Halachic Violations and Injustices In Jewish Divorces
Various pro-family, politically conservative activists have described how males, and especially fathers, in our feminist American society are being increasingly delegitimized and denied their rights. Radical feminists recognize no use for fathers, and are succeeding very well in their goal to eject fathers from the family and replace them with state agencies. Fear of the extreme anti-male bias in the family courts is resulting in a “marriage strike” by non-Jewish males which may very well have spread within the Orthodox community. So called “commitment fear” may really be fear of divorce.
Opposing the feminists within the larger American society is a well organized, pro-family, conservative opposition. Yet it appears that feminism, divorce on demand, and anti-male attitudes have become common in modern Orthodox communities, and even in certain Yeshivish communities. Unlike the non-Jewish community, there’s very little organized opposition to these ideologies in the various Jewish communities. Jewish men involved in divorce situations are increasingly becoming victims of m’sira and injustices such as:
- being sued after their wives received “heter archaos” from corrupt “rabbis”
- being ejected from their homes and incarcerated after their wives filed false domestic violence charges on advice from corrupt lawyers, “rabbis” and toanim (rabbinic lawyers)
- being permanently prevented from seeing their children by restraining orders
- being ordered to pay unconscionable amounts of child support and alimony by the archaos, based on “imputed” income, i.e. income they do not earn, and being incarcerated for being unable to pay
- having a restraining order served on them by the police in shul on Shabbos
- attending a community simcha, where their ex-spouse also showed up, and then being incarcerated for “violation” of a restraining order requiring them to stay 500 ft. away
- having their life savings and assets confiscated by lawyers and judges in archaos
- being banned from shuls with no halachic basis, because their ex-wife is “uncomfortable”
- being ordered to move out of their community upon divorce, without any halachic basis
- being publicly denounced, slandered, and banned from the bully pulpit of feminist modern Orthodox “rabbis”, simply for requesting their legitimate halachic rights
- being ordered to vacate their houses before divorce, a demand k’neged Evan HaEzer 119:11.
- having fraudulent seruvim served on them, without ever receiving hazmanos
- being forced to give Gittin, when not chayav l’garesh, by rabbis, Batei Dinim and archaos
This last issue, forced Gittin, is an issue that has dire implications for the survival of the whole Jewish community. How many Jews are aware that Rav Eliyashev as well as Rav Shternboch from the Eidah Chareides in Yerushalayim have stated that every Get written in NY State needs to be looked into, as to what conditions it was given under? The modern Orthodox apologists for the New York State Get Law argue the validity of the Get Law based on fanciful and non-existent conditions in archaos. They do not want the rabbanim to know what really goes on in archaos. In New York State courts, on a regular basis, Jewish men are being taken into the judges chambers, where the tape recorders are inoperative, and are quietly ordered to either give a Get, or else be incarcerated for “contempt of court”, or else lose visitation time with their children. When they refuse to give a Get, they are incarcerated until a gangster “rabbi” comes into the prison and performs a Get ceremony. The “ex” wives of these men and their “rabbis” then announce they’ve received a kosher Get.
How many Orthodox Jews are aware that the children born from an invalidly divorced women’s next husband, may, G-d forbid, become shidduchim for their children or grandchildren?
Torah Law Discarded
In many other cases Jewish men are being harassed by modern Orthodox “agunah” organizations even if no Bais Din ruled that they are chayav l’garesh, ie required to divorce their wives. A while back ago, the web site of the YU connected ORA organization ( http://www.getora.com ), stated “An agunah is a woman whose husband refuses to grant her a Jewish divorce upon request.” This statement contradicts halacha ( Jewish law ) and exposes ORA’s true agenda. This writer could find no authentic Orthodox rabbinic authorities who accepted ORA’s statement. It appears there is no source in Torah law for such a statement, which is in clear contradiction to the laws of Gittin and Jewish values. Jewish law simply does not accept the concept of feminist divorce on demand. Yet the ORA organization lists the endorsement of many YU rabbis on its web site.
The “agunah” organizations claim to have “rabbinic supervision”, but use coercive tactics such as public demonstrations in front of a man’s employer to force men to give Gittin when they are not chayav l’garesh. Chareidi rabbinic experts hold that these Gittin are pasul.
Today we have activist feminist “rabbis” in many communities, who stealthily provide heterim to Orthodox women to sue their husbands in archaos, rob them of large amounts of money, have them removed from their homes, and withhold their children from them. THESE WOMEN ARE NOT AGUNOS! These “rabbis” then rail from their bully pulpits about alleged injustices suffered by so-called “agunos”, and apply community sanctions to the men who were victims of mesirah.
Halacha clearly requires sanctions against the perpetrators of mesirah, not the victims, see Choshen Mishpat 26 and 388. In S’dom the victims of injustices were punished instead of the criminals, see Sanhedrin 109B. Recently, a well known modern Orthodox pulpit rabbi in Brooklyn, known for his activism on behalf of so-called “agunos”, was confronted by a Chareidi Dayan. The Dayan, an expert in Gittin and Choshen Mishpat, described numerous halachic violations he felt were being committed by the modern Orthodox, agunah activist rabbi. In each case, the reply of the modern Orthodox rabbi, was “So what !”
Various Jewish feminist and “agunah” organizations operate today with large budgets and staffs, and are given free reign in the Jewish media. These organizations usually scapegoat men for all matrimonial problems and encourage women to commit moser their husbands. Many of these organizations are spreading hysterical propaganda about an alleged widespread problem of abusive relationships in the Orthodox community, and encouraging the use of domestic violence protection orders.
Domestic violence laws and restraining orders are being promoted by women’s groups under the pretense that they are needed to protect “battered women”. Lawyers, toens, and father’s rights groups have informed me that the the vast majority of these protection orders are obtained under false allegations and that the woman shows no sign of physical abuse. Doctors, accountants, computer programmers, and other professionals with no criminal record are being routinely served these protection orders. These protection orders are in fact a trump card which enables divorcing women to obtain primary custody of the children, obtain possession of the marital home, and to evict their husband in one quick court hearing. The hearing is ex parte, ie the husband is not present, and no physical evidence of violence is necessary.
In many cases, the police will serve the order of protection or restraining order (each state refers to them differently) on the husband, and allow him about 10 minutes to remove a few of his possessions from the family home. The orders usually forbid the husband from approaching less than about 500 feet toward his wife or children. Should the husband even unintentionally violate the order, he will probably be immediately jailed. A number of Orthodox men have had orders of protection served on them, then unintentionally met their wives in synagogues, and were charged with crimes later! In some cases Orthodox women have had Orders of Protection issued against their own teenage children, or against Bais Dins which their husbands had contacted!
This writer was able to obtain a large packet of materials provided to participants at a recent “Domestic Violence Conference” (DVC) in NY City, sponsored by a variety of Jewish and political organizations, including the District Attorney of Queens County, the Queens Jewish Community Council, and several modern Orthodox rabbis. The detailed materials indicated the following were “domestic violence”: “withholding information, withholding access to family finances, controlling where she goes, making gestures, making all the big decisions, acting like the master of the castle, being the one to define men’s and women’s roles, playing mind games, giving her an allowance”. For these “violations” and others, the woman were urged to go to court and get an order of protection. Apparently never explained in any of the material in the DVC packet are the halachic facts that false domestic violence charges against another Jew constitutes mesirah, or that halacha forbids suing another Jew in civil court.
Another serious problem is the corruption of certain Rabbonim and toanim in the Bais Din system. Even Rabbonim familiar with the problems are afraid to stand up to the entrenched interests operating in the Batei Din. One Chareidi Rosh Yeshiva complained to me that “certain Batei Din today are trying to ingratiate themselves with the women.” When I asked that Rosh Yeshiva why he didn’t speak out publicly against corrupt Batei Din, he expressed fear of being murdered! Many honest Rabbonim not involved in the Bais Din system are not well acquainted with the halachos of Gittin, and are unaware of the gangsterism and shenanigans that go on in the Batei Din.
Many of the Batei Din today are operating as profitable business enterprises, and even when operating without corruption, are attempting to appease the civil court judges who usually need to confirm the Bais Din rulings. The result is that “shatnez” rulings are being issued, which selectively apply Torah and civil law to provide the maximum benefit to the women, while trampling on the rights of Jewish men.
The use of fraudulent seruvim to harass and intimidate men in divorce situations, and to possibly coerce Gittin, is becoming more common. Groups like the YU based ORA ( The Organization for the Resolution of Agunot ) regularly exploit bogus seruvim to provide a false halachic validity to their campaigns of harassment against various Jewish men. These bogus seruvim are often issued against Jewish husbands even when the husbands are prepared to appear before a kosher Bais Din, or while their wives were litigating in civil court with or without the awareness of the dayanim on the Bais Din.