An Attack on Rabbis Who Coerce the Husband to Divorce with Humiliations, etc.

Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn/845-578-1917/Monsey, NY 10952

The Letter from Rav Shlomo Miller about Dodelson

The letter roughly translated by me says, “Previously I wrote a letter regarding the dispute between the family of Weiss and the family of Dodelson. And I relied upon the signatures of many rabbis who signed regarding this. However, I later heard more details and also things that had taken place afterwards. Therefore, I retract what I wrote and what I wrote has no validity. And I say nothing about that matter.
Shlomo Eliyohu Miller
Rosh Kollel and Av Beth Din of the Kollel of Toronto”
My brother’s blog suggests that we read this letter together with the letter of Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky, I place that letter here:
“In the letter addressed at the prior date of E.S. Chanuka of Nov-19-’13,
… it was brought to my attention that the public smear campaign against the Weiss family continues with my support. It is not supported by me and the campaign should cease and desist. It is unacceptable. R’ S.K.” End quote.
First, we must separate these two letters. Let us begin with the letter of Rabbi Miller and perhaps in another letter we will take up the letter of Rabbi Kaminetsky. Whereas Rabbi Kaminetsky is involved in two cases, Weiss vs Dodelson and Friedman vs Epstein, we will discuss his approach in both of these matters. As far as I know, Rabbi Miller wrote only about the Dodelson case.
Let us return to the letter of Rabbi Miller:
The Letter of Rabbi Shlomo Miller
The letter as I translated it says, ““Previously I wrote a letter regarding the dispute between the family of Weiss and the family of Dodelson. And I relied upon the signatures of many rabbis who signed regarding this. However, I later heard more details and also things that had taken place afterwards. Therefore, I retract what I wrote and what I wrote has no validity. And I say nothing about that matter.
Shlomo Eliyohu Miller
Rosh Kollel and Av Beth Din of the Kollel of Toronto”
1. Whereas the letter is very brief and it does not give out many details of what occurred, we have to first of all supply two letters, one from many prominent Rosh Yeshivas and rabbis in favor of Dodelson and against Weiss, and another letter from Gedolim in Israel that forbids humiliating a husband or pressuring him with financial pressure. These two letters conflict, because the letters supporting Dodelson signed by Yaacov Perlo, Shmuel Kaminetsky, Aharon Moshe Shechter, Aharon Feldman, and others clearly call upon everyone to humiliate the husband. This will invalidate the GET even if it is given, according to the letter of the Gedolim in Israel.
2. Therefore, the entire letter of the rabbis in favor of Dodelson is completely wrong because it calls for the making of an invalid GET, one coerced with humiliations.
3. But that is not the only problem with that letter.
4. The letter sounds like the pesak of a Beth Din, but there was no pesak of a Beth Din. A Beth Din sits and listens to two sides. But who of the signers of this letter listened to the side of the husband?
5. Even if a signer did listen to the husband, since the husband never accepted him as a judge, and the Beth Din was not accepted by both sides, what right does it have to command people to harass and terrorize the husband without a proper Beth Din procedure?
6. Another problem is that the letter begins by declaring that the husband is a sinner and is as one who is in nidui for not responding to a letter from Machon LiHora demanding that he be judged in a Beth Din about the issues of the wife’s demanding a GET. The claim of Machon Lihora that the Weiss family did not respond to the demand that the husband Weiss go to a Din Torah is hotly disputed. The Weiss family claims many pages of proof that indeed Machon Lihora was told clearly that they would go to a din Torah, and they even selected a Borare. A very clever man wise in the ways of the world and of Torah studied those pages the Weiss family claims proves their point, and agreed that it did. He subsequently showed it to others and many agreed that it was proof that the Weiss family did respond to Machon Lihora and therefore, the Siruv issued against Weiss by Machon Lihora is a false claim.
7. When I heard that a Dayan had issued a bitul siruv, negating the siruv of Machon Lihora, I told everyone who would listen that this would never be resolved without a very strong and fearless Beth Din finding out exactly what happened. I am still waiting for that. And until it happens, questions remain; very painful questions.
8. At any rate, in our present letter and review of the situation, we are disappointed in the rabbis who wrote a letter of a Torah halacha as if they were a properly accepted Beth Din that follows the Torah. A serious person would take the time to check out the facts and would have followed the Torah by checking out what the accused person says in his defense. They would then realize that the entire claim of a siruv is in doubt. So how could they sign until that issue is properly resolved? But those who signed the letter don’t even mention the bitul siruv and may not have even known there was a question about it, despite the fact that hundreds and thousands of people had read about it. After all, these were “Gedolim” who are too busy for such thing, especially when their good friend Kotler was a relative of Dodelson.
9. Now let us leave this painful problem and assume that yes, the Weiss family, direct descendents of HaGaon Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, did not care about getting a siruv, a preposterous assumption. But even if the siruv was correct, the signers of the letter abused the power of a siruv. A siruv, as many dayanim explained to me, is only to force the person to accept a Beth Din to be judged. It cannot make any judgments of its own. And yet, the great geniuses who signed the letter took a siruv and on their own, paskened the issue of the GET just like a Beth Din, without being accepted as a Beth Din, and probably without talking to the other side. Thus, the command of the signers of the Kol Koray against Weiss was false. It was unauthorized and is to be left for a Beth Din or mutually accepted arbitrator.
10. The Kol Koray does two things: It announces that the husband Weiss is in Nidui, a very serious and unwarranted claim, due to the bitul siruv and the questions about the issue. And two, it commands everyone to solve the Agunah problem by humiliating the husband and having him and his relatives fired. Again, even if this was valid siruv, there is no right to pasken the Din Torah between husband and wife. Maybe the husband has no obligation to give a GET, especially as a child was involved. How could these signers sign away a child from the father without a true Din Torah from a real Beth Din?
11. But here is what the Kol Koray says, “And we have been asked by the family of the Agunah may she live long and from those who want to save her from the chains of Igun, what is the path that is permitted according to the Din Torah? Is it permitted to protest to the husband and is it permitted to gather together in a group of protestors and is it permitted to proclaim in public and newspapers?
12. [the Kol Koray continues] We hereby pasken that according to the law of the Torah it is permitted and a mitzvah to protest against the husband and to gather together in a group of protestors in front of his house and also in other places and to publicize in public and in newspapers in order to save the trapped woman from her travail and the Agunah from the chains of Igun. [Signers] Yaacov Perlo, Shmuel Kaminetsky, Aharon Moshe Shechter, Aharon Feldman, Simcha Bunem Erenfeld, Nota Tsvi Greenblat, Tsevi Shechter, Moshe Heineman, Eliyohu Dov Wachtfogel, Yaacov Hoffer End quote.
13. This letter caused the community to damage the business of Artscroll that employed the father and uncle of Weiss until they had to leave. And yet, as we will show, quoting Rishonim, Acharonim and Gedolei HaDor in Israel, to coerce the husband Weiss to divorce his wife it is completely wrong and opposed to open halachas. Therefore, according to the Torah as it is taught by those who offer sources to their opinions and the Gedolim in Israel, the Kol Koray defies the Torah as it was not properly authorized and did not follow the Torah. Humiliating the husband called for by the Kol Koray produces mamzerim, as the Gedolim in Israel write in a signed letter. We will soon quote it.
14. Posek HaDor Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l told me that any Beth Din that does things for a GET that are forbidden, that he takes away from it chezkas Beth Din. This means that any Rov who signed this letter of trash loses chezkas Beth Din and what they say about a GET is worthless, and if they made a GET or paskened previously they have no chazoko that they did kosher things.
15. And when Rabbi Shlomo Miller in this letter claims that he saw rabbis signed for Dodelson and he weighed in on the side of Dodelson, he shows what kind of expert on the laws of Gittin he is. His letter is also a letter of trash. And now that he regrets it, he must accept upon himself the obligation of a mazik, for destroying the job of the father and uncle of the husband Weiss, and for all of the terrible humiliation they received because of the encouragement of people who defy the Torah with their political programs. At least he has to go to each and every one of them and cry tears of shame and ask for their forgiveness. Or he can come to the other world and deal with these things then.
16. Now let us see the whole letter of trash from the rabbis who back Dodelson.
17. Rabbi Kotler and many rabbis backed the wife Dodelson who is related to Rabbi Kotler. A campaign of terror began and it resulted in the father and uncle of the husband Weiss losing their lucrative jobs in Artscroll. I don’t know if they have any other jobs. They also suffered great financial loss as the case went to secular court, and public humiliation as the Dodelsons, with backing of Rabbi Kotler and his rabbis, sent out letters calling on the public to humiliate and terrorize the husband Weiss and even his family. They hired a professional writer to attack the husband in secular media such as newspapers and Internet. The Feinstein family, that of Weiss, did not respond.
18. When I saw what was happening, I got heavily involved blasting out Rabbi Kotler and his rabbis on my brother’s blog, and eventually fought back in secular media and newspapers as well. I spoke to Rabbi Miller with my proofs that what Lakewood was doing was wrong, but he disagreed. He approved of the humiliations, claiming that the Rivash approved it. I maintain that there is no such Rivash and that a dozen or so major poskim clearly forbid what Rabbi Miller permitted besides the present Gedolei HaDor in Israel today. I wrote a teshuva against Rabbi Miller and sent it to the rabbonim in Israel and they published their letter that humiliating a husband in MOUS OLEI creates an invalid GET and mamzerim. Afterwards, Gedolim in Israel such as Rav Chaim Kaniefsky, Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner, Rav Nissim Karetlitz and his Beth Din, Reb Tuvia Weiss and others signed a letter that anyone who humiliates a husband to coerce a GET (in the circumstances of Weiss and Dodelson which we will later refer to in this letter as “level three” or the wife’s rejection of the husband) creates an invalid GET and mamzerim. Later we explain where coercion is permitted and when it is not.
19. Rabbi Miller permitted humiliating a husband to force him to give a GET. This is against the open teaching of the Rashbo , Radvaz , Beis Yosef and Chazon Ish , as well as against the open words of the Shulchan Aruch , Ramo , Beis Shmuel , Chelkas Mechokake and Gro , who says that nobody disagrees, and in defiance of the gedolei hador Rav Chaim Kaniefsky, Rav Shmuel HaLevi Wosner, Rav Nissim Karelitz, Rav Tuvia Weiss and others .
20. The letter of the Israeli Gedolim mentioned above is in the newly printed sefer Mishptei Yisroel that is being distributed free of charge to shuls in Israel. It opens with the letter of the Gedolim: “Whereas lately there are many Gittin given that are invalid by the Torah standards that produces a sin of living with a married woman and mamzerim, rachmono litslon, we hereby proclaim our opinion Daas Torah that there is a clear halacha that any GET given with coercion without the permission of the Torah is invalid by the Torah standard. Therefore any coerced GET pressured with financial coercion or the fear of jail or humiliations not approved by the Torah and also coercion by pressures of money and fines, negate the GET.
21. [A list of sources follows and the Gedolim letter continues] Also, a woman who turns with her claim against her husband in a manner not approved by the Torah such as monetary demands, support for food, division of property etc. and instead of fighting the demand the husband agrees to give a GET, this is also in the category of a GET given against the laws of the Torah.
22. [Sources follow and then the letter continues] A woman who receives a GET through force or fear as we mentioned before may not remarry. And she needs another GET. And anyone who marries a divorced woman must clarify carefully what Beth Din performed the GET, and whether the husband truly agreed to the GET willingly, and whether it was a forced GET.
23. [the letter is then signed by the Beth Din of Rav Nissim Karelitz, namely the Rosh Beth Din Soriel Rosenberg, dayan Nachum Menashah Gutentog, and Dayan Yechezkel Pales] The letter then continues: There is a great obligation to strengthen this important matter, to go only to such Beth Dins of people who tremble at the word of HaSHem, and not to go to Beth Dins influenced by secular laws in the country that bring the Jewish people to great stumbling blocks and serious sins as we mentioned above, as are explained in the sefer Mishpetei Yisroel that thunders about these matters.
24. And upon this we come to sign on the third day of Tamus 5773: Nissim Karelitz, Shmuel Aurebach, Chaim Kanievsky, Shimon Badbi, Chaim Mayer HaLevi Wosner, Noson Kupshitz, Moshe Zeev Zurger
25. [The letter continues] All who need this are obligated to go only to a Beth Din that is not influenced by the decisions of secular courts, and if it is necessary to have a GET accepted by the secular government it may be necessary to give two Gittin. And the words of these Geonim are true and basic in accord with halacha and tradition from generation to generation. [Signed] Shmuel HaLevi Wosner, Yitschok Tuvia Weiss
26. To understand, there are three levels in forcing a GET. The first level is when one marries a woman forbidden to him, such as if a Kohen marries a gerusha. In that case the husband is forced to divorce even if he needs a beating until he says, “I want it.”
27. The second level is when the Talmud commands a husband to divorce, but does not command to beat him to coerce the GET. In that case any physical force is forbidden, and the Rashbo teshuva VII:414 says that it is forbidden to humiliate him to coerce the GET and it is forbidden to do anything physical to hurt him to force the GET, and it is forbidden to put him in Nidui.
28. The Rivash in 127 talks about a level two a husband who cannot fulfill his marital obligations in matrimony and quotes something similar to the Rashbo but the Rashbo says that in level two humiliating the husband is forbidden but the Rivash does not mention that humiliating is wrong. From this Rabbi Miller told me he deduces that the Rivash permits humiliation to coerce a GET and furthermore, he feels that the text of the Rivash is really a quote of the Rashbo, meaning that the real text in the Rashbo is what the Rivash says and humiliation is not mentioned. The problem with this is that the Rashbo and Rivash are both talking about level two. A level two husband, the Talmud says, should receive some smaller level of coercion, to call the husband wicked. If so, even though the Rashbo forbids public humiliation, the Rivash could disagree. But what does that have to do with the case of Rabbi Miller who permitted public humiliation in level three when all of the poskim we quote here forbid any coercion in level three? Level three is when the wife demands a GET because she despises the husband or is angry at him. In that case, level three, no coercion is permitted and if there is coercion, the GET is invalid. The Rivash is not talking about level three, so Rabbi Miller has no Rivash at all to back his decision to coerce the husband Weiss when his wife demanded a GET.
29. The exact language of the Rivash as he quotes the Rashbo is, “it is forbidden to put the husband in nidui, or to hit him, and they may not cause him physical pain.” The question is: if physical pain is forbidden, hitting is also forbidden. So why did the Rivash make two things out of one thing? I think that the answer is that in the Rashbo in the Hebrew it is שלא ינדהו ושלא יבזהו ולא לצערו אותו בגופו. The Rivash quoted this as שלא ינדה ולא יכה ולא יצער אותו בגופו. The first and the third term are similar in both Rashbo and Rivash. The middle term in the Rashbo is ושלא לבזהו whereas in the Rivash it is ולא יכה. It is possible that the middle terms are so similar that the Rivash himself is a misprint where לא יבזה became לא יכה. And this answers how the Rivash could write twice the sin of causing him physical pain, because the middle term is not about hitting but about humiliating. But even if the Rivash does disagree, it is not remote to think that the Rivash permits humiliating in level two just as the halacha is that he can be called a Rosho. But Rabbi Miller permits coercion in level third which is not mentioned at all in the Rivash. So it is surely an error to permit coercion in level three. Furthermore, nobody mentions what Rabbi Miller says is the text of the Rashbo changed by the Rivash for level three, so how can one force a GET with it?
30. The third level is not mentioned at all in the laws of Gittin, although the first two levels are mentioned in the laws of Gittin. Level three is when the wife turns against the husband and demands a GET because “my husband repels me” and she cannot be with him in marriage. This level was a great debate in very early times but from the time of the Tosafists under Rabbeinu Tam and the Ri the law has been generally accepted that it is forbidden to coerce other than the first two levels mentioned before. At least, by the time of the Shulchan Aruch and its commentators, all accepted the law that coercion in level 3 is forbidden, any kind of coercion. Rabbeinu Tam even forbids the Beth Din to suggest to the husband that it might be a mitzvah to give a GET, quoted in Shita Kesubose 64b d”h וכתב רבינו יונה.
31. The vast majority of divorces are the third level. Here the wife turns against the husband either because he repels her or because she can be with him in marriage but is angry at him. In such cases no coercion is permitted and if there is coercion the GET is invalid. A child born in a second marriage with an invalid GET from the first marriage is a mamzer, and major poskim say it is a mamzer diorayso. But it is forbidden to marry a mamzer dirabonon also. Thus the coercion Rabbi Shlomo Miller recommends for the third level of coercion, a wife who turns against her husband, creates invalid Gittin and mamzerim.
32. Now let us trace the law of humiliating in the third level through the codifiers I mentioned above, and we will see how utterly remote is the opinion of Rabbi Miller. It all begins with the Rashbo. In a teshuva VII:414 he says that in level two above when the Talmud demands a GET it is forbidden to humiliate the husband. Certainly in the third level it is forbidden to humiliate the husband, because the Rashbo there says that all coercion is forbidden with the third level when the wife rejects the husband. And yet, Rabbi Miller disagrees and permits humiliating the husband in the third level.
33. Let’s trace the Rashbo down to the Shulchan Aruch and commentaries, and the Gro who says that nobody [in the time of the Shulchan Aruch, our time] permits level three coercions, which is exactly what Rabbi Miller does. Dodelson was a level three coercion which is clearly forbidden by the authorities down to the Shulchan Aruch and its commentators.
34. Let us begin with the Rashbo teshuva VII:414 who says two rules that are brought as the halacha in Shulchan Aruch. One, that level two may have a minor coercion such as telling the husband that he defies the Talmud and is wicked, but we may not humiliate him, hurt him, or put him in nidui. However, in level three, when the wife rejects the husband, the husband may do what he wants. “If he wants, he can divorce. If he doesn’t want to divorce, he doesn’t have to.” This language clearly forbids any kind of coercion with level three. And indeed, while level one and two are discussed in the laws of Gittin because we want a divorce and indeed demand a divorce from the husband, level three is not even in the laws of Gittin. In level three, we completely refuse the wife the option of a divorce unless the husband decides on his own to divorce her. Level three is in the Laws of Kesubose EH 77 about marriage laws, not in EH 154 about divorce laws.
35. Posek HaDor Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l states in his teshuvose that there is no mitzvah upon the husband to divorce his wife in level three, known as “MOUS OLEI” “my husband repels me”. So no coercion is permitted.
36. The teaching of the Rashbo that humiliation is forbidden even in level two is quoted by Radvaz IV:118, Beis Yosef EH 154, and Chazon Ish Gittin 108:12. Even if Rabbi Miller did have a Rivosh, which I showed that he doesn’t, how can he pasken like the Rivash against the Rashbo who is accepted by the Radvaz, Beis Yosef, and Chazon Ish while nobody quotes what Rabbi Miller says is the differing opinion of the Rivash?
37. Furthermore, even if the Rivash disagreed with the Rashbo, could RSM permit people to coerce a GET when there is a clear machlokess that would be sofek diorayso lichumroa in Dovor Shebierva? Indeed, Maharshdam clearly rules in EH #63 that the Rivash cannot argue with the Rashbo and when he does we erase his opinion, even if the Rashbo is lenient in dovor shebiervah and the Rivash stringent. RSM says the opposite, that when the Rivash differs with the Rashbo in dovor shebiervah we rule like the Rivash to be lenient!
38. Rabbi Miller should look at the sefer of the Radvaz (in Chaluka Dirabonon by Rav Yehuda Zerachiya Azuloi towards the end) who says in the name of MORON probably the Beis Yosef that the Rashbo outweighs all of the other rabbonon. He quotes the Maharashdam in Choshen Mishpat 43 who quotes the Mahari Taitatsk that the Rashbo can outweigh the majority of the other sages. So how could Rabbi Miller decide that the Rivash outweighs the Rashbo?
39. When I pointed out the Rashbo to Rabbi Miller he told me that since the Rivash uses a phrase similar to the Rashbo and he leaves out the sin to humiliate, this is not only the correct text of the Rivash, but we assume that the Rashbo we have with the word “humiliation” is wrong and the Rivash is really saying the words in the correct text of the Rashbo. If this is so, why did the Radvaz, Beis Yosef and Chazon Ish quote the Rashbo as we have it, if that text was wrong?
40. See Teshuvose Rav Yosef ben Leib (Maharib”l) IV:19:3 “In a question of dovor shebiervah [sinning with a married woman such as a question on a GET] we are stringent even if most poskim permit it.” But Rabbi Miller permits a clear doubt when two authorities argue about a dovor sheberva. And in the case of Rabbi Miller the woman had chezkas aishes ish and he still permits people to coerce the GET.
41. The Chasam Sofer rules I:28 and I:115 that when rabbis disagree whether or not to coerce a GET, if a Beth Din forces the GET it is an invalid GET and the children from the wife remarrying with the invalid GET are mamzerim diorayso. This is because the entire process of forcing a GET depends on the husband respecting the rabbis who force him and the husband says, “It is a mitzvah to obey the rabbis.” But if some rabbis disagree with the coercion and feel the husband should not be coerced, the husband accepts this opinion, and does not give the GET willingly. Therefore, the coercion produces an invalid GET. Thus, if the Rashbo and Rivash argue, even if we assume that it is an equal argument, the husband knows that there is a doubt. He thus does not give a GET against his will if some rabbis say he is not to be coerced. If so, the children born from a GET produced by Rabbi Miller’s coercion would be mamzerim diorayso.
42. But let us accept Rabbi Miller’s view that the Rivash permits in level 3 a coercion with humiliation to force a GET, even though it is preposterous to say that as the Rivash is clearly talking in a long teshuva about level 2. But let us imagine that Rabbi Miller is completely right and that such a GET in level 3 is kosher. Let us ask about the child born from this GET. Who will marry him/her when the Gedolim in Israel based upon the clear teachings of the Shulchan Aruch and the greatest rishonim consider the child a mamzer? Thus, the child is ruined if Rabbi Miller gets his way. Of course, if the main thing is not the welfare of the child but the welfare of Rabbi Kotler’s relative, as that is “Daas Torah” of these “Gedoloim” rachmono litslon, then we understand.
43. See the Kovna Rov in Beer Yitschok 16:3 if a Beth Din errs and forces a GET when the law is that it is not to be forced. Some hold the GET is invalid by the Torah and some say it is invalid only by rabbinical decree. The Kovna Rov explains why some hold it is only dirabonon. This is because the husband still respects the rabbis of the Beth Din and does what they command him. “It is a mitzvah to obey the rabbis.” But if the coercers were people the husband does not respect as his rabbis, then when he is forced he has no positive feelings about the GET and does not want it, so it is invalid even by the Torah.
44. See also Chazon Ish EH Gittin 99:2 that if Beth Din errs and commands a husband to give a GET and the halacha is that the husband may not be coerced, and the husband gives the GET, it is invalid by the Torah for two reasons. One, it was forced because the husband had a mitzvah to obey the Beth Din although it was an error in halacha. A mitzvah forced by another person can make an invalid GET. Also, it was a tricked GET, because if the husband knew it was based on a flawed Torah interpretation he never would have given it. The Kol Koray letter signed by people the husband respects, if it produced a GET in the Dodelson or other level three case, the GET is invalid by the Torah, according to the Chazon Ish.
45. At any rate, Beis Shmuel see EH Gittin:134:13.and others hold that all mistaken coercions are invalid by the Torah. And Maharsham IV:73 says that it is known that we follow the opinion of the Beis Shmuel. והלכה כמותו בכל מקום.
46. Again, in level two where it is permitted to call the husband a rosho for not divorcing his wife, perhaps the Rivash does permit humiliations. But he does not permit it in the third level, which is what Rabbi Miller does permit. In the third level “if he wants to divorce, he divorces. If he does not want to divorce, he does not.” Thus, this language of the Rashbo brought by the Shulchan Aruch in EH 77 2,3 see Shulchan Aruch and Ramo and the commentators Beis Shmuel, Chelkas Mechokake and Gro, and all agree that coercion in level three is forbidden, based upon the wording of the Shulchan Aruch and its source in the Rashbo accepted by Radvaz, Beis Yosef (and Chazon Ish) as we mentioned above.
47. The Vilna Gaon there in EH:77#5 says that nobody disagrees with the opinion that coercion is forbidden in level three. How can Rabbi Miller disagree? Did he see the Gro or not? If he saw it how could he argue, and if he didn’t see it, what right did he have to pasken in the first place?
48. Thus we have shown that the basic idea of Rabbi Kotler and Rabbi Miller to force a GET on Rabbi Weiss was completely wrong and would produce mamzerim. We now turn to other errors in halacha in the activities of Rabbis Kotler and Miller.
49. The Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 17:A brings that the Torah commands “You must judge your fellow righteously” meaning “the two people being judged must be equal in every way before the judges.” Was that done here? Did the Kol Koray rabbis and Rabbi Miller sign to destroy the husband because he wanted to help Kotler’s cousin or did he do it without wanting to help the cousin? Did the signing rabbis honestly feel that the husband and his cousin the wife were equal in their eyes?
50. But what do we say if the rabbis who signed against Weiss and in favor of Dodelson never spoke to the husband Weiss? Did Rabbi Miller speak to the husband? Did Rabbi Kotler? Just who of the people who signed to destroy the husband speak with him? If the rabbis who signed a pesak to destroy somebody and his family did not give them a hearing, this is a terrible crime, and it would seem this indeed is what happened. Nowhere does Rabbi Miller talk about his own efforts to speak to the husband and his family. He saw other rabbis sign and so he signed also. This is a great sin and a violation of the entire standard of Torah judgment.
51. If, as is indicated by the letter, RSM endorsed a letter causing great anguish to a Torah family and Torah people, and later recanted, his recanting indicates that he was wrong in the first place to sign the letters. Any damages caused by his signature are therefore done by a person who changed his mind, and now has no cause to attack the Weiss husband. But the damage has been done and RSM is responsible to pay for it. אדם מועל לעולם
52. RSM has a din of a mazik.I consider him a mazid intentional sinner, because he violated Beth Din procedures to hear two sides of a story before paskening. I consider him a mazid because he relied upon people who were clearly influenced and even involved with Rabbi Kotler the cousin of the wife. Who would accept such a letter and sign onto it? Was RSM so desperate to become the official Rov of Lakewood that he sold out the Torah and his good name?
53. Let us see what the Shulchan Aruch says about judging people. Choshen Mishpat VII:7 says, “It is forbidden to be on a panel of judgment to judge one the judge loves…or one he hates [even if the love or hate is not very special]. But both people being judged must be equal in the eyes of the judges in their eyes and in their heart.” So how could Malkiel Kotler’s friends sign a judgment in favor of his relative when both sides of the dispute were not equal in their eyes?
54. I spoke to a prominent member of the Weiss family and he assured me that nobody came to his family to hear their side. Such is indicated by the RSM letter above where he claims he signed because he saw the signatures of other rabbis. How many of the rabbis who signed even knew who Rabbi Weiss the husband was? This is Torah?
55. But the issue is much worse than that. The above teaching about judges refers to a court with three judges who listen to both people in their dispute. In such a case a judge may be close to one side but upon hearing the other side may override his friendship, etc. But Rabbi Miller’s letter clearly indicates that he signed based only upon the signing of other rabbis. He does not say he arrived at the conclusion to punish the husband because he spoke to him. It seems that he never spoke to the husband and his family. So what right did he have to sign a letter that was a pesak Beth Din without a formal hearing of both sides?
56. We find in Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat IX:1 the Torah sin of judging people when one of the people being judged gives something, even a nice word, to a judge. When one of the two sides in this dispute was a relative who it is generally said did very crucial favors for Malkiel Kotler, who then weighed in with his friends and colleagues who tremble at his displeasure and know that favoring him will gain them benefit throughout their lives, is this not the sin of judging when one side gives you a benefit? Let those rabbis who signed say with a straight face that they gain nothing by helping Rabbi Kotler. And let Rabbi Kotler say with a straight face that he owes nothing to the Dodelsons.
57. The Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 10:1 says, “A judge may not render a verdict until he has thoroughly thought it through; and it should be as obvious to him as the sun is shining; and one who renders a hasty judgment is a shoteh, wicked and conceited.” What about a judge who renders a judgment without hearing one word from the other side?
58. See Choshen Mishpat 14:4 that a judge who is suspected of not being fair must clarify himself to remove that suspicion. It is obvious to everyone that Rabbi Kotler had no Torah or moral right to issue a judgment to destroy an enemy of a relative. And since people in general suspect that he twisted the judgment to help a relative, and it is generally assumed that the Dodelson family did Rabbi Kotler great favors when he needed them in the worst way, Rabbi Kotler has an obligation to explain himself to escape from this suspicion. Why does he not do it? And all of the rabbis who live in fear of Rabbi Kotler and therefore signed when he asked them, why don’t they explain away the above suspicion? And why did Rabbi Miller not explain away the suspicion upon him that he signed to smooth out his getting the job of Rov of Lakewood when he first signed for Rabbi Kotler’s relative?


PuzzledFebruary 10, 2014 at 2:38 PM
It is beyond frightening that rabbonim and roshei yeshiva who are widely viewed as “gedolim” have been largely successful in having their positions on these cases (Dodelson, Epstein) treated as if coming from objective arbiters who are giving their unbiased conclusions based on the facts of these cases.

A more accurate description of what these so-called gedolim are doing is acting as toanim (lawyers / advocates) and publicists (like Shira Dicker) for the party to whom they are related and/or have close personal and financial relationships.

And at the request of one of these “gedolim,” the others jump on board without even bothering to examine the facts or trying to obtain the other side to the story.

And this seems to be not that dissimilar from the Schlesinger case in Austria where one parent seems to have been able to exploit very close ties to a high-ranking judge to severely restrict the other parent’s time with their children to an obscene extent.
the real worldFebruary 10, 2014 at 3:32 PM
Puzzled, this is the world we live in. If we want to change it we need to find real gedolim. You and me can start with each other.
Staten Island guyFebruary 10, 2014 at 3:12 PM
I know that the Weisses had this and we’re given permission to publicize this right after it was written.

I know that they held off doing so because they did not want to do anything to upset the efforts towards finishing this up (that’s what they told me at the time).

I have no idea by they haven’t released it since the get.
ShmuelFebruary 10, 2014 at 3:46 PM
This letter is amazing: 1) If AMW was not from a prominent family, i’m not so sure that he would of received such a letter, as I have seen many rabbis are cowards to speak the truth. But in this case Rabbi Miller “did some more investigating”. 2) You deduce from this letter that anybody who has a NEGIA BEDOVOR such as Malkiel Kotler, cannot be trusted because you are biased. I am hoping that the end is near for corruptive bais dins as we are experiencing seeing that their schemes are reaching a dead end. Mendel Epstein, martin Wolmark have been arrested and since then we learned that their torah methodology was flawed as they too have not investigated well the facts of the AGUNA who approachem them for a GET as she turned out to be an FBI agent and a fictitious wife. They still for the “HEAVY GREENBACKS” arranged for a kidnapping! I have yet to meet an honest non-biased Bais Din other than Rabbi Gestetner and Rabbi Abraham! They follow the lettter of the law with no feminist influences to sway their Halachic decisions.
toras emesFebruary 10, 2014 at 4:39 PM
what this proves is that the letters and haskomos from gedolim are worthless. letters are signed without full investigation of the facts. the same is probably true of tzdakah letters signed by gedolim. and the average person is a fool if he gives any weight to these letters. (rav Schechter signed many letters against friedman with the statement ‘if rav kamentsky says it must be true. he knew nothing about the real facts of the case)
just sayingFebruary 10, 2014 at 5:04 PM
what we learn from this letter is that a kol koreh may have nothing to do with the facts. This is one of many many examples.
Truth Be ToldFebruary 10, 2014 at 7:42 PM
Actually, what this shows is a formal admission that he did not investigate the facts before he signed the death sentence of Bi’yush Bi’rabim. Unfortunately, this is all too common nowadays.

The Kotler-Lakewood typical out-of-the-book style is to gather up as many signatures as possible to bury their opponents. The signatories usually have no real knowledge of the facts – or Halacha for that matter. There are so many examples of this I can’t even start…

R’ S.M. himself has signed hatchet proclamations before similar to this… Perhaps each one of those should be reviewed as well.
AnonymousFebruary 11, 2014 at 2:18 PM
This letter – if authentic, is an indictment of Rabbi Shlomo Miller. Sadly for me – a Ben Torah, this only reinforces why I no longer trust our so-called Gedolim. To me this is the greatest tragedy. The age and era of gadlus – the honesty of the Chafetz Chaim etc, is unfortunately over.

Yankel fun Mikkeys Kaveh Shteeb

Not good PR for RSMFebruary 11, 2014 at 6:11 PM
This letter does not do any justice to RSM Shlit’a. As a Rov In a major citer and as a Rosh Bais Din (according to some) in a major Torah City it is mind boggling that he supported a cause JUST by relying on a Kol Koray and then reverse his position based on further investigation. Is this how one issues a psak? Is this how a Rosh Bais Din handles Din Torahs?
We know that he knows a LOT more then many but there is a 5th Shlchan Aruch which is usually consulted on each and every psak in Halacha.
Leibel LukshFebruary 11, 2014 at 6:16 PM
How about we here at daas torah band together and send a WRITTEN PETITION to several Roshei Yeshivos / Rabbonim, respectfully requesting that they adhere to the laws of Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpot, in regards to how decisions in Dinei Torah should be made?

So many of us have lost trust in Gedolim whose actions point to unmistakeable self-serving hypocrisy.

If they don’t have the backbone to withstand Rabbanic “peer pressure” that pushes them to do unethical “favors” to other Roshei Yeshivos / Rabbonim, then how can they expect their adherents to withstand THEIR own tests?

Let’s write a petition!