Sunday, February 8, 2015

Beaten wife receives Get by hiring false witnesses to tell the truth.Is this Get valid?

Rav Yizchok Zilberstein (Aleinu L'Shabeach Vayikra page 317) describes a strange case. A woman is being beaten by her husband. She goes and complains to beis din. They simply tell the husband to behave himself - but the beatings go on. There were no witnesses for her claims - which is common in such cases. Her brothers, seeing nothing was being done - hired two people to be false witnesses on her behalf and to testify that they saw the husband beating her. The beis din carefully examined the false witnesses and decided that they are telling the truth. Based on this testimony the beis din orders the husband to give his wife a divorce - which is the law in Shulchan Aruch.

After she received the Get she went to Rav Silberstein to ask whether she can remarry with a Get given because of false witnesses - who were telling the truth about her beating. She said, "It is clear that what the witnesses said was true that the husband beat me. But on the other hand they lied when they said that they witnessed it. Is the Get posul?"

Rav Silberstein felt that the Get was valid because we accept the principle that every Jew wants to do what is right in the eyes of G-d. The reason why we sometimes force the husband to give a Get is because his yetzer harah sometimes prevents him from doing the right thing. In this case the husband is well aware of the truth that he was beating his wife. In his heart he knows that he has an obligation to divorce his wife. Therefore we can consider that he gave the Get willingly - even though he was forced to give it.

However Rav Eliashiv did not agree with this reasoning and stated that it is prohibited to remarry with a  Get obtained through false witnesses. However in this case since the woman already has the Get there is no reason to tell the husband that Rav Eliashiv said the Get is not valid....It is possible to say to him that since the Get already is in the hands of his wife perhaps he will now write a get of his own free will...


  1. The most pertinent takeaway from this teshuva is that it clearly demonstrates that a wife who wants a Get from a husband who does not want to divorce her, is not entitled to a Get and the husband is entitled to insist that the marriage continue.

    Obviously, as we see in this teshuva, if the wife has valid cause to demand a Get (such as if her husband is beating her) then the halacha does allow beis din to demand he give her a Get.

    But in the absence of valid cause (that halacha recognizes), if a husband desires to continue the marriage a wife cannot come to beis din, say I want a Get and have beis din order the husband to give her one. He is fully within his halachic, moral and ethical rights to insist that the marriage continue.

    As we see in this case, the wife was only able to receive a beis din order demanding a Get because she was being beaten by her husband. In the absence of that factor, we see the beis din will deny her request for a Get.

  2. What if the wife has "valid cause" but no evidence to provide beis din (he beat her but there are no witnesses)? Then we see that even though Beis Din cannot coerce the husband, still the husband has a moral obligation to give the Get and we should coerce him in halachically permissible ways that don't create a problem of Get Meusah.

  3. Actually it seems that the takeaway is that RZilberstein is joining those batei din who make mamzerim , and now should be ridiculed and disqualified.

  4. @JBlog - you didn't bother to mention that Shulchan Aruch provides for certain cases of forcing the husband and others not.Rav Silberstein is clearly not saying in all cases where a woman wants to get out of the marriage there is a moral obligation for the husband to divorce her

    You first have to specify the case. If it is a case of wife beating then the husband has a moral obligation. If it is that she was bored with him or fell in love with another man and she went to Arkaos - he has not moral obligation to divorce her

  5. Beaten wife receives
    Get by hiring false witnesses to tell the truth.

    How do you know
    where the truth lies, no pun intended?

    Indeed, it is very strange, unless there is something choser min hasefer.
    There are too many things out of order.

    If you accept and base on eidus sheker,

    1) - How do you know "it is clear that the husband beat her"?

    2) - How is this different from eidus istatis hi zu?

    3) - How is it different than eidey kidushin that were later found to
    be posul - makish yetziah lebiah

    - "Which is the law in Shulchan Aruch". But shulchan aruch also demands

    - "His yetzer harah sometimes prevents him from doing the right thing". But if
    not for eidim, BD would never perform a get as has been the case before these
    false eidim ever came to testify.

    - Get meusse is the least of all the rest of the problems. Isn't the Psak of
    chiyuv Get based on a false premise, even when he complies to the

    7) - Haodes baal din ( for rented eidus ) kemeah eidim damya. Suppose she
    claims afterwards, he never beat me?

    8) - How is this different than eidim hamazimim?

    9) - Chakira ubdika ma tehe alaho? They should have been fired.

    10) - Im ken, okarto kama dvorim min haTorah?

    11) - Im ken, chote veniskar?

    12) - Im ken Torah ma tehe oleho?

    13) - Im ken - AL toshes yodcho im rosho, ma tehe alaho?

    14) - Im ken - Hamotzi mechavero olov horaya ma tehe oleho?

    15) - im ken lo hinachto ben leavrohom avinu sheyosheves tachas

    16) - If you accept and base on eidus sheker, im ken lo shavkas chayey

    R' Elyashiv's recommendation is mityashev al haDaas. It is a complete DO
    OVER! Vehakol al mekomo yovo beShalom.

  6. The S"A rules that if a wife demands a divorce based on her claims she is being beaten by her husband, and the husband claims she is lying in order to obtain a non-consensual divorce, then beis din first has to give him a second change with warnings to behave and stop beating her or he will be forced to divorce her.

    If she claims he is still persisting in beating her after having been warned by beis din to stop, and he still claims she is making that claim falsely in order to procure a divorce, then the S"A rules beis din must place an agent of the beis din in the marital home to be a witness as to whether her claims are true or not. In the absence of that agent of beis din bearing witness to the alleged abuse, the beis din is halachicly impotent in ordering he give her a divorce.

  7. RDE, it seems to me that moral obligations are defined by many things, not just absolute halacha. If the relationship between husband and wife is irretrievably over would you agree that he has a moral obligation to give her a get. Note that this question is not related to whether it is appropriate according to halacha to shame him or otherwise influence the process and also independent of whether there are inappropriate acts by the wife such as refusing to go to bet din. Assuming none of those exist do you think it is acceptable to withhold a get for no good reason?

  8. The problem is that certain batei din today would use this ra v zilberstein (ignoring his father in law) as rationalization to order a get. Especially since these types of batei din are predisposed to accept a. Questionable eidim to begin with, that b. Are on the women's side c. Regarding supposed abuse.

    Question: did the husband deny the abuse? If so, how can we retroactively accept (perjured) facts of abuse?

  9. A legitimate poseik ruled the get kosher. This means the children are not mamzerim. Your opinion as to their status counts for zero.

  10. I was always curious. What if a wife or husband brings a (supposed) spouse for an uncontested get. A year later, he / she (leaves the real spouse and) remarries, using the umcontested year old get.

    I am told both sides must bring ID, such as drivers license. Well they were married; its not difficult at all to get fake duplicate IDs in such a case.

    This is not much different. Actually, much easier. And i wouldn't be surprised it hadn't happened over the years.

  11. @Emes I have stated many times if all issues are settled and the husband is withhold the get because of spite or hatred he is wrong. I cited a teshuva or Rav Sternbuch that states this.

    It is definitely wrong to withhold the get when his only reason is hatred or spite - when the marriage is finished.

  12. Thank you. I think it is important to make this clear periodically , otherwise people will demonize you as being a woman hater rather than adressing the issues you raise.

  13. You have no sense for satire, should have use purple letters. On this blog anyone who diverges from RSYE is accused of making mamzerim. Perhaps you can explain to Rav Eliashiv that a legitimate poseik ruled her divorced, and it wasn't his place to challenge it.

  14. Doesn't Stein claim she was beaten? Even if she does not have enough evidence for beis din that annuls your entire argument regarding that case!

  15. @Jblog - - think a bit harder before you grasp at straws to make your case.. There is no evidence for the claim and there is clear evidence she has not been careful with the truth. Yoel knows the truth and thus it is not the same case as I just posted.

    He has no moral obligation to give a get when not is there not adequate evidence but the charges are not true.

    False allegations without supporting evidence are not the same as true allegations that lack adequate proof. - that should have been obvious to you!

  16. Perhaps I have no sense for satire, or perhaps you're inept at satire. Whichever.

    Rav Elyashiv is no longer here, so no one will be explaining anything to him, not that I am worthy to have explained things to him when he was alive. At any rate, how do you know he challenged R' Z's psak? Maybe the latter brought the question to him. But even if he did challenge it, he, as perhaps the foremost poseik in the last decade and a half, was well within his right to do so if he felt it was wrong. It is your opinion which counts for nothing against R' Zilbersthein's psak. R' Elyasiv's counter-psak certainly would have counted.

  17. @narmer - you should reread what I posted. It is clear that Rav Zilberstein deferred to Rav Eliashiv's judgment in this case after he apparently asked for Rav Eliashiv's views. Rav Zilberstein regular notes where Rav Eliashiv or Rav Kaniefsky were consulted and disagreed with his view - and he deferred to their judgment.

    Bottom line it is not just this blog which is concerned with Rav Eliashiv's views - it is also Rav Zilberstein!

  18. Different case: someone owes me money, i lost the shtar ( = IOU / note) so i forge a new one.

    After i win the (momonot) case, and pick up the settlement e check, i ask rrav zilberstein if i can cash the check?

  19. Please forgive by ignorance, but I seem to be missing some details that might help my understanding of the ruling of Rav Elyashiv Z"L. In this case is there any doubt of the veracity of the woman's claim that she had been beaten by her husband? Would Rav Elayashiv's ruling be any different had the woman who now admits that she had provided perjurious testimony before Bais Din in order to procure a gett by coercion, were now to provide a fresh set of witness that testify to the same, but that this time the witnesses were unimpeachable?

    Better yet, were there to be an admission by the husband at this time that he had indeed beaten his wife, but that notwithstanding, he knew that the witnesses that were testifying before Bais Din, were lying when they claimed that they actually saw the abuse, would that have effected Rav Elyashiv's ruling?

    Finally, if the above scenarios might justify a ruling that the gett is valid under those circumstances, why would the women not have a Peh She-osar that would corroborate the fact that she had indeed been beaten? And would that not result in the same outcome as the scenarios provided above?

    Or how about this scenario? The woman obtains a ruling from Bais Din that the husband is mandated to give a get based on perjured witness testimony of abuse. However, before the gett is written the woman impeaches the testimony of her witnessess, but insists that the basic facts are still true; that she had indeed been violated by her husband. Would she than have a Pesh She-ossar that would bring about a second ruling by Bais Din affirming its original psak?

    Would someone care to clarify, please?

  20. You really need to go back to school an learn how to talk like a mentch to people. While I sometimes agree with your content, your delivery leaves much to be desired.
    Take a breath, calm yourself - not everything needs to be delivered at defcon 5!

  21. You really need to go back to school an learn how to talk like a mentch to people

    Is that what they teach in school? News to me.

    I don't see anything terribly offensive in what I wrote. If you care to point out specifics, I'm glad to reconsider.

  22. My understanding of what R' Elyashiv was saying (admittedly on very little information) is that he considered this a get me'usah shelo k'din. If I'm correct, the truth of her allegations are irrelevant.

  23. It is totally ridiculous that a woman has to provide 'witnesses' to being beaten. Clearly such a situation is unlikely to take place in public so the Beis Din should rely on medical evidence.
    It is precisely this kind of thing which brings our religion into disrepute and has necessitated the need to beg the assistance of secular authorities, in the UK at least, to not grant a civil divorce until the niceties of the religious divorce are settled. Why cannot today's Rabbis accept that the 'rules' on which such indignities are based were merely interpretations of the Halachah by Rabbis acting in accordance with the age in which they lived? These ancient Rabbis, however learned and well-intentioned, were not HaShem and could not, therefore, foresee the future as being different from what they knew.

  24. @Jacqueline - not aware that there is requirement to rely only on witnesses. I assume there was no clear cut medical evidence. Have you heard of a case where there was medical evidence that the beis din refused to acknowledge?

    The story was told to illustrate the issue of obtaining the proper result with improper witnesses. It was not meant to explain how reports of wife beating should be handled.

    Unfortunately there when it comes to divorce - false allegations of abuse of wife and children are not uncommon. The husband has the right to be presumed innocent - until evidence is brought against him.

    The rest of your comment indicates you don't approve of halacha though it is not clear from the examples you give what your objection is.

  25. You are reading me totally wrong. I have absolutely no problem with the Halachah as given by HaShem in the Torah. It is the reliance on how it was interpreted by Rabbis in the Middle Ages, who can have had no knowledge of today's world that I have the problem with. My objection is that Jews should not need to rely on the civil courts to get them out of a mess of their own making simply because they refuse to accept that, just maybe,, these learned men made their interpretations in accordance with their own times and not with life as it is now. I specifically refer to the ongoing horror of the situation of the Aguna.
    Regarding the need for witnesses in the story above, the second sentence makes it quite clear that the Beis Din accept that she IS being beaten buut do nothing other than tell the husband to behave. ONLY when (male!) witnesses come forward, however false their statements are, does she obtain her get. Obviously, it is not only Muslims who believe that a woman's testimony is worth less than that of a male.
    Are you sure it is not yourself who disapproves of women daring to question men on Halachah?

  26. @Jacqueline - what is the halacha that you have no problem with?

    Are you saying we should just get rid of the rabbis and the Oral Law and but keep the 5 Books of Moses? Where does it in the Written Law say that a wife has a right to get on demand or that beating a wife is grounds for a divorce? What is the basis for your belief that there would be no aguna problem if we didn't have rabbis?

    Actually it is clear that without the rabbinical understanding or Torah law and rabbinical decrees - a woman would simply be divorced against her will whenever the husband got tired ofr her or she would be one of many wives in a polygamous family.

    Referring to the story - you need to be aware that Rav Zilberstein is writing a book for the masses and is not concerned with precise reporting of all the relevant factors. In short it is far from a code of law and you can't make diyukim in his language.

    If I disapproved of women questioning halacha I would have simply blocked your comment. It is obvious from your response that you have a very limited background in halacha. Instead of asking for clarification you insist on making pronouncments.

    Bottom line - your original allegation that a beis din will not act on the complaint of a wife regarding being beaten - unless there are two male witnesses - is not true. If you have any source that disagree with that please present it.

  27. I am saying that relying on interpretation by medieval Rabbis who could have had no knowledge of today's world is ridiculous.
    Where does it say in the Torah that that there is another body of Oral Law? Where does it say in the Torah that only a man may divorce and not a wife?
    Maybe I do not ask for clarification because I do not feel the need for it.
    Shemot 21.11 clearly states that a wife may leave her husband if HE does not fulfil his duties towards her & this without her paying him any money such as has become common practice when a woman seeks a get.
    The Talmud (Sanhedrin) states that a witness must be a free man not a woman or a slave & that there should be 2 witnesses. It is also the Talmud that permits wife beating whilst the Torah forbids violence towards another even if he loses control.


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