Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Review of International Beit Din for Agunos - Case 105 by Rabbi Sasson

I was just informed of an excellent article which provides a cogent analysis for the layman of the halachic errors found in one of the IBD's rulings - Case 105. It explains why there are such strong objection to the IBD by Rav Schachter and other major talmidei chochomim - and that it isn't a case of eilu v'eilu. 

The article appears in the September 22  edition of Torah Musings

I am just going to quote part of it - clink on the above link for the full article.
As the controversy surrounding the International Beit Din (“IBD”) continues to swirl, there is some confusion among the general public regarding the nature of the objections to the IBD. While Batei Din have disagreed from time immemorial, this particular disagreement is qualitatively different, not just a disagreement about conclusions but a disagreement about competence. Leading dayanim have declared the IBD incompetent to decide aguna cases, but their reasons are still unknown to the general public.

Rav Hershel Schachter published a letter encouraging his students and colleagues to not rely on IBD rulings, to which other dayanim across the country added their agreement.1 Specifically, Rav Schachter challenged a particular ruling relying on a well-known opinion of the Ritva. This is a reference to the IBD psak (ruling) on Case 105 (from here on: Psak 105), available in both English and Hebrew on the IBD website.2 The IBD website tells us that “This psak is representative of several decisions handed down by the International Beit Din.”  

Additionally, Rabbis Simcha Krauss and Yehuda Warburg of the IBD have written with regard to Psak 105 that “This psak din as well as other IBD decisions are available for public scrutiny on our website.”3 As such, it seems appropriate to subject Psak 105 to the examination which Rabbis Krauss and Warburg have invited. I strongly encourage any reader not to take my word, but to read the English and Hebrew versions of Psak 105 in conjunction with this review. This review will assume that the reader is generally familiar with the contents of Psak 105, including the background and final decision.

First, a disclaimer: I am under no delusion of being a halakhic decisor. I am certainly not qualified to issue a psak in the complex areas of Even Ha-ezer and heter agunot. As such, this review will not engage in detailed analysis of the various halakhic issues involved. The purpose of this review is to identify the crucial halakhic issues that a complete and coherent psak crafted by a qualified and competent Beit Din would necessarily address.[...]

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