Mar 26, 2015
Divorce is a Double Sided Mess

Every Agunah is our sister and every man going through a divorce is our brother too, writes a Crown Heights father.

by a Crown Heights father

A series of tragic events involving a Crown Heights family has started an important conversation about Agunah and the halachic implications of a Jewish Divorce.

I have been following the articles and the comments online hoping to see a voice I related to. What I found instead was the voice of people who fought emotionally and projected their own feelings about divorce and Agunahs on this particular situation. I had been waiting to read a voice of reason and an explanation why the community at large did not support the 'Agunah Marchí last Sunday.

I wanted to bring another perspective.

Divorce brings out the absolute worst in people. During divorce, most people do things, say things, think things, and feel things that they've never done, said, thought, or felt before, and that they will never do, say, think, or feel in the future. Almost all of them involve at some point (usually at many points) an exchange of harsh, bitter, hurtful words.

Yes. There are some terrible men out there. There are men who withhold the Get in order to maintain control over their wives. There are real Agunahs who are or have been waiting years to be freed of their marriage. Those Agunahs we should and do rally around.

Unfortunately, the word 'Agunah' has been used and abused by women who are not satisfied with the direction of the divorce agreements. She calls herself an Agunah in order to to rally support with the intention of shaming and bullying the husband in efforts to get the upper hand in the proceedings.

These women are hurt and they want to get their own back through the children, money or both. They are determined to ensure the husband is as much divorced from his children as his wife. Most family lawyers agree that the wife holds most of the cards in a divorce case.

A divorced friend of mine found himself feeling completely powerless when his wife suddenly moved from one city to another with their two sons. "She did not tell me," he said. "One day she just stopped answering the phone. Until then I had been seeing my sons every weekend."

By the time the case reached court, the kids were already settled in a new school. The judge admitted that what the woman had done was illegal, but because it was in the best interests of the children to be with their mother, he did nothing.

"She had got away with kidnapping my children," said the father. His relationship with his sons has all but broken down. Their new home is too far for them to come to him. When he goes to see them, he has to stay in a hotel. "The children get bored in an hour or two," he says. "They have their friends and their sports, which they would rather do instead."

He tells me he finds the situation "so painful. I try to play the role of a father - but how can I when I have been deliberately moved to the outside edge of their lives?"

This is just one example. According to research, within 2 years of divorce, half of fathers lose contact with their children. The situation leaves many men distraught. They describe the loss of their children as an emotional amputation.

The men are not immune. They have feelings and innate parental rights. Being a lousy husband does not mean you deserve to have those parental rights taken away.

Researcher reports that divorced men have higher rates of mortality, substance abuse, depression, and lack of social support. Statistics show divorced men are 8 times more likely than divorced women to commit suicide.

Of course, in all this there is only one real victim - the children.

I have unfortunately seen many friends go through the process of divorce. Some were able to handle it amicably and set aside their differences for the best interest of the children. For others was just a bloody mess.

Every case needs to be judged independently. We canít just slap a label and jump to conclusion on any particular divorce or Get proceeding (civil or Jewish) as long as it is within the process of the courts and or Bes Din.

Women suffer in a divorce. Men too suffer in a divorce.

Just as the woman has a right to a Get, the man has a right to go through the process of dissolving the marriage and giving the get.

Every Agunah is our sister and every man going through a divorce is our brother. So long as they both are complying with the courts and Bet Din he deserves the same respect and support as the woman involved.

We are a community. We are a family.


RELATED ARTICLES:
+ Get Refusal is Domestic Abuse
+ In This Story, the Agunah Was Me
+ Manipulators Aren't My Sisters
+ March Held to Support Agunahs
+ Marching Doesn't Heal Hearts



Most Read Most Comments


Opinions and Comments
1
Finally...
I've been waiting for this side of the story to be told. Throughout all the anger and outrage thats been going on, noone mentioned the fathers who are kept from seeing their kids, who are thrown in jail and who regularly receive restraining orders - and they are not abusers.

Of course any form of abuse must not be tolerated. Any man who is abusive physically or emotionally should receive just consequences. However all of us know that theres a dark side to all of this, some divorces happen simply beacause 2 people couldn't get along - not due to any abuse - and there are many women who will outright lie for attention and to get her way.
(3/26/2015 1:06:31 PM)
2
Thanks
For a breath of fresh air. Still some normal ppl out. There
(3/26/2015 1:06:56 PM)
3
Yes but
The point is that within the current halachik framework the man has the upper hand.
(3/26/2015 1:08:30 PM)
4
Two sides
There are two sides to a dysfunctional marriage. There is only one side to domestic abuse! BH with regard to abuse we are finally learning that we need to believe the victims. BH we are learning that just because outwardly you are pious, it doesn't mean you can't be an abuser. Now it's time to start realizing that domestic abuse is much the same! Also, just as you would never condone a victim of child abuse spending time alone with their abuser, children of an abusive parent DO NOT benefit from spending time alone with their abuser. A Parent's "rights" are forfeited the moment they begin to abuse. The only one they should be blaming for their predicament is themselves.
(3/26/2015 1:12:44 PM)
5
agree
Three "agunahs" that I know, two of whom are fairly vocal on the agunah support groups are both failing to mention that they are in limbo status solely because they have demands which are completely unfair to their spouse. One wants an exorbitant amount of money and if her husband won't pay she refuses to proceed. The other wants full parental rights to the children and the husband must agree to give up all rights to a relationship with the children. Yes, these women call themselves agunahs. This is where these women are abusing the word. And yes, people are raising funds and donating to the cause of helping such women fight in court for sole custody under the guise of being an agunah. Garnering sympathy and support, while the "audience" believes they are helping pay court costs to gain her freedom. Ironically, these women are denying their husbands the option of giving a gett by placing unfair demands on them.
(3/26/2015 1:13:26 PM)
6
very fair article
Every case needs to be judged independently. We canít just slap a label and jump to conclusion on any particular divorce or Get proceeding (civil or Jewish) as long as it is within the process of the courts and or Bes Din.
(3/26/2015 1:13:38 PM)
7
ANYNIMOUS
KOL HA KAVOD FOR SAYING WHAT MANY THINK (AND LIVE THROUGH).
(3/26/2015 1:13:38 PM)
8
beautiful
THIS IS BEAUTY. NO POLITICS, not seeking to be controversial, just... wisdom
(3/26/2015 1:14:30 PM)
9
dont divorce
don't divorce unless there is infedility
get training for marriage "
this is the commitment that both has to make before getting married
1 you are not allowed NEVER to raise your voice to your wife/husband
2 you are obligated to have always a smile and positive attitude
3 you are obligated to engraved in you " gam zu le tova" and never complain about money and other things
4 get always a 3rd party to resolve a problem
5 you are obligated to treat always well and give kavod to your husband/wife
6 never speak something bad against you r husband/wife this should be considered as talking bad against Hashem
7 please someone continue

(3/26/2015 1:15:09 PM)
10
Well said...
I think this article puts things in perspective.
(3/26/2015 1:21:02 PM)
11
Amazing
You found the words to describe exactly what I have been feeling about this story
(3/26/2015 1:22:49 PM)
12
Gosh
Be brave put your name .
(3/26/2015 1:23:26 PM)
13
Yosef
Yes, men can be on the losing side of the divorce as well.
However, custody is taken care of in court.
Men withholding a Gett is 95% of the time abuse / control.
These are two different topics.
(3/26/2015 1:25:31 PM)
14
Well said
Good on u for not jumping to conclusions and taking sides . You really brought out a true and important point.
(3/26/2015 1:27:31 PM)
15
Please don't include abusers in this mess.
Divorce is very messy,and the stench is great. However, in cases of divorces occurring from domestic violence,this is not the case.Abusers lack empathy and are not the one's suffering from the end of the marriage.They are actually upset by the break of freedom and independence. They do not rip sackcloth in mourning. In an abusive marriage the only person suffering are the victims.The abuser smirks and is at ease when all goes his merry way.Please don't lump all divorces together.It is simply not accurate or true.
(3/26/2015 1:28:21 PM)
16
You are right, but...
you are absolutely right. But 90% of men who withhold the Gett have a history of domestic abuse. Those cases are the ones the woman needs community support, and this is where the "every agunah is my sister" campaign enters.
(3/26/2015 1:28:47 PM)
17
Let's be fair
So far the only article yet that I agree with. Forget about Feminist rights or Male rights... How about Human Rights?
No one should abuse Halacha for their own personal gain and that includes both genders.

Let's judge every case individually... Instead of screaming about all Agunahs!
(3/26/2015 1:32:44 PM)
18
well said.
I agreed with yehudis' and R Leahs articles, NOT with Alizas article and I agree with yours. You bring a good point to the discussion.
(3/26/2015 1:37:09 PM)
19
mother of a divorced SON
You are absolutely right! Men suffer terribly. Son women are really witches.
(3/26/2015 1:37:57 PM)
20
Voice of reason
Thank you for your eloquent voice of reason on this topic. You have given a very fair and accurate appraisal on this highly emotional issue.
(3/26/2015 1:40:06 PM)
21
thank you
We need more sane voices like this.
(3/26/2015 1:40:14 PM)
22
AMEN
SPOT ON!!
(3/26/2015 1:41:39 PM)
23
Always messy from the start.
Divorce can brings out one's worse side ,however in the case of a divorce that was ended because of abuse,the mess began way before the divorce. The abuser's messiness caused the divorce .

(3/26/2015 1:44:26 PM)
24
GET organizations please step in to broker a GETs for men
There's a young man here, whose wife left Crown Heights over 10 years ago with the children and refuses to accept a get (there are two cases of this here).

Initially she took the children to Israel refusing to divulge her location. (so he can't give her a get) Her family wanted him to give them a large sum and in exchange they would "broker" the get. In typical Sefardic Get Torture fashion- this poor woman is being held hostage by her own family!!

This man wants to give a get, he just needs an address!

Meanwhile her family is torturing him for years claiming he won't give a get (They don't mention that it requires their help and a small "fee" of course) and at the same time demanding a ransom for her giving one. This has been going on for over 10 years. (If you know where Mrs. Gerlernter lives please contact Mrs Lipsker: layah@getyourget.com so she can mediate a peaceful ending. Your name will not be divulged)

Perhaps in the spirit of equality, GET organizations should step in to broker a GETs for men who want to give
Rashi
(3/26/2015 1:46:07 PM)
25
Yes!
I am a 26 year old woman, happily married BH, but cannot help think- do men have ANY protection?! why is it that a woman can just demand a get, say I want to leave and give the husband no option? What if the husband deeply loves his wife and is utterly shocked by her request? What if he loves his wife and children so dearly that he doesn't, and rightfully shouldn't just let them go? What if he wants to try to make things work and maybe see a counselor?

Can the wife automatically call foul? I feel bad for the men.

My uncle had to wait 10 years for a get from his wife. 10 years! And yet my other uncle, while going thru a divorce, after his wife wanted a get and he agreed but wanted to sort out details of the civil divorce first, gets hounded with threats from Bais din, for keeping her waiting and threatened to fine him $150 a day since day 1 of the marriage. HELLO? I'm not familiar with the Halachos but do men have any protection?
(3/26/2015 1:47:28 PM)
26
What process of giving the get
Just give it. A woman wants to be free. Just give her the basic right of freedom owed to every human being. A mensch acts with menschlichkeit. Enough of the chillul Hashem, enough of the pain caused.
Settle the issues in civil court after giving the get.
(3/26/2015 1:49:09 PM)
27
finally
This is the first balanced article I am seeing in a while. All the previous articles paint everyone with a broad brush, and create all types of misleading slogans to gain sympathy. Every case must be decided individually. No 2 cases are alike. This is an honest article, because the writer is able to concede that his side is at fault also. Unlike the previous wtiter who sounded so sanctimonious, and had everyone cheering along, even though it was full of generalizations and short on facts. To number 3, you are wrong. The husband does not have the upper hand because there are many factors to consider which give the wife the upper hand. Enough with the generelizations.
(3/26/2015 2:01:30 PM)
28
Shared custody
Most courts today give shared custody, unless the kids are very little or the parents agreed that mother will be a primary caregiver. Reality: Most fathers dont want physical custody. If mothers move (usually for valid reasons - family, jobs, health) , most loving fathers i know move closer to kids.
What gett has to do with above?
(3/26/2015 2:04:33 PM)
29
Dear Crown Heights Father, ýťÁ
The analogy given is not wrong but you must focus on a case by case scenario. There are times when it's best for the "father" to take his children and run and unfortunately there are situations where it is a must for the mother to take the children and get away as far as possible not for the mothers sake but for the welfare of the children. Studies do show that if there is a "mental" parent it's best for the children to live with the other parent or another family. But again what happened in CH there is more then meets the eye.
(3/26/2015 2:06:56 PM)
30
Getting help
I hear time and time again that couples should work it out .
Abusers don't get help.They don't take accountability for their actions and usually say the spouse is the crazy one.If they do go for help,it is used as a tactic for her to stay, and he rarely follows through. Therapy isn't magic.It's about being accountable. Most abusers go to therapy to complain about the partner and to prove that she is not mentally well.Once the therapist does not deem her as crazy,he usually ends the sessions.
(3/26/2015 2:09:58 PM)
31
court
Where are people taking the chutzpah to recommend civil court after a get? Is this torah? All disputes must be adjudicated in beis din, whether financial or custody. The get process cannot be separate from this. It is this left wing anti torah mindset that is creating all the problems.
(3/26/2015 2:13:45 PM)
32
Happily divorced
yes its possible. In short, when my husband and l came to the conclusion that our marriage was in the end game, we went to bet din. I saw how miserable he was and the rav said 'go home and sort things out. Come back in 6 months'. Was he a gett refuser? Was l an agunah? I think not. He needed time to process this new status. I was willing to give him that space. We went to the bet din 6 months later. We were both ready. 19 years later and we are still on good terms, he is always interested and concerned with our daughter's progress and for all of this l am truly grateful. I tokd him we should take our show on the road!!!
(3/26/2015 2:15:44 PM)
33
Great Dane
One day I woke up to to an email from my ex telling me that she had moved country with our daughter.
(3/26/2015 2:15:58 PM)
34
That's me folks
My ex wants a large cash payout. If not she won't agree to shared custody. Well than, she's not getting her Get. Two can play this game. And yes if you keep making this difficult for me I will make it very difficult for you when it comes time to give you the get. Men aren't cash machines.
(3/26/2015 2:22:23 PM)
35
What?
Why? I totally get what you are saying. No one can deny that this happens and is an injustice. This would have been a great article (as based on emotion as it was) had you not related it to the agunah (or gett) issue. Why deflect? Does the fact that men suffer in divorce change the issue that is being discussed? No? One person's suffering does not make anothers less. You would have served these men better had you treated it as it's own issue. We should all only know good things.
(3/26/2015 2:22:37 PM)
36
I find it offensive
I find it offensive that all those campaigning in support of agunahs insist that every divorced male is an abuser. What is that about? Just because a marriage falls apart doesnt mean he was, or is an abuser!
I think that just turns more people off to your cause... keep it realistic, and everyone will feel for your pain, whether you are waiting for a Gett or are already divorced.
(3/26/2015 2:25:59 PM)
37
Two sides
I see people quoting statistics of the percentage of men who withhold the Gett, also abuse their wife/children. According to Rabbi Dr. A Twersky you are all wrong. According to him the its actually 100%.
(3/26/2015 2:42:39 PM)
38
I shouldn't have to fight....
....for what is my G-d given right to be a father to my kids in EVERY sense of the word. You want your get upfront and unconditionally; I want to be guaranteed UPFRONT and UNCONDITIONALLY that I will be a parent to my kids in EVERY sense....
(3/26/2015 2:43:48 PM)
39
to # 3
With the current legal framework, the woman has the upper hand. So in somehow has to balance out and be fair.
(3/26/2015 2:44:53 PM)
40
The Truth
There is his side
There is her side
Then there is the truth.
(3/26/2015 2:47:03 PM)
41
Childrens rights
The issue should not be about mother's rights or father's rights. The only important rights are those of the children. Each case needs to be determined on an individual basis to determine what is the best interest for the children. Being exposed to a parent who is abusive/mentally ill will have everlasting effects on children and the adults that they will become. Most state courts are extremely liberal. The presumed custody arrangement is equal 50/50 awarded to both parents, unless there are extreme circumstances that would prove otherwise. I believe that for a frum couple to divorce, there would be grounds for extreme circumstances.
(3/26/2015 2:57:32 PM)
42
Yes you are right!
Many times men are happy to give a get but their wives are destroying them in family court and they feel the only card they hold is the get. Meanwhile the wife runs around crying she is an Aguna victim while she is simultaneously preparing to pulverize him in court as soon as she gets the GET. men OR women shouldn't know from such pain.
But everyone must always the remember THE REAL VICTIMS IN DIVORCE ARE THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(3/26/2015 2:58:54 PM)
43
FINALLY!!!
I have been waiting for someone to write what I have been thinking. Very well written and I agree with every word! Im sick people feeling the need to use the publics opinion to get the upper hand in the PRIVATE situation. Not to mention making it very hard to protect our children from knowing about such matters.
(3/26/2015 3:03:28 PM)
44
The Kids are the third side of the story
Thanks so much for putting things in perspective. What should also be pointed out is the ease in which divorce happen. When kids are involved, both parents have an obligation to their kids to try to resolve their issues and not divorce. The kids are the third side of the story. They suffer in some cases the most and it could affect their entire lives!
(3/26/2015 3:04:51 PM)
45
Wives making trouble
I see more wives making trouble than their husbands
They are realy abusive
(3/26/2015 3:05:42 PM)
46
Work Harder To Stay Married
I just finished counseling a woman who is getting divorced because her in-law mixed in and caused problems.

People! Start investing in marriages! Here's my two cents...x10! I hope it helps!

1-Make your marriage your #1 priority.
2-Speak Softly - it works wonders
3-Don't rehash the past, deal with the present.
4-Give your spouse space
5-Dont use the words NEVER or ALWAYS -they are poison.
6-Say I love you, often.
7-Use the 5/1 rule. Don't nag, criticize, show frustration before you have shown 5 positive interchanges. (Concern, Interest, Help, Love, etc)
8-Dont speak negatively to your spouse to anyone! Not your mother, sister, brother, or best friend. If you have a problem, speak to a qualified, certified, counselor who has yiras shamayim.
9-Make sure to have daily 'quality' time, even 5 minutes, where you lock the door, sit and talk about something other than the kids, the bills etc. Preferably when you wake up and go to sleep, but if your schedules are not synchronized, at least once a day.
10-Don't use sarcasm. It has no place in a healthy relationship.
11-Never compare yourself to other couples: Its useless, unhelpful, destructive, and false.
12-Try to schedule a date for a walk, coffee, or a drive at least once every two weeks.
13-Meditate on the positive qualities your spouse has daily for at least one or two minutes.
14-Smile.
15-Look after your health. Eat well, exercise if you can, and take care of yourself. Its hard to love someone else when you dont love yourself.
16-If you have teenage children, never take different side in front of your child. Resolve your parenting differences behind closed doors.
17-Dont forget your sense of humor.
18-If something bothers you, bring it quietly, a bit later, when you are talking from your logical side more than your emotional side. Remember the 5/1 rule, though, you have to have deposited enough good will to bring up negativity.
19-Count your blessings every day. Look at those who have it harder than you, not easier than you.
20- Daven for shalom bayis because that way it will be a top priority in your life.

Caveat: All this applies to the 90 percent of normal interactions between couples. If you need professional help in case of abuse, addiction or lack of fidelity, get the help early, keep it confidential, make sure the person is qualified and above all, has yiras shomayim.

Good luck to everyone. With all the challenges out there, we need to double down and make our homes a safe haven: a place of peace, tranquiility, cooperation and, ultimately, happiness.
(3/26/2015 3:06:44 PM)
47
I agree 100%
The man's side of divorce is often ignored, but I know more than one man who was victimized by their ex-wife. Contrary to what I see written in most articles about frum divorce, it is not always the man who is the bad actor in divorce proceedings. Women do have the upperhand when it comes to custody of the children, and some women will try to poison their children's minds against the father. This is contrary to accepted professional thought as to what is healthy psychologically for children in a divorce situation. It's good to hear the other side finally.
(3/26/2015 3:08:38 PM)
48
Missing the point
abuse is wrong and hurtful. In the case of Agunahs they are kept as captives and can't rebuild their lives. That is because according to Halacha a woman needs a get to remarry and a man can technically refuse to give it. These men abuse this technicality and that's what makes it ugly. A man can remarry even if his wife refuses to accept a get and rely on a known Heter of 100 rabbis. As painful as divorce can be and as abusive as both parties can be at least the man is not held back from building his life and remarrying.
(3/26/2015 3:18:48 PM)
49
agunah
i dont undertsand how being an "agunah" and a man getting divorce are the same thing? when two people decide to get a divorce they have their reasons and it can get messy. but being an agunah has nothing to do with a "man getting divorce". men who abuse the gett are abusive men- its simple. stop comparing the both. a woman dosent have a choice to withhold a gett like men do. its not the same. "breath of fresh air" really? there are very few woman who do abuse the man etc. but to with hold the gett- that dosent exist. so the topic of an agunah is MAN REFUSING TO GIVE A GETT not the woman getting a gett and running away with the children- thats a differnet situation.
(3/26/2015 3:21:57 PM)
50
I see what's going on here
With all the 'just give the get,' comments. Modern marriage and divorce has been detroyed in the non-Jewish world. The courts are so unreasonable in favor of women that many non-Jewish men refuse to marry because of the danger. The get mitigates this destructive element and ensures that there will be an equitable severance for both sides. When the man refuses, they are declared refusers by beis din and deserver whatever comes of that. But beis din needs to decide that not rabble rousing victims. If there is an issue do a zabla. What these wreckers wish to do is to install the non-Jewish divorce dynamic into Jewish law. The pre-nupt aggreement is sketchy pending a vaad rabbonai lubavitch despit what a shluch who works with the 'boston beis din' says about it.

Toxic times. Rabbonim do need to speak out. I hope this is last op-ed on the topic and instead of op-eds we get formal statements by respected and loved rabbonim.
(3/26/2015 3:22:07 PM)
51
Abuse - ALWAYS?
I agree with #36. All of a sudden, many men are branded as abusers. Why? Because they argued with their wives? It's the boy who cried wolf syndrome - you cry Abuser long enough, at every given opportunity, & when a REAL abuser is identified, it's unlikely you will be believed.

Furthermore (and I absolutely agree that men should give a Gett) why is a man who won't automatically branded an abuser? What about the wives who blackmail their husbands for money, often when they don't have it, or they won't accept the Gett? Yes, they CAN & DO refuse to accept it sometimes - my sister did for ONE DAY because her ex refused to pay for Yeshiva or child support. She caved in after a day. Some women are incredibly manipulative & use Halacha to their advantage as much as men do. I have heard of cases where women refuse to accept a Gett for years. Who is the "Agunah" now??

Sometimes, I really feel sorry for men. These crackpot marchers last Sunday, with their vicious vendetta against one particular man, prove to me that women bring a lot on themselves.

signed,

married for 40 years - and female.

(3/26/2015 3:22:26 PM)
52
Very well said
The best comment throughout the whole 2 week ruckus was from a lady who suggested that mediators are the answer. Rabbi Dovid Eidensohn (has shimush from Reb Moshe Feinstein) is starting a telephone shiur in hilchos ishus (Even HaEzer) in an effort to educate people. 30 years ago, he solved the 2 toughest cases in Monsey.

Most involved today fan flames and make this unsolvable, or improperly get involved in cases where reconciliation is sought (even if set offers of sessions are proposed) or in cases in which custody is still being worked out. Secular law in many jurisdictions has a mandated 1 year waiting period before divorce (the Rambam's solution - and halacha in this case is not like the Rambam, but even more preventative). Each case needs to be evaluated on its own, but the organizations that scream aguna and rile things up are doing a tremendous disservice to all involved.

A psak from Rav Elshayiv shows the prenups to be halachically invalid, as do Crown Heights rabbonim. It is littered with clear halachic errors. Behind the scenes, it's also an attempt by the organization behind the prenup to usurp locla batei din who know the litigants and can best propose a solution. That itself is against halacha.

This piece does a great job of providing the human and moral aspect behind Torah law.
(3/26/2015 3:23:06 PM)
53
Abusers are not my brothers or sisters
And the Batei Din that partner with abusers, shame on them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T9zoSwIZ_0&feature=youtube_gdata_player
(3/26/2015 3:27:22 PM)
54
This is no joke
Why are you making this situation a joke.
Men are usually the abusive ones in a marriage .
any man who is a get refuser is usually an abuser and that's why the woman needs to leave . The men don't change so theraoy won't help abusive men.
(3/26/2015 3:27:54 PM)
55
fair unfair
even with your trying to be fair to both sides you still come off as the guy being the bad one. my parents were divorced and yet they never stopped each other from being parents. we went to our father whenever we wanted. whether it was to spend the night or the weekend. he picked us up to take us to school and back every day. if he drove by he honked we came running. if we wanted to see him we picked up the phone and he came over. we never understood until we were adults why everyone thought divorce was so bad. and my parents didn't speak a word to each other til a year before my father died, (over 10 yrs). my son was recently divorced and was totally decimated. emotionally financially in every possible way because his ex had a narcissistic personality disorder. I do not exaggerate or lie. there was no reason for it. he did not do anything that was a divorce-able offense (cheating, abusive, alcoholic etc). did he have faults? sure. divorce-able faults NO. the kids are devastated but she plays the victim perfectly she has it down to an art form. I also use to think "men" but now I see woman can be just as guilty. My son wanted a fair settlement he wanted to be fair to her but he was also entitled to a life after. she did not want to be fair to him she wanted to go on with her life but she purposely wanted to leave him in tatters. and she uses the kids to punish him, which he can do in kind but will not do so. and she knows he wont so it makes it easy for her to do so. its a good thing I don't see her because I do not know if i could control myself after seeing what she put my son through.
(3/26/2015 3:29:07 PM)
56
Ch'er
Yes it's true that there are men who are unfair to their wives and wives who are unfair to their husbands while in the process of a divorce. However, a get should never have anything to do with a divorce settlement. A get is the halachic ending of a marriage. A mans ability to withhold a get was not given to him as a right to ensure he gets what he wants in a divorce settlement. It's a formal ending of a marriage. Custody, support etc are separate issues to be worked out. A woman has nothing she can " hold" to protect her in a divorce settlement, and a man's using the get to protect him is an unfortunate abuse of Halacha. In any civil divorce proceedings, both spouses are vulnerable to getting hurt and Losing out in a divorce settlement. But neither spouse holds any upper hand. Using a mans right to withhold a get to " protect" him is not what a get was create for. Yes, divorce is risky for all involved, but no one is meant to have the upper hand.
(3/26/2015 3:32:38 PM)
57
To number 40.
The truth... whats your point? Are you claiming to have information from god on this?
(3/26/2015 3:33:07 PM)
58
Protocol for divorce:
Protocol for divorce (if there is no choice, of course): 1) children's rights (including having BOTH parents in their lives) trump all. These need to be assured first and foremost BEFORE anything else, including EITHER parent having the right to remarry 2) AFTER #1, both parents EQUALLY have a right to move on with their lives, including a) being a parent to their children in EVERY sense of the word b) having the right to live in dignity. While it is expected that BOTH parents will need to expect a lower standard of living, NEITHER parent should be left destitute (by paying unrealistic alimony/child support payments that bankrupt him/her). BOTH parents have the right to a roof over their heads, food on the table, and clothes on their back. c) getting divorced does NOT make you a criminal and NEITHER parent should be treated that way (via bogus "restraining orders", having to visit kids in "visitation centers", being arrested on false pretenses or not being able to pay alimony/child support due to rough times, etc.) d) both parents have the right to remarry AFTER their kids' rights have been secured (including having BOTH parents in their lives), not BEFORE..
(3/26/2015 3:40:07 PM)
59
To # 24
You don't know the whole story. He doesn't want to give her a get. He knows where she lives, but refuses to give her a get
(3/26/2015 3:49:02 PM)
60
Men can be abused, too
Make no mistake about it. Men can be abused too. Usually the abuse is an emotional way, not physical, obviously.
A woman can undermine her husbands self-esteem, call him a loser, call him ugly, convince him that he is uncapable and that he is not worthy of any love. Women can be smarter than men and highly manipulative.
Dont forget about withholding Mikvah, or making the marital life horrible.
In case you think I am one angry man, wrong! I am actually a long-time happily married woman, but I know how much true control I have in my marriage and with my husband, and because I care about and love him, I do not take advantage of his goodness. But I know men who are in difficult situations, and chin it up, and move forward because their children need them to be there for them, and they stay. Sometimes the woman comes to her senses and realizes what a gem she has, and sometimes she does not.
Its only to say that meanness and abuse can go both ways, yet men would be far more reluctant to admit it, because it is not acceptable in society.
People need to be more honest with themselves and the meanness and hurt that they bring to their own relationships.
(3/26/2015 3:53:03 PM)
61
Well said
After following everything written and commenting my feelings on the story, finally someone is putting things in perspective, not everyone that shouts iím an aguna is actually an aguna, and not everyone that says they are a good bais din, is a good bais din to handle this sort of thing (gittin).

Every case is different, and what through me off from the people doing the march is the quote: ďTHERE IS ONLY ONE SIDE TO THIS STORYĒ as you point out there is NEVER one side to a story!

My biggest problem here is that the march was shrouded in controversy, they took a case that no rav, NOT ONE, put a letter against and never confirmed by ANYONE LEGITIMATE to be a get refuser, even ORA who are notoriously on the womanís side didnít approve or join this march.

You want to make a march for agunot? find agunot that are actual agunot backed by actual rabbonim.
(3/26/2015 3:55:02 PM)
62
no. 5
whre were u till now- that was the point trying to convey all the time
(3/26/2015 4:00:41 PM)
63
GET OUT OF OUR COMMUNITY!
A breath of fresh air!
It's never been the jewish way to have marches about anything, especially when there is nothing that needs 'change'. stop creating a 'crisis' only to propose YOUR solution to that crisis and then denounce all who don't support your particular ideas as unsympathetic or ignorant in some way. Enough of these manipulative and emotion-appealing tactics that only inflame and divide us. GET OUT OF OUR COMMUNITY!
(3/26/2015 4:04:58 PM)
64
Y E S ! ! !
Got it right on target!
(3/26/2015 4:09:47 PM)
65
i hope
i hope this can bring closure to a matter so sensitive and so private back behind closed doors . I would hope everyone gets a clear picture by now!
good article
(3/26/2015 4:16:26 PM)
66
true but
men are still withholding gets and this cannot be tolerated!!
(3/26/2015 4:24:23 PM)
67
Good Advice #46
People need to invest more in their marriage.
UNLESS there is real abuse, things can be worked out and should be.
Marriage is hard and difficult and amazingly rewarding when there is a commitment to make it work.
Too many people don't give it enough.

In cases of abuse, it's different. But even some cases of abuse, therapy can really help. everyone is different though
(3/26/2015 4:48:34 PM)
68
So tired of this
Time and again, commenters keep bringing up extreme cases to prove their point. Yes, we know there are psycho women out there. We know there are marriages that could have been saved.
But I will reiterate my point: in most cases frum women will seek a divorce only under grave circumstances. Most women calling themselves agunahs are awaiting their get because abusive men use the Gett as a power play. It's not always about money. It is often about big egos. My ex doesn't even care to see his children, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's telling people I won't let him see them. And as a sane person, I would never badmouth him to my children, Despite the fact that he almost got us all killed. This is not a game of who is the worst victim. It's about the fact that in the halachik realm, men have the upper hand. There are no two ways about it.
(3/26/2015 5:02:11 PM)
69
frustrating
if a man is dragging out the legal divorce than he should at least give a gett in the meanwhile, dont you think?
(3/26/2015 5:25:52 PM)
70
2015
Unfotunately,many divorces today are because of mental health issues,abuse,infidelity and addiction.It is painful and criminal to judge women who leave these situations.Before a woman leaves with her children she thinks about it 1000 times.I think that a woman who had the courage and strength to leave a dysfunctional marriage is a heroine. And yes,there is way too much abuse going on. I don't agree with commenter who said everything can be called abuse.There are certain patterns and criteria for abuse to be labeled as such.The women that I know all left for good reason.And staying for the kids?Children witnessing abuse and disrespect is a recipe for disaster.
(3/26/2015 5:26:09 PM)
71
yay!
yay someone really told the real story and that the husband is right!
(3/26/2015 5:26:13 PM)
72
So True THANX
The two "agunahs" that I know, are both vary vocal on the agunah support groups are torturing their husbands under the pretense of AGUNAH

The reason they have no gett is because they have demands which are completely unfair to their spouse.
(3/26/2015 5:47:46 PM)
73
I hate this
i had to see my parents fight and abuse themselves and everyone around them my whole life, now I'm marriageable age and I have so many issues, and the guys just move on, talk about no emotional depth, I hate men now just because of my experiences with men in my youth and adolescence, and women are just manipulative and at best pitying me, where is the God who created us to make a better world?
(3/26/2015 5:59:39 PM)
74
to 56
Have you ever heard of false allegations? That's the card many women use which force many men to withhold get until she deals ethically in divorce proceedings. Someone who claims she was beaten by ex and he molests children, if false, why would the husband want to reward her monstrous behavior with a get?
(3/26/2015 7:07:40 PM)
75
Finally someone talking tzim zich!
I wanted out of my marriage and she would not accept the get. All of a sudden she and her friends starts spreading rumors that I am abusive and I will not give her a get and just like that she had the support of the wonderful woman of the world
(3/26/2015 7:15:06 PM)
76
to #71
God is hidden. It's a rough world. You gotta pick yourself up by your bootstraps and live life. Nobody's gonna do it for you. Good luck
(3/26/2015 7:15:16 PM)
77
To #69
Thank you!!! That's exactly my story. I finally realized I needed to save myself and my children from a dysfunctional life full of addictions and mental health issues.
(3/26/2015 7:56:56 PM)
78
Men need more fear of Gd in their lives
Addiction is plaguing our community.Get real,guys.Life is short
Addictions aren't chassidish and they destroy marriages.

(3/26/2015 7:58:46 PM)
79
my observation
Most passionate commenters have one specific messy divorce story that's driving their opinion. I think the point is that every situation is different. Its important to remember that you shouldn't judge based on stereo types and you probably shouldnt judge at all because usually there is more to it than meets the eye. So not every man who's wife wants out is a jerk and not every woman who asks for a get is a victim (often it is;)). Also the disrespect to rabonim is very inappropriate for. Those who have little halachic knowledge and big agendas.
(3/26/2015 8:13:29 PM)
80
Determine who is right
It's simple...
A spouse (or divorcee) who casually speaks negatively about the other is the one who is wrong.
The exception is a confidant such as a mashpiya or therapist or Rabbi and Bes Din.
Marital issues are not fodder for discussion among friends and the public. It is not for public exposure in marches.

There is nothing pro-active about talking about family matters socially etc. It is only destructively reactive, even in cases of abuse.

For example, even if a father excessively disciplined a child, publicizing it at the Shul Kiddush is reactive and destructive. They are not the one's who can or should address the matter.

Surely then in the absence of explicit (physical) abuse, someone who will gossip about e.g. the parent of their children where it is only destructive betrays they just as likely are the source of the marital issues.

Often a spouse in a typical marriage will attempt to spread a bad perspective of the other with vague terms such as "abusive" or call him "an animal" in order to garner sympathy to achieve desired results otherwise unjustified.
There are no accounts of incidents, or they are one-sided, and either way, out of place in the context of gossip.

Even for those who claim they do so to seek a get, this is false, for this is solely the Bes Din's job to decide if when and how to publicize issues, if they are valid.
Spreading gossip to the community doesn't assist in justifying custody, they are not the Dayonim or judges.
Spreading gossip to the community doesn't protect children, since they do not live in your house.
Seeking assistance, whether a place to stay or babysitting does not need tall tales of abuse.

The one who speaks more about their spouse (lies or truth) is more ill, no matter what stories are told. It is just another one of the countless ways they express their passive manipulation while pretending it is justifiable when it is not.

Even emotional relief is not a justification to spread gossip about someone who has actually wronged another.

A neighbor's wife started spanking her young children. The husband would leave. Eventually it became her normal disciplinary procedure, and the husband followed suit upon finding his children now responded only to physical discipline. From an objective perspective it was excessive, but all in all relatively harmless. The children seemed to be healthy and robust despite now both their parents' disciplinary methods.
But as the children grew older and both parents almost entirely stopped their outbursts at the children she began to yell at and loudly berate her husband more and more. As time went on he recessed more and more into himself. She eventually left, and immediately started cleverly campaign about how he was abusive towards the children and cursed at her [he was heard on various occasions asking her why she's acting like such a witch], and should be given no custody.

She played the innocent victim card the whole way through, despite having been the origin of and the more often child and spousal abuser, all while seeking to prevent her husband from having even visitation.

Everything she told people about her husband was relatively true, yet she was the more abusive one and the one to incite it.
What is most interesting about this story is that the husband never spoke negatively about his wife, not in private or in public.

This is a common story. Healthy wives nurture healthy husbands. After all the woman is the source of the nurture in a home. We know this from what we learn about Dinah and Esav, that she could have warmed even his cold and mean heart.

But the overall point is: The one who is most vocal in the community about their private affairs is the one conniving people at the expense of decency and justice. Such conduct, albeit unchallenged by many, is despicable and destructive, even and especially to one's own children. But some people just don't care.

Based on this one can tell who the true problem in these "aguna" marriages and divorce processes were and are.

They may polish up nice (when they're not gossiping about their children's father to anyone who will listen), but they are mostly manipulative and lying creeps who would throw their children under a bus as quickly as they did their husbands, if only to further delude people into believing that they are saintly.


Call it aguna, call it chained, call it spousal abuse, call it patriarchy, but the following is certain:
All is fair in love and war.
It takes two to tango.
Passive aggression is as abusive as active aggression.
Honey catches more flies than vinegar.
and finally
You sleep in the bed you make.
If you kept your lies in a Bes Din you would at-least have an excuse for respect in public, but clearly you're too crooked to do even that much.

Until Bes Din issues a siruv against a husband, accepting any gossip for ANY reason is against Torah.
(3/26/2015 8:19:25 PM)
81
To #73
You were given the tools to overcome good luck
(3/26/2015 8:33:15 PM)
82
Balanced and Well Written - Thank You
Thank you for taking the time to write this article.
It is very informative. And very relevant.
I just got back from the Ohel. The video was a Pesach video about liberation. The Rebbe is so encouraging.
Chag Sameach, Aliza
(3/26/2015 8:40:01 PM)
83
and there's another angle
Seems that divorce is the ultimate evil. But a bad marriage is worse. That's why there's the built in option of divorce.

We should also consider the extreme challenge marriage presents. Two different people expected to mesh as one unit. Forever.

People who prepare for marriage should be told the "ugly" side - that infatuation, or simply the social pressure to couple up are no preparation for a life together.

To have a successful marriage almost always will require the hardest work you'll ever do. And stapled to that task is its twin - being a successful parent.
(3/26/2015 10:41:07 PM)
84
Where is GD? #73
I understand your deep pain resentment and frustration at being left with hatred for men .

Where is GD? In your deep pain and resentment and frustration for being left with hatred for men!

Follow with action: to heal the pain etc
You ll find Him guaranteed . Pray. Friends. Support. And forgiveness ... Good luck
(3/26/2015 11:49:53 PM)
85
to 74
Have I ever heard of false allegations? Yes, they are possible.
a)But how does anyone else deal with it, e.g. non-Jews, or those not seeking a Get? That's exactly how a Frum man should deal with it as well. The rest of the world does not use a male privilege they have, and neither should a Frum man. To reiterate my point:

The Get is not a Halachic invention created to protect a man from false allegations or an unfavorable divorce settlement!!!

The Get has ONE PURPOSE, and one purpose only: The formal Halachic termination of a marriage, and NOTHING ELSE!!
To use a Get to protect a man during a divorce, is an entitlement some men unfortunately think they have a right to. Just because a man is able to use his upper hand, doesn't mean it's the moral thing to do. So yes, when a man witholds a Get to protect his interests, he is abusing and perverting Torah and Halacha!!!

b) Allegations need to be backed up by proof, so if there is no proof for false allegations, then a man can be in the clear. If allegations against him are true, then all needs to be done to protect the children, without a wife needing to be left without a Get to pay the price for her children's well being.
(3/26/2015 11:56:22 PM)
86
IT MAY TAKE 10 20 30..... YEARS....
Well written article! Now here`s the main point: everyone stop judging, you`l never know the true story in any situation,NOBODY KNOWS WHATS DOING IN YOUR "KISHKIS" & you`ll never know whats doing in a divorce (& prior to it in the marriage),let`s get that straight,it`ll take some people 10 yrs 20 30 etc,till they realize that we all know NOTHING about others life! it`s also not our business! STOP THE GOSSIP `And let`s remember the wisdom of old:BIG people talk about .ideas,Middle people talk about things,SMALL PEOPLE TALK ABOUT PEOPLE.....
(3/27/2015 12:46:09 AM)
87
number 25
You are a joke !!!!!!!! I can't stop laughing. She wants to get divorced and he is deeply in love ???? His not in love his hallucinating! !!
(3/27/2015 12:46:19 AM)
88
thank u
Very well written! Thank u for posting!
(3/27/2015 12:50:59 AM)
89
To #73
Hashem is there guiding you. Find a therapist. Find a mashpia with intelligence and warmth. They'll help you find your way forward with the right attitude. It's Nissan - make the leap!
(3/27/2015 2:59:47 AM)
90
"Custody"
Custody does NOT have to be "worked out" in secular court, BD, or else where. It is a G-d given right for a father (and mother) to be a parent to his kids in EVERY sense of the word. If the get shouldn't be used as a "bargaining chip" and given right away, kal ve' chomer that the kids should not be used as bargaining chips and joint custody should be the default (barring extenuating circumstances to be examined on a case by case basis). NEITHER parent should have to worry for a single minute whether or not he/she will still be in his/her kids' lives and the kids' should not have to worry for a single minute whether they will have both parents in their lives. The agunah crisis will continue until EVERYONE gets (no pun intended) that!!!!
(3/27/2015 6:15:02 AM)
91
Good advice until it's your son or brother....
Being a "mensch" and giving the get "upfront and unconditionally" sounds like righteous advice until it's your son or brother getting divorced who has a spiteful, vengeful, and abusive soon to be ex who is threatening to alienate him from the kids and milk him for everything he's worth. We'll see how quickly you will give such holier than thou advice when it will be YOUR grandchildren or nieces/nephews you will lose contact with because of a spiteful daughter-in-law or sister-in-law....
(3/27/2015 9:23:39 AM)
92
"Custody"
I am not sure why you put custody in quotations. Sometimes one of the parents needs to have supervised visits. Rabbonim have been proven to not understand abuse and that's why we need the secular courts to navigate through each individual case with evaluations done by phycologists that can really get down to the truths and figure out what is really in the best interests of the child.
(3/27/2015 11:01:44 AM)
93
To 74
Someone who claims she was beaten by ex and he molests children, if false, why would the husband want to reward her monstrous behavior with a get?

Reward her behavior????

A get is not a reward given by a superior to an inferior!!
A get is a halachic procedure to end a Jewish marriage!!

The agunah situation will not be resolved until people can understand that using an imbalance of power is abuse!!! It's just male entitlement at play.

Just because a man is afraid of how he may fare in a divorce settlement does not change the institution of a get. It is NOT a cushion for a man. It's an ending of a marriage- nothing else!!

That's not to say that one shouldnt take all measures to be tomake sure a fair settlement is reached with children's best interests in mind. But this has absolutely nothing to do with wether or not a get should be given.
(3/27/2015 11:52:04 AM)
94
To 86
You are 100% right! Nobody ever knows what really went on in a marriage and any or all allegations are false unless they have proof of its legitimacy. It's nobody's business to find out what happened or didn't besides for the Bais din or courts.
Our sole obligation as a community is to help the children transition. "It takes a village..."
(3/27/2015 2:21:42 PM)
95
Learn Torah Together
The key to Shalom Bayis is people learning to understand - and bring into their relationship - such things as:

Respect
Appreciation
Cooperation
Communication
Affection (intimate as well non-intimate)
Loyalty
Truthfulness
Forgiveness
Emotional Support

The Rebbe advises: To enhance Shalom Bayis the husband and wife to have a Shiur in Torah together.
(3/27/2015 2:56:57 PM)
96
bottom line
there is so much suffering of late!! Really time for Moshiach already...
(3/27/2015 4:54:22 PM)
97
Reply to 92
Unless and until there is hard proof that a parent is a danger to his kids, the default should be joint custody. FULL STOP!!!!
(3/28/2015 12:50:13 PM)
98
Yep.
My mother is the same. Makes sure that no one but her gets close enough to gain the confidence of the kids. Told my father not to call, forbade us from answering the phone, wouldn't let us travel to visit him. And all the while telling us how he doesn't care etc.
When I got engaged she saw that my siblings were starting to get closer to my husband, then she made up some excuse of us being bad role models and not chassidish/frum enough and forbade my husband from talking to them. He called and was told he couldn't speak to them.
Now my father has been able to visit my siblings once or twice...they've been divorced 9 years. There are times he calls often and then suddenly - he doesn't call anymore. Maybe...because he was told not to call anymore?

Hmmm....
Yep, manipulative ex-wives are a big problem, and every time I hear a really bad aguna story I wonder if she's as guilty or more guilty than him, and if she's really an aguna.
30% of times the problem is him, 30% of times the problem is her, and 40% of times the problem is both.

The best way to know? Ask any teenage kids who are in the house at the time of the divorce.
(3/28/2015 7:16:31 PM)
99
Slogans and Marches
From this balance article it is clear that even thought Every Agunah Is Our Sister, may be a true statement. Every woman who claims to be an agunah does not necessarily deserve our support.
The slogan There Is Only One Side is also not true.
When another march is proposed - the organizers need to give a clear goal as to what they want to accomplish and give the community a reason why they think a march is the best way to accomplish their goal.
The goal of raising awareness for agunahs is not sufficient - because as we see - this message has been hijacked by unscrupulous people and therefore cannot be trusted.
(3/28/2015 9:00:32 PM)
100
Love of our Children
At the end of the day, the love of our children has got to prevail,
(3/29/2015 6:10:54 AM)
101
to number 4
What about the countless cases where a woman makes up that the husband is abusive just so he won't get to see his children?

If the husband doesn't give the get, immediately everyone says he's in the wrong,l. Maybe he told the wife that he will give it if he's allowed to see the kids, or maybe the wife is abusive to the kids, so he wants custody. Yes, often the men are in the wrong, but often the woman is and often it's both.
(3/29/2015 8:19:43 PM)
102
Almost perfect
As a child of a divorced couple, I can tell you, the worst husband can be a pretty good father, and far better than no father at all.

But I don't think this takes away from the agunah issue.

In fact, the effort to take kids away from their fathers is as evil as manipulating and hurting an ex-wife by withholding a get.

They are two related, but different issues.
(4/1/2015 8:16:57 PM)
103
civil divorce a joke
one should first sort out the Get because that is the real thing and it is so strict according to the Torah for the woman to be the loyal marriage partner! nothing will happen civilly, if there is infidelity.
(4/3/2016 9:31:47 PM)
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