Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Unaccepted Proposals to Solve the Aguna Problem - Part V by Rabbi Chaim Jachter

            However, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe E.H.1:79) argues that if a woman discovers a severe defect in her husband she does not require a Get.  Rav Moshe writes that one should make all efforts to obtain a Get, but a lenient ruling may be issued if all efforts to procure a Get have failed.  He reasons that some defects are so severe that it is without a doubt that no woman would have married this man.  Rav Moshe takes issue with Rav Yitzchak Elchanan and argues that no woman would marry an impotent man.  Thus, just as a man who marries a women who is an "Ailoneet" does not require a Get, so too a woman who married a man and immediately discovers that he is impotent does not require a Get.  Rav Moshe takes this exceedingly bold argument (it is bold because, as Rav Yosef Henkin notes in his Peirushei Ibra p.43, it lacks any textual basis in the classical sources) one step further.  He argues that even Rabbeinu Tam (see last week's article), who rules that in a case where a man discovers that his wife an is "Ailoneet" a Get is needed to terminate the marriage, would agree that if a woman discovers a preexisting severe defect in the husband she does not require a Get to remarry.  This is because, argues Rav Moshe (with no textual support for this argument), only a man would possibly agree to marry a woman with a severe defect.  This is because he has a relatively easy halachic exit from the marriage. However, it is obvious to all, argues Rav Moshe, that no woman would marry a man with a severe defect.  She would never take a risk that perhaps she would tolerate the man's problem, since she knows that in the likely event that she will be dissatisfied she will have no easy halachic mechanism to escape the marriage.

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