Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mecho'oh cont'd II: "James" gets it...

From today's "Da'as Torah:"

Daas Torah - Issues of Jewish Identity: ORA: Private coercion or Beis Din?

James (May 3, 2012) wrote : Even if it [ORA's actiities] is humiliation, (and I do not think it is) it is not humiliation ordered by the Beth Din. There is nothing new with publishing seruvim and calling the public to urge Aharon to give a GET. The only thing different is that ORA has decided to use the Internet to organize the public in a way that was never possible before the advent of the Internet.This is a private action

 James has raised a very important issue which we seem to have been missed in all the debate. When ORA holds demonstrations is it to be viewed as an agent of beis din or as private citizen? Rabbi Ralbag - a member of the Beis Din that urged Aharon to give a get to Tamar told my brother that the declaration of his beis din did not authorize demonstrations. It would thus seem that ORA is not the agent of this beis din. Is it the agent of any beis din? Does Rav Schachter's approval constitute a beis din or does he have a private beis din which authorized this?

Furthermore if Aharon's boss Rep Camp urged him to give the get or threatened to fire him if he didn't give a get - a threat he would do solely because of ORA's actions - is that considered force from a non-Jew? Even if  Rep Camp says I am pressuring you to do what ORA wants you to do - does that make it complying with beis din?

What if a person saw the demonstrations and threatened to physically attack Aharon unless he gave a get. Is this considered legitimate force  or would the resulting get be a get me'usa? If it is legitimate than it would be consistent with  Bava Kamma 28 which is the sugya of physical action against others without the consulting or involvement of beis din.

Chazon Ish (E.H. 69:23) describes a case that the wife's father refuses to give back money that belongs to the husband - unless he gives a get. The Chazon Ish says since the beis din did not authorize this it is kefiah by a hedyot. Therefore he urges that beis din be convened and rule that the father should not give back the money until the get is given.

Rambam (Hilchos Gerushin 2:20): If it isn't required according to the halacha that the husband be forced to give a get and beis din made a mistake or laymen - and they forced him until he gave a get - the get is not valid.  But since Jews have forced him he should give her a valid get [because he might think it was valid and when he marries another without obtaining a valid get it produces mamzerim]. However if goyim force him not according to halacha it is not a get.... since the law does not require it and the force was from goyim it is not a get.

In sum. James asserts that as long as the force is unrelated to beis din we avoid all the tiresome discussion of what constitutes legitimate pressure according to Rabbeinu Tam or Rambam etc etc. Thus if his assertion is correct - any and all types of force can be applied to force the get - because it is only vigilante action and not the legitimate psak of beis din!

As I commented there:

You can taunt James all you like, but he is absolutely correct. This is medukdak in the Rambam, but you missed the diyuk because you inaccurately translated hedyotos as laymen - implying it is a separate category from a BD that was in error. The Rambam is saying that a get compelled by an erroneous BD or a BD of simpletons is invalid. V'duk.

Note: The Eidensohns keep posting sources that they want us to assume are in support of their position. They are not. That includes the CI posted today. I cannot respond to everything there, as it would take up all my time. If there are specific issues you would like me to address, please comment here. Thanks!


  1. I completely fail to see what you are trying to be medayek in the Rambam.

    The Rambam says that unles the force was applied by a kosher beis din, the get is possul.
    Individuals are worse than a beis din of hedyotos, not better.

  2. The beis din you use for hataras nedarim (annulling oaths) on erev Rosh haShanah is called a beis din shel hedyotos. The Rambam also refers to a bad conversion done by hedyotos. (Which may or may not be binding -- depends on post-facto evidence that the candidate did indeed accept mitzvos at the time.) "Hedyot" in this context more often refers to the dayanim. The hoi polloi would be called "harabim".

    RYGB isn't makeing a "diyuq", the translation offered is simply bad.

    I am a little surprised I didn't notice before... Did anyone bring up the Rama? He is kind of explicit in EhE 154:21.

    ומכל מקום יכולין ליגזור על כל ישראל שלא לעשות לו שום טובה או לישא וליתן עמו (שערי דורא בשם ר"ת ובמהרי"ק), או למול בניו או לקברו, עד שיגרש (בנימן זאב פ"ח /רפ"ט/).
    ובכל חומרא שירצו ב"ד יכולין להחמיר בכהאי גוונא, ומלבד שלא ינדו אותו. אבל מי שאינו מקיים עונה, יכולין לנדותו ולהחרימו שיקיים עונה או שיגרש, כי אין זה כפייה, רק לקיים עונתו, וכן כל כיוצא בזה (ריב"ש סימן קכ"ז)

  3. L'kavid Harav,
    are you claiming that in theory a woman can hire thugs to beat a husband in order to give a GET and this is not considered kefia? As long as a Beis Din didn't authorize the force, than it's fine right?...

  4. "Batmelech" also cut through to the heart of the matter:

    May 3, 2012 04:35 AM

    So what happens if his mother, or worse: mother in law, insists he give a get???

    This would be a forced get in any case, because nothing is more fearsome than an angry mother, or worse, mother in law!!!

    An interesting historical tidbit is that the Beis HaLevi was compelled by his first FIL to divorce his wife. He did not want to. No question of Get Me'useh arose. Because prior to the Eidensohns, no one ever dreamed that verbal persuasion is a form of Kefi'ah.

    The details of the BhL's case arein Cha. 8 of HaRishon L'Shulsheles Brisk by Rabbi Chaim Karlinsky.

  5. So what does Rav Sternbuch mean (5:344) that woman hiring thugs to beat men to give GETS is a Get Batul and causes Mamzurs. I am not talking about a fight between the husband and wife or family members, I just want clarify your statement that any actions that are not sanctioned by a beis din can never be Kefia?

  6. Reb Binyomin:

    The Rambam's shittah is that a person really wants to do whatever it takes להיות מישראל. That's why even where a mistaken BD compels a get, the Rambam holds that me'd'orysa it is a valid get, but is pasul d'Rabbanan because the compelling was done by mistake or by incompetence. This is also why, OTOH, a get unilaterally compelled by non-Jews is batel me'd'orysa - because the להיות מישראל is inapplicable.

    Now, a BD must act according to procedure and protocol, and has no carte blanche to compel a get just because it feels like it. Therefore, even though להיות מישראל a person will submit even to the compelling of a improperly constituted BD, and even to an incorrect ruling - the Rabbanan passeled the Get.

    But where other Yisraelim - not purporting to be a BD, and not issuing rulings - compel someone to give a get, להיות מישראל would be applicable and the get valid.

  7. Reb Yitzy:

    Because the Shulchan Aruch (134:7) does not follow the Rambam, but rather passels a get compelled by Kefi'ah of public minded citizenry. This is in line with the other Rishonim in BB 48a who learn that Kefi'ah k'din works because of מצוה לשמוע דברי חכמים - which of course is never applicable to private citizens.

  8. I do not know why you say "להיות מישראל" includes a case where people with no authority and no backing force him to do something. Do you have any source for this?

  9. The Rambam is in gerushin 2:20

    "If the halacha does not require that he divorce her and the beis din erred, or if they were hedyotos, and they pressured him until he divorced, the get is posul" i.e. koshjer midioraisa and posul midirbanan.

    He does not say anywhere that if individuals pressured him the get is kosher.
    The lechem mishna explicitly says that if individuals pressure him where he is not required to give a get the get is posul midoraisa, same as if a non-Jewish court forced him to give a get.

  10. The Rambam doesn't have to say that if individuals pressured him the get is kosher. Any get that is not specified as batel or pasul is a priori kosher!

    The Lechem Mishne is very veit from pshat in the Rambam, u'devarav tzrichin iyun.

    All this, however, is lomdus.

    I believe my pshat in the Rambam, is emes, and any lamdan will be modeh al ha'emes. But even if you don't, the logic which - despite your scoffing elsewhere - is represented by Batmelech's phrasing holds true. And that is why even according to the Mechaber, who does not pasken like the Rambam and holds me'useh al yedei a private citizen is me'useh, any pressure that does not entail: a) violence; b)direct financial penalties; c) niddui - does not create a state of me'useh. This is the yesod of Harchaka d'R"T.

    And that is why mei'ikar ha'din we do not need a BD to impose the harchokos. For, if a BD was essential to the process, Harchokas RT would be a form of Kefi'ah, and RT could not have sanctioned its use in cases in which he himself rules that ein kofin. Al karchach, the imposition of harchokos is not a Ma'aseh BD. What BD statement that the Harchokos are appropriate does is merely to verify that the activation of harchokos in this or that case is appropriate, and not creating undue nuisance for someone who does not deserve it.

    To turn the tables, your position is unsustainable. L'shitas'cha u'l'shittas haEidensohns, if I as a solitary individual would constantly go and harass someone until he gave a get, the get would be me'useh. If a Rav called a husband too late at night and that caused the husband to give a get, that would also be me'useh. If a very prestigious Rav called on the husband to give a get, and he felt he could not say no to such a distinguished personage, it would also be me'useh.

    Absurd, of course.

  11. I'm not even sure ORA wouldn't de facto obeying beis din's orders. Beis din says the guy is subject to harchaqos R' Tam. So, the people are marchiq him. Some of them get organized, and do so more efficiently. Does that mean that group isn't acting al da'as BD?

  12. Do we distinguish a posse specifically called by the sheriff from a posse of volunteers who decided on their own initiative to help the sheriff?

  13. Anonymous: Good, but I would tweak it.

    Do we distinguish a posse specifcally organized by the sheriff from one that is self-organized after the sheriff calls for help from the townspeople?

  14. Anonymous:

    Yes, we do.


    Your tweak would seem to indicate that you read the BD's seruv as calling on ORA to act. It does not.

    My original sevara, and I am glad RYGB agrees, is that this seruv is no different than any other issued over the past decades and if the public wants to act, so long as it is not causing physical or financial harm, that can not invalidate a GET. See RYGB's comment above for the absurdity of stating otherwise.

    I posted a story on DT a few days ago about a case in which ORA was not involved. A seruv was issued and published. A few congregants got together and after involving the shul Rabbi, the man eventually gave a GET. Is that GET invalid?

  15. BD told the masses to shun the guy.

    ORA comprises of a subset of the masses who organize to more effectively shun him.

    The sheriff calls for help from the townspeople, and some of them who do posse-ing on the side gather together...

    Your last paragraph is roughly the same thing as what I'm trying to say -- the fact that ORA is organized (to the extent that any tzedaqa can be called "organized") doesn't take them out of the category of tzibur who do the harchaqos Rabbeinu Tam.

  16. Anon:

    gives three definitions for posse.

    : a large group often with a common interest
    : a body of persons summoned by a sheriff to assist in preserving the public peace usually in an emergency
    : a group of people temporarily organized to make a search (as for a lost child)

    I suspect that you are using posse according to meaning #2. Thus your Vohs iz dehr chilluk inquiry. I'm not sure if demonstrators fall into meaning #1 or #3, but they are not #2. ותו לק"מ

  17. I wonder what RDE would think of gittin done in EY, where the batei din have the authority to jail mesoravei gett. Even when the guy isn't jailed, how can he explain the validity of gittin granted under the threat of literal "kofin oso"?

    In one famous case, Seymore Klagsbrun had his passport confiscated at Ben Gurion Airport when he and his heter-mei'ah-rabbanim 2nd wife came for a visit. Batei din in two continents didn't think it would invalidate the gett, had it worked. (The State Dept made a big deal about US sovereignty, and the ACLU defended the guy (?!) and they gave the passport back without securing a gett.)

  18. Since they cannot attack the divorce protocols that in Israel are universally accepted, they attack the more ambiguous situation here.