Rav Gestetner-Beis Din Arbitration
Rav Gestetner’s Suggested Shtar Berurin
A “shtar berurin” is an arbitration contract that litigants usually sign before entering halachic litigation in a rabbinic court. The “shtar berurin” is supposed to detail the scope and authority of the Beis Din and the disputed matters that the Beis Din will rule on.
Beis Din can be a distinct danger to Jewish fathers if it does not conduct its proceedings according to normative halacha. If a Beis Din operates under a legally binding arbitration contract in the US, the Beis Din may have extreme authority (ie authority in violation of Torah law) over the father that may be automatically enforced in a family court. By extreme authority I refer to making rulings that exceed what is allowed by Torah law, such as ordering child support that exceeds Torah law, or allowing the mother to jail an indigent father.
Any Jewish father in the US who seeks to litigate a divorce matter in Beis Din MUST consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in Beis Din arbitration practices in that state. The attorney must ensure that the Beis Din’s authority is limited so that it cannot trample on the father’s legal rights while operating as an arbitrator.
Normative Torah halacha simply does not allow arbitrary divorce on demand by either spouse. Jewish feminists and the “rabbis” who pander to them have been agitating for major modifications in Torah halacha to allow for arbitrary divorce on demand. This translates into various corrupt schemes to force Jewish husbands to deliver Gets to their wives while preserving a (false) appearance of halachic compliance.
One such scheme being used to force Jewish husbands to divorce (ie deliver a Jewish Get) involves summoning husbands to a Bais Din and convincing the husbands to sign a “shtar berurin” that grants significant authority for the Beis Din to order the husband to divorce by bypassing normative halacha and imposing a so-called “compromise”.
We have posted below Rav Avraham Gestetner’s suggested “shtar berurin” form that is designed to protect a Jewish husband’s halachic rights in Beis Din. (Note: this is NOT a prenup agreement).
We do not have an English translation of the shtar berurin form.
The following is a brief summary of OUR understanding of the shtar berurin:
The shtar berurin authorizes a Bais Din to judge a Jewish divorce case by “din gamur” (strict Torah law), ie without compromise of the parties’ halachic rights. The goal here is to protect the husband’s rights, if possible.
A Jew has an obligation to litigate disputes in a halachic Bais Din, but a Bais Din does not have a right to impose its own shtar berurin on the litigants.
The Bais Din’s job is to judge the case based on the terms of the shtar berurin signed by the litigants.
- If a frum man insists on using this shtar berurin, and his wife refuses to accept the shtar berurin, a corrupt Bais Din might provide his wife a heter archaos (permission to sue in civil court).
Such a heter would be a violation of halacha. However, it is not the goal of the shtar berurin to enable the wife to go to court, the shtar berurin is attempting to protect the husband’s rights.
- Many allegedly “halachic” prenup agreements contain legal clauses allowing parties to use civil courts. These clauses are unnecessary and enable non-halachic use of civil courts.
The shtar berurin posted here is NOT intended to be enforceable in civil courts. The shtar berurin does NOT have to state that if a party disobeys the Bais Din ruling, the other party will have a right to take the matter to civil courts.
If a party does disobey the Bais Din ruling, the Bais Din can provide that party a heter to enforce the Beis Din’s ruling in civil court, provided that civil court enforcement does not exceed the Bais Din’s ruling in awards or punishments. However, cruel draconian feminist penalties such as jailing indigent fathers is NOT allowed in halacha.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This website has not been composed by attorneys, toens, or rabbis.
The information on this page is not intended to be legal advice or legal representation or rabbinic representation.
Before signing any legal contracts, you MUST consult with your toen (rabbinic adviser) and lawyer.