Gittin and Why I got Involved
After a week of relative blogger silence, and apparently having a new blog opened up in my name, I thought I would discuss why I got involved in the Get Meusa discussion that happened over at Daas Torah(a topic which I think he is now trying to bury). I am not a supporter of ORA(Organization for the Resolution of Agunot), nor do I personally feel comfortable halakhically with everything that they do. Neither am I a supporter of Rav Schachter really, I’m not a detractor either, but not a supporter. Oh and though I hail from Philadelphia I have no special affinity toward Tamar Epstein, yes I did know her then, when he was a B”Y girl at Torah Academy, but that was mostly from being a Mashgiah at a local deli, and I don’t remember too many of the customers all that fondly to be entirely honest.
My reason was that I believed, and still do believe, that the picture he, and his brother Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn, are trying to paint on their blogs is activist in the extreme and does not accord with basic halakha. Essentially we were treated with the argument that a Beit Din has no right to force a Get, and if it does the resulting Get would be invalid. Unfortunately that argument does not accord with the Beit Yosef on Even HaEzer 134, nor the Ruling of the Shulhan Arukh. We were then treated to a drawn out argument over sources and which one’s should be accepted versus which one’s should not. Of course he then brings a Beit Shmuel(S’K 10), and a Shakh then didn’t make the page, while conveniently ignoring the Taz(S”K 7) the Pitchei Teshuva(11), the Maharshdam(63) the Kenesset HaGadola(21) and the Tzemah Tzedek(262:9). Never mind that the Sma(Hoshen Misphat 1:3) and the Netivot HaMishpat(Biurim 1) also feel that the Beit Din has discretionary power to force a recalcitrant husband to divorce. Yes I do think that refusing to acknowledge half the sources is a less than honest way to debate.
He then gave me this gem of a piece here:
The Chazon Ish is a better model – he clearly states that a posek decides on what he thinks is right and the Shulchan Aruch is a fall back position if he doesn’t know what to do.
Bottom line in the non-Sefardic world your analysis is not relevant. If the gedolim say that we are to be concerned about mamzerim – then a forced get is understood as producing mamzerim.
First let me state that one should see the above mentioned Netivot HaMishpat, as to whether the Chazon Ish “model” as is presented here, is in fact a valid way to psak. The Netivot HaMishpat, which the last time I checked, lived his entire life in Poland, and thus was an Ashkenazi posek(a widely accepted one as well, unlike the CI), states that we lack the authority to overturn the explicit rulings of previous generations(he is of the firm belief that a B”D’s power is m’d'oraitta, but since the Sh”A ruled that is M’d'Rabban, he says we are compelled to abide by that).
Finally I would say that he was reading his(and his brother’s) own activism into the words of the Gedolim. Which is precisely why I got involved. I don’t think that blogs are the place for halakhic activism. Essentially it is attempting to capitalize a sad but true fact that if everyone believes something is halakha, all too often the Gedolim will go with it rather than face the outrage of the people. That is unless it directly affects their parnassa, such as the child molestation issue. Personally I think it is a dishonest way to operate. If you want the halakha changed… well… if you are Orthodox you shouldn’t view the halakha as easily changeable.
Secondly posting a relatively dishonest argument based on only partial information, is no way to do business. I really don’t care if 100 Gedolim tell me that the halakha does not accord with the Shulhan Arukh and the Notei Kelim. So long as the Shulhan Arukh and it’s major commentaries say X is the halakha, X is the halakha. In previous generations when the Rabbanim/Gedolim were answerable tot he Tuvei HaIr, and thus had accountability, perhaps they could have been vested with more power to change halakha. In our generation, as the Aguda is adequately demonstrating on the child abuse issue, they are accountable to no one. Giving someone unlimited power to change halakha with absolutely no accountability scares the day lights out of me. Where does it stop? If the Rabbis decide that Avodah Zara is no longer a sin do we just say, yup that is the ruling of the Gedolim? You can see the debate that I had with D”T on this here in the comment section, before I just gave up. However, I would like to see him answer why HaShem killed the Sanhedrin for not standing up to Uzzziah when he wanted to sacrifice in the Temple(Sanhedrin 48).
So in short the reason I got involved is that I wanted at least one lone voice for the truth to be seen on those pages. That seems to have been accomplished so know I withdraw, because it has become apparent that the debate will only involve half sources and circular logic.