Sunday, April 15, 2012

Minchas Yitzchok: Awarding father - son's custody

Question: There is a boy - the son of one of the Jerusalem community leaders and his wife whose marriage ended in divorce – who has been in his mother’s custody for a year and a half. The wife is now living with her parents in Los Angeles which is far from Brooklyn where the father now lives. The father’s home is in fact in Jerusalem while in New York he doesn’t own a home. Therefore it is basically impossible for him to see his son and to be with him in either spiritual or materialistic ties. All those who have been in his house saw directly that the child had a very strong ties with his father besides the physical materialistic aspect but there was also a strong spiritual connection. Even when the child was in a cradle the father would bring him to the beis medrash for chagim in order that he should hear holy words.... It is obvious that if the son remains in Los Angeles which is very far from the father – there is no possiblity for the father to educate him but the he would have to spend all his time in travel between the two places... And the father is an important leader who is much needed by the community. In addition his main home is in Jerusalem and it would be very degrading to require him to travel to his former wife’s home in order to educate his son... For all the above reasons and others like them it is simply impossible for his son to receive a proper education if he is not with his father. Thus the question is whether the Torah requires that the boy be given to him in order to raise him properly. It is not relevant to claim that he needs his mother because when she was married the child was raised by a baby sitter from whom he received care that was superb. Therefore it would seem that to the one who is asking the question – that the father is correct and he should regain custody. [ after four pages of careful analysis he concludes]. Answer... According to all we have discussed it would appear in my opinion that there is no question that the father is correct in his desire to have custody of his son in order to raise him and educate him in his way and that of his holy ancestors. It is obviously understood that this is to be done in a manner that the mother is not prevented from having the opportunity whenever she wants to come and to see her son and to get joy from her offspring...


  1. The letter is from 1977,I hope someone had informed the Minchat Yitchak that people do not travel from Brooklyn to LA by land.

    1. He does in fact mention traveling by air in the teshuva - as well as by land and notes that air travel also takes a lot of time and effort - though obviously not as much as traveling by land.
      שו"ת מנחת יצחק חלק ז סימן קיג

      וא"כ דבר פשוט הוא כשהיא בלוס אנג'לס מרוחק למעלה מאלף פרסה ממקום אביו, אין יכול האב לחנכו שם, כי כל הימים יצטרך להיות נע ונד בדרכים, ובדרך היבשה יקח נסיעה כזו שבועות הלוך וחזור, ואלו בדרך האויר יקח ג"כ הרבה זמן וטורח,


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