Feb 8, 2017

interesting psak: violent behavior does not indicate actual violent behavior

A Jerusalem beis din recently paskened that a husband beating his wife is not grounds for divorce. Specifically in this case, that is, because he beat her after she insisted on a divorce and refused to attend "shalom bayis" meetings with him for conciliation.

In 2014 the wife filed for divorce claiming that during their 24 years of marriage he had abused her physically, sexually, and mentally. While the divorce filing was active, her husband was arrested and convicted for physically abusing her and threatening to kill her, and there was even a restraining order out on him to keep his distance from her.

Despite his tendencies to violence, the beis din decided that his violence is not grounds for "forcing" a divorce - i.e. for accepting her demand for a divorce. They suspect that she really wants a divorce because of a budding relationship with someone else (her employer), as the husband claimed, and his violent behavior was never proven.

She appealed to the Higher Beis Din, who sent it back down for re-evaluation by the original beis din, considering his recent conviction. Despite 3 convictions for violence, the beis din, upon reevaluation, decided that the violence against her was only a one-time incident and not a trend of behavior and after the husband admitted to his actions, they believe he won't resort to violence again. The said that they believe that had she been open to fixing the relationship and repairing the marriage,, even this one-time incident would have never happened.
source: Ynet
psak of the beis din can be seen here

Meaning, as long as he refuses to grant her a divorce, she has no recourse, despite the violence against her. If she somehow persuades him to divorce her, obviously that would work - but beis din won't force the issue.

All I can think of to say is that when he one day kills her, chas v'shalom, or leaves her unconscious or suicidal, the "elders of the city" will not be able to say "ידינו לא שפכו את הדם הזה" - our hands did not spill this blood..

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