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Is it proper to give an aliyah to one who has a seirev issued against him by a reputable beis din? Generally how should one interact with such a person?


Rabbi Marc D. Angel

When issued a summons by a reputable beth din, one is obligated to show up. If the beth din ultimately issues a seiruv, the person should face communal disapproval unless there is good reason behind the refusal to appear. Each case needs to be evaluated on its own merits.

When it comes to the area of gittin, a get should never be used as a bargaining chip. Once a marriage has broken up, both husband and wife must arrange for a get promptly. Their issues of contention over children or property should be settled in a beth din or civil court.

A man who is summoned by a reputable beth din to issue a get must comply. If he refuses and the beth din issues a seiruv, the man should be treated as though in cherem. He certainly should not be given an aliyah or any communal honor. In my view, he should not even be allowed into a synagogue. He should be shunned in business and avoided socially.

It is especially painful to learn of men who attempt to extort money from their wife or her family before agreeing to give a get. Such reprehensible behavior not only reflects on the corrupt nature of the man, but casts discredit on the halachic system that allows or tolerates such corruption.

The agunah problem could be ameliorated if all couples are required to sign a binding pre-nuptial agreement that stipulates that both parties will agree to a get if, Heaven forbid, the marriage ends in divorce. A recalcitrant party will face heavy and expensive penalties. There are halachically approved pre-nuptial agreements available from the Rabbinical Council of America and other responsible rabbinic groups.

If you have children of marriageable age, please make sure they insist on a pre-nuptial agreement before their wedding. Much suffering could be avoided if proper precautions are taken early.

– Rabbi Marc D. Angel is the director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals


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Rabbi Zev Leff

The conditions applying to one who refuses to obey a ruling of an official bais din that demands of him to give his wife a get should be delineated by that bais din. However, in general one who refuses to follow the ruling of a bais din is classified as a menudah.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah, siman 334 paragraph 2) describes the status of a menudah. One may not sit in his proximity (four amos), nor socialize with him. (However, one is permitted to speak to him from a distance.) He is not counted for a minyan or a zimun for bentching. He is closed out of shul (so as not to inconvenience others from having to distance themselves from him) and not allowed to daven with a minyan.

In fact, a menudah himself must conduct himself as a mourner in various ways.

The nidui, according to some opinions, can also include expelling his children from school and even not giving his children a bris milah, nor burying his dead. If he dies in nidui one does not mourn for him or tear kriah for him or eulogize him and a boulder is put on his casket.

However, even though these laws of nidui are not necessarily enforced today, the bais din whose order he refuses to obey can rule as to exactly how one should relate to this person until he agrees to follow their ruling and give his wife a get. One can get an idea from the above as to how serious it is to be a misarev bais din and how strictly one must relate to him in an effort to right the wrong he is perpetrating.

– Rabbi Zev Leff, rav of Moshav Matisyahu, popular lecturer and educator


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