Monday, December 27, 2021

R Riskin's proposal to solve Aguna problem

It is my opinion that in difficult times like today, when many women are forced to live as agunot chained to their husbands, and recalcitrant husbands are taking advantage of their pious wives as well as of their halakhic advantage to at best hold up their wives for ransom and at worst prevent them from marrying, there are certainly grounds to make use of the option of hafka’at kiddushin even without a get, but with an explicit enactment; this would release those women from their chains and from an almost certain life of sin. This is especially so when the problem of agunot causes such great human suffering and degradation of Halakhah. But this can only be done by a large gathering of the Rabbis of Israel who must decide on the matter, so that many authorities share the burden of the decision, and Hafka’at Kiddushin: Towards Solving the Agunah Problem in Our Time Shlomo Riskin 24 Proceedings of the JOFA – NYU Tikvah Agunah Summit the Torah not become like two Torahs. Much thought is needed in order to carefully define the circumstances in which hafka’ah would be implemented, as well as to formulate the stipulation that would have to be added at the time of betrothal. My suggestion would be that the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem adopt an enactment stipulating that if a religious court orders a husband to divorce his wife, and he refuses to do so even after sanctions have been imposed upon him, then a special court should be established with the authority to cancel his marriage and free his wife to remarry.

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