Volume 19 Number 91
                       Produced: Wed Jun  7 10:16:10 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Atrocities and Action
         [Yaakov Menken]
Betrothing Minor Daughters
         [Jamie Leiba]
Brides, et al.
         [Zvi Weiss]
Daughters and Agunos: The Contrast
         [Akiva Miller]
Equal Victims?
         [Michael Lipkin]
Interesting Juxtaposition
K'das Moshe V'yisrael
         [Akiva Miller]
Marriage of minor
         [Steven F. Friedell]
Marrying off a minor
         [Etan Diamond]


From: <menken@...> (Yaakov Menken)
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 1995 12:13:04 -0400
Subject: Atrocities and Action

"Atrocity" is only barely the word - it's an unimaginable Chillul HaShem
(desecration of G-d's name).  The problem here is most certainly not the
Halacha, which has benefitted innumerable Jewish daughters throughout the
millenia.  I am also uncertain that the solution is a Rabbinic ban on this
practice, even despite Rav Bechoffer's recent contribution concerning the
idea of a countrywide ordinance.  It was always my impression that were
someone to violate the ban on Yibum or the ban against having two wives,
both of these marriages would take force at least to the point of requiring
a get.  In this case, no ban need be issued here to recognize the evil of
both deed and doer.  It has always been possible to be a menuval birshus
haTorah, a disgusting individual without violating Torah.

It is quite certain that no solution will be achieved by those who use these
incidents to score political points and argue for wholesale changes in
Halacha.  While I don't mean to draw attention away from this critical
issue, I must object to a post asserting that "Chachamim do have the right
to change Biblical rules."  Torah cannot be changed, and the references used
to defend the contrary assertion were stunning misinterpretations. The quote
from Pesachim 115a neither reads "atu Rabanan umevatil lih de'Oraita" nor
translates as "Rabanan came and invalidated {rules of the} Torah." Rather it
reads "ati _D_Rabanan umavtil lei l'Doraita," and concerns the opinion that
Maror is only a Rabbinic Mitzva without the Pesach sacrifice.  If a person
eats Matzah on the Seder night (which is a Torah Mitzva even today) with
Maror, "the [inclusion of a] Rabbinic [taste] comes and nullifies the [taste
of the] Torah [obligation]." Thus we first eat them separately, and only
then eat them together in rememberance of the Temple, according to Hillel.

Similarly, Sotah 16a does NOT permit Rabbis to change Torah, but specifies
three cases where Halacha L'Moshe MiSinai (Oral _Torah_) tells us that while
the Torah mentions a certain item, the truth is that any item would do.  For
example, the Torah says that a Nazir cannot shave with a razor, while the
Halacha forbids him to shave with ANYTHING.  The correct reading in both
cases is obvious, and it's barely possible to justify the post by claiming
the fellow looked in a Concordance without bothering to open the Talmud.
Pseudo-scholarship of this nature is hardly going to solve our problems.

It is my impression that the most effective actions would be those that make
an example out of Israel Goldstein, while forcing him to divulge the
accuracy of his story, and if true, the husband's name.  It is also as clear
to me as to Rav Bechoffer that the most extreme tortures would be a great
kindness to him, for what currently awaits him at the Gates of Gehinnom is
beyond description.  Thus Michael Lipkin's solution ("Why not Beat Them?")
is a decent idea; while I understand Elozor Preil's concern for criminal
charges, we may simply need Rabbinic pressure to close our eyes at the right
moment.  The ways of Torah are ways of peace, and the ways of peace include
the use of lashes (or knocking out teeth) when needed.

At the very least, the leading Rabbis of New York must declare a cherem
(Rabbinic ban on contact of any kind) against Goldstein.  When people lived
in united communities such as existed pre-WWII, actions of this nature were
practically inconceivable because of the shunning that would have resulted.
"Woe is us that such has occurred in our days"!

I would recommend that those who are really concerned do more than simply
bemoan the problem.  I made a few calls about this, and this morning (Erev
Shabbos) called Monsey's leading "agunah-activist".  It turns out that he
was headed out the door to spend Shavuous in Montreal... because that's
where the wife of Israel Goldstein (shmos reshaim yachriu) resides.

Most of us attend synagogues.  Most of our Rabbis do have contacts in New
York.  Most Rabbis _will_ respond kindly when respectfully asked to pay
attention to a situation because of its inherent severity and also because
of the Chillul HaShem being caused.  It's a start.

Yaakov Menken


From: Jamie Leiba <leiba@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 13:43:00 -0400 
Subject: Betrothing Minor Daughters 

I have been reading with disgust this misuse of a Torah permission,
namely to blackmail one's estranged wife by threatening to create an
Agunah out of one's daughter.  The cherem option was presented as a
possible deterrent and it was pointed out that its effectiveness is
diminished nowadays because of the nature of our Jewish community.

This shabbos in shul someone came up with the suggestion to greatly
publicize in some significant way, the names and addresses of these men.
Hopefully this will result in some sort of grass roots cherem that might
be just as effective as the real thing.

As a start, can someone get access to the names and addresses of some or
all of these men, and send them to Mail-Jewish ?



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 1995 15:34:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Brides, et al.

Re Akiva Miller's comments:

1. The statement that the father can be mekadesh his daughter to a
  "Mukat Shchin" ('a man afflicted with boils and *repulsive* [not
  simply "ugly"] in the extreme) is mentioned in a few places -- notably
  in Kesuvot..  From the context of the Gemara, it is clear that the
  focus here is NOT on the fact that the 'ugly' person has other fine

2. As horrible as it, the 'sin' of being an 'eid' very likely does *not*
  automatically fall into the category being the sort of sin that
  invalidates an eid.  It is critically important to separate emotion
  especially when dealing with this issue.

3. As I pointed out, even if the father has no "believeability"
  ("ne'emanut") to state that he was mekadish his daughter without
  mentioning a husband or witnesses (and I have doubts about that),
  given that there are -- supposedly -- some 'rabbis' who support this,
  it would be enough for the father to tell THEM -- after all, the Torah
  does not require the father to broadcast this data to EVERYONE.

4. A possible approach can be developed *if* we can determine who the
  eidim actually *are*.  If they can be brought to court and subjected
  to intensive "drisha v'chakira" (close examination) and found to
  contradict themselves on ANY point (or almost any point), then the
  actual testimony can be declared void and the daughter is "home free".
  Note that hits will only work (in most cases) if the witnesses
  actually contradict each other -- if they simply answer "I don't know"
  -- then the testimony would still be valid -- and there is always the
  possibility that some 'mentor' could 'coach' the eidim how to avoid
  this sort of impeachment.

5. The approach of Beit Din declaring the money 'hefker' is problematic
  for (at least) 2 reasons: a. What happens if the father uses a 'shtar'
  instead of money? b. it is not clear that any beit din can declare
  anyone's money hefker...  Presumably, the beir din that this creep of
  a father recognizes would NOT do that...  However, if there is a
  unified approach among the poskim, perhaps this could be developed.



From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 1995 00:14:37 -0400
Subject: Daughters and Agunos: The Contrast

Ellen Krischer writes in 19#82:
>At the same time, I am somewhat confused at the lack of a similar
>outpouring and creativity in the area of agunot.  Are the wives of these
>horrid men not equally victims?

This question has been gnawing at me since the beginning. So far I have
come up with two answers. The first is that the aguna problem has been
with us, unfortunately, for centuries if not millenia. Though it is more
prevalent now than then, still, it is a problem which the rabbis have
been working at for a long time, and I cannot come up with any ideas
which they have not already investigated. This, on the other hand, is a
new problem, and perhaps our ideas can be of some help.

Second: It is difficult for outsiders to take sides when a husband and
wife are locked in an ugly divorce battle. But the daughter is not part
of the dispute, and so we sympathize with her much more easily. It is
very much like the sad irony which people talked about during the Gulf
War: "Arabs are killing arabs, and *again* they take it out on
Israel!!!" Here too. It is bad enough that the parents cannot get along
with each other. Don't take it out on the children!!!


From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 1995 10:45:51 +0500
Subject: Equal Victims?

>From: Ellen Krischer

>At the same time, I am somewhat confused at the lack of a similar 
>outpouring and creativity in the area of agunot.  Are the wives of 
>these horrid men not equally victims?

Reaction to victimization is not objective.  The more helpless the
victim, the more strongly we react.  Just look at Oklahoma City and our
reaction to the kids killed in the day care center.

Additionally, I think the daughter being married off to an anonymous
husband is objectively worse than the agunah.  At least with the agunah
we "know" the source of the problem and we have an enemy to "negotiate"
with.  In the extreme, if he dies she's free.  In this case, if the
father dies the kid could be trapped for life.

For the record I think the "agunah only" men should be beaten up as
well.  Though according Elozor Preil there might be problems obtaining a
Get this way.  (If that's the case we should beat them up AFTER they
give the Get; as a deterrent!:)



From: <Andrew_Marc_Greene@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 1995 17:50 -0400
Subject: Interesting Juxtaposition

An interesting juxtaposition in the latest issue of m-j:

>From: Joel Ehrlich <ehrlich@...>
>Subject: Why marry off one's daughter?
>I would appreciate insights
>into the reasons why these sick individuals have seen fit to take this
>action -- it's incomprehensible to me...
>Subject: Why Not Beat Them?
>it's easy for me say (from the safety of my PC) that I'd love to take
>one of these guys into a dark alley with a baseball bat.  Honestly
>though, I wouldn't risk going to jail.  But maybe there are some people
>who would.

One of the quote in the NYT article was the father saying that this was
a form of "life insurance" for him -- he felt that there were people who
might kill him over his refusal to give his wife a get (since his death
would free her remarry), but mow he has information that they need and
that they couldn't get if he dies.

Other reasons, of course, are the usual extortion ones. Assume that you
have no moral principles, and you refuse to give your wife a get until
she gives you custody of your daughter. Assume that , forced to choose
between giving up custody of the daughter or giving up her own ability
to remarry "someday", she decides to keep the daughter. Now, if you
raise the stakes -- give her the choice of giving up custody of the
daughter or giving up the *daughter's* chance of ever marrying anyone --
well, from a cold calculus point of view, this approach certainly seems
like it would be more effective. :-(

And it's lashes, not a baseball bat. <grimace>

- Andrew Greene


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 01:22:36 -0400
Subject: K'das Moshe V'yisrael

Zishe Waxman wrote in MJ 19#83:
>Moreover, what if he explicitly states at the time of the kiddushin
>that he wants the marriage to work, EVEN IF IT DOES NOT MEET with
>rabbinic approval. Presumably, there would be kiddushin d'oraysa
>(especially if the maysa (act) of kiddushin were a d'oraysa act).

I agree. This would be a problem. That is why it will not be sufficient
for the rabbis to forbid this kind of thing. But there may be a way to
use the concept of "hefker beis din hefker" so that RETROACTIVELY, the
money (or a ring, in normal cases) which was used to create the marriage
was not the "husband's" property at the time. Thus the whole marriage is
null and void, even in your case.

("Hefker beis din hefker" is a legal principle by which the court can
expropriate a person's property, making it no longer property of that
person.  If the court takes this action upon the ring used at a wedding,
then the wedding is null and void because the ring did not belong to the
groom at the time of the wedding.)

Oy vey. Suppose these @$^$#^&@+'s avoid the money route and marry the
daughter by one of the other two non-monetary methods: "by document, or
by relations". (1) Does the husband have to own the document on which he
writes "With this document your daughter is married to me"? Is there a
way to annul that retroactively? (2) What if they blindfold her, and the
"husband" rapes her to perform this marriage?

RABBIS!!! IT WON'T WORK!!! If you come up with a solution dependent on
using hefker beis din hefker, then these @#$%&%@#$'s will up the ante
and perform the marriage in a manner which hefker will not be able to
annull. Please let the cure be less harmful than the plague! THE ONLY
SOLUTION (in my unlearned opinion) IS TO DISQUALIFY THE WITNESSES!!!

"And He, being merciful, will forgive sin and not destroy. He frquently
turns His anger back, and does not arouse all His rage. HaShem! Save us!
May the King answer us on the day we call."
     (Psalms 78:38, 20:10. Weekday evening service)


From: <friedell@...> (Steven F. Friedell)
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 14:40:24 -0400
Subject: Marriage of minor

It may be noted that in Israel the Chief Rabbinical Court in 1950
prohibited marriages of females under the age of 16.  The prohibition
specifically applies to the female's father.  See Elon, Ha-Mishpat
Ha-Ivri 675 (1973) for the text of the enactment.


From: Etan Diamond <aa725@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 1995 08:05:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Marrying off a minor

	My wife, who teaches in a day school here in Toronto, raised an 
interesting point that I do not think I've seen any comments yet.  Look 
at the Rashi in Parshat Chaye Sarah, 24:57.  There, when Eliezer has come 
to Lavan and Betuel to discuss taking Rivka back to Yitzchak, they say 
(roughly translated), "Let's call the girl and ask her opinion."  On this 
Rashi says, (roughly translated), "From here we know that we do not marry 
off a woman without her consent."  He seems to be quoting from both 
Bereishit Rabbah and the Gemara in Kiddushin.  Radak also makes a similar 

	How does this seemingly clear statement reconcile with those 
found in the Gemara and made by more recent Poskim?

Etan Diamond
Department of History
Carnegie Mellon University


End of Volume 19 Issue 91