Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tamar Epstein: Is Rabbi Hersehl Schachter making a farce of his own halachic positions?

Guest Post

Epstein-Flesicher, a coerced get, (and also kiddushai ta'us?): Is Rabbi Hershel Schachter making a farce of his own halachic positions?

An earlier post explained how Rabbi Hershel Schachter’s actions in the Epstein-Friedman case are contrary to halacha.  Daas Torah Blog

But Rabbi Schachter's actions in the case are also completely contrary to his own publicly stated halachic positions on the matters involved in the case. Rabbi Schachter encouraged public pressure and demonstrations against Friedman even though the Baltimore Beis Din to which the parties brought the matter and which held hearings with the participation of both parties refused Epstein's demands for a get. Rabbi Schachter and ORA, of which he serves as posek, insisted on demonstrating against Friedman despite the Baltimore Beis Din's statement that such demonstrations were wrong. For good measure, they also demonstrated against the Washington Beis Din for refusing to intervene against Friedman. Rabbi Schachter even went so far as to call for violence against Friedman to obtain a get. But a get obtained through public presssure or coercion not sanctioned by the beis din with jurisdiciton would be inavlid.

Eventually Rabbi Schachter and his accomplices in the matter signed a purported "seruv" against Friedman.

On Tisha Ba'av in 2012, Friedman was attacked and beaten, in an attempted kidnapping as he dropped off the child at Epstein's house, an attack that endangered the lives of both Friedman and the young child. One of Rabbi Schachter's co-signatories on the “seruv” was Rabbi Mordechai Wolmark, who was alleged by the FBI to lead a so-called beis din together with Rabbi Mendel Epstein, that was actually a criminal gang which, amongst other criminal activities, attempted a kidnapping and beating of a non-existent man in order to obtain a get with regard to a non-existent marriage. Rabbi Wolmark and several co-conspirators pled guilty. Other co-conspirators, including Rabbi Epstein, were found guilty at a trial at which the attack on Friedman was alleged to be part of the Epstein-Wolmark gang’s criminal conspiracy. At least two of Rabbi Schachter's other co- signatories were alleged by the FBI to be part of the Epstein-Wolmark gang's criminal conspiracy, but, along with Rabbi Schachter, have not yet been charged.

Although Epstein consistently engaged in outrageous behavior, including abducting the parties' child, violating the orders of the Baltimore Beis Din in order to have her abduction of the child treated as a fait accompli in civil court, getting most of the child's time with Friedman rendered moot because he is shomer shabbos, and filing a contempt motion seeking to limit the child's time with Friedman to "supervised visitation," Rabbi Schachter and ORA did not just argue that Epstein should be given a get. Instead, ORA specifically argued that Epstein had acted completely properly throughout the entire matter. Furthermore, Rabbi Schachter himself appeared with Tamar at an ORA panel, at which Tamar was hailed as a heroine.

Rabbi Schachter's actions in the Epstein-Friedman case so directly contradict his earlier statement on the halachic aspects of these matters that it almost appears as if his earlier statement was specifically intended to protest against the very actions in which Rabbi Schachter himself would later engage.

"What is important to keep in mind is that whoever is chalashing for [wants]... a get must consult with rabbonim... with respect to issues of pressuring the other to give the get. You have to go to batai dinim and everything has to be done with a legitimate beis din. Sometimes people will go to criminals. Unfortunately there are criminals in every field. There are rabbis that are criminals also. Unfortunately, the husband or the wife will go to a Beis Din that has an awful reputation, and they will recommend things that are against halacha. You have to go to a reputable Beis Din and the Beis Din should give proper advice....

The Batai Dinim have a special obligation, the role of the Beis Din b'zman haze, is to maintain law and order. That people shouldn’t skin each other alive and that people should act decently towards each other."

Rabbi Schachter has not made public his position on Epstein's annulment and remarriage, although ORA, of which Rabbi Schachter serves as posek, declared that Epstien is free. Although the use of kiddushei ta'us in this case would be contrary to halacha according to Rabbi Schachter, his endorsing the annulment and remarriage of Epstein-Fliescher would be consistent with his actions in the Epstein-Friedman matter thus far in consistently contradicting, and thus making a farce of, of his own halachic positions.


  1. Why talk about Rabbi Schachter? Why don't you talk about Rabbi Moshe Heinemann who is the only Haredi rabbi to endorse ORA for the wonderful deed of coercing 150 maybe invalid Gittin? His letter appears on ORA's website.

    My brother and I are the only ones to protest publicly the remarriage. Where is everybody else? They are waiting for somebody else to sign, or whatever.

    Let is realize that our rabbis are paid to be rabbis, and they fear for their jobs, and they have very good reason to fear for their jobs. My brother and I have independent income and don't live from the rabbinate. At least we are free to protest making mamzerim.

    The system is sick, destroying famlies, destroying students, and destroying the Torah. I heard this from Gedolei HaDor. The exact words they used I don't think you would be happy if I wrote them although I have mentioned them from time to time. I just heard another statement from a very senior Rosh Yeshiva and even I can't get around to talking about that, although he is probably right, HaShem Yerachem.

  2. ..."On Tisha Ba'av in 2012, Friedman was attacked and beaten, in an attempted kidnapping as he dropped off the child at Epstein's house, an attack that endangered the lives of both Friedman and the young child."...
    These are activities of criminals to the highest degree, Anshei Bliyaal ubnei avlo of which is the same like the NAZIS did. Attacking a father in front of his child R'L' is what only the gruim shebeumot have committed.

    'Azoins tsu tohn far KINDER???'

    Have you no shame?
    Vetsorich bedika achrav im heim mizera Yisrael!
    They should have the book thrown at them all. What happened to the supposedly October - 15th-15 verdict of the ProdFather?

    As things stand now, it seems only to be the beginning of this Sha'arurya of the Century, The Titanic hitting only the tip of the iceberg racing to the bottom of the ocean head over heels. Hashem yerachem

  3. When will you get real? I speak to Rav Schachter on a semi regular basis, but not regarding issues I am not involved with. Halachically, he eats you and your brother for breakfast. If you really wanted to, you could have driven down to Tannersville and discussed the Halacha with him. He is a completely open Posek and doesn't assume assume assume and assume.

  4. Isaac - I didn't write the above post - it is a guest post. So it really doesn't matter what he has for breakfast

    Yes it would be nice if Rav Schachter issued a statement on this - either on his own or someone asks him. I would like to post his views on the matter - since I think that he has the same concerns with this heter as I do.

  5. Although breakfast is very important, it is Dinner that makes the day. We have here a sort of an issue like Mi hitir lach es haMidyanis making it look like a Tallis shekulah Tcheiles, and everyone is up in arms, Maze veal Maze? Where is the main dish? What is on the menu of Shulchan Oirech? And what does the Shulchan Aruch have to say about such? Where is the Beef? Where is the Tounge? Even Chochmas Shloime's seudah besha'ato, within the pliyah of the Psak Din, did contain and listed all the ingredients of who the real mother was, and who was not. Here however, Haikar chosser min haSefer, Yelamdeinu na Rabbeinu, Meheichan Dantani? This Midrash Pliyah of heich matirin eishes ish lashuk, tsarich limud. If this seudas haMAFSEKES IS betachliss haKashrus, who is the Baal haMachshir, who was the Chochom ha'oimed al gabov there mtchilas hachaliva ad gmar hoassiya, or was it baal *habossor* becholov a bossor shenisalem min ha'ayin that has a sircha?

    Dear Mr. Issac, do us all a favor, and on your next encounter do ask R' ZS on behalf of all Klall Yisrael, Hayitochen kazois vekazois? So we all can eat in peace. Thank you.

  6. Someone more knowledgeable in halacha than someone else does not make him more correct in his interpretation or rulings in halacha. You have numerous examples of non-religious people who were more knowledgeable in Torah than most rabbis.

  7. For libun hadin vekolea el hasa'arah, you also need Siyata Dishmaya and be a Yirat shamayim, lo halimud haikar - ela hama'asseh. Tsadikim yelchu vam uposhim yikoshlu bam. Meikil and kal are not the same. The experts of "Vayoiru haMoirim", do not have to hit the target first and then draw a circle around it. They investigate the issues to the best of their ability, veshomoto, vedorashto, heiteiv vehinei emes nochon hadovor, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. Having said that, we ask yovo baal hashor veyaamid al shoro. Who said what to whom and when, umi vomi haholchim? Vehineh pisron hachalom. Eh,, Hmmm... what seems to be the problem?

  8. Ring him. I do. He answers very nicely and with great respect for every caller.


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