Sunday, August 20, 2023

Tamar Epstein: Protest from Rav Pinchus Rabinowitz' Beis Din

We were shaken to hear that lately there are men - who come to the aid of women whose husbands have refused to give them a Get - who pasken that they are free of the chains of being an Aguna. They do this by giving the women an invalid heter which is called mekach ta'os (mistaken acquisition) G-d forbid!

We are writing this letter to make known that under no circumstances can a woman rely on this "heter" which is based on finding defects in the husband which are not mentioned in the Talmud or Poskim in our present generation - which is a generation of orphans. Where do we have the power or authority to annul marriages and permit a married woman to remarry a new husband without first receiving a Get?! (The Achronim have already written about such problems)

One can not imagine fully the damage and breaches to the values of community which can result from this procedure in a generation which lacks proper restraint and because of our many sins people have started to make false comparisons regarding new types of illnesses that the doctors discover on a regular basis.

This letter is a protest against the disgusting case which recently has come to public attention. The woman - Tamar Epstein, the wife of Aharon Friedman, recently married a second husband without first receiving a Get from her first husband (G-d forbid!). Tamar and her husband Aharon original went to have their case handled by a beis din in Baltimore which they both signed an agreement to follow.

In the midst of the proceedings, Tamar left and went to a secular court without permission of the beis din. In addition she changed her residence and that of their daughter to another city - a move which was opposed by the beis din. Because of her moving away with their daughter, her husband Aharon is not able to visit with his daughter properly according to his rights and his wishes. Aharon has stated that unless she return their daughter to their original neighborhood, he will not give her a Get because she has interfered with his ability to be with his daughter.

Consequently due to the refusal of the wife to comply with the request of beis din, she remains without a Get. Tamar then began to complain to many askanim that she was an aguna. As a result of her complaints, those people who specialize in helping "Agunos" compassionately came to her aid and they searched for avenues as to how to help her. They thought they had found a way by means of a heter of kiddushei ta'os (mistaken marriage). In order to lay the foundation for this heter, they hired therapists, rabbinic pleaders and askanim to aid Tamar. They in fact produced a phony "heter" based on her claims utilizing psychiatric categories of mental illness utilized by psychologists and other mental health workers. These psychologists decided that Aharon was not considered a normal person to such a degree that the marriage to him could be considered a mistake and thus be annulled retroactively. The posek who actually gave the "heter" relied entirely on the therapists and the askanim to decide that this was in fact a case of kiddushei ta'os (G-d forbid!).

The original Beis Din from Baltimore was astonished at this development of this false "heter".This psak was even more astonishing because as far as we can establish the therapists did their "evaluation" of whether the husband was normal - without ever actually meeting with him! Their entire "evaluation" was based on what Tamar claimed her husband had done - but never did they actually examine the husband himself!

However even if the "evaluation" of these therapists was accurate, nevertheless according to the information we were able to obtain - there is still absolutely no basis for a legitimate heter to marry without receiving a Get first.  

We want to announce that the prohibition of a married woman to men other than her husband is one of the most severe transgressions possible. It is absolutely forbidden to allow a married woman to be free from her husband with the claim that the marriages was a mistake (kiddushei ta'os). It is an obscene and deceitful heter. Therefore Tamar Epstein is still married to Aharon Friedman and she is obligated by the Torah to leave her second husband. In addition, any children born by Tamar from her second husband prior to her receiving a Get from Aharon Friedman - are mamzerim and they can not marry other Jews.

We affix our signatures to the above Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5766

Rav Pinchus Rabinowtiz
Rav Moshe Eliezar Blum
Rav Yosef Weingarten
Rav Chanoch Zaltz


  1. והמציאו ע"פ דברי האשה היתר בדוי בנוי על כל מיני שמות של חולי שממציאים הרופאים הפסיכולוגים...

    Nothing would describe better how baseless is this Heter

  2. I don't know all the details of this particular case, and whether it really is simply a custody battle gone bad or not. But what does interest me is whether in a case where clearly a husband does have a severe pre-existing personality issue, whether that is grounds for kiddushei taus. I believe it is based on gemara of ein adam dar im nachash bekefifah achas. The gemara on same page in Kesuvos which lists the physical mumin, makes the following statement: A person who says I won't feed and support my family is forced to give a get and pay her the kesuva. Gemara asks, instead of forcing him to divorce, why not just force him to support his family and stay married? (Meaning, if it's just a financial issue, why can't you just solve the financial problem without breaking up the marriage?) The gemara answers that one can't live in close quarters with a snake.

    The meaning is that such a nasty person who doesn't care enough to support his family, but is only doing so under threat of incarceration or punishment, is a personality that nobody can live with.

    Clearly the gemara considered a personality disorder to be a significant impediment to a marriage. It then follows that if this is grounds for divorce when it appears post-marriage, then if it existed pre-marriage, it would be a mekach taus. (Remember earlier discussion that simple pshat is that it is so obvious that a pre-existing mum is a mekach taus, that mishna only discussed cases of noldu (developed after marriage) or hayu (he told her in advance and she agreed)).

  3. It would be helpful if you do read up on some details. Even T herself, the court, the BD and all - admitted that he can handle the visitation rights with his daughter, no disorder there. Check the Diary where she lists a whole host of pros and cons, no disorder listed there. Indeed, the so called Disorder should have overwhelmingly eliminated everything else on her list, as you have mentioned ein "ADAM" rofl :) dar in nachash bikfifa achas. R' Aharon held on to a very prestigious job as a public servant, no disorder there. There were no complaints from anyone in the free world as Aharon having a disorder for ALL that time he was employed, doesn't that mean anything. How can you create a Monster or a Snake from a peaceful little Butterfly out of nowhere just like that? Even a rabbit pulled out of a hat, is nothing but smoke and mirrors. When couples fight custody battles and accusations flow freely, take it with a grain or two of salt, and see if the accuser is able to back up their claims, otherwise it's like blowing hot air in the wind. As the good book says, VeHanachash hoyo orum mikol chayas hasodeh. Why not establish first as to whether T.F. and husband WENT to a therapist, and yes, it IS verifiable, and see if any so called, alleged disorder has ever been mentioned or ever existed. We call that TRANSPARENCY. You can scream till tomorrow that Aharon has a "KRISPEDIN" disorder, but no such ailment is found listed amongst Mekach taus! Even Pharoh couldn't find such an animal in his Avoda Zoro manual. Al ken my friend, it is incumbent to disclose these facts.

    Furthermore, Vayihyu shneihem arumim, - hayitochen? velo yisboishoshu? Al ken Yaazov "Adam" Fleisher (...lebossor) es ishto letsmisus, veteitse mize umiyad, bli shum kchal ushrak, Kaasher tsivu aleha haGedolim. VeHagdolim hizhiru gam al haktanim sheyuvoldu chas vesholom, velo yihyu mutar lovo bekahal. Even the Gemoro agrees, Ein "ADAM" dar in nachash bekfifo achas. Veshalom al Yisrael

  4. Even according the small minority of poskim who might hold that a mekach taos claim can be utilized today for a marriage, even they hold the cases qualifying for such a claim are extremely rare. And most cases applying for it would fail.

  5. Come on. These guys are certainly big talmidai chachamim, but you need to be at least a bar plugta to start putting out letters. One thinks that people are getting on the band wagon in order to put themselves on the map.

  6. This letter doesn't specify who the "anashim" are who try to help the "agunos" (who aren't really agunos at all - but let that go). Was it the Kaminetskys who shopped around for a hetter, or was it the resho'im from ORA? Clearly the Kaminetskys, who are reportedly close with Tamar's family, would never have allowed her to remarry had they rejected the psak. They need to clarify their position once and for all. If they do hold of the psak let them say so. We'll see how that goes.

  7. The greatest and only one to permit in great emergencies a negation of marriage is Reb Moshe Feinstein, and he says that if the husband is willing to give a GET, even on conditions that are very hard for the woman, she may not leave without a GET. So who did Rabbi Greenblatt rely on? Somebody today who disagrees with Reb Moshe?

  8. There is always someone who is willing to be PORETZ GEDER and issue a false Heter for one reason or another.

    If Botei Dinim will not intervene, investigate and then protest in writing then you can expect that standard will forever fall.

  9. It may that they do not accept the Psak but are willing to keep quiet about it, saying that the responsibility lies with the Posek who issues the Psak. Technically this may be an excuse but considering the tremendous impact that can have on future cases I agree that they have no choice but to be 100% clear about their position.

  10. BTW, the translation is not completely accurate. The phrase himtziu harofim hapsychologim means they invent categories of disorders, not utilize categories of disorders.

  11. Don't be naive. The heter began with the R' Kaminetzkys, who sent it around to a number of poskim for approval and input. How could they "not accept a Psak" that they themselves intiated and disseminated?

  12. Reb David, you need a raya that such would not be ground for annulment. Else, should be similar to physical mumin, which if unknown at time of wedding, appear from straightforward reading of gemara to be in category of mekach taus.

  13. The Kamenetzky guy Shalom is known to all as a terrible person and a dangerous one. Just ask any Rosh Yeshiva or Rav. Yes he body builds and works out and brags sbout his strength that does not give him the credentials to be a Rabbi. To the contrary follow his lifestyle interestes and passed disagreements with the leaders of the generation. Philly always looked at themselves as the elite and better then all but alas the truth has finally preservered.


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