Volume 25 Number 45
                      Produced: Fri Dec 20  0:03:12 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Rabbi Yosef Blau]
Heter Meah Rabonim
         [Ely Klagsbrun]


From: Rabbi Yosef Blau <yoblau@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 09:34:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Aguna

 Ely Klagsbrun's article on this recent negative development of Rabbis
giving a Heter Meoh Rabbonim without requiring the husband to write a
Get deserves serious responses. He writes out of the personal agony of
his mother and the children which may cause some to question his
objectivity.  I prefer to focus on the role of the orthodox rabbinate
and its difficulty in criticising distortions of halacha if they are
expressed by other orthodox rabbis. We are subject to so many external
attacks that we have become reluctant to to acknowledge any internal
 A small group of rabbis who see the world from the perspective of men
losing control to the onslaught of modern women have attempted in recent
years to use halacha to return control to the husbands. Kedushai ketana,
pilegesh and this latest manipulation of halacha, a heter meoh rabbonim
without a get, have all come from this group. Uncomfortable with
denouncing any position that quotes halachic sources and is said by
those claiming to be more religious we remain silent despite the fact
that all the leading halachic authorities have rejected these positions,
 Unfortunately silence is seen as aquiescence and a new weapon is now in
the hands of recalcitrant husbands. It is critical that such second
marriages, which invariably follow, be rejected by the orthodox
community.  Much progress is being made in returning Batei Din to their
proper role in Jewish life but unless we can control the unscrupulous
Batei Din this will all dissipate.
  Yosef Blau


From: Ely Klagsbrun <eklagsbr@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Dec 96 14:16:22 PST
Subject: Heter Meah Rabonim

I wish to thank all those people who read my previous post and went out
of their way to extend their 'chizuk' to my mother's family over the
last few days.

There were a few queries, the answers to which, others might find useful
as well.

 1. Where can Rabbi Feinstein's psak be found.
 2. What is the source as to Rabbi Elyashev's psak.
 3. Why haven't any Rabbis or Batei Din publicly said anything about my
mother's case in particular and this horrible situation (the nefarious
behavior of some Rabbis and some Batei Din) in general.
 4. What can they do to help.

Firstly, I would like to point out that while we have been living with
this sad situation for almost 12 years, we have not made any attempts to
bring this to the public's attention.  My mother values her privacy
greatly and has requested writers to 'kill' stories that they were
working on, because it would have brought publicity that was unwanted.

What has happened now is very different. There is a big difference
between a person using (and abusing) the system to achieve his own ends
on one hand and Rabbis and Batei Din corrupting the system itself on the
other. The system itself is hard enough to deal with. Golus in America
has not been kind to any kind of communal structure and/or
accountability. Batei Dinim which to a very great degree are a function
of community and at least need the authority of the community to
function have been hurt worse than most.  The weak and defenseless have
nobody to turn to. To have Rabbis corrupting the system, is just another
nail in the coffin.

The Talmud lists all of the terrible things that will happen in the
generation before the Moshiach comes. At the end it says "and upon whom
can we lean upon for support?, we have no one to lean on but our Father
in Heaven (HaShem)". It is said in the name of Rabbi Chaim Volozhener
that this line of the Gemara is not meant as a consolation, it is part
of the curse! We are supposed to be able to rely upon the Torah's legal
system to protect us, if it is not there for us, we are much closer to
midnight than we think.

This is the third attempt in about as many years to corrupt and
undermine the way Jews have lived for at least hundreds of years. We
have seen the same Rabbis bring us Kiddushei Ketana, Pilegesh and
invalid Heterim of 100 Rabbis. And all in the name of Shalom Bayis.

Due to my families particular situation, I have had the occasion to deal
on an ongoing basis with many great Rabbonim way above my station in
life (you shouldn't know from it). In moments of Rabbinical frustration
I have heard even from Rabbonim who represent the right-wing Torah world
(a world by the way that I consider myself a part of), that in their gut
they feel that it would be alot better if we disbanded Batei Din and
just went to secular court. At least we wouldn't have to answer to
HaShem for the way Torah is being perverted and if there weren't any
Batei Din around, it wouldn't be such a big sin to go to court in the
first place. Obviously, comments like these (and I have had opportunity
to hear quite a few of them), are not serious statements of halacha or
communal policy, but they do reveal a problem that is plaguing our

One Rav in particular, commenting on a statement made by one of his
attendants that the secular courts are corrupt, said that, of course
they are corrupt, if we corrupt truth and justice in Torah it affects
truth and justice in all of creation.

Replies to queries that I have received:

1. Rabbi Feinstein's responsa can be found in Igros Moshe, Even HaEzer
IV, Responsa #3.

The following is my translation (a poor one at that), of that
responsa. All text in [brackets] is for clarification only and is not
the words of Rabbi Feinstein.

Title: Prohibition to annul the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom Meor HaGola
without the deposit of a kosher Get, even if the husband has monetary
claims against the woman.

Date: 8 Tishrei 5739

Addressed To: Masters and Rabbis, may HaShem preserve their lives upon

Behold, it is already well known, my opinion that the Heter of 100
Rabbis, even in the case of a rebellious wife is specifically with the
deposit of a kosher Get, which at any time that the woman wants to
accept the Get. she can come and accept the Get and be permitted [to
marry] to the world, even if the husband has monetary claims against
her, for Chas VeShalom that the Gaon Rabbeinu Gershom Meor HaGola would
establish something that would be a disaster, to abandon a Bas Yisrael
whoever she is, and even in a situation where she definitely seized from
her husband, some amount of money, he did not establish [the Heter of
100 Rabbis]. And no Bais Din of the sages did not establish and will not
establish in a way that would allow the husband to abandon her
completely or until she will give him as he would like, and for matters
of collecting money they did not establish and will not establish any
Takanos so that it will be in the hand of the husband alone, the power
to do as he pleases to abandon her. and when it is not done in this way,
the Heter of the Bais Din that permitted [the husband to take a second
wife] of any consequence even if upon this [the Heter] were to be signed
1,000 [one thousand!] Rabbis and more, and there is upon the husband the
prohibition and the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom Meor HaGola from marrying
another woman if he does not divorce her beforehand with a kosher Get,
and I signed [the Heter of 100 Rabbis] only that they should permit the
husband according to the Din which is after he will deposit a kosher Get
that she will be able to accept at any time that she wants, and so I
have said in this case as well in particular to the relatives of the
husband that it is not attributable any Heter without the deposit of a
kosher Get that she will be able to accept without any hindrances, and
upon this I have affixed my signature for the sake of the truth that
they should not pervert laws of the Torah.
                                                       Moshe Feinstein

2. Rabbi Elyashiv's psak was related to me by one of his attendants as a
direct answer by Rav Elyashiv to my father's having taken a second
wife. (I hope that I have not lowered the status of this great talmid
Chacham in anyone's eyes; I would guess that half of the Talmidei
Chachamim in Jerusalem would give their eye teeth for this opportunity,
to be one Rav Elyashiv's attendants).

3. Actually the Rabbinical world has been extremely supportive of my
mother's sad situation. As in any human drama, there were people who
promised to help and more and then did nothing, but then again there
were heroes of epic proportions who owed us nothing and helped us above
and beyond anything that we could have imagined.  Rabbonim with
extremely busy schedules who dropped what they were doing and helped us
by making phone calls or meeting with other Rabbonim to introduce them
to the case. Rabbonim who drove long distances to meet with people who
might have been able to solve the problem. Rabbonim who did not know my
mother prior to hearing of her plight and who went out of their way to
help her, just because it was the right thing to do.  It is a small
cabal of misogynistic Rabbis, who due to their warped sense of Torah
and/or their own personal experience in failed marriages, who are
destroying the last vestiges of Torah that this generation has managed
to maintain.

In the end, this issue of Heter of 100 Rabbis being issued fraudulently,
galvanized enough Rabbonim so that the following documents were issued:

1. A letter from the Vaad HaRabonim of Greater Monsey banning my father
from entering any synagogue affiliated with the Vaad HaRabonim (my
father's second wife is a member in one of the Vaad affiliated

2. An Order of Bais Din (Horaas Bais Din), issued by the Rabbinical
Court of Kollel HaRabonim.

Copies of the originals are available by mail or FAX

The following was issued by the Vaad HaRabonim of Greater Monsey and
distributed by the Vaad HaRabonim to its member synagogues.

June 21, 1996

Mr. Seymour Klagsbrun has taken up residence in the Monsey/Spring Valley
community. After numerous conversations with Mr. Klagsbrun the following
facts are clear to us:

1. Mr. Klagsbrun has never given a Jewish divorce to his wife Shulamith

2. Mr. Klagsbrun has since remarried, claiming that he has the necessary
permission from a rabbinical court to do so.

3. Seymour Klagsbrun has refused to tell us the name of the Rabbi who
performed the marriage with his second wife.

4. Mr. Klagsbrun has refused to show us the claimed written rabbinical
permission allowing him to remarry.

5. The issues between Mr. & Mrs. Klagsbrun were addressed by a reputable
Bais Din which ordered Mr. Klagsbrun to give a Jewish divorce to his
wife. Mr. Klagsbrun has not complied with the order of that Bais Din.

6. Mr. Klagsbrun has refused to inform us of the name of his designated
representative to a new Bais Din to adjudicate any outstanding property
issues between him and Mrs.  Shulamith Klagsbrun.

7. Mr. Klagsbrun has repeatedly threatened the Vaad Harabonim with the
bringing of legal actions in a civil secular court.

In light of all the above it is obvious that Seymour Klagsbrun is not
entitled to any honors or participation in synagogue services and that
all possible social sanctions should be placed against him until he
complies with the orders of the Bais Din and grants a Jewish divorce to
his wife, Shulamith Klagsbrun.

The following is a translation (my own), of an Order of Bais Din issued
by the Rabbinical Court of Kollel Harabonim. The parenthesis and
brackets are NOT mine, they are in the original
document. Transliteration of the original is between carats.

                        Order of Bais Din

A) Since it is known and established in our city of Monsey and its
vicinity that the man Mr. Shimon Klagsbrun married a second wife on top
of his first wife (Shulamith) [and he has admitted as such in front of
our Bais Din].

Behold, in light of the above and in light of the investigation and
examination and clarification of the issues, it is the opinion of the
Bais Din <daas HaBais Din> that this man mentioned above is banned
<muchram> under the Cherem of Rabbenu Gershom Meor HaGola and his Bais
Din [with all the laws and outcome that spring from this - Y.D.334:22];
and all of this despite his screaming at the top of his lungs "that he
has a Heter of 100 Rabbis". Clarification of all the details and our
reasoning is on file in our Bais Din.

B) And as regards his second wife [Mrs. Judith Klagsbrun (Oshry)] it
comes out that she may also be under ban <muchremes> (Otzar HaPoskim
1:61:4), and in any event she is surely violating the Torah violation
<lav> of 'In front of the blind' [for as regards her it is surely a
situation of two banks of a river according to all opinions] and besides
which, she has applied to her, as well as anyone else who helps the man
mentioned above in any way, the law of someone who aides the hands of
transgressional sinners, who are caught by his sin (Tractate Sheviis,
Chap 5 Mishna 6-9; Tractate Shabbos 54b-55a; Tractate Shavuos 39a-39b).

C) It also became clear that in the year 5748 <1988>, a few years prior
to all of the above (meaning prior to his marrying a second wife), there
had already been a Psak Din from the Bais Din of Bais Yosef Navarodek to
divorce his wife Shulamith and he refused to comply with the Psak Din
mentioned above, and a written Siruv was issued and permission was
granted to her to press her complaints against him in secular court.

D) Again, in the year 5752 <1992>, the above mentioned Bais Din
proclaimed against him the distancing of Rabbenu Tam (that it will not
be permissible for anyone to have any dealings with him or to provide
him with comfort in any way, or even to talk with him, (Levush E.H. end
of section 134, who brings a few other matters, and also Ramah 154:21).

E) And what comes out from all that is mentioned above is that besides
that Mr. Shimon Klagsbrun is keeping his wife Shulamith an Agunah in the
chains and agony of Agunahood from the year 5748 <1988> until this time,
now he has added transgression upon crime in marrying a second wife upon
her, which is prohibited, that due to all of this, he is distanced by
the Bais Din of Rabbenu Tam and under ban by the Bais Din of Rabbenu

And upon this we have affixed our signatures MarCheshvan 14, 5757 <1996>

Rabbi Shmuel Yehuda Leib Landesman
Rabbi Moshe Zilber
Rabbi Chaim Zev HaLevi Malinowitz  

4. What can I do to help?

First of all, DON'T be quiet, there are only two kinds of people, those
who are part of the solution and those who are part of the problem. If
you keep quiet, you are aiding and abetting those are committing these
criminal acts.

Secondly, be HONEST. This latest abomination can possibly be traced to
the act of a very well known Rosh Yeshiva in Yerushalayim who wrote (or
had written) a Heter of 100 Rabbis for his nephew, who was in the middle
of a custody battle with his first wife. This great man made sure that
it was done correctly, including the depositing of a Get. The only hitch
was that this great man was the holder of the deposited Get and refused
to give it to the first wife unless she agreed to all of the husbands

If this great man couldn't be straight when it came to the actions of a
relative, we can have complaints against him, but only if we can be sure
that we don't fall into the same pit when it comes to our friends and
relatives. I find that somehow when we agree with one side in a divorce
proceeding, we are willing to bend the halacha to suit our personal
wishes. From there till signing on an invalid Heter of 100 Rabbis is not
as far as we think.



End of Volume 25 Issue 45