Mar 23, 2015
Manipulators Aren't My Sisters

From the COLlive inbox: A Crown Heights woman has strong words for the campaigners behind "Every Agunah is My Sister."

By Aliza BasMenachem

When I saw the sign EVERY AGUNAH IS MY SISTER, in caps, with a solid bright red background, I felt something was wrong. Despite the loving words, the sign was not one of Ahavas Yisroel. It was manipulation. It proclaimed a righteousness to all vocal Agunah supporters, with the implication that if you dont show support to Agunahs you will be ostracized.

I have seen Crown Heights respond to tragedy with pure Ahavas Yisroel and there were no red signs with capital letters. To me, capital letters often look like someone is screaming. When someone is expressing Ahavah they dont scream.

When someone feels trapped they do scream. And the ruckus about so-called Agunahs is about feeling trapped. Everyone knows that most of these women are not real Agunahs. So I am not going to explain it again. I will call them UnGetted Women. Unfortunately, their pain has been corralled and trademarked by activists who produce signs such as the one I saw.

I would like to mention an authentic Agunah who lived in Crown Heights for decades. I knew her in the 70s. She cooked for the younger division of Oholei Torah. Her husband had been taken by the KGB and never heard of again. She was left without a husband and without children and in those days for women not much of a future, or so it would seem. But she became a legend. She fed hundreds of young students. Every helping was topped with a dollop of love. She showed no signs of feeling trapped, being angry, or unfulfilled. I would be proud to say is my sister (if only I qualified). No need for caps.

I know that UnGetted women are in pain. And I expect the painful mistreatment started long before it came to the Gett Refusal. My purpose in writing this article is to offer an alternative way of dealing with the pain. An alternative without hostility, anger and other stressful emotions that cause damage to a personalitys equilibrium. Especially for UnGetted women with children. You do not want to have your quest for freedom jeopardize the stability and wellbeing of your children.

The UnGetted woman is not chained by her husband. She has a choice. Especially in todays world, a woman can have a career, be involved in diverse fields of interest, and make a comfortable living. She does not need to live through a man. She can chose to be a single woman without a Gett. She can put dignity into her life. By all means she should speak to people and do whatever she can in a dignified way to attain a GETT, but it need not be an obsession.
Part of the problem is that the frenzy that has been generated about GETT refusal, has made the refusal more profitable. If there was a prevailing attitude that life goes on without a GETT, then the trend to withhold the GETT would lose some of its appeal and profitability.

The key is Emmunah. Hashem has many agents. If the agent to prevent you from getting re-married is your husband, it can be very aggravating. But the husband is still only the agent. If the UnGetted woman will accept that it is Hashem who is giving her this challenge. Then she can process it the same way she would process other challenges. She can put it into perspective.

A few times I have seen it written that the pain of an Agunah is the greatest pain of all. Talk about claiming victimhood! This claim has milked its potential to the point of husbands being fried by equipment used on cattle. Not only is this claim arrogant, it is not healthy for the UnGetted woman who believes it. She loses her empathy for others who are suffering. She fails to appreciate the blessings in her own life. She carries this shadow of superior pain with her as a cloud. This attitude is confining. This attitude keeps her chained.

But the real chains are the obsession about re-marriage. Why is the GETT so important? Most of the UnGetted women have been released from their marriages in most aspects of their lives. The one aspect where they do not have freedom is to re-marry. That is the issue. To re-marry. And that has become an obsession.

Instead of hounding the Rabbis and undermining the Halacha in a never ending search for an escape hatch how about walking out the front door and seeing the sunshine? There are a lot of single women in the world. Some were never married, some have a GETT and some dont have a GETT. Not having a GETT is not optimal but if you do have children then focus on them. Do not bad mouth their father. If they have no respect for their father, they will have no self-respect and eventually it will likely come back to haunt you. For sure, dont make demonstrations about their father. You are setting them up to see the world as a victim. There are a lot of bullies out there waiting for them. Face your challenge as others face their challenges. We all slip and fall, but we do not go around saying our challenge is worse than anyone elses. The choice is yours keep up the anger and hostility and stress or count your blessing and find your way to live a fulfilled life.

Emmunah is important. If you believe that marriage is Beshert. Then if Hashem has a suitable Beshert for you. Hashem will make you available at the right time. In the meantime, use your time to heal from your wounds, strengthen the relationships with people who make you happy and discover new horizons.
Recently there have been a lot of studies about happiness. Feeling appreciation for what you have has proven to be an important ingredient according to studies. Sound familiar? Who is happy? One who is happy with his lot. That doesnt mean she who has a great marriage. It means she who accepts lifes challenges with capital letters that spell BORUCH HASHEM. Together the Boruch Hashem and Sameach BChelkoy will break the chains of Golus, as together, with true Ahavas Yisroel, we greet MOSHIACH NOW!


RELATED ARTICLES:

+ Get Refusal is Domestic Abuse
+ In This Story, the Agunah Was Me
+ March Held to Support Agunahs
+ Marching Doesn't Heal Hearts


Most Read Most Comments


Opinions and Comments
1
SMUG
YOUR COMMENTS ARE THAT OF A SANCTIMONIOUS PREACHER. (PLEASE NOTE THE CAPITAL LETTERS)
WHO SAYS WOMEN WANT TO SETTLE FOR A CAREER INSTEAD OF A HUSBAND?
(3/23/2015 1:51:12 PM)
2
bless you
there is most certainly a silent majority in most situations
but thank you for breaking the silence
you said it all so eloquently!

this entire fiasco should never have become a "community" issue. It is a private martter and I resent that my children can't stay innocent because some have a need t share all their private affairs.

thank you for taking the time speak up.
(3/23/2015 1:53:31 PM)
3
Are you an agunah?
your article is contemptuous to an extreme. You do not show any empathy or compassion towards them, your only purpose in writing this is to lecture, scold and dismiss.
(3/23/2015 1:57:04 PM)
4
bravo!!
Bravo!!!
(3/23/2015 1:57:25 PM)
5
smart
very well written and true!!
(3/23/2015 1:59:43 PM)
6
wrong
I'm sorry but your essay, while possibly well intentioned, is coming from a wrong place. Lo Tov Heyos Haadam L'vado....man is not meant to live alone. And neither are women. Why should a woman not want to remarry? To rebuild? To hopefully build the home that she'd craved the first time round?
I am B"H a happily married woman. I want that for my friends. I want them to taste what a good life can be like.

While I don't think the campaign is going to achieve much, I have to say this essay is not correct.
(3/23/2015 2:01:43 PM)
7
I totally agree
Thank you for a bit of perspective. Unfortunately the modern orthodox and so-called "Chabad-lite" are infecting even our own.
besides, why do these women define themselves with this? arent they much more than "victim" or "wife"?
I agree they should fight for their get and they deserve all our love and support, but its not WHO they are, its something they are going through.
(3/23/2015 2:03:03 PM)
8
beautiful!!!
so true, so sound, so intuitive, so rite!! thank you!!
(3/23/2015 2:03:40 PM)
9
Everyone knows that most of these women are not real Agunahs."
WHAT?????
(3/23/2015 2:07:11 PM)
10
Totally agree
While many women are really waiting for a get for many years, and they deserve sympathy and support, many women caught in a bitter custody or divorce battle cry "agunah." They may be suffering, but they are not Agunahs.
(3/23/2015 2:08:39 PM)
11
caps
I guess when we all stood on Kingston with signs to free R' Rubashkin and held signs in caps we weren't showing ahavas yisroel either....
(3/23/2015 2:09:40 PM)
12
Oh my goodness
I literally cannot believe what I am reading.
(3/23/2015 2:11:15 PM)
13
wow, embarrassed
Embarrassed to live in the same community as you.
Smug, self-righteousness.
This is Ahavas Yisroel? To keep agunahs chained for life? Do you know how many women are trapped with an abusive husband? Your response is to put up and shut up?
I am disgusted.
(3/23/2015 2:11:19 PM)
14
Wake up and smell the coffee
I can't even finish reading ur article!! A guess ur life is just wonderful that u can't even relate to the concept of abuse!! That's just unfortunate!!! Go get educated
(3/23/2015 2:12:08 PM)
15
For real?
I cannot believe this was actually written by a woman! What female could be so unsympathetic to another to not empathize with them in their ability to move on and create a family with another person, to have children, to find happiness. I'm not usually so shocked by opinions that people feel they need to share, but this takes the cake. To feel the need to sit down and explain in an op-Ed how the agunahs aren't really agunahs and they should just accept their lot, which isn't really all that bad if you look at it from an insane perspective that because it's all bashert, no action should be taken to assist them or keep these events from happening, is so backwards!
(3/23/2015 2:12:49 PM)
16
smells rotten
Something smells rotten in your opinion, Hashem did say if your wife wants a get you should give her. No one would run from a great marriage. Or else there is absolutely a good reason why the husband should withhold the get he has to give it to her. She has the right to remarry.The torah says that he can be forced by all means, until he says . I only agree with you it should be in the proper Torah manner.
(3/23/2015 2:13:08 PM)
17


? . .
(3/23/2015 2:13:21 PM)
18
You should be ashamed of yourself
I am embarrassed for you that you think this was okay to think and vocalize.
You think that a woman who is being held hostage by her husband should focus on her career and so what if she can never remarry - what if shes 25 y.o. and wants to have more children?
and since when is career a thing in this community??
(3/23/2015 2:13:27 PM)
19
So much support.
Thank you for focusing on the emet of this situation as with any that we find ourselves facing. Everything happens for a reason and may each of us find the strength not to blame others for what is a gift from Hashem.
(3/23/2015 2:14:16 PM)
20
Walk in their shoes!
Nobody deserves to be trapped in a marriage they don't want to be in. You keep talking about emunah...well, what about pru urevu? The sanctity of marriage? The honor of a ketuvah? If anything, this article simply glorifies the secular feministic belief that we don't need a man to be fulfilled. I've never read a more deluded article in my life. We all deserve to be happy. And no, women who want out of an abusive marriage have every right to be heard. You talk about emunah and ahavas yisroel? Love a Jew enough to walk in her shoes and comprehend that not every woman is married to a kind, faithful, and loyal man. Ivdu et Hashem be simcha means being content in your avodat hashem. Not just getting on with life because you, the writer, don't deem them worthy enough of happiness and a shackle-free existence.
(3/23/2015 2:18:15 PM)
21
Started off on the right foot..
Then this article went totally off.
(3/23/2015 2:20:44 PM)
22
Wrong.
There are plenty of women who are indeed victims. Victims of abuse whether physical, verbal, emotional and/or financial. Women married to extreme addicts. When these women find the courage to leave a dangerous situation they are indeed victims who deserve the support of the community. It's not always feasible for a women with children to support herself right off the bat. Who are we kidding, even families with two working parents have a hard time surviving nowadays. And once these women have stabilized their lives they deserve a new happy and healthy marriage with more children if they so desire!
(3/23/2015 2:20:56 PM)
23
Zeldy wilenkin
Omg what are people made up of?
Do they even have a heart?
(3/23/2015 2:21:11 PM)
24
Don't judge another till you are in his shoes
Do not judge your fellow till you are in his shoes. And tG you are not, (very obviously based on your letter)
(3/23/2015 2:23:09 PM)
25
WAKE UP CALL
Women in abusive marriages don't earn money because their husband takes all of it!
Women in abusive marriages have no life or freedom because the husband makes her accountable for every step she takes, for every breath she breathes!
Women in abusive marriages deserve a way out from their miserable situation, not to have to live with a creep their entire lives!
Women in abusive marriages can not speak up because their husbands have also hijacked their voice!

Author, whoever you are, you sound completely naïve. Either that or you are raising sons who feel it is their G-d given right to abuse women.

When an abused women finally gets her voice back and wants to leave her husband, she needs constant ongoing encouragement! We need to be applauding people who Thank G-d got away from an abusive spouse.

COL will you next be publishing an article that says that someone with a broken arm shouldn't call for help or try to get to the hospital??? Because they should just find a different way to live and concentrate on their other body parts and thank Hashem for them? Because they can have a perfectly fulfilled life with only one broken arm?

Yes, dear author, your article is that stupid. WAKE UP!
(3/23/2015 2:23:40 PM)
26
an agunah for two years
i am a strong woman and live by this advise daily but i still have a right to a gett and the shame is not on the exposure of not getting a gett but on the childrens father not giving the gett
(3/23/2015 2:29:49 PM)
27
n huber.
you bring a lot of good points BUT IT IS NOT YOUR PLACE TO TELL OTHERS HOW TO HANDLE THEIR CHALLENGES! I am truly saddened by this article. The march was about ABUSE awareness that these woman have suffered and continue to suffer, and your lack of validation just made each woman suffer all over again! This article to me is the exact equivalent of a random person going over to someone who lost a loved one and telling them "haShem decided their time is up...if you have emunah, you shouldn't be sad"....no one says that to a person mourning, and you shouldn't be saying anything to victims of abuse either.
(3/23/2015 2:33:06 PM)
28
How can you preach ahavas yisrael and write like that?
Seriously you are being mikatreget on beautiful people and you need to do tshuva in a huge way
(3/23/2015 2:36:30 PM)
29
@#7
Stop contradicting yourself.
(3/23/2015 2:37:09 PM)
30
PLEASE DON'T BLAME THE CAPS
# 1 no one but someone looking to nitpick would even notice the typeface..
#2 you are right they are not agunahs...an agunah is one who does not know if her husband is dead or alive. as many of these would WISH their husbands dead nebech, they are not agunot.
#3 most of these issues revolve around one thing and one thing only MONEY..any woman willing to walk away without money can get her get in a moment. many times it is the parents/inlaws who are fault too.
#4 no one says this is the worst problem in the world, she is healthy, has children and can get a job. however, everyone realizes that it is not FUN...and deserves our help if possible.
#5 no one should get married without a prenup these days that spells out a get promptly in case of divorce.

that's the thiick and thin of this sad story.
(3/23/2015 2:37:32 PM)
31
TO #10
#10, custody battles go to the secular court and not related to a gett
(3/23/2015 2:40:07 PM)
32
Chana Z Weiss
This article is disgusting. I can't believe someone had the coldheartedness to put these words on paper.
(3/23/2015 2:40:40 PM)
33
Thumbs up!!
I have not read such a good piece in years! I wish the whole world had the vision that you have.
(3/23/2015 2:41:03 PM)
34
So according to your logic...
Someone who's in an abusive relationships shouldn't try to get out of it because it's all Hashem's Will? I guess the abused woman should be happy that Hashem is giving her a tikkun through getting physically, verbally, and emotionally beaten by her husband.
(3/23/2015 2:44:09 PM)
35
MIND, NOT EMOTION
I understand people's shock and hurt by this op-ed but I think it comes from emotions, not intellect. On an emotional level, these words hurt. They seem insensitive. They seem not to care.

On an intellectual level, I believe there is much to appreciate. If I may interpret the writer's words in a more sensitive way; we look around and see the recent tragedies in our community and others and don't understand how the people affected can move on. We ourselves have a hard time moving on. But time and again we see the people affected giving US Chizuk, telling US we must continue and that blows my mind. We can barely get passed it and yet the people that have lost seem to learn from these tragedies.

This is not what is happening with the Agunah situation or at least the friends of Agunos are not giving off this impression. We have used these unfortunate circumstances to spread hate and lies and divisive actions in light of these tough situations. There is an opportunity to show others that in spite of being tested by Hashem we can move on, we can move on and GROW, we can inspire others and use these opportunities as a teaching moment.

I believe the writer is trying to convey that when we wallow in our misery, we are giving strength to the other party. When we stand taller and stronger, we truly unchain ourselves from the lower side.

There is talk in these comments about abusive relationships; no person, man or woman should live for even one second in this kind of environment. And I do not know of a Halacha that states that a woman can't walk away from their husband in these circumstances, Furthermore, in this modern world she is almost certain to retain custody of her kids if she so desires. Use your hurt to teach your kids the right way so that we don't bring up a generation of angry people.

I do not have a solution to the Agunah issue in particular, but there is a solution for the individual. Live happy, be thankful for what you have and show the world how you face obstacles and jump right over them.

May we be Zoche to the Geulah when there will be peace in the world and Hashem will reveal that the tragedies were in fact blessings.
(3/23/2015 2:44:15 PM)
36
Itta W R (A REAL person, that does actually exist and has a name)
this article promotes abuse towards an already abused person. The ignorance of the relationship that the gett plays between victim and abuser is clearly shown here. I actually don't believe that Aliza BasMenachem is a real person. Does anyone know her???????
(3/23/2015 2:45:02 PM)
37
is this a joke?
Why does COL allow someone to post an op-ed like this under a pen-name? It is obviously inflammatory and insensitive, and the author is embarrassed enough by the subject matter that he/she is afraid to put a name down. Why can't we as a community be more sensitive to the plight of the Agunah, instead of giving voice to an article like this? Meir C
(3/23/2015 2:46:17 PM)
38
#28
It often revolves around custody as well. Fathers who demand full custody in exchange of a gett. That is NOT fair play.
(3/23/2015 2:49:02 PM)
39
Shame on COL for even posting this Ignorance
On so many levels this is wrong.

The writer here seems to be ok with a woman having a career instead of a husband.

She (or he) lacks empathy for even the most basic basic of life's struggles. Gosh, I feel for the children of this person. G-d help!
(3/23/2015 2:49:32 PM)
40
To #28
You are wrong. Women should not be forced to pay huge sums of money to get a gett. They should not be forced to relinquish their rights in the kesuba. Why do we sign a kesubah anyway? We tout how progressive a Jewish marriage is because we have a kesubah that protects women--what a joke!!
(3/23/2015 2:50:37 PM)
41
Wow
The author of this opinion piece is advising women who are waiting for a get to walk out the front door and see the sunshine. Really? I find the view represented here simplistic and condescending.
(3/23/2015 2:52:36 PM)
42
to the author,
Your words are perhaps better suited for a group of happy people getting together for a shiur in Emunah and Bitochen, and want to speak about these woman....however for someone that is suffering and lonely like many of the woman spoken about, you sound cold and self righteous.
I Maybe judging you as well for that I am sorry, but please.....people are hurting.....
(3/23/2015 2:52:50 PM)
43
shamefull article
You are telling woman that are aguna because of some man who has the ability to give a get (unlike the kgb story) to shut up
go to work and forget about ever having a family again is
shamefull, disrespectful at best
this is absolutely not how the Torah teaches us to treat woman
in need of help
very upsetting to see an article like this published
(3/23/2015 2:57:23 PM)
44
UNGETT YOUR HEART
telling a woman she does not need a man is a slap in the face to hashem. Hashem created us to NEED a happy healthy marriage. We AREN OT COMPLETE untill we are in a happy healthy marriage. If YOU think we can be FINE without a happy healthy marriage, PLEASE take it up with GD, and have Him rewrite Torah to not include such passages showing us that we need happy healthy marriages.
(3/23/2015 2:57:41 PM)
45
Horrible and insensitive
I cannot believe Collive allowed such an insensitive post space on their website. It honestly has me wondering what type of community I am a part of. This writer is completely dismissive of a basic human need for intimate connection. Yes, a women can choose to do many things besides having an intimate relationship, but none of those things will be the same as having a partner in life to share life's joys and challenges with. There is a time for emunah and there is a time for action. G-d bless these demonstrators for taking some action against the Gett problem.
(3/23/2015 2:59:34 PM)
46
true
great article you hit the nail on the head.
"that they are not real agunahs" .
some ppl are just bitter, and look to try and make everything around them look that way!
DON'T LET ANY NEGATIVE COMMENTS EFFECT THE GREAT POINT YOU WROTE ;-)
(3/23/2015 3:03:02 PM)
47
insensitive
What???? Am I really reading that??? A woman doesn't have a right to desire a husband and intimate relationships?? Who says?? You? Who are you to be so insensitive? This is not what torah is about!!! I have noticed that people who cannot emphatize with other's people pain...end up getting the same pain....be careful not to "victimize yourself" at that time!
(3/23/2015 3:08:16 PM)
48
Current Aguna
If this is a subtle psychological trick to break silence of hundreds of agunas, it is perfectly played.

I've been chained to a dead marriage for over five years. Yes, I have some wonderful things in my life and I am grateful for them but it doesn't erase the constant pain of not being able to be free, to give my son siblings, or to maybe find someone who would love me.

I also want to point out that an aguna such as myself is MORE chained than the historical aguna whose husband was possibly dead. We both have to restructure our lives around loss but she was not chained to a continual cycle of abuse and hatred.

Finally, in contrast to the author, I want to say THANK YOU to those that marched. Regardless of what some might say, it means a lot.
(3/23/2015 3:17:09 PM)
49
this is against halacha
it's against halacha. Rambam puts a lot of emphasis on the responsibility of the husband to do what's right and give a get, -which as misguided and illegal as the coercion you mentioned in your article was - is the basis of "forcing" the husband to give a get. "koifin oiso ad sheoimer roitze ani" yes it is important for a woman to do her best to stay positive and have emunah etc. but to say that she essentially just move on is not in line with halacha or emotional reaction. "chachamim hizharu biddivreichem" all the more so if not a chacham.
(3/23/2015 3:17:49 PM)
50
There is a difference
There is a difference between an agunah that has lost her husband in a war or ,in the case you stated, a hostile government kidnapping him and one being held hostage by a vindictive man either for spite or to blackmail her to give him the children,house,bank accounts,ect. One is a misfortune in life and the other is a vile,evil practice by petty,greedy men that wouldn't know ahavat Yisoel from spit . Rabbi Hoffman makes it clear that his article deals exclusively with the kashrus of a get obtained by use of extreme force and delves into a debate among the Rishonim as to when a get may be forced upon a husband. While the Mishna in Ksuvos lists several illnesses and professions in which a husband can be pressured by a Bais Din to give a get, the Gemara in both Ksuvos and Yevamos also list additional circumstances where force may be used.
According to R Hoffman the majority of todays divorce cases fall into another category entirely, termed Maus Alay, where the husband allegedly appears repulsive in the wifes eyes and the Rambam states that in this situation a get may be forced on the husband. While the Mishna in Erachin says that a man should be physically forced to give a get until he verbalizes his desire to do so, the actual methodology used to achieve that goal is subject to debate.
The halacha in the Shulchan Aruch seems to indicate that Maus Alay is not an acceptable reason for using force to obtain a get. According to the Rambam, however, it is possible that a forced get would still be valid under certain circumstances and other poskim also agree that coercion may be used to prevent a woman from becoming an agunah.
(3/23/2015 3:18:47 PM)
51
Wow
So are you saying a woman should see the "sunshine" when she can't remarry? She should focus on her career instead? I am sorry, but that is a lot to ask for.
(3/23/2015 3:19:19 PM)
52
Caps Lock
What does Caps Lock have to do with this? Maybe they just wanted the sign to be noticeable? That is what may advertisements do.
(3/23/2015 3:21:13 PM)
53
Cannot Even
I could not even finish reading this disgusting article. As a woman who was denied a Get for 16 months I can tell you that there is no way to 'choose to live as a dignified single woman'. Choice implies that you can choose between 2 options. Women who do not get a Get do not have the choice to be single. They are still married to that person and their Neshama is still intertwined with that person. They are not Single, and free to move on with their lives. They are married without any of the benefits of marriage and all of the downsides. Not only are they married and not free to move on but they are bound to men who abuse the Torah's laws for their own selfish manipulative gains. I would not wish my worst enemy to be an Agunah of any kind even for a moment at is is the single most painful experience I have ever had (and I lost a parent and experienced other painful loses as well). So I would hope that the author of this article never never never have to experience anything remotely like this, but do wish that she would open up her eyes and see with real compassion that the woman who are denied Gettin and their families (including the children) suffer great anguish from it. If she wishes to stand on a soap box and preach about the right way, she should encourage men to give Gettin to their wives no matter what, as denying a Get in against halacha and the actual anti-thesis of Ahavas Yisroel.
(3/23/2015 3:24:31 PM)
54
Do we really have the children in mind in this sitauation
It is wonderful to see so many people come together to try an help each other. I have been reading all these articles and there are many points that people have to take into consideration.
What if the husband refuses to give a get until the wife (and mother of his children) turns over the kids passports (as she has threatened to run out of the country and not tell him where she is)
It's just a thought...
We recently had very close friends that this was the situation and being close with the husband and the wife it took 3 years till the get was obtained. The wife is the first person to say that it took a lot of hurt feelings to be put aside for everyone to come to a solution that was something that would work for everyone. I am in no way agreeing with the author or what she said however, being personally involved in a situation like this.. Not everything is Black and White in every situation and before your form any opinion please make sure you know but sides as it took us 2 years to realize this...
That being said NO ONE should abuse or trap anyone. Keeping a woman chained is nothing but selfish, abusive and a form of bullying.. What would you advise your child. Don't let go? Don't Share? Don't let time go on... It's horrible

I just am confused why this group of women felt that it was appropriate to stand outside the BESHT shul. Yes there were issues. Yes I have heard that he refused to give his wife a Gett ( I don't know them personally) However at this point the wife is niftar and the 6 children are the only people that are hurt by this. He couldn't give her a Gett even if he wanted to now.
Why not stand in front of 770! Stand in front of Ohlei Torah and protest. Get the bochurim asking questions and understanding the importance of having a caring relationship and what needs to be done if it doesn't work out. March back and forth the entire length of crown height with your signs posters and shirts.
Don't turn into the Bully's though. Don't single out one person who couldn't do the right thing now even if he wanted to. Don't give these innocent children a reason to hide their faces in school from their friends (who are surely talking about this today)

Right Reason, Wrong Venue.
(3/23/2015 3:25:26 PM)
55
i agree both ways
yes, agunahs SHOULD NOT think of themselves as these 'poor poor people' who have no reason to live. there also does not have to be a huge campaign. But you should still sympathize with them and help them get a gett.
(3/23/2015 3:27:24 PM)
56
Don't abandon your women
Chaval. You have a frum education but no rachmonis. You think it is nothing to prevent a woman from marrying for her whole life. Chaval
(3/23/2015 3:29:41 PM)
57
you've done a good thing
You've distracted attention from the march (which people may be uncomfortable/ambivalent about) and back on to the plight of the agunah--which most people are rightfully sympathetic and outraged about.
(3/23/2015 3:36:12 PM)
58
domestic abuse and violence
We need a major event about domestic abuse and violence in our community. People just don't get it and need to be made aware of the suffering of people around them. Rabbonim need to be there too.

I am shocked that someone would advocate for abused wives to keep quiet and smile and keep enduring the abuse.

This is not frumkeit. It is not Chassidish to demean and devalue women. It is not "emunah" and "bitachon" to endure or promote abuse.

We should be the first ones, on the frontlines, to end the domestic violence in our community.

If unfortunately you aren't knowledgeable in this area, it is best to keep quiet and let others do the talking.

If you aren't on the side of the agunahs then you are on the side of the abusive husbands. And if that is being frum to you, then you better start all over again at age 0.
(3/23/2015 3:36:17 PM)
59
Family Law Attorney
I'm a family law attorney and I find this article to be shameful, at best. The author expressed an opinion - women should not victimize themselves and they should seek fulfillment in their lives outside of the need to find a husband. But this is not the Jewish way nor the frum way. Getting married is a mitzvah for a man; bearing children is a Godly gift that only a woman has the potential to fulfill. Men and women need each other to fulfill this role as spouses and parents of Am Yisroel. For the author to so blankly ignore this, to essentially say that women should just "suck it up" is despicable. There are lengthy discussions in the Talmud regarding how wrong it is for a man to withhold the get from his wife so much so that Rambam and many other commentators allow to beat the get out of a husband. The Talmud itself calls these women "chained."

Author: this is not about them not having other options. This is about the fact that it is not a man's place to withhold the get from his wife. Whether she is a stay-at-home mother or a neurosurgeon, she is chained to her marriage, to a man who refuses her the common courtesy of a piece of paper that says, "we didn't work out."

Where is your outrage? Where is your Ahavas Yisroel? Where is your frumkeit? Where is your advocacy to change the system that forces these women to "trash talk" their husbands? If this is so important to you then why are you not advocating for this women to help change a system that only hears them when they scream, when they march with signs, when they bring to light the villainy they live with? THAT's the way to change things - to support the victims, not to shame them. You don't want to call them victims? Then change their reality. Right an article that forces the prominent members of the community to look at the men who are not following the spirit of Judaism and force them to see that until they ostracize the husbands, the wives will not be helped. Until the proper pressure is put on these men, the women will suffer. Don't belittle what these wome are going through - it's real, it's unconscionable, and it's cruelty in every sense of the word. The Chilul Hashem these men create with the articles that have to be written in secular news outlets, with the court orders that have to be made in family court, is unspeakable. We are obligated to stand up for these women to not only prevent further chilulei Hashem, but to rectify them.
(3/23/2015 3:37:02 PM)
60
The purpose of the Kesubah
Is to protect women. Unfortunately since the Beis Din no longer has the jurisdiction to enforce things properly the system is broken, as women are no longer protected as the Torah set out.
What is our response as an Umah of Rachamanim? To "look at the bright side?" This is not a Yiddishe attitude, this is an obnoxious, bourgeois and cruel perspective that has no place in Torah.
When somebody is suffering our job is not to preach, it is to help our fellow Jew! We must stand up and demand answers, we must not tire until not single Halachic stone has been left unturned and a solution for our chained sisters is found. Obviously the women protesting are not rabbanim, and neither are they reforming Torah in any way by trying to assume the authority of Rabbanim, so they do the only thing they can - arouse the rabbanim, draw extra attention to the issue, and the do not stand idly on the blood of their fellows.
This author has so much to learn from them about the essence of Yiddishe, Chassidishe values.
(3/23/2015 3:40:48 PM)
61
wow
I can't believe this author. What a ridiculous article. So you are saying that a single woman who can't obtain a get should just get over it, and occupy herself with work and other projects to find fulfillment. Yes, maybe in the interim she has no choice but to make the best of it and that can mean career or education, etc. but to say that's it and forget about a partner in life, how insensitive. How would you like it if you were forced to live alone for the rest of your life. Oh just go out and get a career. Especially when we are a community that stresses family life, children, life cycles and holidays at every corner we are reminded that family life is at the core. What a shame.
(3/23/2015 3:40:57 PM)
62
shamefull article
You are telling woman that are aguna because of some man who has the ability to give a get (unlike the kgb story) to shut up
go to work and forget about ever having a family again is
shamefull, disrespectful at best
this is absolutely not how the Torah teaches us to treat woman
in need of help
very upsetting to see an article like this published
(3/23/2015 3:43:26 PM)
63
heartless
Thank you family law attorney you said it so well. These women are definitely Agunot who are married to vindictive creeps who abuse the Holy Torah to destroy their wives lives after they were not able to keep on abusing them at home. The tragedy is that there is not much to do other than beating the Get out of the husbands and that avenue is illegal under secular law.
(3/23/2015 3:50:23 PM)
64
woman
Dear Aliza Basmenachem,

You're clearly misinformed and insensitive.

I wish for you that you never understand or know the pain of an agunah and the blatant insensitivity of your words.
(3/23/2015 3:52:49 PM)
65
Excellent, Wise, Thoughtful
This was a very well thought out and commendable piece that will hopefully bring Ahavas Yisroel back to many. These are wise words. The people shamefully attacking it and the author just show what it says about the time before Moshiach is revealed. if anyone knew of her personal experience, her personal suffering and her wisdom, they would think twice before attacking.
(3/23/2015 3:54:55 PM)
66
Dont Judge
Who are you to decide what is pain? !!!! And give comfort to agunahs r"l that there are plenty of unmarried single women. Hashem has created this world that marriage is what brings true fulfillment in the lives of people especially in the lives of Torah Yidden. The only right you have is to
choose a life of solitude for yourself. If you are not in that situation keep your insensitive senseless comments to your
self!!!
(3/23/2015 3:57:40 PM)
67
rabbi Bolton
You certainly have a point. We must always make the best of every tragedy and see the treasure hidden in overcoming pain and difficulty. But that is only for OURSELVES! We can never justify, minimize or belittle the pain and suffering of others.
Nor can we have mercy on husbands that refuse to give gets or spare any effort to 'convince' them to comply with Torah law..... ad sh'omer 'rotze ani'.
(3/23/2015 3:58:35 PM)
68
One more small point
The viciousness of the attackers shows
a) the truth of this article
b) how vicious and uncaring the get-nowers can be. Thank you for doing everything that you can to shed light on the problem of people taking a cause and twisting it into destroying marriage (how many decent salvageable marriages did they ruin for the cause of an immediate get with no second thought?) and usually unwarranted parental alienation.
(3/23/2015 4:00:47 PM)
69
horrid and horryifying
embarrassed that people in our community think like this person does. This article proves all the more why a march (and much more is needed).
(3/23/2015 4:01:29 PM)
70
so sorry this was printed
Big problem to see remarriage as an obsession. Rebbe always wrote to people and asked them to remarry. People who lost spouses need to remarry. That is torah
This article was written by someone who was never tested in shalom bais. Hashem asks us to not judge. I pray no one should ever have to suffer a divorce. I send love and strength to all those that are suffering. Wishing you all a second chance, a beautiful binyan Adei ad. Don't pay attention to insensitive people.. love Hashem and your kids
Hashem will wipe away your tears
(3/23/2015 4:09:53 PM)
71
Shocked
Until you are in someone else's shoes do not judge. Every women that does not receive a get is suffered. Shame on you to talk about Ahavas Yisroel and not care about these women that are alone an struggling to make it work. Do you realize a lot of these women have children and are raising them alone in this community struggling everyday to pay rent food and have basic support? To write such an article and for it to get publish is an embarrassment. To make it clear a women is chained until she receives a get in every sense she can not move on with her life fully a career is not everything. Imagine being separated and knowing you can not remarry because someone does not want you to - that is trapped and chained in every sense. Whoever wrote this needs to get a grip of reality - and show compassion towards others.
(3/23/2015 4:15:30 PM)
72
no heart
Shame in you - you are one if the most cold hearted and unkind human beings I've had the displeasure to come across. Every person woman or man has the right to be happily married. Family is everything and everyone deserves that happiness. I really pray Hashem teaches you to show kindness to those who are suffering - and I pray that you do not have to Chas v shalom suffer to grow a heart.
(3/23/2015 4:22:45 PM)
73
plain truth
great article you hit the nail on the head.
"that they are not real agunahs" .
some people are just bitter, and want to fight with their ex husbands then look to try and make everyone around them look at them and cry abuse
(3/23/2015 4:22:56 PM)
74
Married 50 years
Shame on the writer. How dare she expound on what others should feel and do with their lives!! Having never been in an Agunah state where do you get the chutzpah to judge others?
Nobody compelled you to help them....but where is your ahavas yisroel. Especially coming from a married writer, this hard-hearted exposition should have been trashed before publication.
(3/23/2015 4:23:24 PM)
75
Husbands
what about all the men stuck in a lifeless marriage?
All the nagging, kvetching, complaining constantly
(3/23/2015 4:23:47 PM)
76
one more small point for one more small point
"how vicious get nowers can be" are you kidding me? do you have a heart! OY MY POOR EYES!
(3/23/2015 4:25:47 PM)
77
This is a joke, right?
Like, no one would actually believe that we shouldn't advocate on behalf of agunot and that they should just "accept their position" and not bad-mouth their (abusive) husband? Especially given the sanctions that Chazal allowed to make recalcitrant husbands to give a get...
(3/23/2015 4:25:50 PM)
78
this article is wrong in every way
who are you to judge on how an aguna should lead her life? And fyi, every woman who does not receive a get is an AGUNAH. i am not sure why you think otherwise. p.s every agunah is our sister
(3/23/2015 4:29:59 PM)
79
in the name of love
Dear Author. I'm sure in your own very special way you mean well. You do, right? It's not your fault is it, that you have been misguided and miseducated on what it means to have Ahavas Yisrael. However, we already do have an alternative to dealing with pain and we have a much truer way of having Ahavas Yisrael. It's called opening up your tehilim and letting those words sore heavenwards. Ahavas Yisrael is not writing an article such as this one. It's not diminishing the pain and suffering of our sisters because you don't understand their pain. But, I'm sure you care, right? So pick up that tehilim and instead of letting nonsense flow through you in the name of love, let the Tehilim do the work for you. I promise you, it will have much greater impact.
(3/23/2015 4:31:45 PM)
80
to #52
Why have you been denied a gett for 16 months? who asked for the gett in the first place? How much dirt have you thrown at you ex?

I dont know the answer to any of these questions but not every devorcee is a agunah

but only answering all the above questions and many more can one decide if about an agunah

Some one who asks for a gett then smears their spouse with hateful lies then does not not let them see their children then waits for a gett for 16 months

IS NOT AN AGUNAH RATHER SHE IS A NAIVE FOOLISH PERSON

The point is that not all so called agunas are really agunas and the recent parade proved that
(3/23/2015 4:35:17 PM)
81
Horrible! Totally against Chassidus!
For your own problems you have Emunah, for someone else's you only have compassion and empathy!!
(3/23/2015 4:39:47 PM)
82
don't agree, BUT:
I don't agree with most of the author's sentiments, but I do have to question the rush to remarry. Second marriages are almost never good for the kids, and in my opinion should not be done until the kids are grown and out of the house.
(3/23/2015 4:43:55 PM)
83
Yes
Very mature, healthy, and Jewish point of view and ikur - thank you, well written and thoughtful.

When we stop giving our focus to our self and anger (the fire that consumes) - that we "deserve" and that we're a "victim" - then we're truly saying "Shelo asani aved".

Then we can instead defer our emunah to Hashem and ask what does He want us to do or learn.

Also, I agree that it may seem "impossible" to "make the marriage work" - when it's just you, your spouse, and a book on marriage.

Hashem sends plenty of malachim and brochos for us to be mekabel by - there's plenty of therapists and mashpiim, for example.

Don't quit. It (marriage) is not a job and then you go get (no pun intended) another one. Jewish marriage is for life.
(3/23/2015 4:45:13 PM)
84
Thoughts from my own experiences and counseling others in touchy situation
Thank you Aliza BasMenachem Eisenberg for having the courage to speak her mind. To you, I say this: Every US President leaves a handwritten note to his successor. Reagan had stationary with turkeys on it and the line "Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down." His note was (going of memory - something to the effect of) "Dear George, There are some days that you will need this stationary."

People suffer and caring people like you encourage what works - dialogue and discussion. Since we're Jews, bound by Jewish Law, we must follow what it says in Shulchan Aruch EH 119, that before a get, absent cases of danger, everything reasonable must be done to save a marriage. For those who have waited too long, the likely answer again comes in the form of gentle and persistent appeals, not rallies in the street that will only serve to prolong the suffering of all involved for years (I know of no people who are swayed with regard to important decisions by shouting bystanders with placards - I have seen where such tactics have greatly inflamed situations that were close to resolution).

The Get Now crowd has worked to prevent hundreds of salvageable marriages because "counseling is a condition." They don't know what marriage means, what terrible effects they have on kids or that many marriages go through hard times. Second marriages are often better because people learn from losses and how to value marriage. If they are given the chance to rectify the first one, all is saved and children are spared. Most of their other cases are centered on parental alienation and mediation, not screaming people who pour gas on the fire, are needed. In the terrible few cases that their activism makes a mockery of, cases that really need to be dealt with, their tactics are the exact opposite of what is needed.

Aliza, it says that in the next world "mon d'ihu zoir, ihu rav, umon dihu rav ihu zoir" (those who are small in this world are great in the next and vice versa). These are the times before Moshiach is revealed, when truth is hated and screamed against. But those who scoff at you, insult you and curse your noble intentions show how little they care and how vicious and wrong their activism has become.

A drunken, defrocked Budist (as in Bud-Light) monk would know that their actions and the havoc that they cause have nothing to do with Torah and that they certainly are of no help to anyone who needs it.

Your reward is great and you will have a profound effect on every thinking person. It is better to be admired by people who know and care than to have the meaningless accolades of those who don't.

Stay strong and may the opposition be a mountain before you that leads you to climb no heights and may you and yours be blessed always.

YP
(3/23/2015 4:49:56 PM)
85
Genius!
This woman is a genius! By playing down the negative effects of gett refusal and encouraging victims to overcome and thrive despite their situation, she is denying recalcitrant husbands the satisfaction of using get refusal as a weapon against them!
(3/23/2015 4:51:02 PM)
86
MOSHE DER G
IN CAPS
HOW DARE YOU WRITE THIS
IT SAYS "AL TODIN ES CHAVEROI AD SHETAKIYA LEMOKOIMOI"
DONT JUDGE YOUR FRIEND UNTIL YOU ARE IN THEIR PLACE

if you are not suffering what these women suffer. you cannot judge them or tell them what to do.

the only blessing someone can give is you the author. that you should be in their shoes and then we shall see how you write.
(3/23/2015 4:52:10 PM)
87
Disgraceful
I can't believe collive published this as an article. I would like to assume that it was just for controversy of comments as opposed to this shared view. When the marraige is over, every single woman should receive her Get. Every woman/man deserves/needs the freedom to pursue a new relationship regardless of needing parnasah or not. Shame on this author.
(3/23/2015 4:53:28 PM)
88
comment 58
You couldn't have said it better. Its means so much to see the truth put out there.
(3/23/2015 4:58:29 PM)
89
Are you kidding?!
I might have thought the same way until I was actually first hand witness to an agunah who was refused a gett. You OBVIOUSLY haven't been exposed to this ever because your opinion is ridiculously naive and I hope you should never know someone close to you going through this but your disregard for a woman's right is honestly atrocious. These men who aren't giving getts are NOT your average loving husband. Most of these men don't want to let their wives go because they have emotional issues and need to have some control over the situation. I've never heard of a mentally and emotionally STABLE man refusing to give his wife a get. Use your common sense people!
(3/23/2015 5:06:17 PM)
90
R kolodny
The writer has many good points. I believe she was writing to women who are in the long process of divorce. Such a woman is not an agunah. Yes, some divorces take years. This does not make such a woman is an agunah. Trying to claim to be an agunah only goes to minimize a true agunah who's husband truly refuses a get. Not one who intends to give the get congruently with a civil divorce.
(3/23/2015 5:09:42 PM)
91
???????
This doesn't sound like it follows the directives of Torah.
A career is supposed to satisfy a woman?
(3/23/2015 5:25:22 PM)
92
WOW
Thank you for writing this article - and showing how empty each of your own arguments are.
This article made me sick to the sthomach and finally convinced me the marchers were 100 percent right. If this is the argument against the march, then the march is totally right!
a shliach
(3/23/2015 5:26:29 PM)
93
Naivete Beyond Belief
I wasn't sure whether to add anything, since the commenters above did such a fine job expressing my views. The author seems to represent what is fundamentally wrong with the Chareidi world: they are still living in the shtetl.

For the record: yes, there are manipulative women. And no, not every agunah is my sister. Yes, some women are vindictive; there are husbands, as well as wives, who are suffering from abuse. And no, I don't support the feminist agenda implicit in yesterday's march. Divorce is a painful and complicated matter, which must be done properly. However, this author's simplistic answer to the agunah problem is grounded in ignorance and wishful thinking. Her assertion that agunahs are blowing it all out of propoertion reminds me of a shiur once given by a sweet little rebbetzin from Yerushalayim on sholom bayis. When a friend sitting next to me, who was going through a horrendous divorce, brought up the topic of abuse, an East European lady sitting behind us said, "Why don't you just smile at your husband?"

Dear Aliza: there is a world of difference between a woman victimized by the KGB and a woman victimized by a creep or blackmailer. A woman wanting out of this relationship does not just seek a piece of paper -- she seeks closure, the end to a horrible life and the promise of a new beginning. Whether she gets remarried is ultimately up to Hashem. But to imply that she doesn't need to -- that she should stoically find other avenues of self-expression instead of life with a man -- is making a terrible assumption.

Actually, there is a feminist issue involved. In the Old Country these women were expected to suffer in silence -- be everyone's neb case or pet mitzvah. She would simply live on the dole, or work as a domestic somewhere and rely on everyone's sympathy. Nowadays, B"H, women have more options as far as careers or interests. They certainly don't need Aliza to tell her that. But they refuse to play victim or martyr. They want to live their own lives.

Ironically, she contradicts herself. On the one hand, she is saying that women can lead productive lives without the presence of a husband. That's true -- and many do - - but without finalization, she is never truly independent. She cannot be her own person, let alone remarry. The get has important benefits psychologically, not just technically.

This is probably the dilemma that's bothering the feminists -- the sophistication of the modern woman, who may not need a man "to look up to," but still needs the man to authorize the get. They're angry at "straight white males." Conversely, the frum community seems bothered by women who nowadays won't compliantly accept their lot in life. They refuse to be treated like children or simpletons. The rabbis do have to acknowledge their changing needs and intellect. But dismissing these women either way -- or telling them to just "keep busy"-- won't work either.

I have no easy answer myself. I am glad some agunahs have managed to transcend their plight.

(3/23/2015 5:28:31 PM)
94
shameful
how could u publish this, wow not letting a person have the right to marry isnt a big issue. it is a big issue.
(3/23/2015 5:34:14 PM)
95
Agunos who may be reading
Please do not take this disturbed rant as representing the views of your fellow yidden. We want the best for you, for your get to be given with dignity and for you to be able to rebuild in the way you choose, including remarriage when you're ready.
COL should be ashamed of themselves for printing garbage that will undoubtedly cause great agmas nefesh to people who are already suffering.
(3/23/2015 5:45:13 PM)
96
Agunot are my sisters
This article smacks of the modern-day radical feminism that leaves so many people thinking that Judaism is biased against women. I am a moderate feminist in that I believe in equal pay for equal work, breaking the glass ceiling, and being treated with respect and dignity. But I don't need feminism to tell me that- I have the Torah.
Judaism is a very family-oriented religion. Many of our mitzvot are all about passing Torah and mitzvot to the next generation. When children are born, we say a tefillah asking Hashem to lead them to Torah, CHUPPAH, U'Ma'asim Tovim. Yes, marriage is something we want for ourselves and for our children. An Agunah doesn't have that as an option. She's trapped. Telling her to find fulfillment in a career and activities is exactly what the modern-day feminists would tell her, but that's not the Jewish approach.
If you want to help these women by encouraging them to help out and give to their communities and have careers and not behave like victims, you can do that, but to deny what they're going through is only adding insult to injury. And there's no denying that the woman whose husband was held by the KGB is a heroine of the spirit, but so are all the other Agunot who get up, go to work, be with their families, and help in their communities. To even deny them the title of Agunot is just another insult on top of the injury.
If someone has a broken arm, we don't tell them to just get over it and focus on the other arm that still works. We give them x-rays, put on a splint and bandage, and give painkillers until the injury heals. So why should we tell Agunot, who are not only injured, but who cannot be sure of curing the injury, that they should just get over it and focus on their blessings?
May Hashem bless you by curing your vision and giving you the empathy that would allow to really understand what Agunot are going through and the courage to apologize to every Agunah and take back all the insults to THEIR courage and dignity.
(3/23/2015 5:47:52 PM)
97
Important Point To Consider
It is pretty obvious that the that the writer herself was an Agunah, and this is how she dealt with it.

She must be a strong woman to have reinvented herself.

BUT!

Whatever terminology you want to use, a woman who wants a divorce from her husband should get it within a reasonable time frame.

We have to realize that the get issue is relatively new as divorces were a rarity just a generation ago. But as we work on strengthening marriages, we must also work on this weakness of the Beis Din being unable to effectuate a get when a man is recalcitrant.

I think this community feels very, very strongly outraged about hurting a woman this way; let that be very clear! We may not agree if posters or petitions or advocacy is the best way to allay this problem, but make no mistake about it, we are outraged by it.

No, a woman should never be chained in a relationship against her will, as should not a man be.
(3/23/2015 5:55:14 PM)
98
Horrible! Totally against Chassidus!
For your own problems you have Emunah, for someone else's you only have compassion and empathy!!
(3/23/2015 5:57:23 PM)
99
Free Agunot
I am disappointed that such a misguided and insensitive piece should be posted here.

No woman should be deprived of her freedom to remarry. The insensitivity of the writer to the desires of another woman is insensitive and ignorant.

No man should be able to hold a woman who desires to be free to make her own choices.
(3/23/2015 6:03:24 PM)
100
it needs to be in bold and red
barbecue it shows the urgency of this matter!
(3/23/2015 6:19:19 PM)
101
We need solutions that help, not harm
Just one reason this article is good is because it's putting the situation in the proper light and will lead to proper solutions that actually bring resolution to many instead of fanning flames.

Rabbi Bolton,

A big problem is that rabbis are tested only on kashrus (as is proper) and then speak about gittin without looking in Even HaEzer. I remember once speaking with Rabbi Osdoba and he wondered why shluchim don't call him to ask about hilchos gittin.

Reb Yoel is one of the few magidei shiur who mentions "ad sheyomar rotzeh ani" in its proper context. The Rambam mentions it in a case that the person is chayav lgaresh (other rishonim disagree with the Rambam as to specific cases, but not on the general principle - for halacha lmaaseh, call a rov but the relevant sections of Shulchan Aruch are EH 77 and 154). Reb Yoel clearly explains, as is pshat in Rambam, that if it was found after that he wasn't chayav lgaresh, that get is botel lmafreiah. And only certain types of coercion are allowed depending on the severity (see Shulchan Aruch EH 164). Of course, advising someone to try everything to save the marriage and then give a get without hesitation if that doesn't work, is generally advisable (and rabbonim deal with tougher situations, those being the general guidelines).

Rabbis and shluchim need to learn these halachos inside Shulchan Aruch so that they can understand the problems that Rabbi Braun was referencing last week. These are tough issues with many intricate details that can affect people's lives, children's lives. People need to know the halochos so that they aren't looking toward harmful cookie cutter approaches instead of what works or what is right in each situation.
(3/23/2015 6:21:16 PM)
102
Dear Aliza
I am sure you heard the story of the person that was experiencing a flood in their neighborhood, and boats came by to rescue the family, but they said that they have Emunah in Hashem and he will rescue them. After the family perished, they asked Hashem why they were not rescued by Hashem, the response was that Hashem sent many boats to rescue them!

Case in point; we are Hashem's messengers. Hashem does state in the Torah that a couple can get the divorce, we are not here to judge on anyone's marriage if it warrants a divorce or not. When a couple does decide to get divorced we as messengers of Hashem are required to support them through their ordeal.

When we go up to Bais Din Shel Malo, we will be asked; as Hashems Shluchim what did we do to help a chained women on our block to receive a Get after 10-30 years of living separately and receiving a civil divorce?

I would like to bring to your attention a women who lives in the heart of Crown Heights (Crown & Albany), who fits the above description.

Aliza; Before writing your OP-Ed, did you take a moment to call an Agunah with children and ask her if she supports the Organizations that bring awareness and march in our neighborhood? If not, you should. Because I have, and i have yet to hear from a women that is an Agunah that does not support these organizations.

If you don't like the methods of a certain Agunah Organizations, please create a better alternative, don't off load it to G-D. Take responsibility of our women who are chained and waiting for a Get for many years!

My question to you Aliza is: What are you doing for that women that lives on Crown & Albany to be free like you?!
(3/23/2015 6:36:59 PM)
103
i think i understand
But what if your life was horrific with your husband and you divorced and you can't have more children. and your 48.Can you get re married? Just want to know? I will do Hashem wants me do.
(3/23/2015 6:43:08 PM)
104
To 97
Well said! you took the words out of my mouth
(3/23/2015 6:50:31 PM)
105
Perhaps the author
is not aware that along with no Gett there is no Psak and along with no Psak, there is no child support . So even though looking at the sunshine sounds sweet, it is a lot harder to do when basic needs ( including personal dignity ) are a constant struggle.
(3/23/2015 6:56:57 PM)
106
the commentators have it all wrong
this article is right on not like all the commentators seem to think. Aliza does have compassion for the aguna and is trying to help ease their pain . no where in this article will i think she does not care for their suffering etc. and doesn't think they do everything possible to get their get. she is giving an alternative in case it takes too long or is not been given that get to ease their pain
(3/23/2015 7:01:45 PM)
107
This is all neither here nor there...
First of all:

A get is only considered "refused" once all matters (custody, financial etc) are settled (in Bes Din or court). Even with secular marriage, a divorce is not granted until after matters are settled, until then the two remain "chained" to each other by law. The same applies halochically. Until matters are settled it is not time to give the get.

Divorces in court can and often does take years to complete, especially when there is disagreement, and until such time as all matters are settled, a divorce is not granted.

In the majority of "get refusal" circumstances custody and financial matters remain still unsettled, and just as in court the divorce or get is not granted until such time as they are.

It is only after matters have been settled and agreed to that a husband becomes "recalcitrant".

In most cases however, this is not the case, and according to Halochoh a get may not be forced in such cases, and if it is, it is considered invalid (and children from a woman's subsequent marriage are "possible [or definite] mamzerim".

It is only when all matters have been settled and agreed to and the husband continues to withhold a get that it is attributed exclusively to his yetzer hora (evil inclination) allowing that for only his yetzer hora to be compelled for it is considered an illigitimate voice. Besides for such a case, a lack of a get is simply par for the course until matters are settled and agreed upon.

Note: In light of the recent "prenup" the following is appropriate to add: Exorbitant financial fines leveled against a husband constitutes force. Therefore a "get" attained with the application of such a prenup before all matters are settled is a "get" under (financial) duress and is invalid (see Rambam / Shulchan Aruch). Furthermore, since a get given in accordance with the prenup is invalid, the prenup is self-defeating and therefore not legally enforceable in the first place.
It is worthwhile to note that the supposition that such an agreement was not considered and rejected by Great Rabbis in all the hundreds of years that they have been seeking a method to address recalcitrant husbands is a product of ignorance. Those "rabbis" who promote such a prenup mislead the public with ignorance and insult the wisdom of all the Great Rabbis who have addressed this issue before them, and risk causing many mamzerim, while disregarding the ruling of Rambam and Shulchan Aruch.

Let their error be exposed for what it is, Please G-d.
(3/23/2015 7:10:33 PM)
108
show some compassion
Telling an agunah not to be upset and complain about not being happily married and to find a hobby or a career instead, is like telling a woman having trouble getting pregnant to stop going to fertility doctors and adopt a kitten instead
(3/23/2015 7:19:27 PM)
109
this is a great attitude to have for YOURSELF!!!
When YOU'RE the one suffering, excellent - have emunah.

but this is not an attitude we take when we see another person suffering! When we see another in pain it is up to us to do everthing we possibly can to help them! We do not sit back and say, well they should have emmunah and accept their situation! That is pure evil!

You're suggested approach is completely opposite to the Torah way.

This is a discrace and I can't believe this article was published here.
(3/23/2015 7:25:17 PM)
110
Great article!! Thanks!
finally someone puts to paper what the silent majority of CH, indeed, of orthodox Jewry, believes. and behold, to no ones amazement, the protesters are shocked - SHOCKED to find out that there those who didn't march with them are actually aware of their concerns and have an opposing opinion!
Like William F. Buckley observed about the Left, "they say they are for tolerating other points of view, and are then shocked to find out that there are any"...
(3/23/2015 7:40:51 PM)
111
Reading is Fundamental
I'm surprised at how many of the critics of the article seem to have misread or skipped certain key parts. For example, the writer very specifically said that the ungetted woman SHOULD make efforts to extract herself from the situation. Many writers criticized the author as if she advised women to just remain in bad situations. Many criticized her for lacking compassion, but I took her expressions of compassion at face value. Just because she advises against wallowing in pain and bitterness does not mean she lacks compassion. In fact, the most compassionate response is to help a person develop a better way of coping with suffering.

More than anything, the critics on this thread apparently have not been schooled in the Aleph-Bais of Bitachon, which is exactly what the writer is talking about. By recognizing that every situation is completely in Hashem's hands, we go about our hishtadlus with the knowledge that, in the end, no matter the outcome its all up to Him anyway. This is a complete antidote to the poison of hatred and bitterness that consumes a person in these situations.

Kol HaKavod to Mrs. BasMenachem.
(3/23/2015 7:45:55 PM)
112
ironic
I find it very ironic that those criticizing the author for lack of ahavas yisroel keep saying the woman whose husband refuses to give her a gett has a right to the happiness she will find by re-marrying... what about those of us for whom it was not bashert to marry at all, are we supposed to sit and feel sorry for ourselves and think we have a "right" to be married and have a family and otherwise we can never be happy? I am already an old lady but if I had that attitude I would never have accomplished anything. I admit that I did spend some years feeling sorry for myself but Baruch Hashem I am now focussed on being sameicha bechelki.

Remember the story about the chossid who visited the Alter Rebbe and listed all his needs, and the Rebbe said "You tell me what you need, but what about what you are needed for?" Surely if these women have children, their first concern should be to be the best possible mother to them.
(3/23/2015 8:38:47 PM)
113
BRILLIANT ARTICLE
wow
i am shocked by how people can read without understanding the authors point!
dear author i agree with everything you wrote.

she is NOT saying not to try to get a gett when you need one
she did NOT say not to do whats in your power to free yourself
she is not saying not to help others in need

that all goes without saying- and there are dignified ways of helping...
she is saying that when you are in a situation with absolutely no way out, or anything you tried has not worked, try to go above your challenges and see that you are still capable of leading a productive life-
this is a very good attitude and therapeutic and frum and chassidish approach that can apply to any life challenges- whether one doesnt have children, chas vshalom or unfortunately has been molested etc...
we can either obsess and wallow in our situation and be miserable- which will only further our misery
or there is a much harder but more rewarding path of realizing EVERYTHING is from Hashem and try to live as best as we could

we all know people with tzoros who still manage to be happy and productive- despite their pain- and its amazing that they didnt let lifes troubles bring them down
and a goal that when we are in pain we should all strive for.

you can either drown in all your challenges and be miserable
but the chassidish approach is to recognize that every situation we are in was planned by Hashem and we need to do our best under the circumstances,
anger wont get us too far..
in fact it will ust make us more angry

so all the commentators screaming the author has no heart are missing the point.
of course we feel our sisters pain and do what needs to be done to help her (in an appropriate manner and for legit cases-
lets not bury our heads in the sand to say the woman is always right...)

exploiting the term aguna and screaming wont help anyone
but the one in pain can strive for a better life and by INSISTING that she is in the worst situation you are NOT helping her- YOU are making her more stuck than she already is

by helping her and encouraging emuna- WILL HELP.

this is a general approach we were all educated to respond to in difficult situations and does not detract from our love to one another nor imply that we sit with hands folded. at all.
(3/23/2015 8:50:50 PM)
114
Amazing Essay, But.....
Very well written and the author shows a powerful stance on this topic. However, this is just her opinion. Anyone can express their opinion any way they want. What I have a problem with is that the author claims some content in the essay to be factual without any sources to back her claims. Without the help of sources the author doesn't have much credibility and anything could be disregarded as fallacies or just plain falsehoods.
(3/23/2015 8:58:02 PM)
115
Prenap
I think in case of prenap, the husband will be willing to give get because his money and his menuchas hanefesh is more important to him than piece of paper or his wife for that matter. Also his withholding of get has to do with money. So lets put money in good use via prenap. Win win
(3/23/2015 9:09:45 PM)
116
These are merely opinions
Which I think most common sense people would reject and as we see from the comments.
What does have to happen is follow the absolute for every Jew.
That is Toras Moshe you go to Rabonim for any disagreements and the Rabonim have the last word. Not Kol Hayoshor Beainov Yaaseh. N.S.
(3/23/2015 9:11:50 PM)
117
Let my sisters go
Let me tell you what it feels like getting a Gett after an abusive dysfunctional marriage.
Its like yetzias mitzraim.
It is pada beshalom nafshi.
I wish all my sisters agunos and those who are trapped in abusive marriages to be free in this month of Nisan.
(3/23/2015 9:14:14 PM)
118
I couldn't even finish reading this article, it was getting me so mad
You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Your article disgusted me. Even though most people who have posted a comment wrote similar things, I won't hesitate to write it again. Worrying about whether or not they'll get a gett can make some women stay in these abusive marriages, and the ones who have summoned up the courage to demand a gett have to deal with enough, such as friends, relatives, and rabbis telling them not to divorce and/or giving them horrible advice, plus the shame and embarrassment - they don't need to be chained to the husband who caused all this as well. They just want to move on and their husband is stopping them. Don't you DARE tell someone that they can be happy without being remarried until you are an un-gettted woman yourself, which I hope you will never be, and even in that case, you can say it about yourself, not others. Although I understand the points you're trying to bring out, I have two things to say:
1. you're wrong on some points
2. there's a wrong way and a right way to say something. You chose the wrong way.
(3/23/2015 9:47:19 PM)
119
118!!!!
To # 118 you said it best!!!
to add one point, this is something one can demand of themselves, if they so wish, but this is not respectful to demand of others who are suffering!!!!!
(3/23/2015 10:11:39 PM)
120
I am an agunah -
There is a seruv against my x-2-b for refusing to give a gett, so I do qualify as a true agunah.
However, I would NEVER, EVER, NOT FOR 1 MINUTE - caps intended :-) - give that man the pleasure of ruining my life!

I raised my children together with the help of loving friends, family and community. I have a social life, a career (only after my kids were legally old enough to be home alone, as I was a full time mom and dad to them till then). Even their teachers didn't realize they were kids from a broken home - because ours was not a broken home. It was a home filled with love, laughter, discipline and a strong sense of family. I can hold my head high, knowing I did a great job raising my family. Baaruch Hashem, I am well respected, and not anyone's nebach case.

Yes, now I wonder what my twilight years will be like as my married kids move out of town, but at least I won't have the crushing blow of being a widow who is alone for the first time in her life after her loving husband of 50+ years dies.

I was able to get over the sadness and loneliness when I was young and resilient, with a bunch of wonderful children to occupy my every waking moment.

I have no regrets. And if there is a bashret out there that Hashem want me to marry one day, then He will make sure I am freed, either with a kosher gett or widowhood.

Yes, I know not every woman who is being refused a Gett is as fortunate as me. Some were married for only a very short period, and never had the chance to be a mother. But I know other women who were married, didn't have kids, got a gett immediately, and gave up looking for a spouse because they are only being read shidduchim with men old enough to be their father because of their failed marriage. Not to mention happily married women who are unable to bear children - like our own Rebbitzen. But you have to LIVE.

Yes, I feel for all the single women: chained, divorced or never married. Our Imachos cried out to Hashem for children. Sara had to wait 90 years, Chana threatened to seclude herself so as to be tested as a sotah, and through that be blessed with a child. Every (normal) woman wants a child of her own.

Please - to all the agunot out there - please don't live your life miserably. that's what you ex wants, and why would you want to give him that pleasure? Go out in the world. Be the best person you can be. Be happy despite the difficulties in your life. Be thankful to Hashem that you have good health, be thankful for any children you do have, be thankful for your friends and family who love you. Stand up tall and proud. You are not an agunah - you are a frum Jewish woman, a chosen child of Hashem, a teacher, lawyer, doctor, secretary or whatever you chose to be.

To quote from Fiddler On The Roof, "May G-D bless the Czar, and keep him far from me". You can and MUST live the life Hashem in his infinite wisdom chose for you, in happiness and tuv l'vav. And then, hopefully very soon, Hashem will set us free.
(3/23/2015 10:56:21 PM)
121
befriend an Agunah
Hear her story, imagine living her lifeWe are all guilty if we do nothing

Kudos to everyone who is taking a stance in any form
(3/23/2015 11:01:02 PM)
122
so wrong!
This article demonstrates such a lack of understanding of Torah, the Rebbe's hashkofos and basic human empathy, I don't know where to start.
1. our job in this world is to make a dirah b'tachtonim, not to tell people who are suffering to make the most of it as this is Hashem's will! Even goyim have the mitzvah to establish law courts, to ensure we have justice in THIS world. Hashem says "tzedek, tzedek tirdof" and "lo sa'amod al dam re'echo." Our community is obligated to help these women in need.
2. to compare a woman whose husband was snatched by the KGB to a woman whose husband lives freely in our community is just illogical.
3. it is simply g'neivah to withhold a get from a woman who wants one. These women ARE trapped, as they often lose years of their fertile lives and the neshamos which could have been born were it not for the recalcitrance of the men.
4. clearly, the author has no understanding of the plight of the single woman either.
." Especially in todays world, a woman can have a career, be involved in diverse fields of interest, and make a comfortable living"???
this is not the frum way!, Nor the natural way! Single women are another group of those suffering and while I encourage them to be happy and busy, we as a community should address this issue urgently.
The Rebbe never encouraged us to accept the status quo, and showed great empathy and ahavas yisroel. Make him proud and "tut altz vos ir kent." Imagine it was your daughter ! You don't want to march? Fine! Start a petition, a tehillim group, a support network...
Stop being holier than thou and act like you belong to
"chassidim, ein mishpoche!"
(3/23/2015 11:19:05 PM)
123
Completely out of line
You have no right to lecture about this subject in such a cold and condescending way! It blows me away to think that people can actually proudly say the things you have said!
(3/23/2015 11:21:02 PM)
124
words of encouragement to Aliza
This comment is not aimed at any of the previous scommenters'. It is for the author.

After over a hundred negative comments, you are probably doubting yourself. that is natural. You might wonder, am i wrong? Maybe I am just horribly insensitive? etc.

You have clearly been through an abusive relationship and sought out serious therapy. I did as well.

You are 100% right in every word that you wrote. Perhaps you could have been a bit more empathetic... But it probably would not have affected the opinion of most people anyway.

Remember there are 5 stages of dealng with a trauma. Most people here are still in denial/anger, etc.

You have come to accept it. IT is here. it is Hashem's will. What is in my hands right now? Only my life and my choices.

Just remember that all the commenters are right - because they are still in denial/anger stage... You are more right as you have graduated, and tried to inspire others to come along. I think you should write another article with a more thorough explanation of your idea that everything comes from Hashem... And it is your personal challenge that could have come from any messenger, etc., and how you discovered how many choices are really in your hands, etc. is in your hands.
(3/23/2015 11:26:53 PM)
125
She's right
when a creep knows the get is worth so much he will put a premium on it. Not caring is the only way to get the get. Maybe he will want to marry. The Halacha of gittin is very chauvinistic, anyway. In american law either side can give the divorce.
(3/23/2015 11:38:49 PM)
126
Ignorance about pre-nup
Some of the comments display ignorance of the pre-nup. It obligates payment to support his wife even if he is separated; It is not a penalty for separation. It is legally enforceable in civil court but doesn't force a get under duress; he can continue to remain married and support his wife according to his civil pre- nup agreement if he so desires; it's his choice. He will have agreed voluntarily lechathilah and before the wedding to provide this support, so any get is mamish not given under duress because he has the choice to stay married and support his wife as his ketubah requires anyway.
(3/23/2015 11:47:09 PM)
127
?????????????????
A career??????? Seriously?????

A fundamental need in ALL human beings is a stable relationship. These women want a chance to move on a build healthy lives.
Coming from divorced parents, where my mother's career flourished but she...
I only saw her happiness return (thereby to me as well) when she moved on and re-married.

I'm a Rabbi and completely disagree with the author's sentiment!
(3/23/2015 11:50:32 PM)
128
Very upsetting!
You have no right to judge how another person deals with their pain. You have no right to tell a chained woman to get over it and move on. An Ehrliche yid has the responsibility to be Dan Lekav Zechus and have rachmonus on someone who is suffering.
All I can say is you need to work very hard on your Ahavas Yisroel. Hopefully you will never suffer what these women are going through.
(3/24/2015 12:30:39 AM)
129
Bottom line:
If a woman wants a get she has a right to that get. End of story!
(3/24/2015 12:43:25 AM)
130
oy vey
col commenters, you are so dramatic.... chillllllll its an OPINION
Take what you like and leave the rest
If you want to be heard too, send in an article too,
you're entitled...
-a 19 yr old
(3/24/2015 1:40:03 AM)
131
Time for Prenaps
Lets all go to sleep!
(3/24/2015 2:54:21 AM)
132
btw
if you want your sign to get noticed you use CAPS
(3/24/2015 3:14:52 AM)
133
Completely Off the Rails
The author of this article starts by complaining about a lack of Ahavas Yisrael, yet very little if any is displayed in her writing.

Her advice that women without a gett should move on and see the sunshine because Hashem runs the world reminds me that every lie must contain a little bit of truth in order to be believed. Unfortunately it seems that some people are identifying with the article because it contains a legitimate idea that the author has twisted and corrupted, using it in a way that is both misguided and misplaced.

Misguided: In every other area of life where there is struggle or hardship, we don't lie back and say "that's my lot, Hashem is the boss." Although of course He is, we still do our utmost to achieve open and revealed good. We would never say that a patient with a deadly disease should focus on other things and not concentrate so much on recovering. We would not say to someone unemployed that they shouldn't focus so much on finding a job as a central goal. And those are issues where there isn't a human perpetrator. How much more so if a teen has chas veshalom been molested, we would never dream of minimising it and advising to take up a hobby rather than expending energy to fight for justice and to remove the perpetrator from the opportunity to harm people. Denying a gett is a form of abuse by control. There is an unfortunate perception that the gett should remain on the negotiating table along with issues like custody, finances, and division of assets. That is to my mind a grave mistake and miscarriage of justice. A gett is not an asset to be negotiated or a bargaining chip to use as leverage. The gett is the dissolution of the bond between two people. It is WHAT they are doing. Custody and finances are the details of HOW. It is a big mistake when those are confused and the gett itself becomes part of the how and is subject to negotiation. A woman - or a man for that matter - should not be at the mercy of the very person they wish to be disconnected from to determine what blackmail will be applied in order to achieve that disconnection. Let me make myself perfectly clear: I'm not talking about the fate of so-called "textbook agunahs" which we all agree on (at least I'm naive enough to think we do). I'm talking about a spouse who has determined that they no longer wish to stay married. It is not acceptable to force someone to get married, so it should not be acceptable to force someone to remain married. Even while the details drag on. Neither party should have the control to keep the other married against their will, and both parties should start approach the negotiating table with equal standing. The details can be worked out in Beis Din or secular court AFTER the gett. Working them out should not be a prerequisite to giving a gett, and should certainly not hold it up. I have had that fact confirmed to me face to face by a prominent Lubavitcher Rov within the last week. And just as in any other situation where we try to achieve health, livelihood, etc; in gittin as well we should certainly do absolutely whatever we can to bring about the desired outcome. Thinking we should do otherwise because it's a test from Hashem is misguided.

Misplaced: There is a time and place for the attitude the author describes. When a person faces a hardship of his own, not someone else's, and is making whatever efforts he possibly can to overcome it, he must not lose sight of the underlying truth that Hashem has brought him to this test. The same Hashem who brings us tests wants us to work for their resolution. And it is possible that Hashem has determined that a particular scenario is inescapable. The person in the situation must accept that ultimately Hashem runs the world, so if Hashem's will is for the challenge to prevail, the person accepts it. But that is only something we can apply to OURSELVES. Saying to another person to accept a difficulty to because it is Hashem's will is severely misplaced, cruel, and condescending.

A previous commenter was of the opinion that this piece evidences that the writer was without a gett herself at some point. Whether that is true or not, and whether these are her experiences and coping methods or not, she does not have the right to pass judgement on many many women who already feel that they have no voice to speak up for them when they are in a vulnerable position. This vulnerability could be entirely avoided if the gett and the ensuing negotiations were dealt with each on their own merits rather than having one tied up with the other. It is sad that some of our Rabbonim don't seem to have a clue about the correct way to deal with these situations. Fortunately there are many Rabbonim who DO get it, and I pray that their wisdom and understanding prevails and that those who would mishandle a situation become educated.

I never comment, but reading this and staying silent was untenable.

Posting my name because I stand behind my words. Sarah Chanah Sufrin
(3/24/2015 3:42:29 AM)
134
abuse and power
unfortunately this kind of manipulation and power play in gett refusal is just a symptom of many of the sick and abusive marriages that they are needed for. 1 in 3 women statistically are abused by a man in a domestic relationship. yes this happens in frum families, yes this happens in crown heights. and for these women, being told so just perk up and thank hashem for this bashert is just tantamount to victim blaming. for shame! can we please as a community put the balme where is belongs - on men who refuse to give gets. There is absolutely no justifiable reason for withholding a gett from a woman wanting a divorce. dont get court up in the hype of semantics, who is an aguna -lost husband vs gett witholder and stay focused on the issue. we should be empowering women in our communities to stand up and break free of poor and damaging marriages and as a community support them. if a woman asks for a gett and a man continues to refuse to grant it we need all look only at the husband to blame. end of story. and if women are feeling trapped, angry, enraged and sad we should only support them and give them voice.
(3/24/2015 7:42:45 AM)
135
OPElly
Yes, the UnGetted woman (although she's still an agunah as far as I'm concerned) can put dignity into her life, and no, obtaining the gett need not be an obsession. Still, the articles merits don't overcome its flaws.

The author also says that an UnGetted woman can "choose to be a single woman without a Gett." This statement fails on two counts. First, she will remain a *married* woman. Second, she doesn't have a *choice* until she's offered a Gett (she could opt to refuse it).

I'm also disturbed by the statement, "... the husband is still only the agent. If the UnGetted woman will accept that it is Hashem who is giving her this challenge." [sic] A few comments have pointed out that the Torah speaks of marriage as the Divinely-prescribed ideal state. This sentence suggests that it is Hashem Himself Who bars the way to fulfill His will. That's preposterous.
(3/24/2015 9:46:30 AM)
136
great article!
i believe aliza was completely misunderstood

she did not mean that one should not try to get out of the situation

she only meant to say going into a frenzy is killing your own chance to actually bring in some happiness from other areas in life.

no shes not saying take it all in stride and smile.

shes saying in the event that chas vshalom one is completely trapped- she should realize this is from Hashem and see which other areas in life she can actually feel accomplished from -that this is possible.

and she didnt say this was easy either.

but self-pity and anger wont help-it makes it much worse- and more as a tool for the man to use against her
(3/24/2015 10:19:42 AM)
137
Sholom Dovber
If a person no longer wants to be married approach Beis Din and ask that they contact your spouse to arrange a Gett.
If there are children to the marriage a simultaneous agreement will need to be reach as to the custody and visitation issues.
If there is property and other financial issues they will also need to be settled.
(3/24/2015 11:18:54 AM)
138
Define Agunah
I think the word Agunah has been so watered down that it lost its meaning. I think today every woman who asks for a get and does not receive it that same day thinks she is an agunah. This is not the halachic case of agunah. A get is not finalized in one day just as a legal divorce is not finalized in one day. There is a process to everything. Someone who is refused a get or someone who the husband went missing is a real agunah. This is not the same as someone who is in the divorce process and is working out the details of dividing property, money, custody etc. It is totally reasonable for these things to take some time until both parties agree. No one like to share these things that is understood but there needs to be open conversation between the two to make it work, not hostility and not refusal to work out details. This will only prolong the process and this is not grounds for calling yourself an agunah. May all the real agunahs be freed and may those in the get process find the strength to work together amicably and speed along the process.
(3/24/2015 11:46:12 AM)
139
Sarah Chanah,
Thank you for writing the most intelligent, articulate, and compassionate COL comment I've ever read.
(3/24/2015 12:03:12 PM)
140
A get is not a bargaining chip
I have nothing to add after Sarah Chanah's comment.

Thank you for taking the time to pen such an excellent response.

To the author, I have nothing nice to say, so I will stop here.
(3/24/2015 12:57:58 PM)
141
Why Aguna
in all these stories only one thing is annoying me -why is everyone calling these women "aguna".Aguna - when you don't know where the husband is or you don't have proves that he died.It doesn't apply here at all
(3/24/2015 2:26:37 PM)
142
Unfortunately this article is written from a perspective of disability
The author has a disability in that she has never suffered to the extent she is unable to empathise with the sufferings of people less fortunate than she.
Some of us have the G-D given ability to look beyond the pale of personal misfortune and to see brachos.
However that should not make us arrogantly dismiss the real pain of a person tangled in the nets of personal misfortunates. Their vision clouded with inner anguish, they often are unable to appreciate or be aware of the blessings they have.
We can empathise and try and guide that person to calmer and more rational responses to their environment and personal circumstances. We must not preach or condemn because that only serves to distance us from our fellow human being who is undergoing a trauma we cannot imagine. That means she will only see herself further alienated from the norm and isolated. We do not want that. We want her to feel a part of a community and treasured when she has obviously not been treated well and fairly by someone she entrusted her life to in marriage. Until you have been in a marriage that does not uphold proper Jewish values, and if BH your husband treats your in a considerate and correct manner with kindness, you will find the former hard to understand or empathise with the situation.
I feel sorry for someone who cannot empathise with the less fortunate and I hope you never have to experience tragedy in order to understand and find it within you to put yourself in someone else's shoes.
(3/24/2015 6:34:10 PM)
143
Sarah Chana
Thank you for writing the most intelligent comment I have ever read on COL.

It provided much clarity.

Aliza, Im sorry but you seem misguided. Perhaps it worked for you as a coping mechanism but to suggest that woman should stay with their tormentors is outright wrong.

Your tone was also condescending. Please work on a bit of humility.
(3/24/2015 9:29:07 PM)
144
What if it was your daughter?
In cases like this I always offer people to try on the shoes of those whom they criticize. What if it was your daughter- the ungetted one. Would it be the same reaction? Would you tell your daughter ( especially without children) to move on and count her blessings when someone is deliberately robbing her of motherhood. It also could happen that by the time a woman gets the Gett it might be too late to have children.
(3/24/2015 10:25:23 PM)
145
To Sara Chana
Sarah Chana. Thank you for your articulate post. While I agree with your analysis of the article and that true agunos are in a bad situation and should not just resign to their plight, I do have some questions about the Get procedure you articulate; namely that the details of the divorce (custody and finance) should be dealt with after the Get.
How many men do you know who have zero or almost zero access to their children, even AFTER giving the Get? Im sure almost everybody knows at least one man in that sad situation. Refusing access to the children for no legitimate reason is just as cruel as refusing a Get. Many men rightly or wrongly see that the system in most secular western countries is stacked against the men (in both the custody and financial domains). If less women used their children as pawns, perhaps less men would use the Get as leverage?
Im not saying using the Get as leverage is right, but neither is using the children as pawns. Is it fair to expect men to give the Get immediately and then be at overwhelming disadvantage in the custody and financial phase of the divorce in today's climate in secular court where many women have the power to refuse any visitation?
(3/25/2015 12:48:33 AM)
146
Yaakov Krakow
This article is beyond absurd. It is a fundamental part of being human to want to have a loving intimate relationship with a significant other, and the guidelines by which the Torah allows this is in marriage. Even our sages acknowledge that, under normal circumstances, not being in a marriage (and of course that marriage being a loving marriage) is cause for depression and general unhappiness. For one human being to exploit the Torah's rules on divorce to prevent another human being from being able to pursue that objective is the ultimate act of cruelty, coercion, and sociopathy. Such cruel individuals rightfully should be stopped at any cost. . . . and I do mean ANY cost. May G-d bless the author of this article with wisdom and even-mindedness so she can see how wrong her outlook is.
(3/25/2015 1:01:07 AM)
147
to #126
A pre-nup can specify anything to which the parties wish to agree. Therefore it can also specify that in the event of civil divorce the husband agrees to give a gett no later than the date the civil divorce is final.
(3/25/2015 11:43:13 AM)
148
Asking ourselves the question...
The fact that there are so many agunahs within our jewish communities should have us seriously asking : what is it that we are doing wrong to raise young people with the attitudes that have contributed to this problem?
Does his problem start when they are reared at home, in our communities , families, our schools, shuls etc ?
Its serious and needs to be taken seriously. We want our children to be in decent and respectful and loving relationships where both spouses respect and work together with one another.
What is it that we can offer or change to help guide them?
(3/25/2015 12:58:19 PM)
149
17 thousand agunas in NY State
look it up, its true 17 thousand, so even if half are lying, you still have 8.5 thousand recalcitrant husbands out there that need their respective heads bashed in (i am a man btw)

shout out to Rabbi Epstein We Miss You Gangsta!
(3/26/2015 12:49:47 AM)
150
to number 120
What if u didn't have kids in that marriage would u still sit aside and do nothing about move on in life? Their are hundreds stuck in such a situation!
(3/30/2015 4:41:25 AM)
151
Thank you for speaking up!
There is a woman who has harassed one of our neighbors for nearly 5 years claiming to be his agunah. The Rabbinute last month declared her still married to the husband before HIM. She still needs a get from the OTHER man, even though our neighbor gave her a get. She destroyed his life ...because she wanted attention and sympathy, and she still isn't screaming about the man who has refused her a get for 6 years. Unbelievable.
(4/1/2015 4:02:07 PM)
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