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No matter how wronged the husband may consider himself to be, exploiting the Torah as an instrument of pain is evil. It results in elbonah shel Torah, the insult of the Torah, as we have read in the letter.
It is not, of course, the Torah that is causing the pain but the husband himself. Evil people or even just resentful people seeking revenge can exploit a complex legal system to hurt others. This is a characteristic of every legal system in the world.
What should be done about it? The suggestions offered in the letter are misguided and unworkable. Kiddushin as defined by the Torah is a basic feature of halacha that cannot be controverted. Deliberately subverting it renders it meaningless. What we require is a solution that permits all Jewish women to enjoy a complete marital relationship with a loving husband and children.
More knowledgeable observers have, over the centuries, suggested more workable solutions. One of these was kiddushin al t’nai, conditional marriage. There is a vast literature on such solutions. Unfortunately, they proved unworkable, too.
So can anything be done short of abrogating the Torah, rachmana litzlan? Yes, there is a solution that has been approved by leading poskim, the Halachic Prenuptial Agreement. The Prenup has historical antecedents that go back centuries. Under the terms of the Prenup, the couple agrees to submit to the decision of Beis Din in the event their marriage effectively disintegrates. To my knowledge, in every case in which the Prenup has been properly filed with Beis Din, the agreement has done its job. For more information, you may visit theprenup.org or contact the Beth Din of America at +1-212-807-9042.
The Prenup is another example of Torah scholarship in service of Am Yisrael. Letters like this one are a reminder that Talmud Torah remains vital to prevent elbonah shel Torah and promote free and fulfilled lives for everyone.
About the Author: Rabbi Ozer Glickman is the Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS.
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It’s an interesting idea, that love is illustrated by understanding another’s needs.
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