Sunday, July 15, 2018

More Analysis of Rabbi Greenblatt's Heter

A core group of people have figured out virtually the entire outline of how the Heter for Tamar Epstein to remarry came about. It took years, finesse, a team of people in America and in Eretz Yisrael to piece it together, and Siyata D'shmaya. I give Hakaras HaTov to all who've contributed to discovering the details in an effort to strengthen the Torah.

Rabbi Greenblatt gave the Heter. To do so, he compared the case involving Aharon Friedman and Tamar Epstein to a theoretical model. Since the Friedman-Epstein case matched the model, in the Rabbi's estimation, then the Heter was issued.

There is a basis to attack the model on multiple fronts. In a previous post I demonstrated that the model leads to absurdity. I'm going to focus here on demonstrating that the model does not seem consistent with requirements for a true Mekach Taus.

Once I show the model is invalid, it follows that the Friedman-Epstein case, even if it follows the model, does not merit the issuing of a Heter to Tamar Epstein to remarry.

Let's first examine the model.

Take the case of a Jewish man and woman who get married with valid Kiddushin.

After the marriage takes place the husband manifests speech and behavior that causes the wife to want a divorce.

Nevertheless, she stays in the marriage.

At some point, her husband has contact on some level with a mental health professional. The professional diagnoses the husband with a mental illness.

The professional determines that
-the husband's condition is incurable
-the wife was unaware that her husband had an incurable mental illness before she married him
-she only became aware of her husband's condition after the marriage
-she leaves immediately after realizing her husband has the condition.

This is a model of Mekach Taus. The wife says that the marriage was based on a mistaken premise. In this case, the presumption she had was that her husband did not have a mental illness as defined by mental health professionals. Had she known her husband had a mental illness as diagnosed by a doctor, then she would not have married the man.

I say that that this model is fundamentally flawed.

Let's examine why.

Mental health professionals generally make mental illness diagnoses through observations of someone's behavior and speech.

Therefore, there is nothing about the husband's behavior and speech that the professional observes that the wife did not also observe. For example, if the husband mumbles incoherently, the doctor notes it. The wife also notes it.

And if the wife happens to miss it, than it can't be a basis for her making a claim of Mekach Taus anyway.

Thus, the entire cluster of symptoms that led to the diagnosis was known to the wife while she continued to live with her husband.

The only thing that the doctor's diagnosis does is give that collection of symptoms a name. The condition, though, is well known to the wife before that.

You might say, though, that the wife was unaware that the condition was considered incurable by mental health professionals.

But it is generally known that mental health professionals use the term "treat mental mental illness", not "cure mental illness". Thus, mental illness, as defined by mental health professionals, is incurable.

To summarize: the wife did not become aware of her husband's condition when she received the diagnosis. The woman was aware she was living with a man with behavior and speech that made her realize she wanted a divorce for quite awhile.

The argument could be made that the wife only knew her husband was "strange", but not "ill". I say that that distinction is irrelevant. The way mental health professionals diagnose people is on a spectrum. According to the mental health profession, virtually everyone suffers from mental illness. "Strangeness" is not far from "illness" and vice-versa within much of the universe of the mental health profession. Anyone requiring proof of this need only research how historical figures are routinely retroactively diagnosed with mental illness by forensic mental health professionals. Even the President is not spared such armchair diagnoses.

Thus, the model fails, I think, because it's difficult to find a case where a wife doesn't stay with her husband for a while after becoming aware that her husband has what mental health professionals describe as an incurable, pre-existing mental illness. The only thing she may have been unaware of was the name that the mental health professionals assign to the behavior and speech she was observing.

Perhaps the model would not be internally inconsistent in a case where a husband spontaneously and with no basis accuses his wife of trying to kill him and she runs out of their home never to return. If a mental health professional diagnosed the man with a pre-existing incurable mental condition that the wife was unaware of until her husband accused her, then the wife might have a case of bona fide Mekach Taus.

Yet Rabbi Greenblatt's position is that most women would not marry a man "L'chatchila" who will eventually be diagnosed by a professional with an incurable pre-existing mental illness. He gives no weight to how the man's speech and behavior actually affects the marriage. Whether the man goes stark raving mad, or whether he acts and speaks in a way where the wife puts up with it for years, it's all the same to Rabbi Greenblatt.


  1. The stereotypical case of mekach taut is in IM regarding a husband who turns out to be homosexual (at time of kiddushin).
    RMF is not interested in if the husband was only a part-time homosexual, if the wife thought for a while she can cure him of his homosexuality, if its a passing fad, or whatever.

    Yet, the JOFA and S-G lobby are rationalizing exceptions of RMF's rulings along the lines above. With absolutely no basis in IM.

  2. Thanks for shedding light on the issue. Can I respectfully suggest that the use of the subjects names be kept confidential? Possibly, the author can refer to them as Mr. and Mrs.?

  3. Are you at all familiar with this case?
    Are you familiar with the disgraceful, disgusting and obnoxious very, very public campaign that they took up?
    Slanderous article in the Washington Post. The NYT. Protesting in front of place of employment, with hundreds of people bussed in from Philadelphia.
    Other feminist rallies as well.
    And so much more. They made it all public. They sent out an email to the sands of people that "Tamar is free". The continue to cite this case as a model for their depraved ideologies and to continue to encourage even more adultry.


    כל שנעשה רחמן על האכזרים, לסוף נעשה אכזר על רחמנים

    כל המרחם על אכזרים סופו שיתאכזר על רחמנים

    You're not given a choice in the matter. Your misplaced compassion is absolute cruelty! You are behaving in a cruel way.

  4. Who is the author of this post?

  5. According to your comment, it seems that in the case you refer to, it is evident that the wife left because she discovered her husband was involved in homosexuality.

    In the case at hand where Rabbi Greenblatt issued a Heter, the doctor testified that the husband had an incurable, pre-existing mental illness that the wife was unaware of at the time of marriage.

    In one phone call, Rabbi Greenblatt seemed to indicate that this was enough to base the Heter on. In another subsequent call, he indicated the wife must leave immediately on discovery of the mental illness..

    Aside from the fact that this diagnosis seems fishy to begin with, there seems to be no indication from the wife that she left because she learned her husband had a mental illness, not leaving immediately nor otherwise.

    Rabbi Greenblatt made it clear he didn't speak to the wife nor the husband regarding the marriage. Thus, the only way Rabbi Greenblatt would presumably have found out that the wife left immediately -- or otherwise -- because she discovered her husband had a mental illness diagnosed by a mental health professional would have been from the doctor himself. A group of us are trying to contact the doctor to find out just what he told Rabbi Greenblatt.

    Now, to accept the rationale of the first phone call, we'd have to accept that a Mekach Taus takes place regardless of why the wife left, just as long as "in general" women would not want to marry a man if they knew he had an incurable professionally diagnosed mental illness.

    Interestingly, Rabbi Greenblatt conceded to me that there might be women who would marry a marry with an incurable professionally diagnosed mental illness.

    He also implicitly conceded that Tamar's future children until she receives a Get would be Safek Mamzerim. I base that on his saying that Aharon Friedman's marital state is in "limbo": maybe he's married, maybe he's not married to Tamar Epstein, as Rabbi Greenblatt put it.

    And most amazingly, Rabbin Greenblatt expressed amazement that Aharon didn't give a Get right after the Heter was issued. Rabbi Greenblatt told me that he was assured by Rabbis who knew Aharon that Aharon would give a Get right after the issuance of the Heter.

    Apparently these Rabbis were under the impression that Aharon withheld the Get merely to torment Tamar. Once Tamar would be free, she would no longer be tormented, and I'm guessing they might have truly believed a Get would be forthcoming.

    If that's the case, they were totally off base, as anyone who is truly familiar with the case knows Aharon didn't give the Get because Tamar walked away from the Bais Din where they both signed a document giving the Bais Din jurisdiction over the divorce process. The letter from the Baltimore Baise Din saying Aharon is righteous says as much.

    So what was amazing to me about Rabbi Greenblatt being shocked Aharon didn't give a Get? Because in the second phone call, Rabbi Greenblatt alludes to Reb Moshe's Tshuva as being the basis for the Heter. But that Tshuva apparently only says there is an opening for a potential Mekach Taus ruling when there is no way to get a Get otherwise! Yet here is Rabbi Greenblatt seemingly convinced a Get will soon be forthcoming, and he STILL issues the Heter!!

  6. Perhaps you should consider adding your name as a byline to the posting?

  7. Jospeh Orlow says “A group of us are trying to contact the doctor to find out just what he told Rabbi Greenblatt.”
    A critical document, a PhD psychology letter from a mental health expert, that Aaron is insane or whatever, needs to be presented to Greenblatt and to Kamenestky and to all interested parties (eg me etc) without replying on testimony of the contents of the letter.
    שולחן ערוך חושן משפט הלכות הלואה סימן מא סעיף ד
    מי שהיה לו חוב על חבירו בשטר, ואבד השטר, והרי העדים קיימים; אף על פי שקנו מידו, אם טען שפרע הרי זה נשבע היסת. ואפילו היה החוב לזמן ועדיין לא הגיע זמנו להפרע, הואיל וכתבו לו שטר ואינו בידו, אם טען הלוה: פרעתיו, נאמן, ונשבע היסת שפרעו, שאנו חוששין שמא פרעו ולפיכך קרע השטר או שרפו.
    The Schulcan Aruch says that a creditor that loses a note and comes to court claiming the note is unpaid. The debtor claims he paid that note. The debtor is believed, after he swears in court. The Schulcan Aruch believes that the note was torn up/burnt after the debtor paid on it and this is why the creditor can’t find the note.
    A creditor that loses a note and bring witnesses confirming details of the note, ordinarily won’t help the creditor. Courts always want to see the actual note and not rely on witnesses on what the note says, follow, Eddie? Yes, this is like my case with Susan, I complain that the court has no choice but to allow me to see a copy of the fake/phony 1995 Rigler Order of Separation, follow, Yehoshua?

  8. You misunderstand. I don't believe your public response (whether warranted or otherwise) is beneficial to the victim. I believe the victim must be allowed to recuperate, rejuvenate and move on. Continued use of his name to promote a cause is unnecessary and very likely detrimental rl.

  9. I finally got through.

    It went something like this.

    I'm calling because Rabbi Nota Greenblatt told me that your testimony was the basis for the Heter for Tamar Epstein to remarry.

    "No comment."

    I asked him if he sent me a release form and I got it signed if he would speak to me.

    "No comment."

    He indicated call was over.

    I've been working on this for years and it's going to continue.

    "I had no involvement."

    No involvement? Rabbi Greenblatt told me that you spoke to Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, and to Rabbi Shalom Kamenetsky numerous times.

    He hung up on me.

    More or less that's how it went. He was friendly and straightforward. He bid me farewell courteously, even as he cut me off.

  10. Brilliant quote, can you provide the reference please.

  11. does the Gemorra give any Solutions by which you can free a Mamzer?

  12. Rambam. Get a slave from the slave market. Make her a Shifcha Kananis. Mamzer allowed to marry her. Child that is born is an Eved or Shifcha like mother. Release child from servitude. Child becomes full Jew who is not a Mamzer.

    This is only allowed for a Mamzer. However many of today's Mamzerim are strictly speaking Safek Mamzerim. Safek Mamzerim cannot marry a Jew. Cannot marry a Shifcha. The can't marry anybody! Not even a Mamzer or Safek Mamzer.

    As Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn says, bringings Mamzerim into the world is a form of child abuse. Where is the outcry against ORA and Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky and the other Mamzermakers?!

  13. Past time for you to release names

  14. Safek mamzer is d'rabbanan according to Rambam. And is permitted , according to some views

  15. I agree that he should be allowed to recuperate.

    A) Are there Shuls in the city wherein he resides who do not allow him to enter due to the false 'siruv/cherem' that the Kamenetzkies put out on him?
    (Before you give a knee-jerk answer about a gadol, be sure to read up the very well-documented facts, including the straight out Halacha Rav Reuvein Feinstein quoted on one particular letter. No gadol has a license to use the Torah to wrongfully hurt someone, in order to further what he thinks is right or ought to be right.)

    B) How do certain members of the community behave towards his precious daughter, in the name of the mentioned 'siruv'? Particularly, what's the involvement of a family member of Tamar in that viciousness?

    "הרצחת וגם ירשת?!"

    C) Have the outstanding issues that need to be settled in the Baltimore Beis Din - the Beis Din that has documentedly true jurisdiction over the case - been settled? How can recuperation begin while they are actively engaging in the wrongful behavior that the Epsteins/Kamenetzkies are perpetrating towards him?!

    D) Everyone needs to be aware of mamzeirim in order to know to stay away from them. Also, to continue to make it a bit more difficult for many who want to copycat this perversion.

    E) He is a fine fellow who has been slandered because those who did it smugly felt that they can get away with it. Sorry, we may not allow that.

    Please review this רבינו יונה

    מי שיש בידו למחות, ואינו מוחה, ואין בפיו תוכחות, ועל מעשה החטאים לא ילטוש עין ולא ישגיח, ולא יהיה להם לאיש מוכיח.

    והנה, נצטוינו לבער הרע מקרב עמנו, שנאמר (דברים יג ו): "וביערת הרע מקרבך".

    ואמרו רבותינו (שבת נד ב): "כל מי שיש בידו למחות באנשי עירו ואינו מוחה, נתפש על אנשי עירו. ויש בידו למחות בכל העולם ואינו מוחה, נתפש על כל העולם".

    ונאמר (ויקרא כו לז): "וכשלו איש באחיו", ודרשו בו, זכרונם לברכה, (סנהדרין כז ב): "איש בעוון אחיו".

    ואמרו (שבועות לט א): "כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה"שערי_תשובה_ג_קצה

  16. would you allow your children to marry sofek mamzer?

  17. need to ask a "competent" posek
    i am just citing the sources

  18. Believe me. I think there would be some benefit to do so. And even more harm. You don't have to trust me. But that's the way it is.

  19. although you raise a good point
    what might be a "safek" today is almost going to be "vadai" in a few years as halacha develops more towards stringency
    a good solution would be to marry a safek non jew, eg russian, then convert the offspring through a special court - solving 2 problems at the same time.

  20. Midrash Tanchuma (Metzora, 1)
    "כל שנעשה רחמן על האכזרים, לסוף נעשה אכזר על רחמנים"

  21. I trust you, fully on this one. It is still infuriating that this quack is not being made to pay a price, even to his reputation.

  22. HIPAA violations are expensive. The penalties for noncompliance are based on the level of negligence and can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation (or per record), with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year for violations of an identical provision. Violations can also carry criminal charges that can result in jail time.

  23. Can a member of the public who does not work in the medical field violate HIPAA by publicly revealing who was whose doctor or what diagnosis was given, if the person publicizing that information isn't in the medical field?

    In any event it seems you'll be unable to ever overcome this hurdle.

    Can't Aharon Friedman, as the patient who was diagnosed, simply authorize anyone to publicize his own diagnosis and the name of the medical professional who issued a diagnosis on him?

  24. Why doesn't Aharon Friedman get a Heter Meah Rabbonim so he can remarry? He certainly qualifies for a HMR.

  25. what is a Mamzer? Is someone born to a Jewish woman, eg through her adultery, still a Jew or are they no longer jews and are mamzerim?

  26. Sorry, I wasn't clear about my intent, Moe.

    I'm treading carefully for several reasons.

    One reason is that I don't want to interfere with a face-to-face meeting that will be taking place with the doctor. It is to be hoped that the outcome of that meeting will be that we have more information about what the doctor told Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rabbi Shalom Kamenetsky, and Rabbi Greenblatt. We'd also like to know more about how the doctor came to make a diagnosis, and when, if ever, he shared that diagnosis with Tamar. A bonus would be to find out what Tamar did after she learned of the diagnosis, if indeed she did learn of it.

    Now, it's possible we won't get any useful information from the doctor.

    The next step would be to move forward with exploring options like:
    -getting the doctor's licenses suspended, assuming they are current
    -prosecuting the doctor for violation of HIPAA
    -suing the doctor for damages related to his talking about a client without permission.

    And finally, when all else fails, or simultaneously, exploring avenues that would impact a Parnassa the doctor has that is separate from counseling.

    I think it is evident now why we must proceed with the utmost caution. We generally have to help our fellow Jews make a living. The decision to humiliate a man and destroy his livelihood should not be taken lightly.

    And there's always the possibility that we have the wrong man.

    Rabbi Greenblatt told me the doctor's name. He gave me other identifying information that's included in the doctor's bio online. I independently corroborated another piece of data Rabbi Greenblatt shared. I confronted the doctor and I interpret the doctor's response as affirmation that he was the basis of the Heter.

    But none of this is the proverbial "smoking gun".

    The joke is told about a town where everyone was Republican and supported Republican candidates, except for one man. Every year they did the election count, and there was only one vote for a Democrat.

    Everybody shunned the man who lived in the shack on the hill outside town for his political views. One year the man died.

    Election day came and after the poll closed they went through the motions of tallying the ballots.

    All Republican. Except one Democratic vote.

    The precinct judge was aghast. "We buried the wrong man!"

  27. IIRC, there are poskim that hold that if the wife is a moredes, and living in sin with someone else, then Rabbeinu Gershon did not extend his protection to her, and in such a case, the husband would would not even need any HMR.

  28. A Mamzer is one of the types of classes of Jews.
    [See Mishnah (Kiddushin 4:1)].

    They are fully Jewish, and aside from limitations as to whom they may marry, they are obligated in all the mitzvos. [Some posit that a mamzer is exempt from the mitzvah of Pru U'rvu].

  29. thank you very much: The Mishnah doesn't use the term Yehudi there, but Koheni, Levi, Yisraeli (the Jews we know today).
    Mamzer is a different caste according to this Mishnah - they can marry netinim for example. I would postulate they are not Jews. They are miserable bastards in both meanings of the word.

    In Devarim, in ch23, the posuk(3) about the mamzer is followed by the psuk (4) about Ammoni and Moavi.
    Same rules apply to each of these classes.
    Sorry, i am just doing a pshat analysis.

  30. Is Aharon open to being redt shidduchim?

  31. I don't know AF personally. Joe Orlow is the one to ask, as he is a resident of Silver Spring, and is in close contact with him.
    @Joseph Orlow

  32. The "Assarah Yuchsin" were all bona-fide members of Kllal Yisrael, where each person fit in within the hierarchy of the caste system, some higher, and some lower.

    Since the Babylonian exile, all "B'nei Yisrael", have been referred to as "Yehudim" (translated as "Jews"), as per the Book of Esther.

    A mamzer has a miserable lineage, and he will be challenged in finding a spouse, but he is still a member of Kllal Yisrael. If he studies Torah, he is more significant to us than a Kohen Gadol who is an Am Ha'aretz.

    Amoni and Moavi in Devarim 23:4 is obviously referring to a convert from those nations, otherwise there would be no need to single them out for special mention. The "chiddush" here is that despite their conversion, they may not marry within "Kahal Hashem".

  33. Look at where ammon and moav came from. Lot had (forced) relations with his daughters. What we today call mamzerim!

  34. Not so quick, my friend.

    See Sanhedrin (59b) that there is a machlokes whether a Ben Noach is allowed to be with his daughter.

    Rambam (Melachim 9:5, Issurei Biah 14:10), Ramban (Yevamos 98a), and other Rishonim all rule, that it is permitted.

    See also Ramban (Bereishis 19:32) regarding Lot's daughters.
    As well as Malbim (ibid. 19:34).

  35. You are obviously a fine talmid Chacham.

  36. Does anyone have any info on Yoel and rivky Weiss I'd like to contact them I know someone who could use chizuk from them thank.

  37. 1. How do you know he doesn't have a heter?
    2. With the (false) publicity about him, most women will not want to date him.

  38. Rav Meir Kahana, hy"d used to say, if it wasn't for the Roman Emporer Justinian, we'd be fighting the Judean terrorists.

  39. AE is willing to give a get immediately upon his (ex) wife agreeing to a practical custody agreement. Which the BBD was in process of arranging and she (together with RSK and RNG) refusing to consider.

    2. By the way, regarding the psychology allegations, overlooked is that he has a very prestigious job, that would negate psychological claims of this type. Shouldn't RNG and company consider this in his mekach taut evaluation.

  40. And that is relevant to my comment because...

  41. 1. I don't know AF personally, and I can't prove a negative.
    But I doubt that AF has a HMR.

    Generally speaking, a HMR has publicity surrounding it. All the more so, with such a high profile case. So we probably have heard about it here.

    2. Impressive. You seem to be pretty knowledgeable about the AF, and the Jewish singles world. You claim to know a) the type of woman AF probably wants, and b) most Jewish singles will not want to date him.

    You may be correct, but all it takes is ONE kind thoughtful woman, who will appreciate AF for who he is, and will be willing to marry him. AF's best calling card, is Tamar's diary, where she describes how nice guy Aaron was to her.


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