Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Av 5761 - August 15, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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At The Behest Of The Leading Poskim: Rabbonim And Dayonim In America Prepare Takonos For Botei Din That Issue Gittin
by B. Kahn

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 to light.

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 rabbonim.

"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.


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