An Aspiring Mekubal

The confessions of a Rabbi and would be mystic

Abandoning the Agunah Debate

To say that the halakhot surrounding the Agunah issue are complex would a bit of an understatement.  They are incredibly complex and demand mastery of a number of oft unlearned simanim in the Tur and Shulhan Arukh.  This also leads to difficulties of difference of interpretation.  See just because something is written there, does not mean that we all read what is written in the same way.  As an example that every Rabbi should be familiar with I give you Sh”A Y”D 69:

Meat that was left for three days without being salted that became mixed up with other pieces is  batel  b’rov,  it is permitted to cook all of them even if the piece was r’u’ya l’chabed  RAMA This is also the law if it was cooked without being salted and then became mixed with other pieces.

This would seem at first glance to be an open and shut halakha.  However don’t tell that to the Shakh and the Taz who have a dispute over what is being written here.  According to the Taz(35) the meat is literally batel b’rov.  No problem, he reads the line simply as they are stated.  The Shakh(57) however, says that batel b’rov is lav davka(not exact) and that he actually means that there must be 60 against the biggest piece of meat.  Leaving the final halakha(at least by Ashkenazim) up for debate.

Bringing this back to the Agunah debate(at least the one that rages on the internet).  I have found that this is overpopulated by folks who can’t read Hebrew and who have little to no actual training in halakha.   Yet they all have an opinion on what the halakha books say on Agunot.  We are told that there is only one B”D in the whole world that has the halakha correct(what utter nonsense) and all must bow before it’s decisions.
I fully appreciate that Rav Gestetner can quote a great many sources to back his position.  In the above example both the Shakh and the Taz quote a great many sources to back their respective positions.  Ability to quote sources does not, by weight of sources alone, make one’s opinion correct.   If it did, halakha wouldn’t be about logic, it would be about math.  Add up those who are for, compare it to the numbers of those against, whichever side had the most would be correct.  Yet halakha does not work that way.

Throughout the countless hours I spent  wasted on debating the Agunah issue, one thing became clear, the camp that wanted to ensure that women remained agunot, never wanted to deal with the texts(whether that was because they couldn’t or didn’t like what they found there I don’t know).  So discussion simply becomes pointless.  What you have is not people who are interested in seeing what the sources have to teach us about an issue, but want to impose their views upon said sources and thus force the sources to agree with them.  Yet another reason for the white flag above.

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