Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rogatshover letter prohibiting annullments


  1. The Rogatchover was a great Gaon and Tzaddik. Was his psak as influential as other poskim of the last century? I think not. For example, he said that Teffiilat haderech did not apply to aeroplanes, but RSZA did not agree with it.

    1. The Rogatchover is not making any chiddushim here. He is plainly stating the normative halacha on usage of annulments.

    2. does anyone know who the Rabbi Epstein was, and what his suggestion was?

    3. Baruch Shekivanti!

      This letter strikingly resembles my comment in the earlier thread on this subject:

      "Whoever does this is an Oicher Yisroel. If Mordechai Tendler does this he is an Oicher Yisroel. The Torah was given B'makom Hefker, not because it is Hefker Chas V'sholom to manipulate and desecrate, but because if a person is Mafker his personal Negios, only then can he be Zoicheh to Torah. I find it repulsive, some of the liberal comments being made here, which do nothing but make of mockery of the Torah Hakdosha. It is superfluous and wrong for me to respond to the points as it says Al Taan Ksil K'ivalto, but this Tochacha needs to be given, at the very least."

      In both, these 3 points were made in this order:
      1. Whoever does this is evil.
      2. It does not deserve a Halachic discourse.
      3. It simply needs a Macho'oh.

      Another similarity is that both were Zocheh to Eddie's disapproval with his silly irrelevant arguments. So I'm in good company.

    4. Thanks katche, but you got the wrong end of the stick.
      I said the Rogachover was a Gaon and a Tzaddik. That is irrelevant?
      I also said that RMF was a Tzaddik, but I suggested his halacha was more influential, or more widely accepted.
      I also mentioned Hagaon Rav Henkin, whose feet i would be honored to touch. Rav Henkin was actually the gadol HaDor before Rav Moshe, so please show some kavod to him. Rav Henkin made a proposal also to free agunot, but he then retracted.
      I am not supporting anything that goes agasint halacha. I am trying to show that there has been many debates, and proposals, and actual annulments by RMF. The Rackman court was a failure, it didnt achieve support of the Roshei yeshiva of YU, so I would not rely on it. But it was also "successful", in that now people are trying to resurrect it, and makeit more accepted.

      Several suggestions have been proposed by gedolim, I look at Rav Henkin, and even Rav Bleich as a guide on how make halachic innovations. They make a proposal, but this has to be accepted by Gedolei haDor in order for it to be brought into practice.

      Epstein was Conservative, and he made a different proposal altogether. So it is also irrelevant to our discussion.

  2. Where is the concept of annulling marriages mention in:
    Tanach, Mishnah, Jerusalem Talmud, Babylonian Talmud,
    Tosefos, Rambam or Shulchan Aruch?

    1. There are 2 distinct concepts of Hafkaat Kiddushin (annulment) and mekach taut.
      This essay by R Jachter, is strongly opposed to the Rackman BD, but it gives sources, both classical and modern, for these halachic procedures.

  3. The Conservative epstien was a rav in a Condervative synagogue in ameroca, was a talmid of rav epsteon in slabodka. He wrote a choveret calling for kiddushon in ameroca to be subject to cancellation by "rabbonim " in ameroca, as a condition of the marriage. It was not targeted at cases of husband / wife disagreement, but other issues.

    This is NOT an annulment or kiddushei taut issue, but plain condition / "tnai " issue, rejected by everybody at the tnai. has the counterbook " ein tnai be ' nisuin " (and i think the talmid epstein ' s choverey, too)

    1. This fascinating article mentions the same? Epstein Rabbi (cons), and his correspondence with Rav Henkin ztl. Rav Henkin had also made a proposal for agunot, which he later retracted. This proposal of his was later recycled by R' Eliezer Berkovits. Incidentally, it also shows there was a machloket between R Henkin and R Feinstein.

  4. Yavo baal hashor veyaamid al shoroJanuary 5, 2014 at 2:57 PM

    Declaring posters Tamar is free, is not a shtar anyone can get married with. It must have a reliable posek explaining how so. Since no one claims to back, they are probably afraid of Skilah. It therefore is not worth the paper it is written on, if any

    @ Mr. Cohen
    The concept of mekach taut is all over in Mishnah, talmud, SA of having deffects a spouse cannot live with, claimed a certain beneficial condition that was false, or afkinan rabanan kidushin minei, declaring the Kesef shtar lekidushin as hefker beis din hefker.

  5. Why was my comment not posted?

  6. R. Eidenshohn, WADR, the headline of this post does not match the letter you posted. All the Rogatchover said was the pamphlet he received was full of stupidites and emptiness (shtusim v' havolim) and should be protested. The fact that that pamphlet was full of destructive nonsense does not mean the Rogatchover opposed applying mekach taut in all cases and situations.

    Are you seriously suggesting that in an appropriate situation he would be opposed? Let's take an actual example that R. Moshe Feinstein paskened on -- woman gets married, and on her wedding night, her husband reveals he is HIV positive, and if they have marital relations, she will contract that disease (which then and even today is incurable) and eventually die from AIDS. The woman immediately separates from her husband and goes to complain to the Rav.

    Seriously, that is not a mekach taus?

    1. Tal, your example with HIV on wedding night is virtually incomparable to any real life situation common nowadays regarding the demands for annulment.

    2. SZ, I don't disagree. My opinion (for what it is worth), is that mekach taus can only be used in rare and extreme cases, and that the Rackman Beis Din did was highly irresponsible, to put it mildly. In the typical case most of us think about (man and woman marry, live happily, then they start fighting, one side wants out, the other refuses), mekach taut has no application.

      But some posters here, and now R. Eidensohn in this post, suggest it can NEVER be used, and that is simply contrary to halakhic practice.

      And, while I agree that my example is not "common," it was "real life," and similar extreme situations happen from time to time. When you are dealing with world class poskim like R. Moshe Feinstein, R. Elyashiv and R. Ovadya Yosef, they were getting thousands of shaylos every year from all over the world, and generally the most difficult ones, too, so simply by the law of averages, they were presented with all sorts of extreme and bizarre situations to deal with on a regular basis.

    3. This post was sent to me with a request to post it .

    4. Tal,
      The divorce rate has skyrocketed since RMF was paskening shailos and RYSE and ROY operated in an environment with a centralized marraige system which made use of mekach taut less necessary.

      I wonder why you think mekach can only be used in rare cases? It can only be used in appropriate cases and if the circumstances warranting its use increase, so should its use. Its like saying chemotherapy should only be used in rare cases. If the rate of cancer increases, the cure will have to be implemented more often.

  7. Tal b -- as i commented on thursday 's post, not just aids, but any homosexuality. Note : not adultery as claimed above.

    Shlomo z -- as you mention, if they " lived' together even one night, RMF says NO annulment

    Note RMF used this to invalidate reform and conservative previois marriages, so that a baalat teshuva can remarry (or a child of reform or conservstive marriage can.marry. very different situations. (AS oppposed to rav henkin who woulld not let them marry.)

    Intersefting question (perhaps topic for a separate post -- why not use these steps to allow husbands whose wives refuse to accept a get to remarry. No heter meah needed. This might put a stop to this nonsense.

    1. "Note RMF used this to invalidate reform and conservative previois marriages,"

      Not true. RMF's hetter in those kinds of situations has nothing to do with mekach taus. It has to do with the presumption that there were no valid eidim to the original kiddushin performed by the Reform or Conservative rabbi.

  8. A major Posek known in his brief replies full with mareh mekomotJanuary 5, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    @ Tal:
    The Rogitchever read the whole pamphlet, dismissed it as utter nonsense, harmful, destructive and an evil person granting him a curse. He is unwilling to entertain with him any discourse, only requested for a brief written up protest against the sender. Your given example has a different issue of not consumating the kidushin, and has nothing to do with mekach taut.

    1. Major Posek -
      the Conservative Epstein proposal was also nothing to do with mekach Taut.

  9. Neisei sefer venechzeiJanuary 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    It had everything to do with matir eishes ish lashuk, ulharbos mamzerim leYisrael. If you are trying to extract that " does not mean the Rogatchover opposed applying mekach taut in all cases and situations", unless you can bring that he did state so as you want to say, then we talk. DO you know the substance and circumstances that this her Ra binner wanted to be matir?

  10. NSV - I posted a link above, which discusses R' Henkin's correspondence with apparently the same "Louis" Epstein. Epstein's suggestion was putting a clause in the Kiddushin, which gives the wife the right to give a get. That is not the same as Mekach taut , whether done accurately by RMF, or controversially by Rackman.
    I am not extracting anything from this, other than the fact that this specific teshuva had nothing to do with mekach Taut, which is a method that RMF did use.
    Please note all that i write , rather than taking one line, and not looking at how I present evidence. I presented evidence that Rav Henkin was mechalek with RMF of all people, and stated that RMF's methods (for non ortho or civil marriages) would also lead to eshes ish and mamzerut. You can't get around that. So you have to accept that even a gaon as great as RMF will have his opponents on some issues, and he will be accused of producing mamzerim.

  11. Chevra,

    Let's not lose sight of the apparent calamity we are now facing - the collapse of halachic Jewish divorce.

    Consider these facts:

    1. Tamar Epstein was halachically married to a normal, heterosexual man for a number of years. She never claimed that the marriage was not consummated.

    2. Tamar Epstein has been declared "free" on an ORA webpage. No explanation was apparently provided as to how she became free.

    3. The ORA organization's halachic advisor is Herschel Schachter of YU, who is considered the leader of Modern Orthodoxy.

    4. No amount of halachic obfuscation, pilpul, and nonsense by MO apologists like Eddie and his chevra can explain Tamar's freedom as a halachically valid mekach taus, taus mekach, mekach batul, hafkaas kiddushin, whatever pilpul you want to call it.

    So let's not lose focus of the very serious implications of the Tamar Epstein case:

    Modern Orthodoxy has moved sharply to the feminist left.

    It appears that the mainstream MO establishment are now allowing some type of marriage annulments, these annulments being an invalid halachic practice universally rejected by poskim in the past under situations such as the Epstein case.

    1. eddie on smartphoneJanuary 6, 2014 at 4:37 PM

      Eddie has not confirmed, explained or justified Tamara alleged freedom. SLY is putting words in my mouth. For all we know it could have been r kanievsky and his statement on iPhones. If u have any evidence that rhs did so please provide it. To make false accusation against me or anyone else is a serious matter in halacha. Another poster accused Rsk without evidence.

  12. More background on the Epstein proposal (and other similar proposals):


please use either your real name or a pseudonym.