Sunday, July 31, 2022

10K Christians Rip Greene's Christian Nationalism: 'Betrayal of Our Faith'

"Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) just essentially declared that America has no place for Jews, Muslims, or the LGBTQ community when she explicitly stated 'we should be Christian nationalists,'" the introduction to the petition said. "Now she's even selling 'Proud Christian Nationalist' t-shirts with an ad that says 'Stand Against the Godless Left' and shows her fists violently raised. (So much for loving your neighbor or following the Prince of Peace.)"

Ukraine drone strike hits Russia Black Sea fleet HQ 'spoiling Navy Day' - so sad!

A senior official in Russian-annexed Crimea accused Ukraine on Sunday of carrying out a drone attack ahead of planned celebrations to mark Navy Day, injuring five and forcing the cancellation of festivities.

Friday, July 29, 2022

The New Proliferation of Female Pseudo-Orthodox “Rabbis” and More

However, there is one notable exception to this trend: the ordination of female “Orthodox rabbis”. In contrast with an acute decrease in the ordination of male Open Orthodox clergy, the female side of this enterprise has quietly mushroomed both in Eretz Yisroel and in the US, as two seminaries and a network of pseudo-Orthodox congregations have been involved in trying to radically change the Orthodox landscape and its future leadership profile.

What Happens to the Brain in Alzheimer's Disease?

Amyloid plaques

The beta-amyloid protein involved in Alzheimer’s comes in several different molecular forms that collect between neurons. It is formed from the breakdown of a larger protein, called amyloid precursor protein. One form, beta-amyloid 42, is thought to be especially toxic. In the Alzheimer’s brain, abnormal levels of this naturally occurring protein clump together to form plaques that collect between neurons and disrupt cell function. Research is ongoing to better understand how, and at what stage of the disease, the various forms of beta-amyloid influence Alzheimer’s.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Dynamic shifts between Fox News, Donald Trump

Trump in a statement on Tuesday complained that Fox, the Journal and the Post “have always been against me, until I won.”

Settlers claim road terror in fatal West Bank car crash

"We were driving along Route 60 on the way to a family meeting in the Ariel settlement," Rivka Zinman said.
"Suddenly a white Palestinian car appeared, driving fast from the opposite lane, I slowed down the car, but the Palestinian vehicle accelerated. I realized it was going to hit me head-on and I couldn't stop. The collision was at an enormous speed. I lost my son to Palestinian road terror," she said.
The Palestinians involved in the crash were moderately wounded and were evacuated to the hospital as well.

Trump Threatens To Sue CNN And Other Outlets For Dismissing His Voter Fraud Claims

Trump released a 282-page letter that his attorney, Jim Trusty, sent last week to CNN CEO Chris Licht demanding the network "immediately take down the false and defamatory publications" and issue retraction statements.

Trusty argued in the letter that CNN rushed to label Trump a liar for his unproven voter fraud allegations and "consistently fed a narrative that denounced President Trump's legitimacy and competency," among other claims he said constitute defamation.

Trump threatens CNN with lawsuit over ‘defamatory’ reporting

Former President Trump on Wednesday said he planned to file a lawsuit against CNN, alleging the network has repeatedly defamed him dating back to his 2016 campaign for the presidency.

“I have notified CNN of my intent to file a lawsuit over their repeated defamatory statements against me,” Trump said in a statement. “I will also be commencing actions against other media outlets who have defamed me and defrauded the public regarding the overwhelming evidence of fraud throughout the 2020 Election. I will never stop fighting for the truth and for the future of our Country!”

The 282-page letter from Trump’s attorneys to CNN executives, dated July 21, calls for the network to retract or correct numerous on-air statements and published articles about Trump that the lawyers allege are false and defamatory.

The letter goes on to cite dozens of examples, many of which relate to the network’s coverage of Trump’s repeated claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. CNN coverage frequently referred to those claims as “lies,” “false narratives” and “baseless theories,” among other terms.

Decades of Alzheimer’s research may have been fabricated

Years of crucial research into Alzheimer’s disease may have been tainted by made-up scientific findings, a new whistleblower report says.

Vanderbilt University neurologist Matthew Schrag, in a bombshell interview with Science, laid out findings he made that showed over a decade of industrywide Alzheimer’s research may have been based on fabricated pieces of evidence involving a plaque protein found in the brain.

Shrag alerted his findings to the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration but also went public in the media with findings he believes will have a big impact on Alzheimer’s research, a branch of science that gets millions of dollars in funding every year.

“You can cheat to get a paper. You can cheat to get a degree. You can cheat to get a grant. You can’t cheat to cure a disease,” Shrag told Science. “Biology doesn’t care.”

Jewish communities grapple with addiction as fentanyl crisis ravages US

There is no reliable data on Jewish drug use, since official sources don’t track religion, and many people in the community hide their abuse, but treatment providers said rates are similar to other groups. Amudim has had over 2,100 opioid cases since 2014, said its CEO, Zvi Gluck. A UJA-Federation of New York survey on the impact of COVID-19 on Jews in New York City and its suburbs found that 10% of Jewish households reported a substance abuse problem. Nine out of ten of those households said they were not seeking help for the problem.

CUNY sued over failing to deal with antisemitic instances on campuses

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a Title VI complaint last week to the US Department of Education, alleging that the City University of New York (CUNY) has ignored a sustained pattern of antisemitic activity.

While the Department of Education is already dealing with complaints regarding individual instances of antisemitism, ACLJ “is focused on the overall environment at the University, and not just at one or more schools,” the complaint read.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Marjorie Taylor Greene's words on Christian nationalism are a wake-up call

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene explicitly labeled herself a Christian nationalist on Saturday. This shocking statement by a sitting member of Congress should serve as a wake-up call to everyone, and particularly, I believe, to Christians.
We all have work to do because it's not just the relatively few self-proclaimed Christian nationalists we have to worry about; it's the way the ideology infects so much of American politics and American Christianity often without us even realizing it.

US cardiologist falsely promotes Covid-19 vaccine recall

Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death. But a widely circulated video on social media claims the shots have been recalled due to more than 40,000 deaths worldwide. This is false; neither public health agencies nor manufacturers have recalled Covid-19 vaccines authorized in the US, and verified deaths resulting from the shots are exceptionally rare.

Another rabbi ignores halacha: "Withholding a Gett: Unjewish and Evil "

Update: Please read this lenient teshuva. I will be adding others which clearly indicate the complexity of the matter. Contrary to what Rabbi Brackman writes - that it is a clear cut moral issue - Rav Yosef says it is justified for some cases and some times in history - especially when there is a reasonable possibility that she will commit adultery. That is the view of the Tzitz Eliezar also. Other contemporary poskim don't accept the view that the husband can be forced to give a get to save her from committing adultery [to be continued]

Update Jan 17: Rav Sternbuch states that if it is clear to the beis din that there are objective reasons why the woman can't stand her husband and they paskened that the husband should give a Get - he says it is cruel and sinful for the husband to not divorce his wife out of spite and hatred. This is clearly not saying that a woman has the right to leave the marriage for any reason and that the husband must give a get immediately when the Get is request as R Brackman mistakenly states. If the husband is refusing to give a Get because issues have not been resolved - and not because of cruelty and spite - Rav Sternbuch,. Rav Ovadiah Yosef and Rav Eliashiv are not condemning such a person.

Force husband to prevent wife from committing adultery - not as a right to get on demand or because it is immoral to withhold a Get and only if he is objectively repulsive

Rav Ovadiya Yosef (Yabiya Omer 8:2.2): In previous generations the husband was given permission to take an additional wife if his first wife was declared to a moredes (rebellious wife). The first wife would remain an agunah for the rest of her life until she became an old lady with white hair as punishment for rebelling against her husband. An example of this is found in Shut Mishpat v’ Tzedaka b’Yaakov (2:36).... Similar cases are  found in other Achronim. Nevertheless our contemporary society has weakened and there is now a strong possibility that the agunah will deviate from religious observance because of her aguna status. This is a dissolute generation and people do not obey authority. And if the woman makes up her mind later to accept the get from her husband there is a clear concern that her husband will refuse to give her a get out of spite because he is already married to another woman and it is impossible to force him to give a get to his first wife and therefore she will just reject religion and go on a bad path. Because she is still married however, any children she subsequently has with another man will increase the number of mamzerim in the world. A possible solution is that before he can remarry he needs permission from the beis din and thus it is relatively easy to use that to influence him to deposit a get for his first wife with beis din. Only when he has deposited a get then can we give him permission to remarry according to halacha. After I thought of this, I saw that Rav Masas wrote in  his sefer Tevuos Shemesh (E.H. 30), “Even though in all the seforim of the Achronim concerning previous rabbinic courts (beis din), the beis din ruled that in the case of moredes she remained an agunah her entire life until she became an old lady with grey hair and the husband was allowed to marry another woman if he wanted – without first divorcing her. This was a common ruling and the first wife remained unable to remarry until the day that she died. However this approach was appropriate in previous generations when the spirit of Judaism permeated the people and there was no one who would dare do a serious sin – in particular not to openly transgress the serious sexual sins. But it is no longer true true in our day which to our great sorrow the spirit of individual freedom has become dominant and faith has weakened. We no longer have the power to have people properly comply with religious rulings and there is a great concern that people will go off the path of religious observance. There is no question that all our rabbis acknowledge that all efforts need to be made to have the get deposited with beis din...He concludes his words by saying that in the year 1950, all the rabbis of Morocco gather together and they made a decree through the official rabbinical confederation – that no man could remarry until he divorced his first wife who was a moredes and had declared that she couldn’t stand living with him (ma’os alei). This decree was accepted and it became a regular occurrence for the beis din to rule accordingly. This get that the husband was required to give before remarrying was not considered get me’usa ( a coerced get). That is because he had the choice of not remarrying and therefore he didn’t have to give the get. However with a moredes who simply wanted to afflict him and torture him and consequently refused to accept the get – there was no choice but to require that the get be deposited in beis din as we mentioned before....Click link for rest of the teshuva

See Rav Ovadia Yosef 3:20

Rav Ovadiya Yosef (Yabia Omer E.H. 3:18.13) : And in truth even according to the view of the poskim who hold that one does not force the husband to give a get when she claims ma'us alei, nevertheless there is a view that says there is a mitzva for the husband to divorce her and surely when there is a concern that because of the delay in get a get she will go off the derech. As we find in Shita Mekubetes (Kesubos 64)," Rabbeinu Yona wrote, "Even though we don't force a man to give a get when the wife says he is ma'us alei (disgusting to me) - that is only referring to forcing him by beating him with staffs. However beis din informs him that he has a mitzva to divorce her and they advise him to divorce her. And if he doesn't not in fact divorce her then this is a case of when a person transgresses the words of the rabbis that it is permitted to call him a sinner. However Rabbeinu Tam disagreed and said that even this we don't say to him but if he should come to ask whether he should divorce her without her getting the kesuba then beis din gives him the advice that he should divorce her immediately." Furthermore the Rema (Y.D. 248:20) writes that when the wife says ma'us alei the husband is obligated to divorce her. The Taz notes that the Rema here is only reporting the view of the Rambam but the Rema's true view is recorded in E.H. 77 where he doesn't mention that the husband should be forced to divorce her. But according to what we have said the words of the Rema (Y.D. 248.20) has a solid basis and that is the words of Rabbeinu Yonah. This is also noted by my friend the Tzitz Eliezar (5:26.4) based on the Noda B'Yehuda Kama (YD 68) who brings the words of the Rema as halacha l'maaseh and foundation principle. He notes that there is a basis to utilize this view at times of need according to the specific facts and needs of the time and appropriateness - depending on the evaluation of the beis din. I also say that in contemporary society with the degradation of the generations in free countries where every man does what he thinks is correct and there is a great increase in arrogance in the world and experience has taught that when a woman leaves her husband with the claim of ma'us alei and she is in limbo without receiving a get - that she will go and live with other men without the slightest shame or sense of embarrassment. As a result there is an increase in mamzerim in the world. In such a case we say that their degradation is to their benefit. This is expressed by the Ramban (Kesubos 63b), "Chas V'Shalom I am not arguing against the decree of the Gaonim to force him to divorce his wife and not only that but I strongly criticize those who say that it is not correct to follow their decrees but only the law as stated in the Talmud. In fact it is correct to listen to the Gaonim and to follow their decrees. Nevertheless now it is best to be very concern not to follow their decree because it has been abrogated because of the immorality of the generation." In other words in the time of the Ramban, even though women then had the brazenness to claim ma'us alei but they did not reach the extreme of chutpza to live with another man without receiving a get as we find in our days. But in the days before Moshiach as we are in now it is extremely relevant to considering returning to the decree of the Gaonim. And this is surely true when she is young and there is a real concern that she will go off the derech and there isn't much chance that she will return to her husband. Therefore it would appear that those who want to do something to force the husband to give a get have a solid basis for that decision. That is because the concerns that existed at the time of the Gaonim that the woman might go off the derech have returned. [In the time of the Gaonim the concern was that the woman would convert to Christianity for Islam rather than face end her days as an aguna]. Thus we see that whether the get should be forced or not is dependent on the particular time and era. And thus I have seen the gedol hador - Rav Chaim Palaggi in his Chaim v'Shalom (2:35) where he writes regarding forcing the husband that the view of a number of poskim including the Beis Yosef that the husband should not be forced to give a get. He writes, "Nevertheless according to everyone agrees that the woman is not forced to live with the husband. Therefore after a year or two after the time that they have separated from each other it would appear that he should be forced to divorce her. That is because there are two factors.  The man is not able to exist without a wife and the wife herself is not able to be without a husband. And this is surely true where she is young that we have to be concerned for disastrous results when she is chained as an aguna. Just look at how lenient the poskim are concerning preventing agunos in particular when she is young until they even go the extreme of relying on a minority opinion.  And surely the obligation lies on every dayan to be lenient is this manner in order to avoid trouble for both the man and the woman." Rav Chaim Palaggi is a great tree that one can rely on and surely in our day. And it is the same thing in cases where it is possible to combine various disputes of the poskim besides the claim of ma'us alei to be lenient. Also study Chaim V' Shalom (2:112), If there is a dispute between a husband and wife and the wife wants to be divorced and the husband refuses - one should establish a limited time for the matter to be resolved. And if we wait until 18 months  and we have despaired of reconciliation and it appears to beis din that there is nothing more than can be done for the marriage - they should separate the couple and force the husband to give a get until he proclaim,I want to give it.All of this that I have written is for the honor of G-d and His Torah." It is possible that Rav Palaggi is not talking about forcing with clubs but rather just calling him a sinner or similar techniques which is in accord with the view of Rabbeinu Yona and the Rema which we mentioned before.

Husband is not forced to give get when wife demands one- even if wife might commit adultery

Rav Eliashiv (Kovetz Teshuvos 174): Question: We are dealing with a case in which it apparently has been shown that the wife hates her husband – heart and soul – because of his behavior which is simply abnormal. The woman therefore has the claim of ma’us alei with a clear basis. This couple has lived separately for over 6 years. The question is whether the beis din will comply with the request of the wife and require him to give her a get. Answer: Even if you grant that this woman has the status of one who says ma’us alei with a clear justification, that in itself does not require that the husband give her a get. Look at Shut HaRashba (# 135 - attributed to Ramban), Question: When a woman claims ma’us alei... is the husband obligated to divorce her....? Answer: ... You should know that she is not able to force her husband to divorce her since  a woman goes out of the marriage sometimes according to her desires and sometimes not according to her desires. On the other hand the man only leaves the marriage only when he want to leave it... From all these you see that when a woman claims ma’us alei we do not force the husband to give a divorce... Even though the Rambam writes that when a woman says ma’us alei the husband is forced to divorce her – the Rambam is not correct in this matter... Concerning the kesuba and dowry that she brought him – according to the din she does not lose anything unless she insists on being a moredes for 12 months and all these 12 months she is not forced... However if she remains a moredes for 12 months and her husband wants to divorce her – she loses everything.... That is her din when her husband divorces her according to his wishes after 12 months. But if the desire to divorce comes from her – as we said before – he is not forced to divorce her. The words of the Rashba imply not only is the husband not forced to divorce her when she claims ma’us alei but that he has no obligation to give her a get! This is also apparent from the words of Tosfos(Kesubos 63).... Shulchan Aruch (E.H. 77:2): If she says that he disgusts me and I can not have relations with him – if the husband wants to divorce her she does not get any money from the Kesuba at all. Rema (E.H. 77:2)... All of this is only when she doesn’t give a reason and justification for her words as to why she finds him repulsive. But if she does give a reason for her words... And we don’t force him to divorce her  nor do we force her to remain with him. And if you want to claim that he must divorce her – it is obvious that since we don’t force her to remain with him then of necessity that there can’t be an obligation of the husband to give her a get. It is the same thing.

update Jan 17

Rav Sternbuch(5:345): Question:  A woman who has been separated from her husband for a number of years and she claims ma’us alei and there is a clear basis for this claim which has been verified. It is clear that there is no chance that they will reconcile. The husband is close to one of the chassidic rebbes who gives him great honor.  The beis din has met with the couple  many times and is firmly convinced that there is no possibility of reconciliation. Therefore they asked the husband to give his wife a get. However the husband has acted cruelly and refused. Even though I am presently traveling but since this is an emergency situation I will answer briefly.  You should know that many of the Rishonim including the Rambam and Rashi ruled that in a case of ma’us alei we force the husband to give a get. And some say that we force the get because of a decree of the Geonim. In contrast, Rabbeinu Tam and the Ri as well as other Rishonim disagreed and they held that a get can not be forced in a case of ma’us alei. The Rosh writes (43:6) that since there is a major dispute as to what the halacha is we don’t stick our heads between the great mountains. He also writes that whoever is lenient and forces a get results in an increase in mamzerim. The Shulchan Aruch (E.H. 77:2) also says not to force the get. So even  though we agree that the halacha is that the get can not be forced when there is a claim of ma’us alei, nevertheless such a husband should not be given honor. Therefore it is necessary to inform the rebbe who is honoring him that he is giving the husband help to torment his wife which is a severe sin.

However prior to putting pressure on him through the rebbe, this the couple should be given 12 months during which efforts should be made to convince them to reconcile and expert marriage therapists should be used to deal with their issues. However when the beis din is convinced that there is no chance that they will reconcile and they paskened that it it appropriate for him to divorce his wife and not leave her an agunah – and nevertheless the husband refuses to divorce her. If we see there is no hope that he will give her a get – then his rebbe should be contacted and requested to stop honoring him. If he will listen to daas Torah he will not lose anything and one who observes mitzva will not know harm.

Rav Sternbuch (4:301): Question: I received a question from America where -  due to our many sins - it is common that women rebel against their husbands and afterwards go to secular courts - Gd forbid! The secular court makes a judgment in her favor - through coercion and not in accord with the law of the Torah. The judgment  obligates the husband to pay very high support payments and carries a penalty of prison for failure to comply. In addition she is typically awarded custody of the children. The husband is asking for a heter of meah rabbonim to be able to remarry without giving her a get since she is a moredes and has transgressed the religious laws. On the other hand she claims that the heter of meah rabbonim is not relevant since she in fact is willing to accept the get. She also claims that there are rabbis who support her position. So she wants to benefit twice by obtaining a get according to the Torah and also a judgment from civil court which steals money from from her husband even after the get. Answer: In my humble opinion there is no validity to her claims and therefore the husband should be given a heter so he can marry another woman. The only limitation is that he needs to deposit the get with beis din as is the established practice. The reason for this is complex. 1) first of all since they are coercing him financially not in accord with the halacha regarding the support payments which are much higher than the halacha - that constitutes theft. Thus the get itself is a forced get. The gedolei poskim are worried about get me'usa. Thus the get is not actually valid and we have the problem that she is still a married woman who thinks she can remarry. Therefore it is necessary to exempt him from all financial obligations that were done against his will in order that the get itself be valid. Furthermore if the wife refuses to go to beis din, then that itself gives her the halachic status of moredes as is clear from Divrei Chaim (E.H. 51) and he cites the Chavas Daas who ruled that a woman who refused to go to beis din  was a moredes and the gedolim agreed with him. ... According to this if she goes with him  only to beis din then he is obligated to give her a get. However when she goes to secular court in addition to make monetary claims - she is not able hold on to both sides. In other words she can't go to the secular court with monetary claims and at the same demand that he give her a get in beis din. If she forces him to accept the rulings of the secular court in marriage matters he has no obligation to give her a get. We need to state in addition that the essence of the Decree of Rabbeinu Gershom was for the benefit of the wife.  However this benefit is only available when she doesn't abrogate her halachic obligations. But in the present case she has created serious devastation in the marriage in that she has rebelled against him and went to secular court where she received excessive judgements concerning maintenance and also the custody of the children. Her husband must give her a get in beis din so that she can remarry. So in the case of moredes the decree of Rabbeinu Gershom which was meant to benefit women was not intended and the husband can remarry with the heter of 100 Rabbis and he deposits the get with beis din until the judgment of the secular court is nullified. When that happens- if he has not yet remarried - then it is prohibited for him to do so until he gives his first wife a get.

In reality your question is a local issue of America and it is the job of American rabbis to decide. However my view is in agreement with the rabbis there who permit the husband to remarry without any difficulty and he needs to deposit a get with beis din. But when the judgment of the secular courts has been nullified then it is prohibited for the husband to remarry until he has properly divorced the first wife.

You should be aware that we are obligated to fight against her going to secular courts and we prevent her from remarrying if she does and if the get is given under these circumstances there is a suspicion that it was coerced (me'usa). Nevertheless in a case where she claims she can't stand him (ma'us alei) and there is no reason to believe they can be reconciled and the man is simply being cruel to her and is being spiteful by not to giving her a divorce - then even though it is prohibited for us to exert any force- G-d forbid! - nevertheless it is correct to notify the husband that the view of many of the gedolim (e.g., Rambam, Ravad, Behag, Rashbam, Rashi etc) is that he is sinning and they would encourage him to give her a get. Because even these poskim are concerned about creating [an invalid get] which would leave her as a married woman even bedieved - so G-d forbid that we should use any type of coercion. Regarding the issue of tormenting her and leaving her an aguna - it is correct for him to be concerned for her claim that she finds him revolting (ma'os alei) and it is prohibited for him to leave her as an aguna - even if she is not correct. But we are not to coerce him G-d forbid with any type of coercion that would possibly bring about a get me'usa. Rather [once we have informed him that it is wrong for him to withhold the get] he needs to come the the realization himself that he must conduct himself like a descendant of Avraham and the verse says that the ways of Torah are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace and that he will find happiness with someone else.

All of this we need to explain to the husband. That leaving her as an aguna is a transgression of a severe sin of onas  devarim - not to torment his wife. That refusing to divorce her serves no purpose except to get revenge against her. He doesn't want to live with her and he shouldn't think her life is worthless and he should be fully aware that in Heaven there is judgment and there is a Judge. He should also be informed that to many of the early gedolim it is correct even to force him to divorce. Unfortunately there are many beis dins that when they see that the husband doesn't want to divorce his wife they simply remain silent. But that is not acceptable. They must inform him that he is unjustifiably tormenting her and this is not correct. This of course is assuming that the beis din is convinced that there is no hope for reconciliation....

Rav Moshe Sternbuch (Teshuvos v'Hanhagos 1:389): Question: A woman has suffered for a number of years from her husband who refuses to divorce her - how can he be forced to give a get?  

Answer: It is an established halacha that if the wife refuses to live with her husband because she claims he is disgusting to her (ma'os alei) that it is impossible to force him to divorce her. This is explicitly stated by the Rema (E.H. 77:3). And even if it has been a number of years that they have separated and he is being spiteful and cruel in refusing to divorce her it is clearly stated by the Teshuvos haRosh (43:6) that if we force him to give the get there is the concern that it is a get me'usa and therefore invalid and it only serves to increase mamzerim. However while it is stated in the Rema (E.H. 154:21) that nidoi (cherem) is considered force and is prohibited, nevertheless he says it is permitted to decree that no Jew should do him a favor or should do business with him or even to circumcize his sons or to bury them - until he divorces his wife. But the Pischei Teshuva (E.H. 154:30) says there these shunnings (harhakos) are equivalent to nidoi (cherem) and are not permitted to be imposed today and the only recourse is to tell him that it is permitted to call him a sinner  and he says it is best to be strict according to this opinion. This is agreed to by the Chazon Ish (E.H. 105:12). He concludes in the name of the Rashba that it is not permitted to humiliate the husband or to torment him - examine this well.

However it appears that what is prohibited is to humiliate him and to shun him in a manner similar to cherem - i.e, not to do business with him and not to do him a favor - and that is not done today. (Chazon Ish understands the Pischei Teshuva differently). But when he is not actively humiliated but that he is only not given honors for example he is notified that he will not receive an aliyah in his shul or any other shul and that he will not be allowed to be the shliach tzibor - then this is not like cherem at all even though it causes some humiliation. The only pressure permitted is that he should know that the community does not approve of his conduct of being cruel to his wife - but this is not called force at all.
I recall witnessing an incident involving Rav Yechiel Weinberg (Seridei Aish) concerning a husband who spitefully refused to divorce his wife after a number of years and he directed that it be known and publicized that this husband was not to get an aliya in the shul. That is in accord with what I have written that this type of pressure is not called force. It is also done here in Yerushalayim to publicize notices in the street that a particular person is a sinner and has made his wife an aguna. In my opinion 1) if she has solid justification for her desire to be divorced then it would be possible and appropriate to force him  actively with humiliations to give her a get. We learn from Kesubos (71a) if it is clear that he hates her then he is obligated to divorce her. 2) On the other hand if there is no apparent reason for her being repelled by him we can distance him.  I am inclined to permit humiliation in such cases but it is necessary for beis din first to be very careful and thorough in evaluating the situation as to whether it is appropriate. Similarly one should not spare any efforts to encourage that she live with him when she requests a divorce and there is no clear reason except she says she doesn't like him. 3) But if there is a clear reason - then even if we don't force him with a beating we are accustomed to be lenient to pressure him with notices  in shuls as I mentioned above.

This that the wife creates pressure with the claim that he is tormenting her and she can not stand the situation any more and that she is ready to go to "rabbis" who are lenient in divorce - that is still not justification for us to make rulings against the Torah. The ways of G-d are hidden and some suffer physically while other suffering financially and some suffer in their marriage. We need to hope to G-d that the end of suffering has arrived and that he will divorce her. On the other hand, to force him with high payments for food or to humiliate him when it is not permitted - it doesn't help because this pressure only produces a get me'usa - G-d forbid - which has no validity. But concerning cruelty and spite which is characteristic of Sedom - only Heaven can punish him.

Yachin uVoaz(1:124):[15th Century Algeria] You should know that there are two different types of moredes and they have different laws. There is a moredes who despises her husband and she asserts that he is disgusting to her. On the other hand there is a moredes who says she wants her husband but she wants to torment him In the case of ma'us alei the view of the Rambam is that the husband is forced to divorce her immediately and he learns this from a deduction from the gemora as the Rosh writes. The Rambam states in Hilchos Ishus  (14:8) that if a wife refuses sexual relations that the husband is forced to give a a get since she is not like a prisoner who can be forced to have relations with someone she hates. However there has long been an outcry against the ruling of the Rambam by all the commentators and poskim such as Rabbein Tam, Ramban, Rosh, Rashba and many others. They agree concerning forcing the husband to divorce. Whoever forces the husband to divorce in accordance to the ruling of the Rambam increases mamzerim in the world. And they reject the view of the Rambam with clear proofs from the Talmud as the Rosh does. And many proofs are brought to refute and reject the words of the Rambam. And even the Magid Mishna who normally devotes  himself in all places to justify the words of the Rambam and to firmly establish their validity with clear proofs - in this case he refutes the Rambam and goes into detail with proofs to contradict the Rambam's reasoning and to reject it. It is unnecessary to repeat them here. The halachic view that has become univeral is that one does not force the husband to give a get when she claim ma'us alei and we do not rely on the ruling of the Rambam nor others who agree with him in this matter. And furthermore that even if the halacha was in accord with the Rambam it would be correct to make a protective fence in this matter to prevent immorality amongst the woman because of the degradation of the contemporary generation. Because woman have become haughty and arrogant in their immorality. We are therefore concerned that a wife might have become interested in another man and she wants to discard her husband by declaring he is disgusting to me (ma'us alei). If it became known that that would be sufficient to have her husband forced to give her a get then it would surely cause problems. But in fact the Rambam is not the halacha because of the proofs that the opponents of the Rambam bring [And even in Algeria where they always follow the Rambam there are three exceptions and this is one of them and not those who agree with the Rambam...]. However I saw in the Rosh who writes that if in fact the psak of the Rambam was followed and the woman was divorced by force and she remarried - we don't force her leave the second marriage. However many others disagree with the Rosh and they say that if she remarries after a forced get - she must leave the second marriage.
update: added my rebuttal in yellow

 I don't have time now to write a rebuttal of this article. Hopefully next week - but I thought it would be helpful to read this well written - though mistaken - piece. One of the comments summarizes the problem well.

Rivka Gornall Leiner · Top Commenter · Graphologist and Counselor at Self-Employed
Adds nothing but one more snowball in the avanche of one sided articles written by those who sleep quietly while female get refusal, child alienation, false abuse accusations, monetary extortion (on both sides) and cruelty play out because of the woman's spite or greed. This might help your rabbi points in feminist pc Denver but it ignores reality.
Times of Israel    by Rabbi Levi Brackman

In my fourteen years of practicing as a rabbi I have been asked numerous times to offer counsel and support to couples in failing marriages. Despite the fact that it takes two to tango, often the breakdown of a marriage is more the fault of one party than the other. Yet, no matter how the marriage ends and who is at fault, if the husband does not actively agree to give a Gett (Jewish religious divorce) immediately after the wife requests it he is always in the wrong no matter what.

Why? That is clearly not the view of the Torah. See Shulchan Aruch (E.H. 77:2-3). So what is meant by wrong no matter what? Does that mean that the husband should not request marriage counseling first? Does that mean a mistaken belief that the Torah requires a Get on demand? What if the wife takes the kids and moves to another state. He is simply supposed to give a Get and forget about his children? Or perhaps it mean that if all issues are settled, the is no basis for reconciliation and yet the husband out of spite refuses to give a Get that he is wrong? If it is the latter than I agree totally but if the former conditions - I disagree strongly.

From a religious perspective, the Torah is very protective about the feelings and dignity of women — even more so than that of men. The Talmud warns men to never hurt their spouses feelings and or cause them to weep. It cautions men to be exceedingly careful about their spouses dignity and honor (Baba Metzia, 59a) and to respect and honor them more than they honor themselves (Yevamot, 62b, Maimonides, Ishut, 15:19). These guidelines are based on Biblical sources and have been codified into Jewish law. Furthermore the Talmud tells us that in matters of worldly and household affairs the women’s opinion takes precedence to that of the man’s (Baba Metzia, ibid).

Yes it is true that the Torah is concerned out not hurting the feelings of others - especially one's wife. But the sources cited are not dealing with divorce - but rather the conditions for a viable marriage. Similarly it is well known that there are a variety of laws about not hurting other people's feelings. However there are also laws that require criticizing others as well as saying bad things about them - even if it hurts there feelings. We don't refrain from telling others not to steal because it might hurt their feelings. We don't refrain from punishing murderers - even though it hurts them and embarrasses their family. Chastisement is a mitzva as is loving your fellow man.  One can not legitimately claim  that the Torah categorically prohibits hurting the feeling of others - especially one's wife. If Rabbi Brackman has sources for doing so - I would appreciate see them. Like most things in life - the various Torah obligations need to be prioritized and balanced.

Clearly a man who refuses his wife’s request to give a religious bill of divorce for any period of time after it is made clear that from her perspective the marriage is over, is contravening these extremely serious sections of Jewish law in the most grievous manner possible. But refusing to give a Gett is also the mark of a man who lacks basic human empathy and common decency.[...]

The above statement is not supported by the gemora, Shulchan Aruch or poskim. As noted above - I would appreciate sources for what seems to be a declaration that the concern for a wife's feeling is more important than all the other Torah obligations and Torah rights that a person has as well as the welfare of her children. That simply is not so.

Some men hide behind Jewish law as a reason not to give a Gett. They argue that all aspects of the divorce needs to be settled before they are Halachicly (according to Jewish law) allowed to give the Gett. They then proceed to make any settlement as difficult as possible, allowing them to continue their abusive and controlling behavior. Tragically there are some Jewish courts that allow men to behave this way. Happily, however, most of the larger reputable Jewish courts will not allow narcissistic men to use religion as a tool to further abuse and blackmail their wives. The most obnoxious Gett refusers, however, seem to avoid reputable Jewish courts. As pernicious, are men who tell their wife, who is desperate for a divorce, that they “want to work on their marriage” and therefore won’t give a Gett. Again this ploy won’t work at most reputable Jewish courts.

Is Rabbi Brackman claiming that insistence that all aspects be settled before giving a get is not the halacha or is he saying that the halacha is unfair to women for requiring this? Or is he saying that women view this halachic fact as giving an unfair advantage to the men? Is he saying that some men take advantage of this halacha or that the wife often claims that they are - even when there are legitimate reasons not to. Again he is describing a complex situation in very simplistic terms and in addition is totally ignoring the possibility that there are sometimes legitimate reasons for continuing negotiations - even if it makes the wife unhappy. In fact it is clear from Rabbi Brackman's writing that he views the woman as inevitably the victim and the man the bully. That is simply an inaccurate picture and biased description. Likewise he fails to note that some courts are biased against men - and that men try to avoid using such courts - even though women prefer them. [...] 

Thus, in Judaism when a man refuses to give his wife a Gett he is taking away her most basic human right — her freedom to live and be who she wants to be. The moment the wife decides she no longer wants to be married to her husband human empathy and common decency dictates that he must let her free. By finding excuses for not doing so he is controlling her in a manner that contravenes every aspect of her basic human rights. There is only one apt description for that type of behavior — pure evil.
Rabbi Brackman's idiosyncratic understanding of get is well expressed  "in Judaism when a man refuses to give his wife a Get he is taking away her most basic human right — her freedom to live and be who she wants to be." He is conflating Judaism with secular values.  He does not show that the Torah requires Get on demand and in fact it doesn't. Obviously such a fact bothers Rabbi Brackman.
Western man places freedom to do whatever he/she wants as the highest values - but it clearly is not a Jewish values. I would like to see him present a source which says that Judaism says that man's most basic right is freedom to live and be who she wants to be. Judaism takes away the right of a married woman to commit adultery, of males to have sexual relations with males, of Jews marrying non-Jews etc etc. Why doesn't Rabbi Brackman explicitly acknowledge that the values of Judaism as defined by halacha and hashkofa - are simply not adequate for him.
In the final analysis, the refusal to give a Gett by a husband, for any reason, will cause pain to his wife and therefore is not only contrary to the spirit of Judaism it contravenes the letter of the law as well. But beyond that it is a terrible desecration of G-d’s name because it in essence is just another example of the cynical use of religion to hurt and control another human being. Tragically this is yet another case of women being especially disadvantaged in this regard. [...]

 The above statement as a categorically statement is false as is clear from the gemora, Shulchan Aruch and poskim.

As the Halachic Prenup, which ensures substantial monetary penalties for not giving a Gett, becomes more popular this problem will hopefully become a thing of the past. But until that happens there are still women who are chained and suffering and it is up to you and me to do all we can to ensure that their evil tormentors do not get away with it.

He fails to note that in the Chareidi world the prenup is understood to be an example of financial pressure and thus is problematic as Get Me'usa. If his intent is to proclaim that only the Modern Orthodox understanding of halacha is legitimate - then he should say so instead of giving the clear but false impression that all Orthodox poskim agree with his view

Finally Rabbi Brackman posted a statement on Facebook criticizing those such as myself who have a "mistaken" understanding because we don't agree with his views concerning Get. 

He fails to note that such disagreement is not just that of the simple people such as myself - but is in fact the normative view of poskim through the ages as I have shown in many posts on my blog [just search for term "get me'sua" (or "get meusa" or "forced get") in the archives.
There we go, it was bound to happen, Daniel Eidensohn, in his Daas Torah blog read my article and characterized it as a "well written - though mistaken - piece" and me as a "rabbi ignores halacha." I wonder what part is mistaken or against Halacha?
Perhaps the line that: "The Torah is very protective about the feelings and dignity of women — even more so than that of men."
Perhaps he thinks this is a mistake: "Refusing to give a Gett is also the mark of a man who lacks basic human empathy and common decency"?
Or maybe he disagrees with this: "the refusal to give a Gett by a husband, for any reason, will cause pain to his wife and therefore is not only contrary to the spirit of Judaism it contravenes the letter of the law as well."
He probably disagrees with the general idea that men should not be allowed to use the Get to further control and intimidate their wives.
Whatever it is he disagree with, the fact that his opinion is shared by so many of his circle is deeply troubling. What on earth is wrong with these people. It boggles the mind.

Tshuva by suicide?

 Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yabiya Omer Y.D. 2:24.8)… In fact this issue is very confusing in my opinion. How is it possible that the mitzva of repentance can be done by means of the major sin of suicide? Our Sages have said that a person who deliberately commits suicide has no portion in the World to Come… This matter is an explicit verse (Yechezkeil 33:11): “Say to them, As I live, says the L‑rd G‑d, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked should turn from his way and live; turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die?” And there is nothing that repentance doesn’t help. So why would anyone think R’ Chiya attempt to kill himself in response to what he thought was a sin with an unmarried prostitute - was according to the halacha (Kiddushin 81b)? Look at Sefer Chasidim (#674) …How could he tell his students to do teshuva in a manner that caused them to be killed? It would seem that the Sefer Chasidim is a major support for the Shevus Yaakov. This is a very difficult issue that requires study. Nevertheless in my opinion one cannot learn halacha from stories such as these. Therefore it is prohibited to kill oneself – even for the sake of repentance. I also saw this point in Shevet Shimon (345) which expresses great astonishment at this Shevus Yaakov and he concludes that the halacha is in accord with the Yafos To’ar [and not the Shevus Yaakov]. This is also the conclusion of the Chida in Birchei Yosef (345:3), that even though normally the Shevus Yaakov is more authoritative but logic is in agreement with the Yafos To’ar. [There are many other sources that come to this conclusion and reject this Shevus Yaakov]…

 Igros Moshe (C.M. 2:69.4): Also this view (Yaavetz 1:43) that someone who has deliberately transgressed a sin that is liable to the death penalty and he commits suicide that he is not only not punished but it is also a meritorious act – is clearly prohibited even if he had been halachically warned not to do the crime. It is a shameful thing that Rav Yaakov Emden stated and his view on this matter should be totally disregarded.


  Kiddushin (40a): Rav Kahana was selling workbaskets. A matron asked him to have intercourse. He said that he first had to get dressed properly.  He went up on the roof and jumped. However Eliyahu came and caught him. Eliyahu criticized Rav Kahana for having forced him to travel 400 parsangs to rescue him. Rav Kahana said that the reason that the incident happened was that his poverty forced him to go among women to sell his wares.  Eliyahu gave him a purse of money.

Kiddushin (40a): Mighty of strength that do His word listening to the voice of His world (Tehilim 103:20). This is illustrated by R’ Tzadok and his companions.  R’ Tzadok was asked to have intercourse by a certain matron.  He said he couldn’t do it because his heart was faint – perhaps she had some food for him eat. She replied that she had some unkosher food. He replied that it would seem that those who engage in sexual immorality could eat unkosher food.  She lit the oven and placed the unkosher food in it. He then climbed in the oven and sat in it. She asked what he was doing. He replied that anyone who was involved in immorality falls into the fires of Hell. She replied that if she had known that what she had asked him to do was so terrible she wouldn’t have upset him.  Rabbeinu Bachye (Shemos 3): ...Concerning prophecy Moshe was told to remove his sandals which meant to remove physicality which is described as sandals. That is because physicality clings to the body just as a sandal clings to the foot. And just as it is possible for a person to remove his sandal from his foot – so is it possible for him to remove attachments from physicality in order to be prepared for prophecy and therefore be ready to clear to the light of the intellect. Yehoshua was also told to remove a sandal (Yehoshua 4:15) but that was a partial removal of physicality and not all. This was the advantage of Moshe over Yehoshua – that he was more removed from the physicality. This can be seen by the fact that Moshe separated from his wife – something which is not said concerning Yehoshua. Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:3): Anyone whose soul desires Torah constantly, and learns like Ben Azzai and clings to the Torah his whole life – and yet doesn’t get married – has not committed a sin. That is true as long as his yetzer harah doesn’t overcome him. However if his yetzer harah overcomes him, he is obligated to get married. This is required even if he already has children - because he might come to sexual thoughts.

Iyun Yaakov (Kiddushin 81b): [And after his wife revealed that the person he thought was a prostitute that he wanted to sin with was really her] he went and he sat in the oven – Rashi explains that he did this to kill himself. From this we can learn that in the case where he is killing himself for the sake of repentance it is not considered suicide. And this is true even if the sin that he did was not liable to the death penalty - even assuming that he actually did the deed that he intended. This is certainly so since his intent was just to have relations with an unmarried prostitute. And especially according to the implications of the gemora it would seem that he didn’t actually do the deed [Nevertheless he attempted to kill himself to do repentance]. Gra (Mishlei 1:2):  To know wisdom and instruction; to understand wise sayings – because even if a person can break his evil inclination and lusts – he must break them according to the rules of Torah and he should not be a greater tzadik from that which is prescribed in the Torah. For example he should not fast the entire week including Shabbos and similar things. The three parts of this verse correspond to the 3 types of intellect found in man – the analytical, the conceptual and the practical. The analytical deals with things like astronomy – the movement of the stars and constellations. The conceptual is to conduct oneself according to principles. The practical is to intelligent live in this world. These 3 correspond to chukim (statutes), mishpatim (rational laws) and mitzvos. Chukim are divine laws (Job 38), mishpatim are rational laws connected with earthly human reasoning while mitzvos join the Heaven and Earth and are the basis for Heaven and Earth and man who joins them. They are also the foundation of Torah and mitzvos and personality traits... 

Kiddushin (81b): Whenever R’ Chiya bar Ashi said the tachanun prayer he would say, “The Merciful save us from the yetzer harah (evil inclination).” One day his wife overheard him. She said to herself, “It has been many years that we have not been intimate, so why does he have a need to pray for this – [he obviously doesn’t have a strong sex drive]?” One day he was studying in his garden and she dressed up and repeatedly walked past him. He asked who she was. She replied that she was Harusa (a well-known prostitute) who had just returned. He desired her. She told him to first bring the pomegranate to her from the top of the tree. He jumped up and brought it to her. He came into his house and his wife was firing the oven. He climbed in it [to kill himself – Rashi]. His wife asked him what was the meaning of this? He told her what had happened. She replied that she was the woman involved. However he paid no attention to her until she gave proof with the pomegranate. He said, “Nevertheless my intention was to sin.” For the rest of his life he fasted – until he died from the fasting. Yevamos (63b): It was taught: R’ Eliezar said that one who doesn’t engage in producing children is as if he shed blood… R’ Yaakov said it is as if he diminished the Divine Image…Ben Azzai said that it is as if he shed blood and diminished the Divine Image…They said to Ben Azzai, There are those who preach and also fulfill what they say, others keep but don’t preach – you however preach but don’t do what you say? Ben Azzai, “What can I do since my soul longs for Torah, it is possible that the world can be sustained by others who have children.”

Daas Zekenim of Baalei Tosfos (Bereishis 9:4): And surely your blood of your lives will I require… - This is a prohibition against committing suicide. Bereishis Rabbah asks, “You might mistakenly think that this prohibition applies to cases such as Chananiya, Mishael and Azariah – therefore it says “ach” (and surely). That means that you might think that even in this case where people are dying to glorify G d’s name that one is not allowed to bring about one’s death - even if he is afraid he cannot withstand the pressure to violate the Torah. Therefore the Torah says ‘ach’ to teach that in times of pressure to violate the Torah - that it is permitted to commit suicide. Similarly concerning Shaul who committed suicide to avoid being tortured – an exception is made to allow suicide in such cases where a person doesn’t think he can withstand the torture. This analysis is used to justify killing children during times of religious persecution to make sure they are not converted...

Bamidbar Rabbah (9:3):.. There was an incident with a woman to whom a man made advances. She asked him where he wanted to have their meeting. [After he told her] she went and told his wife. His wife went to that place and they had intercourse. He was very upset when he found out what had happened and prayed for death. His wife told him, “But it was your own bread that you ate from and it was from your own cup you drank.” She said that the cause of his trouble was that he thought that he was better than other men. The solution was to view himself as the equal of other men.

Ritva (Avoda Zara 18a): It says in agada that when R’ Chanina ben Tradyon was being burnt alive by the Roman he refused to open his mouth so that he would die faster from the fire - because he considered it as committing suicide. However Gilyonei Hatosfos quotes Rabbeinu Tam that in a situation where a person is afraid of being forced to violate religious prohibitions that it is permitted to commit suicide. This is also stated in Bereishis Rabbah (34:14): That the prohibition against suicide is Bereishis (9:5), “I will hold you responsible to take care of your life. This teaches that it is prohibited to commit suicide. I might think that suicide is prohibited even in a case like Shaul who killed himself because he was afraid of being forced to violate religious prohibitions – therefore the verse says ‘ach’ to allow suicide in those cases. From here we learn that it is permitted to kill our children during the Crusades because we are afraid that they will be forced to violate religious law.” These words  require further study and much investigation but the ruling has already been given by Gilyonei Hatosfos. In addition I heard that the major authorities of France also permitted this as practical halacha. (However see Daas Zekeinim of the Baalei Tosfos to Bereishis 9:5).

Rashi (Avoda Zara 18b): Some say that R’ Meir left Israel for Babylonia because of the incident with his wife Beruria.  That is referring to the time that Beruria scoffed at the statement of our Sages (Kiddushin 80b): Women are light-minded. Her husband R’ Meir objected and told her that eventually she would come to acknowledge the validity of the Sages words. He commanded one of his students to try and seduce her. After trying for many days she eventually agreed. She committed suicide from shame. R’ Meir fled Israel out of shame.

Rabbi Akiva Eiger (Y.D. 345:1):  A person who commits suicide  - See Besamim Rosh (345). Whether it is allowed to commit suicide when overwhelmed with lust and unable to avoid sin see Beis Yosef (Y.D. 157) and Berchai Yosef (Shem haGedolim 10:27). The Ritva (Avoda Zara 18) writes that it is allowed to do so. Therefore if it is permitted it would not be considered suicide. See Shevus Yaakov (2:111) regarding person killing himself in order to repent

Shevus Yaakov (2:111): Question: Someone who has committed adultery and as an act of repentance to comply with the capital punishment he deserves, drowns himself in a river which is equivalent to the punishment of strangulation – is he considered as if he committed suicide or is it considered a positive act of repentance and thus he has the status of one who died a natural death? Answer: … a proof can be brought from Kiddushin (81b) which describes R’ Chiya bar Ashi putting himself in an oven as an act of repentance… Thus we see clearly that it is permitted to repent a sin by suicide… Another proof is found in Bereishis Rabbah (65:22) in which a man died by subjecting himself to punishment which involved the equivalent of all 4 death sentences and it was declared that this allowed him to merit the World to Come… He did this as an act of repentance and thus it was not considered as a forbidden act of suicide… We similarly see the case of the washer man in Kesubos (113b) who jumped off the roof when Rebbe Yehuda HaNasi died and a heavenly voice praised him. Thus it was considered a proper action. The Maharit in his commentary to Kesubos said that he killed himself as an act of repentance…We see then from these sources that if a person kills himself for the sake of repentance it is not considered as suicide and he merits the World to Come. That is because in the place where a baal teshuva stands, a complete tzadik is not able to stand.