Friday, July 1, 2016

Igros Kodesh: Letters of Chazon Ish and Steipler regarding marital intimacy


  1. What happened in the esti weinstien story was predicted in the steipeler's first letter - he says-

    1." the end due to this false prishus,he transgresses a real prohibition like has happened...."
    she wrote that eventually she and her husband stopped keeping the takanos, and ended up doing things even when she was a niddah due to the fact that they didnt know how to differentiate the takonos from halacha - and when they decided to transgress the takonos, halacha went along with it.
    This is what happens when takonos are stressed more than halacha - it leads to aveiros chamuros.
    Perhaps some gerrers who know halacha well realize what the ikar halachos are, but not simple newlyweds who learned about these inyonim the day before their marriage.

    2."someone who is mevatel onah is like he has killed someone, and the situation can reach pikuach nefesh from the great pain and suffering this causes his wife. "
    Unfortunately, she killed herself , and wrote that the gerrer takonos were what sent her off the deep end.

  2. As someone once noted - one swallow doesn't make it spring. Generalize from fragmentary knowledge of this one case doesn't really help. You can you the same logic to criticize anything. Did you know that someone died because of a faulty airbag - therefore it is best not to use airbags. One person had a bad reaction to vaccinations - therefore all vaccinations are bad. One religious Jew is a horrible person - therefore they all are. etc etc etc.

    You of course are claiming that the Takaonos are phony - but since you are focused are a sample size of one - it doesn't tell us how many people benefit from them and what impact they have on the community etc etc

  3. I meant that enforcing takonos that contradict shulchan aruch and chazal will always result in undesireable outcomes -
    one example - see Gittin 90a - papus ben yehuda would force is wife to stay in the house when he left the house- see rashi - Meidah sheino hogenes "an improper trait" that causes hatred - he was the husband of Mary who was mezaneh.

    The case of esti weinstein was an extreme example, however, from the steipeler's letter we can see that the takonos resulted in widespread problems even back then when the steipeler wrote his letter. It is well know that the letter was written against the gerrer takonos.

    Of course, if your chassidish, the Rebbe has the authority to make takonos contradicting shulchan aruch and chazal, and even to trangress aveiros chamuros lishma.

    See sefer Milchomos Hashem by r' meir ben eliyahu ben avrohom achi haGRA for more about the dangers of chassidus. (Its only available on otzer hachochma).
    His sefer on Pirkei Avos has a haskoma from R' avrohom Ibli of Vilna -

  4. The Takkanos are not against the halacha. The Steipler himself states in his letters that if a woman marries someone who is pious and is ascetic i.e., she knew in advance that he would minimize sexual relations - she is mochel. If she decides later that she doesn't like being married to an ascetic then she can ask for a divorce. The Takkanos are not contradicting Shulchan Aruch and Chazal. She should have simply refused to marry a man who is guided by the Takkanos if she didn't like the idea.

    Bottom line the Steipler is not the posek for Gerrer chasidim and their rebbe has not violated halacha. Whether the Takkanos are a good idea - that is something else. The fact that there are people opposed to Chassidus is nothing new and doesn't prove that Chassidus is wrong.

    The Rambam says that a husband should minimize a wife's leaving the house - are you saying that the Rambam is paskening against the halacha?

  5. As I always ask with these posts - could you make it downloadable please? Thank you.

  6. I am not sure if that is correct. One can't just say "She should have simply refused to marry a man who is guided by the Takkanos if she didn't like the idea." We are talking about a chassidic community as a whole that abides by these takanos, and girls who are married off by their parents at the age of 18 or so who have absolutely no idea of what a sexual relationship is in any sense of the term. They are not even aware of the takanos until immediately before the marriage. How, then, is a seventeen-year-old girl who doesn't know what sex is, doesn't know what the mainstream Torah viewpoint on this issue is, doesn't know what the takanos are, and probably has very little agency in terms of who she marries altogether, supposed to "refuse to marry a man who is guided by the Takkanos if she didn't like the idea"?

  7. according your logic since most people don't know what marriage is like - in the full sense of the word - there are no valid marriages since if she had known she would never have agreed to be married. Every marriage is a mekach ta'os. Perhaps this could be the basis of saying that there is no mamzerim today since there are no marriages!

  8. I was able to download the file - not sure why you can't.

  9. I don't know if you are purposefully misrepresenting what I wrote or just didn't read it carefully. I did not say anything about mekach ta'us. I was responding to your comment that a sheltered 17-year-old girl raised in a Gerrer family should "refuse to marry a man who is guided by the Takkanos if she didn't like the idea." I am pointing out that such a statement demonstrates a total lack of understanding of what it means to grow up in that situation. Once again, that girl does not even know what the takanos are when she gets engaged, let alone know of how other Torah-observant communities treat marital intimacy. So I ask you again, how is she supposed to refuse to marry someone guided by the takanos?

  10. No I am not misrepresenting and I did read it carefully. there are halachic views that if a woman doesn't realize what she is getting into the marriage is not valid.

    I am not convinced however that the women don't know the significance of the Takkanos. If any reader has more direct knowledge of what goes on in the Gerrer community - I would appreciate some feedback.

  11. They don't know anything. The first they hear of marital intimacy is in the day or two before the wedding. Even the men do not learn hilchos Nida other than harchakos until after the wedding. By the way, a book was just published on this topic:

  12. As for mekach ta'us, I think that applies only when the party has a different impression of what they are getting than what they are actually getting. Here, they have no other impression.

  13. Sure they do. It might be naive and ill informed but it is a different impression

  14. I want to be able to download it even if i don't sign up for scribd!

  15. I only spoke with a couple of Gerrer men, no women, but I can tell you that the men had literally no idea what sexual intimacy is. As for whatever hints of it they may have gotten from billboards and the like, they assumed that it was something that only chilonim and goyim do.

  16. The Gerrer kallahs clearly don't know anything about what they are getting themselves into when they get engaged and agree to the takanos, and when they are told a bit of it shortly before marriage, I'm sure they aren't told what the the ikar hadin is - so they go along with it.
    Even if they would know the ikar hadin and really didn't want to keep the takonos, none would have the fortitude to break the shidduch a few days before marriage.
    What a great scam!

    The takonos contradict Shulchan Aruch because:
    If a woman who had agreed to marry a man who made known to her that he will be noheg prishis more than the ikar hadin, and after getting married when she realizes how hard it is and doesent want it, he is called a mored if he doesen't act like the ikar hadin.
    This is a mishna in kesubos 63a. He has to add money to the kesuba for each week that he doesen't agree.

    It is written in the kesuba that he agrees to be mekayem mitzvas onah - this means like a regular person, if she demands it.
    Just like it says in the kesuba that the man must support the wife.
    In a case where the wife went into marriage planning to work to support her husband learning, and then realized that it was too hard, and wants the husband to work, it is clear that he has to go to work.

    The Rambam there is talking about "Derech Nashim" - see his lashon - he is talking about that a wife should act the way regular tzniusdige women act - and this means for each time and place different rules - as long as they dont violate the basic halochos of tznius, There is flexibility in what is tznius, based on the norms.
    For instance, the way yeshivishe israeli women dress would be considered not tznius by yeshivishe American standards.

    The halochos of Shearah , Ksus and Ohah, however are not flexible like this.
    The fact that the rabbanan made different amounts of requirements for onah based on a man's occupation is a leniancy - medeoraissa he is mechuyav whenever she wants - see meforshim on the sugya.

  17. I missed something where does it state in Shulchan Aruch "If a woman who had agreed to marry a man who made known to her that he will be noheg prishis more than the ikar hadin, and after getting married when she realizes how hard it is and doesent want it, he is called a mored if he doesen't act like the ikar hadin."?

    The rest of your analysis is dependent upon your above assertion - where does it state that. The Steipler apparently disagrees with you . See Letter 1 paragraph 4. He notes that the obligation of onah is satisfy the wife but he notes that there are many talmidei chachomim who are in fact ascetics and this is allowed with the full acceptance of the wife and that in most cases requires that demonstrates that he truly loves her and that he is not keeping the normal conjugal obligation for the sake of heaven or that the wife is a true tzadekes who truly wants her husband to be a holy man OR THAT SHE MARRIED A WELL KNOWN TZADIK AND THAT HIS REPUTATION IS COMPENSATION FOR HIS NOT PROVIDING HER WITH SEXUAL SATISFACTION.
    He states that the above is an alternative for the keeping of the Torah/Rabbinic obligation of onah. But chas v'shalom to be an ascetic if it causes his wife who is dependent upon him - pain for which she is not mochel whole heartedly that which is owed to him.

    To summarize, in a community where this is the accepted norm - it is likely that in fact most women are accepting the claim that they are sacrificing for the higher sanctity and no one denies that it is a sacrifice.

    It is up to all of you kvetchers to demonstrate that in fact that most women of the Gerrer community do not accept the loss as the price to pay for having a successful marriage in the community. If there are 50& of the woman who say they would rather have married men from a different community because of this- then there is something to be concerned with. What percent of women does Esti Weinstein represent? Do any of you have proof that more than 1% or even 10% can not reconcile themselves with the Takanos and 1) never have married their husband if they know what it really entailed 2) would want a divorce 3) would leave the Gerrer community 4) would leave Yiddishkeit ?

    While you are at it. What percentage of frum women feel the same because they need to go to mikve and keep taharas mishpacha? Should we cancel the halachos because of those women? What about women who can't stand covering their hair or weaing modest clothing - especially in the summer? What about the women who would prefer not having kids or at least as many as they have? What about the women who feel the above because their husband won't give them a Get?

    Also please present your mefarshim on the sugya which say that the Steipler is wrong

  18. She knew in advance that he would minimize sexual relations - she is mochel.

    They have no idea what is married life. of course that they are not Mochel

    If she decides later that she doesn't like being married to an ascetic then she can ask for a divorce

    Would a gerrer beis din grant her divorce on this basis? Can she go to another bais-din?

    I would just leave to to Ger to justify what appears to be a disaster.

    Finally, why did the Rebbe who instated the Takunes not request to review them in case they cause any harm. After all this was never tried before

    In short, it is a dysfunctional system !

  19. your conclusion don't necessarily follow from you observations

    All we can conclude at this point is that you would not become a Gerrer chasid - other than that you are simply speculating

  20. here is a site that shows how to download from scribd for free:

  21. Glad to see that you've finally come around to the kamentzky/Greenblatt heter. 😜

  22. Actually if they would provide some written teshuva which attempts to explain why they aren't supporting adultery - it would at least create the illusion that we are dealing with a machlokes haposkim.

    Instead they acknowledge that there is no basis for the heter and yet they haven't told Tama and Adam to separate.

  23. I do understand that Prishus is not a Ger chassidus invention. Would you have any idea, which Rebbi in Ger applied this Tekana to his chasidim, and why. How did the change come all about. Did he also apply the same tekana for the daughters as well? TY

  24. read Dr. Benny Brown's article Kedushah. Click link at top of this post

  25. she wrote that eventually she and her husband stopped keeping the takanos, and ended up doing things even ...
    why do you believe everything she wrote is true?!?!
    i dont believe it!!

  26. how do you know??
    [you also wrote, back then, that the psychologist never met with the first husband.
    i however heard- in the name of a rabbi who fought AGAINST the heter -that this detail of the story is not true, & in fact the psychologist DID meet with him]

  27. I suggest you go back and read the letter from Rav Aharon Feldman

    The psychiatrist that wrote the report that the heter was based on did not meet Aharon Friedman. That psychiatrist claimed that he did talk with one of the two therapist that the couple had gone to. If that is true it is violation of professional confidence. Bottom line the therapist himself wrote in the report that he did not meet the husband . Your source is simply wrong or is being misquoted or perhaps never existed but was made up. It directly contradicts what Rav Feldman wrote and he was given a copy of the psychiatrists report. Either Rav Feldman is lying or your informant in the name of some rabbi is lying.

  28. I was trying to get from the bloggers if anyone knows by which rebi it was implemented and whether there was some specific incidence as of mipnei maasse shehoyo . I was not looking for the mekor as for the reasons of Prishus historically. It seems that it occurred under the Imrei Emes, why didn't the Sfas Emes or the chidushei HoR'IM find it necessary to implement such. If anyone knows, I would appreciate it. Thank You.

  29. I highly agree with you that it's scam of Biblical proportions. In Kidushin it states to disclose issues that might cause for a Get, mipnei veohavta lreacho kamocha. Neither partner knows what they are getting into before marriage, the buyer discloses his conditions five minutes before the chuppa, and the seller has no clue what he is talking about. Al pi hen Tzedek, you must disclose this bargain before any meeting of the prospects, explain as much as humanly possible what she is getting into, maybe like the zoriz Doctor al Tishkav betachav kederech shemes Ploni or divorced ploini, with some statistics of the survival rates and life of frustration rates. After having all things disclosed and considered, we then can call in the actuary to report how many are willing to go for this TAKANOS. The Torah says, ve'el ishech teshukoseich, the Talmud says in Kesubos 62: Rotze isho bekav vetiflus mitisha kavin uprishus, after letting her in on this, explain it to her well, you then give her a chance to talk it over with her married chaverot Motzo or Moitzi, letting it sink in with a yishuv hadaas, no pressure from parents or anyone, then and only then venishalo es piho, and if still willing to go for it, sheyevusam lah. You have to play with a full deck of cards, and not sucker her into it when it's hard to back out. No one in their right mind wants to take a chance and and say, oh well, it didn't work out, we can always get a divorce. No, that's no remedy, after being a Grusha, maybe even with a few children as well and then starting from square one. Better not go into a sick bed to begin with. I wonder how many girls woud go for this nonsense, no wonder they want to marry outside of the group.

  30. I would have thought that in your skillset and trade, you should have all the answers to these questions. Are they not allowed to go for therapy?


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