Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Chanukah and the claim that a woman has a right to a Get on demand

Guest Post
A Freilichen Chanukah to all visitors to this site, who come to hear what Da'as Torah has to say on various issues, 

Sholom u'Brochoh!

With the last rays of Chanukah flickering into oblivion, already searing through Chodesh Teves, the darkest month, along with the rest of the cold and dark winter, )in particular going with Rabbeinu Tam's zman shkiah,:-) I thought that perhaps it would be appropriate to grab the opportunity for a "mesiba". What?? Yes, a get-together l'kovod Chanukah!

Compounding that with the minhag to engage in pilpul on Torah sheba'al peh, since Chanukah is a Yom Tov of Torah sheba'al peh - which brings me to the focal point: our enemies' intent on shikchas HaTorah.

Of course we know that the Yevonim would have let us *study* Torah, but we know that it was only tolerable as a *chochmoh*. To let us *observe* (pardon my *antics*) the Torah? Aha! That was a different story. Again here, we know that malpractice of Torah, despite preservation of the text, is nonetheless shikchas HaTorah.

Eras have come and gone with arising with various issues of threats to Jewish Identity. For example, the Reform Movement (whose founding fathers were very learned) that started out with the changing of direction of the bimah to face the kehilla, bringing in change after change, up to the point that there is virtually nothing that they observe.

We all know that on Chanukah, that we again ask the famous kashya of the Bais Yosef, dor achar dor, but here, appropriate for this site and more so, in the spirit of this site, we wish to, nonetheless, engage in a pilpul that has to do with Issues of Jewish Identity.

Unfortunately, we are exposed to secular society and to their ideas, causing us to adopt them as second nature. We are exposed to society that stresses 'women's rights' or 'equal rights'. We are pressured to find it unconscionable that a woman in the 21st century cannot free herself from marriageable bondage among our ethnic society, so we are thus compelled to go as far as administering forceful and dangerous coercion of a get, then, when that ceases to be an option, to just annul a marriage in order to not necessitate a get (without even hearing out the other party, as we know) - amounting to an alternate route to shikchas HaTorah.

Yes, some of may argue (with consternation) that this issue has been discussed quite some time before, but others, on the contrary, would (gleefully) want it revisited, as is perceived that the more it is discussed, the more we see ignorance on the basics of such a core issue, finding it imperative to one more time, lay out on the table.

Hence, without further ado, the shayla: is there any basis for get on demand? Are we halachically, ethically or morally coerce or pressure or coax or cajole a man to do so? After doing some research, or perhaps, iyun, and with pilpul chaverim, no one was able to indicate to me where it is brought al pi Shulchan Aruch that although when a get cannot be coerced, it is 'yashrus' to give one and that there is no need for any m'kor and that it should be done nonetheless out of common sense! I found it odd that such a vastly popular notion should have no mention in anywhere in Tanach , Shas or poskim.

Our Gemara mentions dinim we must do out Chassidus (Pirkei Avos is all chassidus). In nezikin there are things that's we may be potur b'dinai Odom and yet, chayav b'dinai Shomayim. There are halachos- al pi din, to do because of "v'osisoh hayoshor v'hatov" and in the Shulchan Aruch there instances where"hamachmir tovo olov brochoh". In short, we see many scenarios where we are to conduct ourselves beyond the letter of Law, and many times demanded so by Halacha itself! So again, and from new perspective - why is there no m'kor for get on demand, especially if it is such a fundamental?

Furthermore, perusing through teshuvos of igunah, we often find the classic case where we need to be mattir a woman because her husband disappeared. There are cases then where the husband is not well and physically or mentally incompetent to give a get due to illness. Does anyone remember where there was a teshuva how to get a woman out of a marriage because she simply wanted out because she didn't feel the relationship would work out?

After humbly expressing all formalities to all talmidei chachamim and ready to be shredded apart, (already putting forth an urgent request for anybody to come to my defense,) with ra'ayos back and forth, I put before you (albeit with great trepidation) my thoughts:

If I may, I bring a ra'ayah from Yevomos 106b on the Mishnah "Mitzvas chalitzah: bo hu v'yovimto l'bais din v'hain m'si'in lo eitzah hogenes lo she'nemar (translation: he and his yevomoh (- his childless brother's wife that he can marry - and by force) come to Bais Din), "v'koru lo ziknai iro". Rashi says on the words "eitzah hogenes lo" says: go to those who are comparable to you and do not bring in machlokes to your house. The Bartenurah elaborates a bit more: if he is young and she is old or he is old and she is young, they tell him that what do you need an old one for? What do you need a young one for? Go to those like you!

Question: isn't that common sense? And furthermore, why is there no counterpart to this Mishnah in Masechta Gittin that if she wants a get and he does not, that we tell him something like, 'Look, it's not going to work, you need to go on with your life'?

Perhaps I can answer that the Torah makes a distinction as follows: in yibum, the yevamah never agreed to get married to this man, who happens to be her deceased husband's brother, so *Da'as Torah* states (to the extent that it makes it to the Mishna) that although we can't control him, we at least advise him or steer him, but by gittin, since this bond was done with HER COMMITMENT, there is not even an *ethical* suggestion of advising or steering him, even in the most gentle way, to appease her.

One more ra'ayah (and hopefully others will construct (or perhaps even destruct) upon my cornerstone,): the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom prohibiting one to divorce a wife against her will: is it not ethically wrong to force a man against his will to stay married to a woman that he dislikes? Apparently, this question is not asked nowadays, only the other way around : how can the rabbis force a woman to stay married to someone that SHE dislikes? (By the way, the Israeli Rabbanut has found by a poll that more women refuse a get than men.) We see from here that it is ethically perfect to l'chatchillah make a takanah binding (or 'enslaving') a man to his wife. Therefore, we see that the same would apply vice versa, binding a woman to her husband - especially that we don't find any ethical notion or suggestion otherwise.

Thanking you all for your audience and best wishes for wonderful winter,
May we take along the light and warmth of Chanukah.....

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