Sunday, August 2, 2015

Rav Moshe Sternbuch strongly condemns prenuptial agreements


  1. Is it true that Rav Zalman Nexhemiah Goldberg and Rav Ovadia Yosef ZT'L endorsed prenups?

  2. The typical MO/ORA type prenup agreements are blatantly anti-halachic, one-sided, misandrist, sexist, and unjust. In the standard MO prenup agreement the Jewish husband is stripped of his halachic rights and all penalties for misbehavior are imposed only on the husband. The wife is never penalized or held accountable for her actions.

    These abominable agreements are dreamed up by militant feminists in concert with certain MO rabbis who discard Torah halacha and Torah justice and bend over backwards to pander to the feminists.

    Until the MO rabbis submit fair, reasonable, non-sexist, halachic prenup agreements, Jewish men should reject these bogus, one-sided prenups like the plague. If necessary, Jewish men may have to boycott marriage instead of being compelled to sign these agreements.

  3. A blanket heter? No, never.

    A prenup such as a kesubah? Certainly.

    Anything in between is untrustworthy unless it is in writing. We have seen Rav Zalman Nexhemiah Goldberg quoted twice to support desecrating the Torah in order to save "aggunot". In both cases he wrote letters saying that it is not true.

  4. The reports about RZNG supporting some form of prenup have come from more reliable sources and to my knowledge have not been clarified to the contrary by RZNG. the reports include that the RCA prenup was edited based on his advice. To be clear, I don't have first hand knowledge of this

  5. RZNG opposes an RCA type prenup that sets a set daily amount, since it has no relationship to actual 'mezonot', but is an obvious penalty.

  6. Does rav shternbuch oppose prenups that are designed to protect assets for children of a first marriage (nothing to do with giving or not giving a get, receving or not receiving a get.) A very common step in second marriages. Or a prenup that a certain family is purported to use to prevent grandchildren in law from claiming a percentage of the family newspaper that US law entitles them to?

  7. here is where they are cited as supporting the PNA

    whether it was a specific PNA and if this is accurate is something needing to be clarified

  8. "some form of prenup" - The Kesubah is already the Jewish prenup. The Kesubah does not allow a Jewish wife to use non-Jewish courts to collect huge non-halachic payments from Jewish husbands in order to force a pasul Get meusa.

    "have come from more reliable sources" - Please cite specific respected halachic sources, before the current era of politicized feminist rabbis, that state that any Jewish man must "upgrade" the Kesubah with a feminist prenup.

    In short, no feminist upgrades to Judaism are required.

  9. He's specifically speaking about the RCA/BDA prenup in the United States.

  10. Rav Asher Weiss endorsed the RCA prenup.

  11. fedupwithcorruptrabbisAugust 2, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    Daat Torah, can you tell me when was this letter dated?

  12. I don't mean to be disrespectful to Rabenu Gershom in the next paragraph, but one can make the same argument about the takanos of Rabenu Gershom. For all purposes, Rabenu Gershom equated the power of the woman in a marriage. He forbade divorcing against her will, and he forbade the husband from ignoring his wife by marrying a second wife. Basically, if the woman won't take the get, he is stuck. How about this?

    The typical Rabenu Gershom type edict are blatantly
    anti-halachic, one-sided, anti-male, sexist, and unjust. In the standard
    Rabenu Gershom edict the Jewish husband is stripped of his halachic
    rights and all penalties for misbehavior are imposed only on the
    husband. The wife is never penalized or held accountable for her
    These abominable agreements are dreamed up by militant
    feminists in concert with certain MO rabbis who discard Torah halacha and Torah justice and bend over backwards to pander to the feminists.

    The point is that Rabenu Gershom and the Rishonim and Aharonim saw a point in finding a way to make it equal. We can discuss various loopholes and discuss whether or not they are valid, but the quest to create a viable way is legitimate.

  13. I read Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch’s 5 pages. He writes: “How dare
    we make a new ruling that might uproot marital relations in Israel. Thus when Rabbenu
    Gershom made a ruling of Cherem forbidding a man to divorce his wife against
    her will so as not to cause increases in divorces, all the more so,
    we must not make a new ruling that will cause profusion of divorces.”

    I apply Job 5:12-16

    “Who thwarts the designs of the crafty, So that their
    hands cannot gain success; Who traps the clever in their own wiles; The plans
    of the crafty go awry. By day they encounter darkness, At noon they grope as in
    the night. But He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth, From the
    clutches of the strong. So there is hope for the wretched; The mouth of wrongdoing
    is stopped.”

    The Malbim explains here:

    “The difference between
    crafty and wise. The crafty know the rules of wisdom and only apply specific
    matters, slyly, to get the desired result as stated “Every clever [crafty] man
    acts knowledgeably, But a dullard exposes his stupidity (Proverbs 13:16) and “A
    simple person believes anything; A clever [crafty] man ponders his course
    (Proverbs 14:15). God will thwart “the designs of the crafty, So that their
    hands cannot gain success; Who traps the clever in their own wiles; The plans
    of the crafty go awry.” The wise is more than the crafty since the wise know
    the rules of wisdom, but goes and applies in innocence and is accompanied by
    Divine guidance. The crafty diverts from wisdom towards trickery, then God will
    trap him also with trickery.”

    The main aim of
    supporters of prenups is steal the man’s money. Leading rabbis, as Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch,
    with G-d’s help will stop the wrongdoing of the prenups.

  14. What would be the problem with a PNA whereby the couple chooses a BD ahead of time to avoid all issues relating to one side running to a less than reliable BD.

  15. The reports about RZNG supporting some form of prenup have come from more reliable sources

    The other reports were also from "reliable" sources. Unless RZNG himself put it in writing, it is simply not trustworthy.

  16. To whom it may concern: Could you please make this Scribd document "public", so that I can download it? Thank you.

  17. The financial payments in the prenup are halachicly considered to be a knas, a penalty, this rendering the subsequent Get a Get Me'usa, invalid Get, despite all the slick legal subterfuge attempted in the wording of the prenup.

  18. Indeed. The RCA/BDA type prenup is specifically designed to increase the likelihood of divorce and to make divorce easier and more acceptable. Whereas in Jewish law divorce should be discouraged and delayed.

  19. No MO rabbi comes to the dust under the toenails of Rabbeinu Gershom, who was the international leader of Ashkenazic Jewry, that they have anywhere close to the authority of R"G to enact decrees upon Judaism.

  20. A PNA simply and only choosing a specific B"D, and nothing more, would in theory not be halachicly problematic.

  21. @Chaim - I has been set to be downloadable as well as cut and pastable. Private vs Public doesn't make a difference in whether it can be downloaded - just whether it can be found with a search enginge.

  22. I had spoken with one of the leaders of the RCA and BDA who is a leading proponent of their prenup, and has for many years been one of the leading voices expressing its halachic acceptability. I asked him about the prenup costing $150/day (which equals $55,000 a year in so-called "mezonos" payments to his wife - and that amount is on top of and in excess to any child support payments he must make and on top of any potential court ordered alimony and on top of any 50/50 split of marital assets ordered, and of course the $55K/year he must pay her is after he paid taxes - so he needs to earn over $80,000 a year just to pay her $55K. And if he earns, say, $80K/year, he will have approximately 0 (zero) money for himself after paying his wife.)

    Specifically, i asked this RCA rabbi/BDA dayan if the amount was $500/day instead of $150/day, but otherwise the prenup was exactly the same as it is, if the prenup would still be halachicly kosher. He admitted it would not be then. He said it wouldn't be because $500/day is in excess of the halachic mezonos amount, and thus it would not be considered mezonos but rather be a knas. And he acknowledged such a prenup, if utilized to procure a Get, would render it invalid. And he admitted even though the prenup is describing that dollar amount as constituting mezonos, it wouldn't help as in reality it is in excrss of mezonos despite the verbiage of the prenup.

    I told him that $150/day, or $55,000/year, for one person is far in excess of mezonos and is in fact a knas thus rendering the Get invalid. Very few men can afford to pay someone $55,000 a year after they pay taxes. And still be left over money for their own living expenses and for the living expenses of their children.

    And a single person does not need $55,000/year for mezonos. Especially as she can be working herself and keeping her own income. In fact the BDA prenup specifically states that the wife, besides getting the $55,000 every year in payments from her husband, also gets to keep her own income. Normative halacha, of course, states that the husband owns his wife's income. The only exception is if the wife agrees that her husband does not have to support her. Since she is demanding the $55,000 in annual payments from him, she is demanding support from him. Thus her income belongs to him. So the BDA prenup, in fact, grants her more than just his payments, considering she's being given her own income.

  23. Moe - do you mean no MO Rabbi of last 100 years? I would argue no Rabbi of our era, after all R'G was an early Rishon. So it is not about MO or not. Sephardim did not generally go by his Herem, but they lived in a different environment. In fact, you might argue R'G was "modern" because he "changed" the halachic practice to suit his time and era.

  24. @Berel - unfortunately we have no way of either supporting or denying your anonymous account of events. Rav Malinowitz is not interested in responding - or even reading additional comments.

  25. $150 / day is very reasonable if Mezonos includes general cost of living and not just food. Does anyone have a mekor regarding the extent of the chiyuv mezonos?

  26. Granted that there may be serious Halachic issues with the prenup, and maybe there's a lot of feminist motives behind it. However it doesn't take away from the fact that the issue of husbands witholding a Get for no good reason exists, and unfortunately seems to have become more prevalent in recent years. Now it's also true that the women is able to take advantage of the husband, and maybe the reality has started to swing more in that direction just because women are being empowered more than in the past. However the fact remains that the normative Halacha creates a very powerful weapon for the husband to use against the wife, and even thought this was almost non-existent for most of Jewish history, its become a 'miut hamatzui' nowadays.

    So after this whole long-winded paragraph here my question is simply this - do people here feel that this is in fact an issue that needs to be addressed somehow, and are there any other ways to deal with it within the proper framework of Halachah? (And please don't accuse me of being feminist or a radical leftist, , I'm really just on the fence about this whole issue and am trying to understand the Halaca LaMito, but sadly have also witnessed what can happen in the worst-case-scenarios that people are trying to prevent)

  27. I believe mezonos is codified in S"A EH 77.

    $55,000/year cash support is far in excess of any reasonable halachic mezonos requirement for one person. And the BDA PNA requires him to pay her more than $55,000/year. He must pay her the $55K PLUS her earned income, which is halachicly his property (as I explained above.) So if she is earning $60,000/year for her job, he is effectively paying her $115,000/year.

    And the $55K he has to pay her is after his taxes are paid. How many men earn enough money to pay anyone $55,000 cash a year after they paid the IRS, State and City income tax, property tax, sales tax, etc.?

    Very, very few very wealthy men could afford that. It is far above any reasonable mezonos halachicly. Check the halachic sources.

    And, again, after paying her $55,000 every year, and with her keeping her own income, he has to pay his child support. His children's Limud Torah/yeshiva. His childen's food and housing and clothing. And he has to pay his own food and housing and clothing.

    $55,000 cash is far more than necessary for one person to survive on. He has no halachic mezonos obligation to pay more than her very basic food and living (minimal clothing, etc.) expenses.

    Also remember, as far as housing expenses for his wife is concerned, if he wants the marriage to continue (despite her demands for a divorce) her has the right to offer her to live in his marital home instead of being responsible to pay mezonos expenses for her to rent a separate apartment from him.

    To propogagate the crazy idea that one woman needs $55,000 a year for basic living expenses would effectively mean claiming that a married couple without children need minimally $110,000 for basic living expenses, after they paid taxes. So a young newlywed couple would need to earn $160K (pretax) for basic living?? And a couple with say four children needs to earn something like $320K a year pretax for basic living?

    Claiming such numbers is insane. Very few people come close to earning such numbers even without considering children (i.e. $110K aftertax).

  28. You are completely overlooking the vital halachic fact that a husband is not obligated to give his wife a divorce simply because she asked him for it. If he wants the marriage to continue (shalom bayis) that is his halachic and moral right.

    Now there are some rare exceptions where a husband is obligated to give his wife a divorce if she wants it even if he doesn't want to give it. But that is the exception to the rule. The rule is he doesn't have to get divorced if he wants the marriage to continue. And the exception to the rule require very unique and unusual circumstances like he has a physical deformity.Or that he engaged in physical violence against his wife (that beis din has verified is factually true, as per the halachic requirements outlined in S"A, and not merely her claim) and beis din warned him to stop and beis din verified he continued after being warned. And a small number of other unusual situations where he is halachicly required to give a Get even if he doesn't wish to.

    Most marriages where there there is tension in the marriage, arguments, dislikings, etc., if one of the spouses (either the husband or the wife [the wife has the right per rabbinic decree of Rabbeinu Gershom while the husband has the right per Torah Law] wants the marriage to continue, he or she has the halachic right to demand from beis din the marriage continue and not dissolve into divorce. And beis din is required per halachic to honor that spouses insistence that the marriage continue despite the other spouses desire for a divorce.

  29. David, excellent points.

    Evan HaEzer 70:3 specifies an amount of mezonos. For a middle class husband, even if we doubled the amount for mezonos a poor husband owes according to Evan HaEzer, I don't see how mezonos could amount to more than about $100 per week in the U.S. Instead the MO prenup fines the husband over 10 times that amount per week.

    Of course if the wife is a "moredes", I don't believe the husband owes any mezonos to her.

    "How much does the husband provide his wife everyday? Two meals of bread a day with vegetables, oil for eating and to light a lamp, a little bit of wine, on Shabbos three meals with meat or fish, fuel for cooking, we are referring to a poor man's obligations here, if he is rich, his obligation is according to his wealth..." (Shulchan Aruch, Evan HaEzer 70:3)

  30. The MO prenup grants the wife about about 23 times more per year than the NY State SNAP food stamp program pays for one person per year.

    NY State SNAP food stamp program pays $2328 per year ($194 per month) for one person:

  31. Previous coverage of prenups on Daas Torah:

    Rav Eliashiv rejected the prenup because of Get Me'usa

    A prenup undermines a marriage before it has even begun

    Proposal for new prenuptial agreement by Rabbi Shalom Spira

  32. This is not a decree. It's a halachic loophole. No rabbi is making anyone sign it, the one making a person sign it is his potential wife.

  33. He is required to support her on his level, or hers, whichever is
    greater. 55k is a reasonable average if living expenses are included. The Gemara
    does note that there is birkas habayis with more people, ie the rent for
    1 and for 5 can be the same. An electric bill for 2 people in a single apartment will be less than 2 separate single people in their own apartments. A married woman can demand
    justifiably not to share an apartment with a roommate, as that is the
    norm for married women today. In metro NY, rent can be 2k a month, and
    healthcare can be another 600. The angle of the heter is not the amount of support
    as much is that he agrees to mochel her ma'aseh yadeha.

  34. Please get off the fence and get to work. Where are are all these men torturing their wives by not giving a Get "for no good reason"? Facts, please.

  35. Let's assume the deal was $500 per day. He voluntarily made a tnai before he got married, and now must keep the tnai. How is it get meuseh? Nobody forced him to make the tnai. What is the halacha if a man promised his wife before the kiddushin that within a year of marriage, he will buy her a huge mansion on a Carribean Island, else he has to divorce her, so she can find another husband who will buy her the mansion. Wouldn't such a tnai hold? Isn't any tnai binding unless it's a masneh al ma shekasuv batorah? Does the Torah forbid adding additional money into a marriage deal? We know there is a concept of tosefes kesuva. In the reverse case, as well. if she promised him money and doesn't fulfill, it is teishev ad shetalbin rosha.

    How does fulfilling one's own words become a get meuseh? Who is doing the forcing here? I have not seen R. Shternbuch inside yet, as sometimes have trouble reading Scribd on my phone. Forgive me if this is discussed.

  36. See
    my comment on

    My ex-wife, Susan Aranoff is a champion of
    prenups. I’m happy to report that the
    IRS told me just last week, they’re closing their tax deficiency for tax year
    2013 against me. I owe them nothing! I made a bracha shehechinayu on good hearing
    news. I still have open, now in USA tax
    Court file 481—15S IRS tax deficiencies against me for tax years 2011 and
    2012. I
    still have open, as far as I know, NYS Court of Appeals my motion

  37. It's mesuah because it is knas not mezonos. $500 is above the halachic definition of mezonos. And even if he agreed to the terms in advance it is still a knas. This point isn't under dispute; any authority admits as much.The same idea would apply to the mansion pre-agreement. If he couldn't afford it and send after a year, darling I love you very much and want to keep the marriage but don't have the money to buy the mansion, she couldn't force him to divorce her.She can demand in beis din that he give her the mansion (though if he truly doesn't have the money it is an exercise in futility) but she can't force him to divorce her.

    The second case where he lied to her before the kiddushin that he already has a mansion could potentially be a mekach ta'os kiddushin in that the marriage effectively never occurred and she doesn't even need a divorce. Possibly.

  38. He can tell his wife to live in his home. He doesn't have to agree to rent her a home separate from his own home.

  39. this is a good point - also the divorce courts will take a husband to the cleaners. In any case, this can happen when people take the case through the secular courts, regardless of the halacha. On the other hand, there was a case a few years ago where a Jewish couple had an Israeli PNA and Ketubah, and the English court said they could not interfere with that PNA - so ironically it may offer some protection to the man.

  40. fedupwithcorruptrabbisAugust 3, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    does anyone know when R Sternbuch put out this letter?

  41. Koillel, your arguments are nonsensical and absurd in comparing Rabbeninu Gershom's edict to the MO prenups.

    Rabbeinu Gershom's edict did move the marriage halachos to more equal terms, but the MO regressive prenup moves the divorce halachos to much less equal terms, and imposes feminist servitude and second class status onto Jewish men. Which of course is the goal of the feminists and their so-called rabbis.

  42. "he agrees to mochel her ma'aseh yadeha" - Its very doubtful that most of the men who sign this oppressive agreement actually consent to the divorce terms in the agreement, nor do they realize to what extent they are being stripped of their true halachic rights.

    When the men are ready to get married, the agreement is shoved in their face by the MO rabbis and they are told its "halachic" and they have an obligation to sign it if they want to get married.

  43. The (non) halachic prenup has nothing to do with halachic mezonos. The terms of the (non) halachic prenup are intentionally designed to financially crush the husband anytime the wife seeks a divorce, so that the husband has no choice but to grant a GET to her against the will of the husband.

  44. You have it backwards. If a woman announces that she wants to keep her maaseh yadeha and forgo the mezonos, then she can. A man who decides to forgo his rights to maaseh yadeha, does not absolve himself from mezonos. The takana of maaseh yadeha was enacted for her good, not for his.

  45. You missed the point. If a man "decides to forgo his rights to maaseh yadeha" that effectively means he is agreeing to give that maaseh yadeha money to his wife. It is rightfully his money. It is no different than his agreeing to give an astronomical sum of money to his wife as so-called "mezonos", even though it is far above and beyond the halachic definition of mezonos.

    All we are saying is that effectively the sum of all this is a knas regardless of what it is called in the terms of the agreement (i.e. prenup) that he signs. Halachicly, if he agrees to give her more money than what is halachicly mezonos, it isn't considered to be mezonos under halacha. If he agrees to pay her $1,000 a day for mezonos, the signed agreement might term it mezonos but halacha does not term $1,000 a day as mezonos regardless of what fanciful way the terms are worded.

    Since the payment (whether it is $1,000/day, $500/day or $150/day plus the maaseh yadeha that is his property that is "agreeing" to give to his wife) is contingent on a) beginning from the time she asks for a divorce/moves out of his home - and b) continues to be incurred by him until he gives her a divorce, halacha deems this payment to be a knas. And that knas will invalidate the subsequent divorce.

  46. Can any persons confirm as to whether the majority of modern Orthodox men who signed an MO prenup before marrying a wife, were explicitly granted FULL rights to refuse to sign the MO prenup, without ANY repercussions whatsoever being threatened or actually occurring in the event the husband refused to sign the prenup? Such as the wife or her rabbis threatening to abort the marriage ceremony unless and until the husband signed the prenup?

    If any pressure or threats to sign the prenup were directed at the future husbands prior to marriage but after they likely spent much time and effort courting their future wives, and after these future husbands announced to their families an engagement, then how can any argument possibly be made that these husbands accepted the "kenas" voluntarily?

  47. Most MO marriages do not sign the BDA prenuptial agreement. It is a minority of MO couples that sign it. I can't answer how much pressure is applied to those that sign it, but some MO rabbis before officiating do pressure the husband to sign it at the threat of pulling out of officiating over the wedding at the last minute, thus embarrassing the groom.

    Despite that, most MO rabbis don't push it and most MO grooms don't sign it. In fact, fairly recently the RCA was upset that too many MO rabbis aren't pushing the prenup. They learnt that quite a number of MO rabbis, yes MO rabbis, find the prenup halachicly problematic.

    So much so, in fact, that the RCA issued a press release bemoaning this. The relevant part of the RCA resolution (issued in July 2013) reads as follows:

    the RCA will investigate in great detail all aspects of usage and
    attitudes toward the BDA and alternative halakhic prenuptial agreements
    among its members to precisely determine the reasons, both halakhic and
    otherwise, for some members’ hesitation to use such agreements"

    The RCA Resolution can be viewed on their website, at:

    Outside of the MO world the prenup is virtually unheard of. It is extremely rare to find the prenup used in any Orthodox wedding outside of the MO world. (And even in the MO world it is a minority.) Especially by normal first-time marriages by young Chareidi and chasidish couples, where the chasuna is presided over by the choson's rosh yeshiva or rov. The Chareidi world, both Yeshivish and chasidish, has entirely rejected the prenup to the point where it isn't even a thought or discussion any more than the idea of having a double ring ceremony.

    This last point is important since as of two years ago Chareidim make up 81% of American Orthodox Jews aged 30 or younger. This figure comes from the 2013 Pew Research census of American Judaism. Chareidim make up 71% of American Orthodox Jews of any age. And their percentage is growing. So the MO world is becoming more marginalized and what they practice less relevant or prevalent in regards to how Orthodox Jews overall practice their religion.

  48. Dear David, How does this concept of being able to promise something to a prospective marriage partner with no intention of fulfilling it, and misleading her, and then saying she cannot demand a divorce, square with your sense of yashrus? I am having trouble digesting it. Why is discovering that your husband is a liar not a mekach taus in its own right?

  49. How many are there like this? A dozen? Should we reconfigure all marriages just for that. There are 1000x more women who prevent good men from seeing their children.

  50. Pre-nup rabbanim are not rabbanim. They are first class fools who are totally out of touch with the people. This is a glamour issue, not a real one.

  51. The Satan desires Chava.

  52. fedupwithcorruptrabbisAugust 4, 2015 at 6:03 AM

    what i saw once at a wedding is a MO rabbi, the mesader kiddushin "surprising" the choson minutes before the chuppa with the prenup agreement to sign. Is there any better example of coercion than presenting this moments before his chuppa? The Chosson signed it being gullible and believing its for his best!

  53. I
    quote Malbim on Proverbs 6:25-26 (Malbim on Mishley, Feldheim 1982 p. 65): “These
    are two categories, bringing two different levels of sin and danger. The prostitute who is single and merely ruins
    a man financially, and the married courtesan, who sets her sights on the elite
    members of society.”

    Kings Solomon gives wise advice for men: “Do not
    lust for her beauty Or let her captivate you with her eyes. The last loaf of
    bread will go for a harlot; A married woman will snare a person of honor” (Proverbs 6:25-26).

    writes “If any pressure or threats to sign the prenup were directed at
    the future husbands… ” These future
    husbands face sin and danger from bitches, gold diggers, who want to ruin them

  54. Eida Ravaad Speaks Out in Harshest Terms Against RCA Pre-Nuptial Agreement

  55. Dear Barry, don't shoot the messenger. I'm simply explaining the halacha to you. You can call the BDA or RCA themselves and ask them if you can modify the daily amount in the prenup to $1,000 a day, if the husband agrees to it before signing. After all, he freely agreed and even asked and wanted to set the amount he's agreeing to at $1,000 a day. The BDA will tell you setting it to $1,000 will cause the prenup to become halachicly invalid and render a Get procured under it as Me'usa.

    Regarding Mekach Taos, that's a whole 'nother discussion. It's pretty rare for it to be applicable and it needs to be invoked almost immediately following the wedding for it to be effective.

  56. The implications of Rav Sternbuch's halachic analysis are DIRE: If 80% (or even a majority) of RCA marriages have been utilizing the prenup for quite some time, and if Rav Sternbuch's halachic analysis is correct, then a very high percentage of modern Orthodox female "divorcees" may in fact be halachic eishes eish, ie married women. The exception being women who were married years ago before the widespread useage of the prenup (however even these cases cannot be ignored because it seems there is a post-nup agreement also.)

    "an RCA 2014 survey determined that approximately 80% of RCA members
    require or strongly advocate the signing of the Halachic Prenuptial
    Agreement when officiating at a wedding"

  57. So that's exactly my point - we shouldn't change the system for everyone because of a minority, but is there no way to help these people?

  58. Moe - I think you missed my point. If this goes against Halacha then by all means it can't be done. But it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to help women - or men! that are stuck in unfortunately situations

  59. We should help the spouse who wants to continue the marriage by encouraging the couple to get back together and rebuild their shalom bayis. Divorce is being pushed too quick and too often. Most divorces are avoidable and should be avoided.

  60. Nothing personal here for me other than the pain of seeing marriages destroyed all around me.

  61. "all these men"? how many are there really are there in anything but a custody battle

  62. i have never in all my life met an aguna or known a woman who became one

    yet i know 20 men who have limited or no access to their kids

    seems to me the latter is the more pressing issue

  63. Ask the Torah, it created the rule that men don't have to give a divorce. It's a way of keeping marriages together despite fickle spouses.

  64. I don't think he was equating the MO rabbi's and their prenups to Rabbeinu Gershom. He was comparing the pursuit of some sort of halachikly viable solution to a perceived problem, to Rabbeinu Gershom's possible similar pursuit and motivations. He was also saying that that a well intention-ed pursuit of a solution may even be commendable insofar as it reflects an empathy for people in pain. And he was saying that the response that "you are changing the system etc" in and of itself could have actually been applied to Rabbenu Gershom as well - meaning that it is not an effective logical response - again in and of itself. I happen to think he makes a good point there.(and your ad hominem attacks on him don't flatter you btw).
    Personally i feel that many of the MO rabbi's pushing non-halachikally viable possible solutions are not motivated by the real problem of divorce and so called "agunos" in our community, because the real solution there is not to make it easier for women to receive a get on demand, rather the real solution is to make it HARDER for unnecessary gittin on demand, and combine that with an aggressive educational push to get that message to girls early and often on the horrible damage divorce does to themselves, their children, and the social fabric of our frum society.
    Unfortunately MO feminists absolutely have NO interest in hearing that, as they do not want to solve the aguna crisis, rather they want "equality" in its full secular and western definition. They want to actually exacerbate the aguna problem, and sacrifice Jewish families and precious children on the alter of secular feminine equality. Maybe the Torah true world needs to band together and combat their non-solution with real, practical suggestions...
    Just saying!

  65. Excellent point!
    Inasmuch as we don't try to guess the reasons for mitzvos, and rather follow the Torah purely because it is the dvar Hashem, that is an excellent suggestion and answer to the feminists who rail that the Torah way makes no sense and is unfair etc. The Torah was concerned for the sanctity of the institution of marriage and for the preservation of the family unit, so Hashem gave the ultimate say in divorce to the man who should be the more logical, less emotional of the two. And we can clearly see what results when the MO try to change that dynamic and allow women to divorce on demand - everywhere you look there are unnecessary divorces and families in shambles.
    As an aside, it is not a POWER that Hashem vested in the man, as much as a RESPONSIBILITY to act correctly and with shaalas chochom and daas Torah to preserve the family. And if the right thing to do for that family and for the kids etc is to dissolve the union, well then the Torah provides for him to be able to make that decision.

  66. What R' Moe, and the rest of us, are discussing are macro descriptions of community wide issues. It goes without saying that any individual situation may or may not differ, and would need to be addressed accordingly - that's why the Torah CREATED the parsha of gittin, because sometimes it is called for and needed.
    However, anyone with eyes in their head (who isn't blinded by the feminist MO agenda) can see that the far greater issue plaguing klal yisrael today is the exploding divorce rate, and primarily unnecessary and preventable divorces. This is a far greater communal issue than maybe a few yechidim who really should be giving their wives a divorce and are refusing.
    Almost all of the fake "agunos" referenced by the feminists are agunos of their own choosing, and the Torah true klal's efforts should be made to keep those families together rather than pry them apart.

  67. Please see this comment from Rabbi Shalom Spira

    ...Indeed, this point appears to be openly conceded by one of the scholars whom the Beth Din of America invokes as a supporter of the prenuptial agreement. In his letter of approbation featured on the Beth Din of America website devoted to the prenuptial agreement, R. Asher Zelig Weiss admits quite openly that a husband cannot be rightfully made to pay in Beth Din the amount of money specified by the agreement, owing to the principle ha-motzi me-chaveiro alav ha-re’ayah. Essentially, then, R. Weiss is admitting that the prenuptial
    agreement is disqualified, as R. Bleich believes. Why, then, is R. Weiss featured as a scholar who supports the prenuptial agreement, when he really disqualifies it? The answer is that R. Weiss continues that – even though the prenuptial agreement is disqualified – he is confident that ladies are not prone to actually go to Beth Din to sue their husbands, and therefore the prenuptial agreement poses no problem of generating financial coercion. In other words, the
    prenuptial agreement is just a ruse; it is a void agreement which no Beth Din could ever enforce, and so the husbands are all being “tricked” into thinking that it works. Since the husbands are merely being tricked into divorcing their wives, this is not considered financial coercion and the resulting gittin are kosher, claims R. Weiss.

    Alas, with all due reverence manifest before R. Weiss, R. Weiss overlooks the fact that – quite apart from the Beth Din – the secular judiciary will enforce the Beth Din of America prenuptial agreement, and therein lies the coercion on the husbands. Hence, any sefer keritut the husband delivers is to be regarded as potentially coerced and hence potentially disqualified.

  68. have not been able to find out. I posted it on the day I got it from an organization that distributes Rav Sternbuch's writings

  69. Any idea how yeshiva world got it and posted it a couple days after you? Is this letter recently been making the rounds?

  70. If I am reading the terms in the BDA prenup correctly, the BDA must first order the husband to pay the $150/day before it is legally due to the wife. So the secular court seemingly couldn't enforce it unless and until the BDA first ordered he pay it to her.

    That being said, the BDA has in the past ordered husbands to pay the $150/day payment. In fact, the BDA not long boasted that a secular court upheld the terms of the BDA prenup.

    So it seems Rav Weiss assumed the BDA would never order the $150/day payments, as he agrees that would invalidate it as your pointed out, yet nevertheless the BDA is orderering husbands to make the payments despite Rav Weiss' assumption otherwise.

  71. Know nothing about where and how YWN gets its information

  72. The organization that distributes Rav Shternbuch's writings, that you got it from, have they been making a special effort to distribute this psak recently? Which org is it?

  73. And yet there are marriages that simply cannot be made to work, and there needs to be a recognition that at some point, it's time to throw in the towel and end such marriages as painlessly and amicably as possible.

  74. David,

    Did you read YWN's spin on it? It seems clear that it was sent to them by ORA type people in order to put their spin on it. Just read the very first two sentences: ..which have become increasingly popular as rabbonim are working to prevent future agunos. A growing number of organizations that work to free agunos are backing such agreements, as are major rabbinical organizations around the world.

    A big lie. They have not become popular, at all.

    A growing number of organizations? Really, now?

    "Major rabbinical organizations around the world?" Is there a bridge they can offer us a good deal on?

    ORA may have gotten it from right here!

  75. Dear Ari, while your reasoning may be correct, nevertheless, although the Torah similarly says not to collect debts on shmita for no doubt important reasons, yet we have a pruzbul, which gets around it. The Torah says not to have chametz on Pesach, yet we get around it by selling it. There is no reason to view this prenup process differently.

  76. Yes, the men should have over him the yoke of mitzvos plus rabbanim.

  77. The difference is that this workaround may not work and the result is the worst of all results - mamzarim.

    Please the whole thing isn't even necessary. Chometz is an issue for every family. True agunos are rare. 95% of the cases are custody disputes.

  78. Dear Barry,

    Please review the laws of shmitta and pruzbul carefully. It only works nowadays when shmitta is a rabbinic decree. Hillel did it in order to uphold the Torah laws which were being violated due the rabbinic decree.

    There is no reason to view this prenup process differently.

    There certainly is, as it is destroying families. Did you ever stop and wonder why 50% of MO high school students sadly drop Shabbos and Kashrus within two years of their graduation? It is in large part due to embracing secular ideas and ideals about life - which is what the prenuptial is all about.

  79. That's a good example alright.

  80. taht's good news, i had heard they were universal in the MO world even though i found it hard to believe

  81. my heart goes out to you

  82. i have at least half a dozen friends who are perfectly fine gentleman whose wives ended the marriages, took the kids, the whole bit

  83. even many of those would work if the people would make personal changes - it's not just about fixing the marriage, it's about attitude adjustments of the players

  84. Any yiras shemayim would be very concerned about this, much more than he would this made up crisis called agunah.

  85. Since this is quite a high number of divorces for one person to be acquainted with, is there any observable pattern, eg what the cause of the problems were, who influenced the wives to divorce, could it have been prevented, was there another man/ woman in the background?

  86. When the Chosson signs the prenup under any such conditions as this (including the communal pressures in the MO communities), it would seem to clearly be an "asmachta", ie the Chosson is only signing it because he considers it a non-anticipated conditional obligation. As a result the agreement loses any validity.

  87. First of all, pruzbul and mchiras chomets DONT change the Torah. Pruzbul creates a new metzius where it is a business investment as opposed to a loan. ?Understand? It is now NOT a loan, hence doesnt fall under the purview of Shmitah, all halachikally valid according to the Torah. As well with selling chometz. The Torah says we can't own chometz. By selling our chometz we no longer own it. We didnt change the Torah one iota. So stop throwing in ridiculous analogies out of left field that are not relevant to the conversation

    Secondly, I fail to see what your comment had to do in even the slightest way with what I said? Go back and read my comment!

    Finally, stop perpetuating this ridiculous falsehood that there is this huge issue with guys not giving gets. There isnt. It may happen here and there and is dealt with individually. The GLOBAL MAJOR communal issue facing our klal is the exact opposite - it is the rampant divorce rate and feminists encouraging women to divorce on a whim, and destroy families and children. THIS is the issue we have to deal with. And the solution is not to make it easier to divorce, the solution is to make it harder, and to start an aggressive educational campaign promoting marriage and family.We need to take this message to the girls high schools, and hammer it home, that divorce is an absolute final final worst case option - so much so that it really shouldnt be even viewed as an option other than in certain abuse and dysfunction type situations, with the approval of Rabbonim, imho - and if it is done right then slowly slowly we will see the tide turn around.
    But stop this "aguna crisis" nonsense. It is a lie, driven by the MO feminist agenda. It simply doesnt exist.

  88. well that's a good point - if klal yisroel works on ways to improve shalom bayis it would prevent both issues

  89. Rabbosai, I hear what you are saying. It is true that Chazal were misaken certain things shelo tehei kala beinav lhotzia, which is a major reason for kesuva in first place. It would cost him a lot to get divorced. But also we find mishum iguna akilu bah rabanan. They made certaun takanos to prevent women from becoming agunos.

    Now, you claim that women are more likely to initiate a divorce if they have a prenup. It seems that this is something that we can verify. Why not compare statistics of frum divorces between couples that signed a prenup and those who didn't. Would be an interesting study. I firmly believe that most couples want their marriages to succeed, and would never walk away from a good marriage because they are "bored". When you read the stories of divorced women how lonely they are, how difficult when they don't have a husband to take children to shul, etc., I find it incredulous that any woman would simply walk out for no reason. Yes, the gemara was concerned shema eineha nasna b'acheir, but I think that was mostly in regard to trusting her word on certain edus-related matters. But how often do divorced women remarry someone the next day? They often sit for years. It comes down to whether more men withhold gittin, or more women end marriages because of boredom or desire for another guy. I think both are quite rare. But if you have statistics, then kindly cite.

  90. TruthSeekerJew,
    You have noted an important thing. What people do to protect women from being "Agunoth" can result in children being mamzerim. Is there any solution to this? There is none.

    The world must choose. Do we want to please this or please that? We can't have it both ways. And I always say, Choose ladies over babies, and what you have is child molesting, because the worst child molesting is turning a child into a mamzer or a doubtful mamzer or even one that has laaz of mamzeruth.

    And that is why I said that if a woman or a man cannot abide by the open halacha of marriage for whatever reason, they are not allowed to have kiddushin. What should they do? I don't know, but don't have mamzerim. Somebody told me that he heard a similar thing from Rav Shternbuch.

  91. FWIW,
    I surely appreciate your point, but unfortunately there are women who have husbands who cause women to have great suffering. This is sometimes a made up crisis and sometimes it is not. But the issue cannot be dismissed.

  92. I don't think that signing a paper is so easily dismissed. First of all, people who have rabbis spring such papers on them know exactly what it is. And if they know, how can they dismiss it?

  93. I don't understand your point. If a person is in a community that thinks that a husband who refuses to sign this or that is wicked, and the husband wants to be part of that community and obey its rabbis, why is this a coerced acceptance?

  94. Maybe this is true. But what of the children born to MO who did sign these documents, and did accept MO attitudes about coerced Gittin? Reb Chaim Soloveitchik told us that many MO children will become charedim. What do we do then with the problems of mamzeruth?

  95. Years ago in my youth I solved the two worst Agunah cases ever in Monsey, as a prominent Rov told me. And everyone was happy. There was not one drop of hate. Why? Because everyone worked together. Okay, I got sick from it, but it worked. I even had to rebuke a husband for talking to his ex-wife too much

    . If a community works together, not to make hate, but to make sense, and the rabbonim and the askonim get involved, a lot of good things happen. And when you have organizations like ORA backed by Reb Moshe Heineman that specialize in terror and hate and causing aged parents with medical issues to writhe in agony, well, you have what we have today, a growing hate between men and women, and it is going to get much, much worse.

    We are just waiting for the men to wake up and learn how to be vicious. What a wonderful world that would be.

  96. Why not compare statistics of frum divorces between couples that signed a prenup and those who didn't.

    It is an impossible study, as very few Frum women have signed prenuptials. However, if you compare the Modern Orthodox world with other Torah Jews, you will see that there is a 2:1 ratio of divorces. Modern Orthodox women are twice as likely to divorce. It is the MO who are pushing prenuptials.

    They made certaun takanos to prevent women from becoming agunos.

    This means when they do not have any option at all of being with their husband, as he has disappeared. However, when her husband wants to continue the marriage, we do not see anywhere that Chazal sought to allow her to destroy her family and leave. To the contrary, Chazal did all they could to keep the marriage intact.

    I firmly believe that most couples .. would never walk away from a good marriage because they are "bored".

    Chazal felt differently than you did. They even forbade the couple to live together if they didn't add a safeguard to the marriage and a penalty if he just decides to leave. A woman never had that option.

    I firmly believe...

    What are your credentials? What is your understanding of psychology?

    I find it incredulous that any woman would simply walk out...

    Again, what is your knowledge about human emotion? The reality is different, and there are studies that back it up.

  97. Thank you Rabbi Eidensohn for taking a balanced and compassionate approach - unfortunately this can't be said for many of the other commentors here.

  98. It's great to call something a made up issue, but that doesn't make it go away - just like the people who try to sweep the child abuse issues under the rug

  99. An excellent explanation of the RCA/BDA so-called "Halachic Pre-nup" by Yomin Postelnik:

    The "Halachic" Pre-Nup is Not Halachic and Destroys Marriage

  100. "Again, what is your knowledge about human emotion? The reality is different, and there are studies that back it up."

    Lama li kra, sevara hu. Nobody takes Mommy and Daddy's hard-earned money, makes themselves a huge wedding, invites all their friends, sits thru a week of sheva brachos speeches praising them and their new spouse, and then says the next day, I'm bored, let me try someone else. The community would be quite upset at them for taking so much of their time and effort, showering them with gifts, traveling from long distances to partcipate in the simcha, etc.

    Any couple who did something like that would incur the wrath of their circle of friends and relatives, in addition to considerable personal embarrassment. Chazal said the same thing, Ein adam toreach beseuda umafsida. If somebody did actually do something like that, they are quite likely not completely stable to begin with. In that case, would a husband really want to remain married to such an individual?

    Yes, there can be genuine shalom bayis issues which require much help to fix, and no marriage should be terminated on a whim without serious effort to fix. But I doubt boredom is one of these main causes. It is not clear to me that prenups would affect divorce statistics. You say there are not enough instances to make a comparison, then I believe you may need to wait until you can compile reliable statistics. After all, aren't you making a claim that A causes B? It seems like the burden of proof is upon you, not upon the rest of the world to refute your claim.

  101. Lama li kra, sevara hu.


    It seems like the burden of proof is upon you, not upon the rest of the world to refute your claim.

    No. It is you who decided to contradict actual studies and statistics with a theory. Your theory is wrong and contradicted by reality. It is you, and prenup pushers, upon whom the burden of proof remains to show that the prenup will not cause a lot more harm than good.


    Using the word board to define women's whimsical positions to get out of marriages is simple intellectual dishonesty. If you would like to open up a serious dialog about why women seek to get out of marriages, based upon hard, actual, numbers - then please do so. Ignoring the actual statistics in exchange for a "sevara," is not a serious attempt at a discussion.

  102. I don't get it. If the prenup is problematic because it forces the husband to divorce his wife, how is that different than putting a sarvan get in jail?

  103. The prenup can be used to pressure the husband into giving a Get when he is under no obligation to do so.

  104. I heard from one of the main proponents of the RCA pre-nup when asked about this teshuva that "it is an excelent Teshuva". He said Rav Shterbuchs teshuva on self impossed knassos is very good. But this is not what the pre-nup is.

  105. Because the RCA proponent is attempting to reclassify the knas as not being knas but rather being mezonos. But when the amount is set to an extreme amount (i.e. about the halachic amount of mezonos) it cannot be considered mezonos but rather is a knas.

  106. TT, maybe you can ask this "main proponent of the RCA pre-nup" to write a teshuva to show the world why he thinks that Rav Shternbuch's condemnation is misplaced. Then you can ask to have it posted here by our distinguished host Rabbi Eidensohn.

  107. But what about jailing get refusers? How is that different?

  108. 1) Finally I got a hold of the PDF of Rav Shternbuch's actual teshuva, as can't read Scribd on my phone. When you read it, you see how it doesn't invalidate the psak of those who established the prenup. A few points:

    The prenup is based on the Rama (with concurrence of Chazon Ish) that a knas that one brought upon oneself is not a problem of meuseh, bdieved. Hence, no mamzer problem. RMS attacks because some other acharonim, and possibly a rishon disgaree. Is suddenly the Rama no longer considered a qualified posek who can be relied upon?

    2) RMS finds a case where a person was mechayev himself to uphold the decision of a certain arbitrator. When the arbitrator decided he must divorce his wife, an opinion holds that we can't force him to give get, because even according to opinion that a knas one brings about is not meuseh, here, he didnt know how arbitrator would pasken. He may never have agreed to be mechayev himself, if he knew decision would be against him. RMS says by prenup same thing applies. Husband may never have considered possibility they would separate as a couple. Now, is this comparable? In first case, it was a decision of a 3rd party. Do you mean to say a husband signing a prenup can't envision the marriage may not work out down the road? Why does he think he is signing the prenup to begin with?

    3) RMS finds an opinion that when a person is mechayev himself a knas that we can't physically or thru cherem force the person to pay up. Therefore if they did force him, then it would be meuseh. Well, how does this fit with the original Rama and Chazon Ish who say that a person giving a get to get out of a knas he accepted upon himself is not meuseh? There obviously was some pressure on him, as case was he only gave to get out of knas. If he was being a gentleman, then what does knas have to do with it at all?

    4) RMS claims that husband was forced by mesader kiddushin or others to sign before wedding. But that is how contracts work. If I want A I agree to do B. Nobody forces me to accept package. But if I voluntarily agree to proceed, I must do what I contracted. Nobody forces me to buy a house. But if I do, I must pay the seller, as I signed in contract.

    5) The rest is philosophical, as we discussed earlier, whether this will create more divorces, and whether going into marriage with provisions for a future divorce is advisable or not, and risk vs. benefit. These can be debated, but are not halachic issues, only matters of opinion, with each side having valid views.

  109. Just wanted to clarify a few things, above:

    A) Point 4 is actually addressing Rabbi Nachum Eisenstein's addendum to RMS's teshuva, which appears on this blog in a later post.

    B) The issue of knas vs. mezonos is as follows. The Rama says that bdieved any knas that one took upon himself is not an ones, and hence not meuseh, and would not cause mamzerim. This would include outrageous daily amounts. What the proponents of the prenup are trying to do is satisfy even the yesh machmirim, which the Rama quotes. They do this by formulating as mezonos, rather than a knas. In that case, it must be a reasonable daily amount. But the bottom line is, according to the Rama, that in no event would the child be a mamzer. The only point that is arguable is if the Rama was referring to a case where they were already married, and having problems, and then the husband agreed to fine himself if he doesn't issue a get. That might be different than a prenup in which the husband can't envision having any problems in the future, according to RMS, and hence might not have sincerely intended to be fined if he doesn't issue the get. Nevertheless, that is quite a shaky argument, as it renders a person's word and capacity to be trusted as null and void.

    C) The proponents of the prenup go even further in trying to avoid any possible halachic problems by making these mezonos contingent merely on the husband's showing up in beis din, and not linking directly to the issuance of a get. There is no reason to believe that these poskim did not do their homework when devising the prenup.

  110. Self respecting Jewish men do not have the slightest halachic or moral obligation to cooperate with the feminist contrivances of the MO rabbis such as the farce of a (non) halachic prenup that allots the wife for "mezonos" 23 times the amount of the NY State food stamp grant.

    Any MO men who are harassed or ostracized for opposing the (non) halachic prenup should vote with their feet and find non-feminist congregations that treat men with a modicum of respect. Let the MO rabbis count the women for a minyan - that would be quite consistent with their goals.

  111. That is exactly the purpose of the MO prenup - to allow the wife to force a divorce whenever she cares to do so, but deny the husband any such right. That's funny, I thought feminists believe in "egalitarianism".

  112. To Barry Jacobson:

    You have made it clear that you "oppose" Rav Shternbuch's Teshuva way before you ever read it. On August 3rd you wrote this.

    You then made it clear that your opposition is emotionally based, as you "found it hard to believe" the actual hard numbers.

    Now, just yesterday you claim that you just now "read" (instead of learnt) Rav Shternbuch's teshuva. Surprise! You "disagree" with it. If we can be completely intellectually honest; which came first? Your "Torah"-based disagreement or your emotionally based disagreement, which brought you to take two weeks to come up with some sort of "Torah-based" disagreement?

    Of course, if you dig a bit deeper, all your "questions" have been answered by Rav Shterbuch - a person who seeks to bend his own will to that of G-d; not to bend G-d's will to conform to his own C"V.

  113. @Honesty - ad hominem attacks really don't advance the discussion. and give the impression that you can't answer his questions. He has raised a number of serious issues - please focus on these issues

  114. Dear Honesty, I am not pro women's rights or anti. I am not a practicing rabbi who sets policy for anybody. But I do believe that if a person writes on a piece of paper that he will do X, and makes a kinyan and whatever other things make something a legally binding document, such as having proper witnesses, and/or legal representation, then he should follow his word. This is my sense of fairness. I also believe that the Torah is a fair document. So in any case where there would appear to be a clash, it raises my eyebrows, piques my interest, and I look into it. Yes, there are some deals we can't do, like al mnas shelo tishmeteini sheviis. We need to know the parameters.

    I also know some of the poskim who have constructed the prenup, and know that they are big talmidei chachamim. So I found it hard to believe that they made any simple errors in their prenup system. When I read a teshuva, I find it fascinating, like a chess game or mathematical theorem, lhavdil. I want to get to place X, and therefore I need to prove steps A, B, C, etc. How solid are each of these steps, and what premises are they based on? This is called critical thinking, not blind acceptance. I don't believe we are ever commanded by the Torah to accept something which goes kneged our seichel, as the same RBSH that created the Torah, created our seichel, as well. If he didn't give us enough seichel to understand what he wrote in his Torah, then I have a taynah that he really didn't give us the entire Torah at Sinai, because he withheld certain things that we can't understand. So that is some of my hashkafa.

    I would never advocate somebody signing a prenup they are opposed to. But similarly, I might be hesitant to marry off a child without some protection. If the option is there, people should be able to consult with their rabbonim, and do their own research as to whether they should use it or not. I really have no personal negios in the matter at all. I am quite far from a radical feminist. I am only a concerned father for my own kids' well-being.

  115. Nice work! Unfortunately, I found this article too late - I already found the answer on another service. I've forgotten the last time I filled out a form on paper. I mostly use PDFfiller to edit. You can easily fill IRS 1099-PATR here

  116. And suppose that the fellow had spent much time and money courting his wife, and then was at the Chosson's Tisch, when he discovered that the Kesuvah has obligations, and he doesn't want them. He now finds that the Mesader Kiddushin will abort the marriage and send the guests home, unless he agrees to the Kesuvah and makes a kinyan. Is this also a problem for you?


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