Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tamar Epstein's testimony proves that there is no basis for annulment and she is still married

As I have noted, Tamar Epstein has declared that she is freed from her marriage to Aharon Friedman - despite not having received a Get. The only basis for such a claim according to the view of Rav Moshe Feinstin -  is only if her husband had a pre-existing condition - that she was unaware of - that no normal woman would be able to put up with and that she left immediately upon discovering this condition. All three conditions must be met for a valid annulment.

The following words of Tamar are part of the court record and were shown to the Baltimore beis din and have been acknowledged as valid by Tamar Epstein. She said she wrote them shortly before she abandoned Aharon taking their child to live with her parents. I challenge anyone to find any evidence that she viewed that Aharon had a pre-existing condition such as severe mental or physical illness which she had been unaware of and that she viewed living with him something no normal woman would be able to do.

It is clear that she decided that despite having at least a minimally acceptable marriage - which could be significantly improved through therapy - she didn't want to invest the time and energy because she thought she could do better. No competent and unbiased rabbinical authority would annul such a marriage. Thus she is still married to Aharon Friedman

==================transcipt of Tamar's document============
-Flexibility  ability to go with the flow in whatever situation, ex. at a long Sabbath meal, if company stops by, vacation etc.
-joint decision making/ we are a unit
- put my needs ahead of yours. ex: going to wedding v. coming home, ex: hiking in Israel v. pregnancy

What I'm struggling with:                                                                   
I love Aharon               When I think about being married to Aharon for the rest of my life I feel:
I care about Aharon                                   
I see/know Aharon is trying                                      his efforts are not enough
He needs more direction                                          doesn't go to people for help - relies on me
He insists he doesn't know what to do
He thinks he's doing a good job                                it's not about small gestures

I regret having married Aharon because
not a mentsch/friendly/midos hakaras hatov [show appreciation]
- mostly not a mentch in Philadelphia - with parents and others
- not friendly
- not interested in other people - doesn't enjoy being with others- likes to be alone
- not mature about certain things when upset/feels pressured into doing things he immature - sulks, passive-aggressive, self-absorbed
- not aware of how comes across - not open [crossed out]
- doesn't seek out help
Me - anxious/stressed when with family when socializing with others - worry about how Aharon feels and will react
in these situations, I wish Aharon was more flexible and easygoing and actually enjoyed people so could be pleasant under ordinary circumstances
disappointed/embarrassed/appalled by behavior - not friendly/mentchlich.polite - i.e., poor etiquette and not interested in changing.
ex: read paper, leave table, doesn't say goodbye etc.
- I want a husband, not a child/ I want to be a wife not a mother
* needs so much handholding/direction/ etc/ - things that I take for granted
- different values child & mother, attitudes towards inlaws, general relationships with people
open home, involved in community vs. priding self on independence doesn't care what others think/feel
- his own insecurities - jealousy of my family
- not picking up on other's cues of annoyance discomfort
- not aware of proper etiquette
- don't feel like we're on the same wavelength
- I don't see that we'' ever resolve certain things: in-laws, what is respectful
- maybe Aharon will just go along with my way

Why I love/like Aharon/what I respect:
-respect: shmiras halashon [wide ranging term meaning does not speak badly about others in any way or curse]
-loyalty - I can trust will always be at my side when crises
-makpid [very careful about] on kashrus [keeping kosher] and davening [praying]
-idealistic - can also be tiresome/absurd
-loving/sweet/ affectionate/gentle to me
-lets me spend money  - equal share
-sometimes helpful
-open/honest/real to me
-doesn't pressure me to go back to work
-appreciates me - taking care of baby etc.
my intuition tells me this is wrong; I don't trust my intuition very much anymore because my intuition told me to marry Aharon


  1. Playing Tamar's advocateJanuary 7, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    She lists this as one of the negatives about her hubby:

    - sulks, passive-aggressive, self-absorbed

    and it is stated that she suddenly walked out - presumably when she found out about this condition.

    So, it might be claimed that this was a pre-existing mental condition that nobody in their right mind would want to put up with, had they known in advance,

    1. Maybe the ceremony was discovered to be invalid

    2. A marriage is not annuled because the husband has some qualities the wife doesn't like. This is discussed in Rabbi Bleich's article where he notes that Rackman claims that not giving a get on demand is indicative that the husband is sadistic and therefore because he is sadistic the marriage is annuled.

      Even behavior as severe as physical abuse is not viewed as a basis for annulment.

      So it is not enough that there be pre-existing issues. The issues must be so severe that no normal women could live with and she needed to leave as soon as she found out that he had the condition.

      I assume that you are aware that saying that a husband sulks, is passive agressive and is self-absorbed - in fact describes all husbands/and wives at some time during their marriage. IT IS NOT A BASIS TO ANNUL A MARRIAGE!

    3. Playing Tamar's advocateJanuary 7, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      OK, I thought i would give it a try anyway.

    4. I appreciate your efforts which just go to show there really is no basis for an annulment

    5. DT - Please give us again R' Moshe's psak, in Hebrew, about those conditions.

    6. @Playing Tamar - To claim that the Tamar deserves a GET and a family should be destroyed because Aharon allegedly "sulks" sometimes is just mind-boggling nonsense.

      Just look at the long list of very positive qualities Tamar attributed to Aharon. Any number of normal non-Jewish women would thank God a thousand times if they could find a husband like Aharon who is loyal, affectionate, appreciative, honest, sweet etc.

      Does Tamar really believe she is some goddess with no flaws whatsoever? This whole discussion really shows the need for certain Orthodox women to do some serious cheshbon ha nefesh.

    7. Playing Tamar's advocateJanuary 7, 2014 at 6:50 PM

      @Emes -
      My chosed ID is "Playing Tamar's Advocate".

      In any case - it seems to me, that if there is a Beis Din where she makes such a claim (that he has some mental condition, salient defect etc.) Then the Beis Din would need by halacha, to evaluate the Husband objectively, and not just rely on her testimony.

    8. "Does Tamar really believe she is some goddess with no flaws whatsoever?"

      The problem is worse than that. I don't know Tamar, but I know other contemporary women who believe it doesn't matter what they are, the man has to be perfect. So it's not that A believes she's perfect and deserves perfect. It's A believes she deserves perfect just because she deserves it.

    9. Asopposed to men, who are perfect because they are male...

    10. Not sure what to do with that comment. It's like an eighth grader lashing out. I am trying to expose an attitude of entitlement that's quite common in the feminist generation. Feminism fueled the yetzer hara. Everything for me it declares. I deserve it all.

      When you have a movement that is named after a group of people than everything it does will be for those people. All for women. Therefore, you cannot be married. Marriage means more than one person, somebody other than the female. You can't be married if you are a feminist.

    11. @Hal - "All for women. Therefore, you cannot be married" -

      Thanks for your excellent insights! Keep up the good fight!

    12. Ok, I'll give you serious response.

      you lash out against feminism. to me, that means that you do not approve of women having equal opportunies as men. You do not approve of girls getting the same education as boys, of women being allowed into universities and the professional career of their choice, you do not approve of women getting equal pay for equal jobs.

      That's all feminism stands for: fight discrimination based on gender.

      Since legislations were changed over the past hundered years to give voting rights to women, equal education opportunities, access to universities, access to professional careers,e tc. I would say that feminism has now achieved most of its goal.

      there are entitled men and entitled women out in this world, and that for sure is not good for any social pursuit of theirs.

      My view is that in a marriage, both partners have to work on it, and the happiness of one spouse should not be achieved on the expense of the other spouse.

      when one spouse feels that the marriage has become unbearable, they sure should speak out and try to fix it. But if this does not succeed (as was obviously the case with the epstein-friedmann marriage), there is no sense holding the couple together by brute force.

      I don't know in what respect this position is opposed to halacha.

    13. @Feminist - Learn from the Jewish sages, they never claimed men or women are perfect, but they did say: "nashim daasan kalios".

      Feminists have trapped themselves in a state of extreme "daasan kalios", and they have embraced this degraded state. In my opinion, feminists can overcome this degraded state by first rejecting feminism, then studying Torah, and also by marrying a husband whose daas will complete them.

    14. What, women should study torah? You are a feminist. A true jewish wife has to be ignorant. She should know to cook, not to read, while you are at it...

    15. torat h' temimo, only man made laws can be ammended, not so Torah. And while you are at it, kol hamlamed es bito torah keilu lamda TIFLOS, and feminists are the best proof. Never mind Pruzbul, mechirat chametz, Chadra"g and all tkanat chachamim. There are halacha lemoshe misinai, power given to a Kosher beis din what they see appropriate. Feminists are outside of all this, known as TIFLUS, veda"l.

    16. Depends how you define "change"...

      Going from Polygamy to monogamy is a change, in my view, and it was possible within normative halacha...

    17. Rebeinu Gershom yochiachJanuary 8, 2014 at 10:19 PM

      Because of your ilk, Rav Yehuda did not want to darshan hilchot Shabbat for women. BTW, "change", is defined as the Chatam Sofer put down a foundation. "Chodosh is ASSUR min haTorah. Mi bikesh zos miyedchem REMOS chatzeroy. You missed out again on the qualifier of ""Lo Sassur", and the given examples. You have offered a very poor example, since "Vihyissem kedoshim", mekadesh atzmecho min hamutar lach. And if you didn't comprehend, not to worry. It just proved my point.

    18. So where is the problem in giving the get, even if the halacha does not force you to do so? That's also "mekadesh atzmecho min hamutar lach".

      Thank you for pointing this out.

      There is clearly a parallel between forbidding men to marry more than one wife at a time (although the torah permits it) and forbidding them to withhold a get if the wife really does not want to stay married.

    19. As a feminist for what it's worth, you should know that he needs good reason to get divorced, at least same should apply to her. Cheap manufacturing of sadistic natures won't do the trick, it is clowning around like a bafoon. Did they deduce the same as being sadistic in nature on her for not letting him cherish his own child. his own flesh and blood?
      No such thingy as Get on demand. For the man, he is metzuve on Pru urvu, not so the woman, hence no mekadesh min hamutar. MS. Epstein made a contract for life, and you just can't back out because your parents disapproved, they should truly butt out. She did love him, and it is very tragic to go against her better judgement. I have no doubt she will regret this for the rest of her life.

      Back to Feminists, they truly are on the outside, since they have "Netuya Hafucha" and there can never be sholom bayis, they can mekadesh atzmom min bemino, 'vesolu solu et hamsilo'. I agree with the previous commenter that you have no membership in this Union or Organization, lemechtzo, lishlish or lirvia, as you constantly demonstrate your animosity towards them. Why don't you come out with it, and truly say what you really are? After all, not everyone is created equal, mishaps happen even in the FOWL Kingdom.

  2. Ahhh. But what if she got lucky & found something out about his past AFTER she had already left- but something that satisfies the three conditions?

    1. You mean that she really had no justification for deserting him but she discovered something afterwards that if she had known it when she was living with him it would have justified leaving him?!

      For example that someone claims that he is a paranoid schizophrenic who has killed three previous wives that she didn't know about it?

      the likelihood of that is zero. They went through many sessions with the Baltimore Beis Din and no such thing was suggested. They went through civil court procedures in which she tried getting a court ordered mental examination for custody and the court rejected the request since they didn't hear any evidence of a problem.

      In other words, no one has even suggested the possiblity of a serious mental heath issue up until now - despite much motivation and opportunity to present such over a several year period if it existed.

  3. A more fundamental question is as follows:

    Should we find out that a prominent BD has essentially used a similar strategy to RAckman's court - would this imply that Rakman has not gained wider acceptance, and therefore becomes normative halacha?

  4. When you see their fundamental incompatibility (she likes socialising, he is a loner, he will make reproaches when she socialises) and the fact that "trying" on one side does not elicit the expected results, it is just absurd to force this couple (or one of the spouses) to stay married against their will.

    1. Feminist again you are missing the point. Tamar married Aharon knowing fully who she was marrying - despite opposition from her parents. She followed her intituion. She was in love. There are many couples who are complementary rather than identical. It is not a proof of incompatibility.

      The sole issue that is relevant is on what basis Tamar is declaring she is no longer married i.e., that she got an annulment. Please stick to the topic.

    2. Tamar has no halachic basis for divorce and it is Ahron's absolute halachic and moral right and imperative to choose to remain married to her.

    3. A further point - as far as I know, according to the propaganda for the rackman BD, it was designed to resolve women locked into violent abusive marriages where the husband did not want to give a get or was asking extortionate amounts. From what I have read about several cases on here, including Tammy, the woman walks out, takes the kids, and makes extravagant claims agasint the husband, whilst depriving him of equal rights to see his own kids. If this is an accurate depiction of the case, and I rely on what has been written in this blog, then the spousal "abuse" is on the wife's side not the husband's. In other words, even if there is a shred of legitimacy to the Rackman court, or at least the ideas which he suggested in his books, since the BD didn't really publish much - then the current case(s) would not fall into this category. So should a BD annul this marriage , for example, it would have less justification than the Rackman court - regardless of the stature of this alleged new court.

    4. @Feminist - "it is just absurd to force" -

      - Its just absurd (and grossly unjust) for women to use men as sperm donors
      - Its just absurd (and grossly unjust) for moredes Jewish wives to abduct the children and move to another state
      - Its just absurd (and grossly unjust) for moredes Jewish wives to deny Jewish fathers parenting time with their children
      - Its just absurd for moredes Jewish wives to oppress and rob their husbands in archaos (non-Jewish courts)
      - Its just absurd (and grossly unjust) for feminist goons such as ORA to harass victimized fathers and demand that they grant GITTIN to these moredes wives
      - Its just absurd - the sexist, controlling, and regressive attitudes of feminists toward fathers

    5. Marriage is rotten. No women should be married. Any man who tries to marry a woman should be jailed for life, if not worse.



    "It is clear that she decided that despite having at least a minimally acceptable marriage - which could be significantly improved through therapy - she didn't want to invest the time and energy because she thought she could do better. No competent and unbiased rabbinical authority would annul such a marriage."

  6. Let Tamar return to Silver Spring and receive a conditional get and also put $5 million in escrow just in case she changes her mind and runny back to Phily,

    I am sure r kamenetsky can help her raise the money.

  7. She has no right to divorce based on the description above. Now you know why the Chumash requires a husband's consent for divorce. Some women act like children, particularly in our era where the lost souls in certain segments of Orthodoxy (ah, parts of Modern Orthodoxy) don't understand that life is often a struggle, even for women, and the proper response is courage not recklessness. Now I don't really know the facts of this case, but based on what was printed here....

  8. "No competent and unbiased rabbinical authority would annul such a marriage." As we have seen in this and other similar cases we are not dealing with unbiased rabbinical authorities. If R' Kaminetsky and his son wanted they could have saved this marriage at the onset but they chose to placate the parents who wanted the marriage over. R' Kaminetsky issued multiple letters which had no basis in Halacha to try to undo the mess he partially created. What makes you think he would follow Halacha now?

  9. now that I've looked more carefully at the original, I must say that as much as I'm opposed to this lady's severely immature attitude about marriage - still, it EMBARRASSES me to be reading such private material.

    Are you sure there is no l. ha'ra violation here?

    1. It certainly is nowhere near as big a violation as adultery, mamzeirus and inventing false annulments.

    2. yy this is a court document which is part of the public record. She testified in court that she wrote it just before she left. It was also shown to the Baltimore Beis din.

      What is the lashon harah rah? The information is not being provided for negative purposes but for constructive ones.

      She has made various accusations against her husband and incited public opinion against him. She has obtained the cooperation of rabbis in subverting the halacha. This document is a refutation of her claims. It is not lashon harah or in any way prohibited to respond to slander and corruption of the Torah. In fact it is a mitzva.

    3. We won't be able to argue out details of hichos lh"r. I just shared a feeling and asked a question: are you SURE that revealing all these details, and the actual private document of her own writing about her feelings for her husband, is your job to reveal to every Joe-shmo?

      Clearly, if you were summoned into court, or were asked by someone central in the case, you'd be obliged to reveal this, as it is "l'to'eles". But here? Why not just write your summary of all your research to present as a counterbalance to the disinformation they've posted about him, instead of showing her actual private note?

      If you had a picture of her entering a cheider yichud with another man - would you post it??

    4. yy if a woman claims that she never married and is about to marry you. Furthermore she has major rabbonim insisting that she never married and who have severely criticized and damaged the reputation of any rabbi who disagreed that she wasn't an eishes ish. I try to dissuade you but you insist that all these rabbis can't be wrong. There are other woman in similar situations. I have a picture of her entering a cheder yichud -

    5. yy a second point. Annulment is based largely on the fact that marriage to the man is something that no normal person could accept. It is clear that these notes are unambiguous in indicating that marriage to Aharon Friedman was normal - she just wanted someone else. That critical point is best conveyed in her own words. Otherwise you will see that people such as avf will claim that I am distorting what she said.

    6. Playing Tamar's advocateJanuary 7, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      The picture of her entering cheder yichud doesn't mean she is halachically married. Perhaps the witnesses had iphones, or the photo was taken with an iphone, or any myriad of other reasons to invalidate (on a technicality) the Ketubah.

    7. ??

      try ironing out the typos, pls

    8. DT - My ?? was referring to your first pt. Pls clarify

    9. I see. You believe it is necessary to publicly display the woman's private notes to disprove avf.

      Pls don't misunderstand - I agree with you take on the halachic issue and how it seems to play out here. She is very wrong to force the end of her marriage, and with such manipulative means. I just don't get the need for blogsters to reveal as much of the private nitty gritty as you do.

      Many wrongs don't make a single right

    10. actiually yy you don't see. The document is no longer private since it was presented at court, discussed there in public and is part of the court records. It was also discussed at the Baltimore beis din. So your comment is simply wrong. Private information that has been revealed to the public and is publicly available can no longer be called private.

  10. This annulment reminds me of the story called The Emperor's New Clothes.
    Tamar is the Emperor the "Rabbis/ORA" are the swindlers and the rest of us are the townsfolks who don't want to appear to be hopelessly stupid so we just nod and go along with it. Rabbi Eidensohn is the child who screams the emperor has no clothes.
    So my fellow townsfolk - are you to affraid of being thought of as hopelessly stupid and complement the emperor on her new clothes or stand up and scream the emperor has no clothes?

    I think the emperor and the swindlers know how foolish they will look which is why they won't show any1 the new clothes, rather they have told the hopelessly stupid about the new clothes but won't come out in public with them.

  11. You DT wrote "She said she wrote them shortly before she abandoned Aharon taking their child to live with her parents."

    Where is your proof that she said this, and that it wasn't written shortly after her marriage. Without proving that first your whole article is worthless!!!

    I dont know how she was "freed" and if/who was the Bais Din that said Mekach Tais . If it was a competent one then i assume they know how to make one. I would also believe that it dose not matter when it came to light the sickness/flaw. If a month ago a psychiatrist`s said that he has some mental/emotional illness that predates the marriage and ruined it, then that would be enough to be Mevatel the Kiddushin. Again without more information on What is being used to free her this is all just guess work.

    1. This is a court document which Tamar stated in court that she wrote it shortly before she left. But you are correct - she might have been lying to make herself look foolish and to slander the rabbis who have provided her with an "annulment"

      Your comment indicate your really have no understanding of the matter

    2. Where is the court record that shows her acknowledging, that she wrote this paper shortly before she left ?
      All that is in your above post is a copy of a hand written note. I am asking for PROOF that she wrote it before she left. I am not relying on yours or your brother`s or ahron`s word on when she wrote it.
      If you can provide proof, thats fine and I am NOT implying that she lied.
      I was adding that a Mekach Taos could still happen based on future observations etc.. etc...

    3. avf it is interesting to see your hostility and your belief that I would lie about this document.

      Your response reinforces my point that this document severely damages any attempt to annul the marriage. Perhaps you would contact Tamar and ask her to deny that she wrote it or that she didn't write it just before she left.

    4. When you throw around accusations of Mamzeirim like you do you should back them up with proofs. I don't believe You are a liar , I just know that you were not in the court room, and I will not rely on any second hand information for such claims.

      Please stop deflecting (it seems suspicious) ,you wrote the article so you bring the Proof that she said that she wrote this "shortly before she left". If you saw it in a court document please provide it. From knowledge that I have this claim seems fishy.

    5. Burden of proof is on her, she is an eishes ish.

  12. Superintendant ChalmersJanuary 7, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    So this whole thing comes down to he's not social enough for her liking. Sigh.

    Why didn't her parents want her to marry him? Goes to show the destructive influence that meddling parents can have on what could otherwise be a normal marriage.

    Anyway, have there been any reports on what/how/who may have annulled the marriage? I would be shocked if any reputable Beis Din or Rabbanim is involved. (After Rackman was marginalized and thoroughly rejected/reprimanded by Rav Soloveitchik, I don't think it's possible that a Rackman style heter was used.) And if she is going to attempt to find another man without receiving a get, presumably that knowledge of how it happened has to be made public, or at least known to the potential suitors...

  13. I am so happy that DT is showing all these cases of fake annullments. The rabbis of this generation are no different than YEROVOM BEN NEVOT who misled his people many talmidei chachomim in idol worshipping. We therefore must expose these phony annullments that create serious sins of eishes ish and mamzeirim. Rabbi gestetner always shows halachic proof and backs up his claims by citing rishonim and acharonim. This is in contrast with his detractors who allow these women to violate all types of halochos without showing rishonim/acharonim to back them up. This is no different than yerovom ben nevot! It is too bad that the makority of people are foolish enough to follow in their ways. They are being blinded by todays Reformadox rabbis. hashem yeracheim!

  14. While don’t know which Posek Tamar’s family went to for the annulment, we know it must be someone who Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky relies on. Does anyone here have any idea who it may be?

    Several Roshei Yeshiva at YU have quietly spoken out against the Heter and have said it shouldn’t be relied on it until other Poskim can see if it is legitimate or not. Rav Herschel Schacter in particular is upset at ORA for publicizing the Epstein family’s announcement, as it relies on a psak he hasn’t been shown. He doesn’t want ORA to criticize Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky either, so he is insisting that they say nothing more on the topic.

    1. @Confused - We've seen a pattern where MO rabbis refuse to oppose feminist halachic violations, apparently for fear of losing their rabbinic positions.

      ORA has publicly announced that Tamar is "free". As long as Herschel Schacter and the other ORA rabbis make no public protest against the "annulment", the frum olam has every right to assume that the ORA rabbis fully accept that "annulment" as halachically valid.

      As long as the ORA rabbis do not protest the "annulment", I believe those rabbis also bear significant responsibility for any adultery or mamzerus that occurs as a result of the "annulment".

    2. @EmesLeYaacov, please try to hide your Rishus and call Rav Schacter by his title. Everyone knows Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky is behind this Heter, even if they don't know which Posek he used. The Epstein family is very close to Rav Kamenetsky, and would never do anything without his approval. Everyone who knows them can verify that for you.

      As far as I know, every YU Rosh Yeshiva that has been asked has said you can't rely on a Heter that hasn't been seen and approved by reliable Poskim. Anyone who asks YU, the RCA, the Beth Din of America etc. will be told them same thing. No Rav would dare officiate a marriage without seeing how the previous marriage ended, and no one would rely on a press release, especially one that doesn't even mention the name of a Rav. That's not how it work, and everyone in the frum universe (except for you) knows that.

      Only a fool would condemn a Heter that they haven't seen, when they know a respected Rav like Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky approves it. I'm sure there are members of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah who are unhappy with Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky's involvement in this Heter, but they wouldn't dare condemn him or throw him off the council until the see the actual Heter.

      Baruch Hashem the Rabbonim here aren't as foolish as the one who refuses to call them by their titles.

    3. R' K has a negius in this issue because of his association in prior with Fr. Epstein, and doubt whether he would meddle in such.

  15. That whole list of complaints is what my wife says about me. Yet, we have a happy marriage.

  16. DT - you wrote above "Even behavior as severe as physical abuse is not viewed as a basis for annulment." Could you please explain:
    1. What behavior does constitute a basis for annulment?
    2. in your opinion, is physical abuse by a husband sufficient grounds for a beis din to force a husband to give a get?
    I am trying to understand what you consider the conditions, attitudes, or behavior that meet the "no normal women could live with" criteria you mentioned above.


    1. jeff, annulment and beis din forcing him to give a Get are two very different and seperate and unrelated procedures that each have very different standards.

    2. jeff please read Rabbi Bleich's discussion in Tradition. It is a long article but he clearly and cogently answer all your questions.


    3. This is Rabbi Bleich's article from Tradition


    4. If what Confused is saying is correct - then it supports what I have suggested regarding RHS.

      a) RHS was not the enactor of the annulment, and he is opposed to it. (sorry ELY, you will soon need to ask RHS for mechila).

      b) same goes for the other ORA signatories, including R' Jachter, and the rest of YU, who incidentally also criticised Rackman.

      c) the likelihood that this was a haredi/Agudas Yisrael annulment.

      d) So far, there has been little protest, outside of this blogspot.

      e) We are now at a crossroads in what Halachic Orthodoxy is, and what is legitimate, and what not. The Agudah itself, and its American mouthpiece, the Jewish Observer, used to attack Rackman for his halachic ideas, even before he put them into practice. today it seems they have adopted themselves his methods, but apply them in even shadier cases.
      Remember my ongoing theme, that I waste no opportunity to bring up - the same goes for annulment of giur which Rav Goren did in a single case, and was savaged by his haredi counterparts. The very same haredi sector practiced the same annulment, but in shadier circumstances, en masse, without looking at details of many thousands of geirei tzedek.

      f) The (in)famous statement of Rebbetzin Blu Greenberg "where there is a rabbinic will, there is a halachic way", which has also been attacked, eg by R' Bleich, also has more truth to it than we would like to admit. when it suits Hareidi gedolim, and their DAasTorah ideology/agenda, they will do all kinds of loopholes and tricks , which only a few years prior they attacked as being treif. ( R' Rakkefet mentions that the son of a Hassidic rebbe fell in love with a Fillipino maid, and she was quickly converted by Belz, who can get away with a quickie conversion if it suits them).

      Conclusion: what happens now? the haredi world is already fragmented at a level never seen before. Will there be a split between American and Israeli haredim? On whom can we rely, MO? Chief Rabbi? One of the warring gedolim in Israel? or is the answer only on Avinu She BaShamayim?

  17. Avf wrote:

    “If a month ago a psychiatrist`s said that he has some mental/emotional illness that predates the marriage and ruined it, then that would be enough to be Mevatel the Kiddushin”.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the “heter”, wherever it came from, did indeed rely at least partially on some psychologist /psychiatrist diagnosis painting Aaaron as mentally ill – as many if not most acrimonious separations & divorce cases today often have MI diagnosis tied into their fabric.

    The view that a psychiatrist is qualified to decide on mental illness in cases such as this – where Aaaron very obviously doesn’t suffer from obviously debilitating symptoms – IS HIGHLY SUSPECT.

    Surely, readers will think that this is just another “anti-psychology” rant. You’ll be mistaken.

    This is the view of Allen Frances, who chaired the task force that wrote DSM IV (the “bible” of psychology), it’s also the view of the main body of British psychologists (the British Psychological Society, or BPS) and also the view of almost one third of the divisions that make up the main body of Psychologists in the USA (American Psychological Association, or APA).

    Full text of the open letter can be viewed @ (http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/dsm5/).

    Background: On January 9, 2012, more than 14,000 individuals and over 50 professional organizations, including 16 divisions of the American Psychological Association endorsed an Open Letter calling for an external scientific review of the DSM-5 proposals by an independent group of researchers who are not affiliated with DSM-5 or the American Psychiatric Association. This request was made in light of widespread reservation about the scientific status and safety of DSM-5 among mental health professionals and patient advocacy groups.

    Here are the conclusions of the “Open Letter” they recently penned concerning this matter:

    “Many of our reservations, including some of the problems described above, have already been articulated in the formal response to DSM-5 issued by the British Psychological Society (BPS, 2011) and in the email communication of the American Counseling Association (ACA) to Allen Frances (Frances, 2011b).
    In light of the above-listed reservations concerning DSM-5’s proposed changes, we hereby voice agreement with BPS that:

    • “…clients and the general public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalization of their natural and normal responses to their experiences; responses which undoubtedly have distressing consequences which demand helping responses, but which do not reflect illnesses so much as normal individual variation.”

    • “The putative diagnoses presented in DSM-V are clearly based largely on social norms, with 'symptoms' that all rely on subjective judgments, with little confirmatory physical 'signs' or evidence of biological causation. The criteria are not value-free, but rather reflect current normative social expectations.”

    • “… [taxonomic] systems such as this are based on identifying problems as located within individuals. This misses the relational context of problems and the undeniable social causation of many such problems.”

    • There is a need for “a revision of the way mental distress is thought about, starting with recognition of the overwhelming evidence that it is on a spectrum with 'normal' experience” and the fact that strongly evidenced causal factors include “psychosocial factors such as poverty, unemployment and trauma.”

    1. Not to mention a so-called psychiatrist that never even met Aaron!

  18. Ernesto Che BurashkaJanuary 7, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Could it be that she convinced a reliable Bais Din that SHE engaged in some unsavory activity before marriage in such a way that no good bochur would consider marrying her? (This is just a theoretical suggestion, not a statement based on knowledge or rumor etc.) Something like that would probably be a basis for annulment, wouldn't it?


    2. No it wouldn't. A party can only request annulment due to their spouse's misrepresentation, not their own.



  19. "Feminist again you are missing the point. Tamar married Aharon knowing fully who she was marrying - despite opposition from her parents. She followed her intituion. She was in love. There are many couples who are complementary rather than identical. It is not a proof of incompatibility."

    she was in love and she wanted to marry him, and then it turned out that she could not live with him. This is a classical case for a divorce. She made a mistake when she married him, and so she will have a divorce, and both can move on with their lives.

    I do not think that any marriage counselor who respects his deontology would force a spouse to stay in a marriage when they want out. And don't forget: we are past trial periods for one week or two months. Tamar tried and Aharon did not improve his behavior in a way that seemed acceptable to her. End of story. End of marriage.

    So where is his excuse to put a stumbling block in front of himself and his ex-wife?

    Can you vouch that he has no affairs while withholding the get?

    1. Superintendant ChalmersJanuary 7, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      Please stuck to the topic. We are not talking about divorce or a get right now.
      You are again missing the point (or intentionally obfuscating.) Whether or not this is a classical case for a divorce is besides the point, because the discussion here is about whether an annulment. That means retroactive invalidation of the marriage due to a defect that was hidden from her and is so severe that it would make a marriage impossible.

      "I like to socialize and he doesn't" doesn't meet that standard.

    2. Forget marriage counselors. Halacha forces people to stay in marriages. Even if they don't want to. Always has been that way. There's no divorce-on-demand in Judaism. (Even the goyim didn't have divorce-on-demand until no-fault divorce came around, with New York being the last State to implement it in 2010. Until then even in America you couldn't divorce unless you proved valid cause.)

    3. The catholics have no divorce, so they have a long tradition of extramarital affairs in all shapes and forms (which they condemned, in theory, but who could be bothered).

      Nowadays, people have abandoned hypocrisy and no-one listens to them any more, to the point that they have stopped to enforce any sanctions against "adulterers" (i.e. people in a second mariage where the first spouse is still alive)...

      In practice, this could also happen here.

      I know a woman. She had a civil divorce about 20 or 25 years ago. The husband withholds a get, although he contracted a new civil marriage.

      She was quite religious when she married. But do you really think she is holding out all on her own 25 years later, while her ex frollicks with his new wife? (no, she had no children after her first marriage).

      I think Rabbis should put all their weight in the balance to avoid this kind of situation. Lifney Iver al tasim michshol. In this case, the get-withholder made four persons sin: himself, his new wife, his ex-wife and her partner. So he sins and causes others to sin.

      This is why I think it is unacceptable to even contemplate get-withholding as "bargaining tool".

      If you are afraid that your wife will obtain undue compensation after divorce, sign a marriage contract with her NOW (preferably before marriage) that deals with all those questions.

    4. I couldn't give a hoot about the Catholics or what they believe about divorce. All I care about is the Torah HaKedosha and S"A which unambiguously make clear one party to a marriage cannot unilaterally end it.

    5. Any woman wanting a divorce is fully entitled to it irregardless of the man's wishes or desires and irregardless of any ancient laws codified 500 years ago by Rabbi Yosef Caro.

    6. and any person who wants to eat pork is fully entitled to (sic)irregardless.... do what u want ... but if you want to be in my league, play by the league rules. once you have a regular chupah and kedushin , you are in my league, so you are stuck playing by the league rules as codified by rabbi yosef caro.

  20. Feminism is a DiseaseJanuary 7, 2014 at 9:36 PM


    "Aharon did not improve his behavior in a way that seemed acceptable to her"

    You're kidding? "seemed acceptable to her" - is ALL it takes?!

    1. If you want two people to pursue their life together, the condition is that they both agree to it.

      If one does not meet the conditions so that the other agrees to it, there will be no life together.

      It's as easy as that.

      If there is no life together, there should be divorce. Except if both agree not to divorce, for whatever reason they might have.

      Again, very easy to understand...

      All those commentators who insist that "she does not deserve a divorce" miss a crucial point: Get-Withholding will not bring them back together. It might just result in one woman losing faith in her religion and stopping to follow its precepts. That's why it is a case of "Lifney iver" - on both sides (do all those get-withholders really abstain from sex? The ones I know about don't).

    2. That's why you are a feminist. You don't understand the Torah approach to marriage. You are pursuing the contemporary approach which has produced a 55% divorce rate and ruined children everywhere. And the Torah approach to marriage is similar to its approach to life, which that this is a place of duty and work above all, not a place of romance and comfort. Women who don't get that should not get married.

    3. Divorce has to be difficult not easy. R' Miller says that In the old days, embarrassment kept together many a marriage. Today there's no shame in it due to the feminists who have turned divorce into a mitzvah. You even want to remove the Torah's barriers to divorce.

      Applies to men also. I know men who are pretty miserable with their insane wives. There is a famous gadol who was in that boat. We all have to struggle to make the best of it, except in rare cases, like 1% of the cases, where the other person is a complete rasha.

    4. @hal

      You misrepresent the torah approach.

      the torah, too, is based on two people WANTING to live together, and not on FORCING two people to live together. This is essential. Because if this was not the case, halacha would be inhumane.

      So it might be that sometimes rabbinim try to convince husbands to stay with wives or vice-versa, but they CANNOT force them.

      The torah even forbids to deliver a slave to his master if the slave run away. So, a forteriori, it is also forbidden to force a spouse back to the other spouse. Because spouses are not slaves.

      Have you got that clear in your head?

      Once you accept that no-one can be forced to LIVE together, you will see that there is not much worth in staying married on paper.

      Therefore, I think that the possibility to withhold a get is test, I would even say a stumbling block for all those men, rather than a constructive tool.

      If you want to be protected at divorce, make a marriage contract that satisfies you right from the start. This is better than the destructive get-withholding.

      I think most get-withholding is done either for blackmail or for revenge or because of a psychological blockade. All those motives are not compatible with halacha.

    5. "Divorce has to be difficult not easy."

      That's not what the torah says.

      If a wife cheated on her husband, divorce was immediate (easy, not difficult).

      If a husband finds someone else, he can also divorce immediately, provided he pays the ketuba. Today, he can even get away without the ketuba, because there is no way of enforcing it. And any jewish wife in the world knows that not accepting a get will do herself more harm than her husband...

      So it is preposterous to pretend that "the torah" wants stable marriages. Not true at all.

    6. "Feminist", is a mental disorder. Ridicules Torah and the sages. One more thing, can you decipher this?

      "my intuition tells me this is wrong;
      I don't trust my intuition very much
      my intuition told me to marry Aharon"

      does she or doesn't she
      trust her intuition?
      When she claimed she loves Aharon,
      was that also intuition?
      In any case, you are off topic,
      Issue here is whether annulment is

  21. You misspoke in your title: Tamar Epstein's testimony “proves” that there is no basis for annulment and she is still married

    You’ve brought evidence, not a proof. Prove to me that she didn’t discover something new about Aharon after this document was written. You know you can’t, so don’t claim otherwise. I realize that the minhag among bloggers is to be very loose with their language. However, when a Talmid Chachom writes about Halachic matters, he should be careful to not overstate his case and risk losing credibility.

    1. Indeed. Kudos Confused

    2. Confused you are clearly not confused and obviously intelligent. The document proves that she didn't leave the marriage for reasons that would justify annulment. Perhaps you are suggesting that she met a psychologist who based entirely on her testimony - claimed that all the disagreements she had with her husband were the result of a major mental illness which no one recognized!?

      Could be that she could pay someone to say such a thing - but it clearly is not why she left the marriage. If she had a more reasonable understanding of marriage and her parents were less critical of him - she could have had a happy marriage.

      Psychologist are notororiously biased witnesses and it is very easy to find experts who have strongly opposing views.

      Having talked with Aharon Friedman there is no question that there is nothing more serious then what she wrote. There would be no difficulty in finding a psychiatrist who certified that he has no serious mental health issues.

      Bottom line. The document does in fact prove that she did not leave the marriage because he had serious difficulties that would justify annulment.

      Question - if there are two psychiatrists one testifying that he has no serious mental problems and a second claiming that he does - should a rav give an annulment? Even better if she found an expert who never spoke with Aharon who declares that he has serious mental problems - should the rav rely on this without getting testimony from a neutral expert who did speak with Aharon?

      Something stinks about this process

    3. How do you know she didn’t discover additional information after she left him? To give one hypothetical example out of many: What she after she left she was presented with incontrovertible evidence that her husband had been carrying on unprotected physical relationships with several men from before the time he met her up until the present time? Almost all Poskim would agree that no Bas Yisroel would knowingly marry such as man, and that her leaving him “before” discovering this wouldn’t prevent an annulment. It doesn’t take much creativity to come up with many other examples like this.

      Now let’s be honest here. I don’t have a shred a proof that such a thing happened, just like you don’t have a shred of proof that such a thing didn’t happen. No one has any proof, for no one even knows what Heter the Epstein family is relying on. The Rabbonim I trust on all agree that you can’t rely on a Heter that hasn’t been seen and approved by independent Poskim. However, they also refrain from publicly attacking a Heter when they don’t know what’s in it. It is within the realm of the conceivable that the Rav Kamenetsky approved Posek based his ruling on facts and sevaros that everyone would approve of if they heard of them. Even if that’s true, you can’t rely on what you haven’t seen. A brilliant and true sevara has no Halachic worth until other Rabbonim accept it.

      You rightly suspect that there is no legitimate Heter, for if there is, why not publish it? I have an even bigger problem. Even if the Epstein Heter is 100% legitimate, until it is shared with reliable Poskim who will publicly vouch for it, it does nothing towards helping her remarry. Until then it is worse than worthless. People should call Rav Kamenetsky and ask if they can Halachically date Tamar. If he says yes, ask him for the name of the Posek who allows it. Even if they won’t divulge the reason for the Heter, they should at least release the name of the Posek.

    4. Please cite sources which say that such a finding would be automatically a basis for annulment? As far as I know it might be the basis of forcing the husband to give a Get but not an annulment.

      I would agree with your view except for one thing. Tamar has already made the assertion that she is free without a Get. The fact that her rabbinical advisors and supporters refuse to divulge exactly how this came about is not somthing that can be ignored. If she and her rabbis withdraw this claim that I will stop speculating what she meant by it.

  22. A few things.

    1. You should be ashamed of yourself for posting such a private document. Just because it was handed over to the Beis Din in MD doesn't mean this incredibly private document is appropriate for you to share this with the WWW. There are many negative thoughts about Aharon written on here. These are her private fears and thoughts. It's unfair to both of them that you have shared this and made it more public than it needed to be. God will deal with you on that. This is neither Daas nor is it Torah.

    2. These very private thoughts were written before she left, as you pointed out. If what is expressed on here is evidence of her beginning to "catch on" to the fact that Aharon has some mental illness, then that's all this document is meant to prove. And as soon as she realized he has some condition, even if she didnt know the exact DSM title for it, she realized she needed to leave (just as the three conditions call for -- you leave immediately!) Why is it beyond your creative capacity to consider? Is it that you just hate this per girl that you have never met so much that you spend so much of your life's minutes writing these incredibly biased posts about her?

    1. WOW your comments indicate a great ignorance about the meaning of things or rather a strong motivation to distort and justify some rather crooked matters. Perhaps your name is really Tamar?

  23. Confused,,
    Did she discover something new in Aharon after she left him? I am sure she did. Indeed, when he refused her a GET after she ran away with his daughter, she saw that he was really rotten.
    By the way, Confused, I am not at all interested in dealing with the husband and wife in these incredible broken marriages that produce reams of blogging pages. I have no idea about them and I never saw them so how can I have an opinion? But when I see prominent Rosh Yeshivas and rabbis making displays of how people should destroy people they never saw and never spoke to, as if they are so entitled, I really feel like complaining.
    The two women in the most famous efforts at divorce, Dodelson and Epstein, did crazy things ONLY BECAUSE VERY PROMINENT ROSHEI YESHIVA ENCOURAGED THEM. To do otherwise without backing would be plain stupid. And now, Dodelson has made a complete idiot out of herself, not because she is an idiot, but because she did not realize that the Roshei Yeshiva backing her could not break their husbands. And now poor Tamar. So now the people who must win but are now losers came up with the great idea of annulling the marriage. And somebody is going to get what they deserve, but what about Tamar?
    If she wants a GET, let her call me at 845-578-1917, her or Rabbi Shalom Kaminetsky.
    Yes, I feel very sad about the poor girls who were fooled into being fools. But I am also sad that this episode has revealed to the world just how removed are certain Rosh Yeshivas from the Torah, as I have pointed out in many a comment and article on this blog and elsewhere. This power play from certain Roshei Yeshivas has stained the honor of Torah for this generation.

    1. Rav Dovid Eidensohn,

      Please listen to Rav Hershel Schachter's hesped for Rav Ovadia Yosef zt"l from 9:50 to 13:27 http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/798928/Rabbi_Hershel_Schachter/Hesped_for_Rav_Ovadia_Yosef_zt-l The end of the hesped is very touching.

    2. @Dovid Eidensohn - "I feel very sad about the poor girls who were fooled into being fools" -

      These women are not innocent victims of corrupt rabbis as you seem to imply. It appears that both these women abducted their children and left their marriages without permission of any Bais Din. This is how American women typically operate in today's anti-father feminist divorce on demand culture.

      I don't see any evidence that these women were "fooled" into abandoning their marriages by the rabbis, although they may have been given a "heter" to do so. Rather its more likely that they decided on a feminist course of action, and then found useful idiot rabbis to give them heterim and take up their cause as fake-gunahs.

  24. Question for all Tamar or ORA supporters (Confused, Avf, Feminist, James, etc.):

    Is Aharon Friedman also free now to get remarried without leaving any GET for Tamar, and without being put in cherem for marrying two wives?

    1. Emes:

      Well said!

      So many illogical rationalizations for interpersonal heartlessness can be easily be refuted by doing what you did: Give EACH party in a dispite EXACTLY the same rights....

    2. According to someone unknown Posek who was approved by Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Aharon would be allowed to remarry. All of the Roshei Yeshiva in YU continue to consider him to be married until they see proof otherwise.

      The Epstein family considers Aharon to be single, and they no longer want people to pressure him to give a get, as they feel it is no longer needed. ORA therefore considers the case closed, as the Epstein family no longer wants them involved.

    3. ELY - we have someone called Confused, who states that it was not ORA, and it was not YU, but it was someone close to the Aguda Moeetses Gedolim who did the annulment. Thus, since it is now looking more like something coming from Philly than NY - and i don't mean the snow - then I respectfully suggest you stop attacking haRav Shechter, and stop barking up the wrong tree. This is an internal Haredi affair.

      n.b. I am not a TamORA supporter.

    4. The Emperor has no clothesJanuary 8, 2014 at 2:46 AM

      Haroyze leshaker yarchik edosoi. Without a shtar shover of Get, no one will mary such, nor without proof of not being an eishes ish. If husband agrees, he should acquire a Heter meah rabbonim, deposit a get al tnay of conditions that is agreeable to him. He then publicize that there are no FREE lunches, and tamar is not FREE, since she was never divorced. No orthodox jew will go within her one thousand feet.

    5. I gave an answer but it did not come through...

    6. That is because you are Persona non Grata. You are obsessed with your hatred towards men and Torah. Hassinah mekalkelet et hashurah, umaavir daato shel odom. Always off topic, a one tracked mind. Not all women are meant to be married, the world is much better off without them. No need to reply.

  25. Isn't it more logical that they simply found a way to invalidate the weeding ceremony??

    1. not sure why it is more logical. It is highly unlikely. The ceremony was not a Reform or Conservative one. There definitely were kosher witnesses. On what basis would it be invalidated?

    2. If we are guessing, there are lots of possibilities, for example, perhaps he didn't own the ring. Perhaps she hid the fact that she was an eishes ish at the time of the wedding and now her (first ) husband has either died or given a get. Perhaps he hid the fact that he was actively bisexual both before and during the marriage and she left when she found him in bed with a man? Perhaps one of them was conceived by AID and they are brother and sister? Perhaps one of them has a maternal grandmother who underwent an invalid conversion? Perhaps one of them stipulated a t'nai that everyone thought was fulfilled but wasn't. Perhaps he claimed the ring was white gold and when someone thought to check it turns out to be platinum or vice versa.

      What is the sense of speculating? Or of publishing and endless series of posts based on one particular speculation?
      If someone is about to marry this woman, he should definitely find out who declared she is permitted to remarry and why. Otherwise I am not sure why public speculation is of any use.

    3. Posrim oso aval lo leParohJanuary 8, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      A persons status is of public consumption for a whole host of reasons benogea lehalacha. It is not something you can just hide. If you do, something about it is not Kosher.

    4. Daas Torah – As far as I know “highly unlikely” is not “proof”. We both know you’re much smarter than me, so please explain to me how they are both exactly the same thing.

    5. Posrim: I know when Rav Moshe gave an answer to a friend of mine on a somewhat similar shaila in my youth he (that is Rav Moshe) neither published his tshuvah, nor told my friend to publicize anything. So I am pretty sure there is no reason for anyone not planning on a shidduch with Ms. Epstein (or Mr. Friedman) to be speculating.

    6. @Mike S you are missing a major difference. Tamar Epstein and ORA et al have been widely publicizing this case. You can't spend several years making sure everyone knows about you being an aguna and then suddenly pull a rabbit out of a hat and say "I am free". This case has served as the basis of a major split in the rabbis of using force when not prescribed by halacha. Sorry - but after the building is blown up in front of everyone you can't pretend that this is a normal situation - even if you are not interested in a shidduch was the young lady.

    7. R' Daniel E, ROFL, you made my day! Thank you!

    8. While this is far from a normal situatio I hardly see what value speculation adds. All we know is that Ms. Epstein claims to be free to remarry and Mr. Friedman claims not to have authorized a get. You have speculated that her claimed freedom is on the basis of kiddushei ta'ut relating to his character and offered two posts arguing against that point, but as far as I know no one with any knowledge of the case has said that that is the basis for her claim, so I don't see any value in your refuting the claim that you made up yourself.

      There could be any number of bases for her claim, including a number I mentioned above, or he could have written a get and is now lying about it, or her claim could be dishonest, or she could claim to be free to remarry because she has decided to ignore the halacha altogether. Or any number of other things. Until and unless you know what is claimed to be the basis for her "freedom" I don't see what the point of your putting up strawmen and knocking them down is. For all you or I know know he might have given a get al tnai that she not contradict him publicly when he denies having done so.

    9. @Mike S. the situation is equivalent to knowing the length of two sides of a triangle and "speculating" what the length of the 3rd side.

      the number of possible reasons of why Tamar has declared herself to be free without a get are clearly limited and identifiable - and thus are clearly not straw men.

      It is also not prudent to wait and hope that when the reason is revealed that it can be dealt with properly. Because none of the reasons for annulment have a basis in reality and thus it is important to publicize the matter now.

      the fact that halacha has not been followed properly by Tamar's supporters provides ample reason for concern that this "heter" will also not be in accord with halacha.

      If matters had been above board in this matter then I would agree with you - but they clearly haven't and it is irresponsible to ignore the problematic nature of Tamar's "freedom".

    10. Indeed, but I think you have forgotten high school geometry. Two sides of a triangle do not determine the length of the third side unless you also know the angle between them. I think I have offered at least 10 halachicly sound reasons why she might be permitted to marry someone else, and, while I am not so foolish as to claim that any of them actually apply, I don't know how you can be so sure that a claim of mekach ta'ut based on his character is the basis. And even if it were, your posting her list isn't probative--it might only show that she became aware of the flaw after she wrote that particular list.

    11. Mike S. yes you are right - I was referring to one of 90 degrees. I am not concerned with the possiblity of your exotic scenarios.

      Again the issue is not a game of charades. This case is going to have a major impact on how gittin are dealt with and can not be ignored

  26. Eddie - You are probably right that this was a “charedi” annulment.

    However R’ Shechter has written in the past that he agrees with the great sage R’ Kaminetsky. Wow he must be eating his words now.

  27. Wow.. this is eyeopening. I can't believe what I am reading. She wants a divorce because he doesn't put on appearances or get along well with his inlaws. And several other menial things. She's going to just walk away with the kid and demand a get over this stuff? And THIS is what all the activism on her behalf has been about? This makes the activists look like utter fools, and it would make any sane person deathly afraid of getting married to one of "these." Good gracious!

    1. Oh, mr student, so wise in the ways of the world. Would you rather she remained miserable the rest of her life? Shared her home and bed with a man she can't stand? Do you think that would be the appropriate step? Would you wish that on yourself?

    2. i wonder in how many of these fake aguna cases the women would be willing to walk away without the kids. It's easy to say i want a divorce and everything important produced by the marriage too and then call the guy recalcitrant.

    3. And I wonder how many of those get withholders who claim they want the children really are ready to put in the work that is needed.

      I know several cases where fathers took away the children from the mother. In none of the cases, the father cares appropriately for the children.

      One leaves them with their stepmother and they are little slaves, while the stepmother's children are kings. Two just dumped them alltogether, one in a home, the other in a boarding school.

      Might be that my sample is not representative.

    4. Hey dovid, how about knowing what one is getting into before gettting married. Marriage is a commitment between 2 people. You don't get to just walk away and deny your kid a father because, well, there's this or that thing I don't like about the guy. Women get married to people, not angels. People have flaws. Good qualities and flaws, you are marrying all of it. Otherwise don't get married.

    5. Feminist said" "And I wonder how many of those get withholders who claim they want the children really are ready to put in the work that is needed"

      It's a valid question which a competent judge must ask. To do the opposite - presume that because he's a man that he couldn't do the work -- is severe injustice.

      It's time to stop calling all men who don't agree to grant a Get "witholders". Truth and honesty demand you consider that they may still have love for their wives and belief in their marriages, and certainly may have legitimate concerns for the well being of their children under the circumstances that their run-away wives have created. .

    6. @ Mike S,
      Mr. Friedman can go for a heter meah in accordance of Rabenu Gershom, and Ms. Epstein can go for an ORA FREE type of a program executed by an Epstein cattle prod FREE program, or ORA annulment type of a program, both outside of Rabenu Gershom.

    7. Mr. Friedman cannot get a hetter meah rabbonim without leaving a get (see Igros Moshe EH 4:3) that she can accept at any time. In which case, since she seems perfectly ready to accept a get, he won't need one. He cannot properly receive a heter meah rabbonim if he is attatching conditions to the get or refusing to write one.

    8. I notice that he cannot attach conditions is outside of your quotes from Igros Moshe. How do the conditions interfere with her picking up the Get. If he gets a psak that the condition is rightfully coming to him why does he need to relinquish that?

  28. Am I the only one who thinks that this is so irresponsible to post? The WWW now knows Tamar Epstein's personal feelings on Aharon Friedman being "not a mentsch/friendly/midos hakaras hatov [show appreciation]," on who is a sulker and a loner. This is a serious violation of lashon harah and I can't believe that someone who values halacha so much would commit such a heinous sin so publicly by publishing this. I plan to reach out to the beis din that you swiped this from to notify them of your gross misuse of this document. Thanks you.

  29. For all the reasons you mentioned, it is difficult to see how an annulment based on misunderstandings could have worked. But maybe they found something out about the ring, the witnesses, etc. who knows, there are possibilities which we can't even imagine. That's my guess!

    1. The deafening silence of anyone claiming credit for the annulment, speaks louder than words. If truly freed through a gadol batorah, where is the "lo soguru mipnei ish ish"? Something stinks in Denmark, and smells all the way here.

  30. Why is it that you seem to be religious yet to want to force an unhappy woman to remain with a husband she doesn't like. I read your blog posts on the situation about how divorce is too easy/accepted and it makes me want to cry that people who claim to live a torah life are insisting that a woman should be unhappy all her life. That she should be forced to sleep with a man she loathes and probably passively raped by him continuously. Would you like to spend your life living with the class bully? Or someone that drives you mad?

    In what universe do you think that being unhappy is the torah way?

    Also, how dare you publish such a private document! I seem to remember a halacha against reading other people's mail and this most certainly falls under this. This document was most certainly private and given to court under strict confidence yet you feel that as a religious jew you are allowed to print it so you can speak lashon hora about it?

    You should do some soul searching and then remove this post and apologise.

    1. Superintendant chalmersJanuary 8, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      You seem to have not read most of the post when making comments like "Why is it that you seem to be religious yet to want to force an unhappy woman to remain with a husband she doesn't like." and "Shared her home and bed with a man she can't stand?"

      Read the post. It clearly says "I love Aharon." (I'm not conceding that lack of love is grounds for divorce, but anyway that's not relevant in this case.)

      What's clear is that she's trying to get out of a marriage with a man she loves because he doesn't socialize enough for her liking. This is just beyond immature and ditzy. And this makes her a chained wife? This is what ORA is advocating for?

      In what universe is it the Torah way to demand a divorce because the husband "reads paper at the table"? How stupid is this?

    2. This is most of what ORA advocates for. The agunah issue is mostly a fraud. Just a way to embarrass the Torah. There are few true agunahs.

    3. Is the case of a Get refuser brought in the Talmud, and if so, by what terminology what do they call him and the wife?

    4. Talmud did not believe her and reasoned shemo nosno eneha beachar. She clearly stated, she can do better. after granting husband all those good compliments, then fetching for chametz in all the wrong places, it sums up that her parents brainwashed her who never wanted him in the first place, veatidim liten et hadin. Most girls would go for such a baal midos and a good catch, just like she herself did and overrode her parents reluctance. Vechaval, she will regret this for the rest of her life. This has been her true zivug min hashamayim. Torah teaches us that midat hachesed is ubber Alles!

    5. What I can't believe is that religious jews are actually reading what is clearly not theirs to read and making opinions based on what a confused, unhappy woman privately jotted down. Unless the author allows you personally to go through her private musings you are clearly going against halacha. I hope you think about this as you sit on your high horse pretending to be frum.

      Also, the agunah issue is mostly a fraud? What does that even mean?

      It is so upsetting that you are all judging this woman and think that you, the expert, can use her own writings against her. Where did you study logic? It is despite all that she wrote she stills wants to leave him. What we have is is a huge kol ve'chomer. A said B was C. Then despite that he is C, A still wants to go. How can you logically come to another conclusion? You are twisting everything she said.

      And 'most girls will go for a baal chesed'????? You think people love each other bc they are nice? You are so deluded. People have to click. How, only God knows but it is none of your business. If she wants out, even if she is the mos evil woman in the world, you have no right to force her to stay.

    6. It is learnt from Eliezer eved Avraham. Hashem let him know that she is a ba'alas chesed, therefor fit for mother of all mothers, and that is anyone shall seek. Torah also states that HE must have a valid reason for a Divorce, same applies to HER. This piece of paper reflects her true inner feelings, with her own chotemet she cannot deny, and it is incumbent for Halacha to take into consideration, "Veim lo yagid venosso avono" applies, and therefore NO Lashan hara applies. It is absolutely none of YOUR beezwax, from where it has been acquired (hint: maybe from hubby) and it further exposes the RA BONIM, lies and more lies, and weapons of mass destruction, shfichus damim, and megaleh panim batorah shelo kehalkacha, mored bemalchus shamayim, yodim et ribonam umitkavnim limrod bo. FREE, FREE my foot. Uforsu hasimla lifnei ziknei hair. Dvorim kedorbonot.

      "based on what a confused, unhappy woman privately jotted down."
      She needs to wake up and smell the coffee, rather than to a rude awakening. Let her parents stick their nose out, and stop being a mesis umadiach, is it a wonder he feels unpleasant with the in-laws. Logic is, if A = B, B = A.

  31. "loving/sweet/ affectionate/gentle to me
    -lets me spend money - equal share
    -sometimes helpful
    -open/honest/real to me"

    This is not helpful for an annulment - since it states that

    a) he was fulfilling his marital obligations

    b) he was open and honest - hence not concealing anything.

    How then, can there be a claim for a hidden defect?

  32. Where is James? Gotcha

    1. he decided to throw in the towel :}

    2. I just got back! I go away for a week and come back to so many posts and comments. Not sure if I can respond to every comment but Ill post my reply at bottom.

      Ill be away again next week with little time during the day to respond so you can attack me all you want and I probably wont respond. But really, couldnt you respond to this post instead of "Where is James? Gotcha"? Are you really concerned about me?

  33. Confused,
    You say that Ora does not have an interest in pressuring Aharon anymore. This is not true. I was told by a reliable source that Ora has called Aharon and demanded a GET even after it first stated that Tamar was free. Maybe somebody chickened out.

    1. ORA removed all mention of Aharon and Tamar from their website. I have friends who asked ORA for more information, and all they say is that the Epstein family considers the matter closed.

    2. it could be that the alleged annulment is a bluff - ie to coax the husband into giving the get being done with, after all there is no evidence, no psak din, and not BD that is claiming to have annulled the marriage.

    3. i have a hunch you are onto something...
      with or without getting cold feet, after cutting off a piece of garment from the Emperors clothes. "Vayach es lev dovid"

    4. @Dovid Eidensohn - Confused and several other commentors here are clearly trolls doing damage control for Herschel Schachter's militant feminist ORA group. These trolls are masters of disinformation, and nothing they claim can be relied upon.

      Other ORA apologists like Eddie will claim this whole thing is an "internal Chareidi affair", but this is also disinformation. ORA was the evil mastermind behind the vicious persecution campaign against Aharon Friedman. Now ORA is claiming Tamar is "free", so they continue to be involved in that case. By publicly announcing Tamar is "free", ORA has openly allied themselves with Reform feminist non-Judaism.

    5. @EmesLeYaacov - A Troll is someone like you, who refuses to even acknowledge that Rav Herschel Schachter has Smichah! Rav Eidensohn is kind enough to post what you write, even though it demonstrates the rishis and dishonesty of some of Tamar's critics.

      Everything I wrote is easily verified. Ask any Rosh Yeshiva at YU, including Rav Herschel Schachter, if they have seen the Heter, and if they would currently officiate for a wedding for Tamar. Ask that same question to Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky. You care much more about attacking Rav Herschel Schachter then you do about determining the facts of the case.

    6. Mr ELY has promoted or demoted me to being an ORA apologist. I used to be an MO propagandist. Now let us look at what evidence there is, and how some of ELY's conclusions are unwarranted.

      I would agree that ORA is publicly attacking men as Get refusers, and this i see as being criminal (in British Law) and neged halacha. I am not familiar with the cases, but the 2 featured on here are evidenced as being men who are victims of lies and malicious abuse, and who will give a get not in exchange for money but for equal rights to see their children. I don't thing that even Rabbi Rackman would call such men abusers.

      What RHS's role in ORA is I do not know - but I am not in contact with him, so I cannot ask.

      My primary interest in these cases is to see what halachic basis there is for Gittin and annulments/mekach taut.

      ELY is making an illogical and false jump in implicating RHS in the alleged annulment of Tamar's kiddushin. As i have already stated, he brings no evidence for this. he states that ORA is claiming that she is free, and hence it was RHS who must have freed her. That is ridiculous logic. As I mentioned before, this is the kind of logic used in mediavel times to see if a witch floats, then she must be made of wood, and witches are made of wood etc. I refer you to the opening scene of the schoalrly work, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

      Next, we have testimony from a blogger that YU are furious at this, and are distancing themselves from the halachic aspects of the annulment. Since most posters here are anonymous, then one man's post is as credible as the next.

      Third, several people have pointed their finger towards Philly. Even on R' Gestetner's bittul siruv, he indicates the involvement of a hareidi Rosh Yeshiva in Philadlphia, who has personal negius with one side of of the dispute. So the alleged annulment, is not emanating from YU. we do nto know for a fact if there is an annulment. We know that ORA made the announcement and then withdrew. There is no more Tamar story on their website. if it was an ORA production, they would market it in their ugly American style, and probably throw a party as well.

      I already suggested it might be a bluff - since in a game of high stakes poker, a bluff can sometimes pay handsomely. Perhaps it might break the (ex?) husband's will if he suspects she will remarry and according to his view be eishes ish, and create mamzer half siblings for his child. If this is the strategy, then he might just issue the Get.

      But this is all speculation. But note that ELY does more than speculate, he presents his own erroneous views as facts, and adamantly sticks tot hem even when they have been discredited.

    7. @Eddie (the liar) - "he (myself) states that ORA is claiming that she is free, and hence it was RHS who must have freed her" -

      Stop spewing your absurd lie that I claimed RHS freed Tamar. I never claimed anywhere that RHS "freed" Tamar, ie that he issued her annulment. You are either delusional, or else incapable of reading comprehension, or else you are just intentionally spewing lies and incapable of any honest debate.

      You really should join ORA because you would make a perfect staff member for them.

    8. This is a warning to both of you - stop calling each other names or your comments will be blocked


    9. http://daattorah.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/tamar-epsteins-annulment-lessons-from.html#comment-form
      EmesLeYaacovJanuary 6, 2014 at 9:38 PM

      what you said was
      "Anyone with the slightest intellectual honesty (EDDIE excluded) must conclude that the ORA rabbis, including Herschel Schachter, must have approved or recognized or condoned or allowed the so-called annulment."

      So if he approved it (which he didn't), he would have had a hand in freeing her.

    10. I add a very important point - again to avoid falsely accusing Rabbis of acts which could be serious violations of halacha - RHS/YU have NOT approved an annulment; they have ordered ORA to remove any mention of this on the website, as they cannot approve such a matter without seeing the psak. That one website administrator did a press release without authorisation from the Rabbis does not implicate the rabbis.

    11. Eddie claims: "There is no more Tamar story on their website"
      FACT: "TAMAR IS FREE" continues to be announced in large letters on official ORA facebook page

      Eddie claims: "one website administrator did a press release"
      FACT: Assistant Director of ORA announces Tamar is now free

      Eddie Claims: "That one website administrator did a press release without authorisation from the Rabbis"
      FACT: Eddie has provided no proof whatsoever as to what ORA was authorized to say by the YU rabbis. The ORA website states "We operate under the halachic guidance of Rabbi Herschel Schachter".

      Eddie Claims: "RHS/YU have NOT approved an annulment"
      FACT: The ORA website states "We operate under the halachic guidance of Rabbi Herschel Schachter".

    12. ELY's claims:

      1) FACT: "TAMAR IS FREE" continues to be announced in large letters on official ORA facebook page -

      Facebook page is not under RHS's guidance. The post was made in December, and people still comment on it, but Facebook is not the same as the ORA website. You have not shown the relase to stillbe on their website, so my claim is still valid.

      2) "Meira Zack, assistant director of ORA, pointedly refused to say whether or not Epstein had been given a get and did not explain why the organization considers Tamar “free.” Zack maintains that ORA was authorized by Epstein to make the announcement. Epstein could not be reached for comment.

      Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/12/20/news-opinion/united-states/reports-of-get-given-to-tamar-epstein-denied#ixzz2q0OvRa00 "

      Zack was authorised by epstein to make the announcement, not by RHS. That is why the ad has been lifted.

      3) Claim: "Eddie has provided no proof whatsoever as to what ORA was authorized to say by the YU rabbis."
      Neither has ELY. Or is it that according to the Book of ELY, he does not need proof for his claims, whereas anyone countering his claims does need proof?

      Claim 4) This again shows the flawed logic of the self-taught ELY, who has the last word on everything in Science and evolution:

      "Eddie Claims: "RHS/YU have NOT approved an annulment"
      FACT: The ORA website states "We operate under the halachic guidance of Rabbi Herschel Schachter"."

      I stated that RHS have not approved the annulment. You provide no evidence to the contrary, other than your contradictory statement that a) RHS approved it and b) that you never said RHS freed Tamar.

      Next, you confuse the retracted press release of ORA as being a full blown ORA Bet Din for agunot. How does the fact fact they claim to follow RHS serve as evidence that a secret ORA Bet Din managed the annulment?
      Again wild speculation.

      I think to continue with this circular debate is a waste of time. ELY has emunah shleimah that the marriage was annulled by RHS/ORA or that RHS approved of it (ie gave his seal of approval to the annulment).

      Arguing with someone who has Emunah shleima is a waste of time, since they do not have the ability to think rationally. It is like trying to convince Satmar that the State of Israel is reishit tzemichat Geulatenu.

      Now a little bit of evidence that ELY has provided is accurate, ie the announcement is still on their facebook page, as they have neglected to remove it. And that the statement was made by assistant director, but she would give no further details. That doesnt make it an ORA?RHS annulment.

  34. Is it usual for a Bais Din to release documents like this? I have heard from friends on both sides who hold the Baltimore Beis Din responsible for this mess. Their actions continue to surprise me. They so easily could have ended this several years ago.

    1. I called the Baltimore Beit Din. They claimed they would never release such a document and were shocked it was posted.

      As DA wrote - this was taken from secular courts. (Secular courts have different rules on lashon hara I take it.) No beis din would allow a blogger to retrieve and post this. It's in poor conscious that this is here.

    2. Is there a reason why not all comments are posted to your blog? If someone is critical of the blog poster, do those comments get blocked? It appears so.

    3. Could you please post my other post? I'd like to believe in error you are selectively posting.

      I CALLED THE BALTIMORE BEIS DIN. They have no idea how R'DE of DT got this document. As he writes above - this comes from the SECULAR courts, where issues of Lashon Hara are not apart of american law. The BALTIMORE BEIS DIN would NEVER hand this over to R'DE. They think it's terrible that such a thing is posted.

    4. If you know Daas Torah must approve all comments before they appear, it would be wise to write in a respectful manner. Did you call the Baltimore Beis Din? What did they say?

    5. @Called Balt BD - Which court do these documents come from, and who released them? Can anyone go online and get dirty laundry on every divorce proceeding that occurs in court? Think of the Lashon Hara possibilities!

    6. Well, we will see the result when this post suddenly disappears mysteriously...

  35. @Called Balt BD - It takes time for posts to be approved

    1. @Confused - mysteriously many a few of my posts were never approved. They were as respectful as the rest of these posts. Perhaps DT feels threatened by them? Not sure. What can I do.
      Lo'bshamayim hee I guess!!

      I know they did not come from Balt Beis Din, per R' Shafran at the Beis Din. Why don't we ask R' Daniel where they come from..

      @DaasTorah could you explain how you got these? You say they are publicly available and therefore this isn't Lashon Hara to share -- could you provide a link so to demonstrate and prove this? Thank you.

  36. You can't sell me the Brooklyn BridgeJanuary 9, 2014 at 2:05 AM

    Didn't they work in cahoots with ORA, which is Tisha Kavin of lashan hara, motzi shem ra, megale ponim batorah, mamzeirimlach, eishes ish, etc, who is kidding whom?

  37. Apparently, it is perfectly legitimate for Tamar, her family and the rabbis to whom they have very close financial ties to spend years conducting an international propaganda campaign against Aharon and his family filled with misinformation and outright lies. Indeed, they have literally "permitted all to shed his blood" - resulting in a vicious assault (in an apparent attempted kidnapping) on Aharon on Tisha Ba'av on the Epstein property as Aharon brought back the child, endangering not only Aharon's life but the child's life as well.

    But when Rabbi Eidensohn publishes information refuting the false allegations against Aharon and showing that any get obtained as a result of beating Aharon would be invalid, all of a sudden that is lashon hara? Please explain.

  38. The speculation as to all of the horrible and bizarre scenarios that might possibly exist in this case that would justify some sort of annulment is completely absurd. Of course, anything is theoretically possible. Someone may have just discovered that Aharon is the rightful heir to his Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Alhaji Dr. Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE, which fact Tamar did not know about at the time of the marriage.
    But the explanation offered by Rabbi Eidensohn is the only rational explanation of what is occurring. See Occam's razor.
    And also note that the information Rabbi Eidensohn has published about this case has consistently been accurate - as opposed to the lies being spouted elsewhere.

  39. http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/08/bitulseruv-aharon-friedman-rav-gestetner.html

    Beis Din Shar Hamishpot:
    After reviewing the history of this matter and the applicable halacha, anyone with a brain in their head will be left scared and astounded as to how based on such frivolous and immaterial claims the so-called “rabbis” can work on themselves to turn into righteousness the destruction of a Jewish home, and also create a chiyuv gerushin on the husband and to persecute him without pity even while the halacha is clearly the opposite: that she is obligated to return to him. And in case she refuses to return to him, he is permitted to refuse to give a get for her entire life. [also see quote from the MAHRSHAL] One of two conclusions must be true. Either these “rabbis” are not well versed in the laws of divorce and follow astray those of modern society who erase whatever laws that are not pleasant to them – in which case these rabbis should not involve themselves in such matters at all, or, they are nullifying and rebelling against our Holy Torah, which states that a get given by a husband against his will is invalid, following the theology of “Reform Judaism” and others who uproot religion, G-d forbid.

    Either way, in each of these scenarios, the Jewish People is in terrible straits like a boat about to sink at sea without leaders having sechel hayashar or true Daas Torah, where the leaders have lost their wits and are blindly following any wind that blows through the streets of public opinion, and they bow on their knees to give a falsified seal of Daas Torah to follow the opinion of masses, which is based on the lowliest of the world’s peoples, G-d have mercy. And they directly contradict true Daas Torah.

    Instead of behaving as have great leaders of the Jewish People in all past generations, where if a woman had come to them with such immaterial “claims” following the practices of the lowliest of the world’s peoples who decide to divorce and change their spouses for any absurd or immaterial reason just like they change their socks – those rabbis would have rebuked the woman that it is forbidden to do such an absurd thing to destroy a bayis neeman byisrael [a loyal Jewish household], and to be cruel to her daughter and husband and destroy their lives for no reason. They would ask if she has no consideration whatsoever for the best interests of her daughter, when she has an important husband with all the spiritual and physical positive attributes that she herself described when she wrote out of the purity of her own heart (without trickery or outside pressure). Instead these “rabbis” came and did the opposite. They fanned the conflagration, and turned into righteousness the cruel behavior of ivelles beyadeah taharsena [a foolish woman destroys her household with her own hands]. And if the husband wants to defend his basic human and halachic rights, they further tar him as guilty and cruel. And it is on the behavior of these “rabbis” that our sages said: anyone pitying the cruel will end up being cruel towards the merciful. Be appalled at this, O Heavens.

  40. Might there come a time when the Philadelphia-based Kamenetskys realize that the child deserves to have a father involved in in the child’s day-to-day life? They may have believed almost six years ago that if they encouraged Tamar to demonstrate to Aharon they she was going to do everything she could, including using her extended family’s formidable financial resources and their connections in the Orthodox world, to prevent the child from having a father that Aharon would simply walk away and move on with his life and leave the child without a father. Perhaps a less dedicated father may have done so. But after almost six years, they should have realized that this is not going to happen.
    When are the Kamenetskys finally going to realize that all of the despicable actions -- the lies and the tricks, the kidnapping, the beating and attempted kidnapping, manipulating and abusing the process of the beis din to which the parties brought the matter before finally simply directly violating that beis din’s orders and walking out, repeated court motions such as demanding that the child only have “supervised visits” with Aharon, the false testimony in court of the Epstein family as to Aharon’s supposed parenting deficiencies that was so patently preposterous that Tamar’s own lawyer disavowed it in his closing argument, publicly demonizing Aharon and trying to have him fired from his job, hiring the criminal enterprise masquerading as a “beis din” and several of whose members were recently arrested by the FBI, attacking or driving off rabbonim who try to mediate (even including the Philadelphia Beis Din’s Rabbi Brisman) -- are not going to help Tamar but are only making matters worse?
    As the saying goes, if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you should consider is to stop digging.

    1. someone please print this comment and hang in all the Philly shuls and Yesvhias

    2. I don't think it would make a difference - the people in Philly view R' Kaminetsky as a god - no1 there would dare say a word against him no matter how wrong he is.

  41. Rabbi Schachter holds himself out as ORA's posek. ORA issued a press release claiming that Tamar is free although she hasn't received a get. Why would it be reasonable to believe that Rabbi Schachter disagrees, unless he issues a public statement to the contrary?

    1. No organization consults its Posek before every action it takes. There are many things done by YU and the OU that Rav Schachter isn't happy with, but which he isn't willing to go to war over and publicly condemn. Rav Schachter and Rav Belsky have many arguments which they keep out of public view. Rav Schachter respects Rav Kamenetsky, and he won’t publicly condemn a Heter supported by him without seeing it. When asked about the Heter publicly, all he says is that he doesn't rely on a Heter that he hasn't seen.

      If ORA had put Rav Schachter’s name on the press release, he would have no choice but to publicly condemn it. But the fact remains that his name wasn't on the press release, and the press release made no mention of any Heter or how Tamar was freed. ORA received a lot of criticism within YU for reporting an Epstein family announcement which it had nothing to do with and which Rav Shachter opposes, and so they removed all mention of it from their website.

      ORA’s job would be much easier if Rav Schachter would go about annulling marriages for them. It’s simply not how they operate. It was the Epstein family Posek who found a way out of this marriage. Rav Kamenetsky should start a rival Agunah organization, one that doesn’t waste time with negotiations, bribes, threats and protests, and instead finds a Psak to make the marriage go away. If he can find a way to annul this marriage, he could possibly solve dozens of cases which ORA is stuck on.

    2. Rabbi Schachter is ORA's posek. It is reasonable to presume that he stands by ORA's pronouncement unless he explicitly states that he disagrees. And it stands to reason that given the halachaic significance of this pronouncement, Rabbi Schachter would have approved of the announcement in advance.

    3. You are correct except you dont understand what ORA does. They are not mediators. They dont issue heterim. They advocate for agunas. If the family of the aguna orders them to stop, they will stop and RHS will agree to stop. That doesnt mean he or they agree with the heter that caused the family to stop fighting.

  42. It is true that Rabbi Schachter generally takes the position that there is no basis in halacha for the annulment Tamar has received.
    But Rabbi Schachter also takes the position that a husband can only be pressured into giving a get following the ruling of a beis din. And yet Rabbi Schachter contradicted his own position and issued a "psak" calling for Aharon to be beaten or even killed over the get at a time when when there was no ruling from any beis din against Aharon. [http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2012/04/rav-schachter-i-relied-on-rav.html] The “psak” in substance and form was much more a Khomeini-styled fatwa than anything having any relationship to halacha. Rabbi Schachter based this “psak” on a letter from Rabbi Kamenetsky basically claiming that because Rabbi Kamenetsky says something, it must necessarily be correct. Again, this comes from Ayotollah Khomeini’s interpretation of the role of the infallible jurist as ultimately manifested in the Supreme Leader in Shiite Islam, not Judaism. And Rabbi Schachter wrote this letter when the Baltimore Beis Din, to which the parties had actually brought the matter, said that Aharon had not actually done anything wrong.
    If Rabbi Kamenetsky supports the annulment, which appears to be the case, than why wouldn't that mean that Rabbi Schachter also necessarily supports the annulment?

    1. @Puzzled - Thank you for shining a light through the fog of disinformation being spread here by certain ORA apologists.

      The assistant director of ORA was quoted as saying "Tamar is now free and the case is resolved from our end".

      Are the ORA apologists really expecting us to believe that ORA's critical halachic decisions are being made by office managers completely independent of Herschel Schachter?
      If so, then why aren't the YU rabbis protesting that their names are listed on the ORA website as endorsing ORA?

      Are the ORA apologists claiming that ORA is a rogue agency operating independently, even though many YU rabbis publicly endorse ORA and/or support "agunot"?

    2. Allow me to explain it to you...January 10, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      @Emes - The way I understood it (and I did reach out to ORA when I saw the controversy beginning to stir after they announced 'Tamar is Free'), they have nothing to do with the "critical halahic decisions." They were simply acting as the Epstein's mouthpiece here. The Epsteins wanted ORA and its supporters to cease their efforts to attain a GET and therefore told ORA so, and so ORA needed to make an annoucement to its supporters stating that everyone could stop. That's all.

      As DT has noted here before R'Stern is not a posek this didnt come from him. As everyone here has speculated, this didnt come from YU either since those Rebbeim it seems are saying "we need more info before we comment." This came from elsewhere.

      I understand you have strong, negative feelings towards ORA, but you are misplacing it here. It's not reasonable to hate them for something that they did not do (decide that Tamar is Free).

      Good shabbas.

  43. ORA issued a celebratory email and press release pronouncing that Tamar is free. This announcement was also self-congratulatory claiming credit for having set Tamar free. ORA was not merely passing on a statement from the Epstein family. Why is Tamar free? ORA refused to say, but ORA did clearly the position that Tamar is free. Whether or not Tamar is married a question that has profound significance in Halacha.

    It is only reasonable to assume that Rabbi Schachter, ORA's posek, fully stands behind ORA's pronouncement unless Rabbi Schachter publicly says to the contrary.

    Also note that where ORA has made pronouncements that it later turned out that ORA did not want to be associated with, ORA has retracted those pronouncements. For example, ORA made a statement supporting the "Women of the Wall." When this ORA statement received some negative attention, including on Daas Torah, ORA withdrew this statement.

    1. "This announcement was also self-congratulatory claiming credit for having set Tamar free. "

      Can you quote exactly which statement you are referring to and provide a link to the source?

      As far as i have seen, ORA was self congratulating in having been an advocate for her cause, not for setting her free. There is a difference.
      If I am an advocate for Rabin being removed from office by the ballot, I am not responsible for someone removing him by the bullet. You are equating the two, and claiming that RHS pulled the trigger.

  44. To clarify, I have no idea whether Rabbi Hershel Schachter actually performed the annulment ceremony / declared the marriage annulled. I also have no idea what he thinks of the matter.

    My point is that Rabbi Schachter is the posek for ORA. When ORA makes a public announcement on a matter with important halachic significance, especially where this announcement appears to reflect a revolution in halacha, it is only reasonable to assume that Rabbi Schachter fully stands behind the announcement and approved the announcement from a halachic perspective.

    1. Thats absurd. RHS is one of the poskim guiding ORA. They were told by Epstein's family that she was free and that they should stop publicizing her status as an agunah. They issued a press release. Not every press release is reviewed by a posek. BTW, that press release is nowhere to be found on their website anymore.

  45. There are a lot of organizations that go to Rav Schachter for Psak including YU, OU, ORA, RCA, and BDA. None of them gets his preapproval for every press release they make.

    If Rav Schachter had a revolutionary Halachic idea, he would publish it under his own name in a Torah journal, as he’s done many times in the past. He wouldn’t have an organization associated with him make a general announcement, with no mention of either his name or any Halachic reasoning at all. Your assumption was never reasonable, and indeed no reasonable person ever had such a הוה אמינא. One thing is for sure. Once a reasonable person heard from people who have spoken to ORA and Rav Schachter that they both deny that he had anything to do with the Heter, they would accept it. You seem desperate to blame Rav Schachter, and you’re not about to let the facts get in the way.

  46. Are you denying that Rabbi Schachter issued a call for Aharon to be beaten or killed even though there was no Beis din finding against Aharon?
    Are you denying that Rabbi Schachter has said that no action may be taken against a husband regarding a get in the absence of any Beis din finding against the husband?
    Rabbi Schachter may not have principal responsibility for the abuse in this case, but it is hard to see how you could find him blameless.

  47. I do not believe that anyone has gone on record as saying rabbi Schachter said that he disagrees in any way with the annulment.

  48. I just got back and I see that lots have transpired. At the same time, nothing posted or written here is really new. We have discussed this all in the past.

    The post starts with the same diary entry we have been discussing for months. Once again, diary entries are not testimony. Even if they are evidence, they need to be contextualized. This diary entry proves nothing.

    The post ends with the same worn out arguments over RHS and ORA. We really dont know how she was freed but if its through an annulment, we can be sure that RHS did not issue it. My guess is that R' Belsky has some involvement in this.

  49. ORA's press release:

    With tremendous gratitude to G-d for freeing the chained!

    After scores of rallies, thousands of letters,
    and years of persistent advocacy and hopeful prayers...

    We are very excited to announce that

    We are so happy for Tamar and her family, and relieved that this tragic saga has finally come to an end.

    We would like to thank you for your support
    in our fight for Tamar's freedom.

    ORA: The Organization for the Resolution of Agunot
    www.getORA.org | 551 W. 181st St, #123, New York, NY 10033

  50. Nobody has explained why or how Tamar is free. Nobody has publicly stated which rabbis were involved in determining that Tamar is free. No rabbi has publicly gone on record stating that Tamar is free. I believe that Rabbis Eidensohn are the only rabbis to go on record stating that they believe that she is not free.

    ORA made a public pronouncement / press release that Tamar is free. ORA didn’t just say that Tamar has said that she is free. ORA pronounced publicly that Tamar is free.

    ORA tries to take credit for Tamar being free. ORA says that after countless rallies, thousands of letters, etc. , Tamar is free. ORA does not explain the connection between Tamar being free and ORA’s actions, but ORA does make this connection, at least implicitly.

    Some commenters on this blog have claimed that ORA’s press release was unauthorized or somehow a mistake and does not constitute ORA’s position. However, ORA sent this out as a press release and has never retracted the press release. Upon a previous occasion, ORA put out a statement in support of the Women of the Wall. Rabbi Jeremy Stern explicitly claimed that it was a mistake. Daas Torah has posted that statement, but took it down when Rabbi Stern that it was a mistake.

    ORA’s pronouncement that Tamar is free has the highest possible halachic significance. And this halachic significance exists regardless of whether the reason that Tamar is free is completely accepted within halacha or whether Tamar being free would constitute a revolution in halacha. In this case, given that it seems to be undisputed that a get was not given, there would be very controversial halachic issues involved if the marriage were annulled.

    ORA has many rabbis whom it lists as having their rabbinic endorsements. But ORA states that its posek is Rabbi Hershel Schachter.

    Rabbi Hershel Schachter has not issued any public statements on whether Tamar is free. There has not even been any individual who has gone on record claiming to state that they have heard directly from Rabbi Schahter what Rabbi Schachter’s position is.

    Given that Rabbi Schachter is ORA’s posek, it would stand to reason that Rabbi Schachter supports ORA’s halachic pronouncement that Tamar is free. That is not absolute proof that Rabbi Schachter has this position, but it is a reasonable assumption from everything known about this matter.

    If ORA’s has not obtained guidance from its posek before issuing an announcement of (1) such halachic significance, and (2) such controversy, than what exactly does it mean that ORA has a posek?

    1. Let us just look at Puzzled's claims and alleged logic.

      A statement was made by OA, which was pulled from its website the following day. So it is not on the website.
      The claim they made was that they advocated for Epstein. they did not elaborate how she had been freed, nor did they claim to have freed her. Advocacy is about increasing awareness. Perhaps they initally thought she had received a get. perhaps there was an agreement for a get - but it was pulled at the last minute.

      Or perhaps they simply made the announcement without asking a posek.

      Now, Puzzled goes on to assign full blame on RHS, without bringing any evidence of his wrongdoing, or rightdoing.

      I will now give an example of how twisted is the logic of puzzled.

      EJF was acting under the halachic auspices of R' Elyashiv, and the Vaad set up by the Gabad of Antwerp (even though he died about 50 years earlier).
      The director of EJF received his semicha from R' shach and from R Zholty.
      That EJF director, engaged in several ongoing acts of depravity. There was no protest from either the Vaad or RYSE.
      If puzzled is hanging the sins of Epstein or alleed acts of ORA on RHS, then he would equally hang the sins of tropper on thsoe who gave him semicha and hechser for his EJF.

    2. @Puzzled
      " But ORA states that its posek is Rabbi Hershel Schachter. "

      Please clarify where they state this, and in what context.

      I have found 2 contexts:

      1) An endoresement signed by RHS and RGDS http://media.wix.com/ugd/d6b8ec_722373e095f4bc3a230a34523e728d9c.pdf
      Here they state that ORA "resolves agunah cases within the confines of Halacha.."

      2) Various endorsements of the prenup that is offered by ORA

      So, the question is, has ORA itself resolved the Epstein case? It does not appear that they make any such claim. The did make a public statement that she is "free" - and then withdrew it. Had this been approved by RHS, there would be no reason to withdraw it the next day.

      Thus it appears that the method by which Tamar was freed has not been approved by RHS or RGDS.

  51. Has ORA withdrew its statement that Tamar is free? I haven't seen a retraction. And when ORA wants to withdraw its statement it does so explicitly, such as in regard to the Women of the Wall. ORA's statement is still on its Facebook page and ORA's statement is still on its twitter page

    1. The statement has been pulled from the website. That means it has been withdrawn. You cannot legislate on them how they should withdraw something, or that they should make an anouncement nullifying their previous one. Perhaps it would be a good idea if they did, but obviously they have withdrawn it, like it or not.

    2. @Eddie - Still trying to bamboozle us that ORA retracted their statement that "Tamar is Free."? ORA's statement remains clear as daylight.


  52. www.getora.com/PDF/Ohana%20Rally%207.9.pdf
    ORA refers to Rabbi Schachter as its posek.

  53. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Response-to-the-New-York-Times.html?soid=1102382229046&aid=U0gyKMnEtOE

    Jan 7, 2011 - From our perspective at ORA, advocating on behalf of agunot is an ... under the halakhic guidance of our posek, Rav Hershel Schachter, shlit"a.

    1. OK, so they say he is their posek, on how to advocate for each case. They do not conduct annulments.

  54. I have not asserted that Rabbi Schachter came up with the annulment nor I have said that I know that he supports it.
    But I do not see why you think it so unreasonable for one to draw the conclusion that Rabbi Schachter supports the annulment given that he is ORA's posek. The pronouncement by ORA was of immense halachic significance even if the halachic aspects of the case were completely clear and uncontroversial. And the pronouncement has immense halachic controversy. What is Rabbi Schachter's function as posek if not to provide guidance on such matters?

    1. Why then, did they remove the announcement?
      Your logic is actually backwards logic, or lo k'darka.
      You claim that RHS is ORA's posek,a nd you bring evidence to support this claim.
      Your twist is that you employ reverse logic, i.e. since ORA made and then retracted a public statement, then RHS must agree with it. This is suggesting that ORA is RHS's posek, not the other way round!

      I suggest you email ORA's director : Jeremy@getORA.org

      and ask him to to clarify matters.

  55. Rabbi Schachter has taken the view that a husband can only be pressured into giving a get following the ruling of a beis din. In this case, Rabbi Schachter issued a letter calling for Aharon to be beaten or killed over a get at a point where no beis din had said that Aharon had done anything wrong, Can you explain that?
    But the problematic nature of Rabbi Schachter's behavior goes much deeper than that. At the time that Rabbi Schachter issued his letter calling for Aharon to be beaten, the beis din to which the parties had brought the matter and which had actually heard the case said flat out that it was wrong to criticize Aharon because Aharon had not done anything wrong.

    Rabbi Schachter letter cited Rabbi Kamenetsky as authority for Rabbi Schachter calling for Aharon to be beaten or killed. But Rabbi Kamenetsky has extremely close personal and financial ties to Tamar's family. In other words, Rabbi Schachter was willing to (1) violate his own position (that no pressure regarding a get may be brought absent a finding of wrongdoing by a beis din) (2) completely overrule the beis din that had actually heard the case because of a letter written by someone with extremely close ties personal and financial ties to Tamar's family.
    Rabbi Schachter is actually perpetrating the perversion of halacha and the beis din system that he denounced in an interview with Ami Magazine.

    1. Thank you PUzzled, do you have proof that he wrote a letter "calling for Aharon to be beaten or killed over a get"? Please provide a link to this letter.
      If that was the case, then Aharaon should go to the Police, without even asking a Rav for heter.

    2. Daas Torah has previously written about this letter.
      The only reason that Rabbi Schachter is not already in jail is because of the extraordinary protections provided in the United States by the First Amendment.

  56. If you want to argue that Rabbi Schachter is not solely responsible for what has happened in this case, I don't think anyone, and certainly not I, would dispute that.

    1. My only argument here is that there is no evidence that RHS conducted/was involved in/or approved an annulment - if such annulment has been granted.
      Again, the arguments are not logical. Perhaps you could claim that since you have a video of RHS and R Belsky sitting around the same OU table, and R Belsky allegedly annulled in the past, this would make RHS also guilty of a crime. But this kind of association is nonsensical and has no validity.

    2. There is no evidence that RHS was involved in the annulment. But his being ORA's posek provides good reason to assume that he believes that Tamar may currently remarry under Jewish Law.


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