With the encouragement and guidance of HaRav Eliashiv, rabbonim and senior
dayonim in the United States have started to formulate a set of
guidelines for botei din that deal with marriages and divorces, since
a serious breach in the correct procedures in these areas has recently come
Two distinguished American rabbonim were recently in Eretz Yisroel: HaRav
Eliezer Teitz, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, and HaRav Yaakov Pollack, rav of
Shomrei Emunim in Boro Park. The two visited Rav Eliashiv's home, together
with HaRav Boruch Shmuel Deutsch, one of the heads of Yeshivas Kol Torah.
Lately, many rabbonim across the United States have been experiencing a
very serious problem concerning gittin. It seems that several parties
whose main concern is financial gain have been arranging gittin in
return for large fees. The main problem has been the issue of heterei
mei'oh rabbonim [the only means by which a husband may take a second
wife in a case where his first wife cannot, or will not, accept a divorce
from him] without minimum halachic requirements. In several of the cases,
the heteirim were signed by avreichim and bnei yeshiva in
Yerushalayim who were completely unaware of the true facts.
During their visit to Rav Eliashiv's home, the rabbonim gave many examples
of dayonim who have been dealing with gittin irresponsibly, in
return for large payments, and have been organizing the heterei mei'oh
"In at least one of the cases, a husband was allowed to marry a second wife
even though not a single one of the hetter's hundred signatories had
checked the reason for the hetter's having been granted. This
contravenes the halochoh that the signatories must be thoroughly
familiar with the reasons that led the beis din to authorize the
hetter," said the visiting rabbonim.
In the course of their visit, the rabbonim prepared a draft document of
instructions for botei din that deal with marriages and divorces in
the United States. The relevant authorities in Eretz Yisroel were also
party to the discussions, with the aim of ensuring that husbands who have
divorced their wives unjustly, assisted by money grabbing officiants, will
be prevented from remarrying in Eretz Yisroel. In addition, the authorities
were asked not to accept problematic gittin which they do not
recognize, and to ignore problematic marriage certificates.
HaRav Eliashiv told the visiting rabbonim of his views, namely, that
"nobody should chas vesholom sign a hetter mei'oh rabbonim
before they are convinced that all the details have turned out to be
correct and that the ruling to issue the hetter was given by a
distinguished beis din that has the authorization to do so."
The rabbonim quoted HaRav Eliashiv's views to all the parties involved and
it was announced that the gedolim of America are about to sign a
proclamation calling for drastic steps to be taken against those who ignore
the guidelines, including the imposition of communal sanctions against
dayonim who defy the instructions of gedolei Yisroel.