web analytics
December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Three Cheers For IRF’s Mandating Prenuptial Agreements

Broyde-052512

The Orthodox community has recently been rattled by yet another high profile agunah situation – this time in Philadelphia and Washington. This was not the first nor will it be the last such case. We know that genuine halachically viable solutions to the agunah problem are hard to come by and might not even be within our grasp. But we also know the agunah problem can be functionally solved in practice, even if not in theory, and the solution is clear and obvious.

The Beth Din of America prenuptial agreement (which can be found at www.theprenup.org) really does work in almost all the cases actually presented in the United States. Its structure – payment of money until a Get is given – has a proven track record of actually delivering a Get case after case. It is the vaccine against the agunah problem. But, like all vaccines, it has to be used before one has the illness – taking a vaccine after the fact never works.

Indeed, all of us who are genuinely interested in actually solving the agunah problem have been pushing the Beth Din of America prenuptial agreement for years. YU roshei yeshiva have signed public letters backing it and many other halachic authorities have endorsed it as well. There is virtually no halachic controversy about its permissibility to use. The RCA has twice endorsed its use and encouraged its members to use it.

But yet the truth is that for a variety of reasons – nearly all social or political – the use of the Beth Din of America Prenuptial agreement is still uncommon outside of the Modern Orthodox community, and certainly not used 100 percent of the time even within it. Many RCA members do not use it.

The next step is obvious. We need to agree, as a community, that every Orthodox wedding has to have a prenuptial agreement addressing the giving and receiving of a Get. When every marriage is vaccinated against the possibility of the woman or man being an agunah, agunah matters will go the way of smallpox – they will functionally disappear as a problem even as we actually have no cure. A potent vaccine is as good as a cure. We all know this – but as is the case with many other communal matters within Orthodoxy, we lack the vision and authority and will to impose our solution on our community, even our own rabbinic community.

Not the International Rabbinic Fellowship. Recently, the IRF passed a resolution stating:

As a requirement of membership, IRF Rabbis may only officiate at a wedding where there is an IRF approved halachic prenuptial agreement, and IRF Rabbis are encouraged to participate ritually only in weddings with halachic prenuptial agreements.

This is obviously the right approach – rabbinical councils throughout America need to mandate the use of prenuptial agreements by all their members and not tolerate deviation on this matter. Marriages without such agreements produce cases of agunahs – no different from children without vaccinations contracting polio – and it is to credit of the IRF that they are the first rabbinic organization to mandate the right solution to the problem.

It is the IRF – and no other organization at this time – that is mandating what the rabbinical leadership at Yeshiva University is insisting is the critical step in purging our community of the distressful problem of the modern-day agunah.

Nobody is right about every matter every time, but the IRF deserves three cheers for getting this one very right. I hope other rabbinic organizations see the light and actually adopt policies with teeth that regulate conduct of their members in this area. We can cry over the problem of the agunah, or we can work to fix it as individual cases arise, or we can mandate that the problem be vaccinated against so it ceases to plague us. I vote for the latter solution as the best now available to us and I think we should mandate that no Orthodox rabbi perform weddings without a BDA prenuptial agreement.

If your rabbi belongs to an organization that does not mandate the use of any prenuptial agreement, ask him why that is the case. If your rabbi does weddings without using a prenuptial agreement, press him to stop doing such weddings and to mandate that no such weddings take place on the synagogue grounds.

About the Author: Rabbi Michael J. Broyde is a law professor at Emory University and a Senior Fellow in its Center for the Study of Law and Religion.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Three Cheers For IRF’s Mandating Prenuptial Agreements”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Feiglin - Ani Yehudi
Moshe Feiglin Drops Out of Likud PM Race
Latest Indepth Stories

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

Joseph Berger 
(Photo: James Estrin)

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

Israel and the strengthening of the Jewish people in faith and numbers has brought a growing light

“Can you hear what the dead are whispering? Leave Galut, escape to Eretz Israel-Lech lecha!”

3 main messages emerged from this conference: Communications, Community, and Collaboration.

In his short time with the shul, he has managed to activate a Hebrew school with now over 50 children and five teachers.

Recent headlines show escalation of the same attitudes and actions as existed during the Holocaust

The Mid-East conflict is a unidirectional campaign of Arabs murdering Jews, not the inverse.

More Articles from Rabbi Michael J. Broyde
Circumcision

The higher the standard of review, the less likely it is the law will be constitutional.

Israel – the land and the nation – lost a giant earlier this month with the passing of Justice Menachem Elon, a monumental talmid chacham who served on the Israeli Supreme Court from 1977-1993, and as its deputy president from 1988-93, bringing a deep Torah viewpoint to the highest tiers of the Israeli judiciary.

We know that genuine halachically viable solutions to the agunah problem are hard to come by and might not even be within our grasp. But we also know the agunah problem can be functionally solved in practice, even if not in theory, and the solution is clear and obvious.

This short essay will develop five critical points for responding to the voices within the broader community that seek to accept and legitimize homosexual conduct, an activity that directly contradicts the dictates of halacha.

You may applaud the idea of ordaining women rabbis, or you may recoil in horror at the prospect, but the simple fact remains that women already serve the Orthodox world in clergy-like positions.

Our natural inclinations would have us believe that individual actions, whether errors in judgment or extravagant demonstrations of bravery, generally do not affect the course of human history.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/three-cheers-for-irfs-mandating-prenuptial-agreements/2012/05/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: