Sunday, March 8, 2020

Psak: First use commonsense to understand facts - before applying halacha

update below When I was writing my books on child abuse, I was puzzled by poskim such as Rav Menashe Klein and Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg who avoided the issue because cases didn't have halachic significance. They claimed that if there weren't two kosher witnesses, or there wasn't a violation of a Torah prohibition whose punishment was as severe as jail, they basically ignored the problem.

Rav Moshe Sternbuch disagreed with their approach and told me that in poskening halacha that Rav Abramsky had said that one first needed to use common sense to understand the facts before apply halacha.  Thus if there was even a rumor of a child being hurt, that rumor needed to be investigated - and a responsible person could not hide behind the excuse he didn't want to listen to lashon harah or there weren't 2 witnesses.

My son just pointed out another source for this very important idea in שו"ת חבצלת השרון חלק ב. click here for Hebrew Books for full teshuva.  [update]  He also noted, " I just checked the מנחת יצחק it’s ח”ט סק”נ he copies the whole חבצלת השרון and says that he heard this כלל numerous times from מהר”ש ענגיל מרדישמולא who is considered the biggest galicaner posek before the war. So it’s seems that it was wide spread in Galicia.   


  1. RDE,

    I find it puzzling that you posted this topic so soon after we've all gone around and around on Weiss-Dodelson.

    You (and your brother) have been at the absolute forefront of the 'halachic responsa' position vis-a-vis withholding a get. OTOH, I and many others have been trying to show that the שכל הישר indicates that the get is being used as a weapon, NOT as a desire to reconcile a marriage that is long over.

    I've heard it said that "Rav Abramsky had said that one first needed to use common sense to understand the facts before apply[ing] halacha."

    Thus, if there was strong evidence to indicate the marriage is already terminated in nearly every way, a responsible person should not hide behind the excuse that such and such Rishon paskened (in a different era) that a woman (of that time) has no rights other than to grow old and wither, alone forever.

    Daniel S

    1. No, Daniel S. שכל הישר, common sense, is that a husband shouldn't have to give a Get to a wife who is violating him and then going around demanding a Get without correcting her wronging against him.

      A Get is only to be given as the last step in resolving all outstanding end-of-marriage issues. That isn't just halacha but common sense as well.

    2. Daniel S - You have clearly misinterpreted and distorted - perhaps deliberately what I have written.. Please reread what I posted - it bears no relationship to what you are claiming..

      The establishment of the facts is simply the first step - once the facts are established then halacha takes over.

      The fact that the wife deserted the marriage, went to court, refused therapy that stood a reasonable chance of success, caused severe financial damage to the husband etc etc are facts that you are ignoring.since you have already prejudged the outcome solely on the basis that the marriage is over.

      Once we have established the above facts then we can examine the halachic parameters. Contrary to your caricature - we are not talking about clinging to the view of a isolated rishon from a different era. We are talking about the majority view of rishonim and achronim up to and including our contemporary poskim.

      Halachic analysis of the facts would include whether this a case of ma'os alei, or is she just bored or perhaps thinks she deserves better. We would also consider the possibility that she will commit adultery versus the concern that she simply is interested in another man.

      In short commonsense doesn't mean to apply the biases and values that are currently dominate in the culture. It means gathering all possible facts - even if they are lacking proper witnesses. It means not to use halacha principles to prevent investigation. Then halacha is applied in a responsible manner - ascertaining first the normative practice and then considering minority opinions when and if a need is established from the facts.

    3. I notice you didn't include among the possible scenarios (just bored, thinks she deserves better) the possibility that she is a victim of abuse.

    4. Raffi, all that must be decided in beis din, not in the court of public opinion. A person who ruins a marriage and some years later wants to gain from her actions by demanding a get, according to common sense, should not have their bad behavior rewarded.

    5. Raffi I noticed you didn't pay attention to the point that I was making but rather focused on an irrelevant detail. Does that have any significance?

    6. Not sure why you think I didn't pay attention. I read it all. This is the only point I had a question about!

      I am not clear on why you have throughout this all presented this case in a way that assumes she is the guilty party. She may very well be, but is it not also possible that she is not? I have not really seen you entertain that possibility anywhere and I'm not sure why that is.

    7. One a time please:

      Shlomo, perhaps your are ignoring the current realities of women's role in society today? You say she is 'wronging' the man? Perhaps he is also 'wronging' her, based on the expectations of women's rights and roles today? Or would you prefer to try and shove women into the box they occupied 100+ years ago?

      And, Shlomo, let's go with your resolution of all 'end of marriage issues" approach: apparently you are saying that the husband, when taken illegitimately to secular court, should go through the motions and the financial expense of playing that whole game, only to be able to 'even up' with his former spouse when it's all over via the get process. That is שכל הישר to you? Is it any wonder that such an approach has opened to door to the tremendous CH of wives running to newspapers and more to air our community's dirty laundry?? This is what you term שכל??

      Reb Daniel: First, why the needless ad hom that I may have 'deliberately' misstated your position? Is it not possible to have a discussion on this weighty issue without having my integrity questioned?

      With that being said, I'm just not clear what 'gathering all possible facts' means in your world. Granted, there are the facts of the marriage and its dissolution. But what about other current realities? What of the enormous CH potential of dragging these unhealthy situations out? What about the fact that leaving these bad situations unresolved and unresolvable allows for the true bottom feeders (think Epstein, Wolmark, et al) to surface and commit their crimes? And how well will our communities look if we play along with the civil court process, only to try and totally circumvent a jurist's decision by stating that Halacha demands otherwise?

      I think you're missing the point of your post. What is the big picture here? How well have the results played out -- here, Israel, and other places too -- using the fine halachic line of Ma'os Alai? Doesn't common sense require seeing the results of all this, or would you rather be stuck in the halachic minutiae without seeing the destruction that is being wrought?

    8. Daniel S. you have shown that you are highly intelligent. What I am stating is rather straightforward - but you insist on missing the point and claiming that if I truly gathered the facts I could not hold the halachic views that I have stated..

      As should be clear after my many posts on the subject - I am fully aware of the issues that you raise.

      I am aware of the big picture and I am also aware of the clear and overwhelming majority view - which disagrees with you. You are simply trivializing the halachic issues as well as questioning my intellectual honesty and competence.

      Or you are simply saying that the chilul hashem is so great that halacha is irrelevant in the manner of the Conservative and Reform?! We should get rid of mila, shechita. we should acknowledge gay marriage. Euthanasia should be accepted as well as abortion on demand? That the greatest and most important factor for a Jew to decide how to act is not to bring about contempt and shame in the eyes of contemporary society?

    9. OK, so I believe you are acknowledging that you are ignoring current reality in favor of outdated opinions. Women are במציאות not in the box you're trying to stuff them in.

      And if you believed I was intelligent, you wouldn't have tried to slip in a dozen straw man arguments. On the long laundry list of issues you raised, I believe you would find my position rather consistent: Mila is a Mitzva D'Oraisa; however, מציצה בפה is clearly dangerous given our understanding of infection today. Shechita is necessary to eat meat; however, when the slaughterhouse becomes a chamber of horrors for animals, we have strayed far from our requirement to be בעלי נפש in this world. משכב זכור is an Issur D'Oraisa, but that in no way precludes having a full measure of רחמנות for our brothers and sisters struggling with this יצר הרע.

      And so on. If those types of attitudes are 'conservative and reform' and place me outside of your מחנה, I will try to make sure the door doesn't slam on my way out.


    10. Daniel S:

      What you are proposing is to replace Halacha with Civil Law and to replace Beis Din with Civil Court. That is simply unacceptable and will not fly. Even if feminist thought has become the modus operendi of the secular world. Women's role and expectations in secular society are very different than women's role in Orthodox Jewish society. The role in secular society does not change one iota the halachos that are at complete odds with modern feminist expectations.

      Secular court and secular laws should play no part in a Jewish divorce/Get process. The entire process should go through Beis Din, based exclusively on Halacha, and once that process is completely complete if, if necessary, should be formalized and finalized - based on the decisions of Beis Din - in the civil court.

    11. I propose no such thing.

      I find it remarkable that when someone brings up the fact that women occupy a vastly different role in our world, they are shouted down as parroting 'modern feminist expectations'. Yet, when in most chareidi homes the women are expected to be the breadwinners and the men have no obligation to fulfill their Kesuba obligations within the marriage, no one bats an eye as to the 'modern' implications of such a lifestyle.

      As to the ideal you address of having divorces proceed under halachic
      law, you seem to be willfully ignorant of the near-universal breakdown of the bet din system. rabbi Scheinberg himself (mentioned in this very post) shut down a bet din trying to deal with a serial molester....and the judges themselves offered no resistance to his interference with the halachic process.

      Shlomo, the point of this post by RDE was that people have to open their eyes before starting to pasken shaailos. There happens to be some brain matter behind those eyes, and Torah requires people to use it. Get your head out of the sand.

    12. Daniel S wrote: "the point of this post by RDE was that people have to open their eyes before starting to pasken shaailos. There happens to be some brain matter behind those eyes, and Torah requires people to use it. Get your head out of the sand. "

      yes that is the point of my post - however we disagree about the constraints and amount of freedom one has to ignore the Mesora - in particular how the gemora has been understood by rishonim and achronim.

      In other words we disagree as to the degree of judicial discretion and flexibility that is available to a posek. (e.g., see Conservative Rabbi Joel Roth's views on the subject as well as

    13. etc etc are facts that you are ignoring.since you have already prejudged the outcome solely on the basis that the marriage is over.

      I find it curious that RDE looks at all these "facts" from such an inflexible paradigm. For example...

      1. The wife deserted the marriage. Alternative - the husband drove his wife away.

      2. The wife went to (secular) court - the husband sued in court as a plaintiff. (Actually, I don't see why this isn't an objective data point that RDE is misrepresenting.)

      3. The wife refused therapy. Alternate story - the wife solicited couples therapy and the husband declined.

      4. Wife caused severe financial damage. Alternate - the husband chose to marry into a wealthy family, chose to hire lawyers to sue them in court and lost.

      5. The marriage is over. That seems to be the "fact" that all sides agree on.

      RDE - I invite you to be transparent about your own prejudice before accusing others of ignoring facts based on prejudice.

    14. However bad the Beis Din system is, the secular court system is many many times worse and far far more corrupt. In secular court, in the best case scenario, the one with the bigger bucks and more powerful and insider lawyers will generally wipe the other side out of the court. A jury of 12 drunkards off the street, homeless, unemployed who didn't figure a way out of how to avoid jury duty, and every other type of misfit who secular law deems highly qualified to serve on a jury, led by a judge who is seeking career advancement to be appointed to an Appeals Court or must seek reelction as a judge and thus impress the most voters, is certainly no better than 3 dayanim.

      Not to mention that secular laws are far far worse than Halacha. Secular laws that were influenced by feminists lobbying state legislatures to pass laws effectively giving women strong preference over men and judges who take that even further. Laws that are often the polar opposite of what the Halacha is.

    15. I'm willing to guess you have:
      1) Never served on a jury
      2) Never had to deal with a Toein, who claims he's there to support Halacha (sic!)
      3) Never stopped to consider that the vile Epstein and his gang ONLY operated because of our community's disdain for secular justice, much like you are displaying here.

      Bravo, Shlomo. It is that very combination of factors that has put orthodoxy into the headlines time and again as a lawless band of civil misfits. But uphold Halacha, that you will! Even if it means selling the entire perception of Judaism down the toilet.

      That's why this post -- and my tie-in to the get problem -- is so on the money. Because there are more than enough ignorant people who can't see four inches in front of their faces, and have less brains than an inner city pigeon.

    16. Yitz Waxman - there is no evidence to support your alternative reality - even according to the many claims of Gital. A wife who leaves her husband saying "you are not a bad person just not for me" - is not being driven away. A wife who goes to a therapist she herself selected and when told that the marriage can be saved - refuses to return after the four sessions she agreed to go - is not being driven away - but is running away because she thinks she can do better.

      You are just making up an alternative fantasy - when the fact are there and not disputed. Considering that the Dodelson's side has been well represented in this discussion - no one has claimed who knows the facts has supported her assertions that he absolutely refused to go to therapy. No one has claimed that the behavior she objected to wasn't correctable by therapy - which he agreed to and she didn't. No one has claimed that he wasn't willing to work on the behavior and attitudes that she didn't like - she simply wasn't interested. In short she disgarded the marriage after discovering that she would need to do some work in order for it to function properly. He was willling - she wasn't. .

      So it is rather strange that instead of dealing with established facts you are accusing me of bias and creating an alternative reality based entirely on conjecture.

      I have stated a number of times my bias. I think that it was ridiculous that she tossed the marriage in the garbage can because things weren't perfect. I think that it is incredible that normative halachic guidelines have been ignored for the sake of a feminist agenda of divorce on demand. I find your charges of my lack of transparency as absurd as your alternative reality about what might have happened.

    17. Why are his alternatives so absurd? Most of us don't know the facts you just presented. And now that you presented them, should we believe them just because you said them? The most sensible thing for an outsider to do is maintain a balanced opinion that either one could be right. Until we see evidence one way or another, of course we should remain neutral!

    18. Daniel S: I've served on a jury panel more than once and know precisely of which I speak. Everything I said is born from first-hand experience with the secular court system. It is a corrupt, nepotistic, moneyed run by a bunch of white trash.

    19. Raffi there are some facts that have been established - Yitz Waxman is acting as a good lawyer to conjure up an alternative viewpoint that doesn't fit in with those facts in the same way that Gital and her public relationships expert put some interesting spin on what has happened. Daniel S is trying to urge relying on commonsense to justify ignoring poskim who base their views on authorities from another age - i.e., the mesora.

      The basic facts of the case and the normative halachic approach are obvious at this point - neither of them wants to accept them

    20. How are the basic facts obvious? I don't feel I've seen anything that establishes anything one way or the other. I'm happy to change my mind in the face of facts. All I've seen so far is affirmations from various people in or outside of the case.

    21. Reb Daniel, I beg to differ. The basic facts of this case are far from clear, and as Raffi points out, some of us are maintaining our neutrality, in spite of your hollow arguments that the facts are what YOU state them.
      Unfortunately, you've shown over the last few weeks (and perhaps longer) that you are not reporting these events in a remotely objective manner.
      As far as your reliance on the mesora, there seem to be well known talmidei chachamim today far more knowledgeable than me that agree with my position.
      I understand that you and Reb Dovid feel that these individuals have inadequately supported their position, or that they keep going against the 'psak of the Poseik haDor...' etc. Howevet, your arguments are not gaining traction with many of us, for all the reasons you claim above that you are aware of and purposefully ignoring.
      Saying something is obvious doesn't make it so, my friend. No matter how many times you repeat it.

    22. Shlomo, I too have served on a jury, and have reached precisely the opposite conclusion. So your random sample of one doesn't make it so.
      I note that you didn't respond to the other points. I could tell first hand stories on those points as well.

    23. Rabbi -

      Objective data would be to say that Gital moved out of the marital residence with her baby son. Its either true of false.

      Labeling the move as "abandonment" is a judgment. Judgments are not facts. It could be a valid judgment, but I'm in no position to say. Are you in a position to render judgment?

      Do you agree that there is an important distinction between facts and judgments?

    24. That she abandoned the marital home and grabbed his son on the way out is not a judgment but a factual matter.

    25. A wife does NOT have the right to unilaterally move out and take the children.

      Does the husband have the right to unilaterally move out and take the children? No? Neither does the wife.

    26. Robert - So what does she have the right to do? Are you suggesting that she should leave without her 1 month old baby? Or are you suggesting that she must stay in the marital home no matter what?

  2. RDE,

    Are the positions you ascribe to R' Klein and R' Scheinberg recorded anywhere (i.e. that any situation that doesn't have 2 kosher witnesses is not something to concern ourselves with)?


      Regarding Rav Scheinberg - this is the infamous Kolko case - search on the internet. It was also reported in the New York magazine article "Do Orthodox Jews have a Catholic Church problem." There are claims he was misunderstood - but I have heard a good explanation of how he misunderstood

    2. I don't understand. Do these poskim take the same approach with other crimes? If a someone is repeatedly seen stealing but never by two people together, we do nothing about it?

    3. important point. I don't know whether they were being so insistent on the letter of the law - to justify why they didn't do anything about abuse for various reasons such as chilul hashem, ruining reputations of important people etc etc and thus it was a selective application of this apporach. Or perhaps they always filtered out evidence.

    4. Thought experiment. A yingele comes home from Cheder, and says one of these things:

      1. My rebbe was talking about going to college (or the IDF) after mesivta..

      2. My rebbe abused me.

      3. My rebbe was speaking positively about Zionism.

      4. My rebbe was teaching us about evolution.

      5. My rebbe let's us play games all day, and is not teaching us the chumash/mishnayos he is supposed to be teaching us.

      In which cases would these poskim say, well there are not two kosher witnesses, so we can do nothing, just forget it, and in which cases would there be further investigation?

    5. All those cases would require further investigation. None of those cases would automatically disqualify him as a kosher witness without collaboration. Some of those cases are more severe than other and may disqualify while others may not.

  3. So..............
    If the biases and values that currently dominate in the culture turn EVERYTHING into abuse.....

    then we SHOULD NOT report....

    1. That is not the obvious conclusion. As I said - we first establish the facts as best we can - and then apply the halacha.

    2. I do not follow your point. Why are the errors of Rav Klein and Rav Scheinberg errors in metzius rather than errors in halachic analysis? Their position is not based on "what they think happened" but on what they think is the halachic process to make a legal determination.

      ben dov-

    3. They don't get passed the fact that there are not two witnesses. Thus they do not bother ascertaining what happened.

      Thus we have two approaches [1] - a) facts gathered independent of halachic ruling 2) apply halacha to the facts [2] a) we do not concern ourselves with any facts unless they have halachic significance b) apply halacha to the facts that have reached halachic signficance.

      Rav Klein and Rav Scheinberg by ignoring much of the facts - concluded that nothing of significance was happening.

    4. This is exactly what chazal meant when stating "KOL TALMID CHACHAM SHEAIN BOI DAAS,NEVAILAH SERUCHA TOIVA MEMENOI,any talmid chacham who has no common sense,a rotten carcass is better than him
      i heard once from a gadol,that the analogy to a rotten carcass is very appropriate,because just like if sometimes when you happen to come across a rotten carcass,you will find yourself for next day or two not able to take even a fresh piece of meat into your mouth,because you will somehow connect all meats together,so too when coming across a talmid chacham who is also an idiot,you somehow automatically lose some respect for all talmidei chachamim,you just cannot help it.
      For a rav to come out with an idiotic and disgusting psak din "that even if a father sees with his own eyes that someone has molested his child,he is not allowed to report him to the police' this psak is outrageous and beyond the pale,
      and should be ignored by every normal thinking human being

  4. It is interesting that you paint the Dodelson case as black and white as you do- when the Dodelson family says that Avremela was abusive- which isn't hard to believe when you look at what he's been up to ever since she left.

    Is it a coincidence that you say that the issue needs to be decided in Beis din- & he refused to go there?

    I'm working on getting the complete court transcripts- I can't wait to see exactly what she says. & how he responds.

    1. With all due respect, what abuse since she left are you referring to?

    2. With all due respect, I doubt you really care. Ask any involved party you know here (& you speak as if you know one) for the court documents, & you will see for yourself. Unless you limit your "pursuit of honesty" to pompous postings in the comment sections on blogs.

    3. None of the court documents allege abuse. And her shmutzy NY Post article didn't even allege abuse. All it alleged is that he wasn't "emotionally" there for her.

    4. The shmutzy NYP piece alleged that Weiss committed assault and battery on Dodelson's mother. Also that he insisted on picking her OB/Gyn, which while not criminal, and perhaps even part of his halachic purview seemed to have creeped her out

    5. There is no reason to believe a bitter wife in a bitter dispute when she makes wild allegations in a secular newspaper against the man she is in a bitter dispute with. If she alleged any such thing it is no more believable than if she alleged he is an alien from Mars.

    6. Smart take, Dave.

    7. Shlomo Zalman wrote "All it alleged is that he wasn't "emotionally" there for her.'

      That is an untrue statement. The Post article included the allegations I referred to. I didn't say I believed her.

      Consider a hypothetical situation, though: what if he did in fact shove his mother-in-law? Is this behavior befitting a talmid chacham – which is what she though she was marrying? (And what if this was on top of the – if true – bizarre behavior of insisting on choosing her OB/Gyn?)

      Those are the actions alleged in the NYP article. To refer to them as "insensitive"...

      Anyway, what would a new mother's least bad course of action under these circumstances? Call the police? Risk going home to a violent husband with a new baby? Go back to her parents' home?

      Come to think of it, Shlomo Zalman, maybe you could shove your mother-in-law around and fire your wife's obstetrician. Then let us know what your wife says.

    8. @ Yoel B
      Maybe he heard a drasha in shul, that you should be careful which ob/gyn your wife goes to, since so and so ... such n such, kvar haya davar meolam. That absolutely does not make him insensitive, it is more like trying to squeeze water from a stone. I also would ask, what caused him to bring out such a strong reaction to the mother-in-law, is it possible she was Schviggering around into his marriage and ganging up with daughter against him, interfering in already a rocky marriage that needed counselling for both? It is highly relevant to know the true context before labeling someone violent. Going to world press ambushing and character assassination is extremely vicious as well as cruel punishment, I wouldn't put it beyond them, both plotting and doing the same to him all along. Although money talks, ein chochmo ve'ein tvuno neged H', veHoelokim yevakesh et hanirdaf, veze kol ho'odom.

    9. I'm not ruling out those possibilities. I'm responding to SZ who stated that there was nothing to the NYP article but "insensitive." Not so.

      IF (and I suspect I'll never know for sure) the allegations are true, her leaving and taking the baby sound pretty reasonable to me.

      It might have been reparable at that point... or not.

      Since Weiss seems to have married for money, his mother-in-law was in some sense his boss. More complicated than that for sure, but that's an element of the situation. Worse, she's a successful entrepreneur, meaning not exactly a shrinking violet. I know a lot of men can't stand their mothers-in-law, often for the sort of valid reasons you mention, which may even apply here.

      I can say this: I've worked for female managers; if I had shoved one of them out of the room when she was trying to see her newborn granddaughter, it would not have been well received.

      The _allegations_ were not just of "insensitivity."

      I'm not forgetting that Saki Dodelson is essentially a professional storyteller. I'm not dismissing the possibility that it's all lies -- or the possibility that it's not. Right now the story looks like Rashomon.

    10. Here is my take on it. AMW IS a very good person, Talmid chochom, and ben toivim etc. This was definitely a Yissaschar Zevulun deal, similar to Saki's way of life, and distinctly not a case of hanosse isha leshem mamon. The problem arises when you want to control Yisachar beoholecho, and that was NOT in the deal, as well as it should not have been. Al ken yaazov ish es oviv ve'es imo, same applies to her. Since we are not privileged to know all the details of what and how it happened, and I do agree that all these matters should be as discreet as possible, I can only take into account what she herself had SAID and DONE, putting 'roshomon' aside. Shed did say that AMW is NOT a bad person, I therefore believe that the marriage was salvageable as the Therapist attested, but she rather wanted everything done HER way, take all but not give an inch, it therefore was doomed to fail. To prove her point, she did everything in spite, destroying anything and everything in her path, just because she thought she can. Going to the press, screaming Wolf, Agunah, with no regards to Chillul Hashem, shows The Emperor has no clothes. If you deliberately burn your house down, you are not entitled for Insurance, and is not a qualifier for a Get either without taking responsibility for it. After the facts, she destroyed the marriage for no good cause, you therefore must make reparations. AMW is the father of the child, and is entitled up to 50% of the Nachas the child has to offer. She therefore is NOT an Agunoh, but must first do good on damages she caused, and she could have been already long on her way. Not so Gital, she must demonstrate her money power, recruiting all the Chanofim to her side, only crumbling to bits and pieces of 'sof dovor hakol nishma', as we have seen in the latest letter of Cease and Desist. AMW and family has been on the neelovim ve'einom olvim side, done EVERYTHING to have this issue resolved discreetly the Torah way, and TORAH will PREVAIL. My heart goes out for AMW and family, wish them the best in the very near future, Happiness and Nachas ad beli day. AMEN

    11. A wife does NOT have the right to unilaterally move out and take the children.

      Does the husband have the right to unilaterally move out and take the children? No? Neither does the wife.

  5. SECHEL HAYOSHOR VEHATOVDecember 8, 2013 at 6:09 AM

    There are two ways of looking on a glass that is half full. If you have a problem of children going off the derech, resort to drugs, commit suicide, with a common denominator of being abused, it is clearly not an issue of halacha whether the abuser qualifies as an abuser, it is a situation of *CHAMIRA* SKANTA MEISUREI and an inyan of PIKUACH NEFESH, of where even A SAFEK PIKUACH NEFESH calls for drastic action to relieve the situation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is what's called SECEHL HAYASHAR, "vachay bohem". Having that said, if on top of all you go out of your way to destroy the NIRDAF, his her family, take away their parnossos, chase them out of their dwellings, and commit all kinds of sadistic things torturing them, under an alleged cheap shot of loshon hora, and messira but totally ignoring that there is a dire issue to be dealt with, while sitting on their hands beozlat yad as if NOTHING happened, is nothing less than RETZICHA BISHEAT NEFESH, A beis din katlonis, nossen yad laposhim veasidin liten olov es hadin. Their hands are dripping of our childrens blood. There is nothing more crooked than, if when victims of a severe car accident with severe life threatening injuries are brought to the emergency room and instead of getting down to business, you put all business aside and go though protocol first, how it happened, whose fault it is, if they have coverage, etc. etc. while the patient bleeds to death in front of your eyes. Such people should be put away for life, short of using capital punishment. If they would put half of their energies into saving our dying children, rather than what they put into destroying victims and their families, at least it would show that they are concerned about the health and well being of our beloved children. Remember haKodosh R' Applebaum who went around the world teaching how to SAVE LIVES in the Emergency Rooms, take the most severe first and save as many lives as you can! not filibuster away with such nonsense as to depth of penetration....R'L' The house is on fire, it is totally engulfed in flames with our tayere tinoikes shel beis rabon helplessly trapped inside, and instead of extinguishing with any available water, you will look for sterilized water only. Shotim shebeolam, you are not qualified to be a Posek, you are megale ponim batorah shelo kehalocho. Shoimu Shamayim!

      I do believe in your over enthusiastic approach that you are likely to use gasoline to put out the fire that you see burning.

  6. I would go further and say , sometimes you gather the facts , define the problem and try and solve the problem using' seichal ha'yasha'r and not using halacha. The Beiti Din encourage the parties to settle the dispute and not fight on who is in the right or who is the wrong. When I spoke to a Dayan here in Israel about the Weiss- Dodelson divorce and tried to get insight into the halachic implications – he said to me , this is not about halacha , it is about helping people to have a bit of seichal and instead of trying to be right , to get on with their lives .

  7. The bais din syatem is broken in NYC and when a rov like rav gestetner comes around who backs up everything he does with detailed explanations and refuses money corrupt toanim etc he is called the worst names because he holds mous olai cant be used to force a get by rhe feminists. No rhe system is in theory very fixable but there is no will because the poor women who are always right will lose out and be unable to destroy their husbands.

    The real issue is a departure from Torah values. There are luterally hundreds of web sites d5etailinf the corruption of the courts. And apealing costs tens of thousands of dollars.

  8. Asher pihem Diber shavDecember 8, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Diber Shav is going to weigh in. I believe that all talk of "Sechel Hayashar", which is not supported by Halacha is a slippery slope. It may be necessary as far as a "horaas shah" or a "syag latorah", but it is something we should not get to used to, not something to use often. Hence the Gedolim RCPS, and others stayed far away from it altogether.

    As an analogy, I would compare it to "hashkafa classes" given in our schools. You"ll have Satmar talking about the medina, and shaving heads of women, you"ll have the litvish talking about the Internet, perhaps against Obama, you"ll have Chabad talking about moshiach, and how the rebbe fits all the simanim, and skver talking about how to have one minyan in each town. All things that are not supported heavily by Halacha, and Halacha is just used as a springboard for the rabbi to go off in whichever direction he wants to.

    1. Diber Shav is going to weigh in. I believe that all talk of "Sechel Hayashar", which is not supported by Halacha is a slippery slope. It may be necessary as far as a "horaas shah" or a "syag latorah", but it is something we should not get to used to, not something to use often. Hence the Gedolim RCPS, and others stayed far away from it altogether.


      Amongst Dayan qualifications are, chochom, novoyn, gmirei, "usvirei". The Mishnah states: Veilu shematzilin oison benafshoison, Harodef achar hazochor, right then and there on the spot as the Gemara brings the pasuk of lo taamod al dam reacho, same applies to a sofek rodef. What happened to two eidim, raglayim ledovor, Beit Din, loshon horo, messira? Huh?

      Clear cut, svirei is one that understands to use svara, medamei milsa lemilsa, understands what is at stake, what is pikuach nefesh, and what to do with a chicken placed in front of him, not just staring at it like the hon in the bnei odom. This mishna applies bizman habayis, after churban habayis, hen bo'oretz, vehein bechutz lo'oretz, kol yemos hashana, meato vead olam and NOT a haroess sha'a, or a seyog, whether in Brooklyn or Flatbush. This all is Terra Firma, not sliping or sliding away, it is here to stay.

  9. Shav, you actually are part of the problem, though I believe you don't even realize it.

    Anyone who feels that what SCREAMS out to any normal person needs to be marginalized in the name of Halacha is not fit to serve in a leadership capacity.

    This discussion began regarding child abuse. Every member of the animal kingdom will virtually risk their own lives, in many ways, to protect their offspring.

    Not so, Torah and it's Poskim. After all, there isn't two witnesses if Yankele comes home and says rebbe fondled him. Such a scenario is too slippery slope for you, isn't it.

  10. ditto to your angst, A.P.D.Sh.

    If Halacha is going to be circumvented - let it at least be so with a broken heart in search of achdus and limud zchus, instead of everyone's so called sechel ha'yashar driving him to serve the needs of a limited tzibur, at best, and their own kavod and pocket book at worst.

  11. @ gree, I beg to disagreeDecember 8, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    Is that how you interpret LO SAAMOD AL DAM REACHA? More so when the burning issue at hand are the generations of the future, the helpless, the young, weak and infirm that never had a chance to see yet the light of day. So far I have only highlighted and lighted the seat of the pants of those so called leaders that pour gasoline on those that DARE to cry KINDER... ES BRENT A FIRE, DES HAUZ BRENT, in the Chadorim, in the Schools, in the camps, in the mikvaos, in the Shul's, in the backyards, in the city, in the whole wide world! There are no more Arei Miklat to protect our Kinderlach anywhere, anymore. More so, when you and your ilk try to STOM PIYOT and act like those Ra Bonim that left our nation disappear in kivshon ha'esh, rather than rock the boat of the White house. HaTzadik Michael Ber Alav Hashalom suggested to bomb the railways, and nebech died away from pain crying and screaming KOROSI VE'EN ONEH!!! AND YOU take the "KINDERTRANSPORT" TRAIN putting it right back in its tracks speeding to Auschwitz. I dare you, who is pouring gasoline on whom?
    Vehayidom baes hahi, potur mitchiyas hamesim.You and YU, can now join the rest, Aval ashemim anachnu al achinu asher rainu tzarat nafsho behitchaneno elenu velo shamanu al ken ba'ah elenu hatzarah hazot. As they have already said, "Torayf Toiraf Yosef". And just one more thing that is MOST important, "KLUM MA ASISO BISHVIL SHEYICHYE BNI", HUH? That goes for You, YU, kOU, and all of you so called leaders.

    1. You have to calm down. Not because the issue isn't dire. Because nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished in your frame of mind. Calm down and figure out a rational method of mitigating the problem, don't fight dead rabbonim with rhetoric.

    2. How can you calm down when you have generations of children thrown under the bus and How can you calm down when you have generations of children thrown under the bus and under the carpet. We are bleeding heavily from the pain of our children, and it is so with most yidden outside Ra bonim that feel it. We loy oleinu had to take it to the streets and for the whole world to cry our hearts out before we saw Justice being served to this Weberman harosho. Rabbi Prod epstein is now on it's way, hopefully we will see justice there as well. Sitting on your hands beozlat yad only encourages these HORRORS to continue. The ra bonim will do Gurnisht mit Gurnisht, outside of killing the messenger. And so it goes. I write this with much pain in my heart and tears lerochtzo.under the carpet. We are bleeding heavily from the pain of our children, and it is so with most yidden outside Ra bonim that feel it. We loy oleinu had to take it to the streets and for the whole world to cry our hearts out before we saw Justice being served to this Weberman harosho. Rabbi Prod epstein is now on it's way, hopefully we will see justice there as well. Sitting on your hands beozlat yad only encourages these HORRORS to continue. The ra bonim will do Gurnisht mit Gurnisht, outside of killing the messenger. And so it goes. I write this with much pain in my heart and tears lerochtzo.

  12. Shlomo Zalman said it well. I still don't know the true circumstances. However, it is a good way to encapsulate Weiss's position

  13. Bakesh Sholom Tarti MashmaDecember 9, 2013 at 6:16 AM

    I really don't get what is holding things up with the Weiss /Dodelson case at this point. According to people who post in these comments, it seemed as if the Weiss's approached R Sholom Kamenetzky to work out some sort of deal- and those same commenters were complaining that the Dodelson's were being hung up about the two remaining issues- fridays, and going to Staten Island. We then got what they said was further proof to this claim, when R Shmuel released a letter denouncing the smear campaign against the Weiss's. This was spun on this blog as R Shmuel washing his hands from his backing of the Dodelsons and that he didn't think the Dodelson girl ever had a din of an agunah, as his inside knowledge with his son trying to work things out had proved. Since then, however, we have heard nothing.
    Why is there no resolution?
    What is holding things up?
    Has anyone here spoken to any of the involved parties?

  14. I am trying to understandDecember 9, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Why does the Torah state Lo Sa'amod al dam re'acho, belashon yachid, why not Lo Sa'amodi beloshon rabim? If ONE sees harodef achar hazochor, may he not save the victim with the life of the perpetrator? What is the value of Umdeno demochicho short of 2 witnesses, ari hanichnas bein hoadorim venimtzo simonei tzipornov begabom, what is the application of nikorim divrei haemes, chazoko, when do we machnissin osso tachas hakipoh, if a perpetrator admits that he attacked a child - do you still need two witnesses? When a perpetrator is brought to a Beis Din, regardless of whether he qualifies for an onesh Deoraysa, is there not a clear issue of lo tirtzoch? Rodef ? If not, why not? Do you just disband the session because you don't know how to deal with it? how convenient. If you reason that by disseminating the fact that one is an offender, that will bring big shame to the family, thereby, having difficulty in doing shidduchim, what happens to Bakol matzilin chutz mishfichus damim etc., how can you reason so at the expense of someone elses life, namely the children, may chozis dedamach sumkei tfei, huh? Why is it that 'im bamachteres yimatze haganov', there is no need for two witnesses? May you call the Police, or there is an issue of messira and loshon hara? When you call Hatzala that someone had been stabbed, do they ask you first for two witnesses, or that is a clear issue of Pikuach Nefesh putting all business aside? Or possibly, rather do nothing because of the perpetrators family will have difficulty doing shidduchim, is the stabbed victim therefore expendable? If there is chas vesholem a fire on Shabbos, may you call over the phone the Fire Dept. because of Pikuach nefesh. Many agree that they recognize a problem but are still trying to figure out how to deal with it, why not let those responsible authorities that are trained just for that, or you still rather save shiduchim and zivugim? Actually the shidduchim issue is a davar sheyesh lo matirin. Let them be meshadech with each other, invei hagefen beinvei hagefen, the same like rich with the rich, Ben"eshek with Ben"eshek, Epstein PROD-ucts with Epstein PROD-ucts, and there are Loy Aleinu enough of them going around. That is exactly the reason why you need Sechel Hayoshor, which application is for what ailment, and if you don't have it, never get even close to it, as the good book says mi she'eno baki betiv gitin vekidushin lo yehei esek imahan, iskei nefoshos al achas pi kamo. When you set the Shulchon Oirech, in order to oirech the shulchan, you set the table with the appropriate tableware and proper utensils in the correct side and right order, assuming you know how to use it, and which utensil for what dish. That is to say, you need to know Arba chelkei Shulchan Aruch FIRST, and be equipped how to use and when to apply the Fifth Shulchan Aruch FOREMOST, else, you are excused to sit down to the SEUDAH. ved"al

  15. A few months ago, while the case of Lakewood rabbi being driven out of town was happening, I had stated that it was cruel to punish the family even one felt that the father should not have gone to authorities. Your only response then was to say that halacha allows for punishment of the family by expelling children from school etc. I was disturbed by your answer. Because to me, common sense would say that expelling a child who was molested was victimizing him again. And if one believed that it was the father who had done the molesting, as some claimed, then leaving this child without school and thus in even more contact with his alleged molester, was even doubly cruel, regardless of what halacha allows or not. Would you care to comment on that?

    1. it is clear in halacha that a community has the right to punish the family of someone who has violated halachic or community norms. That is what I responded.

      However, commonsense and a proper understanding of the matter indicate that the community norms are wrong in this case and neither the father or family should have suffered additional hardship.

      The issue of applying pressure in divorce is a different issue. Here even well deserved punishment can result in a get me'usa.

    2. Thank you for your response. I don't understand punishing the family in any case, divorce or not, unless we know for sure that they support the wrongdoer on their own volition and not in any way coerced into that support. My feeling on the matter in that particular case, whether community had a halachic right to punish the family, and even if community was 100% right in their assessment of the situation, and even if the father deserved community punishment, throwing additional suffering on a child who was already put through a lot is inhumane. At least that's what my common sense tells me.

  16. Kalonymus HaQatanMarch 8, 2020 at 7:43 PM

    very good

  17. Kalonymus HaQatanMarch 9, 2020 at 2:19 AM

    how is "comon sense" defined? Is it reason, or rational thought?
    Is halacha then found to support common sense conclusion? This would be "teleological" approach to halacha.
    Also, in some areas, wen the common sense comes from "undesirables", then many reactionary Gedolim will do the exact opposite of the "enlightened" view.
    Hope this makes sense.

  18. Garnel IronheartMarch 9, 2020 at 5:18 PM

    Common sense hasn't been in use for a couple of generations now.
    Here's some examples - Rav Chaim Kanievsky is quoted as saying that Gentiles have 33 teeth because there's a midrash that says so. Now, common sense would dictate that you go and look in the mouths of some Gentiles and count, but the response was "Well even if you find only 32 teeth, that must mean the 33rd fell out because the midrash says!"
    Or "Learning is the real protection for the State of Israel. The army is just a fig leaf". Common sense would dictate you open up a history book and discover that during WW2 it was the full-time learners that generally died first but hey, it's dogma that "Torah learning protects" so they were actually chosen korbanos.
    Or how about all the video evidence that there is no mental illness that actually afflicts Malka Leffler or all the written evidence as to Shalom Rubashkin's financial crimes. Common sense suggests you extradite the former to Australia and treat the other like a common criminal but hey, "the Gedolim" say Leffler's nuts and Rubashkin didn't commit any crimes that a beis din could punish him for!
    Common sense indeed.

  19. Kalonymus HaQatanMarch 9, 2020 at 8:18 PM

    It is possible to have 33 teeth - if one retains all one's teeth, including 1 baby tooth as well!

  20. Kalonymus HaQatanMarch 9, 2020 at 8:25 PM


    Presumably the Jewish dentists in the time of chazal did not observe cases amongst Jews , eg in Babylonia.


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