Seventy Rabbinic Authorities Prohibit Mesira
HEBREW KOL KOREH PROHIBITING MESIRA
The Hebrew Kol Koreh Letter below stresses the severe Torah prohibition of mesirah, especially in matrimonial matters. It was signed by many prominent rabbis.
INFORMAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF KOL KOREH PROHIBITING MESIRA
Below is an informal English translation of the Rabbinic Kol Koreh letter which stresses the severe prohibition of utilizing archaos and the prohibition of mesirah, especially in matrimonial matters. It was signed by many prominent rabbis.
A STERN WARNING
We, the undersigned, in the name of HASHEM and His Torah, are greatly pained by the terrible chilul Hashem which has been occurring recently, even among Torah observers, who allow themselves to transgress the prohibition of avodah zorah through the use of non-Jewish courts with his fellow Jew.
Regardless whether the parties are coerced or even willfully participate, it is included under the dreaded ban of mesira as explained in Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 388:9) that one who has a Jew tried by non-Jewish courts, even if the defendant was wicked and harassed him, the plaintiff has no share in Olam Haba. The Gemara (Rosh Hashana 17a, Avoda Zora 26b) mentions that a moser descends to Gehenom and is punished for many generations.
We therefore warn our fellow Jews of the following:
1) If there should be any disagreement between Jews, they should turn to a Jewish Beis Din for their legal proceedings according to Jewish law. 2) It is not permissible under any circumstances, to summon a fellow Jew to a non-Jewish court prior to summoning him to a Jewish Beis Din. If he refuses to appear at the Beis Din after receiving three subpoenas, the Beis Din will issue a Contempt of Court (“siruv”) and treat him as described in Shulchan Aruch. 3) No Jew, even if he is a rabbi or leader, is allowed to permit other Jews to go to non-Jewish court before summoning the other party to Beis Din, without following the procedure as described above (paragraph 2). Just as no rabbi or leader can allow the worship of avoda zora or the desecration of Shabbos, likewise permitting Jews to go to non-Jewish court is prohibited. If one did so, he is considered a “machtei es horabim” (one who causes other to sin) and is required to be excommunicated.
4) A Jew or Jewess who says that they will take a fellow Jew to the non-Jewish courts, and they were warned of their sin and didn’t listen, has violated Jewish law. (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat ibid.)
5) A Jewish man or woman who calls the police on the other, is included in the classification of moser. This is also true if they were quarreling, chas v’sholom, unless there was a life threatening situation when it is permitted if no other means are available to save oneself. However, afterwards one should go to Beis Din.
6) Whoever is awarded money by a non-Jewish court, whether it be from business dealings, or alimony or child support, in an instance when it is not entitled by the laws of the Torah, such money is considered stolen (“gezel”). If we have the opportunity to help the one whose money was taken through the non-Jewish court, we should do so. If the moser repents, he must return all improperly acquired monies and related expenses, and must beg forgiveness of the one from whom he extracted money for all the suffering that he caused him.
7) It is a mitzva to publicize the names and addresses of Jewish mosrim and their supporters, in order for Jews to know from whom to stay away. Whoever knows of a moser that hasn’t repented, it is forbidden to assist him in any way until he repents.
8) Women who turn to a non-Jewish court to force their husbands to divorce them, or to receive money not in accordance with the halacha, such a get is invalid and the money is stolen, and it is forbidden to marry these women. If the woman remarried with this get, children born from the marriage are mamzeirim. Likewise, men who are required according to the Torah to divorce their wives, as ordered by Beis Din, and they refuse to obey the Beis Din in order to render their wives agunos, it is a mitzva to excommunicate them from other Jews and to publicize their names until they listen to Beis Din and divorce their wives.
9) Women who summon their husbands to a non-Jewish court, it is forbidden to marry them, for they are considered wicked (“reshaim”) who descend to Gehenom and forfeit their share in Olam Haba, and therefore they should remain unmarried for the rest of their lives. Regarding one who does marry such a woman, our Rabbis tell us that the first husband removed a rasha’a from his house and now a second man takes her into his home! If the second husband is worthy, he will divorce her, otherwise, she will become a widow and bury him . . .
10) It is a mitzva to publicize the “rabbis” who advise men and women to go to non-Jewish court, without following the procedure as described above (paragraph 2), for they are responsible for the terrible chilul Hashem and abandonment of the Torah. Their ways are repulsive and their halachic decisions are invalid, since they are considered from those who cause the public to sin, which is from the twenty four items that prevent one from repenting. The Rambam (Hil. Teshuva 4:1) explains: twenty four items prevent repentance, and four of those items are great sins that Hashem does not give one the opportunity to repent according to the severity of the sin. Those items are: 1) one who causes the public to sin, 2) one who influences his friend away from the proper path to a lifestyle of evil, such as a meisis u’madiach, 3) whoever can protest the wrong ways of others, whether an individual or a group, and doesn’t do so but allows them to remain in their wrong ways etc. And these three items are all found by these advisors who convince men and women to go to non-Jewish court.
We are awakening everyone to restrain themselves and their families from this evil way of emulating the goyim, chas v’sholom. Whoever knows of these transgressors should supply us with their name and address and we will be on the lookout.
Yechezkel Hanovi tells us: “That you say, `Let us live like the goyim,’ that will never happen.” In the merit of this may we be worthy of the Redemption, speedily in our times.
Vaad Olami L’maan Kovod HaTorah V’haganas Hadas