By Batsheva Haber
Recently an article published in the NY post has been circling the Jewish community. The article tells the story of Gital Dodelson and her 3 ½ year battle for halachic devorce from her husband Avrohom Meir Weiss. In response the Weiss family published a statement describing a different narrative of the divorce process and custody issues over their son Aryeh.
I am not going to take a side in the divorce case, I do not know the entire story. Likewise, I am not familiar with much of the divorce laws or process. Therefore, I cannot rightfully take a stand on who is right in these issues. But I don’t really care, because Mr. Weiss, there is NO excuse for a man to withhold a get from his wife! Not now, not ever.
I do not know what Hashem’s reasons were for placing the entire halachic divorce process in the husband’s power, but I am sure that it was not so he can have the upper hand in the settlement agreements. The halacha is not a bargaining piece that you can use for your personal benefit! Demanding that certain agreements be made before you grand a get, is not a legitimate move, but an act of bizayon ha’torah!
It is very clear what chazal think of one who uses the Torah for personal gain. In Avot, D, 5, we see the following Mishnah:
רבי צדוק אומר: אל תעשם עטרה להתגדל בהם, ולא קרדום לחפור בהם.
וכך היה הלל אומר: ודאשתמש בתגא, חלף.
הא למדת, כל הנהנה מדברי תורה, נוטל חייו מן העולם.
Rabbi Tzadok used to say: Do not make the Torah a crown with which to aggrandize yourself, nor use it as a spade with which to dig.
As Hillel used to say: He who makes worldly use of the crown of the Torah shall perish.
Thus you may infer that any one who exploits the words of the Torah removes himself from the world of life.
There is no room for questions here. Torah was not intended to advance your personal goals and wishes and should never be used as such!
If you were in Israel, where marriage and divorce are governed by Jewish law, you would be sitting in jail right now, because what you are doing is a CRIME. You may argue that this is a modern law, and not necessary the halachic approach. You would be right, according to traditional law you would be beaten by the beit din until willing to give a get. [Rambam, Hilchot Gerushin, B, 20]
I ask you to end this immediately. I ask this of you not as a man putting a woman through a terrible ordeal, nor even as a father who is forcing his son to grow up in a torn family, but as a religious Jew who believes in the Torah. Can you honestly attempt to live as an Eved Hashem, while using his Godly law to achieve the upper hand in your worldly agreements?