Friday, November 15, 2013

Weiss-Dodelson: A Dodelson supporter calls for collectively finding a solution - not ad hominem attacks

The following is a post written by one the participants to the discussion as an articulate and sensitive supporter of the Dodelson side.  We have been carrying on off the blog discussion and he asked if I would post this Only on the condition that comments will be approved if they have solutions and not ad hominem attacks. which I agree.

I agree fully with what he has written.

Guest post by A Concerned Jew

This sad parsha causes people to behave irrationally. Most of you guys are just interested in belittling others & not, as Rabbi Eidenson calls for, finding a pragmatic solution. Name calling doesn't help anyone, & repeating things that one side says that the other side says are lies doesn't help anyone. How about you look at the two sides as presented by Rabbi Eidenson, or how you understand them to be, & instead of fighting out who is "right" or "wrong" try coming up with a solution that both sides would accept, even the side that is wrong(whichever side you think that is). Don't fight over who did or didn't do what when, that stage of this story is already in the rear view mirror. 
Bottom line is, there is tangible suffering in this parsha now for everyone involved. There is the girl who wants to be free of a marriage that has been over for years (doesn't matter whose fault that was) & feels like her only recourse is to go very public with her story, & there is the boys family, where the father & uncle are now without employment & the grandfathers yeshiva is the focus of a PR campaign. 
And last but not least, there is the child, who is being deprived of any stability in his young & formative years, as his parents are fighting with each other in a very public way, & both sides are using him as a bargaining chip to use against the other. There is no way anyone can justify the long term damage being done to this child- from either side.
I've asked Rabbi Eidenson to carefully moderate the comments in this guest post. There will be no he said/she said here, you can do that in other posts. No attacks, only proposals for a final agreement that can be palatable for Weiss & Dodelson.

Thank you.


  1. ze hagoral asher lifnei hashemNovember 15, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Let each party present a place they do agree of who and where to handle the situation and throw a Goral and so be it.

  2. Dear Concerned Jew
    There is a very simple way to resolve this. Let AWM give the Get immediately and unconditionally.
    Everyone feels for the innocent child, whose best interests would be served AWM giving the Get immediately and unconditionally.
    There is no justification for refusing a Get. Even if AWM would be in the right in every other respect, it would not give him the right to withhold a Get. That is the issue. To talk about "pragmatic" solutions is in essence to legitimize Get refusal. This is a dangerous precedent and should never be condoned.
    Shabbat Shalom

  3. Let her pay court fees and damages for her latest antics, let her put money in escrow to guarantee AMW that she won't play with visitation, and let him give a get.

  4. אמר חד גדיא, האי מאן דבעי להוי גדול בזמנינו יוסיף כסף. איני, והא ראינו גדולים שאינם
    עשירים, לא קשיא כאן בצדיק גמור אבל צדיק שאינו גמור צריך להיות עשיר . וכל בעלי בתים יחשבו מיד שהוא צדיק גמור. והלא אינו צדיק גמור? כיון שיש לו חיצוניות והחיצוניות לפעמים מעורר הפנימיות מספיק

    מגדף בה ר׳ שפרינצא, והלא מחללים שם שמים, ואוחזים בדרכי האמורי? אמר ליה ר קוקו, כיון שנקרא גדול, שוב אין בודקין ולא עוד אלא כל מה שאומר נקרא דעת תורה. ואם מפסיד הכסף במסחר ? אמר בן ספסירא אז מותר לבזותו אפילו ביום הכיפורים, כיון שאין לו כסף אינו כלום. ולא עוד אלא שכל המתגרשים, והעגונות, ובעליהן, אם יש להם כסף אנו דואגים להם ובוכים בצערם, ואם אין להם , לא די שאין ציבור דואגים להם, אלא הם הפסידו עצמם, שהיו צריכים לדעת, שכל שאין להם הרבה כסף אינו כלום.

    וכן אמר רב חוצפן, מי שאין לו כסף ראוי להשליכו לכלבים. ומי אמר רב חוצפן הכי, והא ההוא גברא איקלא לאתרין, ולא היה לו כלום, והזמינו ר חוצפן לשבת ודרש בשבת על מצותו? לא קשיא הא בצינעא הא בפרהסיא. וכי לית ליה לר׳ חוצפן פתוח תפתח לענייך ? הוא מותיב לה הוא מפרק לה הוא הוא הוא , הכל הוא. שאני התם פתוח תפתח להכותו? והא כתיב ויאמר לרשע למה תכה רעיך? שם בעשיר, אבל עני איהו דאפסיד אנפשיה, ולא עוד אלא דאסור להיות גדול בלי הרבה כסף. והא הלל ? לא קשיא כאן בזמנם, אבל היום אנחנו דעת תורה ויכולים לבטל הגדלות של עניים. שכל הלומד אדעתא דרבנן לומד, ואפקוהו רבנן התורה דיליה

  5. Both ABS & ואשברה have presented proposals that will only be acceptable to one of the sides. The stated purpose of this post is finding a solution. A solution will require each side to give something up- not modify what it is that they want to take.

  6. They should get back together and remain married and live with each other.

  7. RDE:

    I will make my recommendation, working off the recommendation you proffered this morning. I believe that reconciliation is a non-starter for a very simple reason: the air has been rendered completely and permanently toxic. Some foundations are rendered so unsuitable, that the home must be demolished.

    Since divorce is inevitable, this post will be devoted to finances; the following one will address custody.


    I believe RDE’s proposal falls short for two main reasons:

    1) It is an attempt to recover sunk costs. From an economic standpoint, chasing after sunk costs is never a good idea.

    2) It is unreasonable for anyone to say to another, “You have lots of hard-earned money. You won’t miss a small chunk of it.”

    Consequently, I would modify the financial agreement as follows:

    There can be no payment for the get. Instead, the parties will agree to the following financial agreement:

    All costs for the Weiss’ son upbringing will be borne by his mother (i.e., yeshiva, tuition, food, medical, etc.) However, the father will make a $425 per month contribution to a 529 plan ( towards his son’s education for the next 18 years. This payment can be construed as the ‘child support’ component of the father.

    In turn, the Dodelson’s will contribute $12,000 per year, for 18 years, to a 529 plan on behalf of a Weiss cousin of their grandson.


    1) The father is absolved of the significant expenses of raising a child in today’s orthodox world. This addresses one aspect of the financial issue. However….

    2) I fear that the father could be construed as abrogating his parental rights by not paying anything towards child support. His monthly payment is therefore built into the agreement; however, it is earmarked specifically and directly for his son’s higher education.

    3) Even with that monthly payment, the Weiss family is getting over double that payment back towards the higher education of one of their other grandchildren. Their total financial advantage is nearly 150K….not 350K, but significant (when coupled with #1 above).

    4) This is a forward looking approach, AND it benefits the children, who everyone must agree are innocent victims of this scandalous parsha that has infested the homes of both of these families. Let both sides now work to benefit those victims….for the next two decades.

    (to be continued)

    1. It is completely unreasonable to expect a father who is poor, as Weiss is, and does not have a significant income to pay $5,000 a year toa 529 as you propose. Especially when the child has a dirt rich mother.

    2. Sally, are you saying that a poor father has no responsibility to support his child(ren)?

    3. Sally, what was Weiss thinking when he fathered a child? Are you saying a poor man has no responsibility to support his child(ren)? He should be responsible for at least what the state guidelines for child support are.

    4. "Dirt rich"? That's a new one.

    5. Yes!! It comes from the Greek term "filthy rich" ! Can you really get filthy without dirt ?

  8. Part II


    While I don’t know either party, my strong suspicion is that the ‘stepfather’ comment was a well-designed sound bite developed by the PR person. I am not downplaying it; it was a ‘shtoch’ of nuclear proportions.

    (Moreover, RDE mentioned the plan for “when Gital remarries”. From the standpoint of any normal person, if someone is in fact planning for Gital’s remarriage, they are hopelessly premature. She doesn’t yet have a get, and her name will likely set off alarm bells in every corner of the world, at least for the foreseeable future.)

    But, the facts on the ground tell a decidedly different story. As others have noted, AMW’s custody arrangement is the envy of every divorced father. I suspect the Dodelson’s now know that it was generous, and that’s why they’d like to pare it down a bit. And, they are likely correct that it probably isn’t that good to shuffle kids around like beach chairs on a pool deck.

    But, this is the arrangement as of now, and I believe for the next few years, the custody arrangement should hold. Perhaps, in deference to the concern over shuffling, the mother’s home might be designated the custodial residence. But, the father should have the time that has already been awarded him. A son only has one biological father, and the child is entitled to develop a full relationship with his father during these formative years. We don’t need rabbinical committees and psychological conferences to tell us common sense. Whether this arrangement was court-designed or arrived at by negotiation, it IS the arrangement, and it should be honored for the next, say, 5 years.

    Longer term…I believe is hard to say. No one knows where things will be in 5 years. What will the boy be like? What will the relationship he has with each parent be like? What will the marital situation of each of his parents be? These are all significant variables, and I am loathe to start locking in plans in the face of an unknown future.

    The key point really is: how will decisions for this boy be made? Even though his parents will be divorced, both of them still have equal say in his upbringing (e.g., educational decisions, medical decisions, religious decisions). In a perfect world, both parents realize they must continue to work together ‒ cooperatively ‒ for the benefit of the child/children. That reality never ends, even upon divorce.

    Given what has transpired, I have no great dream that these two parents are remotely capable of putting their son first. The final agreement will need to have an agreed upon go-between to decide how these two adults will navigate disagreements regarding the raising of their son. Will it be a Rov or a psychologist acceptable to both? A trusted advisor? I don’t know, but there can be no legislating here. Whoever it is will need to get both of them in a room and design a compromise regarding whatever parental issue is causing friction at that time.

    There are no guarantees for the future….ever. None of us ever know what tomorrow brings. As long as both sides allow their hatred and mistrust to rule, they will continue to throw their child into a huge fiery pit, as they have been doing for the last 4 years.

    Hopefully, both of them are reading my suggestions. It is time to look forward, not back. The past is gone. The marriage is over. And your son has his entire life ‒ as a frum, committed Jew ‒ ahead of him. For Gital and Avraham, starting NOW, before this very Shabbos, it’s time to stop focusing on anything but the welfare of your son.

    You don’t have to trust each other to do so. You only have to ask yourself at each and every step: “What is best for my son?” You must commit to your son from here on in, if you ever hope to crawl out of this deep hole and live the lives you were put here to live: as people who bring קדוש שם שמים to the world, and not ח״ו the opposite.

    It’s not too late. Start now....TODAY....and good luck.


    1. No, Gital's public declaration that she wants to marry a stepfather who will replace Avrohom Meir's status as the child's father is not just a nuclear shtuch. She made that declaration to the shmutzy New York Post, for crying out loud. She is deadly serious and means exactly as she says about excising AM out of his sons life.

    2. Many posters will be surprised to find out that Weiss-Dodelson both know that in the United States, civil courts do not necessarily enforce private child custody agreement made between two parties, in beis din or elsewhere.
      American states reserve to their own courts all matters pertaining to minors.
      Except where one parent is a drug addict, alcoholic, etc. or a convicted criminal, the mother gets physical custody, and the father gets to visit the child(ren) during the week - they each have the child(ren) alternate weekends and holidays.
      So, to the extent you wish your comments to have any connection to reality, don’t express your own person opinion, fantasies, or hopes as to how it should be. This is how it is.
      You can agree about child custody whatever you want with whomever you want. In the U.S., you can only enforce what the civil court decides is in the best interests of the child. Period.
      Weiss and Dodelson both know this. However, Weiss wants more custody of their child than any civil court would give him.
      Weiss is willing to give Dodelson a get - provided she gives up more custody than any court would ever give him.
      But suppose Gital signs a custody agreement very favorable to him - he gives her the get - and then she goes to civil court and has that Weiss-favoring custody agreement thrown out by the civil court. Weiss will have given her the get and gotten nothing in return.
      Recently, some lawyer gave Weiss a brilliant idea how to force Gital to agree to give him a very favorable custody agreement - and yet block her from having the custody agreement thrown out in civil court.
      Here’s the secret Weiss/Feinstein plan: Weiss will give Gital a get if she agrees, in a written lawyer-drafted agreement, to these three things.

      A. She has to give the Weisses the sum of $350,000;

      B. She has to sign a child custody agreement that is more
      favorable to Weiss than he could ever get from a civil court;

      C. She has to sign an agreement that if she ever goes to court to
      change the Weiss- favoring child custody agreement, Weiss can
      keep her $350,000.

      That’s the deal. This is an open blog. Don’t bother waiting for a Weiss denial.

      Now that everyone is clear on the deal Weiss wants, perhaps people will stop expressing their fantasies about what Weiss wants.
      Now that it is clear that what Weiss wants has absolutely nothing to do with Torah, halacha, heterim, etc., perhaps the yeshiva guys will stop poskening irrelevant narishkeit.
      You now know the real deal. Talk about that.

    3. Jondaba,
      Aren't A and C mutually exclusive? A says AMW is getting the money....? To give back?

    4. 350,000 will not prevent her from going to court - get with the times - I don't know where you live bu a house almost anywhere is worth more then 350. it has to be an amount that is not worth for her family to lost . 10 to 20 million in escrow or performance bond is more in the ballpark.
      who wouldn't give up 350 to get their ex husband out of the picture? 10 million is a different story...

  9. Here is a proposed settlement that does not set a bad example:
    Weiss gives a Get. Weiss agrees to immediately withdraw from secular court.
    Dodelson agrees that Weiss will continue to learn Torah and not be responsible for supporting his child. He will essentially walk away from responsibility and still keep his current visitation schedule.

  10. I would like to point out one thing that is lost in all of talk about child custody. Halachically, there is a presumption that a father gets custody of his son. That has been modified so that the mother gets custody of the son until he is six years old, but given the general halachic presumption, the Dodelsons should be grateful with the current court custody arrangement. In addition, the idea of a step father somehow supplanting the father as the main father figure of the boy, is completely contrary to halacha.

    1. Exactly correct. Halachicly Weiss should have custody of his child. Not Dodleson. And she violated halacha by kidnapping the child from him when she unilaterally walked out of her marriage.

    2. But rabbinical courts in Israel act more or less like civil courts in the US: in most cases, custody is awarded to the mother...

      So the halacha is not as clear-cut as you make it look...

      Cumulated child support over 20 years (98$ a week) is about 100'000$. So AMW demands more than he will ever pay in child support. I suppose he thought he married into a rich family in order to get rich himself, and now that he behaved like a boor and disgusted his wife, things do not play out the way he wanted. So he abuses halacha to get at least a little bit rich.

      I cannot image how a person like this could be serious and honest yeshiva or kolel student. He is a plain hypocrite.

      And I am quite suprised that so many commentators on this blog and its author do not see his hypocrisy.

  11. they can come to any agreement they want to but she can always go back to court to have it modified. what happens if she remarries and wants to move to texas or Israel. no court will ever stop her. the only way to insure an agreement is money or property in escrow. let them come to an agreement - custody visitation and where she has to live - until the child reaches 18 (my opinion - within a 10 minute walk of the marital home so the child will be able to go for Shabbos and still see his friends - else he won't want to go) and then put money or property in escrow so that if she goes back to court she loses the escrow. how much money? let her provide a financial statement and depending how much her family is worth.
    remember - they had a child together - they share the child - they must live very close to each other for the child's sake. why should the child lose? what did he do wrong

    i do not know if my comment went through earlier or got erased so i had to write it all again


    if dodelsohn will accept to support the child completely this is equal to many thousands of dollars. - rent, food, clothing, toys, tuition, camp, insurance, bar mitzva, wedding etc for at least 22 years can be over $200,000
    the court ordered weiss to pay $400 a month. so if he does not have to give the full amount for child support he can use that money each month to pay down his debts.
    it might be beneficial for the father to pay something each month ($200 or even $100). whatever amount they agree is practical can go into a fund for sons future wedding.

    child custody.
    one can not make decisions now for the future of the child. when the child gets older he will be in yeshiva during the afternoon. many men are able to remarry to single girls. maybe future wife will not be up to having child that often. maybe she will have a difficult pregnancy (of course i wish only the best) and it will be too difficult to have the child that often. IH when she gives birth she might go to her parents etc.
    If they can get to a point to deal peacefully with each other then IH for good reasons when the mother is busy he can go to father and the same for the father.
    they can each be the others free babysitter.
    for now - why not keep what court said. why spend more money and time to renegotiate terms now. let all settle. in the future circumstances change and will have to be dealt with.

    you should not use the word "kidnap" . if the child was really kidnapped the police would have been called by 24 hrs. the child was not taken to an unknown place in a different country. mother and child went to parents home in Lakewood maybe an hour away. assume the father knew where they were. seemingly the father was able to see the child though of course visitation would have to be worked out based on if child is nursing etc.
    many girls go home to their parents for many weeks after giving birth. so lets not call this kidnapping it does not help the situation.

    one can understand weiss desire to start new without having the pressure of so much debt. why not have someone close to weiss set up a fundraising campaign to help him. right or wrong in what he did... there might be those that are willing to help him pay down his debt so he can start new. he is young and has a full life ahead.
    He should give the get and others help him pay his debt. all those that write in on his side can be asked to donate something. people might give in the zchus of Reb Moshe zsl to spare the family...

    it is known that usually children form a clean divorce do better. IH in the zchus avos there should be peace and they should be able to work together for the sake of the child.

  13. The issue is child custody and visitation. She wants to terminate his rights, he wants to protect the child. The is no real way to protect a child in this situation.
    Maybe she can post a very large bond, 90% of her assets. If the child turns 18 with a normal relationship with father, the money is returned. Otherwise, it is burned. You all need to remember that torah says that she should have custody till he tyrns 4, and then it's up to the father.

  14. The solution is simple. Talmud says the she should have custody of the child until he turns 4. After that, it is he who has custody and makes all determinatiins.

  15. To simplify the situation –

    Weiss’s demand for $350,000 should be dealt with before the divorce negotiations.

    They are unrelated, because if Weiss is owed the money, then he could get it today through Beis Din or the Court even before he gives a Get.

    If Weiss can’t get a Beis Din or the NJ Court to rule that he is owed $350,000, then isn’t it extortion and blackmail to demand the money?

    If Weiss isn’t legally or according to halacha entitled to $350,000; then it is a textbook example of extortion and blackmail to demand it in exchange for receiving a Get.

    1. AZ Hello? Hello? If Dodelson actually owed him money, why would Weiss need to wrap himself up in Torah and halacha and refuse to give a get?

      Why aren't we seeing him trying to bring her to beis din? Hmmmmmmmmm?

  16. I can't really join the comments on this guest post because I feel something is missing. When you have a problem, the first step is not to find a solution. The first step is to know what the problem is. And since, after reading many posts here, I don't think people know what really happened, because it is essentially unbelievable, and does not involve the guilt of any of the two sides, meaning families, any effort at solutions is hobbled by a problem nobody will solve because they don't know it exists. But surely there is a goodness in trying to help, and may it work.
    One more point. When you have a problem, you cannot limit what people may comment on it, because they may touch on something you don't think is important, but it may be important. In this case, that is exactly what the problem is, because some people think something is crucial and some people deny it. How can you solve such a problem? Long ago, I suggested to both sides that the only way to solve this problem is to go to a major Beth Din one without fear of anyone, and let them rule on it. Otherwise, this will go on despite the good efforts of bloggers and others, for how long I don't know.

    1. As you always do, you give the Weiss the right to withhold the get as a "given".

      How about she agrees to go to beis did on conditions she first gives him the get?

      Wouldn't that remove the element of extortion?

    2. Just Asking,
      You write, "As you always do, you give the Weiss the right to withhold the get as a "given." Given what? Let us imagine we are not Weiss Dodelson etc, but we have a child, and the marriage is up in flames, and custody issues that will determine the life of the child and our lives come into play. And let us say that the only thing that keeps the other side from completely destroying us is the fear of not getting a GET. Is such a scenario possible, or is it the twisted imagination of somebody who doesn't have a cousin in the battle? Do you know how many rich women destroy men in court by draining their finances to the end? And you want the poor husband to surrender completely to the wife, and surrender his child, because you are sure that is the right thing to do? The child is not sure, that is for sure. Who has a Torah that does not consider a child in a divorce? In fact, there are several gemoras that come down very hard on a marriage that has a child where people seek a divorce. The child has rights. The child has a life. The child needs nurture from two parents. Any woman or man who would deny that is a child molester, but of course, it is not fashionable to defy women when they want some space. So, let the child rot. I know of a case where the child is partially by the divorced father and partially by the divorce3d mother. When he is by the father he cries for his mother. When he is by his mother he cries for his father. And why don't all of those bloggers who shout about giving a GET and not about marriage counseling pay some attention? The gemora says that Beth Din is the father of children, and that the pain of a child cannot be forgiven. So why are we ignoring children in this divorce equation? Any morality that encourages women to spring is treifeh, but if she has a child, it is cruelty.

  17. The problem is one of credibility. The Weiss' claim (in a letter, publicly) both families had agreed to an arbitrator, and that arbitrator agreed to everything the Weiss family asked for. Additionally, they claim Gital is holding up her Get by not abiding by the terms of the agreement. Problem is, the arbitrator, Rabbi Greenwald, has said publicly (in a letter) that he was never the arbitrator, after having been asked to arbitrate between the Weiss and the Dodelson families. So, since the Weiss' claim there was an arbitrator and the Arbitrator himself claims he never arbitrated (no arbitrator would agree with everything one side asked for, anyway) so who is to be believed?

    1. You raise and important issue though it is more complex than you indicate. The problem is understanding why Rabbi Greenwald wrote two letters supporting the Weiss Family claim and one apparently disavowing what he said in the previous lettters.

      See this post which deals with the issue


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