Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tamar's Heter: Protecting Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky is more important than protecting the Torah

Update: There are allegations that the Moetzes - instead of condemning the Kaminetskys and R Greenblatt for this scandal  - are working on publishing a letter that Rav Shmuel was not involved in the heter - a claim Rav Shmuel has made in several letters to rabbonim. The problem is that his son R Shalom directly contradicts this claim of non involvement in his letter to Rav Greenblatt[which appears below]. The only statement that everyone will agree is that Rav Shmuel did not give the heter - that was done by Rav Greenblatt together with Rav Feurst and others. The bottom line is that the heter would never had been given without Rav Shmuel's involvement and that furthermore it continues to exist entirely because he refuses to condemn it.


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As everyone knows, the storm resulting from the phony heter to Tamar Epstein has been going on for a while.  R Shalom Kaminetsky's campaign to manipulate Rav Greenblatt to declare the marriage invalid worked only for a while. However a wide range of major rabbis - including Rav Chaim Kanievsky - have condemned this heter and declared Tamar as still being married to her first husband and thus committing adultery with her 2nd husband. It has clearly been publicly declared by these rabbis that persuading a psychiatrist to write an invalid report - is  a major danger to the Orthodox community and the institution of marriage.

The question is why the issue has not been settled with a retraction of the heter by Rabbi Greenblatt and a rejection of the heter by Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky and his son? Why is the issue dragging on? Why isn't an ultimatum being given to the above - to either comply or be publicly denounced?

The answer unfortunately is not a pretty one. Because if an ultimatum was delivered to the above rabbis - there is a good possibility that they would not comply. After all they have "Daas Torah" or as Rav Greenblatt says "I followed the Shulchan Aruch" and it doesn't matter to him whether the facts are true or not. He views the heter as being independent of how it was obtained and that the only thing that matters is that he issued a  psak that Tamar can remarry. Similarly Rav Kaminetsky sees no reason to condemn the heter because it was issued by a "bar samcha" (Rav Greenblatt) and so it doesn't matter if the basis is a pack of lies. In short neither cares whether the heter was obtained through falsely proclaiming that Aharon Friedman  suffers from extreme incurable mental illness that disqualifies him from ever being able to marry.

However the real answer why there is no ultimatum is because we have a serious problem here of codependency. What is ultimately preventing the resolution - and the reason that the Moetzes Gedolei Torah will never get involved - is the issue of the priority of  our rabbinic leaders. While Torah and halacha are truly important, there is a greater concern for these rabbis. They view that the system itself is in danger if major gedolim are declared to be in open rebellion against the Torah. These rabbis will never do anything that is perceived as an attack on gedolim. Thy believe that  faith in gedolim (and Daas Torah) is more important to preserve than faith in G-d and Torah! Or rather that faith in G-d and Torah must be through faith in the gedolim.

Unfortunately, by publicly declaring that the heter is false and that a major breach in Torah has occurred - they can't conceal from the public that the agents of this breach are in fact gedolim. The longer they hesitate the greater is the loss of faith in gedolim and the greater the cynicism is amongst the masses - including the yeshivos and seminaries. 

In short, since they have gone public with the existence of a major breach - they can not avoid following that to its logical conclusion. But they lack nerve and don't want to be perceived as the ones who destroyed the public status of revered gedolim - Rav Greenblatt and Rav Kaminetsky.

Consequently there is great pressure to try and save the reputation of these gedolim by putting pressure on Aharon Friedman. It is widely viewed by these rabbis that almost all goals will be accomplished if he is sacrificed by forcing him to give a get and receive nothing in return.

Let me make it absolutely clear. Aharon Friedman will never back down. He will not sacrifice his reputation or his relationship with his daughter in order to allow Rav Kaminetsky and Rav Greenblatt to save face and not be held accountable for their sins. Aharon Friedman is not going to be the scapegoat that allows the rabbis to avoid the horrible task of destroying the reputation and legacy of Rav Kaminetsky and Rav Greenblatt - if they won't back down and condemn the phony heter.

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