Sunday, August 20, 2023

Tamar Epstein: Translation of protest by R Shlomo Miller, R E B Wachtfogel, R Moshe Green and R Yechiel Tauber

This is concerning the uproar regarding the case of Tamar Epstein the wife of Aharon Friedman. He has refused to give her a Get for many years because of unresolved issues regarding custody of their daughter.  The facts of the case of been investigated and established by Rav Aharon Feldman. 

There is a "rav" [R Nota Greenblatt] who has given Tamar a heter to remarry without a Get. He  said the marriage was annulled retroactively because of the principle of mekach ta'os (mistaken acquistion). The reason for the mekach ta'os he claims is that the husband (Aharon) suffers from the personality disorders of Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD_ and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD).

However this explanation is not adequate justification for annulling the marriage - since it is obvious that there are many people who have such personality disorders and yet are still able to have a successful marriage. In fact I asked two psychotherapists about this and they both said that these personality disorders are not mental illness but are simply personality traits. Thus there is absolutely no justification to declare the marriage annulled because of mekach ta'os. Furthermore the Beis Din of Baltimore - which is the only beis din that has been authorized by both side and they both appeared before it - has said that there is no sign of mental illness in the husband.

And if as a result of this "psak", reckless and irresponsible rabbis permit other woman to remarry it would mean that there will never be a need for a Get again. That is because the wife will simply claim that she has discovered that her husband has a serious personality problem and that she would have never agreed to marry him if she had known about it before the marriage. As a result of this mistaken reasoning - G-d forbid- it will result in multiplying the number of mamzerim in the Jewish people.

 Besides the above objections to the heter, it is a fact that they remained living together for an extended period of time and she never claimed that her marriage was a mistake -mekach ta'os. And in addition even after the therapist wrote that her husband had these "incurable" personality disorders - she remained living with him for a period of 4 months. Given these facts it is obvious that even if in fact that her husband has this defect of mental illness  (but as we noted before it is not a defect that justifies annulling the marriage ) it is clear that she was able to accept him as a husband and therefore the marriage can not be considered inherently mistaken (mekach ta'os).

Today it is widespread that reckless and irresponsible people who want to resolve every case of aguna by simply saying that the marriage is a mistaken marriage (mekach ta'os). As a result of such an approach the Torah (G-d forbid!) will be deserted and no one will be concerned with the truth as to what the halacha really is. It will be sufficient for these people that they can find some sort of rabbi who will declare that they are free from their marriage and it doesn't concern them whether the rabbi is following the halacha or not.

Today when  the Jewish people is in mortal danger from the sword of the Arabs, we need to ask what sin has brought about these types of afflictions? I am not a prophet  or even the son of a prophet and I don't have esoteric knowledge - but I do know something about the words of our Sages. The sword comes to the world because of those who rebel against the Torah and distort its teaching against the halacha. There is no greater rebellion and distortion of the Torah than to say that it is permitted for a married woman to marry someone else without first receiving a Get from her husband.

In summary, this married woman Tamar Epstein is prohibited to her second husband because she married him without first obtaining a Get from her first husband. Consequently all children she has from her second husband are mamzerim and can not marry other Jews.

Signed in anguish because of the terrible destruction and the public chilul haShem

Rav Shlomo Miller
Rav E B. Wachtfogel
Rav Moshe Green
Rav Yechiel Tauber

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