Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tamar Epstein's Heter: Newsflash - Rav Nota Greenblatt just acknowledged that he will retract his heter if the reports he based himself on are refuted!

After weeks of turmoil and worldwide outrage - a new development. Rav Nota Greenblatt has acknowledged that he relied totally on the contents of the reports he got when he issued the heter. Therefore if these reports are withdrawn or refuted the heter has no validity and he will retract it.

He has been saying this all along both in his letters and telephone conversations. I had originally thought that he was being inconsistent regarding his taking responsibility for the psak. But he is saying that his role in this is no different than if someone said his doctor said a condition was pikuach nefesh for Shabbos or that someone can't fast on Yom Kippur. He has always stated that he has no knowledge of Aharon or Tamar or any facts of the case. He is reacting totally to the fact that an expert in mental health has said that he certifies that Aharon is incapable of being a husband because of mental health issues. Thus he simply took the conclusion of the doctor and stated that it was consistent with Rav Moshe Feinstein's view of kiddushei ta'us.

Therefore instead of relying on the Daas Torah of Rav Shmuel as I had mistakenly thought he is doing something worse. He is relying absolutely on the doctor's conclusions - not the doctor's diagnosis or knowledge of the facts. Rav Shmuel and R Shalom's role was simply to indicate that the doctor was reliable and what the doctor said. Thus whether the doctor was biased because he heard only Tamar's version was not relevant to Rav Greenblatt. The doctor said it and his believability came partially because of Rav Shmuel's endorsement but mainly because of the assumption that a professional would not state something that could readily be shown to be false because it would ruin his career.
 
His problem then is that he did not know about  the very subjective nature of psychological diagnoses and that if he had taken the trouble of finding out who Aharon was and what Tamar had said in beis din and the courts - he would not have automatically believed that the data supported the conclusion that the therapist wrote - as Rav Feldman clearly shows in his letter.


In sum, this information is not new but is a new understanding of what Rav Greenblatt has been saying all along. Thus instead of trying to convince Rav Greenblatt that the doctors conclusions were not supported by the data or that the doctor could not have known this since he never spoke with Aharon - there is a simpler solution. Either get the doctor to retract his report or get another doctor who refutes it.

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