Thursday, February 4, 2016

Torah, Psychiatry and Psychology, and Heterim. (part 1)

Guest post by Jonathan Fishman

Some modern Jews, seek loopholes within what they perceive as the extensive restrictions of Halachah, and psychiatrists and psychologists provide strategies and mechanisms for loopholes - heterim. Because of the credibility and prestige of these professionals as well as the authoritative status of their assertions and judgments and the acceptance of the concept of "mental illness" some Jews allow these assertions to affect the Halachah.

On 24 Sept. 2015 In Memphis Tennessee at an Orthodox shul an eishet ish - married woman - married a second husband without a Get - based on the hearsay report of an anonymous psychiatrist?!

We need to ask;

Does a psychiatrist possess the power to influence the process whereby a married woman without a Get may marry another man because the first marriage should allegedly be annulled on psychological grounds?

Right now, because of this Memphis Tennessee case we have a crisis of credibility and confidence in authority regarding marriage, Gittin - divorce and adultery Halachah.

Psychology appears to have changed the Halachos of adultery and divorce. It seems that a Get is no longer necessary and all we need is a psychiatrist to find some or other 'personality disorder' to render the marriage a mekach taut.

There is something disturbing happening at the core of the integrity of Judaism! Is this going to chas v' shalom set a precedent?

Daas Torah wrote about this heter, they enabled "any woman to invalidate her marriage with a psychologist's report. Even if the therapist never talked to the husband and even if he wrote the report based entirely on the nasty things an estranged wife might say about her husband without hearing the other side at all- and even if he simply made up the report out of his own imagination - the heter says the marriage is invalid"

When the psychiatrist declared that the first husband was mentally insane and unable to be a husband, he destroyed his name and future to remarry – Daas Torah (In actual fact the husband is a competent, well functioning, shomer Mitzvot, nice guy working as an attorney in the US Congress!)

It is not only, in the area of married women remarrying without a Get, that therapists produce a heter, but in many other areas of Halacha!

We need to ask the general question: Does hiring therapists or psychiatrists to declare somebody with a mental illness and thus claim heterim - loopholes permitting the previously forbidden - have a regular place in the Torah?

To digress from heterim for a moment, let's look at a related illustrative example. Recently articles appeared just before the Iowa Republican caucus asserting that US presidential candidate Donald Trump has Narcissistic Personality Disorder!

In fact, there is a tradition of invalidating public figures by means of denigrating labels. The following is only an example;
30 Jan 2016

"Talk radio host Glenn Beck, who is in Iowa with his family and staff campaigning for GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, took to his Facebook page earlier this week to blast GOP front-runner Donald Trump, calling the New York builder “a pathological narcissistic sociopath” who is “trying to put Megyn Kelly… in his dungeon.”

In a Facebook post this week, Beck wrote:

I have had more than one medical professional warn me that Donald Trump is a pathological narcissistic sociopath.

I do not say that lightly nor to smear him.

Look the terms up and talk to psychiatric professionals.

A few have already written about this and spoken out.

While, I want to be clear as do they, no one can officially diagnose this without private sessions, I have had more than one professional have laugh at me when I suggested in Trumps defense that maybe he “wasn’t a sociopath”."

This is not a "medical diagnosis" from caring "therapists" who wish to "heal the sick" but a derogatory epithet i.e. slander, motsi shem ra, renamed as "medical diagnosis". It happens not only to recalcitrant husbands and presidential candidates, but the man in the street. It is an underhand way of dealing with our fellow Yidden whom we dislike! But this is what "therapists" were used for in the Memphis Tennessee 2nd marriage without a Get.

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