Jun 22, 2015

Rav Lau and beis din allow the hetter mea rabbonim in divorce case

The 'hetter mea rabbonim' is an institution by which a man stuck in a marriage that he wants to get out of but cannot (e.g. wife refuses the gett, wife is sick and incapable to receiving a gett, etc), the beis din can determine that the husband has done his best and made every effort to do what is right, but cannot be locked into the marriage. They can allow him to marry a second wife, while leaving a gett deposited with them for the first wife should she change her mind, and circumvent the ban on being married to two wives at the same time.

The allowance requires the approval and signatures of 100 rabbis, spread out over 3 continents. Supposedly this is supposed to make it not too easy to get, as rabbis spread so far won't be obligated to each other and will not just agree just because so and so said to.

I don't know how often it happens that a beis din will employ the hetter mea rabbonim, but it does not seem to be too common.

Kipa is reporting that the Beis Din Hagadol of Jerusalem just overturned the decision of a regular beis din, and has theoretically allowed the use of the hetter mea rabbonim in a divorce dispute.

The case is of a husband who wants to divorce his wife, but she has been refusing to accept the gett. The husband claimed in the beis din that she has become disgusting to him and conciliation will not work. He wants to divorce her and marry someone else, as well as perform his mitzva of having children, which he was unsuccessful at doing with the current wife.

Beis din accepted his argument that this would be a reason to give him the hetter mea rabbonim, but did not accept that this is really the issue. Beis din decided that he is refusing to live with her for other reasons, such as he is afraid of her (not sure why) and he is unable to perform normal relations due to her children from a previous marriage living with them.

The beis din also determined that it might possibly be that he is unable to have children, as he did not with her nor with a previous wife, while she has children from a previous marriage. So, the argument that he wants to have children cannot be used.

The decision was appealed to the Beis Din Hagadol. Rav Dovid Lau, Rav Tzion Boaron and Rav Tzion Algrebeli decided to overturn the decision. They point to the fact that the husband left the home and has been living in poor conditions for a long period of time indicates that his argument of her disgusting him is true. They also say he has the right to try to fulfill his mitzva of having children.

The issue of having children should be easy enough to resolve. Send him for testing to see if he is or is not capable of having children. I do not know how much weight such tests bear in halacha, but it should be able to give them at least an indication regarding whether the argument can be used or not, or how much strength it has.

Anyways, the beis din overturned the decision and said that if she refuses to accept the gett within 30 days, he would be allowed to remarry with the hetter mea rabbonim.

gett refusal is a big problem on both sides of the marriage. At least on the mens side there is still a way out of it and around the refusal, even if it is not used too frequently. The women are stuck with no options when it happens to them





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9 comments:

  1. Pleasantly surprised that he allows this.

    Better yet, it's high time take a serious look at the Taqanah of Rabbeinu Gershon, and see just exactly how it is (or is not) actually binding.

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  2. If you are worried about halacha testing the husband is not so simple. In cases of infertility, many Rabbonim will insist that every medical avenue for treating the wife is done before allowing the husband to be tested. If testing is permitted, collection is supposed to be done through normal relations. In cases where collection is not done through normal relations, it still must be done when the wife is mutar to the husband. I don't know if that means the wife has to go to the mikvah or she is able to go to the mikvah. In most normal cases they are one in the same.

    For example HEK provides a private room for collection. TZ (who has a mashgiach in their IVF clinic) does not have any facilities for collection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't have a dedicated facility, but they do it just the same.

      Delete
  3. machon puach has a halachik condom which they give to someone needing a sperm count.

    ReplyDelete
  4. machon puach has a halachik condom which they give to someone needing a sperm count.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. his wife won't copulate with him, so unless he has a pilegesh it's gonna be difficult for him to do a sperm count test the halachic way.

      i thought the heter meah rabbonim, though used sparingly, is usually used in cases of well-connected men (e.g. their dad is a rosh yeshiva) whose wives won't agree to divorce. doesn't really solve the mesurevet get problem for women, does it?

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    2. you are referring to a rosh yeshiva himself (the son and grandson of roshei yeshiva, but the divorce only came up after the father and grandfather passed away.)

      if a man would do this to a woman, you'd have newspapers and websites smearing the husband all over. but if a woman does it, all is ok / politically correct.

      heter meah rabbonim is pretty common today, but rabbonim don't want women to know they have an option of refusing a get. its not expensive, but not cheap either. and not suggested in certain cases. most ex husbands do not want to publicize their personal stories, so you dont hear too much of it.

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  5. Rav Soloveitchik refused to participate in any heter meah rabbanim. He said it simply wasn't fair that men had an out and women didn't.

    I imagine he'd be smeared today as some crazy modern feminist, but facts are facts, and so be it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For all the 'extremism' or whatever of those who oppose a clear halacha accepted universally in the orthodox jewish community, nobody refuses to be 'mesader kiddushin' (perform wedding ceremony) for someone with a 'heter meah rabbonim'.

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