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.


  1. Imho, if they were informed modern Jews they would realize that having a label does not mean a person cannot function in the world and manage his disorder. So even if the label was valid and accepted by the person itself , but his prospective partner did not know of it , since he functions in society , it cannot be a mekach ta'ut. The approach of those supporting the heter also does an injustice to those struggling with issues and challenges – they need more compassion and support so they can live full and normal lives.

  2. We yet are in need of an explanation. How is it that the SHOSHVIN RSK noticed nothing mentally wrong all through the affair as in "Mitchilas hachaliva ad gmar hoassiya". That is from whence this Shiduch was born, tnayim/vort/Chpupah/Chassunah/Sheva Brachos/ all the affairs in public. R'AF's biggest alleged sin was that he is on the introvert side something that is not hidden and quite up front, but yet no one submitted a complaint, not even the meshudeches upon breaking the mazel tov "teller", or any of the times when Dating, nor from any of the hundreds upon hundreds of guests at any and all of the Simcha occasions. She never wrote on her pro and con notes that he is "MESHUGA OF TOIT", or "TOIT MESHUGA", nor was it mentioned it to the Beis Din of Baltimore. The only one so testifying was RSK junior, and only after the request for a GET that did not fly, "A STAR WAS BORN" or a Medical chola'as was born.

    Even the "Blit Bilbul of Tssa Esslar" pales this sha'aruya, scandal and fiasco. This is the biggest Blit Bilbul and ALILAT DAM of this Century, and they ALL have to ask mechila of RAF before and after the smoke and dust settles down. Va'ani tfiloh this saga to end ASAP, before anymore bloodshed and dinei shamayim inflicts C'V' on klall Yisroel.

  3. It is NOT psychology changing the Halachos of adultery and divorce. The root cause of the corruption of marriage and divorce halachos is the pervasive influence of radical feminism in various frum communities. Psychology is only a tool these feminists use to implement their dream society that allows divorce on demand for women only.

    In the feminist husband swapping dream society however, rabbinic prohibitions against divorce on demand for men must be strictly enforced.

    Ancient rabbinic authorities obviously implemented the Kesubah to discourage divorce by men and prevent a wife swapping society. Since the time of the Rambam, great rabbinic authorities evidently became aware of the dangers of a husband swapping society, and so divorce on demand became prohibited for women also. It must remain that way.

  4. If you reject mental illness, what is your explanation for depression, anxiety and the like?

  5. Joe, depression and anxiety are very real. They are forms of human suffering. We must recognize our fellow Jew who is suffering from depression or anxiety as being in pain and not mock him, nor slander him with a label. He is not a meshugenah! Depression and anxiety are not grounds for allowing a married woman to marry a second husband without a Get, nor are they reasons for disqualifying somebody from marriage, employment or community participation.

    Depression is not a reason for posulling an American presidential candidate, the way Senator Thomas Eagleton was eliminated in 1972, and the way some people are trying to eliminate Donald Trump now. Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill suffered from depression.

    Need it to be said? A depressed or anxious person is our fellow Jew and human, his thoughts and actions are meaningful, his Mitzvoth and Torah learning are precious.

  6. R' Aron was none of these, nor claimed to be so. All he has is Krispeditis or close to a Talis shekulo Tcheiles that is a Mitzve min haTorah. How else do you think he was a successful Aid to a Congressman. It was only due to the pressure ORA yimach shemam, that were YORED LECHAYOV, veasidin liten olov es hadin, hen bedinei odom, vehen midinei shamayim. They are all in CHEREM now, and the puroniyos is sure to follow. T'se ur'eh what transpired this year. If you think it's all coincidence, think again. Re'eh Huzhartem.

  7. You can believe in mental illness and show care and compassion. I would wager most therapists do.


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