Sunday, August 20, 2023

Rav Sternbuch:Husband should not be spiteful and should give a Get if there is no chance of reconcilliation and all issues are resolved

This is being reposted from 4/12/12

Rav Sternbuch (4:301): Question: I received a question from America where -  due to our many sins - it is common that women rebel against their husbands and afterwards go to secular courts - Gd forbid! The secular court makes a judgment in her favor - through coercion and not in accord with the law of the Torah. The judgment  obligates the husband to pay very high support payments and carries a penalty of prison for failure to comply. In addition she is typically awarded custody of the children. The husband is asking for a heter of meah rabbonim to be able to remarry without giver her a get since she is a moredes and has transgressed the religious laws. On the other hand she claims that the heter of meah rabbonim is not relevant since she in fact is willing to accept the get. She also claims that there are rabbis who support her position. So she wants to benefit twice by obtaining a get according to the Torah and also a judgment from civil court which steals money from from her husband even after the get.

Answer: In my humble opinion there is no validity to her claims and therefore the husband should be given a heter so he can marry another woman. The only limitation is that he needs to deposit the get with beis din as is the established practice. The reason for this is complex. 1) first of all since they are coercing him financially not in accord with the halacha regarding the support payments which are much higher than the halacha - that constitutes theft. Thus the get itself is a forced get. The gedolei poskim are worried about get me'usa. Thus the get is not actually valid and we have the problem that she is still a married woman who thinks she can remarry. Therefore it is necessary to exempt him from all financial obligations that were done against his will in order that the get itself be valid. Furthermore if the wife refuses to go to beis din, then that itself gives her the halachic status of moredes as is clear from Divrei Chaim (E.H. 51) and he cites the Chavas Daas who ruled that a woman who refused to go to beis din  was a moredes and the gedolim agreed with him. ... According to this if she goes with him  only to beis din then he is obligated to give her a get. However when she goes to secular court in addition to make monetary claims - she is not able hold on to both sides. In other words she can't go to the secular court with monetary claims and at the same demand that he give her a get in beis din. If she forces him to accept the rulings of the secular court in marriage matters he has no obligation to give her a get. We need to state in addition that the essence of the Decree of Rabbeinu Gershom was for the benefit of the wife.  However this benefit is only available when she doesn't abrogate her halachic obligations. But in the present case she has created serious devastation in the marriage in that she has rebelled against him and went to secular court where she received excessive judgements concerning maintenance and also the custody of the children. Her husband must give her a get in beis din so that she can remarry. So in the case of moredes the decree of Rabbeinu Gershom which was meant to benefit women was not intended and the husband can remarry with the heter of 100 Rabbis and he deposits the get with beis din until the judgment of the secular court is nullified. When that happens- if he has not yet remarried - then it is prohibited for him to do so until he gives his first wife a get.

In reality your question is a local issue of America and it is the job of American rabbis to decide. However my view is in agreement with the rabbis there who permit the husband to remarry without any difficulty and he needs to deposit a get with beis din. But when the judgment of the secular courts has been nullified then it is prohibited for the husband to remarry until he has properly divorced the first wife.

You should be aware that we are obligated to fight against her going to secular courts and we prevent her from remarrying if she does and if the get is given under these circumstances there is a suspicion that it was coerced (me'usa). Nevertheless in a case where she claims she can't stand him (ma'us alei) and there is no reason to believe they can be reconciled and the man is simply being cruel to her and is being spiteful by not to giving her a divorce - then even though it is prohibited for us to exert any force- G-d forbid! - nevertheless it is correct to notify the husband that the view of many of the gedolim (e.g., Rambam, Ravad, Behag, Rashbam, Rashi etc) is that he is sinning and they would encourage him to give her a get. Because even these poskim are concerned about creating [an invalid get] which would leave her as a married woman even bedieved - so G-d forbid that we should use any type of coercion. Regarding the issue of tormenting her and leaving her an aguna - it is correct for him to be concerned for her claim that she finds him revolting (ma'os alei) and it is prohibited for him to leave her as an aguna - even if she is not correct. But we are not to coerce him G-d forbid with any type of coercion that would possibly bring about a get me'usa. Rather [once we have informed him that it is wrong for him to withold the get] he needs to come the the realization himself that he must conduct himself like a descendant of Avraham and the verse says that the ways of Torah are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace and that he will find happiness with someone else.

All of this we need to explain to the husband. That leaving her as an aguna is a transgression of a severe sin of onas  devarim - not to torment his wife. That refusing to divorce her serves no purpose except to get revenge against her. He doesn't want to live with her and he shouldn't think her life is worthless and he should be fully aware that in Heaven there is judgment and there is a Judge. He should also be informed that to many of the early gedolim it is correct even to force him to divorce. Unfortunately there are many beis dins that when they see that the husband doesn't want to divorce his wife they simply remain silent. But that is not acceptable. They must inform him that he is unjustifiably tormenting her and this is not correct. This of course is assuming that the beis din is convinced that there is no hope for reconciliation....
Teshuvos v'Hanhagos (1:389): Question: A woman has suffered for a number of years from her husband who refuses to divorce her - how can he be forced to give a get?  

Answer: It is an established halacha that if the wife refuses to live with her husband because she claims he is disgusting to her (ma'os alei) that it is impossible to force him to divorce her. This is explicitly stated by the Rema (E.H. 77:3). And even if it has been a number of years that they have separated and he is being spiteful and cruel in refusing to divorce her it is clearly stated by the Teshuvos haRosh (43:6) that if we force him to give the get there is the concern that it is a get me'usa and therefore invalid and it only serves to increase mamzerim. However while it is stated in the Rema (E.H. 154:21) that nidoi (cherem) is considered force and is prohibited, nevertheless he says it is permitted to decree that no Jew should do him a favor or should do business with him or even to circumcize his sons or to bury them - until he divorces his wife. But the Pischei Teshuva (E.H. 154:30) says there these shunnings (harhakos) are equivalent to nidoi (cherem) and are not permitted to be imposed today and the only recourse is to tell him that it is permitted to call him a sinner  and he says it is best to be strict according to this opinion. This is agreed to by the Chazon Ish (E.H. 105:12). He concludes in the name of the Rashba that it is not permitted to humiliate the husband or to torment him - examine this well.

However it appears that what is prohibited is to humiliate him and to shun him in a manner similar to cherem - i.e, not to do business with him and not to do him a favor - and that is not done today. (Chazon Ish understands the Pischei Teshuva differently). But when he is not actively humiliated but that he is only not given honors for example he is notified that he will not receive an aliyah in his shul or any other shul and that he will not be allowed to be the shliach tzibor - then this is not like cherem at all even though it causes some humiliation. The only pressure permitted is that he should know that the community does not approve of his conduct of being cruel to his wife - but this is not called force at all.

I recall witnessing an incident involving Rav Yechiel Weinberg (Seridei Aish) concerning a husband who spitefully refused to divorce his wife after a number of years and he directed that it be known and publicized that this husband was not to get an aliya in the shul. That is in accord with what I have written that this type of pressure is not called force. It is also done here in Yerushalayim to publicize notices in the street that a particular person is a sinner and has made his wife an aguna. In my opinion 1) if she has solid justification for her desire to be divorced then it would be possible and appropriate to force him  actively with humiliations to give her a get. We learn from Kesubos (71a) if it is clear that he hates her then he is obligated to divorce her. 2) On the other hand if there is no apparent reason for her being repelled by him we can distance him.  I am inclined to permit humiliation in such cases but it is necessary for beis din first to be very careful and thorough in evaluating the situation as to whether it is appropriate. Similarly one should not spare any efforts to encourage that she live with him when she requests a divorce and there is no clear reason except she says she doesn't like him. 3) But if there is a clear reason - then even if we don't force him with a beating we are accustomed to be lenient to pressure him with notices  in shuls as I mentioned above.

This that the wife creates pressure with the claim that he is tormenting her and she can not stand the situation any more and that she is ready to go to "rabbis" who are lenient in divorce - that is still not justification for us to make rulings against the Torah. The ways of G-d are hidden and some suffer physically while other suffering financially and some suffer in their marriage. We need to hope to G-d that the end of suffering has arrived and that he will divorce her. On the other hand, to force him with high payments for food or to humiliate him when it is not permitted - it doesn't help because this pressure only produces a get me'usa - G-d forbid - which has no validity. But concerning cruelty and spite which is characteristic of Sedom - only Heaven can punish him.


  1. On the site you linked for translation, they made stated that Rav Shternbuch intended this psak also against women who "Moser" their husbands for child abuse, spousal rape ect.

    Unfortunately they seem to have taken down the psak as well as their interpretation.

    Reading this in the Hebrew, that doesn't seem to be the case, but since the claim has been made that Rav Shternbuch considers a woman who goes to the police on account of spousal rape, domestic violence, or child abuse(sexual or physical)as a rebellious woman and that any Get that she manages to obtain, because her husband was so "forced" is therefore invalid. So the question is are these actually the Rav's feelings(it would seem not, but as I said the claim has been made)?

    1. thanks - the translation is back on. But I'll remove the link until I have a chance to check it more thoroughly

  2. Sounds like it might be time for some of us to start finding a new rabbi...

  3. Since virtually all the women on the Jewish Press/ GetOra list fall into this category of rebellious women who never did do t'shiva, yet herschel schlachter puts a siruv on them, surely the time has come to ostracise the Ivanka converter Schlachter himself.

    1. This is totally false. The Beis Din that issued the seruv against Friedman did not contain Schachter.

  4. Emes,

    You've raised a very important point. Feminists such as the Jewish Press, Rabbi Herschel Schachter , Rabbi Jeremy Stern and ORA ( Organization for the Resolution of Agunot ) are publicizing fraudulent "seruvim" for the purpose of harassing and slandering decent Jewish men. These feminists have also disgraced Chareidi rabbanim who have opposed feminist perversions of Judaism.

    The Shulchan Aruch seems to be clear that Torah Jews really should ostracize the Jewish Press, Schachter, Stern, and ORA, instead of their victims:

    "For 24 actions we ostracize a person ... (1) One who disgraces a Talmid Chacham ... (24) Those who ostracize one who has not incurred ostracizing ..." (Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), Yoreh Deah 334:43)

  5. I like this teshuvah, because 1) he acknowledges that a person refusing a get when there is no hope for reconciliation is being cruel and probably sinning, 2) he says we should inform the person of this, and 3) he criticizes batei din who are silent on this issue. He says no "force" or "coercion," using them as synonyms. This makes sense. ORA's tactics are not "force" -- they are informing him he is being cruel and sinning. He didn't listen the first time, and refused to even appear before a beit din, so we have to speak louder. Hence the demonstrations. A person's life is at stake. Of course we should not remain silent. Perhaps this time he will hear. If he is concerned about caving in and creating an inavlid get, then have him sign a statement saying that he is not doing it because of the publicity but because he has studied the sources, thought it over and decided that the right thing to do is to give the get.

  6. It sounds like Rav Sternbuch was not informed about both sides of the story (he refers to some rabbis supporting her but doesn't seem to know anything about her). When a posek has not heard from both sides of the story, doesn't this considerably lower (or even obliterate?) the persuasive value of the teshuvah?

    The idea that he is not allowed to give a get unless the secular judgment is nullified is disturbing. A court is not allowed to give more than halacha allows, and if it does, she can't remarry? Yet it is OK to bribe the husband (who is sinning and being cruel) with large amounts of money (completely reversing the intent of the ketubah, which is that a man give the wife money upon divorce)? This seems strangely unbalanced. And he does not provide much in the way of reasoning for his position that she cannot receive the get unless the secular judgment is nullified.

    1. You are correct that nowadays, people extort money for a get and the kesubah is ripped up. I know of a case where the boy was מחויב to give a get and a kesubah, but was advised to pay the extortion in order to settle things quietly and move on, and that is what she did. I know of a Rov that won't be mesader
      A marriage unless the boys promises to listen to him if a divorce comes up. I wish all would do so.

  7. Rav Shternbuch clearly writes in the above teshuva that the husband is correct to refuse giving a Get until the wife withdraws and undoes the halachicly illegal actions she took in secular court.

  8. apparently the more I research ORA, the organization for the resolution of agunot, the more I see that they and Rabbi Herschel Schachter have attacked many men unjustifiably. Such as the Meir Kin case where the man even deposited a get, despite her going to Civil Courts and even obtaining a gag-order against him preventing certain pertinent fact to be mentioned in a Bais Din and even tried to have him jailed after speaking to a Bais din about these facts, and yet he was falsely accused of making his wife an Aguna where she clearly has a din of "Moredet". Yet Ora not only viciously attacked him, but posted a website against him called see and you will see many links and a wealth of information about this case. This appears to be a pattern with ORA attacking anyone who is a man especially if the woman has money or prominent connections as Lonna Kin is related to Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag who is her cousin. Incidently its laughable that Y.U, ORA, Herschel Schachter and many others would accept a GET written By Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag but wouldnt eat from His Triangle-K Hashgocho because its unreliable. Take a look at Rabbi Eidlitz' website where he lists all the reliable hashgochos worldwide and leaves out the triangle-K. How can you accept his Gittin and not his food?????

  9. Daat Torah you are correct about what you say. Rabbi Herschel Schachter and ORA and others "pull the wool over our eyes" by misquoting Halocho as in many cases the woman is a "Moredet" and therefore no Get coercion is called for because of her actions, but they fail to list any woman as a "moredet and yet list every divorce case as one that you must coerce the husband. Cmon Ora you need to look fair sometimes!!! Most Halachic cases allowing GET coercions refers to Men who leave their wives and not like many of todays cases where the woman leaves the husband or ejects him from the home etc.. Take a look at this case where a woman's rich husband managed to put a seiruv against her for going to Civil Court. see Why is Halacha applied here differently than in all other cases where the woman goes to civil court? The answer is that in the Klein -Beren case here, the Berens are very rich and "convinced" The bais-din Mechon Lehorooh from Monsey to issue a Seiruv against their daughter-in law. Once again you see inconsistincies in Halocho and no uniform Psak Din in all cases because too many times, bribes and influence sway the Emes in Din.

  10. its interesting to note that ORA did not list that woman's seiruv at their website "seiruv list" since according to ORA only men can be found guilty in Divorce matters since they dont accept an Isha Moredet concept in Halocho!

  11. How is she a moredet if Aharon was the plaintiff in every civil case regarding custody and visitation? Watch the video posted below.


    2. Ora claims (see its website) that Friedman was the "plaintiff" in each of the custody cases. But this is extremely misleading. Friedman is the "plaintiff" in any matter relating to the case, no matter which party brings a particular motion, because he had brought the first motion in the case.

      As noted previously, Friedman had brought the August 2008 emergency motion only because Epstein was holding the child in PA and refused to negotiate or generally let Friedman see the child other than on Sundays. Also, Friedman canceled the October 2008 trial at which it was likely the child would be returned because that was required by the psak under which Friedman had gone to court in the first place, and the June 2009 trial was held only because Epstein refused the Baltimore Beis Din's orders regarding dismissing the civil case.

  12. I have been researching the case of Meir Kin and this is another example of mob justice at its absolute worst which is sickening and cannot be tolerated. This innocent man has had his reputation besmirched by the thugs of GetOra as well as the corrupt Brooklyn mafiosa. i will be presenting a very detailed listing of all the specifics in this case with all the info. that is publicly available in order to expose the filth that has been perpetrated in this case. I hope you will be so kind as to allow a full listing of all events and dates if necessary in a seperate article to expose what took place and another example of not only complete ivus hadin but how Ora and schlachter were once again involved in being malbin p'nei chavero be'rabim for no reason.

    Daas Torah, exposing these thugs is the last hope for many of these men who have lost everything and need an opportunity to have their names which were besmirched k'neged halocho restored.

    Shmuel above has hit the nail on the head in his posting. I will try and contact all those with siruvim by the BDA and ask for the details, the cold facts, so that this thuggish bunch of biryonim can be put out of business,

    After all, we already know from your brother about Schwartz's hafko'os kiddushin, Willig's cover up of his buddy Boruch Lanner, Broyde's reform views on anything and everything from Gittin to married women having to cover their hair, see comments of Rav Shlomo Miller on him, and Schlachter's corruption.

  13. Yeshaya, please go and get lessons in halochoh. someone who does not appear at a din torah they are summonsed to without resorting to secular court has a status of lo tzias dina and can never ever use the facilities of bais din on any matter whatsoever to be mazmin someone for any unrelated matter. you can call up chaim berlin and ask to speak to rabbi aharon schachter and ask him why he could not be mazmin veretsky to a din torah because 20 years earlier he failed to appear when rav moshe summonsed him in respect of an unrelated matter.

    however a woman in arko'oys is far worse than somone who is lo tzias dina (which she probably is anyway when invariably her husband summons her to get out of arko'oys).

    since you claim the torah is unjust you are welcome to join the new religion set up by schlacher and YU. you are an embaressment. You can always post at schlachter-the

  14. another teshuva by HaRav ShternbuchApril 12, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    תשובות והנהגות כרך א סימן תשפט

    שאלה: אשה הסובלת כמה שנים מבעלה הממאן לגרשה היאך להכריחו

    הנה קיימא לן שאם אשה מסרבת לגור עם בעלה ואומרת שמאוס עליה, אי אפשר לכוף אותו לגרש וכמבואר ברמ"א אהע"ז (ע"ז סעיף ג'), ואפילו זה כמה שנים שנפרדו והוא מסרב באכזריות לגרשה הלוא מבואר בתשובת הרא"ש (כלל מ"ג תשובה ו') שאם כופין על גט יש לחשוש שזהו גט מעושה ומרבין ממזרים בישראל, אבל מבואר ברמ"א אהע"ז (קנ"ד סעיף כ"א) אף שנידוי נקרא כפייה ואסור, מ"מ יכולים לגזור על כל ישראל שלא לעשות לו טובה או שלא לישא וליתן עמו או למול בניו או לקוברם עד שיגרש, ומיהו ב"פתחי תשובה" שם (ס"ק ל') מביא בשם ג"א שבהרחקות כנידוי לא הותר היום אלא רק לומר לו שמותר לקוראו עבריינא, וע"ש שטוב להחמיר כן, והסכים לכך החזו"א באהע"ז (ק"ח ס"ק י"ב), ומסיק בשם הרשב"א שאין לבזותו ולצערו ע"ש היטב.

    אמנם נראה שכל זה היינו לביישו עד שינהגו עמו כמנודה שלא ישאו ויתנו עמו ולא יעשו לו טובה, שדומה לנידוי ונחשב בזה"ז שאין נידוי כנידוי (החזו"א זצ"ל נתקשה מה שאוסר בפ"ת בזה"ז, אבל נראה כמ"ש), אבל כשאין מבזין אותו אלא רק שאין מכבדים אותו והיינו שמודיעים שלא יקבל כאן ובשאר בתי כנסיות עליה לתורה, ולא ישמש כש"ץ, לא דמי כלל לנידוי, אף שיש בה בזיון קצת, עיקר שידע שהציבור אינם מרוצים מהתנהגותו שמתאכזר לאשתו אבל לא נקרא כפייה כלל.

    ובזכרוני שראיתי עובדא אצל הגר"י ויינברג ז"ל באחד שסירב באכזריות לגרש אשתו כמה שנים, וציוה להודיע ולפרסם שלא יקבל עליה בבתי הכנסת, והיינו כמ"ש שזה לא נקרא כפייה, וכן נהגו בעיה"ק לפרסם מודעות ברחוב שפלוני עבריין ומעגן אשתו, ולע"ד אם יש לה אמתלא ראוי לכוף אותן גם בבזיונות, ובכתובות (עא א) בנדרה מאחד מהמינים והקים לה מפורש שכיון שהוכיח בזה ששונאה חייב לגרש, אבל כשאין שום סיבה ומאיס עליה יש להתרחק ממנו, אבל מצדד אני אם להתיר גם בזה לבזותן והבית דין חייבין לשקול היטב, וכן לא לחסוך שום השתדלות שתגור עמו כשדורשת גירושין ואין סיבה לכך רק טוענת מאיס עלי, וכשיש סיבה אף שאין כופין בשוטים, נהגו להקל לכוף בפרסום בבתי כנסיות כהנ"ל.

    ומה שהאשה לוחצת בטענה שמצערין אותה ולא תוכל לעמוד בנסיון עד כדי שתלך ל"ראביים" שמתירים, אין בכל זה סיבה לנו להורות ח"ו נגד התורה, ודרכי ה' נסתרות, יש סובל ייסורים בגופו, ויש סובל בממונו, ויש סובל בחיי אישות, ונקוה לה' שכבר הגיע סוף לייסוריה ויגרש, אבל לכופו במזונות גבוהים או בבזיונות כשלא הותר לא יועיל שאינו אלא גט מעושה ח"ו ולא חל, ועל אכזריותו במדת סדום עונשו בדיני שמים לבד.

  15. You've got to love this comment at the beginning:

    "from America where - due to our many sins - it is common that women rebel against their husbands and afterwards go to secular courts - Gd forbid!"

    Where do they get (sic) these statistics from? Husbands rebel against their wives by going to Nafkas and the like. What then? Can she say Maus Olay, or will Stan the Mevazeh Talmidei Chachomim insist that she sit quietly at home with him, while someone whispers "the Gedolim say you should give her a Get".

    R' Schachter is an Ish HaHalocho. Listen to all his Shiurim, 3000+ and you would never call him a feminist, Stanley. As I said, have the guts, either you or the Eidensohns to CALL R' Schachter with your Taynes. You may be surprised that he not only has cogent answers, but that you'll put your hat and jacket on next time before you ring him.


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