Breaking News: Halachic Prenup Backed By Major Haredi Rabbis

BirdsSliderJew in the City was founded in order to break down stereotypes about the Orthodox community and publicize all the positive news about religious Jews that rarely makes the news. But about a year ago I realized that some of the negative ideas people have about our community aren’t based on “bad apples” or misconceptions. They’re based on real problems which WE need to fix. We can’t just make the Orthodox world LOOK good, we have to make sure the Orthodox world IS good.

Now it’s kind of hard to tackle communal-wide problems (especially when you’re trying to run and grow an organization!), but then I heard that for one of the issues which has gotten worse in the last year, there is a (nearly) foolproof solution! I am speaking about the agunah crisis (more info on the solution below!).

Why has this situation gotten worse? Thousands of years ago, women had to be married in order to survive. Once that was no longer the case and women could do better divorced than with bad husbands, the Rabbis sanctioned a method of freeing “chained” women. As Maimonides codified, the Jewish courts are permitted to rough up a recalcitrant husband until he stated that he wanted to give his wife a get (Jewish divorce). At times when there were centralized Jewish courts (in Israel) or where the secular government gave Jews the power to self-police their own society (in medieval and early modern Europe and elsewhere), this method worked. The problem is, Jewish courts don’t have that authority anymore, and torturing people for not giving a get (as a group of Orthodox Jewish men were found to be doing a year ago) will land you in jail. With few options left to freedom, more and more agunos are going to the media instead to try to create pressure on their husbands to give a get (so much so that when we filmed this video over the summer and asked a dozen random New Yorkers what they know about Orthodox Jews, two of them told us they know we have problems with divorce!) Rather than try to sweep this problem under the rug—which won’t work and won’t bring relief to agunos—JITC is trying to solve it.

So what is this nearly foolproof solution to the agunah crisis? The Halachic Prenup. It has worked 100% in 20 YEARS of use (for couples who duly signed and executed it). But the problem is, it is has not gained much traction outside of the Modern and Centrist Orthodox communities. That has been its biggest flaw – DISUSE. So we decided to try to do something about that.

JITC has been working over the last several months to reach out to our “unofficial team” of Haredi friends and contacts and find out which Haredi rabbis we should approach to get their approval. What we learned is that just like many people outside of our community judge us based on misconceptions and misinformation, so too, many people in the Haredi world were judging the prenup for the same reasons. And so we’ve been using our platforms across social media to spread the word and educate people in the Haredi communities to adopt this practice and respond to concerns they had.

Some common concerns included:

  • It will never work. (Actually, in twenty years of use, it has worked 100% of the time.)
  • It will lead to more divorce. (Actually, they have done studies – people who sign prenups have a lower divorce rate http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2228226.)
  • Why mention divorce at such a happy time? (Read the kesubah, it already discusses divorce.)
  • But nobody pays attention to that part of the kesubah. (So don’t pay attention to these papers either.)
  • But are you sure it’s really not a get me’usa (forced divorce)? (Read the section below.)

We are pleased to announce a rather impressive list of Haredi rabbis who support the halachic prenup (some previously known, some brand new – some we will announce later as we are still in talks with them): Rav Dovid Cohen, Rav Shmuel Fuerst, Rav Nota Greenblatt, Rav Yitzchok Berkovitz, Rabbi Yechiel Perr (he created his own version), Rav Zalmen Nechemia Goldberg, Rav Osher Weiss, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef z”l, Rav Yitzchak Yosef, Rav Moshe D. Gutnick and a couple other big Chabad poskim who believe it is kosher but who have not gone public about it yet. Rabbi Yosef Feigelstock has created his own version of the prenup which was edited by Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg and approved in writing by both Rav Goldberg as well as Rav Tzion Boaron – a Posek and Dayan on the Bes Din HaGadol. Rav Yehoram Ulman is working to have this prenup approved by poskim and dayanim in Israel. (Scroll down to the end of the post to see more about each rabbi.)

Couples who are already married can be protected too by signing a halachic “postnup.” It is kosher, it is effective and we can end this crisis together if we all “buy in.” On Sunday, March 29th there is going to be a historic event. The first Haredi organized postnup party will be occurring in Brooklyn from 7:30-9pm at Chevra Ahavas Yisrael. My husband (who I have been happily married to for fifteen years) and I will attend this party and sign our postnup! Not because, God forbid, we worry that our marriage is in danger but because we want to publicize and normalize this practice. If you live in or near Brooklyn (or have friends who do) please join us or tell your friends to join us that night.

(After this party, we are going to plan a “crowd signing postnup campaign” – it’s like “crowd funding” but getting people all over the world to sign the postnup over a 2 week period and then add their name to the list.)

I was raised to believe that Orthodox Jews didn’t care about women. I was raised to believe that Orthodox Jews had a system of Jewish law that was so stuck they had no ability to use built-in tools to adapt with changing times. Neither of those things are true. We DO care about women and all people who could be taken advantage of. We DO possess tools to adapt as times change. (Though, there still are limits.) We must spread the word and protect women everywhere. (If you are Haredi – please join us on March 29 or tell your New York based Haredi friends about the postnup party. And if you can’t be there, look out for a future article about the “crowd-signing” campaign.)

Outreach to various Haredi Rabbanim:

-Rav Dovid Cohen had been telling couples who asked him (about the RCA/BDA prenup) to sign it, but had never been public about that. I called him over the summer and pushed him. I told him the situation is more dire than ever and people are losing hope in halacha’s ability to help in such situations and that it’s a chillul Hashem when the only option there is is going to the media. He told me I could tell people he recommends it.

-Rav Shmuel Fuerst just came out in support of ORA whose main activities include spreading the prenup/postnup http://media.wix.com/ugd/e5498d_e3b6558e645549cc9fe89021038c9a46.pdf He also wrote something in HaModia about the prenup in November (see end of article) ““HaRav Shmuel Fuerst, dayan of Agudath Ysrael in the Midwest, spoke about Klal Israel’s pressing need to institute the ubiquitous use of prenuptial agreements.” http://tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/189149/sign-on-the-dotted-line He is also having an event in Chicago on April 26 to speak about the prenup. 

-Rav Nota Greenblatt – I spoke to him on the phone last week. He recommends the RCA/BDA prenup all the time, told me I could tell people he does and had no idea if it worked. I told him it works remarkably well!

-Rav Moshe Heinemann – See his letter of endorsement for ORA here http://www.getora.org/#!rabbinic-endorsements/c1b whose primary activities include spreading the prenup/postnup

– Rav Yitzchok Berkovitz – A yeshivish woman who is the head of a major kiruv organization called him after I asked her to check. He supports prenups, said the RCA/BDA one is kosher but he prefers the language of the Israeli one because he thinks it’s easier for a layman to understand.

-Rabbi Perr – I was told that he supports prenups by the head of the Cleveland Kollel (who after speaking to him through another rav supports it too). He has his own version. I had a quick call with Rabbi Perr a couple months ago and he indeed does.

-Rav Zalmen Nechemia Goldberg (helped draft the RCA/BDA prenup) – old news, as is old news about Rav Osher Weiss and Rav Ovadia Yosef.

-Rav Yitzchak Yosef, along with every rabbi in Mexico supports the prenup according to a rebbetzin in Central America who’s been working on this with her husband and posted about it on Facebook.

-Rabbi Ulman and Rabbi Feigelstock drafted their own version of a prenup which has been approved by Rav Zalmen Nechemia Golderg and Rav Boaron.

-Rav Moshe D. Gutnick recommends the RCA/BDA prenup.

 

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Allison Josephs About Allison Josephs

Allison is the Founder and Director of Jew in the City. Please find her full bio here.

Comments

  1. Moe Ginsburg says:

    Allison,

    There are several comments in this post I’d like to take exception to:

    “Maimonides permitted the Jewish court to rough up a recalcitrant husband until he stated that he wanted to give his wife a get (Jewish divorce).”

    This would be misleading. Rambam (Maimonides) didn’t “permit” this. Rambam merely codified that *under certain very limited circumstances* it had always been permitted for a Jewish court to do so. The Talmud, which long predates Rambam, gives circumstances when it is permitted. By default, and in most circumstances, it is impermissible to “rough up” an unwilling husband to give his wife a divorce. (This is even true in many cases where the husband is legally obligated to grant the divorce.)

    According to the Shulchan Aruch, the codified Jewish body of law, under default circumstances a husband whose wife requests a divorce is under no legal or moral obligation to give her a divorce barring specific circumstances that would entitle her to one. This is not all that dissimilar to the laws in the United States that did not recognize “no fault divorce”. It was only in 2010 that New York became the last State to implement no fault divorce. Prior to that in New York as well as virtually all U.S. States until relatively recently, you couldn’t march into family court and successfully demand a divorce. You had to prove to the court that a divorce was warranted. In the absence of such proof the court was entitled to, and in fact at times did (including a reported case in NY in 2009), deny the petitioner the divorce – and the court advised the couple that they are to remain married! It is not all that difficult a concept to understand that once a couple undertook the commitment of marriage that a spouse cannot willy nilly unilaterally decide to divorce without justification. A commitment must be kept. Similarly, Jewish Law provides the right of either spouse to choose to keep the marriage intact even if the other spouse desires a divorce (without a specific justification that Jewish Law recognizes as valid for demanding a divorce.) Ashkenazic wives have been granted by rabbinic decree of Rabbeinu Gershom the right to decline a divorce that her husband wishes to give her. Similarly, husbands have been granted the right to elect to not divorce his wife, even if she requests one, by Biblical law. Of course these rights are in the absence of something like physical abuse (to take an example) that Jewish Law specifically codifies as giving a spouse the right to a divorce. If that right to a divorce is absent, as it is by default, then if the other spouse exercises their legal and moral right to decline to divorce, it is not an agunah/mesoreves Get situation. If only becomes such a situation if and when a mutually agreed upon beis din orders a Get, per Jewish Law, and it is then refused.

    “It will lead to more divorce. (Actually, they have done studies – people who sign prenups have a lower divorce rate.)”

    I must respectfully challenge this assertion as I do not believe their have been any divorce studies comparing those who signed a “halachic prenup” versus those who have not. (I would also be surprised if the divorce rate were not higher among the signers.)

    “But are you sure it’s really not a get me’usa (forced divorce)? (Read the section below.)”

    Rav Shalom Yosef Eliashev, among other preeminent poskim, have in fact ruled the halachic prenup to be invalid and counterproductive under Jewish law. So it would be disingenuous to ignore this reality. The halachic reasoning of Rav Eliashev is primarily two factors 1) that the couple doesn’t actually expect to get divorced when signing thus making it halachicly unenforceable 2) and far more importantly, he rules that if it is enforced (even if it were enforceable) by the beis din forcing him to pay the money agreed in the prenup to his wife, it then triggers the resulting Get to be a Get Me’usa – an invalid Get. This is the halachic result, per this ruling, despite the husband having signed the agreement prior to marriage. Now, certainly, you can find other rabbinic psaks approving of the halachic prenup. But when dealing with such a vital issue as divorce, where if the divorce is in fact invalid the consequences are very dire that the wife remains an eishes ish and any future offspring can carry the status of illegitimacy, even where some rabbis say it is okay and others say it isn’t the gravity of the consequences warrant serious pause.

    “JITC has been working over the last several months to reach out to our “unofficial team” of Haredi friends and contacts and find out which Haredi rabbis we should approach to get their approval… We are pleased to announce a rather impressive list of Haredi rabbis who support the halachic prenup (some previously known, some brand new – some we will announce later as we are still in talks with them): Rav Dovid Cohen, Rav Shmuel Fuerst, Rav Nota Greenblatt, Rav Moshe Heinemann, Rav Yitzchok Berkovitz, Rabbi Yechiel Perr (he created his own version), Rav Zalmen Nechemia Goldberg, Rav Osher Weiss, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef z”l, Rav Yitzchak Yosef, Rabbi Yehoram Ulman (he is working on a new version which has already been approved by Rav Zalmen Nechemia Goldberg), Rav Moshe D. Gutnick and a couple other big Chabad poskim who believe it is kosher but who have not gone public about it yet.”

    I’d like to respectfully request substantiation for each of these names. Some, as you indicated, are previously known supporters. But others are not known to support this anywhere out of this new (as you acknowledge they are “brand new”) assertion. Most vital is for you to provide each of these eminent rabbis own words as to precisely what each of them are supporting. (Each of them may be supporting different things.) Especially as you indicate this list is merely based on your “unofficial team” of Haredi friends.

    Thank You

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      Thanks for your comment, Moe. In terms of the point about Maimonides – you are correct – an earlier edit accidentally made it into the final edit. The rabbis ruled and Maimonides codified – it has been corrected. The prenup does not call for a no fault divorce or a “get on demand.” It simply forces the couple to show up to beis din. That’s it.

      In terms of prenups lowering divorce rates – I wasn’t speaking specifically about halachic prenups, but rather prenups in general. Couples who have “the talk” about what would happen if things came to their worst in marriage end up staying married longer. Here’s the study. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2228226

      I have spoken to many BIG poskim in the last few months – including Chasidishe poskim – and not a single one said it was me’usa – even the ones who didn’t want me to use their name. In terms of R’Elyashiv: are you aware that there was an earlier version of the RCA/BDA prenup that many poskim took issue with? The concerns were addressed and the prenup was edited. I would ask you to provide evidence that R’ Elyashiv took issue with the current prenup in use.

      Here’s more info on each rabbi:

      -Rav Dovid Cohen had been telling couples who asked him (about the RCA/BDA prenup) to sign it, but had never been public about that. I called him over the summer and pushed him. Told him the situation is more dire than ever and people are losing hope in halacha’s ability to help in such situations and that it’s a chillul Hashem when the only option there is is going to the media. He told me I could tell people he recommends it. This was a pretty big deal.

      -Rav Shmuel Fuerst wrote something this HaModia about the prenup in November (see end of article) ““HaRav Shmuel Fuerst, dayan of Agudath Ysrael in the Midwest, spoke about Klal Israel’s pressing need to institute the ubiquitous use of prenuptial agreements.” http://tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/189149/sign-on-the-dotted-line He is also having an event in Chicago on April 26 to speak about the prenup. For some reason, his line in the HaModia article did not make a lot of buzz! (That’s what we’re trying to do.)

      -Rav Nota Greenblatt – I spoke to him on the phone last week. He recommends the RCA/BDA prenup all the time, told me I could tell people he does and had no idea if it worked. I told him it works remarkably well!

      -Rav Moshe Heinemann – See his letter of endorsement for ORA here http://www.getora.org/#!rabbinic-endorsements/c1b and his name on the list of rabbis who support he the RCA/BDA prenup.

      – Rav Yitzchok Berkovitz – A yeshivish woman who is the head of a major kiruv organization called him after I asked her to check. He supports prenups, said the RCA/BDA one is kosher but he prefers the language of the Israeli one because he thinks it’s easier for a layman to understand.

      -Rabbi Perr – I was told that he supports prenups by the head of the Cleveland Kollel (who after speaking to him through another rav supports it too). He has his own version. I had a quick call with Rabbi Perr a couple months ago and he indeed does.

      -Rav Zalmen Nechemia Goldberg (helped draft the RCA/BDA prenup) – old news, as is old news about Rav Osher Weiss and Rav Ovadia Yosef.

      -Rav Yitzchak Yosef, along with every rabbi in Mexico supports the prenup according to a rebbetzin in Central America who’s been working on this and posted in a Facebook kiruv group.

      -Rabbi Ulman and Rabbi Feigelstock drafted their own version of a prenup which has been approved by Rav Zalmen Nechemia Golderg and Rav Boaron.

      -Rav Moshe D. Gutnick recommends the RCA/BDA prenup.

      Obviously the next step is to get letters, signatures, etc. But we wanted to announce the news we had so far and start to get a momentum going.

      • Moe Ginsburg says:

        Allison,

        Thank you for your reply. In response to your points about Rav Eliashev’s position I’d like to refer you to the following. Rav Eliashev’s position is well known among his students and the Haredi public and numerous references can be found across the web. Also note that the changes the RCA made to the prenup from its earlier iterations are minor in their halachic impact. It can easily be determined by comparing the texts to see that none of the changes address Rav Eliashev’s objections.

        “Basically, Rav Elyashiv has a long-standing halachic objection to the validity of pre-nups, and this is interfering with its being accepted in Israel. The pre-nup basically says that if they get divorced secularly and the husband withholds the get, he agrees to pay a hefty sum to her for each day he does not give her the get.

        As I understand it, Rav Elyashiv’s objection is that when he agreed to sign the pre-nup, he did not have in mind that he would ever get divorced, so as to be in a situation where it was enforced. As a result, the agreement has the status of asmachta and should not be binding. Using this agreement to then force the get would be improper coercion, and the resulting get would be invalid.”

        “Out of Step Jew (and a reader who e-mailed me) notes that The Jerusalem Post is reporting that R. Elyashiv’s opposition to prenuptial agreements will likely render prenuptial agreements, legal document that force recalcitrant husbands to pay large sums of maintenance until the couple is religiously divorced, unenforceable.”

        “Moreover, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, considered among the haredi community as the senior poseq of our generation, recently launched a scathing attack on this solution. In Rav Elyashiv’s view, such a solution is totally at variance with halakhah, and has a similar, if not the same effect as a get me`useh (forced get), which will lead to instances of mamzerut.

        What would R. Broyde say about this halakhic ruling, which has already been quoted in batei din in Israel as a matter of course? Does the fact that such a prominent pesaq has already been quoted widely mean that R Broyde are “increasing,” God forbid, the number of mamzerim among the Jewish people? Should we “have no doubt” that “the Orthodox rabbinate will be plagued for decades with cases of women who remarried based on a document issued by these batei din?” …

        As noted, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, who is considered among many circles in the Torah world today as the leading poseq of our time, recently ruled that this solution, the use of prenuptial agreements, is of no use since its application to the husband, at the time of the divorce, creates a real concern over the possibility of a get me`useh, a forced get. And since the vast majority of dayyanim in the rabbinic courts throughout the world, and particularly in Israel, see themselves as subject to Rav Elyashiv’s directives, it is likely that they would not easily accept a get given on the basis of this solution. …

        The solution espoused by R. Broyde, i.e. the prenuptial agreement, even if appropriate in those cases in which the parties signed it prior to their marriage, and even if we discount the pesaq of Rav Elyashiv who sees it as a recipe for the wholesale production of mamzerim, does not provide an answer for all of the agunot and mesoravot get already among us, who have none to espouse their cause.”

        Along the same lines, the preeminent Haredi communal organization, Agudas Yisroel, similarly opposes the halachic prenup:

        “Rabbi Avi Shafran, spokesman for the Haredi Orthodox Agudath Israel of America, said Aguda does not advocate the use of halakhic prenups.

        “There is a concern that introducing and focusing on the possible dissolution of a marriage when it is just beginning is not conducive to the health of the marriage,” Shafran said. “I don’t think it is really possible to gauge their efficacy without data, and in any event, it would be impossible to know when the existence of a prenup might have eased the way toward a divorce when a marriage might, with effort and determination, have been saved.”

        • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

          Thanks for your comment, Moe. MANY rabbanim had a problem with earlier versions of the prenup. Relying on JPost articles to know what R’ Elyashiv felt about the most recent version is not the most credible source. There is nothing in writing, no teshuva from Rav Eliashev about the most recent version of the prenup and he is no longer around to ask.

          As for Avi Shafran’s statement – he’s a spokesman, not a posek. The head of the Agudah in the Midwest – Rav Shmuel Fuerst – is openly and publicly supporting prenups. So….

          • nachum zajac says:

            bh

            rav elyashiv opinion in general is expressed clearly, and is documented here קובץ תשובות ח”ב סקס”ג and in many other places.

            the question is: if the current version differs on such a level, that one can say, that rav elyashiv’s opinion does not count,as it does not reference to this version?

            it does not seem as it really being that much different that one can say that.

          • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

            the current version is different enough that the many poskim who knocked down the original think this one is kosher. but this is a really moot point to wonder what someone who no longer is living would have thought.

            B”H we have living poskim who are weighing in. where are the leading *living* poskim ruling that this is me-usa? are you only quoting major poskim (who have passed away) b/c there are no living ones to quote?

          • Moe Ginsburg says:

            Allison, thank you for your reply. There are many sources and testimony to the effect of Rav Eliashev’s aforementioned position. As Nachum Zajac noted above, it is mentioned in Rav Eliashev’s קובץ תשובות, which constitutes the most authoritative source of Rav Eliashev’s teshuvas. Additionally, it is testified that this is his position by numerous talmidim of Rav Eliashev. הרב הגאון ר’ נחום איזנשטיין שליט”א, Rov of שכונת מעלות דפנה in ירושלים and a Talmud Muvhak of Rav Elishev who spent more time with מרן הגרי”ש אלישיב זצ”ל in his last years than almost anyone else, testified (and this can be confirmed with him – he speaks English well) that Rav Eliashev strongly opposed prenups for broad halachic reasons that were never addressed in any of the changes up to and including the most recent. Rav Eliashev’s reasoning for his halachic opposition is readily available. A comparison of the earlier and current texts of the RCA prenup will indicate that its changes did not address Rav Eliashev’s objections. Rav Nochom Eisenstein shlit”a said he heard this position mentioned numerous times from Rav Eliashev. Also note that Rav Eliashev only passed away about two years ago, well after the final draft of the Rabbi Willig’s prenup has been widely available. Rav Eliashev never dropped his opposition. His halachic reasoning is available in קובץ תשובות. It is easily noted that none of the changes addressed the objections.

            As for current poskim who also rule it creates a Get Me’usa, aside from the aforementioned הגר”נ איזנשטיין שליט”א, another example is הרב הגאון ר’ פנחס שפירא שליט”א. Also testifying to personally hearing from Rav Eliashev the aforementioned position on prenups, is הרב הגאון ר’ אברהם דוב לוין שליט”א, who is אב בית דין ירושלים לדיני ממונות ולבירור יוחסין. There is nothing left to wonder regarding Rav Eliashev’s position. He was very clear and vocal about it. The testimonials of the aforementioned talmidim of Rav Eliashev are available online and can be confirmed directly with them.

          • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

            So just to respond to the teshuva you keep referring to, the prenup experts I’ve spoken to said that “any discussion of a kenas, penalty, and not mezonos support, is not talking about the same version as we have today.”

            Also, let’s add one more BIG rav to the list who didn’t think that prenups caused a get to be me-usa – Rav Moshe Feinstein. Furthermore, just because a rav poskins one thing one day, doesn’t mean his opinion couldn’t change. Case in point: the head of a big kiruv organization reached out to Rav Yitzchak Berkovitz over the summer to hear his opinion on prenups. She reported back that he is all for prenups.

            When we posted this information in a women’s kiruv group (filled mostly with yeshivish women) several women piped up that when their husbands’ learned under R’ Berkovitz he was anti-prenups. I’m not sure if all of them believed it when I told them he was supporting them, but when the well-respected kiruv head spoke up and confirmed the conversation these women realized that opinions sometimes change. Metzias certainly changes with time. So can piskei halacha.

            The only living opposers to the current prenup you’ve mentioned are talmidim of R’ Elashiv (who clearly would not want to go against what they thought their rav would have poskined if he were alive today), who may or may not have ever poskined on the most recent version and he certainly was not living in a post-Mendel Epstein arrest world where now even the “kosher” forms of roughing up recalcitrant husbands are off the table.

            I know you’re really trying to push for this thing not to spread, but with roughing up off the table and people resisting the prenup, this is the reality we have instead: (Do you prefer it? Because it’s only going to get worse.)

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3UD5P75bCs
            http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/rabbi-worked-mafia-mediator-courtroom-video-article-1.2127197
            http://nypost.com/2014/02/05/victory-orthodox-jewish-woman-finally-gets-her-divorce/
            http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201409/epstein-orthodox-hit-squad
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2960232/Orthodox-Jewish-wife-claims-raped-beaten-starved-estranged-husband-refuses-divorce-fights-custody-children-telling-court-let-daughter-play-genitals.html
            http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/22/us/a-wedding-amid-cries-of-unfinished-business-from-a-marriage.html

    • nachum zajac says:

      bh
      a few points:

      to moe:
      i would like to point out: that the shach holds (for instance בגבורת אנשים מאות י”ג ואילך), that even when al pi din we are כופין אותו we are never allowed to use beatings. this is quoted by the tzemach tzdek many times.

      why have “certain” botei dinim used in actuality beatings? that is a whole discussion. i wanted to just point out, that it is not black and white. and no credible beis din ever used it like the rambam all the way, like for instance, where it is no fault.

      to allison:

      1. The RCA prenup does NOT only say that one has to show up to beis din (it’s true that, that is the only things it says in the big letters, however the there is more in the small letters). It says clearly that the husband obligates himself to pay 150 dolars a day (!) every day that he withholds a get no matter what.

      http://theprenup.org/pdf/Prenup_Standard.pdf

      see section VII

      that is the most important section – as 1) that is the only thing that will really make sure the husband gives the get. 2) that creates the most sha’alois, as oines momon is considered meuse. i not saying things black and white, but it is most certainly not simple as is made.

      2.

      a.see in קובץ תשובות ח”ב סקס”ג where rav elyashiv was against it.

      b. i have not yet reached out to rav bliech, but he has printed here בנתיבות הלכה ח”א ע’ כא ואילך (and in other venues), that he is against the regular version (and holds it makes it a get me’use). and it is not for some technical reasons. it is not just different girso’ois, but issues that reach the core of the matter.

      c. R’ Ovadia Yosef never wrote a tshuva on this subject. therefore we do not know exactly what nusach of prenup he say or what he was told etc. therefore it is not proper to quote such a psak in his name.

      R. Elyashiv on the other hand – did write a teshuve on the subject (See above)

      d. in addition R. Bleich explains, that R. Osher Weiss’s teshuva does poshut not fit with the metzius (facts on the case) .

      • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

        thanks for your comment, nachum. we are speaking about different versions of the prenup, but to answer your question – the word “get” is not used in the version you speak of. the $150 is paid when he insists on staying married to her once they are no longer living together. according to the Nachalas Shiva – a 16th century tanaaim, there is a precedent for a husband who is being a bad husband to start taking care of his wife (according to his halachic duties) at a very high level.

        this is the version i am speaking about http://media.wix.com/ugd/e5498d_9670d0ef7bbf4b34af80545c71d5b869.pdf both parties agree to show up to B”D. thats’ what the $150/day is connected to and they both obligate themselves.

        in terms of r’ elashiv – that is a teshuva on the original version which many poskim opposed, not the newer one.

        in terms of r’ bleich – he’s entitled to his opinion, but his lamdus does not compare to rav willig’s, rav shmuel fuerst, and rav zalmen nechemia gold bergs..

        in terms of R’ Ovadia Yosef – he is only listed on the site b/c they got explicit permission for that version.

        • Ronald Mintz says:

          Allison, an article from Ami Magazine 7/8/2015 entitled “Hunting for Husbands in Hiding” by Yossi Krausz was just posted to our “Unchain My Sister” Facebook group documenting an interview of Rav Osher Ehrentreu, the sgan menahel, or deputy head, of the Agunos and Personal Status Section of the Israeli Rabbinical Court Administration. The following quote is of special interest in regard to Rav Elyashiv’s opinion on versions of the prenup:

          Q. “Are there certain things people don’t know about this subject?”
          A. (from Rav Ehrentreu): “Probably the existence of prenups. There’s one nusach the London beis din uses, for which they got a heter from Rav Elyashiv, that doesn’t have any sh’eilah of kefiyah.”

          I see from the above comments that Rav Ehrentreu is correct that people don’t know about this heter. Perhaps you could research it to confirm that there was a version of the prenup that Rav Elyashiv supported.

          • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

            Thanks, Ronald. I’ll pass this info onto my contacts who are prenup experts.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Incredible the influence you guys are having on the Jewish world, I am so in awe! Its such an inspiration to think that any one of us can do amazing things when we are truly committed.
    B’Hatzlacha!!!

  3. nachum zajac says:

    bh

    i will point out, i am not coming to comment or contest the prenup. that is not my intent. my intent was, to point out, that a. it is not clear that the support is across the board. b. the opposition is not based, on someone itch on his nose.

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      Thanks for your comment, Nachum. As you pointed out, roughing up recalcitrant husbands was never “across the board.” In fact most opinions are never “across the board.” I never claimed it was “across the board.” I said that there are more and more Charedi rabbanim coming on board and not a single posek I’ve spoken to told me it was me’usa – even the ones that weren’t sure they wanted to come out to support it.

      As far as the rabbanim who are so vociferously against it. Please ask them to work on another solution. There are nearly 500 known agunos in the U.S. currently. Please ask them to find another answer if they’re knocking this one that many big rabbanim – from across the spectrum – have gotten behind.

      • nachum zajac says:

        bh

        listen cancer is something that is terrible and ravages the person.

        people are always looking for a solution.

        however: some people say to go to this or that alternative style treatment, as is no other hope anyways.

        sometimes that may be worse.

        will there be a solution in the future? i do not know, but that does not mean that till then we have to make wrong decisions.

        the same thing is here:

        just because there is a massive ravaging problem, it does not mean, that one shall come up with solutions we consider worse. and does not mean, that till we come up with the proper solution, that one shall rely on the other solutions we consider more damaging.

        • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

          thanks for your comment, nachum, but this is how jewish law works: we have different objectives at play – sometimes at odds with one another. for instance – the punishment for a man to have relations with a niddah is kareis – serious, serious business. and YET the desire to bring a husband and wife together as soon as possible causes the halacha to work that if a woman tovels on a Friday night, she is told to not examine herself too closely, lest she find something she can’t fix on shabbos, thereby delaying her tevila. but isn’t the punishment KAREIS? well, apparently, the rabbis value a husband and wife being together so much, they prioritize it over KAREIS.

          the rabbis prioritize freeing the agunah BIG time. so much so, they were willing to say that a man beaten with a stick was “willfully giving a get” b/c it’s what he “really wanted to do.” the purpose of this article was to show that more now than even, Charedi rabbanim are signing onto this version of the prenup. The head of Agudah in the Midwest is no one to take lightly. Neither is the chief Sephardic Rabbi in Israel, neither is Rav Dovid Cohen and so many more.

          As Rav Moshe Feinstein so beautifully put it: “And it is forbidden for us to be among the “humble” and [thereby] cause Jewish women to remain unable to marry, or cause fellow Jews to stumble in prohibited activities, or even simply cause a Jew’s financial loss — See Gittin 56 which states, “Because of the humility of Rabbi Zecharya ben Avkulas, the beit hamikdash was destroyed;” why does it say “his humility” and what does that incident have to do with humility? This indeed is what results [from these types of failures to act], and we are compelled to rule [leniently] even for practical application when we deem it appropriate with evidence and clear understanding, and particularly in a serious matter of leaving a woman without a husband or avoiding a severe temptation.”

          This is a major priority to help these women. The kosher kind of roughing up is long out of place in our day and age but that message became crystal clear when those men were arrested last year. This is not some kooky “alternative treatment” – this is no more me’usa than beating a man with a stick!!

          • nachum zajac says:

            bh

            1. everything you mentioned above, has a firm halochik basis (and let me say this, they do not prioritize things over koreis), whether it sounds like a loophole or not (i do not think that this is the proper forum for that discussion (though if you want, i can explain it)).

            just like the pruzbul or heter iska, has firm halachik basis, so to anything else.

            it look like a a kulo, but in the end of the day, it is permissible.

            according to those who disagree with the prenup, they hold that the prenup does stand on that same ground. therefore, it is in their eyes considered like alternative treatment.

            and is they do not come up with anything else, the reason is, because they do not think it stands enough ground.

            everybody agrees that it s a problem. but so is many issues in life. the question becomes: is the method being used to deal with the issue legitimate?

            2. in regards to those who do hold of the prenup.

            i am not knocking them chas veshlom. i am presenting the view that this is not unanimous, and that those who disagree, feel that they can’t make up something, that is not halochik correct.

            obviously there are rabbonim who old it is halachakally correct. but the others who do not, are not forced to abide by their rulings

          • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

            Of course rabbis rule leniently in one area when they put the priority in a different area. Much of halacha works this way. And we have an obligation to find every leniency for an agunah.

            I never said there was universal acceptance, but here’s the deal. With rabbanim as big as Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Shmuel Fuerst, Rav Dovid Cohen, Rav Zalmen Nechemia Goldberg and many more saying it’s not me’usa, the ones who hold that it is are not going to consider the children of the next marriage mamzerim. They’re just not.

  4. Staying away from the Halachic angle for a moment – In what ways does the prenup protect a father’s rights to his children? When a woman walks out with the kids moves to a different state is it the “bad guy” at fault? It is a little disingenuous to believe 100% of the time the “bad husband” is at fault while there can be no such thing as a “bad wife”.

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      thanks for your comment, YS. with the reciprocal prenup, the wife is incentivized to play ball just as much as the husband.

      • Allison – Would you mind elaborating on how the wife is “incentivized to play ball” with the prenup.

        • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

          The reciprocal prenup/postnup – just signed mine last night!http://www.getora.org/#!prenup-forms/c171q has the same language for the husband and wife. They both agree to show up to beis din once they’ve stopped living together and every day they fail to show up, they agree to pay $150. Every day they fail to listen to the ruling of the beis din, they agree to pay $150.

          • Ephraim Travis says:

            Great idea in theory but once the Get is given, the mother can do as she wishes and the onus to prove anything is on the father. As previously stated, the reciprocal prenup/postnup addressed the Get but negates the underlying issue(s) that usually surround Get-refusal.

            Full disclosure: I gave the Get without any prenup/postnup. Yet, I had observant women tell me that I should have never given the Get until the civil decree was finalized for the very reason stated above.

          • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

            But what about non-Jewish men, who don’t have a get, should they “even the playing field,” since, “men are at such a terrible disadvantage in civil court.” Stalking? Threats of physical violence? Kidnapping? It’s a dangerous road to start walking down…

            Halacha should never be used as a weapon. There is no halachic source which justifies using the get for leverage. If there are problems with the civil divorce system, why not work to fix the civil divorce system, as opposed to empowering men to unilaterally play judge and jury in determining what is fair in their contentious divorces?

  5. Concerned Observant Mom says:

    My husband & I recently signed the pre/post- nuptial agreement at an event here in Boston, as a finale to an informative Shabbaton/lecture series with Rabbi Jeremy Stern of ORA. I encourage all
    Jewish couples to consider signing the pre/ post
    Nuptial agreement that has been designed to prevent the Agunah situation.

  6. Ephraim Travis says:

    When the Poskim are willing to take as strong a stand against recalitrant women who use the get and/or children as pawns, I’ll support the pre-nup. At the present time, all the pre-nup does is ensure that the husband gives a Get. Once the Get is received, (as is often the case) he is that the mercy of his ex-wife to maintain a relationship with his children. The reality is that the Rabbanim/Poskim you quote are doing their best to prevent agunos. While admirable, they’re not addressing the root causes for “the agunah crisis.” Perhaps if serious time, consideration and action was taken to level the field, many of the agunos would receive their Gittin…

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      Thanks for your comment, Ephraim. Here’s a response I got from someone involved in the get/divorce process:

      The thing about civil court is that it is an even playing field. He could railroad her as much as she can him. (For those who claim that the courts are stacked against the men, I ask them to please bring proof. IMHO, it’s an urban legend. If anything, women are generally disadvantaged financially and cannot hire the powerful attorneys that men can hire.) The problem with withholding the get is that it places far too much power in the hands of an extremely non-objective party to determine what is fair, which is ludicrous. If he has concerns, let him deposit a get in beis din and let the beis din determine when it is fair to issue the get. As a form of domestic abuse, get refusal is never justified. Period. It wouldn’t be okay for him to have her beaten up in order to get what he wants (i.e., to get “what he says is fair”) in terms of custody and visitation, so why would any other form of abuse be okay?

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