Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rav Dovid Eidensohn: Telephone Conference Shiur #7 - Negating a Marriage without a GET Shiur on Wednesday night 9:30 May 13

Shiur on Wednesday night 9:30 May 13 – Call 605-562-3130 then enter code 411161#

1. HaGaon Reb Moshe Feinstein in EH IV:52 writes that if a woman marries and finds out that the husband has a great defect, that the marriage can be negated without a GET. Cases are that the husband cannot have BIAH, or the husband is a Shoteh.

2. In EH IV:113 Reb Moshe permits the wife to remarry if her husband is discovered to be strongly involved in homosexuality. But this only applies if the wife, immediately upon learning about her husband’s problem left him and did not return.

3. However, “If it is impossible to get a GET from him we permit her to remarry, but if it is possible to get a GET from him we must do everything possible to get the GET.”

4. But why is there such a need to get a GET that everything possible, such as paying large sums of money, must be invoked? And the answer is, that it is extremely rare to find a Rov who permits a married woman to remarry without a GET, and even Reb Moshe commands us to get a GET at any cost, if possible

5. Also, Reb Moshe in EH I:79:1 brings from the Beis HaLevi Simon 3 and the Kovneh Rov, AIN YITSCHOK 24:6 and BIARE YITSCHOK 4:3, Gedolei hador in the time of the Chofetz Chaim who were are not sure that the marriage is negated by a great Mum or blemish.

6. The Kovneh Rov brings in AYIN YITSCHOK I:EH 24:7:44 that some authorities feel that there is a doubt whether if there is a great defect the marriage is negated: Chavass Yoir, the Besomim Rosh, Rashbatz and Shevuse Yaacov did not want to permit remarriage without a GET. If so many great authorities were not sure of the halacha with a great blemish and refuse to permit the wife to remarry, Reb Moshe took upon himself to permit this. But this does not mean that we do this as we see that the majority of the great authorities from previous generations did not consider the woman free to remarry.

7. Reb Yosef ben Leib, considered by some the rebbe of Rebbe Yosef Karo, writes in volume two IV:19:3, Regarding a woman remarrying when she may be forbidden to do this, we are stringent and forbid this, even if most authorities permit it.” What if most or all other authorities forbid it? That is the situation with Reb Moshe’s opinion about permitting a woman to remarry when nobody agrees with him. But there is another problem with this heter.

8. Reb Moshe himself says that the person who wants to cancel the marriage can only do so when the great blemish is discovered and immediately, without delay, the person leaves the house and has nothing to do with the blemished person. This is found in Chelkas Mechokake EH 39:9.

9. My question is: Let us assume that a blemish does permit a woman to be free of the marriage. But who knows that the wife immediately fled from the husband? Of course, now, hours or days or weeks later, she may have decided to leave. But if she delayed even by a small span of time, she is not free. And is it not likely that the woman was in a great state of shock and struggled to think things over. Leave? Maybe yes, maybe not. Perhaps being alone is worse. What would people say? Who will support me? What will the children say? How will the children ever marry if people know that their father was an active homosexual? What if the wife wants to straighten out her bank account that has large sums that if she has a few days can be in her favor, but if she just runs away, she may lose everything? What is the halacha about that? Who takes the responsibility to say it is not a problem?

10. Another problem is one I learned the hard way. I once needed a GET from somebody who would not allow a rabbi into his office. Reb Moshe had a teshuva permitting making the GET. A rabbi agreed to do the GET on the condition that he personally not give a document that the woman was properly divorced. Rather, he would write that according to Reb Moshe the GET was kosher. At that, I called Reb Moshe’s gabei and was told, “Just because it says that in the Teshuva sefer, does that mean that we do it?” I was stunned and just hung up. I called up Reb Aivigder Miller zt”l who told me, “Reb Moshe became stricter later in life and regretted some decisions he had made in earlier times. When the world was a complete disaster Reb Moshe felt he had to be very lenient. But as the word got frumer Reb Moshe pulled back.

11. If so, who says that anyone should do what Reb Moshe permits in this case when all rabbonim disagree with him?

12. I heard from the assistant to Rav Henkin, Rabbi Margolin, a similar thing. We used to doven in the same shull and we would talk. He told me that he constantly asked Rav Henkin to put out his teshuvose, because he was the posek hador in America before Reb Moshe, and he had a huge amount of teshuvose. But Rav Henkin refused. He felt that his teshuvose were for a lost generation, and he hoped that better times would come when his teshuvose were not appropriate.

13. If so, when we find an incredible chidush from Reb Moshe, who says something that nobody else in the world accepts, and what the greatest authorities discuss in depth and reject Reb Moshe’s leniency, who can go release a woman from a marriage and have her remarry and have children after that? Probably, there is a serious doubt if Reb Moshe himself would continue to hold this opinion. And even if he does maintain his leniency, how can we permit a woman to remarry when all of the great rabbis who discussed this refused to permit her to remarry? And how do we know that she really left immediately when finding out the problem with the husband?

14. Another problem. A marriage made with the understanding that it will only be viable if such and such are done. Or a marriage that is only viable if a person does not have a certain problem. If the condition is not fulfilled do we cancel the marriage? If the marriage was made with ERUSIN alone, only giving a ring, for instance, and the condition is not fulfilled, the marriage is off. But if the couple had CHUPAH or intimacy, the condition may be cancelled. See Shulchan Aruch EH 38:35.

15. “One who makes ERUSIN with a condition [that cancels the marriage if the condition is not fulfilled], but has relations with his wife without mentioning the condition, [and the condition is not fulfilled seemingly canceling the marriage] she needs a GET [meaning she is married despite the condition that cancelled the marriage] even though the condition was not fulfilled. We suspect that he negated the condition when he had relations with her or brought her into his home. Ramo – And if somebody else marries her she needs a GET from both of them.” We see from this that even when somebody says he will marry only if a certain condition is fulfilled, and the condition is not fulfilled, if he has relations or CHUPAH with his wife, we fear that he negated his conditions. This could be because “nobody wants to have marital relations that are zenuse.” See also EH 38:36 at the end that she is married after the intimacy and he must give her a KESUBO even if the condition for the marriage is not fulfilled.

16. Thus although if somebody makes a condition to marry and the condition is not fulfilled the marriage is off, that only applies to ERUSIN, without CHUPAH or BIAH. But if somebody makes a condition that only with this condition is there a marriage and then there is CHUPAH or intimacy, there is a serious question if the condition is negated by the CHUPAH or intimacy. Because once a person has CHUPAH or intimacy and still presses the condition, the marriage is off. And the CHUPAH and intimacy were outside of a marriage, or Zenuse. Therefore, it is quite possible that any condition made for ERUSIN is negated upon CHUPAH or intimacy. But a woman married with CHUPAH or intimacy, even if we would normally assume that no man or woman would accept such a blemish in marriage, this is only prior to CHUPAH. But once there is CHUPAH conditions are negated so that the intimacy is not Zenuse. If so, in all cases where the marriage is negated because of a MUM or serious problem, once there was CHUPAH it is possible that the marriage is still viable to prevent BIAS ZENUSE.

17. See Yevomose 107 “Nobody makes his intimacy Zenuse” and “a marriage made with certain conditions, those conditions are negated when the couple is together” means basically that the marriage with CHUPAH survives the requirement of conditions. This is a complicated topic but surely it is not a simple thing to free a woman who is married to somebody who has a great blemish MUM, especially as other than Reb Moshe nobody permits it, and everyone forbids it. And, as I mentioned earlier, Reb Moshe’s teshuvose often contain material that he personally refused to permit in later years. Perhaps this is one of them.


  1. part of this is speculation, ie the reasons why Gedolei HaDor gave certain leniencies, but that had they been around today, they would not. There are others who may say the opposite, ie the problems today are worse and more widespread, so they would have given an even wider heter.
    As an example, I once discussed RMF's teshuva on cholov akum with a Rav in Lubavitch. He claimed this was just a post war heter, but today it would not be permitted. When I asked a major Dayan, and mentioned this argument, he ridiculed it saying that the teshuva gives a thorough analysis of what chalav is and how it can be permitted, and does not mention anything about shortages etc.

  2. Rav moshe writes that he was never chozer on a teshuvah. B'mchilas kevod Rav Miller, he views Rav Moshe through his own very different perspective. He shared very few views with the godol hador, and his opinion has absolutely no bearing on anything here.

  3. I don't know anything about if today we are more lenient or less lenient with this or that topic. All I know is that two Gedolei HaDor published teshuvose that were only designed for when they made them, a lost generation. I am 72 years old and I was born in that generation. Reb Aharon had only eighty people in his Yeshiva when I came. I asked where the bathroom was and I was told that there is one working toilet on the second floor all of the way at the end.

    It was a lost generation. But the kernel of Reb Aharon's Torah and Reb Moshe and Reb Shrago etc. changed the world. And when the world changed, those lenient teachings are suspect. Reb Aharon once considered going to Israel to his father-in-law's Yeshiva, but he knew that America needed him. He did Goral HaGro and it came to the passage about Aharon and Moshe in the desert. Reb Aharon went to America. But today is surely a different world. It has its own problems, but it surely has a lot more people who will tolerate a strict opinion than when these teshuvose were written.

    Here is a thought, a very painful one. I was seventeen years old when I came to learn by Reb Aharon. He was an old man and I didn't know how long I could talk to him, so I jumped in and pestered him constantly. My great fear besides being clobbered for my wrong ideas in learning was that somebody would come over and take away "my" Reb Aharon. The exact thing happened years later in Monsey when Reb Moshe came often with his rebbetsein to visit his daughter and I pestered him for all I could. I was terrified that somebody would come and take away "my Reb Moshe." In a couple of years of doing this, I think there were three times when somebody came to talk to Reb Moshe in halacha. It was a lost generation. But if today they would be alive, I don't think they would have time to talk to me.

  4. Regarding RMF 'changing his mind', we see several such cases. Two or three tshuvot prohibiting kashering dishwashers, then one permitting (all printed consequtively. It obviously was printed this way on purpose.) A tshuva prohibiting microphone on shabbat, followed by one permitting hearing aids.

  5. #3: only if he was homosexual at time of marriage (chuppah ve'kiddushin), not if he became after the marriage.
    #9: RMF is pretty clear if she was intimate with the husband even one time after finding out, she cannot claim major defect. Nothing about waiting to clear out the bank account. (Maybe to verify the defect, but RMF doesn't say that.)

  6. I completely agree with this. I don't believe that R' Miller had standing to make such a statement regarding R' Moshe.

  7. @Ari B - I would appreciate the source for this claim. A number of people told me that Rav Moshe rarely changed his mind - but that he was never chozer is something else. He did acknowledge that he was not infallible and a number of times acknowledged in the Igros Moshe that he had made a mistake.

    An example of an apparent change is the first teshuva in volume 9. I asked Rabbi Bluth about that and he said Rav Moshe had broad shoulders and I shouldn't be concerned about apparent inconsistencies.

  8. I understand what you are saying, but the difficutly with such a line is that every teshuva, and every sefer halacha was written in a certain age, so why can't the same argument be applied - and say they were only relevant to their own time? I thought halacha is all about bringing the mesora of sources and making the decision for the best psak?

  9. Rav Miller was close to Rav Moshe.

  10. microphone and hearing aids are not the same thing
    my un-learned guess is that someone with hearing trouble is halachically a different status in observing the mitzvot than someone with full health.

  11. I asked where the bathroom was and I was told that there is one working toilet on the second floor all of the way at the end It was a lost generation.

    Lost in the endless search for a working toilet.

  12. Very interesting discussion. Forgive me if I add here another page of sources that can make the shiur tonight much easier.

    שיעור ז' טעלעפאון מראה מקומות

    אישות פ"ו הלכה יח' האומר לאשה הרי את מקודשת לי על מנת שתתני לי מאתים זוז
    כו' ואם לא נתנו לא תהיה מקודשת עכ"ל

    סעיף ז'
    הרי את מקודשת לי בזה על מנת שאין בך מומין ונמצא בה אחד מן המומין הפוסלין בנשים
    אינה מקודשת עכ"ל הרי שאם יש תנאי בקידושין ולא קיים התנאי אינה מקודשת.

    וכל זה
    שאמר בפירוש שהוא מקפיד על קיום התנאי אז אם לא נתקיים התנאי הקידושין בטל.

    בסעיף ח' וז"ל המקדש אשה סתם [ולא אמר שום תנאי] ונמצא בה אחד מן המומין
    הפוסלין בנשים כו' הרי זו מקודשת מספק עכ"ל הרי שאם לא עשה שום תנאי אלא שעשה
    מעשה קידושין שבדרך העולם מקפידים על מומין אלה והרי יש להאשה מום זו הוי ספק אם
    היא מקודשת. שהרי הבעל לא התנה בפירוש שהוא מקפיד ושרוצה ביטול הקידושין אם יש לה
    מומים כאלה. והוי ספק ולא ודאי ביטול הקידושין.

    הלכה כג' ברמב"ם אישות – המקש על תנאי וחזר אחר כמה ימים וביטול התנאי
    אע"פ שבטלו בינו לבינה שלא פני עדים בטול התנאי והרי היא מקודשת סתם. וכן אם
    היה התנאי מן האשה ובטלה אותו אחר כך בינה לבינו בטל התנאי עכ"ל

    הרי שכל
    תנאי אפשר לבטלו בלא עדים ואז יתקיים הדבר אפילו שלא נתקיים התנאי.

    שממשיך הרמב"ם – לפיכך המקדש על תנאי וכנס סתם או בעל סתם הרי זו צריכה גט
    אע"פ שלא נתקיים התנאי שמא ביטל התנאי כשבעל או כשכנס עכ"ל הענין שיש
    ספק אם מי שעשה תנאי בקידושין ושוב עשה נישואין שכנסה או שבעלה אפשר שירא לביטול
    הקידושין ויהיה הביאה ביאת זנות. ועל כן דרך של הרבה כשרים שמקפידים שלא לבעול בלא
    קידושין ממש. שעל כן יש ספק אם כנס או בעל אם התנאי בטל או לא בטל. שאם הוא בטל
    האישות קיים ואם הוא קיים האישות בטל והוי ספק והאשה היא ספק אשת איש.

    הרמב"ם שם וז"ל וכן המקדש בפחות משוה פרוטה או' [בעוד דרכים שהם קידושים
    פסולים ואין האשה מקודשת כלל] ובעל סתם בפני עדים צריכה גט. שעל בעילה זו סמך ולא
    על אותן הקידושין הפסולין. חזקה היא שאין אדם מישראל הכשרים עושה בעילתו בעילת
    זנות והרי בידו עתה לעשותה בעילת מצוה עכ"ל [משמע שהיא ודאי מקודשת אבל לעיל
    כתב שהיא ספק מקודשת. וי"ל שאם קידש בתנאי ובעל סתם יש ספק וכן לשון
    הרמב"ם שמא ביטל התנאי כשבעל או כשכנס ע"כ הרי כתב שמא ביטל התנאי ואינו
    ודאי. והטעם שיודע שאפשר שיתקיים התנאי. ועוד שאם התנה בפירוש התנאי הרי יודע צד
    הב' מן התנאי ומן הסתם לא יעבור עליה. שלכן אינו ברור שצריך עכשיו לקידושין בלא
    תנאי כאשר בעל סתם. מה שאין כן כאשר עשה מה שהוא יודע שהוי קידושין פסולים הרי שבא
    אצל האשה בלא שום קידושין ואיך בועל אותה וע"כ שדעתו לקדש בביאה והוי אשת איש גמור.

    זו הוא בפירוש כדברי הרמב"ם בש"ע אבן העזר סימן לח' סעיף לה' וסעיף לו'.
    פה אומר שמא ביטל התנאי כשבעל ופה אמר דמסתמא בשעת כניסתה לחופה מחלה לתנאי וחייב
    ליתן לה כתובתה עכ"ל הרי שחייב אפילו בכתובה שהוא קידושין ודאים אבל בספק
    קידושין יש ספק אל הכתובה ואפשר שיש להקל בזה וצ"ע.

    אישות פרק כה' סעיף א' הנושא אשה
    סתם ונמצאו עליה נדרים תצא בלא כתובה לא
    עיקר ולא תוספת עכ"ל משמע שיש קידושין. שלא אמר שהקידושין בטלין. רק שאין כאן
    כתובה עיקר או תוספת. ותצא הכונה בגט.

  13. This is a fascinating discussion of halacha. I don't know if I have anything to add. I do object to the idea of people like me making statements that all halacha is A or B. The simplest system of halacha is the Beis Yosef who selected three rabbis the Rif Rambam and Rosh and make a Shulchan Aruch. The Sefardim follow this Shulchan Aruch. The Ramo came along and included the opinions of the European greats, the Ashkenanzim. The Rashbo in I:262 tells us that the Rov of a community must be obeyed. Of course, there are hundreds of rabbis of different communities who may disagree, and some of them may be older and greater than the Rov of one community. A key in halacha is to find a proper posek, and to accept his authority. To write about "halacha" without that makes no sense to me. "Make for yourself a Rov" means just that. Make for yourself, and if you don't, it is very hard to create rules about what the halacha is. Each community, each person, has to find a rebbe, and today, as Reb Aharon Kotler has said, that it is hard to find a Rov who knows everything, we may need to find a Rov for various subjects.

  14. Eddie,
    Halacha is from humans, and humans make mistakes. Even the Sanhedrin in ancient times could make mistakes, and there is an entire Masechto Horiyhuse about this. The greatest of the Amoroyim were Rovo and Rav Ashi, and they made mistakes and are sometimes really clobbered in the Talmud itself for their errors. The process of halacha is to recognize mesorah, and try our best to understand it. To say that nobody ever made a mistake, no matter who, is just plain wrong.

  15. I am surprised to see you quote Besamim Rosh as a major authority. The attribution of that to the Rosh is a well known literary forgery.

  16. I fully agree with that (and would use the same argument in different contexts). I am told that a posek or Gadol can make the appropriate choice of previous poskim to arrive at a conclusion - ie he can find room to be meikil in certain circumstances as RMF did. It is not about error in this case. Thus, I remind you of a previous discussion when you had to go to RMF to get a Get , and no other posek could do it.

  17. The source is Chelkas Mechokake EH 39:9 A man marries a woman and discovers a blemish that people generally refuse to accept in a wife, her marriage is in doubt. "But this applies only if when he sees the blemish he registers his refusal to have her for a wife and he no longer wants her, but if he is silent when he discovers the blemish, and he had not made a clear condition to refuse this blemish before he married her, even if he later complains and wants to break off the marriage, he is definitely married to her." We see the criteria is whether or not he immediately registered his refusal to have her for a wife, not his having relations with her. That is, to break the marriage, even to make a doubt about a broken marriage, one either has to have previously made a clear condition to break the marriage with such a blemish, or if he married her with no conditions, and finds out she has a blemish that most people don't accept, he must immediately upon discovering the blemish voice his refusal to have her for a wife. If he delays in doing this, she is definitely his wife and his complaints later don't count.

  18. Who ever heard of a major Rov who had no understanding of Reb Moshe's way of paskening? Did the major Rov never read Igeres Moshe with its many volumes? Did he never hear people discussing Reb Moshe's teshuvose? Everyone else did.

  19. If the greatest rabbis of the Talmud changed their minds as is recorded in the Talmud, why was Reb Moshe the unique person in history who never changed his mind? And if a community changes, that itself can be grounds for ruling differently, because halacha is influenced by the level of the community, again, as is stated in the Talmud.

  20. You are surprised that I quote Besamim Rosh. I didn't quote anybody. I quoted the Gadol HaDor the Kovneh Rov who did quote him. If you feel that the Gadol HaDor the Kovneh Rov was not your equal in who is a fraud, good luck. It is possible that an ancient book has those who feel that its authorship can be disputed. The Kovneh Rov never said that the Besamim Rosh was the Rosh. He simply quoted the Besamim Rosh. You then twist things to say that I said that the Besamim Rosh is the Rosh when all I did was to quote somebody who quoted a Besamim Rosh scholar without calling him the Rosh. Just because you have a typewriter doesn't mean you don't have to think along with your typing. Even the Rashbo and the Ramban got confused, but nobody said that the work was a forgery. The question was who was the author, the Ramban or the Rashbo, but to go further than that is something you need sources besides your typewriter.

  21. they are different technologies. in those days, the microphoen was powered by a cable, and this was then played into loudspeakers. a hearing aid would be battery operated.
    in any case, i made a guess and not a decision or explanation - please provide RMF's teshuvos and his rationale for the 2 cases
    kol tuv

  22. 1. RMF is writing about the husband having a 'mum', not the wife. So is your discussion in paragraph 9.

    2. You are answering my question from last week's post: will that 'mum' in the woman entitle the husband to leave the marriage? More importantly, will any recognized authority today give such a husband a ''ptur'?

  23. I was reffering to variations of RMF changing his mind.

    While some claim battery operated electricity is different than power company electricity (especially in israel where other factors come into play), that is a weak difference. Most O jews don't differentiate between battery or power company electricity as far as shabbat is concerned.

    And i highly doubt RMF allowed hearing aids because of power source.

  24. See Even HaEzer 1:38, where R' Moshe assumes that according to Tosfos the היתר of killing a Rodef is dependant solely upon preventing the violation of the Aveira of murder (להציל את הרודף), and in the next Teshuva (1:39) he retracts and considers saving the pursued (להציל את הנרדף) to also be an integral component of the Heter.

  25. To Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn,

    5 months ago, I wrote to you on this blog, where you made the same claim you are making now, but you never answered me! Here is the original letter. As you can see, one cannot claim that only RMF permits annulling the marriage on the basis of the husband having a מום.

    Rav Dovid,

    I saw in Shut Har Tzvi (ח"ב סי' קפא) that if the husband has no גבורת אנשים, it is grounds for annulling the marriage on the basis of מקח טעות. It would seem that a person who can only achieve העראה but without penetration would also fall under this category, since he cannot be בועל in a normal way that gives pleasure to the wife and is מקיים מצות עונה.

    So of course אירוסין is sufficient to prohibit a woman, as we are not חושש that this man is from the small מיעוט of those who have a מום that would be מבטל the קידושין (namely אין לו גבורת אנשים). But if the couple HAVE been living together, and it has been established that there is insufficient גבורת אנשים to engage in normal marital relations, then there are indeed grounds for annulling the marriage.

    Where have I gone wrong?

  26. Chaim,
    Do we pasken like the Har Tsvi, or do we pasken like the famous gedolei hador such as the Kovneh Rov, gadol hador, and the others that I mentioned who are the greatest authorities? I mentioned the teaching of Reb Yosef bar Leib, the rebbe of the Beis Yosef, who says that when a majority of poskim permit a woman to remarry and a minority forbid it, we are stringent and she does not remarry. My point is simply that the situation here is the opposite. The majority forbid it. So how can we be lenient? The opinion of Reb Yosef bar Leib is found in Tosfose Kesubose 2a. So what is wrong with what I said? In general, I don't answer questions l like these, because if a person asked it, it requires me to write long answers like this, and I don't have the time for it.

  27. It is irrelevant that the Kovno Rav was the gadol hador. He did not know it was a forgery. Presumably, if he would have known this, he would not have cited it. Therefore, it should not be used even as a snif to a pesak. Would you also cite the fake yerushalmi on Kodshim if it was quoted by one of the gedolim who was taken in by it?

  28. How is there any practical halachic difference in an ongoing attempting murder situation whether the reasoning is להציל את הרודף or להציל את הנרדף?

  29. "Do we pasken like the Har Tsvi, or do we pasken like the famous gedolei hador such as the Kovneh Rov, gadol hador,"

    The answer to this is what suits you or anyone else. I doubt that anyone in the Hareidi welt would pasken like the Kovne Rov who allowed heter mechirah (with the exception of RSZA).

    So I think "we" generally pasken how we want, and then find a good authority to back up our ideology if we can.

  30. If halacha is influenced by the level of the community, then in theory, nothing wrong , for example, being a Karaite or open orthodox or Conservadox etc. For example, if the community only want to/ willing to keep d'oraitas or find the most lenient d'rabbanans then that is their level.

  31. A strange reply, to say the least. You have made a career out of lambasting contemporary Rabbanim for their Halachic decisions, calling them Mamzer-producers etc,, but when someone shows you a mainstream Acharon who allows invalidating a Get under certain circumstances, relevant to some of the current situations, you suddenly don't have the time! And what a long answer you gave! That R' Tzvi Pesach Frank זצ"ל is בטל ומבוטל in regard to R' Yitzchak Elchanan זצ"ל? Where did you get this nonsense from? An unsubstantiated oral ruling from R' Eliashiv זצ"ל> I doubt it.

    בקיצור: When you reply in such a way, you are undermining your own position and credibility.

  32. The difference it makes is in regard to a non-קנאי who is pursuing a בועל ארמית - R' Moshe originally thinks that acc. to Tosfos such a person might be able to be killed based on Rodef, because although there is no חיוב הצלה there is nevertheless the element of prevention of רציחה. But then he backs down and says that even acc. to Tos. the element of הצלת נפשות is critical, and therefore in this case there would be no Heter to kill the Rodef, even though he is attempting to commit an act of רציחה.

  33. Rabbi Eidensohn,

    1. Sorry about wasting your מוצאי שבת.

    2. I don't have an opinion - I am not בקי בטיב גיטין וקידושין. But I know that Rav Tzvi Pesach זצ"ל, about whom R' Ovadya זצ"ל said "לא היה כהרב פראנק", is definitely entitled to argue with the באר יצחק. There is no הלכה למשה מסיני to accept the Kovno Rav זצ"ל! Take היתר מכירה, for example...

    3. You may be בקי בטיב גיטין וקידושין. I don't know. You seem to know what you are talking about, yet the lack of support for your position from any Posek who is alive is a bit of a ריעותא. It's like KosherSwitch, if you know what I mean.

    4. The reason many people take you seriously is that you claim that there are Rabbanim such as Roshei Yeshiva who are not בקיאים בטיב גיטין וקידושין and yet nevertheless make pronouncements about these issues. This is plausible. If you would include Rabbanim such as R' Wosner זצ"ל, R' Ovadya זצ"ל and R' Shlomo Zalman זצ"ל in your list of Rabbanim who you don't think know the Halacha, then people would be more skeptical of your position. Klal Yisrael knows who its Poskim are, and even without examining the issue we know that if the Gedolei Poskim say something, it is an acceptable position - not necessarily the אמת כלפי שמיא, but definitely acceptable under the rule of אלו ואלו. You can call me an עם הארץ "shooting from the hip" all you like, but the fact of the matter is that when you say "I don't care if you can find another 5 Poskim like the Har Tzvi - they're all wrong!" it says nothing about me, it just reveals that your methodology is not in line with that of Klal Yisrael. Being דוחה great Poskim beacuse of a Beis Yosef - not just merely saying that they are mistaken, but claiming that anyone who follows them is not ראוי to Pasken and is מרבה ממזרים etc, - is not the way Halacha works. And in that I am a בקי.

    5. I never came here for a fight. I respected you, and seriously thought that you might demonstrate that I had misunderstood the הר צבי. Or you could say a much weaker טענה - that the הר צבי is a יחידאה and has not been accepted by any of the contemporary Poskim of stature. [Even if this would be so, it would in no way preclude a Posek nowadays from Paskening like R' Frank, if he felt that his שיטה was correct.] But you do neither. You just complain about me wasting your time, and attempt to show how the earlier sources disagree with the Har Tzvi. So what? How many times does R' Moshe זצ"ל argue with earlier sources? הלכה כבתראי. (And this definitely applies to R' Frank, who was a huge בקי.)

    6. I'm beginning to be חושש that it is I who is wasting my time. At least people can see what your attitude is towards any of the גדולי פוסקים who don't share your position - it is not restricted to the present- day Rabbanim. |Sigh.

  34. Eddie - you have come dangerously close to the truth this time. But you've managed to remain suitably ambiguous:

    1. Who are "we"? The Poskim, or Chaim and Eddie?

    2. What does "what suits you"/"how we want" mean? On a whim, or based on ביקוש האמת?

    3. "ideology" - or simply סברא?

  35. Chaim, I am simply cuntering the argument presented by RDovidE.

    1) The "we" is the same we that he refers to, although I would apply this to the non-poskim.

    2) I wouldnt say whim. I would say that many rely on RIET for heter mechira, except those who oppose the heter, and rule out his Gadlus (in this case). Same goes for Har Tzvi - he is Gadol when his halacha suits one view, but if he provides a leniency or somethig that goes against the views presented here on this blog, then he is , chas v'shalom not such a Gadol.

    3) Ideology can mean various things. I consider Dati leumi as ideology, just as Hareidi or Eda are also ideologies. Each group can back up with sevara. They can also criticise the others as being simply an extreme ideology etc.
    But when Chaim accuses me of being close (dangerously or not) to the truth, that certainly means something! yosher koach.

  36. I didn't say R' Moshe couldn't change his mind, I said I don't consider R' Miller the expert and arbiter on R' Moshe's worldview.

  37. Compliment accepted!

  38. Eddie,
    So I invented the fact that the Kovna Rov was Gadol HaDor, and without my invention, until now, he was not Gadol HaDor. Furthermore, until I came along, Reb Moshe was Gadol HaDor. And now I have appointed him to be demoted. I just wanted to make sure I know what I am doing over here.

  39. Chaim,
    You must understand that when you challenge me about something, and I take the time to answer you, and suggesting that you read several chapters in the paper I prepared for the telephone conference, you just ignore me, and say "A strange reply, to say the least." What was strange about it? Can you read the Hebrew that I told you to read? Why do you refuse to read it and understand what I said? And why do you quote me saying things I never said, because otherwise you would have nothing to complain about? When a person spends a lot of time preparing something, and you understand one line that you have a comment on, and ignore the rest, you are motsi shem ra for your comments. Of course, if you name is Chaim that may be a billion people, you have no fear of being discovered. I sign my name and everybody can call me to task. But lies? Tricks? And if I don't answer you, you complain.

  40. Eddie,
    I spent many hours talking in learning to Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein, and many other Gedolim of this generation and the past one. But I only learned how to rely on sources, and I never studied halacha that every Tom Dick and Harry can invent, especially if they are creating an understanding of the entire system of halacha that they probably never studied.

  41. Eddie and Chaim,
    Is it a chutspah for me to ask you for your sources even after you have complimented each other for inventing systems of halacha? Just what is your background in halacha to make such statements? And if you are disagreeing with me, did you read what I wrote? How much of it did you read?

  42. Reb Dovid, i don't need a source, I use sevara.
    If you claim that you give precedence to the Gadol hador R' Itzhak Elchonon ztl, which is perfectly respectable since he was the Gadol and beloved tzaddik in his generation, why would you reject his halacha on heter mechira? Also, I think you are trying to retrofit the current Hareidi model of the single voice of Torah, where only one leader has authority onto the past. if this was ever the case, why were there so many interpretations and opinions? I will allow my learned friend , Chaim to present his sources.

  43. But that doesn't entitle you to refer to Gedolim such as R Tzvi Pesach Frank in such a manner.

  44. Well, your background in Halacha seems to make you say that it is unacceptable to pasken against RYE even if 5 Acharonim on the level of the Har Tzvi disagree with him. Why not be honest and mention that point in your list of sources?

  45. Do you accept him as the Gadol HaDor for heter mechira?

    Regarding Gedolei HaDor of america - Rav Henkin ztl and R' Feinstein ztl, when they are lenient, you said they were mistaken or that they gave those halachos al tenai, but you don't have written evidence from their teshuvos that they were al tenai. This is because you hear din shul from a gabbai etc that they wouldnt have given such a psak if...

  46. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what you want from me - all I get from your reply is a vague sense that you are disagreeing with me. I have read your sources. You have not responded to me in a sensible matter. Again, if you would say that the הר צבי is a יחידאה then that would pique my curiosity and I would attempt to find out if that is indeed so. But for some reason - I have my guesses - you choose a priori to consider RYE as the ONLY Posek to be מתחשב with, regardless of who argues with him. You are choosing to ignore any אחרון who doesn't agree with you, and are not willing to even concede that there is a legitimate Machlokes about this matter. How am I being מוציא שם רע?

  47. You don't need any "standing" to say what R' Miller זצ"ל said. It was a piece of verifiable historical information, and if R' Miller

  48. First, the besamim rosh was 'outed' as a forgery before RIE (even rav berlin's contemporaries refused to accept it, such as the chatam sofer.)

    Nevertheless, it was always quoted by gedolim, cause its good torah. As long as people knew the qualification. Sort of like an asterisk rule.

  49. @Eddie - this is not a discussion about whether we always follow the gadol hador - especially when the majority of gadolim disagree.

  50. @Chaim - the slurs that you are making are not acceptable. This is not a question of being honest

  51. I feel like Alice in the looking-glass. "Slurs"? What slurs? What are you talking about? What is your brother talking about? You say that honesty is not an issue here - that doesn't make it so. To claim that present-day Rabbanim are going against ALL the Poskim, when that is simply not true, is - dishonest.

  52. Do you mean that the הר צבי is irrelevant? That's not what your brother said. He admits that it is relevant (to some cases), but says that ר' צבי פסח במקום ר' יצחק אלחנן אינה משנה. Which is perplexing, and disappointing.

  53. How was it "verifiable" if R' Moshe was no longer alive to confirm it? I conjecture that if R' Miller said this, it was as his own השארה of R' Moshe's practice. He was perfectly within his rights to make such השארות, but one can choose to accept his השארה or not, and I choose not. בקי or no בקי, I do not accept that R' Miller could plumb the depths of R' Moshe's thinking.

  54. @Chaim - attacking the messenger i.e., my brother does not change the truth of the message.

    While it is admirable to defend major rabbis - the problem is that I have seen the clear evidence - much of which I have published on this blog.

    Please keep to the topic - which isn't that the gedolim of our present generation are always right.

    What Rav Kaminetsky has done in the Tamar Epstein case is disgraceful.

  55. I heard a similar case of R' Moshe ztl, regarding washing lettuce, where he was lenient. The difference was that at the time they used DDT ti kill insects, so lettuce was considered to be clean. since they stopepd using DDT, then the spread of insects is much greater, hence we cannot rely on this psak today.
    But there are cases where, the controversy is much greater, it seems. For example RSZA on the nature of electricity, which goes against the CI for example. That doesnt (as far as I can see) suggest that RSZA was not a gadol hador.

  56. "attacking the messenger i.e., my brother does not change the truth of the message."

    A true sentence, but no more relevant than this one: "adding sugar to sweeten green tea will increase the calorie content, making it less effective as a weight-loss agent."

    While it is admirable to defend major rabbis...

    I didn't come here to defend any Rabbis, major or otherwise. I merely pointed out that if the הר צבי, who was a renowned and accepted major Posek, paskened a certain way, then it is wrong to say that anyone nowadays who adopts that view is not fit to Pasken, and a lot of other badmouthing. You and your brother know full well that sometimes a Posek will adopt the position of a major Posek of the last generation even if it is not the majority view - that is not my Chiddush, and attacking me will not change the truth of my message.

    Again, your brother could have responded that most Poskim disagree with the הר צבי - but he said that even if I found another 5 who agreed with him, it wouldn't make a difference! Is this intellectual honesty? And is it honest to claim that Rabbanim are defying ALL the Poskim, when they are clearly not? Let your brother include R' Tzvi Pesach Frank זצ"ל in the list of Rabbanim he is denigrating - I wonder why he doesn't do that.

    Also, by the way: There is a famous story of when R' Moshe declared a נישואין to be נישואי טעות years later because the husband was already married. He therefore allowed the child to marry.

  57. Chaim, you have gone very wrong here. Your halachic citations here are bogus and diversionary from the real issues. The real issues are that "Orthodox" feminists and their puppet rabbis have engineered a feminist divorce on demand culture in the frum communities where large numbers of women are demanding divorces that they are not entitled to under divorce settlement terms that strip their husbands of their halachic rights. These women frequently use all manner of coercion against their husbands to obtain pasul gittin, or else in some cases the women manage to obtain a marriage annulment.

    The rabbis promoting the feminist divorce culture love to cite largely irrelevant halachos like you cited because it makes them appear as halachic authorites when actually they are destroying halacha. The fact that in perhaps 2% of the divorce cases the husbands might have a problem with גבורת אנשים, even if we relied on the halachic opinions you cite, there are still NO normative halachic opinions (before the current modern Orthodoxy) that allow a feminist divorce on demand culture, and allow masses of Jewish women to rob their husbands in archaos.

    So your arguments are simply a distraction from the real issues and an attempt to get us bogged down in largely irrelevant halachic minutia.

  58. maybe we could improve the tone of this discussion - not use the word "dishonest" but suggest it is incorrect or mistaken. After all, if according to Reb Dovid, even Tanaim and R Moshe can make errors, then we call can.

  59. Utter nonsense.

  60. Straw man alert!

    For the hundredth time (actually only the 2nd) - I'm not coming to defend anyone. Even if it is true that the הר צבי is irrelevant because the cases are dissimilar, and that Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshiva in America are indeed being מתיר אשת איש ומרבים ממזרים without a leg to stand on - that does not detract in the slightest from my original point, which was, and remains, only this: that if there IS a case identical to that of the הר צבי, and a Rav paskens like the Har Tzvi, then it is 100% wrong to vilify him, and dishonest to trick people into thinking that that Rav is going against "all" the Poskim, without admitting that there is at least one great Posek who agrees. That is all I said, that is all I meant.

    And again, I actually thought - based on R' DovidE's conviction, that R' DovidE (who I had a lot of respect for) would actually point out to me some way in which the הר צבי is not relevant in our case, which is what you are trying to do. But he didn't. He just basically said that he couldn't care what R' Tzvi Pesach Frank זצ"ל has to say about the matter. Frankly, that makes me look at R' DovidE in a new light,unfortunate as that may be.

  61. Calling dishonest "mistaken" would improve the tone of the discussion, but fail to convey the idea that dishonest is "dishonest".

  62. 1. You're right, I should have wrote "verified by" R' Miller. R' Miller could have heard from R' Moshe that he had decided to Pasken in a stricter way. חזו מאי גברא רבה קמסהיד עליה.

    2. השערה, and all its derivatives, is spelt with an עין.

  63. "Tamar Epstein case" To my knowledge, Tamar Epstein never accused her husband of the problem mentioned in the tshuvah of the Shut Har Tzvi that Chaim cited. So Chaim's argument is irrelevant to the Epstein case where it appears that she was demanding a divorce due to "maus ali". In fact a dayyan in a major Bais Din told me that most of the divorce cases today involve wives demanding a GET due to claims of "maus ali".

  64. Eddie,
    You write, "I don't need a source, I use sevara." Eddie, if I didn't need a source, I would save a lot of time. On the other hand, without a source, i am inventing a new Torah. Torah is not the property of every Jew who wants to say a sevora. Torah is something handed down from generation to generation. If you ignore the earlier generations, the Talmud and the Shulchan Aruch, you have no right to say, "I don't need a source. I use sevara."

    Now, my frustration with you and Chaim is that I worked hard to prepare a lesson, and it seems to me that you ignored most of it, and turned everything into your sevara against what I wrote, even though I simply don't understand how you could read what I wrote and keep complaining.

    I will try once again. Nothing that I said implies that I agree with any particular Rov all of the time that he is the halacha always, and nothing that I said implies that I disagree with any Rov all of the time. My point, based upon the teaching of Rav Yosef ben Leib, considered by some the rebbe of the Beis Yosef, is what he says that the custom of the rabbis of his time was to refuse a woman the right to remarry even if most rabbis permit it, if some rabbis forbid it. Therefore, if we have some rabbis permitting the woman to remarry and some refuse permission, we are not lenient. In this case, the majority of rabbis, say that the woman should not remarry. If so, with all due respect for Reb Moshe, who was my rebbe and who gave me a very strong semicha for my seforim, he is outnumbered by rabbonim of earlier generations who were quite likely senior to him. He himself held himself less than Rav Henkin who was older and senior to Reb Moshe. This is the style of Torah. Thus, to be lenient because two or three or four rabbis permit it, is still a problem. This has nothing to do with whether I consider this or that rabbi always right or always wrong.

    Please refer to number seven on my two sheets that says this. I would greatly appreciate it if you can tell me if I got my point across about this.

  65. Chaim,
    Did I actually say "I don't care what R Tsvi Pesach Frank has to say about the matter"? Or did you invent that?

  66. The way I understand Chaim's argument, I would apply even to a bigger type of discussion, but I think here i would be alone:

    If a posek chooses a Rishon , who was not unanimously agreed on, then that is still valid. So if someone relied on HaMeiri - who says that a Gezeira can fall away if its reason is no longer there - this would be valid.
    But I doubt anyone, even Chaim would accept this argument. But it is very similar to what he is saying - and I am in agreement with.

  67. 1. Or it might have been R' Miller's own conjecture.

    2. Of course. I wasn't thinking.

  68. No, in fact there are several mechanisms whereby halacha d'rabbanan can change. According to HaMeiri, Gezeiras d'rabbanan can fall away even if their original reason is no longer existent - regardless of the community. So you are attacking a Rishon - and Chaim, before you "like" the comment, then consider the argument you brought for Har Tzvi!

  69. Thank you, and I understand your elucidation of Point 7.
    You are making a kal v'chomer, that even where a majority permit the woman to remarry, R' Yosef b. leib forbids it; hence in R' Moshe's case, where he is a minority all the more so.
    I have never heard before anyone be critical of R' Moshe on this halacha [after his petira]. What they do say is that they accept his psak, but only in those specific circumstances Since you studied under him , did you ever raise the issue?
    Firstly, let me say i am not supporting a position on halacha regarding gittin;
    I am criticising your general methodology in how you choose an authority, and how you reject one.

    Btw, it is interesting that you say "Torah is not the property of every Jew who wants to say a sevora."
    The Arizal would not agree with you, since he says that there are not just 70 panim to the Torah, but 600,000!

    I am questioning the issue regarding being outnumbered by Rabbonim of previous generations.
    That may be the case, but a teshuva is not the same as a BD, and a BD is not something that is inter-generational. In Olam Hazeh a BD is composed (hopefully) of the living, and what the judge sees with his own eyes,not what was said before him. Please remember I am not attacking you personally, but challenging the logic, which you are now clarifying.

    To put it another way, is anyone bound to follow the shulchan aruch, or could they , for example follow the Rambam, or even Meiri? You could say that the SA is binding on every Jew, but that is not the case, since some communities keep to the Yad of the Rambam. Or Habad Hassidim follow the Shulchan Aruch Harav, etc. As long as there is an authority then there is no sin in following him, even if he is a minority.

  70. Then please explain what you mean when you say "Do we pasken like the Har Tsvi, or do we pasken like the famous gedolei hador such as the Kovneh Rov, gadol hador, and the others that I mentioned who are the greatest authorities?" Why is the Har Tzvi not included among "the greatest authorities"?

    Now I have reread your replies, and I think that I may have misunderstood your words, and if so, I apologise. When you wrote "And even if you would find five people who agree with Reb Moshe...", you seemed to be saying that it wouldn't matter how many מתירים I found. On the other hand, you also write: "The majority forbid it. So how can we be lenient?" which seems to mean that the number of מתירים does have some importance.

    Now I think that I understand what you are saying. The הר צבי is of course among the greatest authorities (and I misunderstood the sentence you wrote comparing him to RYE), but nevertheless:

    1. Most Poskim are מחמיר - therefore, of course, we should be מחמיר.

    2. Even if most Poskim would be מיקל, the הוראה is not to allow her to remarry.

    When you said "even if you find five people...", you meant that it doesn't matter how many Poskim agree with the Har Tzvi - even if there was a majority - because of rule number 2.

    Thank you in advance for having the patience to read this, and to tell me if I am right.

  71. Hang on there, Daas Torah - לפי שיטתך, just because I am making what seems to you to be an obvious error, doesn't mean that I am a מזיד who isn't interested in the truth - only a טועה. You have moderated this blog long enough, and we have been through enough סוגיות together, that you should know this by now!

  72. I stand by my original comment, and repeat one I've made before regarding your פילפולים של הבל -- a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

  73. Yes, but this is a strange kind of argument - Reb Dovid uses his connection with RMF as his credentials, and then goes agasint RMF. If RMF says in some teshuvos that he is matir, then I am more inclined to rely on the Posek HaDor, than one of his Talmidim.

  74. Rabbi DovidE,

    There are 2 matters which I would like to ask you to clarify:

    1. When the Beis Yosef says that we do not allow a woman to remarry as long as there are שיטות who hold that it is Ossur, surely it doesn't mean that even the מתירים themselves are not allowed to be מתיר! History is replete with arguments about Gittin and Agunos, with the מתירים allowing her to remarry, and the אוסרים disagreeing. (For example, תרי רובי in מים שאין להם סוף.) So we see that the מתירים themselves are not bound by the אוסרים. The Beis Yosef must be referring to a Rav who has no personal שיטה in a Machlokes, but wishes to allow the woman to remarry based on the fact that רוב פוסקים are Matir. When it comes to a woman remarrying, we do not rely - in a situation of Safek - on the רוב. But if the Rav himself is a Posek, and holds like the מתירים, then of course he may allow the woman to marry. Do you agree with me? If not, how do you account for Poskim throughout the generations allowing women to remarry even though they knew that their views were not unanimously accepted?

    2. It is well-known that the Poskim bend over backwards to employ every Sevara and Posek under the sun - within reason - to be מתיר an עגונה, even employing levels of leniency which we would not allow in other areas of Halacha. Surely you know this. How can this be reconciled with the view that even following Rov Poskim, which IS allowed in the rest of the Torah, is forbidden here? I am not arguing, I just want to understand. Something doesn't make sense here. Is it not possible that the Beis Yosef talking about a case where we can still rectify the situation, i.e. by giving another Get, but would agree in a case of עיגון that we may follow the Rov?

    Eagerly awaiting your response,


  75. I wasn't endorsing your pick-and-choose Laissez-faire attitude to Halachos, which is something we've sparred over in the past. I was arguing with Rabbi DovidE because I understood him to be treating R' Tzvi Pesach Frank זצ"ל, and those who follow him, with disrespect. I may have erred in understanding his comments - hopefully I have - I am awaiting his replies on a number of points.

  76. Mamrim - Chapter 2

    Translated by Eliyahu Touger

    Halacha 6

    If a court issued a decree, thinking that the majority of the community could uphold it and after the decree was issued, the majority of the community raised contentions and the practice did not spread throughout the majority of the community, the decree is nullified. The court cannot compel the people to accept it.

    Halacha 7

    Sages issued a decree and thought that it spread among the entire Jewish people and the situation remained unchanged for many years. After
    a long duration of time, another court arose and checked throughout the Jewish community and saw that the observance of this decree had not
    spread throughout the Jewish community, it has the authority to negate the decree even if it is of lesser stature than the original court in wisdom and in number of adherents.

  77. Chaim,

    Can you kindly point me to where in this post Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn writes "that Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshiva in America are indeed being מתיר אשת איש ומרבים ממזרים without a leg to stand on"? It did not come through on my screen.

    It is true that Rabbi Dovid E. has said this in the past. I can understand how upsetting it must have been to you, as it was upsetting to me as well. However, I have not seen Rabbi Dovid E. write that on this site in a very long time. Therefore, why are you bringing it up here? Why not visit and hash it out with Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn over there?

    To the unlearned observer - like myself - it appears as if you have an unsettled score you would like to settle with Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn about a matter that's not very relevant to this particular shiur.

    Thank you for listening. I generally truly enjoy reading your comments.

  78. The issue is not whether you or I endorse one another, but the logic of an argument. I posted some rambam from mamrim, where he says there is to some degree, a "pick and choose" mechanism, as far as the jewish community is concerned, and that the BD cannot force them to observe their takkanos. I didn't make that up -

  79. Honesty, you have misunderstood me, but you seem to be in good company. Let me quickly clarify my position.

    (1) Rabbi DovidE's Shiur was in order to educate people about Hilchos Gittin, and in order to show that what some Rabbanim are doing is absolutely Ossur. Come on - don't you know that?

    (2) Your רחמנות aside, R' Dovid's criticism does not particularly upset me. Maybe it should, if I was more sensitive to perceived slights to כבוד התורה, but למעשה it does not. I have no score at all to settle. R' Dovid seems to be a huge Talmid Chacham in his own right, having had Shimush with and Semicha from many Gedolim of the last generation, and he is entitled to voice his opinion, כך היא דרכה של תורה, especially against those who are not fit to pasken in these areas!

    (3) Originally R' Dovid claimed that being מתיר an אשת איש solely based on the fact that the בעל has a מום, such as lack of גבורת אנשים, is unacceptable. I asked him from Shut Har Tzvi who says otherwise. I understood his answer to mean that the Har Tzvi is insignificant when compared to such heavyweights as RYE. This did make me upset. Now the backlash and righteous indignation against my comments is making me doubt my original interpretation of what he said. Now I am waiting for confirmation of that, and we can all go back to being one big happy family.

  80. We've discussed that Rambam before - you can search for the discussion if you want.

  81. well, i am sure the remarriage without a get has also been discussed here before

  82. Chaim, perhaps i may also have misunderstood (to play it safe) , but r'Dovid also seems to be saying that the Halachic Heavyweight RMF was also "wrong" on this matter, since he was mattir. This seems to me to be problematic to say the least.

  83. Eddie,
    I don't use my connection with RMF as my credentials. Reb Moshe wrote a very warm haskomo for my seforim. But Reb Moshe allowed his students to publicly disagree with him as long as they stated their proofs. This I am doing, and this is what Reb Moshe wanted. In fact, I wrote a sefer on Ribbis and I spent a lot of time attacking Reb Moshe, and Reb Moshe gave me a very, very warm haskomo that he knows me for many years as one who delves deeply into complex halacha. But if I said something stupid, without proof, showing that I didn't do any research, well, I can't imagine doing that.

  84. Chaim,
    Excellent! A very good point. How can the Reb Yosef ben Leib say that we don't follow the majority when it seems that in Agunah cases people look for desperate measures to permit her?

    See Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer 17 Beis Shmuel 102. A man who fell into the ocean or such an environment where we can't see everywhere he could be, his wife is forbidden only dirabonon but most people in his situation are dead, therefore, the whole stringency is dirabonon, and they have decreed that in such a case, at times we can permit her to remarry even if we never find the husband. Of course, the rabbis who go wild in such a case are on safe ground. The problem is only a dirabonon and by Torah standards most husbands are dead.

    Reb Yosef ben Leib is talking about something else. Some rabbis permit a woman to remarry because in halacha they feel she should remarry and some forbid this by the Torah. In such a case, the custom was to be stringent. What is done in such a case is to search for side factors, and the great rabbonim are trained in this. I spend all day screaming about forced Gittin, but I just had a nasty shaalo and I turned things in a different light. I was trained. I know when to help out a child to save it from mamzeruth, within limits of course.

    When I first made my Beth Din under Posek HaDor Reb Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt"l we had a terrible GET that somebody made in Russia who didn't know how to make a GET. But in those days no rabbis existed in Russia who knew how to make a GET. The GET was a mess. So I wrote a teshuva to Reb Elyashev to permit the GET. It I would have shown it to anyone else they would have let me have it. But Reb Elyashev said, "I never said the GET was invalid." At any rate, we made another Kosher GET with no problems. But you have to know how to proceed.

    Again, excellent question!

  85. Eddie,
    I never spoke to Reb Moshe about Agunose. What you say about my choosing a posek I did not choose a posek. I never said this Rov is a posek and this Rov is not. I am simply stating that the leniency Reb Moshe states to my recollection he does not have a single Rov he mentions who agrees with him, but he does mention those who disagreed with him. My point is simply, as you point out, that the majority of those who have paskened on this issue do not accept Reb Moshe's view, and this is not the first time. I was once involved in very nasty question of a doubtful mamzer and the Rov who was involved sent me to Reb Moshe. But the Rov had very prominent Rabbonim backing his stringency, and at least one of those Rabbonon, Reb Shlomo Zalman Aurebach, was considered an equal of Reb Moshe in Israel. Reb Shlomo Zalman held that the child was a possible mamzer but he agreed with me that this time the question has to be sent to Reb Moshe. I got a letter for the possible mamzer to ask Reb Moshe as this ws the pesak of Reb Shlomo Zalman and two other major Israeli rabbonim, and he refused it. Why don't my rabbis pasken, he asked. Finally, I got a Rov to convince him to take it. Never in my life did I see such Yiras Shomaim. Someone gives up his life because he wants his rebbes to pasken if he can marry, amazing.

  86. I don't yet have an answer to that question!

  87. Yes, but I've never written about it.

  88. Chaim,
    I still ask only that you read what I wrote in #7 about the extreme attitude of permitting a woman to remarry when some say it is forbidden, considered the style of the rabbis in the time of the Beis Yosef. This is based on a Tosfose in Kesubose 2a. It has nothing to do with anyone, surely not Reb Moshe, and the Har Tsvi. If a woman remarries and it is a problem if she has an invalid GET, the sin of aishes ish is a constant one, so that the husband and wife can do hundreds and hundreds of terrible sins. Therefore, the general rules of being lenient with this or that factor, such as Rov, may not apply when the possibility exists that the law is as the minority rabbis who claim she is forbidden.

  89. Eddie,
    There is nothing wrong with being the only matir. We have in the gemora that people are alone and the majority disagrees, but we sometimes pasken like the individual because he seems to be right to the populace of poskim. If Reb Moshe is contested by two prominent rabbis of his stature, such as Rav Henkin or Reb Aharon, he is outnumbered. But if his ideas are accepted by the general populace of poskim, in whatever format that is expressed, we cannot condemn them. I only point out the fact that in this particular case, he is outnumbered, which, for Reb Moshe, is not at all unusual. But people have no less respect for Reb Moshe, because who would want to argue with him?

  90. Eddie,
    "If a posek chooses a Rishon." If he chooses because he is lenient, that is worthless. If he chooses it because according to his serious research the poske is right, that is something else.

  91. Chaim,
    Right on! Just one personal comment. The statement of the Reb Yosef ben Leib is powerful stuff. I quoted it, and he is considered to be the rebbe of the Beis Yosef, but still, although in a case of very serious sins such as remarrying we have to consider his opinion, I don't know if his idea about never agreeing with the majority is halocho limaaseh. I just don't know. And what he may have meant is that the rabbis usually accept the majority of lenient poskim immediately, in case of a very serious sin, such as remarrying, we have to revisit the issue and go very slowly. But ultimately, I don't know if the woman is ruined for life.

  92. Eddie,
    The Ari z"l said that there were 600,000 ponim to Torah. But that does not mean that there are six hundred thousand opinions whether we can eat bacon. It has nothing to do with our discussion of poskim who argue and sometimes we follow the majority and sometimes we are machmir like the minority.

    My rebbe in this world and the next is the Gaon of Kabbalists in Jerusalem, Reb Shmuel Toledano zt"l, who was conferred with the title by the senior Kabbalist in the world Reb Yitschok Kaduri zt"l that surely "Ruach Hakodesh came upon him to write these seforim." His seforim were intense studies of the Gro's teachings in Kabbala. I am sure that when I meet him and the Ari z"l in the next world I will not be embarrassed at what I just said.

  93. Eddie,
    There is a Rashbo VII:414 with length discussion about halacha. When a community accepts a Rov they are bound by the honor of the Torah to accept his opinions in halacha, even if others disagree. There is a famous story of the Vilna Gaon who was asked a question and said that the food was treife. The Rov of Vilna came to the Vilna Gaon and decreed upon him that he must eat what he said was treifeh, out of honor of the Rov of the community. The Vilna Gaon went to eat the food and the candles that were made of treifeh dripped onto the food and the Vilna Gaon was saved. But today, there are very few people who are experts in the entire Torah, as Reb Aharon said. Therefore, we have to struggle with finding the right posek, and it is a struggle.

  94. I doubt that dovid eidensohn is a huge talmid chacham, simply because no-one cites him.

    The fact that he always has to refer to his "shimush" also confirms this perception. The true gedolim generally do not cite such a long list of
    gedolim they had "shimush" with to bolster their authority. They have true arguments to present.

  95. The story you wrote above about the Gra refutes the argument you make in this post. If you accept the R' Moshe was the Posek HaDor in his generation, then there is nothing wrong in following him in his leniencies. In fact, even the Rackman court, which tried to stretch R' Moshe's heterim, was criticised not for relying on R Moshe, but for expanding the conditions where the psak was valid -hence the teshuvos of R Moshe were nto disputed.

  96. Thank you for replying. It would seem, then, that finding more opinions of great Poskim who agree with the Har Tzvi (if they exist) would not be a futile endeavour.

  97. Thank you R' Dovid - but you have not addressed my first point, that the הנהגה of not following the Rov only applies to a Posek who does not have a personal שיטה, however if he does then he is one of the מתירים and can definitely pasken according to his שיטה.

    Also, you seem to be saying that the great tendency towards קולא is ONLY in a case of מים שאין להם סוף which is anyway only מדרבנן. I agree that in such cases the Poskim are definitely MORE מיקל, but my experience with the ספרי שו"ת has told me that the lenient tendency of Poskim is NOT restricted to such situations - there are lots of Teshuvos about ספק קידושין or ספק גירושין, which are ספיקות מן התורה, where due to the factor of עיגון the Poskim employ קולות which they would not do in other areas of Halacha. How do you know that the Beis Yosef was talking about cases of עיגון, i.e. the husband has gone away or is unwilling to give a Get? Maybe he is only talking about a case where אפשר לתקן?

  98. Of course it is ok to argue even with the Posek HaDor (that was prior to R' Shach and R Elyashiv). But your rationale on Gittin is different from what I see elsewhere. in Gittin, you are saying that since eishes Ish is so serious, you cannot even allow a heter by RMF. But in dinei Nefashos, you have a video where you say RMF allows someone who is in agony from an illness to end treatment etc and allow himself to die, even though this was opposed by other poskim. So why are dinei nefashos different from eishes ish? An objective analysis of this would be that RMF was a very open and creative Posek who had the greatness to be mattir, similar to R' Yosef. In that sense, he was not typical of the hareidi world of today, and that is why you are trying to shut him down.

  99. Eddie,
    The pesak of Reb Moshe about people dying and in pain was contested by some rabbonim, especially the Tsits Eliezar. But I had two open gemoras that agree with Reb Moshe and I told them to Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner zt"l and he said, "Poshut azoy" meaning, of course that is the law. He didn't agree with Reb Moshe, because he did not feel Reb Moshe needed anyone to agree with him. But agreed that my proofs were right. I then told these proofs to the Tsits Eliezar. He had no answer.But that is a whole story of its own, perhaps another time. But what I learned from Rav Wosner and the Tsits Eliezar was how great rabbis in the past generation were great in Derech Erets, and that to me is even more valuable than their learning as taught in the beginning of Tono Divei Eliyohu.

  100. The Rashbo says if a community selects a rabbi to be their authority, we must obey that authority. That is the story I mentioned about the Vilna Gaon and the Rov of Vilna. But if Reb Moshe would feel that I agree with him despite my misgivings and that of worthy rabbis, he would be distressed. That is not what he wanted. He wanted to train people who backed up their ideas with proofs. If he disagreed, he was still the rebbe, and may I add, a successful rebbe.

  101. That is very interesting indeed, and you have had the great Kavod to speak to such Gedolei Torah. Chas' v'shalom that I should think that halacha is democratised, (that is what the Reconstructionists claim). I am simply making the case that if Rav Wosner did not feel that Rav Moshe needed his agreement, and the Tzitz Eliezer did disagree - with basis , then it is not for small people like myself to say that one Gadol is mistaken or not. On the other hand, if R' Moshe is mattir on dinei nefashos, then he is also mattir on agunot - both of which have potential issurim. I rely on his greatness to know what he is doing.


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