May 24, 2011

Interesting Psak From Rav Elyashiv: Marrying After Spouse's Death

Kikar is reporting on an incident that recently generated an interesting halachic question, with an interesting psak from Rav Elyashiv.

A widow recently came to Rav Elyashiv with a question. She has four children from her deceased husband. Her husband had been sick and suffered greatly for a few years, until he eventually died. Shortly before his death he made a request of her that she promise that after his death she would not remarry.

She says that being full of emotion at the time she accepted his request and told him that she would not marry anyone else after his death.

Now it is a few years later, and while she has kept her word until now, she now feels it is time to move on and get married. She asked Rav Elyashiv what to do about her original promise - should she not get married or can she get married anyway?

An unreasonable request made by a man on his deathbed, leads to a tough question on her end.

Rav Elyashiv's Psak

Rav Elyashiv first tried to clarify whether she had originally responded making a promise, taking an oath, or if she simply accepted his demand. While she could not answer definitively how exactly it had been worded, she rejected the possibility that she had said it as a form of a nedder.

Rav Elyashiv then answered her question by saying she is allowed to get married. The reason is that when the deceased's soul ascended to heave, he definitely would have changed his mind and wanted her to remarry. At that point he definitely would have realized the importance of her continuing her life, and he would definitely even be happy that she is moving on and getting married.


  1. And if she did take it upon herself as a neder or vow. How do you annul it?

    Do you remember the miceh with the Chasam Sofer?

  2. while she has the highest rabbinic dispensation imaginable I wonder if there would be any point, לפנים משורת הדין for her to keep her promise.

    Maybe the deceased thought it better for his children s well being that they be raised by a single parent rather than in a blended family or as step-children?

  3. in a din torah בבית דין של מטה between the living and the dead the dead don't stand a chance.

    Personally I would've seen a rebbe or a mequbal than a posek over this one.

    Wonder if the deceased will ever come to her in a dream...

  4. what about a מי שפרע? Is a one persons word to another, particularly their most dearly beloved, meaningless?

  5. even if she had a full nedder on this issue,. I would think it would be easily removed. I would say that when she took it upon herself she had a clear "amasla", excuse, that she wanted to calm her terminal husband and not upset him.
    I would think that would be enough of an opening to allow for a hattaras nedarim

  6. what is the maaseh with the chasam sofer?

  7. another story i don't believe. what is it with all these RE stories? is this something new or did you just find them recently?

  8. good question. I dont know why suddenly we hear so many stories. maybe the media is getting better access...

  9. i smell a PR firm at work (or the hareidi equivalent; an askan or something).


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