Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rav Dovid Eidensohn Telephone Conference Shiur #9 – What Beth Din is Empowered to Coerce a GET? May 27 Wednesday 9:30 PM

Shiur #9 – What Beth Din is Empowered to Coerce a GET?

Telephone Conference Shiur #9 May 27 Wednesday 9:30 PM call 605-562-3130 enter code 411161#

1. We have previously discussed when a Beth Din may coerce a GET. Now we want to go into the power of any Beth Din, how they are authorized by the Torah to make a coerced GET.

2. Gemora Gittin 88b: “Abayeh found Rav Yosef sitting and coercing husbands to divorce their wives with a GET. He said to him, ‘But we are plain people [meaning the rabbis in Babylonia did not get the ancient Semicha and therefore are not MUMCHIM.] Rashi explains that in those days rabbis in Israel did receive the ancient Semicha that began with Moshe Rabbeinu and were therefore authorized by the Torah to fulfill all judicial functions necessary such as coercing a GET when appropriate. But Rav Yosef was in Babylonia, and the rabbis there did not receive this Semicha. So by whose authority did Rav Yosef coerce a GET?

3. Rav Yosef replied, “We are messengers of the rabbis who got Semicha.”

4. Tosfose there D”H bimilso dishechicha explains, “We do the work assigned to us by the earlier generations [who had Semicha] in Israel.”

5. We see from this that the entire capacity to coerce a GET and fulfill other functions of a dayan today is because we received permission to do this from earlier generations in Israel who had semicha.

6. Furthermore, the gemora says that we are not authorized by the early generations of Semuchim to fulfill the functions of a Torah Dayan in all things, only in those things that are common. But why is this? Why did the earlier generations grant permission for us to fulfill the will of the Torah with Semicha only with what is common to us?

7. Perhaps this itself that the permission is not total reminds us that our status is not that of real Semuchim. We may only function according to the command of the earlier Semuchim. The earlier generations of Semuchim were the greatest of their time. And they passed on this Semicha to Babylonia and other countries who had no Semicha only if the rabbis there were very prominent scholars, the cream of the rabbinate. This means that today coercing a husband is a right only of the greatest rabbis. Not long ago a letter from the major Gedolim in Israel said the same thing. But their letter was a response to coerced Gittin from people who are not true scholars or who differ with the Shulchan Aruch. But besides these considerations, we may also assume that the permission given by earlier Musmochim applied only to great rabbis. If so, those who are not great and coerce a GET have made an invalid GET.

8. In fact, see the Tosfose HaRid on the gemora above Gittin 88. He deduces from Bovo Basro that coercing to divorce a wife is only effective because “it is a mitzvah to obey the sages.” Obviously, the power of coercion is only given to such rabbis who are considered by everyone, even one who has to be beaten to fulfill the Torah, as authorities. The Beth Din not universally recognized as great sages, may produce invalid Gittin. Did the earlier semuchim, the greatest rabbis, give permission for plain rabbis to fulfill the roll previously given only to the greatest rabbis? Probably not.

9. Chasam Sofer in his teshuvose on Even Hoezer in two places 28 and 116 says that if the husband knows that two authorities differ whether or not the husband should be beaten, and then the husband is beaten and says, “I want the GET” because of that beating, the GET the husband gives is invalid by the Torah. This is because the husband only gives a proper GET under a beating when he accepts the rabbis as the true authorities to speak for the Torah. But if he knows there are those who disagree with the Beth Din that orders coercion, he does not accept them or their coercion and the GET is invalid, and the children born from it are mamzerim. [...]

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