April 13, 2024
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Agunot Should Not Be Punished

The current issue of Tradition Magazine has a wonderful article about the methods in Israel to deal with husbands who refuse to give a get. Those methods apply to the State of Israel and are therefore not very helpful here in the US.

I was pleased to read last week how The Link won the case where they were being sued by such a husband.

The term agunah today is being misused. In yesteryear, an agunah was a woman whose husband had disappeared; it was not known if he was even alive. Without witnesses to determine if he was still alive, she was unfortunately in the state of agunah.

Today we know exactly where the husband is. Because of that fact the rabbis attempt to embarrass him into giving the get. In many cases that works and ORA gets a pat on the back.

But when this does not succeed the rabbis put the husband in cherem and the agunah remains in that state for years.

Would it not be better for these rabbis to engage in serious dialogue with the husband?

Obviously he is angry about something which leads him to refuse to give the get.

I call on the community to meet with these rabbis to resolve this situation. The halacha was never meant to punish the wife.

Rabbi Simchah A. Green
Teaneck
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