Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, champion of halachic justice, dies at 98


Using disputable Talmudic precedents for annulment, he dissolved over 100 marriages without the husband's agreement. Rackman admitted that one of his goals was to prod the rabbinical establishment out of its slumber on this painful issue, yet insisted that the Bet Din's technical solutions remained within the halachic envelope. Rackman said that "the neglect of agunot by the rabbinic establishment is alienating people from Judaism. I am fighting for the glory of Torah and the halachic system, and my solutions will do more for the future of Halacha than the stringency of its mandates. I certainly feel that I can meet my Maker on this!" Unfortunately, Rackman's Bet Din was mismanaged, and Rackman failed to substantiate his Bet Din's actions in a learned teshuva, a formal halachic position paper (although others have now begun to do so, most notably Prof. Aviad Hacohen, dean of Shaarei Mishpat Law College.) Nevertheless, his legacy on the treatment of agunot is considerable, and I believe that Halacha will yet come around to his view.

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