Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Epstein Torture trial: Declararation of R Breitowitz - is an egregious case of intellectual dishonesty

The charges against Epstein and company are a horrible chilul hashem - because what they did was a perversion of halacha.  But there is an even greater chilul hashem and that is their misrepresenting Torah and halacha in a desperate attempt to justify their criminal acts as a positive religious activity. 

They have falsely claimed that getting married shows an agreement to being tortured if a get is not granted on simply on the demand of the wife. There is no such source in halacha. But the following document from someone who is very intelligent, learned and obviously knows that what he is writing is nonsense - is the final straw.

Rabbi Breitowtiz fails to mention that the "beis din" did not bother to listen to both sides. Something which Rav Moshe Feinstein declares is so elementary that there should be no reason to even have to mention it. In this case the husband didn't even exist.

He fails to mention that the agreement of the majority of poskim is that we don't poseken like the Rambam. He fails to mention that according to halacha there are only certain cases which  beis din has the right to authorize force. He fails to mention that there is no get on demand when a wife simply decides she can do better. He fails to mention that use of force in most cases of divorce - not only is not authorized by halacha but it actually invalidates the Get as a Get Me'usa. Thus instead of being a mitzva - the use of force in most cases invalidates the Get and is obviously not a mitzvah.

Furthermore, halacha clearly prohibits hitting others - except in very exceptional cases to protect others or punishment. But it is clear that the use of force - even for a legitimate beis din - requires the approval of secular authorities. An additional chilul hashem is  the arrogance of Epstein that he is above the law and will never be caught at violating the law.

In sum, the "beis din" did not act according to halacha by failing to hear the husband's side and thus it was clearly a sin - not a mitzva. In most cases - the use of even mild force - is not permitted and invalidates the Get. The force the beis din  used is not valid in a situation where it is not approved by the secular government.

36 comments :

  1. Rabbi Breitowitz only answered questions the lawyers asked him. He didn't go into more halachic details than questioned. So he admittedly omitted many halachic nuances and additional halachic points and qualifications. I doubt he was happy to be giving expert testimony in a criminal case.

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  2. The_Original_Bored_LawyerFebruary 24, 2015 at 6:29 PM

    But note par. 10, where he says that it would be a "mitzvah" for R. Stimler to be involved in procuring a get, even if it involved physical coercion. Problem is that, as R. Eidensohn says, in many cases it would be an aveirah, including, most blatantly, not hearing both sides, which a beis din is required to do.

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  3. The_Original_Bored_LawyerFebruary 24, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    "The force the beis din used is not valid in a situation where it is not approved by the secular government."

    As I have posted here before, this was the position of R. Aharon Soloveichik that I heard several times. Even if everything else is proper, if the law of the land forbids such coercion or pressure, then a beis din doing so is not acting as a beis din, and its actions are invalid.

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  4. It is interesting that Rabbi Breitowitz cites the 1992 New York "Get Law" in a positive light in this disposition, whereas he has opposed that '92 NY Get Law on halachic grounds:

    http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/sec236b.html

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  5. Jewish Divorce and the Mamzer Issue
    By Yitzchok Breitowitz

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2752766/jewish/Jewish-Divorce-and-the-Mamzer-Issue.htm

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  6. Expert witnesses are usually paid for their expertise and are not forced to participate.

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  7. RDE: Where are you accessing the court documents for this case? PACER or some other legal website?

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  8. Can you make this available for download, or is that not an option?

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  9. I have 8 documents at present. It is possible to put them all on scribd and post them. It is a question of time and how much interest there is

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  10. Can you please change your setting on SCRIBD. As of now you disallow SCRIBD to make the document downloadable. Can you please fix that. Thanks.

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  11. I am now on my way back home from trenton, and can shed light on certain issues.

    The stimler issue is different from the other defendants, cause stimler is not part of the kidnapping conspiracy, but part of the forcing, according to the indictment.

    According to federal law, kidnapping is only a crime if it is for monetary gain or other reward. Nat lewin (who only represents stimler) is arguing that religious motivation is not a monetary gain or other reward (but a "mitzvah") and therefore he should be allowed to present that fact and evidence to the jury (besides the fact that he was not paid for the kidnapping; to quote Nat lewin, h"e was only being paid like a lawyer," bupkis.)

    He was not being paid by the victim (or the victim's family, like a "traditional" kidnapping Thus its not a kidnapping, but an extortion, which he is not being charged with. Or assault, which is not a federal offense (in this , like a "traditional" kidnapping

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  12. Can you post the BDA seruv and the certified receipts?

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  13. I want to share this with someone who does not have internet access. But it doesn't seem that there is an option to download and print it on scribd.

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  14. fedupwithcorruptrabbisFebruary 25, 2015 at 3:55 AM

    What Breitowitz failed to mention is even when we force a GET the woman leaves with nothing. Unfortunately today they strip the man from everything and then beat him up. Ironically, If they would give the man custody and marital assets, you would see how many kosher Gittin would be given right away!

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  15. When the ransom is paid upfront to kidnap a person, no matter who puts up the funds, it is big time kidnapping. The Halacha also stipulates in hilchot pidyon shvuyim, not to pay exorbitant prices, since that only encourages more kidnappings, that is what the goon squad performed divided amongst the HOODS orchestra particpants. Each party of the team works in tandem to accomplish the mission and equally guilty. That is exactly why Ma"hram meRottenburg told his kehilla not to redeem him, and nebach died in prison. BTW, since all these get meusse's are invalid, there is no Mitzva whatsoever, only Aveira lishmah. They all were in it for the MONEY, and nothing else.

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  16. Would they be required to hear both sides after they have evidence that he refused to appear before an established beis din and that the established beis din issued a siruv on that basis?

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  17. Halachicly there is no way for a beis din to issue a ruling ordering a husband to give his wife a Get unless the beis din first conducted a trial with the husband present (and then determined the halachic basis for ordering an involuntary Get has been met.)

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  18. @Ari B - your question is if BDA did not hear both sides and thus could not issue a psak - but sent a seruv for failure to appear and that is all the seruv says - does that permit a second beis din to pasken - without hearing both sides - that not only does the husband have to give a get but that he can be tortured and his life threatened?!

    A related question - if in fact BDA had heard both sides and issued a psak that the husband must give a divorce - does that give the right to any three Jews who wish to form a beis din to torture and threaten the life of the husband - without being explicitly requested to do so by the BDA? Or must the beis din that issued the psak specifically authorize the agent of force?

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  19. you should be able to download now

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  20. AI'm not going to get into the issues you present other than to point out that the issue for the federal jjury is did they receive payment or other reward from the kidnapping or for the kidnapping.

    You are arguing halachic issues which re irrelevant to the jury.

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  21. Just did. Thank you.

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  22. True “what they did was a perversion of halacha.” I don’t
    agree with “But there is an even greater chilul hashem and that is their
    misrepresenting Torah and halacha in a desperate attempt to justify their
    criminal acts as a positive religious activity.”

    Please, don’t preach that Rabbi Epstein is committing a sin
    in misrepresenting Torah. Let the trial
    continue and let there be debates on what is really Torah. Our enemies will slander us no matter what we
    do. Rabbi Epstein is a good man who fell victim to Agunah Inc (see internet). Rabbi
    Epstein honestly believed the lies of Agunah Inc---that he was helping ladies,
    deserving his help, angry at their husbands.
    The real villain here is Agunah Inc.

    The Torah says A man takes a wife and possesses her. She
    fails to please him because he finds something obnoxious about her, and he
    writes her a bill of divorcement, hands it to her, and sends her away from his
    house (Deut. 24:1). According to the Torah, She fails to please him means
    that the husband must be willing to divorce his wife. The angry women of Agunah
    Inc have a problem their husband are not willing to divorce them.

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  23. True “what they did was a perversion of halacha.” I don’t
    agree with “But there is an even greater chilul hashem and that is their
    misrepresenting Torah and halacha in a desperate attempt to justify their
    criminal acts as a positive religious activity.”

    Please, don’t preach that Rabbi Epstein is committing a sin
    in misrepresenting Torah. Let the trial
    continue and let there be debates on what is really Torah. Our enemies will slander us no matter what we
    do. Rabbi Epstein is a good man who fell victim to Agunah Inc (see internet). Rabbi
    Epstein honestly believed the lies of Agunah Inc---that he was helping ladies,
    deserving his help, angry at their husbands.
    The real villain here is Agunah Inc.

    The Torah says A man takes a wife and possesses her. She
    fails to please him because he finds something obnoxious about her, and he
    writes her a bill of divorcement, hands it to her, and sends her away from his
    house (Deut. 24:1). According to the Torah, She fails to please him
    means that the husband must be willing to divorce his wife. The angry women of
    Agunah Inc have a problem their husband are not willing to divorce them.

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  24. I only hope, for your sake, that Kishkeyum doesn't get a whiff of this comment.

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  25. I only hope, for your sake, that Kishkeyum doesn't get a whiff of this comment.

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  26. It is understood that when the marriage is broken that a get should be given to allow everone to get on with their life, but when you have a guy making a fortune by beating up others then why trust him to decide when fellow man should be beaten ruthlessly.
    Epstein broke the law endlessly and now when the world is watching he seems to pretend that all he needs to do is to prove that he has done a mitzva which would allow him to break the law.

    Do you really think that anyone not Jewish is expected to accept that religious Jews are above the law.

    This man caused already immense reputational damage to all of us. At this point at the very least he must admit his guilt and accept an appropriate punishment.

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  27. The Torah says "A man takes a wife and possesses her"

    Is it than fair to say that the husband is KIDNAPPED in order to extract from him a disposess under duress, threat of bodily harm, or threat of life and death, e.g. "Hang him, Kill Him, Drown Him, Electrocute him and giving him a heart attack??? Do you still think that "Rabbi Epstein is a good man", Hmmm...??? True, the show must go on, but with having all things considered.

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  28. The position of R. Aharon Soloveichik seems obvious to me. Do you know anyone which disagrees with that? and how they explain their position? I would think that Dina Demalchuta would apply that violance cannot be used and therefore halachically invalid

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  29. These are the laws of the land my friend.


    The Jury will ask whether the WHOLE orchestra was aware of the plot of Kidnapping, did they take any monetary reward or consideration for their part in the plot of the Kidnapping. Would the mission have been accomplished without the pied pipers input, or was it part and parcel of the mission to be accomplished. In Bank Robbery, is only the one moving the goods guilty or the whole team that executed the crime?
    ****
    Generally, kidnapping occurs when a person, without lawful authority, physically asports (i.e.,moves) another person without that other person's consent, with the intent to use the abduction inconnection with some other nefarious objective. Under the Model
    Penal Code (a set of exemplary criminal rules fashioned by the American Law Institute), kidnapping occurs when any person is unlawfully and non-consensually asported and held for certain purposes. These purposes include gaining a ransom or REWARD; facilitating the commission of a felony or a flightafter the commission of a felony; TERRORIZINIG OR INFLICTING BODILY INJURY on the victim or a third person;and interfering with a governmental or political function (Model Penal Code § 212.1).


    ***It usually occurs in connection with another criminal offense, orunderlying crime. It involves violent deprivation of LIBERTY, and it requires a special criminal boldness.


    **** the abductor intends to injure the victim; to accomplish or advance the commission of a felony; to terrorize the victim or a third person. RELEVANT, AND HOW!

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  30. @Tefilin - no one is preaching about Epstein - what they did is clear and why it is a perversion of halacha is also clear. There defense is a further perversion.

    There is no debate about what is really Torah. They violated clearly stated halacha that any high school student can understand.

    Whether he was motivated by greed, misplaced idealism, whether he believed the lies of Aguna Inc or whether he helped manufacture the lies - that can be dealt with later. But there is no question right now that he has created a major pervsion of halacha and an incredible chilul hashem.

    Your final drasha - has nothing to do with Torah - that is clearly not the proper understanding. A man has no obligation to divorce his wife - even if she displease him - as is obvious from the gemora.

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  31. Not necessarily under federal law. That is up to the jury to decide.

    In a state kidnapping case, you may be right.

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  32. To me it looks clear cut, they have transported abductees interstate of which is a Federal Crime, period. The Judge tells the ground rules which laws apply and to consider. Over and out.

    1034

    Kidnapping—Federal Jurisdiction

    Federal jurisdiction over kidnapping extends to the following situations:
    (1) kidnapping in which the victim is willfully transported in interstate or
    foreign commerce;

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  33. I agree completely with you and I enjoy your writing. Allow me to quote: “The remnant of
    Israel Shall do no wrong And speak no falsehood; A deceitful tongue Shall not
    be in their mouths. Only such as these shall graze and lie down, With none to
    trouble them” (Zephaniah 3:13).

    The Malbim explains here “The
    remnant of Israel Shall do no wrong” in deeds. “And speak no falsehood”
    in speech. A deceitful tongue
    Shall not be in their mouths in thoughtful matter. “shall graze and lie
    down” as in “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me to
    a-water in places of repose” (Psalms 23:2). “With none to trouble them”
    not have need for treaties with nations nor to learn from them.

    ReplyDelete

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