Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Clarification of R. Ovadiah Yosef's position

Today Kevod Torato ha-Rav critiqued Rav Gestetner regarding ma'eese alai (in a reprint from several years ago) at http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2016/05/summary-halochot-on-mous-olay-and.html . However, I feel that, be-mechilat Kevod Torat'kha, this critique contains a misrepresentation of R. Ovadiah Yosef, a misrepresentation that originates with R. Michael Broyde at https://traditiononline.org/the-1992-new-york-get-law/ , text accompanying footnote 27. For there, Rabbi Broyde claims that R. Ovadiah Yosef, Teshuvot Yabi'a Omer, III, Even ha-Ezer nos. 18-20 allows coercion of the husband in many cases of ma'eese alai. No, unfortunately, with all due respect to Rabbi Broyde, that is a serious misreading of Yabi'a Omer. To understand this better, please see footnote 39 and accompanying text of my prenup essay at https://www.scribd.com/document/176990434/Prenuptial-Agreements . Namely, as I elucidate there, Yabi'a Omer is addressing an extremely narrow case of a Yemenite lady who was forced under threat of physical violence to accept kiddushin from her Yemenite "groom", and soon after this charade-of-a-wedding, she ran away. So, the whole marriage never halakhically took place altogether [for a lady can only receive kiddushin by her free consent, as per the Gemara, Kiddushin 2b]. Still, rather than let the lady walk out without a get [which me-ikar ha-din would be the halakhah], Yabi'a Omer is a little extra-machamir to say "you're both Yemenites, so even according to the so-called groom who claims that a marriage took place [which it really did not], the groom should also accept to be punished with jail as the Rambam holds is appropriate until he writes a get." Now what happened? Rabbi Broyde saw this teshuvah and distorted it (be-mechilat Kevod Torato) as communicating "the Yabi'a Omer allows coercing husbands in many cases of ma'eese alai". So while Rabbi J. David Bleich [in his repudiation of Rabbi Broyde at https://traditiononline.org/communications-86/ ] did not specifically respond to this distortion of Rabbi Broyde, I do respond to this distortion in my prenup essay [so as to illustrate that Rabbi Bleich's repudiation of Rabbi Broyde is correct], and I point out that two volumes later, in Teshuvot Yabi'a Omer, V, Even ha-Ezer no. 14, R. Ovadiah Yosef forbids charging mezonot to a recalcitrant husband even in a case of ma'eese alai, since that would constitute coercion. [So, evidently, the general approach of R. Ovadiah Yosef is to forbid coercion (whether incarceration or financial) in a case of ma'eese alai, with the Yemenite groom from two volumes earlier representing a special exception that has no bearing on any case that would ever arise in New York state.] I feel that Kevod Torato ha-Rav must correct this for the sake of halakhic honesty.
Thank you,
Shalom C. Spira

1 comment :

  1. the link http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2016/05/summary-halochot-on-mous-olay-and.html
    has a quote from Rav Shternbuch disagreeing with R Gestetner

    So what is This post tying to add to the situation?


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