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.