The Sad Saga of Tamar Epstein without a GET


Rabbi Aharon Feldman: Tamar’s Heter and “Bizoyone HaTorah”

By Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn

Rabbi Aharon Feldman, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel Yeshiva, is  heavily involved in the remarriage of Tamar Epstein Friedman. He disagrees with those who permit Tamar to remarry without a GET, as he writes in his first letter:  “Because of all these considerations, in my humble opinion, the heter of Rabbi Greenblatt mentioned before can not be relied upon at all. Consequently Tamar retains the status of being a definitely married woman. Therefore she is prohibited in marriage to all men until these matters are dealt with in beis din according to the halacha. And in the mean time she needs to leave her second “husband” and if she becomes pregnant from him the children are viewed as mamzerim.”

[My comment on this – Briefly, the Heter is invalid and Tamar must leave her new husband and if she has a child from him the child will be a mamzer. We now continue with Rabbi Feldman’s remarks]

I now request that  you join me in my protest against the heter  – if you think what I said is correct. While I feel it is important to protest this heter to stop adultery,  but doing it by myself without the support of a group of talmudic scholars  my protest will not be accepted and effective.  My urgent concern is that this heter will open the floodgates for the ignorant in our country to decide to annul marriages in a similar problematic manner to this one. That will result in the destruction (G-d forbid!) of the holiness of the Jewish people. As you know, up until now there have been various attempts of certain rabbis who are basically ignorant of Jewish law and who have not served an apprenticeship with expert rabbis. However they have been stopped by the protest of the rabbinic leadership of our communities. However this heter is different. Since it has been issued by Rabbi Greenblatt – who is recognized as important and expert Torah scholars in these matters – the opposition to improper heterim will fall apart if there is no protest.

In addition to the danger posed because the heter has been produced by Rabbi Greenblatt, in the eyes of the public Rabbi Greenblatt  is viewed as being supported in producing the heter by one of the senior rosh yeshivos (Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky) of the present generation as well as his son ( Rabbi Sholom Kaminetsky) who is also a distinguished Torah scholar. Despite the fact that the Kaminetskys deny this, there is no question that many will rely on these rumors to permit the nullification of the status of being a married woman by means of this heter. That is because they think gedolim have clearly supported this heter.” [My remarks on this – Since this new threat to family values comes not from discredited or extreme leftist Orthodox rabbis but from noted Torah scholars, it is important that the public be informed by many scholars that despite Rabbis Greenblatt and Kaminetsky approving the marriage, it is invalid, the couple must separate and a child born to them without a GET will be a mamzer. Rabbi Feldman publicizes the invalid Tamar marriage and the invalid Heter for it so that the influence of two major rabbis be negated and Tamar will not be accepted in her new marriage.

From all of this it seems obvious that when my blog publicized the evil in Tamar remarrying without a GET, I should have had thanks from Rabbi Feldman. Indeed, for years when this battle between husband and wife went on, and the option of remarriage without a GET became public knowledge, I was the only one in America publicly denouncing it. For this major Torah scholars in various countries called me and congratulated me. But there was a fear to publicly attack these very prominent rabbis. Now, it seems, great pressure has been put upon Rabbi Aharon Feldman, and he has kept his decision that Tamar is living in sin and her child will be a mamzer from the second man. But he has decided that the blogs that attacked “gedolim” are “worse than Aishess Ish.”

Fortunately, at the exact time that Rabbi Feldman’s signed third letter came out with this attack on the blogs, a letter came out from the Gaon Rav Avrohom Yehoshua Soloveitchik, the Rosh Yeshiva in Brisk in Israel. He writes bitterly of what Rabbis Greenblatt and Kaminetsky did and concludes that it is forbidden for anyone to study Torah under Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky because he is a wicked man: [End my comments]

מחאה של הגאון ר’ א,י,סולובייצ’יק ר’י בריסק: [דהיינו הגאון רבי אברהם יהושע ר”י בריסק בארץ ישראל]

נפל דבר בישראל

באמריקה התירו אשת איש לשוק רח”ל בלא גט

זהו נבלה ממש

וחוץ מעצם הענין שאין רוצוני ליכנס בזה שהוא באמת חמור מאוד

הרי אף במקום שצריך ליכנס להתיר עגונות ישבו רבותינו האחרונים שבעה נקיים עד שהוציא פסק

וגם בזה לא היה להם די והתנו ההיתר בהצטרפות עוד גדולים

וכאן עושים כאילו הוא דבר של מה בכך

ורשעים במחשך מעשיהם התירו ולא התירו

כאן בארץ ישראל כשרצו להתיר שני ממזרים הפכו את העולם

חובה גמורה על הרבנים וראשי הישיבות באמריקא לזעוק צעקה גדולה על זה

והרי זהו אחריות עצומה על כל המשך הדורות באמריקה כי זה פתח לכל מיני רבנציקעש שיוכלו לעשות ככל העולה על רוחם

הכל בא מהקולדז וכו’

ואסור ללמוד אצל ראש הישיבה כזה וכמבואר ברמב”ם על הרב שאינו הולך בדרך טובה.

The Brisker Rosh Yeshiva Rav Soloveitchik clearly says that the Rosh Yeshiva of Philadelphia Rabbi Kaminetsky is wicked and may not teach Torah there. We have to see about his son Shalom and Rabbi Noto Greenblatt, who performed the marriage on Tamar and her new husband while she was still married to Aharon Friedman. I personally feel that such people cannot be trusted with any religious ceremony or kashruse, and teaching Torah when you don’t keep the Torah is a sin. As far as studying in Philadelphia Yeshiva, what if the Kaminetsky family decides to marry Tamar’s mamzerim to a Yeshiva student?