Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What is a "halachic prenup" as opposed to a non-halachic prenup?

Guest Post by יְדֵיכֶם דָּמִים מָלֵאוּ

The organization that boasts as being the primary educators encouraging Torah-observant Jews to sign a prenuptial agreement, has named it the “‘halachic' prenup.”

What is the word “halachic” meant to suggest and insinuate? Are there any recognized halachic authorities who have ruled that there is a requirement for a marrying couple to sign this prenuptial agreement. If so, who? The only explanation is that since there were and are certain prenuptial agreements that run contrary to halacha and produce an invalid get, ORA is attempting to say that this particular prenuptial is different, as it does not run contrary to halacha according to some poskim.

However, this label is disingenuous and misleading. Does ORA promote calling our jackets "halachic jackets"? Since certain jackets contain wool and linen (shatnez) and are halachicly prohibited to be worn, shouldn't we call those jackets that we may wear "halachic jackets"? The most that anyone would call it would be a “kosher” jacket. No one would call it a “halachic” jacket. As such, the most ORA should call this prenuptial should be a “prenup that is kosher according to some rabbis.”

It appears obvious that the term “halachic” is being used to entice the unknowing and the unquestioning into signing this agreement. ORA understands that asking people to sign a prenuptial that is only potentially kosher would cause the bride and groom to carefully review and deliberate whether or not they would like to sign this prenuptial agreement. The result would be that even fewer people would agree to sign it.

Is there any other explanation?

Additionally, at the Mendel Epstein torture trial, other questionable practice standards of ORA and the BDA have come into light. ORA went out on a limb to help a woman without ever having made contact with her purported estranged husband. Nathan Lewin, a defense attorney in the torture trial case, explained how easily the BDA was duped into writing a “siruv” or excommunication against a nonexistent man. The purported brother and sister showed the BDA an email that they claimed the nonexistent Alex Marconi wrote. Of course, they simply opened up an email account themselves, wrote the email, and claimed that it came from "Alex Marconi." They also provided the address of a Florida post office as Mr. Marconi’s address.

It becomes quite obvious that ORA and the BDA did not do any due diligence before waging war with "Mr. Marconi." A simple internet search would have verified that the address provided was that of a post office. A few phone calls to local community members of “Mr. Marconi” would have revealed that he is not existent, and would have blown the FBI’s cover. Yet, ORA and the BDA did not bother investigating. Interestingly, it seems that the FBI was completely confident that their cover will not be blown by some basic, basic research by either ORA or the BDA. Why?

Are these the organizations that we would like to entrust with our marriages? Are these the organizations we would like to rely upon to validate highly questionable gitten, when major halachic authorities have ruled that children resultant of a subsequent marriage after a first marriage was terminated by a get procured through their prenuptial are mamzeirim?

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