Friday, November 15, 2013

The need to give a Get: A father, husband and ex-husband

Guest Post

R’ Eidensohn

 I apologize for having added to your pile of e-mail, but I am in a somewhat unique position in all this.  I am a proudly “modern orthodox” Jew who learns and lives by halacha and attempts to hew to R’ Soleveitchik’s hashkafa and derech halimud – which is important only in as much as I am not chareidi and have no particular attachment to either the Dodelson or Weiss families.  (Full disclosure: if anything, I have some connection to the Weiss family, as R’ Moshe Meir Weiss, who knows my in-laws, spoke beautifully at my chuppa . . . more on that in a moment).

 I have also had the “pleasure” of going through the divorce process.  I have children – three wonderful, amazing young kids who I would absolutely die for. I worked out custody with my ex-wife cooperatively (though we don’t do much cooperatively these days); she has them during the week, and I get them 3 weekends out of every 4.  That works out to 6 days with my children out of every 4 weeks, less than the 12 every 4 weeks that Mr. Weiss gets with his son on the “every other weekend plus 2 days a week” schedule the Court ordered (I decided I did not want to seek mid-week custody, as the children need the stability of being in one home for periods of time, rather than being shuttled back and forth every other day).  I am, unfortunately, fully conversant with the pain of not being with my children every day, of not being able to tuck them into bed every night, of aching to see them more than I can, and of hearing them cry on the phone because they miss me.  It is a torment I would not wish on anyone.

I also have the pleasure of being remarried to a wonderful eishes chayil; a tremendous human being who the children look to as a third parent.  (Yes, third.  One of the first things they asked me and my ex when we told them we were divorcing was “what happens if you marry someone else.”  Without having talked about it beforehand, we simply said “well, now you have an Abba who loves you and a Mommy who loves you. If Abba gets remarried, then you’ll have a Mommy who loves you, an Abba who loves you, and an Ima who loves you.  If Mommy gets married again, you’ll have an Abba who loves you, a Mommy who loves you, and a Daddy who loves you.”  There is room in a child’s heart for 3 or 4 parents, and the introduction of a step-parent into a relationship does not inherently imply that step-parent is “taking the place” of the ex in the child’s heart).  The joy of that relationship, which began after I gave my ex-wife a get  but before the terms of our civil divorce were worked out, sustains me through the most difficult moments of being away from my children. 

 It is from that perspective, and with all of my heart and soul, that I say to you: “Avraham Meir must give Gital the get.  Without conditions, without delay, without demands.

I say this for two reasons.First, regardless of what his halachic “rights” might be, refusal to give a get after a marriage has irredeemably broken is never justified.  We are all well aware of the principle of “m’nuval b’rshus haTorah” – that one can act unethically while scrupulously adhering to Halacha.  I can think of no greater example of this than a willingness to withhold a Get in order to receive financial reimbursement even for money halachically owed (assuming that it was halachically owed).  The very act of doing so is a proclamation that “my financial benefit is of greater concern to me than your emotional torment.”  Prizing repayment over another’s emotional well-being – let alone the mother of your child, whose emotional state will impact the child – is reflective of warped priorities.  I am well aware that money is critical to many things, and of the stress that comes from its lack.  (My own divorce is financially onerous).  Still; unless the money will make the difference between privation and survival, that is irrelevant.  Give the get.

Second, for Avraham Meir’s own sake, and divorced (pun intended) from any benefit to Gital, he must give the get and move on.  Staying in this stage of limbo is doing him no good.  Fighting to “win” is only causing him more misery.  Give the get, and let everyone move on.  Please.

A father, husband, and ex-husband


  1. Dear Father,
    Thank you for being מקדש שם שמים in the midst of all this darkness. I don't believe anyone could have expressed the psak here as clearly or as forcefully as you.

  2. The wife is tormenting herself by not trying to arbitrate the case (according to his story).
    If i asked you to give up $350000 of your money to pay for the therapy of a schizophrenic, would you do it? How much would you need to own to give away that much? Are you not saying "my money is worth more than someone else‘s emotional wellbeing"!
    This is written in the spirit of leshitaso, according to the opinion of the writer. I don't know the case of Weiss/dodelson, but i cannot understand the attitude of ‘get-on-demand‘.

  3. The very act of doing so is a proclamation that “my financial benefit is of greater concern to me than your emotional torment.
    If the women won't give me my money, then apparently she agrees that the money is more important than her emotional well being.

  4. "First, regardless of what his halachic 'rights' might be, refusal to give a get after a marriage has irredeemably broken is never justified."

    Can I raise my hand here and suggest that guest posters make more of an effort to read through some of the postings here before making the same tired point that a Get must be given swiftly and unconditionally when a wife demands one.

    Refusal to give a get after a marriage has irredeemably broken -- whatever that means and is determined -- IS justified in the following case:

    (1) The wife says I can't stand my husband, I want a divorce.

    (2) The reason she says she can't stand her husband is some reason other than
    A. that he is not living with her as a husband is required, or
    B. that he unexpectedly became a tanner.

    (3) People attempt to coerce the husband to give a Get, say by demonstrating outside his home or place of work.

    A coerced Get in a case of Ma'us A'ly is invalid, and if the coerced husband does give a Get, and his wife subsequently has children from another man, the children are Mamzerim.

    Thus: some cases where a wife demands a Get and the husband doesn't give a Get involve the husband's Rav telling him not to give a Get under coercion, and the husband is following Halacha because it is a Mitzvah for the husband to listen to his Rav.

    1. Father, Husband, & ex-HusbandNovember 15, 2013 at 2:25 AM


      You are arguing against a straw man. There is no issue of get me'usa in what I wrote, because I am talking about the ex ante choice that should be made in any situation where the marriage is irretrievably broken. By definition, anyone who does so will never be in a position to be coerced.

      More, even having were such pressure enough to render the get a get me'usa (which is an issue that need not be addressed here, so we can assume for purposes of discussion that it is), that does not ipso facto render any get given after pressure a get me'usa: the husband can still choose to give the get of his own free will rather than in response to the pressure.

    2. Joe, the sad part of your view and the view of people of your ilk is that marriage is a social contract and not a business contract.

      In some Hassidic circles, marriage is seen as a relationship between each member of the marriage and G-d. A partner is simply a tool to enable each member to fulfil 'their' obligation to the Creator. A loving relationship between the members of the marriage is totally irrelevant and possibly undesirable.

      Weiss may subscribe to this 'Hassidic' view of marriage and has therefore become bewildered about the negative attention that he is now getting.

      Gital on the other hand recognises that there is no love in the relationship and that the differences between them are irreconcilable. Accordingly, there is now little point in debating if he or she is right. There is only one thing that matters and this is if the 'social' contract is in place. Clearly it is not and therefore a Get must be given. In a social contract, either side has the right to say they are unhappy.

      When you enter a contract to sell widgets then you can understand that by refusing or failing to deliver the goods, there will be legal consequences. You will either be 'made' to deliver the goods or be fined for failure to do so or go bankrupt.

      What people like yourself - Joe, need to realise is that marriage is not a contract to sell widgets in a different form. There is no point in opening up Shulchan Oruch and point to halochos. The situation here is not about Hilchos Eshes Ish. Everybody here agrees that Gital is technically the wife of Weiss and would need a Get in order to marry another man.

      The issue here is about the failure of the Weiss family to see that the marriage is socially over. The Weiss family already failed to see that there would be a financial consequence of going to a secular court. They lost out big time on that. You would think that they would by now have learnt that there will be a huge social consequence for them to be seen by the community (rightly or wrongly) that they are using the Get to extort money.

      Mendel Epstein has been pillared by the community because he used the misfortune of unhappy marriages to line his own pockets. The Weiss family is being seen in the same light as Epstein's gang

    3. For all those who are dragging this on by claiming that ORA's tactics produce Mamzerim, do you know more than the Rabbanim endorsing ORA in their efforts?!rabbinic-endorsements/c1ma3

      Have you clicked on the letter from Rav Heinemann there?

      Perhaps it's time to re-think things a bit . . .

    4. huh? The entire point of that sentence is to say that regardless of his "right" not to give a Get, he should be WILLING to do so. He doesnt want to coerce Weiss as much as reason with him.

    5. Joe are you able to read English? Avrumi is ot claiming to be refusing to get on any of the grounds you listed. If you would be paying attention you would know that he is refusing to get for a combination of money and child custody issue

    6. "some cases where a wife demands a Get and the husband doesn't give a Get involve the husband's Rav telling him not to give a Get under coercion."

      Yes, but don't compress what is often a long process in to its by no means foregone conclusion. Very few broken marriages go from zero to attempted get coercion overnight. Did this one?

      Once the woman attempts to coerce the get, she probably makes matters worse. But if she doesn't start up with coercion right away, there was a period in which he knew she wanted out, when he could, as an act of kindness give her the get.

      True, he doesn't have to. Also true, in the throes of a divorce, a person can find him/herself thinking, saying or even doing shocking things. Kindness under such circumstances is not trivial. I don't mean to minimize it, but neither does "father/husband/ex-husband."

      It's in that time period that the husband has a choice. On the one hand, he can think "halacha permits me to force her to stay married to me so I will" or he can think "I wasn't perfect. Even if the separation is mainly her fault, I can think of things I did that hurt her. Perhaps I didn't appreciate how deeply hurt she felt because of something I said that to me was minor. In fact, maybe she's most bothered that it seemed minor to me, that I didn't see things her way; that caused her to despair for her future with me and she left.

      For this to work, we both have to want to stay together; I thought she was the sort of person who would; I need a wife who will. So, really, if she's saying "maus alai" she's not the sort of woman I should be married to and if I can't bridge this gap, I'm not the man for her, either. So, I'll give her a get."

      Perhaps it's his inconsideration at this stage that makes her think he'll never give her the get. It may well be that ORA isn't the right solution to this problem, but it's a problem that was caused by the husband or at the least to which he made a major contribution.

      It looks as though Rabbi Weiss might have driven by a lot of exits on the road to ORA. Did he have the halachic right to? Sure. But did he have the halachic obligation to do so at this point? If it was permissible, was it the right thing, the kind thing, the smart thing to do?

    7. Yoel, that's baloney. If a wife say maos alei or demands a Get for no good reasons, it is not a chesed to give it if he wants to remain married. The right thing for him to do is to insist the marriage continue.

  5. Dear Guest Writer,

    You are simply mistaken. If the wife is attempting to mostly cut the child out of his father's life, the Get should not be given until that action ceases.

    This is for the benefit of the child so that he has and maintains a father/son relationshiop with his natural father, without the mother interrupting that.

    1. Father, Husband, & ex-HusbandNovember 15, 2013 at 2:27 AM


      Respectfully, I have yet to see a case where an attempt to coerce an agreement by withholding a get has had long-term success - and the very act of doing so ensures long-term conflict. It is a self-defeating strategy.

    2. The wife is not trying to deprive Weiss of a relationship with his son. The Dodelson's want a Get based on the Court's decision which included custody for the father every other weekend plus 2 nights a week.

    3. Even when "that action ceases", there is no such thing as a guarantee that the other spouse won't file new claims in Court/Beth Din to change the custody arrangements. Based on your logic no one should ever give a Get because you never know what she is going to do once the Get is given.

      Can someone please explain how withholding the Get accomplishes anything, except to cause pain and prevent both parties from moving on in their lives?

    4. And what evidence is there in this case that that is what the wife is attempting to do? So far, all I have seen is that the secular court awarded joint custody, that she refuses to pay $350k. The rest is speculation.

      (I would agree with you hypothetically, but I see no evidence of that here. At least not yet.)

    5. Dodleson IS attempting to cut the child out of his father's life.

  6. Dear Sir,

    Amen! More power to you and those like you! Thank you for introducing sanity to a very insane (and unethical) situation. I pray the Ribono Shel Olam should help you and your Eishes Chayil to raise your children to be good, ethical, bnei Torah, and they should have love and respect for both their parents. May there be more Yidden like you.

  7. There is a well know explanation of the Mitzvah of Shiluach HaKan (sending away the mother bird) which I believe is attributed to the Gra which says that the reason that it is forbidden to take the mother bird while it is sitting on its young is because by doing so, the person is abusing the G-dly character trait of mercy. You see, the only reason that the mother bird remains in the nest rather then escaping from the human predator well ahead of his/her arrival is because the mother bird has 'mercy' on its young.

    This is why there is no Mitzvah when you are dealing with a domesticated bird, because the the hen stays on its eggs because it is accostomed to human interaction and has no reason to flee. A wild bird on the other hand will ordinarily take flight the moment it feels threatened and there is ordinarily no way that a human could approach it to capture it while it is sitting. While it is nesting on eggs or young then its merciful feelings force it to remain to protect the young. This is why the Torah forbids a Jew from capturing it at that moment - because that would be abusing the birds mercy for ones own benefit.

    Weiss is no different to the Jew who captures the mother bird while hovering over her young. He has captured Gitel with Halocho - the Halocho of Get. He is abusing the Halocho to obtain an illegitimate gain. It is as illegitimate as the capturing of the mother bird from the nest.

  8. "refusal to give a get after a marriage has irredeemably broken is never justified" -

    Can any OH-RAH troll here cite even one normative, widely accepted non-YU POSEK, who rules that a non-violent, normal Jewish husband is unethical or violating HALACHA if he refuses to give a GET to his wife after the wife:
    - leaves the husband without permission from B"D
    - abducts their child and prevents the husband from seeing the child
    - files a full divorce lawsuit in a non-Jewish court
    - causes massive financial damages to the husband and his family
    - slanders and humiliates the husband and his family in front of millions of Jews and non-Jews
    - destroys the PARNASSA of the husband's family

    Statements about the evils of GET refusal being made here are simply more proof that the OH-RAH supporters are living in a feminist fantasy land without the slightest conception of what authentic Judaism is. Deprogramming, such as done to brainwashed cult members, may be the only cure for the ORA groupies.

    1. Perhaps you never heard of Rav Heineman, who although not in the YU sphere is most certainly a supporter.

      Sorry to disabuse you.

      PS. Your bulleted assersions are baseless nonsense.

    2. Sorry to disabuse you but you may not have heard that Rav Moshe Heinemann.

      And sorry to disabuse you again, but your bulletted statements are just a re-hash of the Weiss Family's lies.

  9. ואשברה מתלעות עול ומשניו אשליך טרףNovember 15, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    They say a story, which may be a משל.
    After ww2, in the barracks of a cc, they caught a nazi. They attacked him and beat him. As they were beating him an American GI walked in. They hid the nazi under a mattress. The GI spoke to them about the importance of not being vengeful, and about how everything must be done civily, and according to the law. Everyone nodded their head. The GI left and everyone proceeded to beat the nazi to death.

    The point I want to bring out is, don't walk into an emotional warzone, where one side may be rich and intent on hurting the boy, his relationship with his kid, bleeding his family dry, etc... And start preaching right and wrong, and what should be in a perfect world.
    Your divorce is no comparison to anyone but you. You have no idea of his pain. Not all pain is symetrical. If in fact the Dodelsohns are חיות, and are trying to take advantage, and their whole interest is to be able to laugh at how they hurt the Weisses, then he should not just not give a get, he should never give a get. He should stand by his halachic right. I don't know if that is the case or not. I don't advocate withholding גיטין. However, that is in most cases. There are some cases, that unless you are in control, they will beat you, until they kill you,and won't stop until you have no נשמה. And some times, with such people, not giving a גט, still won't help. But I would never preach to him without knowing the situation. Comparing cases is dangerous, and frankly foolish.

  10. In my next 3 comments, I will demonstrate with clear simple logic that the concepts of

    a) Get-on-demand
    b) Ma’us Alai
    c) Moredes

    have no relevancy to the Weiss case nor do they have any relevancy to the vast majority of these ORA type cases.

  11. Get-on-demand:

    This case has nothing to do with Get-on-demand, as Weiss is also saying that he does not want to be married to her.

    Get-on-demand refers to a situation where the husband says that he wants to stay married, in this case Weiss is equally adamant about not wanting to be married to her, Weiss is only saying that he wants $350,000 and more custody. The same applies to most other ORA cases.

    Everyone agrees that according to Halacha a Husband is obligated to give a Get to his wife if he refuses to fulfill his 3 obligations (food, clothing, and relations).

    Now for some real lomdus – if Weiss is also saying that he no longer wants to be married to her – in other words, he is refusing to live with her – so he is by definition not fulfilling his 3 obligations (food, clothing, and relations) and is therefore obligated to give a Get.

  12. Ma’us Alai:

    Ma’us Alai means that the woman says that she no longer wants to be married to her and the husband says that he loves his wife and wants to remain married to her. In such a case the husband is not obligated to give a Get.

    In this case, Weiss is also saying that he does not want to be married to her. So by definition, it is not a case of Ma’us Alai. The same applies to most other ORA cases.

  13. Moredes:

    The classic case of a Moredes is a woman who refuses relations with her husband.

    By the very definition of Moredes, a woman cannot be called a Moredes if the husband does not want to be married to her. How could the woman be considered to be “refusing” relations with a man who doesn’t want to be married to her?!

    In this case, Weiss is also saying that he does not want to be married to her. So she cannot – by definition – be a Moredes!

    The same applies to most other ORA cases.

    1. @AZ - "The same applies to most other ORA cases" - Thus proving you are an OH-RAH troll with detailed knowledge of OH-RAH's wicked feminist war against Jewish fathers and Torah Judaism. Your name befits you as your statements constitute an invented feminist religion, ie AVODAH ZARAH, completely contrary to Torah Judaism.

      R. Weiss never made, to my knowledge, any statements about not wanting to be married to his wife, before she abducted his child, filed a full divorce lawsuit against him, and waged a brutal propaganda war against him and his family in front of millions of non-Jews.

      You are simple inventing facts and HALACHOT out of thin air to give a fake legitimacy to the OH-RAH feminist gangster agenda. How much is OH-RAH paying you to troll this blog?

    2. A moredes is a womwnwho tries to extort her husband by refusing relations.

      Awoman who for some reason does not want relatins and refuses them is not amoredes. Because if she were, than judaism would incite to spousal rape.

  14. In conclusion, everyone – even R’ DE - agrees that according to Halacha a husband is obligated to give a Get to his wife if he refuses to fulfill his 3 obligations (food, clothing, and relations).

    Therefore, since Weiss is saying that he no longer wants to be married to her – in other words, he is refusing to live with her – he is by definition refusing to fulfill his 3 obligations (food, clothing, and relations) and is therefore obligated to give a Get.

    Remember, Weiss is equally adamant about not wanting to be married to her, Weiss is only saying that he wants $350,000 and more custody. The same applies to most other ORA cases.

  15. The NY Post article was a disgrace. We are obviously dealing with disgraceful people and I would fight to the end for the well-being of my child. In the end we have to turn to Hashem to help the family through this.

    The guest writer here had his situation work out, he wasn't up against these people.

  16. I just read the actual court papers. I am shocked!

    Weiss's custody is as follows:

    Every other weekend - 3 hours before sundown until Sunday 6PM - on average approximately a 51 hour period (more than 2 days)
    Every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30PM until 7:30PM.

    Weiss received a super duper generous custody arrangement.

    Weiss probably received one of the most generous custody arrangements given to a husband.

    Anyone who says that the judges are feminists are out of their mind.

    That Weiss is still withholding a Get - shows that he is pure evil.

    1. @AZ - "Weiss received a super duper generous custody arrangement" - You've served notice once again that you a ranting feminist and OH-RAH propagandist and obfuscator.

      R. Weiss has a son, who AL PI HALACHA in Evan HaEzer, is supposed to live with his father, not his mother. There's nothing super-duper about a father seeing his beloved son four nights a month out of over 30 nights, except in your deluded ORA mind.

      As soon as Dodelson forces a PASUL GET using the OH-RAH gangster machine, she will then be able to move far away with court permission, or get a bogus restraining order, or alienate her son so that he won't visit his father, making a quick end to the "super duper" custody arrangement. The OH-RAH GET mongers will then be nowhere to be seen, except to claim that Dodelson has a right to use non-Jewish courts.

  17. DT,

    Please open a new thread to discuss R. Hoffman's latest halachic opinion:

  18. Avrumi mayer I saw you in court countless times. We were both in court for custody issues and I never had the guts to come over to you. Now I regret it. Stay strong and ignore all the publicity. No one and I say no one has a clue what you went thru and are going thru as we speak.

  19. Jasson Haas,

    It is good that you didn’t speak to Weiss. You would have been jealous. Weiss would have told you that his custody arrangement is the envy of every divorced husband.

    Every other weekend - 3 hours before sundown until Sunday 6PM, Plus, every Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30PM until 7:30PM.

    Then, you would have asked ….

    Since Weiss's custody arrangement is very generous, so why doesn't Weiss give a Get like every other frum husband.

    My friend, which family is the problem family? The Weiss’s or the Dodelson’s?


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