Thursday, August 4, 2016

Kaminetsky-Greenblatt Heter: Update - The deliberate silence of our gedolim means they are liable for the sin of adultery

Guest post by Joe Orlow

Rabbi Dovid Feinstein had a private Bais Din that gave a ruling to Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky. The Bais Din ruled that Tamar Epstein is married to Aharon Friedman.

Despite this ruling, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky had not publicly stated that Tamar should separate from the man that she married in a ceremony performed by Rabbi Nota Greenblatt.

I learned that a prominent Rav had asked Rabbi Dovid Feinstein to issue a letter stating Tamar should separate from her second husband. Rabbi Feinstein agreed to write the letter.

I called a Rav who is close to Rabbi Feinstein to find out the status of the letter from Rabbi Feinstein. In the course of the conversation, this Rav told me that Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky had told Tamar to separate from her second husband.

I called Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky and asked him to confirm that he had told Tamar to separate from her second husband. He told me, "I never told anyone to separate." That is an exact quote.

I called up a Rav who had sat on the Bais Din with Rabbi Feinstein that issued the ruling to Rabbi Kamenetsky. I told him that Rabbi Kamenetsky told me that he did not tell anyone to separate. The Rav indicated to me that he felt that if Rabbi Kamenetsky did tell Tamar to separate, that she would listen to Rabbi Kamenetsky. I furthermore told the Rav that Rabbi Feinstein had been asked to write a letter telling Tamar to separate.

I asked that the Bais Din should tell Rabbi Kamenetsky to tell Tamar to separate. I went on. I asked that the Bais Din make a direct statement telling Tamar to separate from her second husband.

This Rav, who sat on this Bais Din, in the nicest way made it clear that none of this would be happening.

I said that that I had been told that the great scholars of the generation are responsible for the generation. Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn had taught me that just hours before I had this discussion with the Rav.

I spelled it out, leaving nothing to the imagination. I said that every time the couple has relations that the Aveira is on the great scholars of the generation (who fail to act and tell the couple to separate on the outside possibility that the couple will listen and separate.)

There seemed to be nothing more to add. The Rav thanked me. I returned the thanks. And hung up.


The Gemora in Shabbos 54b says that one who has the influence to prevent somebody from sinning and does not stop the sinning is punished as if he had committed those sins. That is, there are people who can prevent their families from sinning but not the general public. There are people who have some influence in the general public. There are those who can influence the entire world. A person who can stop the sin of a few people but no more and does not do that is punished as a sinner with the sins of a few people. But one who can influence many people to stop sinning and does not, is punished with the sins of many people.

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