Sunday, August 20, 2023

English Translation of Rav Moshe Sternbuch's protest against heter for Tamar Epstein to remarry without a Get

Rav Moshe Sternbuch
Protest against heter for Tamar Epstein to remarry without a Get

This is in regards to the recently publicized psak of one of the gedolim (an American rosh yeshiva) together with an American posek. The psak freed a woman from marriage without a Get despite the fact that she had lived with her first husband for an extended period of time and she had born a daughter from him. But now a therapist claims that the husband suffers from mental illness that had existed prior to their marriage. Therefore these two rabbis paskened that they had determined that the marriage was a mistake (mekach ta'os) and that therefore the woman was free to marry immediately without needing a Get. And in fact they [the posek] officiated at a wedding for her without her receiving a Get.

And I saw the teshuva that "freed" her. I hate to say this but the teshuva is total nonsense. Taking the approach of this teshuva it is possible to destroy the whole framework of halachic marriage. For example, if a spouse is found to have cancer – something which begins to develop a long time before it is discovered by the doctors – it would be possible according to the logic of this teshuva to declare that the marriage is a mistake (mekach ta'os) and thus never existed. Similarly there are thousands of other cases of problems that develop prior to marriage but are only discovered after marriage.
In fact in many cases of divorce, the wife brings a therapist's opinion to beis din, that the husband suffers from mental illness that was a pre-existing condition. Therefore according to the view of these two rabbis there would be no need for a Get (G-d forbid!) in those cases! Such an approach is destructive to Judaism and uproots the basic laws governing Jewish marriage. And this that they claim that they are merely basing themselves on the views of Rav Moshe Feinstein – that is total nonsense. The present case is not comparable to Rav Moshe's cases. But this is not the place to go into the details.

When a certain Religious Zionistic rabbi declared the he had found a heter for  a person who had the status of a mamzer to marry, the Minchas Yitzchok (Dayan Weiss) gathered the people together and they sat on the ground and tore their clothing as a sign of mourning. It is explained in Kiddushin (13a) that when a married woman is declared to be free of her married status against the halacha, G-d becomes very angry and brings about punishment which is greater than that of the Generation of the Flood. To the degree that even the fish in the sea are destroyed.

It is important, therefore that it be publicized that the heter of these rabbis for her to remarry is totally worthless and has no basis. Consequently she is still married to the first husband in every respect and therefore any children born from her relation to the second husband are clearly mamzerim. I have no peace of mind because I have not heard protests against this false heter - which is against G-d's honor and His Torah.

I heard from the Brisker Rav that when there is a serious problem that it be  dealt with by  issuing a categorical prohibition without giving detailed explanations. That is because if a reason for the objections are given, then it is possible for someone to argue and say they are wrong. Therefore also in this case, I am not coming forth except to encourage he who protests the heter and sanctifies G-d's name.  His reward is exceedingly great.

1 comment :

  1. sorry for the late reply:

    "At his insistence, he served as a combat soldier, and acted as a sharpshooter in the Jerusalem theater."

    this is also mentioned in Rav Rakkefet's shiur on him, as well as one of the biographies I have about him.


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