Cherem Rabbeinu Gershom

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  • #2102437
    ujm
    Participant

    Without Cherem Rabbeinu Gershom it would be permitted to read other people’s mail? If not, why was CRG needed to ban that?

    Is it okay for Sephardim and other non-Ashkenazim to read other people’s mail or, for that matter, do all of the other things CRG banned? If not, why not?

    Was there a formal proclamation that CRG was extended past its expiration date, that Rabbeinu Gershom originally set on his Cherem? (Which is cited in the Shulchan Aruch.) If so, when and by whom?

    Who has the authority today to modify or discontinue CRG? (Much as who had the authority to extend it past its expiration date.)

    #2102449
    ujm
    Participant

    Under CRG, what is the minimum number of countries a Heter Meah Rabbonim requires signatories from? Is one signatory from a country sufficient to count that as one of the minimum number of countries? What is considered a “country”, in reference to the requirements for a HMR, to be counted as one of the minimum number thereof (i.e. would the US and Canada be counted as two towards it; or would even two different States within the US be counted as two separate “countries” for this purpose?)

    Is any person with Smicha (even if not a pulpit rabbi) qualified to be one of the hundred signatories (otherwise what are the qualifications to be a signatory)? And what are the qualifications where a HMR can be issued altogether?

    #2102545
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    For How Long is the Cherem D’Rabbeinu Gershom in Effect?

    I had read that CRG became effective somewhere about 1000 CE and continue through 1240 CE or thereabouts, notwithstanding the fact that it did not contain an explicit “sunset provision. Some have argued that Rav Gershon meant for it to remain in effect in perpetuity (or at least through the time a beis din of corresponding stature is in place to revoke it (aka z’man moishicach). Others dispute this view using variations of a ba’al tosif argument but instead it has been perpetuated by rabbonim over the generations, or at least until we discovered we have a shidduch crisis .

    #2102541
    motchah11
    Participant

    The Noda B’Yehudah paskens (and I have heard that Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l confirms and okays it) that 100 Kolel Yungerleit are also good for a Heter Me’ah Rabbonim. But I would check that out, since you hear a lot of things from Rav Moshe that never existed.

    #2102552
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Isn’t there some restriction that the 100 individuals must be located in at least several different states/countries so as to preclude one rav in one location having undue influence on others who sign??

    #2102566
    mobico
    Participant

    IIRC, reading other people’s mail was certainly Asur. R”G gave it the Chomer of a Cherem due to that which he saw that in his Dor it was an issue.
    I also recall that he set it for 1000 years, at which point it would automatically renew itself unless a set number of Chachamim would stop it from doing so. This occurred (or rather, didn’t occur) some 30-40 years ago.

    #2102655
    ujm
    Participant

    According to the Mechaber in Shulchan Aruch, the Cherem automatically was set to expire in the Hebrew year 5000 (around 1240 CE, as gadolha pointed out). When I was a child I also heard the 1000 year (after it started) expiration timeframe, but I’m not sure where that comes from.

    #2102935
    akuperma
    Participant

    You need to remember that 1000 years ago, letters were not sent in envelopes (you folded the letter and sealed it), and postal services were limited to official government documents (if they existed at all). Private persons sent personal and business letters by finding someone they trusted who was going to the city where the addressee lived. An implied contract existed between the writer and the person delivering the letter was that they wouldn’t “peak”. So the takana in question (as applied to letters) was not so much a hidush (unlike the prohibition of polygamy) as a reinforcement of a standard contractual arrangement.

    While I understand some “men” (if you call them that, as they probably aren’t mentches) dream of being able to afford a “harem” (and hope that the takana’s family law rules are no longer in effect), but any would be hackers looking for a heter should resign themselves that their hacking other people’s personal correspondence is glatt treff.

    #2102919
    ayingle
    Participant

    Sources Sources Sources.
    Scholarly Citations.
    Only about 2 of those so far…

    #2102964
    ujm
    Participant

    motchah11: If 100 Kollel Yungerleit are sufficient to compose a valid Heter Meah Rabbonim, it would seem rather easily obtainable by (hypothetically, to take one of any number of possibilities) getting 98 Kollel Yungerleit in BMG (NJ) to sign alongside a Kollel Yungerman from Torah Vodass (NY) and a Kollel Yungerman from the Baltimore Kollel (MD). Even if only 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 asked to sign agreed to, it could be put together relatively quickly by asking several hundred Yungerleit to sign (all under one Kollel roof) until you reach the requisite one hundred.

    #2103065
    mentsch1
    Participant

    Ujm
    Just got off the phone with a close relative who learned under Rav Moshe in MTJ
    He once signed on a heter as a bachur
    Rav Moshe asked everyone in the bais medrash to sign
    Apparently the kulah (ie allowing bachrum and not necessitating from multiple communities/countries) is due to the fact that the cherem ran out already

    #2103097
    ujm
    Participant

    mentsch1: Thank you for sharing. Your point is when stronger than motcha11 as your saying the 100 signatories to a Heter Meah Rabbonim don’t even need Smicha.

    #2103111
    mentsch1
    Participant

    The relative did receive smicha from Rav Moshe but that happened after
    According to him everyone in the Bais Medrash at the time signed
    Quoting this person (but not in Rav Moshe’s name) “probably close to 99% of the tshuvos I have seen on the subject of The cherim treat it leniently Bc of the lapse in time”

    #2103112
    mentsch1
    Participant

    Ujm
    So now the question is even though it lapsed how strong is the ongoing commitment to it based on minhag?
    Even though there may be no cherem is it “against our minhag” to marry more than one spouse? Etc.

    #2103136

    bochrim learning w/ R Moshe … are these same as this generation bochrim?

    #2103161
    The_Silent_Majority
    Participant

    The elephant in the room of this “purely” Halachic discussion, is that the man is looking for a heter for polygamy because he is refusing a Get to his wife, but he’s unwilling to suffer the consequences in his own marital life.

    He is handing her a living death sentence and guilty of violating tens of aveiros chamuros along the way. The hypocricy and self-delusion of caring about CDG while ignoring the foundations of what a Jew is all about, is astounding.

    Let’s not minimize this that it’s about being a “mench.” This is about the basics of Torah.

    #2103169
    ayingle
    Participant

    @Mentsch1: Any details on what the circumstances were that Rav Moshe Paskened it was the RIGHT thing to do? is this a ma mitzunu-able source? or was it a case where he couldn’t give a get, or pay the Kesuba or some other valid reason (no clue if those are valid)

    #2103184
    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    A rebbe taught us about the Cherem over 30 years ago. Although I still remember the details clearly I have tried over the years to verify the accuracy but haven’t been able to. Keeping that in mind here’s what we were taught.

    In the year 949 Rabbeinu Gershon felt that people were taking multiple wives for the wrong reason and instituted a 1,000 year ban against taking multiple wives as well as divorcing a wife against her will (or more specifically- without her knowingly accepting the divorce and what it means). There were two other parts to the cherem but they don’t relate to polygamy.

    The ban expired in 1949 but the Rabonim decided to keep them in effect albeit with a loophole in the polygamy ban. The loophole was not intended to allow a person to live with more than one spouse at a time but rather to not keep a person in limbo for the rest of his life due to extenuating circumstances. These circumstances are, for the most part, where a spouse has disappeared, is in a coma or is mentally not competent enough to know what her accepting a Get means. I don’t believe the intent was for situations where they can’t agree on the terms of a divorce- but again, I may be wrong.

    There are some basic requirements-
    1. He needs to have a Get written up and deposited by a Bais Din where she can pick it up if she decides to,
    2. He can not be living in the same house as her once the Get is written up and
    3. He must still support her financially.

    The need for the person to travel the world and get 100 Rabonim from 100 different cities on three different continents was in case one were to question the validity that there was a legitimate necessity- they will hopefully respect that it’ll be very hard to have Rabonim scattered all over the world to collude on it. They may also very well hear that the Rov of City A, City B… (I.e. Rabonim that they know personally and respect) were signatories and not question or snicker at the heter.

    Again- I haven’t been able to verify the details so if someone can provide support for (or a reputable source that disputes) this information I’d greatly appreciate it.

    #2103189
    GefilteFish
    Participant

    @the_silent_majority

    Could you provide a source to your claim that heter mesh rabbonim is used in cases when a man is refusing to give a get?

    In my (admittedly limited) experience, I’ve only come across it used in the opposite way.
    It’s a mechanism to prevent a man from becoming an aguna when his wife can’t or won’t accept a get.
    Cases where the wife went crazy, is in a coma, or just refuses to receive a get (based on another Cherem dRabbeinu gershon not to divorce a wife against her will).

    I furthermore had heard that in these cases, the man gives a get to his wife via beis din; and as soon as she is able or willing to accept it, it becomes valid and she’s divorced.

    Your presentation of what HMR is used far seems extremely different than what I’ve encountered, and I’d be interested to see some evidence of your example.

    #2103232
    mentsch1
    Participant

    Ayingle
    The case was in regards to a mentally incapacitated/institutionalized woman

    #2103234
    mentsch1
    Participant

    Silent majority
    Please read drpeppers post
    You need to actually give the get to a bais din prior to seeking the heter
    My source (the same relative) called it being “mishalish” the get with a bais din
    As for the other details in drpepeppers post I can’t vouch for it
    Apparently there is a rashba that already considered the cherem batul in those days and most authorities agree with that
    Rav Asher Weiss has a well explained tshuva on the subject (I think chelek 1:75)

    #2103235
    mentsch1
    Participant

    Gefilte
    I personally know of 3 cases of heter meah (besides for the one I mentioned involving Rav Moshe)
    Two of them the wife refused the get
    One the wife was permanently incapacitated
    Silent-Majority is completely uninformed

    #2103250
    ujm
    Participant

    So here’s a Halachic question based on the above conversation:

    One of the major provisions of Cherem Rabbeinu Gershom is that a husband cannot divorce his wife unless his wife wants to get divorced. Rabbeinu Gershom decreed that if a wife wishes to remain married, then the husband has no choice but to remain married to her. (Much as the husband has that equivalent right directly under Torah Law; whereas if he desires to remain married to his wife, then his wife is not entitled to a divorce even if she wants one.)

    Of course in both sets of circumstances there are exceptions to the rule, and a spouse may be entitled to a divorce even if the other spouse doesn’t want to divorce. (Except by Sephardim and other non-Ashkenazim the husband, presumably, can divorce his wife against her will [since only Ashkenazim are subject to CRG.]) But, by default, barring extenuating circumstances where there is a clearly defined and proven Halachic justification for an involuntary divorce, the spouse desiring to maintain and continue the marriage prevails over the spouse desiring to divorce.

    So my question, given the above, is when in fact is a husband entitled to a Heter Meah Rabbonim based on the fact that his wife declined to accept the divorce he wanted to give her? Rabbeinu Gershom specifically gave the wife the right to decide to refuse to accept a divorce from her husband.

    #2103359
    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    @ujm

    Please reread my disclaimer above that I’m not an expert in this topic at all and anything I write is just the way I think it’s supposed to work. (I.e. I don’t have any sources to back it up and it may very well be incorrect.)

    You asked when the husband is “entitled” to a Heter Meah Rabonim. I’m not sure that “entitled” is the correct word- maybe the question should be “At what time is it appropriate for a husband to start the process”?

    In any regard- if someone is trying to get the heter the way I believe it was intended to work it would be after he sent a subpoena for his wife to appear in Bais Din to initiate the Get procedure. After she refuses to come for a certain amount of time he’ll probably ask the Bais Din to write up the Get in absentia and have a message sent to her that it’s ready to be picked up.

    At that point I don’t know if he’s “entitled” to the heter but he can start the process.

    (I don’t believe that “entitled” is the correct word- he may very well be the cause of all the issues (and not “entitled” to a Get) and the 100 Rabonim will hopefully realize that and not sign on.)

    #2103404
    ujm
    Participant

    Dr. Pepper, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the issue.

    To take your example, suppose the husband summons his wife to Beis Din for the purpose of initiating Gett proceedings against her. But, unlike what you suggested, she accepts the subpoena and appears in Beis Din. Her husband begins proceedings by stating he came to give his wife a divorce. He lists a litany of complaints ranging from the she doesn’t prepare meals in a timely manner, doesn’t take care of the children well, is often unfriendly to him, doesn’t keep up the household properly, etc. She responds that she disagrees with his assessment, and believes the marriage is viable and whatever imperfections correctable. He says he tried working with her for years on all these issues but not much changed.

    They are at a standstill. He demands to divorce. She responds in Beis Din that she wishes the marriage to continue and as per Cherem Rabbeinu Gershom she hereby invokes her right to decline to accept the Gett her husband wishes to present to her.

    My contention in the above scenario is that, given the circumstances as presented, she prevails. It is her right to to remain married to his despite his wish otherwise. And he remains obligated to continue supporting her, living with her and providing her with onah and all her conjugal rights. I maintain that this is the clear and unambiguous Halachic result and that he is not able to receive a Heter Meah Rabbonim in this case. If anyone would like to contend otherwise let them present clear Halachic arguments against this obvious Halachic conclusion.

    As an endnote, the same result would be true in reverse, and Halachicly even more powerfully (since in that situation it is a pure Torah Law rather than a post-Chazal rabbinic decree), with the spouses roles in the above scenario reversed, with the wife seeking a divorce but the husband seeking to continue the marriage.

    #2103441
    GadolHadofi
    Participant

    Joseph,

    Trouble in paradise with one of your multiple pretend wives?

    #2103459
    mentsch1
    Participant

    Ujm
    How it’s supposed to go and how it will go is not necessarily the same way. As you know I am divorced and remarried. So I probably have a little bit more clarification on some of this than others.
    First of all a get is usually written by a Rav who is an expert, not necessarily by an official bais din. Said Rav acting responsibly will not immediately write the get but require assurances from rabbanim involved in the case, that the marriage is beyond salvage, prior to writing the get.
    Now this is a case involving both parties wanting out. Your specific case I can only guess at. But logically Rabbanim will get involved. They can’t force either party to stay married and at some point in time will pronounce the marriage unsalvageable and push for a get.
    It makes sense to do it get. Bc a couple that is married but not living together is a couple in danger of committing other averos.

    #2103469
    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    @ujm

    I chose the case where she ignored the subpoena as then the get will possibly be written without her present, she’ll be notified that it’s waiting for her to pick it up and he can start the process (you wanted to know when he can start the process and that’s a simpler case).

    If she responds to the subpoena and comes to Bais Din and the two of them can not agree on a single thing and decide to fight it out- it’ll get more complicated. If Bais Din sides with him and issues the get but she refuses to accept it- it’ll stay there until she decides to pick it up. Either way- once the get is written he can initiate the process. If Bais Din refuses to write a get maybe he’ll go ahead and find a different Bais Din- he may have to try multiple Batei Dinim until one sides with him. Either way- until a get is written and waiting for her to pick it up I don’t think he can proceed.

    I can’t say what the Rabonim had in mind when they decided on the heter as I don’t even know the names of the Rabonim but I’d like to think that they took the following into account.

    If the wife is R”L in a coma- it shouldn’t be too hard for any of the 100 Rabonim to verify the facts through witnesses and sign on. If the wife ignores the subpoena and the get is written in absentia- it may be a little harder but the 100 Rabonim should be able to verify the facts through witnesses and sign on. (It can be costly and time consuming if each ones tries contacting the wife to hear her side of the story and have her explain why she didn’t show up to a legitimate Bais Din, but it is doable.) If the husband kept getting told over and over again that he does not deserve a divorce until he was able to find a Bais Din that is willing to write one up – hopefully the 100 Rabonim that he approaches will catch on to what he did and not sign on.

    What if he goes to three friends, calls them his Bais Din, has one of them write up a get and obtains permission to start the process (without his wife even knowing about it) and he gets 100 friends to sign on to the heter? This shouldn’t be too different than some guy calling himself a Rav Hamachshir and giving a Hashgocha- if you hold of the Rov you can go ahead and eat what he certifies, if not stay away from the food.

    Similarly- If the husband has the certification that the get was written and 100 signatures that say he can go ahead a marry a second wife- if you trust the Bais Din and 100 signatories- let him marry your sister / daughter… If not- stay away.

    #2103468
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    If I was Rebbitzen Yosef, I’d be at least “curious” as to this sudden obsession with CRG.

    #2103578
    The_Silent_Majority
    Participant

    Gefiltefish, mentsch1 etc: The most infamous heter mea rabanim is the one issued to Meir Kin who got around the condition of requiring a get to be deposited with a beis din, by having a non-conventional beis din collude with him in his scheme to be מעגן his first wife while allowing himself to marry a second wife. This beis din, never actually makes the get available for pickup by the first wife using a variety of tactics.

    The current fragmented state of our communities where there is no centralized beis din and each person can claim that he left a get with a beis din that he found for his agenda, means that get refusal has now become a win-lose situation for the husband. CRG was meant to keep it a lose-lose proposition.

    The sudden obsession with CRG and HMR is not about debating the finer points of Halacha. It’s about wickedness and evil dressed up as an innocent discussion.

    For more information about how this has unfortunately become prevalent http://www. 5tjt.com/the-phony-heter-meah-rabbonim/

    Outside links deliberately broken

    #2103602

    a better question is whether 100 virtual bochurim from 100 different IP addresses will suffice.

    #2103662
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    “The sudden obsession with CRG is not about debating the finer points of Halacha. It’s about wickedness and evil dressed up as an innocent discussion…”

    I wouldn’t characterize reb yosef as either “wicked” or “evil”, although as noted, I’m also intrigued as to his sudden obsession of CRG. He doesn’t seek like the dating type but thats subjective.

    #2103764
    The_Silent_Majority
    Participant

    “The sudden obsession with CRG is not about debating the finer points of Halacha. It’s about wickedness and evil dressed up as an innocent discussion…”

    My reference is to the sudden obsession generally, as discussed in the 5TJT. I am definitely not referring to any specific individual.

    #2103776
    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    @The_Silent_Majority

    The point of the heter, in my opinion, was to not keep the husband chained forever due to unfortunate extenuating circumstances. As with anything in life that was created with good intent- there are those out there that will exploit it for horrible purposes which goes 100% against what the creators had in mind. The Heter Meah Rabonim is no exception.

    You make a good point regarding the current state of Batei Dinim nowadays. If things worked a little better, even in the fragmented state of our communities, if a person is summoned to a Bais Din that he’s not familiar with he should be able to call a local Bais Din to see if they are legit or not (kind of like a hashgacha that he’s unfamiliar with). If research does show that it’s unfortunately a corrupt Bais Din, the litigants (who are hopefully only out for the truth and for what Hashem wants them to do) should be able to find a Bais Din that works for both of them.

    When I got summoned to a Bais Din I never heard of a number of years ago I reached out to a dayan on a Bais Din that I was familiar with and trusted. He informed me that the particular Bais Din was as corrupt as they get (one of the dayanim was later arrested and is actually sitting in jail at the moment). Under the guidance of Daas Torah, I informed the plaintiff that I was not going to answer the summons but he is welcome to work with me on choosing a Bais Din that we both trust. He refused to even try that. This showed me that he wasn’t trying to get the emes (to say the least).

    Thanks for the link you tried posting- it looks like I was mostly correct with what I wrote earlier with the exception of the dates.

    #2103780
    ujm
    Participant

    Dr. Pepper, my starting assumption is that both parties are ehrliche yidden, even if they have a dispute. I don’t understand why you think it is “more complicated” if she complies with the Beis Din, and appropriately responds to their summons, than if she had inappropriately chosen to ignore any subpoena from B”D.

    My point in the scenario I described is that the husband has no right to divorce his wife and Beis Din will tell him he cannot divorce her. Shopping around for another Beis Din, when one doesn’t like the ruling of the first, isn’t a legitimate approach. The wife can stand her ground and insist on remaining married to him once the first Beis Din ruled she was within her rights, as per CRG, to decline to accept a Gett.

    #2103790
    Dr. Pepper
    Participant

    @ujm

    It would be nice if everyone was ehrliche and comes to (and listens to) Bais Din but unfortunately that’s not the case.

    From the three general categories that I believe the heter was created for:
    1. The wife has simply disappeared (i.e. her whereabout are unknown),
    2. The wife is in a coma or mentally unfit to accept a get and
    3. The wife simply refuses to accept the get,
    The first two are negated once the wife competently walks into Bais Din and the third one is negated if you’re under the assumption that she’s ehrliche, wants to do the right thing and is going to follow Bais Din.

    So given that we’re discussing the heter we’re under the assumption that both parties are not sitting in front of Bais Din as Ehrliche Yidden waiting for a Psak and fully intent on following it.

    If the wife is fully competent and being obnoxious it’s easier for Bais Din if she refuses to show up than if she shows up, pretends to be the victim while spewing forth an infinite amount of sheker. In the former case the Bais Din will see who the aggressor is while in the latter case the Bais Din will have to sort through all the information and hopefully figure it out. That’s why I think her complying with the summons makes things more complicated for Bais Din.

    If your starting assumption is that both parties are ehrliche Yidden, once the Bais Din tells him he can not divorce her- that’s the end of it- they’ll both leave and hopefully work things out on their own. An ehrliche person will not go ahead and find another Bais Din if they don’t like the ruling. The first Bais Din will probably not write up a get for him and give him the go ahead to start getting 100 signatures.

    #2103803
    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    ‘my starting assumption is that both parties are ehrliche yidden..’

    Hope springs eternal. Sadly, even when both parties ARE ehrliche yidden, these kinds of questions frequently result in erhlichkeit being left by the door and raw emotions superseding careful and deliberate consideration of halacha and daas torah.

    #2104226
    ujm
    Participant

    There’s no contradiction about the idea of two Ehrliche Yidden having a dispute and agreeing to settle it in Beis Din. In fact, that is the norm. Intentionally defying Halacha (as opposed to not knowing or misinterpreting Halacha) by obstructing justice and being in contempt of court by disregarding a hazmana should not be considered the default behavior of Torah observant Jews. A typical case is where both parties are seeking a ruling from Beis Din so that they can both accept the Halachic requirements and fulfill their duty in carrying out what the Torah says Hashem wants them to do, as determined in Beis Din.

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