Answering the Most Difficult Question About the Agunah Crisis

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The ongoing conversation about the agunah problem in the wake of the Gital Dodelson article in the NY Post consistently raises one impossibly difficult question. I’ve been asked this question many times and in many different ways. In my opinion, it’s the fundamental issue of the agunah crisis.

The public is justifiably angry with a husband who does not give a get. But the recalcitrant husband has a pretty compelling argument in his favor.

The Torah itself gives the husband absolute authority in the matter of the divorce. If this is Torah law then we are forced to say that this is God’s will. If God gave the power of divorce to the man alone, how can it be considered wrong or evil if he does not give his wife a get? And how can we call it an injustice when he does not give a get? Don’t blame the husband, blame the Torah. The Torah is at fault. God is at fault. Change the laws of divorce and the problem will be solved!

Some variant of this question is the crux of the agunah problem. In simple terms, why is the husband a bad guy when he doesn’t give a get if God gave him the power to decide if he wants to give the get? It is a very difficult question for an Orthodox Jew. And now it is being asked over and over again.large-9564591

I think I have an answer to this question.

It’s true that in terms of divorce law, the power to divorce vests in the husband and he is the only one who can dissolve a marriage. The husband must willingly give the get. We are stuck with that law. Pure legalistic Torah matters are almost always unassailable. There is almost no way for contemporary rabbinic authorities to change a law derived from the Torah or even established by Chazal. There’s just no acceptable mechanism within Orthodox Judaism to make changes to Torah law.

(Rabbinic laws often have loopholes baked into the law, e.g. eruvei chatzeros, eruv tavshilin. Pruzbul and hefker beis din hefker are examples of the rabbis creating a legal fiction that circumvents Torah laws with regard to money, they do not change the actual Torah laws.)

The thing is, divorce law is not the only part of the Torah that informs us how to behave in case of divorce. That part of the Torah is will never change. There are other parts of the Torah that do fluctuate and are subject to societal norms and niceties. Ethical and moral laws in the Torah depend on the context. Kindness and virtue largely depend on the subjective expectations of one’s friends and community. Perhaps at one time a certain act or behavior was considered normal and fair. But at a different time it could be considered evil or wrong. Things in this arena are more subjective and they do change. These bein adam l’chaveiro elements of the Torah always apply and I think they are especially important during a divorce.

One is obligated to love his fellow as himself. “That which is hated to you, do not do to others.” Would a husband want his wife to hold him hostage? No. Thus it is prohibited to hold the wife hostage.

It is prohibited to cause an animal pain. All the more so it is prohibited to cause pain to a fellow human being. Withholding a get causes extreme pain to the estranged wife.

One who causes emotional damage to another person is obligated to compensate the victim. One cannot act in a way that causes other emotional harm. R’ Elyashiv paskened that sexual abusers were rodfim (pursuers) because of the emotional harm caused by their violence toward their victims. Causing another person emotional harm is a very serious issue and is absolutely against the Torah.

The Torah requires that we help unload the animal of our enemy. Many authorities learn from this that we are required to lend a helping hand to anyone who requires help. Does a wife waiting for her get not require assistance?

We are obligated to follow in the merciful ways of God. Is it merciful to withhold a get? Clearly not. A recalcitrant husband violates this mitzvah as well.

Read the prophets. Their words often constitute rabbinic obligations. They admonish us for mistreating the underprivileged. A wife at the mercy of her husband is underprivileged.

The list goes on. There are many interpersonal obligations and prohibitions that are blatantly trampled upon when one withholds a get. I don’t think there is an doubt about it.

Perhaps the objective laws of divorce won’t ever change. But the subjective laws of how to treat one’s wife during a divorce are subject to change. Maybe at one time it was not evil to withhold a get. I don’t understand it, but I accept that it may have been normative behavior at one time in history. But our common sense tells us that today it is amoral to cause this kind of pain to anyone, let alone one’s wife.

Turns out that while the Jewish laws of divorce don’t obligate the husband to give a get and a wife really cannot divorce her husband, by refusing to give a get the husband is violating several other mitzvahs. In other words, if one isolates the get issue as a pure question of Jewish divorce law it’s true that the wife is powerless and seemingly unprotected. But the Torah is not so simple. We don’t isolate civil law from religious law and we don’t sequester civil and religious law from the Torah’s moral and ethical laws. It’s all part of one Torah given by one God. Exploiting a legal loophole does not justify violating ethical laws in the Torah. It’s forbidden to be a jerk. It’s an issur d’orysa in many instances. It does not matter that the Torah gives him the right to be a jerk. It’s still assur.

I think that the original question obfuscates just how terrible it is to withhold a get. It is so obviously a horrible way to act towards a fellow human being. Regardless of whether it is within the husband’s legal right to withhold the get, it is patently clear that by refusing to give a get a husband is in violation of the ethical and moral laws as well as the spirit of the Torah.


  • Noam Greenberg

    I like your perspective, and I’d like to even add to it a little. We can even glean from the Torah’s description of divorce (or similar) proceedings how a person is supposed to act. Take, for instance, the Torah’s description of how to treat the girl sold into slavery. If her owner decides to betrothe her, but subsequently loses favor, he is not allowed to simply dispose of her. He can’t just sell her. Even in sending her away, he must treat her well. Or if he decides to marry her to his son, but his son doesn’t want her, he MUST act as a true husband to her. And if he doesn’t, she goes free. That’s a powerful idea, I think: if the man can’t be a true husband to her, he must set her free. Yes, this is discussed in a monetary context, but even more so when discussing women who entered the marriage freely and not as slaves! The idea itself resonates: a man can’t hold his no-longer-truly-a-wife hostage; he must let her free. As you said: it is true that the Torah granted the man the mechanism to end the marriage solely in his hands; that does not necessarily mean, however, it granted him the right to use it as leverage or as a weapon.

  • Daniel Bukingolts

    FINALLY… FINALLY… something you write I respect and admire and agree with! Kol Hakavod 😉

  • tesyaa

    While it’s prohibited to cause emotional or physical pain to others, there are situations that cause intractable pain to both parties. The husband will suffer pain from a custodial arrangement which favors his wife. There is no legalistic King Solomon to adjudicate whose pain is worse. Same for being kind to the underprivileged. Gital doesn’t appear to be underprivileged (law degree, supportive parents) except in the lack of the privilege to end her marriage, which you acknowledge is unchangeable.
    I have massive sympathy for Gital, but to remain part of the community she has to follow a bunch of rules, which she has (understandably) chosen to do. The rules suck.

    • Noam Greenberg

      Keep in mind, the “community” also has some “rules” about the custodial arrangement, which like secular favors the mother of young children. So if they suck for her, they suck for him, too. Follow the rules, and don’t use the get as leverage to change the custodial arrangement just because you don’t like it. Rules are rules, even when they suck.

      • tesyaa

        Actually, since this couple has a son, the husband will be favored in Jewish custodial arrangements in a few short years. (I think a daughter is considered better off with the mother).

        • Noam Greenberg

          That can be resolved when the facts change. Until he’s 7 (or whatever it is), he stays with his mother, no?

        • MarkSoFla

          Do the secular courts really take that into account and switch custody of frum boys over to their father after they hit a certain age?

          • tesyaa

            I think the wife is supposed to acquiesce to the change.

            • MarkSoFla

              Why on earth would she do that?

              • tesyaa

                You’re kidding, right? Fear of going against the bais din, fear of social disapproval, fear of ostracism…

                • MarkSoFla

                  But is it written in the secular divorce decree? And if so, why would any man who eventually wants custody of his [male] children ever refuse to give the get?

      • tesyaa

        And of course, the custodial rights favoring the mother aren’t set in stone. Read the heartrending stories of Deb Tambor and the blogger My Derech.

        http://myderech.wordpress.com/

      • tesyaa

        If Gital’s husband is so concerned about custody of his beloved son, why is he willing to sell most of his rights in the matter for $350,000?

  • JT

    The other idea that I believe is relevant is that even if a law is in place, if over time the law results in negative consequences, the rabbonim have historically enacted new measures to address those consequences. The classic example of course is shemita and the pruzbul, There’s also the cherem d’Rabeinu Gershom. In this case, whatever the rationale for why the halachos of gitin are set up the way they are doesn’t matter; there are ways to mitigate the potential negative consequences of those halachos, such as signing a halachic pre-nuptial agreement. And given the pain and suffering of so many women, as well as the massive chilul Hashem that we’ve seen, we need standards set in place to prevent such occurrences – whether it’s the pre-nup or something else.

  • MarkSoFla

    Yeah … and so what?

    On another thread, there’s at least one person calling this guy a “[great] talmud (sic) chacham”. If the society doesn’t recognize this litany of evils the man is doing, what good are they [in this case]?

  • Shlomo Abraham

    You dance around the most-pressing question: If it’s ‘bad’ for a husband to withhold a get, why does the Torah give him the power to do so?

    • tesyaa

      Excellent question. I think this is what bothers me about the post. According to Rabbi Fink’s somewhat circular logic, the woman is automatically underprivileged by her lack of power to end the marriage, so as an underprivileged person, she is entitled to merciful treatment and thus entitled to a get…

    • Debi

      Because people have free will and they can choose to follow the Torah laws appropriately or inappropriately, just like anything else. The Torah system of divorce is not inherently “bad;” it needs to be used properly. Any tool can be used for good or for bad. The procedure of a man giving a get to his wife is our “tool” for divorce. It’s the husband’s job to give the get, just as it’s his job to “acquire” his wife in the marriage ceremony. This article is demonstrating that this tool does not exist in isolation; it’s within the context of countless other laws of how to treat people properly. We can’t blame Hashem for the system when it’s being mistreated. That would be like, lehavdil, blaming democracy when congress is acting like a bunch of baffoons.

      My only disagreement with this article is the claim that there was EVER a time that using a get as leverage was “normative” and that kind treatment in this regard is “subjective.” I’d be interested to see the author’s sources. For me, it made the article sound apologetic, although it still does a good job making its important point effectively.

      • Shlomo Abraham

        No, this goes beyond free will. I have free will to observe Shabbat or not. That’s between me and God. If I choose not to observe Shabbat, God will deal with me. I also have free will to damage someone else’s property, but the courts will deal with me.

        This is a man’s free will to abuse his former wife, using halacha as a weapon, and with full judicial approval. Can you think of another case where halacha, where one person can abuse another, and the law just sits back and says ‘well ok’? I can’t.

        • The law doesn’t just sit back. I presume she can get damages from a court if she wanted to.

          • Shlomo Abraham

            …and any get settlement could include vacating or repayment for those damages.

    • Daniel S

      How did Rabbeinu Gershom deal with your question, Shlomo Abraham?

      • Shlomo Abraham

        Unless I’m mistaken, he didn’t.

        • Daniel S

          I think you’re mistaken. RG created a new reality: withhold the get from her, and you can’t remarry either. In so doing, I suspect he didn’t count on the level of animosity that can be harbored in these cases. Who would’ve thought that a husband is content to drag himself through this process for years?

  • IH

    I never thought I’d be quoting Hamodia to make a point about the history of halacha, but accept the truth from whatever its source:

    In the ideal structure of society, when life is lived the way the Torah wishes it to be, a wife is totally and completely cared for by her husband, and he in turn, would not neglect in any way or fashion all his marital duties and his obligations to his wife. Furthermore, the Torah’s permission to divorce his wife, even against her will, was meant to be applied only in extraordinary circumstances, when there is no other viable option. However, the fabric of society decayed over the generations, and when Rabbeinu Gershom realized that these privileges were being abused by unscrupulous individuals, he saw it necessary to address both issues and enact decrees to combat these abuses.

    First, he issued a cherem (decree of excommunication) against any man who divorced his wife against her will. This alone was, of course, insufficient as long as polygamy was permitted, as the result would be that the husband who could no longer give his wife a get against her will would simply marry another woman instead.

    Accordingly, Rabbeinu Gershom also issued a cherem against any man who married more than one wife. What this meant in practical terms was that a husband was now on equal footing with his wife when it came to divorce. Neither could end the marriage unilaterally, and neither could remarry without a get. But there were new problems that arose as a result of the cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom. Where a wife was unable to accept a get, because, for example, she lacked the mental capacity to accept a get or because she had disappeared, the husband was now without recourse. Whereas before the cherem he could remarry, doing so now would be in violation of the cherem’s prohibition of polygamy. Accordingly, the cherem did not to apply in situations where a beis din permitted the husband to remarry pursuant to a heter meah Rabbanim.

    Ref: http://vcjewishcenter.org/www1/Holiday/abuse_heter_meah.pdf

  • Yossie Bloch

    Those who ask if withholding a get is “sometimes OK, if she deserves it” are the same folks who 40 years ago asked if beating your wife was “sometimes OK, if she deserves it.” Hopefully, they’ll come around. Or die off. Either way is good with me.

    • tesyaa

      Why is a get even needed, then, if it is 100% pro forma?

      • Yossie Bloch

        I don’t understand the question. You need to give this document in front of witnesses in order to end the marriage. We do it in front of a rabbinical court, just as we do marriage with a whole ceremony. Who said it’s pro forma?

        • tesyaa

          Sorry, my comment wasn’t directly related to your comment. For all those who say that in an evolved frum society, every man will give a get freely in order to spare a fellow human being pain, then why would the get be needed? I understand the technicalities involved, don’t worry. However, it seems that one defining aspect of the get is the right for the man to refuse to give it. If the goal is for every man to give it in every case it’s asked for… then it wouldn’t be a get.

          • Yossie Bloch

            Why isn’t giving it against the woman’s will a “defining aspect”? Why isn’t having the option to just take another wife a “defining aspect”? Why isn’t doing it just in the presence of two witnesses a “defining aspect”? We’ve been monkeying around with gittin for millennia; I don’t see why we need to preserve this one feature, just to put women in their place.

  • Henry J. Frisch

    Why no discussion of Bes Din forcing him?

  • doj464

    The issue that’s not being discussed here is the high rate of Jewish spouses raping their ex in the divorce process. They maliciously claim (and perhaps believe) that the spouse is psychologically unstable. This causes the court to rule that the spouse who made the claim gets full custody of the children. The other spouse then needs to go through an expensive lawsuit and hundreds of thousands of dollars to get somewhere near 50/50 custody.

    I personally know of 2 other cases similar to this (with the massive multi-year, 6 figure lawsuits, albeit without the NY Post publicization.) in the ultra-orthodox community. I know many other non-jewish or less religious people who had far deeper issues before divorcing, who have come to amicable divorce agreements (and giving the get).

    In this specific instance, the get with-holding is a non-issue for multiple reasons. (One is that the man actually has offered – multiple times to give a get, and wants out as well.)

    The real social issue is why does this keep on happening? Why do Jewish spouses feel compelled to villify the other party in a divorce? Why are non-jewish/less religious divorcees amicably agreeing to some custody formation, while some Ultra-orthodox couples take their fight to their children- by holding them hostage to the divorce process, or feel it necessary to use the get as leverage to gain back what they “lost” in those fights? Where does this anger/judgementalism come in? How can we at the communal level, create a social framework, in which the two ex-spouses at least respect each other, and take care of their children?

    There are a couple of issues, in my opinion that aren’t often discussed:

    1) A (somewhat broken) shidduch system – being a happily married graduate of the shidduch system, I don’t have much against it as a system (beats picking up girls at bars). However, some of the old “matching people based on resumes” really hurts. Someone who is divorced – especially a girl who is divorced is looked upon as “used meat” in some ways, and won’t get the same access to people who are willing to date her. There’s also a stigma that “something is wrong with her if she is divorced”. Unfortunately, this is often one-sided (for some reason), as a guy who is divorced seems to be less stigmatized by it. This leads to a system where Jewish Women feel compelled to justify themselves by tagging their spouse as non-fit in order to justify their divorce. They are also more bitter about the divorce happening, and can sometimes be vindictive about stopping their ex from seeing the child.

    2) Communal involvement in divorces – The “lashon hara” of single parties is accepted, as the news is salacious, and as argumentative people, we inevitably take sides in the battle. This just feeds the flames. We should be protesting the messy divorce, and either side that acts recalcitrant should be frowned upon. When there’s a messy divorce, and people crying bloody murder, we should be looking at the person calling wolf as acting inappropriate, and ultimately hurting the child. If we “stigmatize” the use of children as leverage points, perhaps we can reduce the emotional pain these poor children go through as their parents fight like cats and dogs.

    3) Acceptance of Divorcees – As said above, divorcees and their children are frowned upon in our community. “No one would get divorced unless something was seriously wrong”. Let’s stop that. Let’s make the effort to invite over our children’s friends who are divorced, give them the love they don’t always get at home, and the acceptance that they are just like someone else. They too, can embrace Torah and be accepted by our community (do you really want to drive the kid off?). This ties in closely with #1

    4) Reducing divorce – Our western “me me me culture” has seeped into our core. So while we have all become more “independent” and self-aware, we are still pumping people into marriages without giving them the real expectations of what marriage requires. I was blessed to have a really special choson teacher, or my marriage wouldn’t be where it is today. We need to focus on training our upcoming couples on giving more (and giving unconditionally without looking in the pot).

  • Tzippy Stern Levy

    “Maybe at one time it was not evil to withhold a get. I don’t understand it, but I accept that it may have been normative behavior at one time in history.”

    I think this is not as unfathomable as you suggest. Before women had earning power, and back in the day when divorcees were shunned by society (more than they are today), “moving on with your life” was less of an option, and staying in a bad marriage may have been considered the better of two evils in many cases. I’m not saying that I agree, but in a society where women have less agency than they do today I can understand the reasoning.

    • yidl613

      Sounds reasonable.

      An other argument I heard often is that the woman had her chance to do due diligence before she agreed to marry this man. She needs to figure out if a) this man is a good potential husband and that b)he is enough of a mensch to let go of a bad marriage.
      If she takes this due diligence lightly she loses out.

      • Tzippy Stern Levy

        Hmm, that argument is….less reasonable (to be diplomatic).

  • Mike S.

    Although his opinion not followed in practice to the extent of being enforceable in a beit din, Maimonides says that the husband may not treat his wife “like a captive”. So I am not sure that there is really anything new in demanding that a husband treat his estranged wife properly. There is just a difference between what the Torah considers proper conduct and what is enforceable in beit din. (And this applies to a much wider class than just divorce–for example indirectly caused property damage is something the tortfeasor is required to pay but not enforced by the beit din). And of course the obligation to treat one’s estranged spouse properly applies to both parties.

    • IH

      But, Maimonides qualified this in an important way:

      אבל גנאי הוא לאישה שתהא יוצאה תמיד, פעם בחוץ פעם ברחובות; ויש לבעל למנוע אשתו מזה, ולא יניחה לצאת אלא כמו פעם אחת בחודש או פעמיים בחודש, כפי הצורך: שאין יופי לאישה אלא לישב בזווית ביתה, שכך כתוב כל כבודה בת מלך, פנימה

      http://www.mechon-mamre.org/i/4113.htm

      As a general point, the selective use of Rambam (e.g. Henry J. Frisch above) is a sad reflection of Yeshivish culture permeating Modern Orthodoxy.

      • Mike_S2500

        I know full well that the Rambam was not an advocate of women’s equality. Nonetheless, he does say that a husband may not keep his wife against her will. For that mater, the Gemara is quite explicit (although it talks about the beginning rather than the end of a marriage) that “love thy neighbor as thyself” does not permit a man to enter into a marriage in which he disrespects his wife.

        It is exceedingly clear to me that the Torah requires both spouses in a disintegrating or dead marriage to treat each other with respect and kindness. At a bare minimum this would seem to preclude using either the get or access to the children either for leverage in the financial settlement or for revenge or control.

        • IH

          Maybe you mean a different reference in Rambam then? The clause I quote above immediately follows, and limits, what I thought was your reference “שאינה בבית הסוהר”
          (which is why I put in the link to the full text).

  • J Efram

    Maybe the confusion here is that the “ratzon” of the husband has been conflated with it being his “right; the noton that “kofin oso as sheomer rotzeh ani” should debunk that myth at least partially–no one can be nichfeh to give up a “right”. Therefore, despite the fact that the mechanism is indisputbaly anrdocentric, the process indicates for nothing that would ameliorate the impropriety of withholding a get, particularly in a case where a marriage is irrevocably dead [I think 4 1/2 years and a civil divorce probably means a dead marriage]. R YE Henkin ZTL’s formulation is that withholding a get is tantamount to stealing [preventing the woman from possibly having another relationship] and might fall under the category of abizrayu dretzicha. [See http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/744980/Rabbi_Dr_Ronnie_%5BA_Yehuda%5D_Warburg/Toward_Recovery_for_Spousal_Emotional_Stress:_Proposed_Relief_for_the_Modern_Day_Agunah#, especially page 229, footnote 77.] I would go as far as to say that the laws mandating a giving of a get are not even as necessarily “subjective” as one thinks, especially when theft and murder are being violated, as opposed to more “personal” mitzvos of bein adam lechavero indicated here…

  • John

    Maybe the husband violates many issurim, but that doesn’t remove the question of why allow him to have the ability to be over the issurim and thereby harm her to such an extent. Why create situations that give someone so much power over another. Wouldn’t it be known there will be husbands like this?

    • Judy Dorevitch Simon

      You could really ask that question about almost any sin. Why doesn’t Hashem strike us down with lightening when we hurt another human being? It would certainly teach us quicky not to do it again. Why? Free choice. We are each given the freedom to take the high road or to sin. G-d warns us, “Choose Life.”

      • John

        Well, since you ask, Hashem could leave free will for only bein adam lmakom mitzvos. If Bein Adam Lechaveiro is importat for the cosmic plan, then could have where can do chesed to improve others’ situation overcoming our yetzer hara of laziness. But people situations are always basically good, just can be improved.
        Would you think the best situation would be to have an emperor rule over you if the chances of him being like Stalin were 50/50?

  • Tully Weiss

    can we lobby for a new law? as psychology gets more and more validated we understand the emotional aspects of people more and more. perhaps holding a person emotionally (or spiritually?) as a hostage could also be construed as a crime? its just a thought and i realize like many other laws it could lend itself to abuse…. trying to help the Agunos.

  • Please respond

    Rabbi Fink – while the question is a valid one – I really don’t think you can give an answer. The Torah was not made for us to necessarily understand or agree with (a point which really bothers me as well). There are plenty of rules in the Torah, when compared to modern times sound awful and disgusting, including slavery, the hatred towards homosexuals, as well as MANY MANY others. The concept of a man having the power to give a get is simply another rule that we either have to follow because we believe the Torah is true, or not. I don’t necessarily follow all the rules – so I can’t comment on what I would do if I was the women. All I know is this – if we start to rationalize jewish law as found in the torah, we will come up very short. Hence the “faith” aspect I suppose.

    Also your whole premise of the bein adam lechavero stuff doesn’t hold true if there is another commandment or law like in Get, or for example punishment for a sin. Should Sanhedrin never give someone a death punishment b/c they wouldn’t want it done to themselves?

    I don’t question judaism, b/c if I started searching, I wouldn’t find the answers. This is a case in point.

  • Orthoprax Bible

    I agree with your conclusion and I don’t think it was that difficult a question. The Torah was written in a particular context and after Rabbeinu Gershom the outcome was that both parties need to consent to a divorce. While Rabbeinu Gershom was able to put in a loophole for extreme situations and there was no such loophole in the Torah, that doesn’t mean that the Torah expects you to be a jerk about divorcing your wife any more than it expects you to beat people with your lulav.

    I disagree though on this case, as I commented on your other article and in greater length on my blog. Get refusal may be dirty but the public should not be involved in private disputes, especially not when potentially being manipulated by one side.

  • Moshe

    Why do you need to infer from various pesukim that a husband th withholds a get is a bad guy? Isn’t the Halacha already clear that a husband that withholds a get when the Beit din requires him to give one is a bad guy?

  • Jay

    Eliyahu:

    Rabbeinu Gershom issued a takana that a wife has the right to decide she will decline to accept a divorce from her husband. So my question is, when does a wife have that right granted to her by Rabbeinu Gershom? When can a wife refuse to accept a Get from her husband, a right that Rabbeinu Gershom gave all wives?

    • In any situation where it is not hateful or vindictive.

  • Bob

    Igros Moshe (E.H. 4:3): My view regarding heter me’ah rabbonim is well known – that even in the case of moredes it is required that the husband deposit a valid get that the wife is able to obtain at any time she wants and then is free to remarry. This requirement to deposit a get for the wife is required even if the husband has financial claims against the wife. That is because, chas v’shalom that Rabbeinu Gershom would create something which causes an impediment for an aguna – no matter who she is. And this is true even in the case where she definitely took a sum of money from her husband – the heter of Rabbeinu Gershom was not decreed to allow the husband to remarry [without giving a get.] No beis din of the Geonim allowed such a thing. They did not create a means for the husband remarrying by causing the wife to be refused a get unless she gave him what he demanded. They did not make a decree to allow the husband to collect money. And in general they did not make a decree which gave the husband the right to demand whatever he wanted with the threat that if she didn’t comply she would remain an aguna. Since the Geonim did not create such a decree, any heter given by beis din in such circumstances is not valid – even if it were signed by more than 1000 rabbis. Therefore the husband still is prohibited by the decree of Rabbeinu Gershon to marry another woman – if he hasn’t previously divorced his first wife. What I had signed was only that I permit the husband to remarry according to the halacha i.e., he must deposit a valid get that she can take whenever she wants. This I state again in this case – in particular to the relatives of the husband – that it is not relevant to have any heter to remarry which depositing a valid get that she can readily obtain without any impediment. On this I sign for the sake of truth that there should not be distortions in the laws of the Torah.

  • Yackov

    I Don’t really understand the answer. the logic of the question was that from the laws of the Torah we see the will of the Torah; and clearly the will of the Torah was that the husband has this right, and is not subject to the regular dinim of “Bein adam Lechaveiro”. Just like we don’t chastise a plaintiff in a monetary case for pursuing a payout for “damages”, for it is his right, so to this is his right. I feel the answer to this question lies in the fact that the Torah’s values are non compatible with western society and culture.

    • What makes you think he is not subject to the regular dinim of bein adam l’chavero? False assumption.

      • Yackov

        That was the logic of the question (at least the way I understood it), That by giving him all the rights in the legal process, the Torah in essence said that the standard bein adam lechaveiro doesn’t apply. I also drew a parallel to a monetary case where we don’t tell a plaintiff to forgo his rights for reasons of “bein adam Lechaveiro”.