Home / Legacy /

New Periodical: Tradition 45:3

 

Tradition, Winter 2012 (45:3):

  • Why Hats are Wasted on the Young: An Essay in Practical Theodicy by R. Shalom Carmy – Not everything in life is a divine reward or punishment. This is NOT about the propriety of young men wearing black hats.
  • Yehuda Halevi and the Philosophical Use of Metaphor by Prof. Shubert Spero – Three examples of important philosophical ideas taught in the Kuzari through metaphor.
  • The Amida’s Biblical and Historical Roots: Some New Perspectives by Allen Friedman – The phrase “Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzchak Ve-lokei Ya’akov” represents a post-Second Temple destruction theological construct. Probably my ignorance but I assume early authorship unless proven otherwise and I don’t see the proof here.
  • American Orthodoxy’s Lukewarm Embrace of the Hirschian Legacy, 1850-1939 by R. Zev Eleff – The first of two essays showing that there were very few proponents of Hirschian philosophy.
  • The Propriety of Awarding a Nezikin Claim by Beit Din on Behalf of an Agunah by R. A. Yehuda Warburg – Argues that an agunah can sue her recalcitrant husband for civil damages due to his refusal to give her a get. According to most authorities, including R. Elyashiv, this is a valid claim and even according to those who disagree, the subsequent get is valid.
  • Resurrection and Personal Identity by R. J. David Bleich – A mixture of philosophy and halakhah on the issue of whether someone who comes back to life is the same person as before death. Practical ramifications include marital bonds and property ownership.
  • From the Pages of Tradition: Faigel Dem Rov’s by Joseph Foxman by Prof. Shnayer Z. Leiman – Heroic women’s Torah study in the Vilna ghetto.
  • Communications – R. Shmuel Jablon and R. Yitzchak Blau square off on the value of text message responsa (see this post: link).
 

Share this Post

 

Related Posts

About the author

Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

57 Responses

  1. Nachum says:

    -One of the Hebrew versions of Ben Sira (i.e., not the version found in the Apocrypha), written c. 200 BCE, seems to contain the shemonah esrei in a simple form. That doesn’t mean the words weren’t altered over the years- we don’t even have a single version today.

    -I attended a workshop on agunot suing in (Israeli) civil court at the Jerusalem Bar a few weeks ago. Apparently, there’s lots of charedi (and rabbinate, although that isn’t very different) opposition to it, even though it almost always works to get a get. Yes, there are threats to invalidate gittin.

    -I wonder if the second essay on Hirsch will deal with what happened to Breuer’s.

  2. IH says:

    On the Ben Sira, see: http://tinyurl.com/aqqya6e (the page in Safrai on Google Books). The reference there is: …Shield of Abraham … Rock of Issac … Mighty one of Jacob.

  3. emma says:

    “Apparently, there’s lots of charedi (and rabbinate, although that isn’t very different) opposition to it, even though it almost always works to get a get. ”

    I suspect you could change “even though” to “because.” but you may know more than me.

  4. Nachum says:

    emma, sadly, your remark may have some truth to it. (Aside from any halakhic arguments, of course, which would rest on that.) The speaker was a toenet (perhaps technically not, as she wasn’t Orthodox, but she certainly represents people in the Rabbinical Courts) and she described begging with the dayannim that if they’re not going to allow a civil suit, at *least* let them do *their* job and put the penalties in their power (eventually leading to jail) on the husband. (Or wife, by the way: men sue sometimes too.) No response.

    By the way, let me be clear: I don’t think any gittin have literally been invalidated because of this. And remember that there’s recently been talk that *any* get issued by the Rabbanut (or with a prenup signed) is invalid, because they have the power to compel. Yes, people are that crazy and/or cruel.

    Also: The technique is somewhat similar to one used in New York, where it’s something like “You lose money that would have been coming to you if you don’t give a get.”

  5. NACHUM:

    “Also: The technique is somewhat similar to one used in New York, where it’s something like “You lose money that would have been coming to you if you don’t give a get.””

    when was this used in new york?

  6. Nachum says:

    I’m pretty sure I heard it discussed at Kollel Yom Rishon- maybe R’ Willig? The basic idea is that the husband isn’t being penalized by the court; rather, instead of, say, $100, he gets $90, unless he gives the get. Limited application, of course.

    IH: Thanks for the link!

  7. too tired says:

    Is Shubert Spero not a rabbi?

  8. Shalom Spira says:

    Ye’yasher kochakha to our Rosh Yeshiva R. Student (and respondents).

    Thank you, R’ Nachum, for raising a most valuable consideration. Yes, you are correct: Some poskim (-according to R. Bleich writing in Tradition 32:1, p. 99, “the overwhelming consensus”) disqualify the gittin written in New York State post-1992 due to the 1992 New York Get Law. This issue has been debated in Tradition 29:4, pp. 5-13; Tradition 31:3, pp. 27-41; Tradition 32:2, pp. 95-97 (-in addition to the aforementioned letter of R. Bleich). See my proposed solution published online this past 15 Menachem Av 5772, which I believe should satisfy all opinions in order to free agunot, available at http://www.wepapers.com/Papers/443780/Prenuptial_Agreements
    Although I did not realize at the time of my publication that R. Warburg would be publishing a similar article just a few months after my own, I am pleased to note that in footnote 48 of my article, I cite a previously published article of R. Warburg. So, we are all on the same page (-more or less).

  9. emma says:

    tachlis, many women have gotten divorced in NY since 1992 and many of them have probably gotten remarried and had kids. Some of those kids are probably approaching marriageable age. are we actually going to see people refusing to marry them for mamzerus reasons, or is this all theoretical?

  10. Shalom Spira says:

    Thank you and ye’yasher kochekh, Emma: the question you raise is extremely important. For this reason, at the guidance of R. Bleich, this past 7 Tishrei 5773, I sent copies of my article to the members of my local Beth Din (Montreal, Canada), and also to the leadership of the Agudath Israel of America (R. Chaim Dovid Zwiebel and R. Yaakov Perlow), to evaluate the validity of my essay and to urge them to move as swiftly as possible to implement my proposed solution. I look forward to hearing their response.

  11. Nachum says:

    Uh-uh, Shalom. You (and, let’s be honest, you’re not a gadol hador) have written and publicized a very large article basically arguing that many, many people are mamzerim. You now need to either have the courage to stand behind that rather disturbing allegation or retract it completely.

    I do like your tricky language accusing the laws of creating agunot when they have done no such thing. (I think a bit of כל הפוסל applies here as well, as that seems to be your goal.) As well as the grating use of the word “lady.”

  12. lawrence kaplan says:

    R.Spira: You did not answer emma’s question. Your proposal is for the future, mi-kan u-lehaba. Her question is whether R. Bleich is seriously asserting, halakhah le-maaseh, that all the gittin issued since 1992 in NY State are invalid, that consequently all women who remarried on the basis of these gittin fall into the category of eishet ish and further that the children of such second marriages are mazerim? Has he ever acted on this halakhah le-maaseh? To cite Nachum, is he really “that crazy and/or cruel?”

    BTW, I think that your proposed solution, while perhaps technically valid halakhically, and I would have to study the matter thoroughly before stating an opinion, is thoroughly impractical, indeed fantastical, for all sorts of reasons.

  13. emma says:

    R. Spira, have you cleared your proposed first prenup with a lawyer? I am very skeptical that it would be enforceable if the wife later changed her mind and sought the benefits of the get law, in which case you are back where you started, with all gets being given in the shadow of the get law. No?

  14. emma says:

    i”l put my 2:#1 question another way:

    is there any beit din or rabbi that is, currently, either (1) refusing to issue gittin in ny/to couples it knows are divorcing in ny, or (2) actively advising divorcing couples to move to another jurisdiction?

    any rabbi or beit din that has not done at least one of those cannot, to me, either logically or morally claim that there is a real mamzerus issue here.

    so if people are proceeding as usual, and just wringing their hands, that suggests to me that this is all smoke and no fire, and just another volley in the orthodox rhetorical culture wars in which the agunah issue has unfortunately become a centerpiece.

  15. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I’m with Nahum on this one. (It happens.) So let me put this question to R. Spira: in x years, your child or grandchild is marrying the child from a second marriage of a woman which took place after a post-1992 NY divorce (and get). They would love their father/grandfather to be mesader kiddushin. Do you accept? In fact, do you rsvp “yes” to the invitation?

  16. Allen Friedman says:

    Responding to the comment on “The Amida’s Biblical and Historical Roots” that “the phrase ‘Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzchak Ve-lokei Ya’akov’ represents a post-Second Temple destruction theological construct. Probably my ignorance but I assume early authorship unless proven otherwise and I don’t see the proof here.”:

    The question of whether Shemoneh Esrei (and therefore its opening) was authored “early” – by which I assume the commenter means before churban Bayit Sheni – or “late” (after churban Bayit Sheni) is discussed in footnotes 17 through 22 of the article and the accompanying text. As I noted there, the general consensus among modern scholars of Jewish liturgy is that a pre-churban Bayit Sheni composition date is unlikely – even though it is clear that brachot, phrases and concepts that R. Gamliel deYavneh incorporated into the Amidah predate churban Bayit Sheni.
    Since I was writing an article and not a treatise, this question (of when the Amidah was composed) had to be dealt with very briefly, but I would encourage readers who are interested in exploring this issue in more detail to look at the sources cited in the aforementioned footnotes.

    As to the comment that Ben Sira “seems to contain the shemonah esrei in a simple form,” the short answer is that it doesn’t. While (as noted above) the verses in Ben Sira are one of several indications that brachot, phrases and concepts that later found their way into the Amidah had antecedents in the pre-churban Bayit Sheni period, the differences between the Ben Sirah verses (and the other antecedents) and our Shemoneh Esrei are as noteworthy as the similarities. Again, I refer readers to more detailed discussion of this in the sources cited in the article’s footnotes.

  17. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Rabbi Spira: I have read your prenup proposal. It only reenforces the point I made in another context that, with all your learning and intelligence, you entirely fail to grasp when something is self-evidently absurd. Your idea that any man will agree to give his wife $1000 a day as part of a prenup proposal is in this category. As R. Bleich wrote to you, no groom will agree to this. That you genuinely fail to understand why is a major part of the problem. That ia not to deny that your review of the various other proposals was very erudite and illuminating. As long as you stay away from real life…

  18. Baruch says:

    Eleff’s article doesn’t sound promising. Was there any Judaism other than TIDE/TuM? To the extent that there was any Orthodoxy in America it was TIDE/TuM. It certainly wasn’t black hat/yeshivish.

  19. Hirhurim says:

    I don’t want to belabor the point because it is not particularly substantive, but lest I be accused of failing to read the article, I had the text surrounding notes 21 and 22 in mind when I wrote my comment expressing a view more conservative (and traditional) than most academics would allow.

  20. Jerry says:

    Hirhurim: at least you’re being open and honest about the fact that your position on this is an anti-methodological leap of faith. I’m okay with that, even if I think it’s completely wrong.

  21. Allen Friedman says:

    I appreciate your careful reading of the article and the clarification of your previous comments made in your post of 9:53PM on the Amida article.

    I take it then that the statement “I don’t see the proof here” refers to proof that the composition of the Amidah – including its opening – post-dates churban Bayit Sheni. While I certainly respect and understand that point of view, readers of this blog should at least know of the large body of modern scholarship on Jewish liturgy that generally comes to a contrary, if very nuanced, conclusion on the “date of authorship” question.

    More importantly, they should be aware of the ability of that scholarship to allow us to access insights that can make our tefilot – and therefore our relationship with G-d – far more meaningful. It is this last observation that is the real ‘meta-point’ of the article.

  22. Nachum says:

    Baruch: I don’t pretend to be as learned as my esteemed cousin R’ Eleff, but it’s always seemed to me that modern Orthodoxy in America was something more organic: People coming from a neutral place (there was no such thing as “charedi” in Europe or elsewhere back then), trying to improve themselves and Americanize. Obviously, that meant education, participation in culture, and so on; support of Zionism was another natural thing. You can even see this in Herman Wouk’s book from sixty years later: modernity is just sort of assumed. Maybe R’ Revel or R’ Belkin or Shraga Feivel Mendelowitz gave a bit of thought to it, but R’ Lamm (and those that followed him) didn’t start articulating these things until YU turned 100 in 1986. (And charedi, including KAJ, opposition was in full swing.) I’m not even sure you can say the Rav considered it as such.

  23. Joseph Kaplan says:

    While I’ll leave it to others to comment on the halachic viability of R. Spira’s “proposal,” I think the second part would not be enforceable in civil courts under the penalty doctrine. The first half would probably also not be enforceable but I’m not as sure about that.

  24. Joseph Kaplan says:

    While I’ll leave it to others to comment on the halachic viability of R. Spira’s “proposal,” I think the second part would not be enforceable in civil courts under the penalty doctrine. The first part would probably also not be enforceable but I’m not as sure about that.

  25. Steve Brizel says:

    R Shalom Spira wrote in part:

    “Yes, you are correct: Some poskim (-according to R. Bleich writing in Tradition 32:1, p. 99, “the overwhelming consensus”) disqualify the gittin written in New York State post-1992 due to the 1992 New York Get Law. This issue has been debated in Tradition 29:4, pp. 5-13; Tradition 31:3, pp. 27-41; Tradition 32:2, pp. 95-97 (-in addition to the aforementioned letter of R. Bleich”

    This is R Bleich Lshitaso, but the authors of the RCA PNA and the Talmidei Chachamim in Israel who approved of it would certainly disagree with such a stance.

  26. Steve Brizel says:

    R Gil-will you be providing a link to the new issue of Hakirah?

  27. emma says:

    re: harolds link
    postscript:
    “Interestingly, I began administering Gittin in 1992 quite concerned about the impact of DRL 236 upon the Gittin I would administer to New York State residents. Curiously, the issue has not arisen in any of the nearly three thousand Gittin I have administered.”

    what does “the issue has not arisen” mean?

  28. Hirhurim says:

    I have to read the Hakirah before I can write anything about it

  29. Joseph Kaplan says:

    It means (my interpretation although perhaps I’ll call RJ tonight and ask him directly) that unlike R. Spira, R. Jachter is involved in gittin on a day-to-day basis and understands that declaring thousands of women guilty of adultery and hundreds (perhaps thousands) of children mamzerim is not what responsible Jewish leaders and halachic authorities do.

  30. emma says:

    I thought it was descriptive of the practical realities – that either he has not run across a case of the man being subjected to an altered award under the get law, or has at least not had men complain that they are being forced. (it seems he was concerned about the law actually being employed, not about it existing in the abstract?)

  31. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Isn’t R. Spira’s argument that the mere EXISTENCE of the law is enough to passul the get, not that you need an altered award?

    BTW, for those who are not aware, the 1986 get law was endorsed by all. Not surprisingly, it was ineffective in many cases. The 1992 law is much more effective and was opposed by many. I wonder of there’s any cause and effect working here.

  32. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Steve wrote:

    “R Shalom Spira wrote in part:

    “Yes, you are correct: Some poskim (-according to R. Bleich writing in Tradition 32:1, p. 99, “the overwhelming consensus”) disqualify the gittin written in New York State post-1992 due to the 1992 New York Get Law. This issue has been debated in Tradition 29:4, pp. 5-13; Tradition 31:3, pp. 27-41; Tradition 32:2, pp. 95-97 (-in addition to the aforementioned letter of R. Bleich”

    This is R Bleich Lshitaso, but the authors of the RCA PNA and the Talmidei Chachamim in Israel who approved of it would certainly disagree with such a stance.”

    I think this conflates two separate issues: (i) the validity of the PNA and (ii) the validity of post-1992 NY gittin.

  33. emma says:

    “Isn’t R. Spira’s argument that the mere EXISTENCE of the law is enough to passul the get, not that you need an altered award?”

    i agree that rabbi jachter’s postcript, whatever it means, strongly suggests that he does _not_ hold of rabbi spira’s position. as you say, that is not shocking for a responsible human being.

    “BTW, for those who are not aware, the 1986 get law was endorsed by all. Not surprisingly, it was ineffective in many cases. The 1992 law is much more effective and was opposed by many. I wonder of there’s any cause and effect working here.”

    (nachum and i had a similar conversation in the third and fourth comments of this thread.) by “effective” do you mean that you know of it working in specific cases, or just that it has, in theory, actual teeth?

  34. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I don’t practice family law but I have been told by practitioners that they have seen fewer agunah situations than they would have expected since the law became effective.

  35. emma says:

    interesting. thanks.

  36. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    emma and others — i know of several cases of divorced men declining to date women whose gittin are only bedieved valid (and two cases of women declining to date a divorced man’s questionable get, though thats not even a halachic issue.)

    agunah cases are on the decline because strong arm tactics are back in practice. (keep it secret, please.)

  37. Joseph Kaplan says:

    MMH: Why were they considered believed?

  38. emma says:

    “women whose gittin are only bedieved valid”
    does “only bedieved valid” mean “issued after the 1992 get law”? because the latter is what i was asking about. R. Spero contends that all gittin issue after that in NY are invalid. I am suggesting that, absent evidence of people actually paskening that way, such as avoiding marrying such women or their children, or counseling people not to divorce in NY, the “consensus” R. Spero claims to represent is imaginary.

  39. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    In fairness to R. Spira–spelling emma– he was just quoting R. Bleich.

  40. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “I don’t practice family law but I have been told by practitioners that they have seen fewer agunah situations than they would have expected since the law became effective.”

    From what I have heard from other equally informed sources, there are far less litigated cases involving agunos.

  41. emma says:

    oops, sorry to R Spira about the temorary lapse in spelling.
    I know he is just following rabbi bleich, but he is the advocate here…

  42. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    emma: I was also concerned about R. [Shubert] Spero!

  43. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    bedieved gittin — like the ones that a matrimonial judge orders a client to give his (ex) wife a get before the next court date, while the case is still pending (the ex wife refuses to discuss reasonable settlement. why should she? the judge is on her side. note: the husband is perfectly willing to give a get upon final settlement. no dispute about that.)

    the problem is almost always about a get given before the property settlement (or court order) is made.

    other bideved gitten — where the wife initiates further court action (non child support related) after the get is given (see IM on that.)

    less litigation in agunot cases — perhaps its not worthwhile to litigate such cases.

  44. emma says:

    ok, so, as i thought, that has nothing to do with whether ALL children of NY divorcees post 1992 are mamzerim.

  45. Nachum says:

    ” note: the husband is perfectly willing to give a get upon final settlement. no dispute about that”

    Oh, give me a break. So why isn’t he giving it immediately? You’re OK with a little blackmail, MMY?

    emma: That’s certainly what Mr. Spira is claiming.

  46. lawrence kaplan says:

    Nachum: It’s R.Spira.

  47. emma says:

    i know. my sole point is that there is no indication that any rabbis who actually practice in this area are behaving as if they agree w r spira/r. blecih*. (probably including those who shrieked about the get law…now that it’s on the books, are they telling people to leave NY to divorce? if not they would be pretty slimy to later say “oh, but your kids are mamzerim”)

    *does r bleich do gittin, and if so what is he doing w ny couples?

  48. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    nachum — because giving a get without a final property settlement is halachically problematic. and thats what divorced (wo)men want to find out about divorced (wo)men before dating. is the get valid, or only bideved? are milk and meat dishes served on glass plates (not acceptable by many vaadim, such as the o-u), to use an example from another post here.

    emma — the qusestion isnt is r bleich doing gitten; the question is, is he doing chuppa ve’kuddushin afterwards?

  49. emma says:

    MMhY,

    Your question is also relevant, but I think so is mine. Any posek who seriously thinks that all gittin in NY are invalid should be counseling divorcing couples to relocate, or else not divorce. Certainly such a posek should not preside over gittin he truly believes are invalid.

    Therefore, the fact that rabbis of all stripes are (apparently) proceeding with gittin as usual in NY, without counseling couples to move, etc., suggests that rabbis of all stripes don’t actually think that “all NY gittin are invalid,” and the “overwhelming consensus” R. Spira/Bleich claim exists is imaginary.
    Which makes sense, since declaring potentially thousands of people adulterers or mamzerim because they live in a place with a certain law, over which they have no control, is pretty shocking (and recall we are also talking abt non-ortho ppl in NY who get a get for their children’s sake).

  50. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    emma — perhaps r bleich is going overboard by sayimg “all” gitten are invalid. there is a simple way to check (despite what nachum might say) — if the get was done before the civil was final, raise suspicions. (it might be valid — the most common reason is because one of parties is overly “eager” to do the get (i.e,., he / she has someone; dont think its not too uncommon) in which case the eager party must make more concessions (freely).

    i recall a few years ago, matrimonial attorneys were advising clients to divorce in another county, cause there was particularly too much corruption in brooklyn (?whats new?). did the attorneys warn the public, even though it was common knowledge among attorneys well before the judicial personell were caught? no. so statements like … need more background, like i intimated.

    rabbonim are very clever in declaring mamzerut ex post facto. but they are not too clever in “eishet ish” issues (they cant).

    as for non ortho ppl, we have the reform and conservative rabbinate to thank for that. the problem is the unaffilliated.

  51. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    correction — “rabbonim are very clever in declaring non-mamzerut ex post facto.”

  52. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Emma, Your analysis is the only reasonable conclusion.

  53. Moshe Shoshan says:

    MMHY

    “(and two cases of women declining to date a divorced man’s questionable get, though thats not even a halachic issue.)”

    Of course it is! Its just not a deoreita.

    “because giving a get without a final property settlement is halachically problematic.”

    THat why, as R. Reiss explained to me years ago, the RCA Beit din requires that the husband deposit the get with them, to be delivered by the Beit Din upon final settlement.

  54. Do not understand says:

    MMHY: I do not understand. Let us say the marriage has broken down and the wife wishes to receive a get before all negotiations re propery settlement have begun. They then go to a reputable Beit Din which arranges the Get. Why should this get be problematic?

  55. student says:

    I don’t know if R’ Bleich ever arranges gittin personally, but I know that he advises couples to either 1) have the husband give two gittin, one after the other (the first is potentially forced under the Get Law; the second is voluntary — but of course, the husband may not want to give the second one) or 2) sign a document waiving all benefit from the Get Law.

    I know of at least one beis din in NY that implements such a waiver.

  56. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    Do not u — no reputable. Bet din (rca excepted) will do such a get uder normal circumstances.

    S’tudent — I assume the second get is after the propèrty settlement. W’hich is a flat out agreement to. My points. And I assume tthe wife signs the waiver. Howe’ver, in practice, judges don’t like Such a waiver..

    Moshe s — not true. They give the get right away, and hold the ptur in escrow. I know off cases where a party thus remarried without :a civil.

 
 

Submit a Response

 

You must be logged in to submit a response.