By Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn
There is no more unpleasant word in Judaism than “mamzer,” or bastard. A child born of adultery or incest is a mamzer, or bastard, and may not enter the Israelite Community with marriage. A mamzer may marry another mamzer or a convert to Judaism. Some bastards have become Torah scholars, as the Mishneh teachers, “Greater is the bastard sage than the High Priest ignoramus.” Nonetheless, the holy Jewish strain cannot tolerate a link with such a product of sin.
A woman who divorces and remarries, without a proper GET or Orthodox divorce, is considered to be in an adulterous relationship. The product of the second marriage or relationship could very possibly be a “mamzer,” heaven forbid. Although adultery is quite rare, fortunately, there is another way for mamzerim to be produced which is not so far fetched, when a woman marries Orthodox and divorces without a proper GET. She is Orthodox married even if she has a civil divorce. Only a GET, divorce paper, prepared by a competent Orthodox rabbi or rabbinical court can divorce a Jewish woman married Orthodox.
A woman married in a civil ceremony without a rabbinical or Jewish ceremony may not be considered married by Jewish law. If so, if she remarries without a GET her children are not suspect because they are not products of adultery. The first marriage, the civil one, may not be valid. On the other hand, a woman married Orthodox can only terminate her marriage with the death of the spouse or a GET. A woman married with an Orthodox marital ceremony and who remarries without an Orthodox GET is still married. If she remarries without a GET she is an adulteress, and her children are mamzerim, heaven forbid.
A woman who forces her husband to give a GET with serious threats, such as if she has people approach the husband with threats to his physical person, money or other sensitive areas, such as reputation, may have destroyed her GET, because a GET must be done willingly. Women who begin divorce proceedings with a threat from their tough lawyer may have ruined themselves and their generations. The New York State GET Law is a “mamzer” factory. We must be very careful when dating to inquire where a divorcee got her GET. We must then find out if the husband gave it willingly, or if the woman forced him in court, or pressured him against his will in a manner unacceptable in Jewish law.
Although all divorces usually entail some form of pressure, there are pressures and there are pressures. The pressure of going through civil courts with judges completely in sympathy with the wife is a severe pressure, and may destroy a GET.
How sad it is that there are wicked neo-Orthodox women going around arousing hate for husbands, instigating divorces, and teaching women how to have mamzerim. In an age where Gloria Steinhem finally married, even though her feminist men-haters howled in pain, can Orthodox women learn how important a husband is to a woman, and leave a wife in peace? There is a special place in Gehenum (Hell) for idealists that teach a decent and fine woman to become a liar, to spread malicious rumors about her husband, to call the police and falsify claims and do the most despicable things, all to “free Agunose.” Such people deserve the full censor of the Jewish community, and should be driven back into their snakepits.
It seems, unfortunately, as time goes on, that the pressures in the modern-Orthodox or neo-Orthodox community gets worse all of the time to tear down the sacred structure of marriage. As Rav Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik zt”l said, when he heard about a certain idea to appease the feminists, “Have we reached the ‘end of the ends’?” If we appease feminists by tampering with family and the Torah, we have reached the end. It is time to stand up and say, “stop.”