Feb 18, 2016

Workers and Learners have the same responsibilities

Some people think that the reason avreichim are not in violation of their commitment (in the kesuba) to support their wives is because they have given up everything in order to learn Torah.

The real reason is that the wife has the right to waive it and absolve him of his commitment. If she agrees that he does not need to be the breadwinner, he does not need to adhere to his commitment. It is a basic part of every agreement in the world - if the second party agrees to absolving the first party of his obligation, the obligation disappears.

This became relevant in a recent divorce case. The husband claimed in beis din that becausethe gadol hador have decided that women should work he should be exempt from any financial obligations to his wife and daughter.

The beis din disagreed.

The story goes that they got married in 2014 and just a year later became parents. A few months ago they separated after he got violent with his wife - the court ordered him out of the house. The husband then demanded a divorce, while the wife wants to stay married and work out their issues.

During the divorce proceedings, he claimed that the gedolei hador have instructed that the women should go out to work and allow the husbands to learn Torah, and therefore he should not be obligated in paying her what is written in the kesuba and alimony. As well, today it is customary that women work, and she should therefore support herself.

The Av Beis Din disagreed and said he is not aware of any such directive of gedolei hador. Rather, it is based on the fact that the wife has the right to agree to such an arrangement. Rav Shapiro also added that this behavior today of the man not working but learning in kollel and the wife working is a temporary measure that was necessary to be implemented after the Holocaust. Women today who work and support their husbands so they can learn do so willingly by their own choice, and not by any legal obligation.

Interestingly, this fellow is not even learning full time, but working,. He was just trying to use the reality of women working int he haredi community and not the men to his benefit to say that she should work and support himself and he should not have to pay.

the dayan said, that despite what happens in the Haredi community as described, it has no relevance to this fellow who works rather than learn.

The beis din decided that she does not have to accept the divorce until he pays her what he is obligated to in the kesuba, and then he will have to pay child support as well and participate int he expenses of raising her.
source: Ynet

the entire argument sounds krum to me. I am amazed that he thought this was a winning argument, especially when it did not even apply to him as a worker rather than learner. The result is that workers and learners actually have the same obligations, and even if not a worker cannot try to have learner reality applied.

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  1. Are you really shocked that a spouse abuser would use bad arguments to get out of a financial obligation?

    I really feel bad for the wife. She should dump the guy as soon as possible. He has issues that go way beyond abuse.

  2. I heard rumors of another divorce case, where the wife was so worn down from working to support the family as well as the typical family responsibilities, plus the financial strain, that the couple's marriage had deteriorated into divorce. And that in the face of the divorce the couple's Rebbe said the man must now leave learning so that he can work to earn enough to pay the kesuba.

  3. It's a common legal tactic called "the kitchen sink approach." Every possible argument, including the idiomatically oft-excluded metaphorical kitchen sink, is used. Each argument is considered separately, so four good arguments plus one bad argument is the same as four good arguments; stupidity doesn't dilute intelligence in this case. The upside is that you don't know what the judges will consider to be a good argument and/or what facts might get overlooked. It also wastes the opponent's time (which is limited by their budget) on narishkeit.


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