Saturday, December 25, 2021

Rabbi Rakeffet misunderstands the Epstein-Friedman annullment

listen at about 40 minutes 

left the following on the webpage

 listened to your misunderstanding of the Epstein Friedman case
i would suggest you read the relevant documents including the many halachic analyses- especially Rav Feldman

your understanding is contrary to the common understanding including that expressed by Rav Kaminetsky himself 

 Rabbi Rakkefet-Rothkoff is mistaken in comparing Mr. Friedman to the insane husband described by Iggerot Mosheh, Even ha-Ezer I, no. 80. In the case adjudicated by Iggerot Mosheh, there was a confirmed psychiatric report - published by known psychiatrists at an accredited hospital (already established in 1919; see here: ) - that the husband was insane even before the marriage, so insane in fact that the husband was unable to find employment or live with his wife. This report was investigated by the Baltimore Beth Din of the time, and it merely asked R. Moshe Feinstein to confirm its conclusion of mekach ta'ut, which R. Moshe Feinstein did. By contradistinction, in the case of Mr. Friedman, (a) nobody knows who has written the psychiatric report on Mr. Friedman, a report which is incongruous with Mr. Friedman's continued employment in Congress; (b) the husband was capable of living with his wife after marriage (-the daughter born to Ms. Epstein was not conceived in a mikveh), and even as of today would be delighted to return to shelom bayit with her, and (c) the Baltimore Beth Din has clearly ruled on multiple occasions that Mr. Friedman is the husband of Ms. Epstein.


  1. The second link isn't working
    Shiur 941665
    Oh, he mentions you.
    considering his disrespectful comments towards you, I think you are rather charitable to him!

  2. he is saying hafkaa is in very limited circumstances
    he is saying you need to prove the husband went to a shrink before the marriage
    in reference to RSK , he says it is "rumoured.. I've been told" that the heter was given on the same basis as Rav Moshe's heter.
    BTW, at least in this lecture, he is talking about separate girl who went to his michlalah, and she is the one who he said needs to prove her husband went to a shrink before the marriage.

    So unless you have further evidence, your claims against Rakeffet are false.

  3. He clearly did not understand Rav Mohe's psak about annulment and decided to rely on RSK
    Tamar's mother was his student
    Regardless he supported annulment as the solution like Rackman and as opposed by Rav Soloveitchik

  4. you are stretching the facts to suit your begrudgment of his nasty quip about you.

    If you are saying he did not understand Rav Moshe's psak, that is not the same as sayng he opposoed Rav Soloveitchk and sided with R Rackman.

    What you are doing is changing your goalposts in mid sentence, then changing them back and hoping you were not caught out.

    a) he explictly rejects the Rackman BD - tha is incontrovertible.

    b) In the tape , he only says he has heard rumours that RSK acted like Rav Moshe. In the same tape he spells out the narrow circumstances under which hafkaa is permitted.

    c) In the unnamed student case he says it is necessary to prove that the husband had previously been under some sort of psychiatric treatment.

    How is that Rackman and not RMF?

    And in any case, the distinction is moot - because rav Moshe himself advises people not to use false modesty, and to createm innovate new ways ot freeing up agunot. When you published that teshuva, you refused to listen to the application to Rackman/IBDs, and nwo you will refuse to listen to the application of this situation to that teshuva.

  5. you need to listen to the tape again-he was not hesitant in recommending annulment- clearly at odds with Rav Soloveitchik's position
    Does he say I agree with Rav Soloveitchik not to even consider annulment?

  6. According to your way of thinking, merely supporting Rav Moshe, is opposing Rav Soloveitchik and supporting Rav Rackman ztl.

    I do not claim to know the facts of Epstein heter, i am not involved, and i do not support her or Getora.

    He is teaching halacha - he is bnringing the cases where Hafkaa is allowed - and the 2 cases are as per RMF.

    He says R Rackman expanded it beyond the 2 areas which are halachically acepted.
    Also - did RSK use Tav L'meitiv? Since that is the chiddush of the Rackman BD.

  7. also, saying he misunderstands it, and that he was part of the Heter are 2 comlpetely different things. he says explicitly that he was not involved, and that had only heard rumours. regarding the woman in the first case, which he does not explictly say was Epstein - he says she needs to prove x in order to build a case.

  8. Also, the whole R Soloveitchik convention, to me it seems to have been part of a bigger picture, not just a halachic discussion in Yeshiva.
    This was 1975 - only 2 years after the Rav Goren controversy. Everyone in America was affected by the Langer case, because Rav Moshe basically said "you are either with me, or against me".

    And R Soloveitchik himself was vulnerable and a victim of attacks from many sides. So he simply didn't want another "Langer" case , this time at YU, this time with his own potential president and current Provost.
    I don't think R Soloveitchik was even addressing Rackman - he was addressing Rav Moshe, and the Agudah - he was saying "I want no part of this, count me out, we are not having Langer part 2 here at YU".

  9. He speaks very highly of RNG:

    An Interview with Rabbi Yosef Rottenberg

    WWW: You do most of the gittin in Baltimore. How did you come to fulfill this role?

    YR: I learned gittin under R’ Moshe, and I
    studied it a lot. After that, I studied under other great people, like
    Rabbi Nota Greenblatt of Memphis, Tennessee, who, by the way, is one of
    the greatest halachic authorities of our generation. The whole week he
    travels. He does gittin; he’s a mohel and a sofer. He checks mikva’os, and he paskens—and not only for the South. He goes all over the country. So I had big people to learn from. Before I did my first get in Baltimore, I asked permission from the rav who was the main mesader gittin in town. That was Rabbi Yosef Feldman, z”l. R’ Moshe, in my semicha, wrote that I could do gittin. But I was in somebody else’s town. I asked Rabbi Feldman, do you mind if I would do a get? He said, “Rabbi Rottenberg, what do you think, I’m the Chief Rabbi of Baltimore? You have to ask me permission? Gezinterheit! Do gittin.” That’s how it started, and eventually I ended up doing most of the gittin in town.

  10. Leaving out the elephant in the room. (internet 2012): Supporters of Tamar Epstein, whose ex-husband, Aharon Friedman, refuses to give her a religious divorce, have been pressuring Friedman's boss, U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Michigan, to fire Friedman. They have protested in front of Camp's office, signed a petition at, started a website ( and in February, bombarded Camp's official congressional Facebook page. But Susan Aranoff, director of Agunah International, which supports Jewish women seeking divorces, said social media has little effect because many husbands still are resistant after all the bullets have been fired.

    See, “Tamar Epstein, whose ex-husband, Aharon Friedman” means that Tamar Epstein got a fake/phony civil divorce. If so, Aharon Friedman is still married to Tamar Epstein according to American law. I went with Susan to demonstrations against recalcitrant husbands in the 1980s thinking the recalcitrant husband was an ex-husband. No. NYS civil divorce is a thorough mess. This is the elephant in the room. Mendel Epstein et al and Rabbi Ralbag and Gerald Garson felt it safe to take money from women still married according to civil law to force a religious divorce against the husbands’ wishes.

  11. Torah thought daf hayomi Megilah 13b
    “R. Johanan said: Bigthan and Teresh were two Tarseans [There was a Tarsus in Cilicia and in Cappodocia and it is not certain which is referred to.] and conversed in the Tarsean language. They said: From the day this woman came we have been able to get no sleep [having always to dance attendance on Ahasuerus]. Come, let us put poison in the dish so that he will die. They did not know that Mordecai was one of those who had seats in the Chamber of Hewn Stone [ לשכת הגזית. The meeting place of the Sanhedrin in the Temple at Jerusalem], and that he understood seventy languages [V. Sanh. 17a]. Said the other to him, But are not my post and your post different [so that neither of us can do duty for both]? He replied: I will keep guard at my post and at yours. So it is written, “At that time, when Mordecai was satting in the palace gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s chamberlains, who guarded the threshold משמרי הסף, became angry קצף and plotted to do away with King Ahasuerus. Mordecai learned of it and told it to Queen Esther, and Esther reported it to the king in Mordecai’s name. The matter was investigated and found to be so, and the two were impaled on stakes. This was recorded in the annals at the instance of the king ויכתב בדברי הימים לפני המלך. ” (Esther 2:21-23) And when inquisition was made, he was found [ E.V., it was found], that is to say, they were not [both] found at their posts.”

    My theory. The wicked murders don’t need a good reason to commit murder---any flimsy faint fake complaint is enough to murder. My my: They said: From the day this woman came we have been able to get no sleep [having always to dance attendance on Ahasuerus]. They became wroth for no good reason. Terrible Feminists don’t need a good reason to demand a divorce---any flimsy faint fake complaint is enough to demand a divorce in NYS law. Terrible.

  12. And this proves that his nonsense heter must be valid?!
    Are you claiming him to be infallible because of this comment?

  13. Wow a conspiracy theory explanation

  14. No he encourage Tamar's mother to go that way

  15. According all learned talmide chachomim it is not not sufficient that the husband ever went to a therapist or is even now in therapy to justify annulment

    Rakefe tis not supporting Rav Moshe nor does he understand him. But Rav Soloveitchik did not agree with Rav Moshe in this issue

  16. Nope, realism

  17. No, just that he has big support and respect

  18. In Baltimore and elsewhere, they consider ng and RSk amongst the learned.

  19. Have you heard of r rottenberg? I am not familiar with him other than the article.

  20. Wow! all conspiracy theories claim to be based on realism

  21. OK, is he a chacham or am haaretz ? I don't teach or give semicha, so these are not judgements I can make.

  22. You obviously missed the many comments poskim wrote about their nonsense heter

  23. Why do you and other frum people wear dark suits, hats as opposed to jeans, colourful sweater /shirt, and keep badatz rather than regular kashrus?
    It is not because this is Torah Law, it is to show the wider community that you are frum.
    Why did ŕ Yehoshua walk with his stick on yom kippur according to his own calculation? It was to acquiesce to rabban Gamaliel's orders, not because he calculated himself that it was a weekday.

  24. He says he didn't get involved.
    Not understanding Rav Moshe is not the same as supporting ibd, agunot Inc, etc.
    Did he coach her on how to construct the argument in front of the poskim?

  25. How about rav Moshe encouraging more innovation to free agunot.
    Is the gemara about freeing mamzerim or agunot, to rebuild the temple?

  26. what information do you have about his involvement, outside of that tape?

  27. Even if he did, was it reasonable to assume that 2 gedolim, one of whom is on the moetzes, would rehash the Rackman BD? He just told her to go to haredi posqim. No issur in doing that!

  28. It is actually a very good theory -
    If he wanted just to scorn Rackman, could have done it behind closed doors (probably did already).
    What was the purpose of doing it in public?

    To keep YU rabbis in line, certainly, so that they would not become David Hartmans and Yitz Greenbergs. But also to his cousins in Ahgudah , to show he is keeping halachic discipline in YU.

    Despite this, many Hareidim did no take him seriously, esp Rav Shach and Rav Hutner at some stage.
    But look, my explanation is still valid - today people still point to this speech. Rav Shachter has taken this approach. So it was a very public demonstration, and was very successful, and is still very successful.


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