoke of child abusers. Rav Eidensohn answered you with many Teshuvot. I hope that you have simply forgotten them. However, it is starting to seem more and more like you seem Judaism simply as something to be mocked. Most especially, when those of us who have known you long enough, look the various comments that you have made on German language blogs.

    So I propose that Yoel Weiss, if he feels libelled, should just file libel charges against the newssources. Very easy solution, within the regular court system.

    You quite obviously have no idea of what a free press is, nor how it works in the United States.

    No need for death penalty or voodoo rituals

    Ah yes... More of your mocking of Judaism.

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  17. Rabbi Michael TzadokJuly 2, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Ask your local competent posek.

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  18. I mainly find a system strange that decides "under those circumstances the husband has to give a get" "under those circumstances the husband is not obliged to give a get", but it makes really no difference, because it is not enforceable anyway.

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  19. Are you suggesting we toss the Shulchan Aruch in the recycling bin?

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  20. You present a great way to settle cases.


    However, I feel your criticism of Rabbonim not taking care is not correct. The Rabbonim do not have the ability to take care of these cases if people do not come to them in sincerity, willing to work with them. They do not have the ability to compel people to accept their authority. If they never got through the door, how can they proceed to settle a case.

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  21. Are you saying that Rivky is a rodef and therefore we, as Jews can cut out her tongue or kill her? Is this a halachic ruling?

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  22. I suggest that all new marriages are concluded under the t'nai that the husband will give the wife a get if she demands it - after a reasonable waiting period of let's say 6 months to one year in order to check whether she really wants it. And if the T'nai is broken, the marriage is invalid.

    Get extortion (for large sums of money) is rampant, especially in the hareidi communities, so that the rabbanim should take measures to counter it. And they should not only try to increase the power of their batey din, they really should do something against the injustice inherent in the system: that the husband can plainly refuse, and there is "no leverage to force him".

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  23. Excuse me????

    Where did he say anything about tossing the Shulchan Aruch?


    He is pointing out an obvious fact that Beth Din does not have the ability to enforce a Psak of giving a Get.

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  24. The question is why aren't people willing to give Rabbonim a chance and work with them.My guess is that it also has a lot to do with peoples' confidence in Rabbonim to address their concerns.

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  25. I suggest that from now on, every marriage is made on a t'nai that a get be given within a reasonable, fixed period of time (e.g. 6 months) when the wife demands it (consistently over this period of time, i.e. not getting back together).
    If the t'nai is broken, the marriage is considered invalid.
    No Rabbi should officiate at a marriage without this t'nai.

    I think this solution is as good as pruzbul or heter mechira.

    It is important to solve this problem for the purity of am israel, since withholding a get is over "lifney iver a tasim michshol". The risk is great that it creates z'nut and mamzerim.

    Furthermore, I consider get extortion (obtaining large sums in exchange for a get) an important economic risk to any family with daughters.

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  26. I'm not certain. At the initial stage of divorce, often one party will see it as a war that they must win at any cost. At that point they're illogical, and all is fair to them in love and war. It is perceived that the weaker party will go to a Beis Din.

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  27. Rabbi Tzadok wrote:
    "We saw that with child abuse. On account of the many false charges
    presented in the '70s and '80s, some even where innocent people were
    indeed prosecuted, the public and even the Rabbanim simply stopped
    listening, they stopped believing and we ended in the mess that we have
    today. We can already see this thing happening with women who claim
    abuse. Simply look through the comments on the earliest posts regarding
    this case. There were many individuals who simply disbelieved, without
    any evidence aside from, "well this is what women do.""

    Having spent some time on this issue - while I agree with your statement regarding many false charges in the 70's and 80's - I have never come across a rabbi actually using such an excuse.

    There are those who were not aware of the nature of abuse - such as Rabbi Zweibel of the Aguda, there are those who were bothered by the issue of moser - such as Rabbi Klein, and others who were worried about the repuation of the community or family - such as occurred in Lakewood and other places, there are others who are worried about lashon harah and those who ignore abuse because they claim it is not prohibited by the Torah. There are also many who are concerned about false accusations - but I have never heard the words, "there have been so many false accusations established in the 70's and 80's therefore I will ignore all accusations."

    Bottom line - I agree it is possible that Rabbis have used this excuse - I just have never heard of a rabbi actually using it. Is it a normal claim in your circles of rabbis?

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