Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dr. Marc Shapiro: The Aguna Problem part 2 Is the husband always obligated to give a Get?

Seforim Blog  [...]  Let me make one final point. In matters of divorce my feeling is that when either husband or wife wants a get, and it is obvious that there is no future in the marriage, then neither party should prevent the divorce from taking place. There shouldn’t be any reason to go to a beit din to force a divorce. Adults should be able to see that the marriage isn’t working out and come to a conclusion that it is time to end it. Any husband who chooses to withhold a get when he knows that the marriage is over is acting in a very cruel way, and the full weight of halakhically acceptable communal pressure should be brought on him. Nothing should scandalize us more than a so-called religious person keeping his wife captive as a means of revenge. I would even suggest reading the names of some agunot during the Shabbat prayers, in order to sensitize people to the issue.
I know that many people will regard what I have just written as obvious. What I will now say might anger some, but I think that it too should be obvious. I have often heard it said that a get should never be withheld, and that the get should be given immediately. For example, on ORA’s website it states: “[I]t is never acceptable to refuse to issue a get once the marriage is irreconcilable.” On JOFA’s website it states: “As soon as it becomes clear that there will be no reconciliation, the Get should be written and delivered to the woman so that it cannot be used as a bargaining tool in financial or custody negotiations.” 

While in general both these statements are correct, it is not correct that this is always the case. For instance, let’s say the wife runs away to Europe with the kids. Does anyone seriously think that the husband is still obligated to give her a get? In such a circumstance it is entirely appropriate for the husband to insist that she come back to the United States and settle all custody issues before a get is issued. Or let’s say a husband and wife separated, and the wife refuses to let the husband see his children. It could be many months before the secular court rules on the matter of visitation. Why would anyone think that in the meantime the husband is obligated to give his wife a get if she refuses to allow him to see his children? I don’t think that there is any reputable beit din in the world that would side with the woman in these two cases. These are obviously extreme examples, and have nothing to do with the typical agunah case we hear about. Yet we should be aware that there are nuances that sometimes come into play, and every case must be investigated by a reputable beit din before judgments are made.[...]


  1. No reputable beit din in the world?! Did he just call RYGB not reputable?

  2. Politically IncorrectFebruary 4, 2016 at 5:46 PM

    Jofa's website also says that while it is inappropriate for a man to withhold a get, when the withholding comes from the woman's side, we should question why and that there is very likely a reason. ...such as a resolution that is "unconscionable" and that she should not settle for, even if decided by a Bais Din. ..

  3. @Politically Incorrect In regards to our previous long discussion, if you would take the same position that a Get is required bein adam l'chaivora (even though not al pi hilchos gittin) in a case where one of the spouses demands the Get for frivolous or objectively silly reasons, i.e. he likes spicy dinners and I like sweet dinners and we can never enjoy a meal together, or she is 5'11" and I'm 5'5" and people mistake her for my mother and I can't live like this, or I strongly disagree with his political positions, etc., and the Get-demanding spouse is absolutely uncompromisingly insistent on a Get and will not change their mind and says if I don't get it now I'm moving out for however number of requisite months that Kishkeyum and others believe makes a divorce then be mandatory. Would you still take the position after that seperation the Get is mandatory? I would (again) suggest the bein adam l'chaivero obligation is only upon the Get-demanding spouse to drop that demand and agree to remain married and living together.

    We might disagree on some of what is considered objectively silly or frivolous in demanding a Get, but surely we also agree on some circumstances that we all agree are wrong or silly to divorce for, that have no basis in halacha to be entitled to a Get. So let's assume it is a case we both agree is a frivolous reason where the demand for a Get is uncompromising.

  4. It is the last sentence in this Post that bears the most weight. Sometimes bullies get in the way, sometimes her closest friends and confidantes coach her wrongfully so, and many times they are not in for her best interests. See what happened in TE case, the Marriage Counselors said they could help to make Shalom Bayit, but atsat Achisofel coached her otherwise. Even when a long time lapse happened so to be, especially when she has no good reason to ask for one, these moredet wait it out just for the sake to make an easier sail, but that's yet no good reason or any better than yesterday or from the day before. She must present a good reason that the BD can see that it is legitimate and kolu kol hakitsin. If she claims that nosno eineho beachar e,g, she can do better, is not a valid reason. She is not considered a captive, she needs some coaching in how to interact and gain some chein, to be forgiving and that is the key. If when all stones have been turned L'A', then according to SA there is Law and Order which calls for Protocol what comes first, and all her screaming together with ORA's, * rasha, blackmail, etc.* vechol minei sheimos hanirdofim, in the eyes of SA they are futile. Let her comply without jumping the gun first, then you see if she still can't get her way. For instance AF was willing to give a get and was in midst of negotiating his paternal G-d given rights to see his daughter and rightfully so, but then came the SEOR sheBEISA uMakev, and look what this Rishus ORA inflicted, stopped protocol, veasidim litein olov es haDin. In the meantime they are in CHEREM, ymsv.
    Not to give a Get just in spite, is miut shebeMiut in the course of Gittin as we have seen all the beatings and smear jobs have been ALL against the rules of SA. At the end of the day, it comes back to haunt them for the rest of their lives. Not only do they have to contend with departing as eishes ish, but with having mamzerim as well. In summary, for those very few in SPITENIKES such an organization is not called for. It is only an UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION of FEMINISTS for LOLA to have it her way, and all the way!!!

    A true honest BD knows or should know when it's over, and true Talmidei Chachomim are not there for rishus bishat nefesh to see her linger away, shenemar Talmidei Chachomim Marbim Shalom baOlam.

  5. I am really jealous of Dr. Shapiro. I learned intensively under Gedolei HaDorf Reb Aharon Kotler, Reb Moshe Feinstein, and many gedolim of the past generation, but I would never be able to discuss what Dr. Shapiro discusses without lots of sources. But he just jumps in a pronounces. I am jealous of him, really jealous.

  6. וּבְמוֹשַׁ֥ב לֵ֝צִ֗ים לֹ֣א יָשָֽׁב

  7. דְּרָכֶ֥יהָ דַרְכֵי־נֹ֑עַם וְֽכָל־נְתִ֖יבוֹתֶ֣יהָ שָׁלֽוֹם

  8. "These are obviously extreme examples, and have nothing to do with the typical agunah case we hear about." Really? Women withholding access to children is very common. I have several friends who are going through that.


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