Sunday, August 20, 2023

Baltimore Beis Din: Tamar Epstein is still married to Aharon Friedman and is forbidden to remarry without first receiving a Get

update: Just added a letter written November 3 by the Baltimore Beis Din which addresses many of the short comings in the original letter which was written in July

update: I had removed this post a week ago at the direct request of Rav Mordechei Shuchatowitz of the Baltimore Beis Din. See Removal of post of Baltimore Beis Din

I did this for the sake of shalom bayis. That is to avoid side disagreements that would distract from dealing properly with the main issue of the phony heter. However it has become clear that whatever benefit for shalom bayis might have resulted from its removal - it is outweighed by the loss of critical information that is needed in the resolution of this crisis.

As this crisis winds down to the "end game" - it has become clear that various individuals feel a need to present the facts in a new more flattering way which smooths over certain difficulties.

Therefore aside from the need to accurately present the facts as to what has happened and why it has happened for the sake of Truth - it is needed to present the facts in order to know what to do to rectify the problem. Furthermore as Santayana wrote (in The Life of Reason, 1905): “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” or as eloquently and wisely expressed by Winston Churchill
“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”
—House of Commons, 2 May 1935, after the Stresa Conference, in which Britain, France and Italy agreed—futilely—to maintain the independence of Austria. (My book* page 490).

Letter written November 3, 2015

The following letter written in Tammuz from the Baltimore Beis Din was posted on Otzar Forums. 

After reading all the other letters against the heter of mekach ta'os - this one is clearly not a protest against a heter. In fact it doesn't acknowledge that there was a heter or a remarriage. It simply says the Baltimore Beis Din knows nothing about a divorce  either that they were involved in or that others did. Consequently according to their level of knowlege Tamar Epstein is still married to Aharon Friedman. It is a letter which shows extreme reluctance (timidity? or cowardice?) to even acknowledge that something has happened and therefore it refuses to criticize directly or indirectly Rabbi Greenblatt, the Kaminetskys and Tamar Epstein

Because the description  of events in the Beis Din's letter is truncated and missing critical information - a detailed description of events is available here  in this revised Procedural Summary.

 It is important to know why Aharon Friedman is named as the plaintiff in the civil courts. it was not because of his desire to have the case handled by the secular courts [contrary to the assertions of the Beis Din's letter] but was the result of a psak he received from Rabbi Breitowitz that he needed to take action quickly in the secular courts to avoid losing his daughter. As the Summary clearly shows - he actually cancelled a trial in civil court in October 2008 in order to bring the case to beis din. He also ultimately agreed to entirely cancel the secular lawsuit when the beis din later ordered him to do that - but Tamar refused. In fact a major posek who has been deeply involved in this case stated recently that Aharon showed too much deference to the beis din and rabbinical adivisors and that he should have gone to the police when Tamar abducted their daughter and moved to Philadelphia in April 2008 and should not have canceled the October 2008 trial to being the case to Beis Din - for the reason that Tamar had established facts on the ground by relocating the child out-of-State that would effectively pre-determine the outcome of any court case (if postponed any further), and beis din, even with a binding arbitration agreement would have no legal ability to change that.
As both Rabbi Landesman's letter to Rabbi Feldman, and the letter from the Rabbi Rabinowitz's Beis Din Ezer Mishpat make clear, Tamar violated the Beis Din's  orders and brought the case to trial in civil court. Tamar's actions in this regard also violated the parties' mediation agreement (pursuant to which Aharon agreed to dismiss a pendete lite trial in October 2008), and violated the shtar beirurin [binding arbitration agreement] signed before the Beis Din, both of which bound the parties to have the case decided by the Baltimore BD.
It is true that Aharon participated in the civil court trial.  But once Tamar refused the Beis Din's orders and insisted on taking the case to trial in civil court, Aharon had no choice but to participate in that trial -- and even the Beis Din did not ask Aharon not to.  Although courts must generally respect binding arbitration agreements regarding other matters, if one party to a binding arbitration agreement regarding custody insists on the court deciding the case, the court may not defer to the arbitrator and must decide the case from scratch under the doctrine of parens patriae. 
This is the rule in Maryland under a case called Kovacs, which specifically ruled that the Maryland courts may not enforce a binding arbitration agreement before the Baltimore BD with regard to child custody where one party objected.
The Baltimore Beis Din is still the only beis din that has been authorized by both sides to deal with the issues. And they state they are willing to continue.

It simply affirms that Tamar Epstein still retains the status of being the wife of Aharon Friedman and can not remarry with first receiving a Get.

Since the copy is not very clear I retyped it, in what I hope is the correct text. Any corrections will be appreciated. It is signed by the dayan hak'vuah Rav Mordechai Shuchatowitz, Rav Moshe Heinemann and Rav Yaakov Hopfer. Rav Aharon Feldman added a note that Tamar Epstein is clearly still married to Aharon Friedman and signed as well.

Letter written July 2015

THE BALTIMORE BAIS DIN -       בית דין קבוע מטעם ועד הרבנים דבאלטימאר 

נשאלנו בעת על דעת הבית דין אודות המעמדה בהלכה של מרת תמר (עפשטין) פרידמן שתחי', אשתו שלר' אהרן פרידמן שיחי', והנה זה כבר כמה שנים מאז באו הצדדים הנ"ל לפנינו בשנת תשס"ט וחתמו על שטר הבוררים שלנו לדון בעניני נישואיהם וגירושיהם כולל החזקת הבת שלהם וביקוריה והמסתעף,וטענו דבריהם בשלשה מושבי הב"ד במשך שלשה חדשים, והורינו אז להם שלדאבוננו אין עוד תקוה עלשלום בית ומוכרחים הם להתגרש לאחר שיסתדרו עניניהם ובפרט הענינים המתייחסים אל בתם,והשתדלו אז לסדר ענינים אלו אצל יועץ ומתווך מסוים, ושוב פנו אל הערכאות שלא ברשות בית דין ועלאף שהתרינו בהם שצעדם זה הוא שלא ושלא כדין, ולאחר שיצא משפטם שמה הודיענו להם שאף שלא יזדקקו הב"ד לדון שוב בדיונים שקבלו עליהם הכרעת בית המשפט, תיק הב"ד עדיין פתוח לדון עלמה שלא הובא שמה, דהיינו גירושיהם כהלכה ושום תביעות ממוניות שביניהם, אמנם מאז ועד עתה לאהגישו לא זה ולא זו שום בקשה לב"ד דידן, וגם לא הודיעונו לא הם ולא אחרים על סידור גט פטוריןביניהם ולא שמענו ולא ריאנו שום היתר נשואין מאיזה בית דין אחר כלל, ולכן כפי ידיעתנו אשה זועומדת בחזקת אשת איש גמורה ואסורה לכל אדם עד שתקבל ג"פ כדת וכדין.

ואמנם אם יש לשום אחד איזה ידיעה שלא ידענו או איזה טענה בהלכה שלא שמענו, הננו מוכניםומזומנים להושיב ב"ד מיוחד לדון על דינה דהאי איתתא לאמתה של תורה, ומי בעל דברים יגיש דבריואליהם, ובזה נזכה להסיר מכשול מביננו ולהרים קרנה של תורה ולתרבות שלום בעולם בעזה"ש ית"ש.ועכ"ז בעה"ת ביום ששי בשבת תשעה ימים לחדש תמוז תשע"ה לפ"ק

מרדכי שוחטוביץ
משה היינמאן
יעקב האפפער

הנני מצטרף לנ"ל ושפשוט שהאשה הנ"ל אשת איש גמורה
אהרן פלדמן


  1. This is the most important of them all so far.

  2. These is another part to this letter by Rabbi Shriel Rosenberg. He points out that no single person has the Ne'emanus to be MATIR Eishes Ish without the backing of a beis-din

  3. This is perhaps the most important letter so far, as the Baltimore beis din retains halachic jurisdiction of this case, so it's word carries the most weight.

  4. Since she is Mezana Tachat her first husband, Isn't her husband now Chiav to divorce her?

  5. If I am Reading this correctly it seems that aron friedman also was fine with going to secular court and also refused to go back to beis din and it wasn't as was said until now that he was willing but his wife took the kid and ran and only she refused.

  6. This letter has nothing to do with other rabbonim signing. It is a pesak from the only Beth Din authorized by Aharon and Tamar to decide their case. It has all of the information about Tamar's complains, and it is highly important that since they never heard from Tamar any complaint that Aharon is a mental case, the entire mental case excuse for her not needing a GET is a complete lie, something pointed out by other rabbonim.

    The criticism of the HETER is twofold. One is that it is a pack of lies. And two, even if it was completely true, Tamar is still not permitted by Reb Moshe Feinstein or any other posek that we know to remarry without a GET, as I have written here and on my blog many times.

  7. Would appreciate a source that says so.

  8. The beis din's description about the issue of secular courts is rather truncated and distorted regarding the issue you raise. No he was not fine with going to secular court.

    The this post for more detail

  9. Ahron freidman give a get, ur super looser,

  10. רמב"ם. הלכות אישות כ"ד י"ח

  11. They have no more or less jurisdiction to the question at hand

  12. Isn't it pashut halacha that if an eishes ish is mezana then her husband must divorce her?

  13. There should be a Seruv against T.F by now for both issues. She did not follow up on allowing visitation rights.

    @ To Tahini:
    "Teitse" mize umize is a directive to the eishes ish only, "she" is forbidden to cohabit with either men and must leave immediately even till those Gittin are procured. A.F. is ready, willing and able to divorce long time back, but she refuses to follow protocol. R'A.F. has legitimate demands and rightfully so, of which has priority and precedence over her Get. I firmly believe, that T.F. is in a state of a "SIRUV BEIS DIN", and she doesn't comply, it is in order publicise. This additional cherem is another issue for her 'Boiel'- paramour she eloped with to contend with immediately.
    BTW-FYI, the Get for the paramour is as a 'Knass' for her acts and she can never go back to him. A classic lose lose situation for her.


  14. There are one or two minor typos, but the bigger issue is that in this font, all of the letters ה look like letters ח.

  15. Thanks for the font change.

  16. 1. Who said she was Mezana? Chupa is not Znus. It might be Raglayim Ladavar, but here you might suspect the whole thing is a ploy to force a get:).
    2. The Rambam you quote states - B"D do not force unless there are 2 Eidim that she was Mezana in front of them.
    3. In Rambam, Gitin 10,5 when a woman had a get canceled or she married after 2 Eidim said her husband died, and then he showed up - she need a Get from both husbands. no mention of forcing 1st husband to give Get.

  17. David Eidensohn says: “It is a pesak from the only
    Beth Din authorized by Aharon and Tamar to decide their case. It has all of the
    information about Tamar's complains, and it is highly important that since they
    never heard from Tamar any complaint that Aharon is a mental case, the entire
    mental case excuse for her not needing a GET is a complete lie, something
    pointed out by other rabbonim.”

    Wow! I quote Sotah 27a:

    “But the legal decision is: Let a man marry the
    daughter of a woman of ill-repute rather than a woman of ill-repute; because R.
    Tahlifa, the son of the West [Israel], recited in the presence of R. Abbahu, If
    a woman is an adulteress, her children are legitimate since the majority of the
    acts of cohabitation are ascribed to the husband.”

    I read the procedure of the Baltimore Bait Din. We have to imagine, suppose T.E. gets pregnant
    and has a beautiful healthy baby girl and this girl turns out to be
    righteous. Based on Sotah 27a, a religious
    fellow could marry that girl freely. The
    world needs more and more Jewish babies.

  18. Seems as a valid point. It may be that in the circumstances that he found himself, a separation is suffient from the Halachic point.
    Reasons may be, money that she owes him or lack of access to his child. clearly a rabbinic opinion is required to answer your question.

  19. It is rather easy to understand why the Rabbi has no ne'emanut, because the entire case is nosense as you must recognizde by now. Tamar;'s argumant would be acceptable for a criminal who wants to avoid time in prison. It does not seem like a story that any reasonable person would believe. As to the Halacha then Rabbi rosenberg is a sensible person and probably applied good judgment to produce this Psak.

  20. That gemara is probably talking about a woman who is living with her husband, but commits adultery on the side, not one who has taken up permanent residence with another man.

    At any rate, skimming the procedural summary and seeing how she absconded with the child did not leave me with a favorable impression. Although I had argued in earlier posts that it seems entirely logical that a person whose spouse has a clear pre-existing personality disorder should be able to claim mekach taus, it is not at all clear that such is the case here. As I wrote earlier, I was only writing in the abstract, and Aharon could in fact be a wonderful person. I don't know either of them.

  21. Gerald the gemora is talking about a woman who is living with her husband and commits adultery. The principal that allows the children to be accepted as kosher - "that the majority of intercourse is assumed to be with the husband" only makes sense if the two are living together in a normal fashion. The Rambam specifically says that she commits adultery while living with the husband.

    רמב"ם איסורי ביאה טו:כ
    אשת איש שיצא עליה קול שהיתה זונה תחת בעלה והכל מרננין אחריה אין חוששין לבניה שמא ממזרים הם שרוב בעילות אצל הבעל, ומותר לישא בתה לכתחלה, אבל היא עצמה חוששין לה משום זונה, ואם היתה פרוצה יותר מדאי אף לבניה חוששין.

    שולחן ערוך אבן העזר ד:טו
    אשת איש שיצא עליה קול שהיתה מזנה תחת בעלה, והכל מרננים אחריה, אין חוששין לבניה שמא הם ממזרים, שרוב בעילות תולים בבעל. אבל היא בעצמה, חוששין לה משום זונה. וכהן חושש לה מדין תורה. ( ואם בעלה כהן, חוששין על בניה שהם חללים) (מהרי"ו סימן כ"ד). וישראל, אם רוצה להתרחק מן הכיעור ואם היא פרוצה ביותר, חוששין אף לבנים. הגה: ומ"מ היא נאמנת לומר על בניה שהם כשרים (מהר"מ פאדוואה סימן ל"ג). היתה פרוצה כשהיתה פנויה או ארוסה, ולא היתה פרוצה לאחר נישואין, אף על פי שראוה מנאפת פעם אחת, בניה כשרים (ג"ז שם).

    Similarly the Beis Shmuel says the heter is because they are living together in a normal fashion

    בית שמואל סימן ד ס"ק כג
    כג תולין בבעל - משום דהבעל מצוי לה משא"כ בארוסה לא תלינן בארוס אפילו אם בא עליה בודאי משום דאינו מצוי לה ועיין תוספות שם:

  22. Surely, it’s extremely hard to establish ספק ממזר.

    Sotah 25a

    “Come and hear: R. Joshiah said: Three things did
    Ze'ira tell me as emanating from the men of Jerusalem: If a husband retracted his
    warning the warning is retracted; if a Court of Law wished to pardon an elder
    who rebelled [against their decision] they may pardon him; and if the parents
    wished to forgive a stubborn and rebellious son they may forgive him.”

    My theory is that no one dies. “Once he has made her
    drink the water—if she has defiled herself by breaking faith with her husband,
    the spell-inducing water shall enter into her to bring on bitterness, so that
    her belly shall distend and her thigh shall sag; and the woman shall become a
    curse among her people” (Numbers 5:27). “Should a man act presumptuously and
    disregard the priest charged with serving there the Lord your God, or the magistrate,
    that man shall die. Thus you will sweep out evil from Israel: (Deuteronomy
    17:12). “Thereupon the men of his town shall stone him to death. Thus you will
    sweep out evil from your midst: all Israel will hear and be afraid”
    (Deuteronomy 21:18).

    The Gamara I cited Sotah 27a has disputing opinions
    and ends with תיקו.

    OK, not based on the Gamara, but based on practice, we
    virtually never have true ספק ממזר unless woman admits
    her child is a ממזר and
    the evidence is so overwhelming.

  23. I had a few quick words with a Dayan here in Israel and he said that the wife is now forbiden to the husband the question is whether he is forced to give a get or we tell him to do so is a debate amongst Rishonim , in any case he says if the batei din in Israel follow the Rabeinu Yerochum who says that if there is no prospect of saving the marriage the BD force the couple to divorce - מישרים נתיב כג פרק ח

  24. The philly bullies have finally been stood up to! Best news for klal yisroel in a long time. I know of another case 2 weeks old where they told the husband to file a divorce in court as opposed to going to Beth Din! Do they ever take into account Halacha and what it dictates? Seems like they don't really care great example for all their students studying there. I for one would not let my daughter marry a philli boy who knows g-d forbid what will happen. I would not want to deal with these gangsters.

  25. he said that the wife is now forbiden to the husband

    That is, assuming she jas actually remarried and it's not just a ploy, which would not surprise me.

  26. Has anyone seen Tamar with her new husband, rumors are abound that this is a ploy
    NO ONE had seen her and her new husband !!!!!!!

  27. Was this procedural summary written by the Beis Din? By a neutral third party? If it is written by the husband, or one acting on his behalf, this should be made clear.

  28. Do you think that the alleged wedding took place only to obtain a GET from A.F.?

  29. Yehoshua it has never been claimed to be from a beis din or a neutral party. It clearly is presenting the facts according the understanding of Aharon Friedman. Don't know who actually wrote it.

    The procedural summary was first posted 3 years ago. with the following statement

    Attached is a procedural summary of the Epstein-Friedman matter. (And if anyone claims it isnot accurate, please specifically note any inaccuracies.)

    None of the facts have been challenged.

    It has been clear to the rest of us that this was not written by a beis din or a neutral party.

  30. Kamoh tshuvos bedovor. Firstly, the Psak Din of BD of Baltimore still stands even as of this very moment,
    ומוכרחים הם להתגרש לאחר שיסתדרו עניניהם *ובפרט* הענינים המתייחסים אל בתם
    as in their recent Up to date Psak, im ken ma hoilu chachamim bitkantam?
    And even if you allege that the wedding was only make believe, you still have a problem of issuing a Get under false pretenses of chiyuv Get mitsad znus, of which has no tokef. Besides, you just cannot falsely release a Kole that someone is married, it does have consequences and it is against Halacha doing such. They cannot hold their breath much longer wherever they might be, and the couple will have to surface after having all these BD declaring foul, and face the music. There is no more wiggle room left for this saga and the Moetset et al will have to take a position one way or another soon enough, else, they have a losing battle to confront. The chilul Hashem is still going on for every moment that this continues.

  31. Allan, did you ask about the הוצאת שם רע? If not, can you please go back and ask and then post the answer here?

    I can't remember the source, but I remember seeing a while back that any spouse has the right to first clear his/her name before being forced to give a get. In cases like this where the השתלשלות הדברים is becoming very clear, that is possible to do. בקשת מחילה is an obligation, as removing restrictions on Aharon - especially if my lengthy comments re Aharon and Tamar both being victims of bad therapy are true.

    A relevant passage in Chofetz Chaim, which also points to the very serious problem of בקשת מחילה in cases like this that involve serious הוצאת שם:

    הלכות לשון הרע כלל ד - יב וְאִם עָבַר וְסִפֵּר לָשׁוֹן הָרָע עַל חֲבֵרוֹ וּבָא לַעֲשׂוֹת תְּשׁוּבָה, … אִם חֲבֵרוֹ נִתְגַּנָּה עַל יְדֵי זֶה בְּעֵינֵי הַשּׁוֹמְעִים וְנִסְבַּב לוֹ עַל יְדֵי זֶה הֶזֵּק בְּגוּפוֹ אוֹ בְּמָמוֹנוֹ, אוֹ שֶׁהֵצֵר לוֹ עַל יְדֵי זֶה, הֲרֵי הוּא כְּכָל עֲוֹנוֹת שֶׁבֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ, שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ
    יוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים וְיוֹם הַמִיתָה, אֵין מְכַפֵּר עַד שֶׁיְּרַצֶה אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ, עַל כֵּן (מז) צָרִיךְ לְבַקֵשׁ חִילָה מֵחֲבֵרוֹ עַל זֶה, ... וּמִזֶּה נוּכַל לְהָבִין כַּמָה יֵשׁ לוֹ לְאָדָם לִזָּהֵר מִמִדָּה גְּרוּעָה הַזֹּאת כִּי מִי שֶׁמֻטְבָּע, חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, בָּזֶה, כִּמְעַט אִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ בִּתְשׁוּבָה... גַּם פְּעָמִים שֶׁיְּדַבֵּר
    בִּפְגַם מִשְׁפָּחָה וְיַזִּיק בָּזֶה כָּל הַדּוֹרוֹת הַבָּאִים אַחֲרָיו, וְלֹא תַּגִּיעַ אֵלָיו מְחִילָה עֲבוּר זֶה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רזַ''ל: הַמְדַבֵּר בִּפְגַם מִשְׁפָּחָה אֵין לוֹ כַּפָּרָה עוֹלָמִית. עַל כֵּן צָרִיךְ לְהִתְרַחֵק
    מִמִדָּה גְּרוּעָה הַזֹּאת מְאֹד כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא, חַס וְשָׁלוֹם, אַחַר כָּךְ כִּמְעֻוָּת לֹא יוּכַל לִתְקֹן.

  32. This letter could not address the "second marriage." It was written in Tammuz, one day after R Shmuel K's quasi-denial letter. The "marriage" took place in Tishrei. I assume this was written at the time she got engaged.

  33. So if Rabbi Greenblatt was hoodwinked and the heter was wrong - since he was the mesader kidushin, isn't it incumbent on him as the officater to publicly and unequivacbly declare the marriage void? Right now, the only "public" issuance from him (even as he seeks to "clear his name"" as mentioned in another post) is the marriage ceremony performed in front of eidim. When does he come out and state that it was not valid?

    As this goes on, I wonder on the pressure being put on Ahron Friedman right now to help RNG and RSK save some face.

  34. Why are so many people including rabbonim and Beth din so scared of the Kametskys?

  35. I spoke to a reliable person who did see Tamar with her new "husband".


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