Monday, December 21, 2015

Tamar Epstein's Heter: The battle against the heter has been won according to unconfirmed reports

I received an email this morning which said that according to unconfirmed reports from reliable sources - Rav Nota Greenblatt has told Tamar and Adam that they need to separate. Baruch HaShem!!!

Given the worldwide outrage from gedolim from diverse sectors as well as the shocked reaction of the common man - and yeshiva students - the only question is why it took so long for R Greenblatt to wake up to the reality that he had made  an incredible blunder?

An indication of the severity of damage to the rabbinic credentials of Rabbis Greenblatt and Kaminetsky - is the praise that they have received from non-Orthodox and feminist sources. The Times of Israel reported a Conservative rabbi who refers to Rav Shmuel as his colleague! 

However the issues is not completely resolved - even if the report is true - because they have not publicly retracted the heter. Without a public acknowledgment of the irresponsible manner they went about giving the "heter" it will be repeated again and again by rabbis saying "annulment for psychological irritation based on a note from a psychologist - even if he never met the husband - is accepted by gedolim". Furthermore it has become clear that the heter of Rav Moshe has been misused and abused to justify many annulments in situations that Rav Moshe would never have permitted - not just this case. A heter that Rav Moshe meant for very rare and severe conditions has become a "cure" for every ache and discomfort in the hands of certain Orthodox rabbis.

The crisis has also revealed the corruption of a number of Orthodox rabbis in giving not only annulments but also in allowing cohanim to marry divorcees and other transgressions. It is not the Open Orthodox that is the main danger to Orthodoxy - but some of our very own poskim and rabbinic leaders. "We have met the enemy and it is us!"

Hopefully this crisis will be used to clean house and provide a mechanism of oversight for the divorce process. Hopefully it will also motivate the rabbonim to work harder to ameliorate the conditions of not only abused wives (agunas) but also husbands that are being publicly accused of all sorts of lies by wives who are being coached by rabbis, lawyers and other women to game the system. Time will tell whether the proper lessons have been learned or whether this is just the beginning of a new era of rabbinic corruption.

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