Brooklyn, NY – Charedi Rabbi Says Divorce In Orthodox Community Stems From Misleading Hashkafos; Blasts Current System


    Rabbi Mendel Epstein, a Brooklyn rabbi who helps women obtain gets. (Five Towns Jewish Times)New York – In a recent interview, Rabbi Mendel Epstein, a dayan, and a to’ein of over thirty years, holds nothing back in expressing his “disgust” with the current system that, too often, he says, results in women finding themselves in “unbearably difficult situations due to incorrect hashkafos and advice that they have received and therefore come to blame the Torah and rabbanim for their plight.”

    In the 5 TOWNS JEWISH TIMES ( interview, Rabbi Epstein says he has “seen enough suffering” throughout his thirty years of service and the over 2,000 divorce cases he has handled.

    So much so, that he has drafted a “Bill of Rights of a Jewish Wife” which he released last week.

    Among the proclamations listed in the Rabbi’s Bill of Rights are:

    (1) A wife must be treated with respect and not be abused. A woman in an abusive relationship has a right to seek a get.

    (2) She is entitled to be supported by her husband. Read the kesubah.

    (3) A husband is obligated to honor and respect his wife’s parents.

    (4) She is entitled to a normal conjugal relationship.

    In speaking on the “proliferation” of divorces within the frum community, Epstein says that the inordinate number of divorces comes about as a result of infidelity in marriages, and that the dalliances leading to infidelity very often “start in shul” and with people coming and going freely in and out of each other’s homes.

    Epstein puts no age restrictions on divorce, and says that it doesn’t matter whether couples are married for a “few months” or a “few decades.”

    In opening the interview, Epstein is asked why he chose this time to come forward and speak out.

    Epstein says it is the “proliferation of the divorces” within the community that brought him forward.

    “There are so many women left in limbo by the process,” Epstein says, “There is hardly a family in the community that is not dealing with divorce or a yeshiva that does not have one or two children at minimum in every class whose parents are either in the process or already divorced.”

    Epstein says it is the “impact,” too, on women and children involved in divorces, that is negatively affecting their views on the rabbanim in general.

    “Don’t minimize the impact this is having on frum homes, as mothers begin to view trying to live according to a halachic or Torah lifestyle as being a prime cause of their problems,” Rabbi Epstein says, adding that this attitude can easily trickle down to the children, where it can emotionally resonate for years.

    “It’s not the Torah and it’s not the rabbis that are at fault or responsible for all the misery, heartache, and broken marriages and families out there,” Epstein says, noting that more than anything else it is long-held false ideals and misguided hashkafos that have turned the way our community looks at these situations upside down.

    Rabbi Epstein insists that he is not functioning in a vacuum, claiming as evidence a number of prominent rabbinical figures who concur with his outspoken approach, agree with his formulation, and who have encouraged him to publicize his points—among them; Rabbi Peretz Steinberg of the Queens Vaad HaRabonim, Rabbi Hershel Kurzrock of the Rabbinical Alliance/Igud HaRabbonim, and Rabbi Moshe Bergman, a prominent rav dealing with gittin in Brooklyn.

    In stressing both his point and his frustration, Rabbi Epstein relates a current case involving a woman who has been waiting over three years for her get.

    Rabbi Epstein says he called the rabbi holding up the get, inquiring as to why it was taking so long. He said that there was already evidentiary proof that the husband was no longer observing Shabbos and was also already dating other women, so why the delay? Rabbi Epstein says that the rabbi told him that he requires a therapist as a third party to independently verify that the marriage could not be repaired or saved.

    “There is no basis in halachah for this opinion,” Rabbi Epstein says, adding that “all this ignorant approach does is prolong the process and increase the suffering, usually on the woman’s side of the equation.”

    Epstein explains that, while the goal of many of the rabbis involved in these situations is to keep the couple together and try to keep the family unit intact, it may look like the best situation from the outside, but internally it can be doing more damage than anyone can imagine.

    “There are a lot of stupid women staying with their husbands,” the Rabbi says, “even though by right the marriage is over and for everyone’s good they should be out of there.”

    Epstein says that, aside from infidelity and disloyalty in a marriage, the second-most-common reason for divorce seems to be economic pressures.

    Two of Epstein’s ten point Bill of Rights are dedicated to these matters.

    Rabbi Epstein states clearly that “a woman is entitled to be supported by her husband,” and that “this is clearly and unequivocally defined in no uncertain terms in the kesubah that is the documented centerpiece of every Jewish marriage.”

    Rabbi Epstein chides, “The money that she brings in before the wedding should be used to enhancing the living standard of the couple, not for the husband to waste on buying electronics or other gadgetry.”

    Elaborating further, Epstein says, “There is a wild idea out there that a kosher woman has to put up with abuse because that’s the way Hashem wants it. What father would want their daughter to suffer in that way?”

    On the system, Rabbi Epstein explains, “Another great error that women often make is that they run to court instead of the beis din. No court can grant her a get,” while adding that it is a mistake to run to retain a divorce attorney that unfortunately all too often mislead their clients and take them through a wild and very costly ride through the judicial system—only to find that after a few years they have accomplished nothing except the spending of tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. “The proper beis din is relatively quick, fairly cheap, and knows where the cash is hidden.”

    Epstein confessed that there are, however, occasions where going to court first is beneficial, especially when there is a particularly obdurate and uncooperative husband involved. Unlike beis din, the court can demand and compel the husband to disclose all his personal financial information, which a Jewish court does not have the full legal ability to do. Sometimes this process will be convincing enough for a man to voluntarily give his wife the get.

    When asked to comment on the campaign that is encouraging families to allow their young men to marry earlier than has been the norm in an attempt to address the so-called “shidduch crisis,” Rabbi Epstein says simply, “It’s a terrible idea and it will increase the divorce rate.”

    Rabbi Epstein is also asked whether verbal abuse, or being spoken to harshly or with a lack of respect for either party in a marriage is grounds for divorce.

    The Rabbi answers, “Cursing her or her family could be grounds for a get. Or to quote Chazal, ‘Ein adam dor im nachash bekefifa achas’—you can’t live with a snake.”

    Finally, when asked why he believes there is so much dysfunction to which he attributes failed marriages and the inordinate number of divorces in the community, Rabbi Epstein for the most part points toward the young (and not-so-young) men.

    “The main reason many young people are just not ready for marriage or parenthood is that many of the boys are just sitting in yeshiva. They are not tested or evaluated and all too many do not even make it to morning minyan,” says the Rabbi, before adding that that he thinks that this idea of sending boys to out-of-town yeshiva at such a young age is finally backfiring on families and the community.

    “We send our kids to dormitories, and during his formative years the child hardly ever sees what a normal husband–wife relationship looks like.” says Epstein, while noting that “too many children grow up thinking that their parents are little more than ATMs.”

    “So when Mr. Spoiled marries Ms. Spoiled, why are we shocked that they cannot make a marriage work or successfully assume the responsibilities of parenthood?” Epstein questions.

    In closing, Rabbi Mendel Epstein says that he has “observed this sad reality playing itself out and most community leaders just looking away as the problems that plague our people and wreak havoc are spiraling out of control. He says that it needs to be said not to G‑d forbid embarrass anyone, but rather to put the issues out there so that we can tackle them, take them on, and try to figure out some solutions.”

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      • Rabbi Epstein said Ms. spoiled marries Mr. spoiled so how is that saying only men are wrong? Also being an aguna is not caused by women using kids but by man refusing to allow the women to leave a marriage that cannot be fixed

      • you sound bitter….yes there are always cases where the woman brings a bit of disfunctionality to a marriage; however most cases the men know they are working from a position of power – they control the giving of the get – so they are irrational and uncompromising – that is the fact in most cases

    1. Rabbi Epstein says he called the rabbi holding up the get, inquiring as to why it was taking so long. He said that there was already evidentiary proof that the husband was no longer observing Shabbos and was also already dating other women, so why the delay? Rabbi Epstein says that the rabbi told him that he requires a therapist as a third party to independently verify that the marriage could not be repaired or saved.

      “There is no basis in halachah for this opinion,” Rabbi Epstein says, adding that “all this ignorant approach does is prolong the process and increase the suffering, usually on the woman’s side of the equation.”

      While I can’t comment on the specific case generally there is a basis to verify that marrage is broken assuming there are children. Many women are too quick to run away without thinking about the effects this has on a child. R Epstien should listen to some R Avigdor Miller tapes regarding staying married no matter what before he comments.

      • Rabbi miller said that a husband that doesnt work is a reason to divorce him.
        He had three conditions:
        Doesnt work
        Doesnt come home at night
        Doesnt treat wife with respect

        • I don’t believe that harav Avigdor Miller Z’tl issued a psak that a woman was entitled to a divorce from a husband who refused to work and stayed out at night (whether learning or engaged in other activities) against the wishes of his wife. Miller was respected by many rabbonim and this doesn’t sound like somthing he would say. If it was, than I suspect his psak will be ignored by most dayanim and poskim today.

          • Did you ever go to his Thursday night shiur? He was very big on work. He felt that work was one of the most beneficial things for a person and that besides being important to a marriage it is important for basic mental health. He decried how the work ethic has been destroyed in this country.

          • Men who refuse to work after being laid off and do not look for new work have “issues”. If the relationship is otherwise satisfactory, and the man is a good father and respectful husband, the financial burden remains but the marriage will survive. But if the man quits one job after another and does not attempt to be a provider, there may be resentment towards him that builds up and ends the marriage. Rabbi Epstein did not mention that credit card debts and gambling, and drug and alcohol addiction is also present in some marriages that end in divorce. Divorce is not always the worst choice.

        • I have gone to his shurim frequently and never heard that. Plus what does NOT working mean. Does it mean he phusically does not care or he tries and is a yozel? Too many times its the latter. And that is totally not a grounds for divorce.

        • Your wrong. Ha Rav Miller tzl held more or less if 1. the Spouse went completely off the Derech
          2. infidelity 3. not supporting at all ( not so clear in this one though ie if the husband is trying to keep a job certainly he wouldn’t say get a get since he’s not providing enough)
          Generally he held the best thing is to stick together. Certainly every rule has its exceptions.
          He also held not to do extreme things ie stop going to mikvah or hoping on plane and leaving wife and kids or vice versa.
          He never ever would say break up a marriage due to name calling or not respectful ( however its against the Torah and humanity to hurt your spouse in any way!!!!)
          Listen to num e230 artificial man. Or many many other tapes he has on marriage.

        • Actually, studies have shown that boys that watch pornography have a higher divorce rate. They learn from the videos how to demean women, and therefore don’t treat their wives respectfully. Thus, the Internet, in part, is a cause of this epidemic. 

          • Really…. I would love to see such research. However,studies do show that kids growing up in dysfunctional,loveless and abusive homes are likely to turn to porn to achieve an illusion of intimacy.

        • If per this article going to shul is where men and women meet and have an affair, then we have a very serious problem with shul goers. It used to be you did not want to work in the general workforce where non Jews or non Frum worked as the morality was less than in frum community regarding extramarital conduct. Now any meeting of any frum people causes the urge to sin? Better not go to shul if that is so. People need to control their base level and take responsibility for their actions, more. I am totally disgusted to learn shul is an unsafe environment.

      • I would love it if every marriage could be saved but when one party curses the other and their family, physically or emotionally abuses another, an various other situations- the marriage cannot be saved. No matter how talented or experienced the therapist is-some should not be repaired. Even if there are kids, studies have shown that kids who grow up in a stable, happy, nonviolent 1 parent home end up better off emotionally than those whose homes are C”V the opposite but they “stuck together for the sake of the kids”. I know frum kids who wish they never have to see one parent again and run away in fear if they see him/her walking down the street.

        • studies have shown that kids who grow up in a stable, happy, nonviolent 1 parent home end up better off emotionally than those whose homes are C”V the opposite but they “stuck together for the sake of the kids”

          This maybe true in a secular society. Not in a frum society where kids go to shul with their father pesach seder etc.. R Avigdor Miller ZTL specificlly stated even if parents fight stay married and continue fighting. Of course in extreme case you are correct. But only then.

          • I doubt if your quoting R’ Avigdor Miller correctly. I find it very difficult that a Talmid Chacham of his stature would advocate that parents continue fighting and stay married for the sake of the kids. Of course every Marriage has some rough spots and some arguments and everyone would agree that those situations don’t call for parents to get divorced. Actually it might be healthy for kids to witness parents disagreeing at times and working things out. it shows them we dont have to be perfect and its healthy modeling. The study that your arguing with would no doubt apply to the frum world. Are you saying that R’ Miller would rather a kid grow up in a “violent and un happy home” than a happy one parent home where he can benefit socially and emotionally. What about all the issurim of VIAHaVTA LERACHA KOMOCHA that gets transgressed when parents are constantly fighting. Even if granted R’Miller did say all this, there are plenty of poskim who disagree and feel that if parents cant get along and are fighting than a divorce would actually be beneficial for all those involved.

            • Why would it in no doubt apply to the frum world? Do you have a basis for that? the frum world is a very differnet animal. A boy needs to learn torah, go to shul, watch his father at the shabbos table etc.. Obviously everything has a limit. As you say some fightingis healthy. But I say you have to up the notches a few levels till the point of extreme prior to opting for divorce.

      • I don’t believe for one minute that R’ Avigdor Miller Z”L would want any woman stay in a marriage that is abusive. Raising a child in that kind of atmosphere is so destructive, you can’t even imagine. Furthermore, the child is raised in that kind of environment, a girl will expect it and a guy will do it to his wife. If the father or mother decides that they don’t want to be frum, then that is grounds as well. Why? because it means that the party that stayed frum did not stand up for what is right. I know–I was a wife whose husband no longer wanted to be frum and I left with my child.

        • I want to make one discalimer. My heart goes out for your suffering and I am no way refering to your specifc case.
          I attended many of his shuirm. I suspect a husband not frum he would say yes divorce.
          Re abusive thats a very vague term. Today in every divorce the woman says the husband is verbally abusing her. What does verbal abuse mean? Obviously if you getting divorced you are fighting. The majorty of fights have verbal abuse. If you were civil you wouldn’t be fighting. But is that called “abusing” your wife. You are correct re physical abuse.
          By the way R Miller ZT”l specifclly siad many times a wife who kicks a husband out of the house is murderer. If they fight she should stay married and continue. (Then you would jokingly say of course not don’t continue fighting but continue having mire children!)

        • Agreed that some marriages are much more harmful to the spouse and kids than leaving from then and being independent. Men who physically abuse, or cheat and bring home diseases to their wife ( I know a young wife who lost her fertility due to this), or who are so mentally and emotionally incapable of responding normally that it is not really a marriage anyway, these cannot be “saved” nor should they. Unlike Catholicism, which does not allow divorce, Torah permits it, knowing human nature.

      • ‘Staying married no matter what’, is not a fix for each and every situation.
        Yes, generally speaking, it might be better for the kids that parents stay together but you can’t generalize across the board.
        There’s no ‘one size fits all’ remedy, in marriage!

      • A. I’ve listened to those tapes. I remember something about a wise woman wouldn’t run away the first time her husband slapped her.
        B. Rov Miller was gving advice and stating his opinions on marriage, not paskining chalaha. There is no basis in chalaha to demand a therapist give his blessing for a divorce. I would bet that a Rov who was demanding that had some interest in not giving that poor woman her get.

        • “I remember something about a wise woman wouldn’t run away the first time her husband slapped her.”

          Are you living in the Stone Age, or there about? Anyone who wallops his wife even the first time, has some very serious problems, but nothing compared to the wife who will be on the receiving end of more of her husband’s abuse. Once any psychopath strikes his wife, she ought to immediately start looking for ways out of a hellish marriage.

          ת”ר האוהב את אשתו כגופו והמכבדה יותר מגופו והמדריך בניו ובנותיו בדרך ישרה והמשיאן סמוך לפירקן עליו הכתוב אומר וידעת כי שלום אהלך.

          יבמות ס”ב ע”ב
          סנהדרין ע”ו ע”ב

          Slapping a wife in the face hardly qualifies for המכבדה יותר מגופו.

      • You’re saying that it is much better for the children to live in a home where the father is being mechallel Shabbos and running around with other women?

        • Slow down everything has its limits. In the case you mentioned no. But if the father can’t earn a decent living simply because he is not the most gleungan or if the father has some minor OCD (a nice new phrase for someone a bit on the nervous side. I guess my nervous grandparents from the Holocaust had OCD and should of never stayed marrried.) or there are some arguments at times (which in todays days we would phrase an argument as “verbal abuse” and say the husband is “abusive”). These guys should stay married.

    2. A Freilichen Purim!!! Mine opinion; this subject definitely doesn’t belong on this or any other website… this belongs on the desk of rabbanim & morah ho’ruha…

      • Givaldig! to the point!
        But Rabbi Epstein’s approach is NOT something that belongs in a rabbinical court, his tactics all the years was something that is against the Torah and against American law BEATING UP THE HUSBAND DUMPING THEM NEAR WASHINGTON CEMETERY AND GETTING A GET BY FORCE!

        • If a beit din has ordered a get be given, it is NOT against the Torah to beat the husband until he complies and the get is NOT considered a coerced get.

          And I’d worry about it being a violation of American law when we deal with all the child molesters and financial fraudsters who continue to get support from rabbis and kvod within our community.

          • It sounds you didn’t take your medication today!
            1) It is against the Torah to beat up anybody KOL HAMEIRIM YAD NIKRO RASHA! we don’t have today any real punishment power and it’s against the law! You pick up your hands you go to jail! Now take your medication and don’t mix in other issues here

          • I agree with Charlie Hall! I never thought the day would come.

            When I read the article I thought of my sister who was psychologically abused by her husband for years before she was able to throw him out. 3 rejected kids. My friend in Israel was abused by the system there after years of abuse by her husband, who is certifiable. He was a ben bayis by us before they got married. I wish I’d have known he was getting married so I could have warned her. 8 kids later…..

            Then I read the comments from the article. I am shocked at the negativity, I thought everyone would be cheering for what this man is trying to do. Can someone explain why Rabbi Epstein is coming under fire? Is he a con artist or someone who puts women first, like MY Rav, who is an amazing Rav who truly respects women? He has helped so many women, isn’t Rabbi Epstein trying to do the same in his way? So what’s the problem? BTW I agree some men definitely lose out because of vindictive wives. The problem is, they often do the same (heter meyah rabbanim springs to mind.) A creep is a creep no matter which gender.

            • I can’t talk for your sister but the term “Physchological abuse” troubles me. I get the feelling every time a couple doesn’t see eye to eye and are in disagragreement there is “physcological abuse”. More often than not we like to use that term too freely especially with “abuse” mixed in. It justifies pushing for divorce rather than working things out. The torah way is to work things out. Especially with kids involved. Unless of course there exists a case of extreme abuse. The Mizbach cries at every divorce. I think we are too influenced by the goyim were life has to be fun and perfect and galamrous. We see a neighboor’s husband more successfull than ours. And we say why can’t my husband who is a yozel get a job like that. And the hatred starts building. realize this was the lot you were given by hashem and learn to live with it even if you feel yenim would make you happier. This is why R epstien’s approach of killing marrages is wrong.

      • A community is made up of individuals, and the point here is for the community to understand what is taking place and through understanding that to make a difference.
        By reading Rabbi Epstein’s letter we can make a difference in how we live our married lives and how we raise our children so that we personally can try to avoid divorce and worst case scenario at least deal with divorce in a healthier more educated manner.

    3. I wonder how many mamzeirim this so called “Rabbi” has helped produce. Does the “Rabbi” feel that the Torah has mistreated woman by making it hard for her to receive a get that he feels that he must help them out?

      • Are you a Dayin? He is, so don’t hold you’re breath that people will listen to you over him. As for mamzarim, let me step back to first grade for a second, it takes one to know one & while I’m sure the Dayin hasn’t helped create any, I’m sure you have. As for the Torah, can’t you read? He specifically said its wrong hashkofos (in case you don’t know what that is, it’s a person’s view) not a wrong Torah. As for a get, yes it is very hard for a woman to get one & to think otherwise only shows your IQ

      • I don’t agree with RABBI Epstien on everything, but I do know that the gittim that he worked on are all kosher. The Torah does’t mistreat women, but some men know how to turn the system to their benefit.
        There are definitely women who also “work the system” to get what they want but mostly it is the women who loses. The man gives the get and I know women who gave up plenty to get a get because they were afraid their ex would never give it otherwise.

        • You KNOW the ALL his gitten are kosher??

          And how might you know that? Were you involved in ALL of them? If so, you and he are the same person.

          Thanks for the laugh.

      • It is not facilitating the giving of a get that creates mamzerim. (I can’t begin to comprehend the reasoning behind that.) It is those who hold their wives hostage as agunos, and those who aid and abet them, who will ultimately be responsible when some of these women just can’t take it anymore and turn away from Yiddishkeit, perhaps to give birth to mamzerim as a result. This rabbi is doing his best to prevent this situation from occurring.

    4. Attention frum community:

      You don’t have to respond and find a critic on everything in this article. Just accept it for what it is and learn something from it. If we will always say “who asked him” or “keep your opinion to yourself” we will never grow and that is the problem in the first place. Just learn and see how you can improve.

      IMO this is a great great article and yes we have to make strides in the community!

      • Attn: u so called chraidi man:
        In your community there is a much higher divorce rate, and that’s even after dating for 5 yrs different girls u end up screwed up,
        So don’t lecture us,

        Thank u amd Mr (rabbi) Epstein

        • my community is in the holy Williamsburg, so don’t preach to me about MY community. I went probably to the same school you went to, except I am a bit humble and have learned to lien to others, rather than to always argue!

          I know that is not in your dictionary, as we were brought up my way or the highway, but wake up and smell the coffee. Hundreds are going off the derech every single year and hundreds more are getting divorced, while thousands live in miserable marriages. The numbers don’t lie, so stop being busy what’s happening somewhere else and listen to common sense when someone tries to make you aware of it!

          The satmar way was always we run the show and we control! its back firing my man whether you like it or not!

    5. This guy is a Toen who apparently only attracts female clients (I guess they recommend each other to him). In his world, no women cheat, no women withhold normal conjugal relations, no women disparage their mother-in-laws, no women hurl verbal insults, no women control, belittle and henpeck their husbands, etc. etc.

      That destroys the credibility of his whole interview.

      • Rabbis tend to be pro men, they are the ones who donate in shul, they are the mispallel. I know of a woman who called several Rabbis begging that they ask her ex husband, making money that is in the 7 figures, to give child support, and NOT ONE was willing to do so! Not one! She was hung up on, asked to never call again, and treated with disdain and disrespect. One Rabbi who has a brother who is a RE broker gave the info to his brother that the wife could be chased out of the home, rather than be helped to receive child support and aid from her rich husband. This chareidi RE broker pursued the husband, and helped him to get his wife out of the home ( so he could sell it and make a huge profit.) . Until then, the wife was managing but wanted her legal right to support through pressure from a Rabbi. The husband’s lawyer got involved and all of a sudden the wife was in contempt of court if she did not do as the Rabbi’s brother wished and show the home as he wished. The Rabbi who the wife turned to for assistance,actually turned on her, and assisted himself. The suffering, caused to the family! The pain of this betrayal ! The Torah is perfect, but people are not.

    6. (2) She is entitled to be supported by her husband.How can a husband afford this with tuition costs so high? He needs to address how other areas of Jewish life, such as tuition, can be managed too.

    7. Finally a Rov with the guts to voice his opinion which is based on his bitter experience with over 2000 Gittin. You may not want to agree with him but the man speaks from first hand experience and therefore should be taken seriously. If you read between the lines you will see that he is also issuing a wholesale indictment of the current Yeshiva and Kolel system which discourages boys from getting an education so they can support a family and encourages them to live off of parental support. So in effect Rabbi Epstein is taking to task many Roshei Yeshiva as well. Rabbi Epstein is clearly placing the predominant blame on the men and especially men who do not earn a living for the proliferation of failed marriages in the community and specifically does not put the blame on the internet as other people have tried to suggest.

      • “If you read between the lines you will see that he is also issuing a wholesale indictment of the current Yeshiva and Kolel system which discourages boys from getting an education so they can support a family and encourages them to live off of parental support.”

        That’s especially true because it used to be that the men and women each had their own קללה. For the men it was בזעת אפיך תאכל לחם, and for the women it was בעצב תלדי בנים. But, these days, the poor women have both קללות.

        • I totally agree with what you wrote.
          It’s almost like the Chochmat Goyim Ta’amin issue of ‘Enabling.’
          These women are falling apart at the seams, trying to hold the family together while the husband becomes more and more detached from his responsibilities!

          I never heard it said like that, I just know that women, by nature, will try to make everything ‘OK’ for their children, and shidduchim… etc.

          • “I totally agree with what you wrote.”

            Since you seem to appreciate the more ‘hands on’ approach, try this one out. When it comes to the מערכת מלחמה, this is the normal order of things:

            1. אשר בנה בית ולא חנכו
            2. אשר נטע כרם ולא חללו
            3. אשר ארש אשה ולא לקחה

            Notice that normally, living quarters and an income precede the taking of a wife. But, when it comes to the second תוכחה, look at the ‘cursed’ order of things:

            1. אשה תארש ואיש אחר ישגלנה
            2. בית תבנה ולא תשב בו
            3. כרם תטע ולא תחללנה

            That is, in cursed years ר”ל, the order is totally reversed, whereby the taking of a wife precedes living quarters and an income. An interesting הערה- no?

      • You are unreal !!!! I know him first hand. I am a man who used this “rov” as a toin. I am sorry to say but he is a thug who only cares about the money. Let me ask you a question, if he would’nt get paid, do you really think he would care about the women ?
        It is and will always be about $$$$. All other toianim are no different. I experienced where I hired a toin and then goes to the other side and asks for more money !!!!. This is common by toianim, botei dinim etc… This “rov” does’nt even try to make shalom bein ish leishtoi. It seems, when they got to Parshas Shoiftim, the ALL ripped out the page of “Tzedek Tzedek Tirdoif”. I truly believe this is why Moshiach has yet to arrive. It also says by taking Shoicad. “Leman Tichyah Viyorashto es Haretz” Please note the words Viyorashato…. which means, how will we Yarshin Eretz Yisroel
        meaning Moshiach when taking Shoichad is common practice ????????

    8. This article is very hypocritical, why doesn’t someone ask Epstein why he’s currently representing someone who’s holding a get back from his wife for close to 3 years?? People like Epstein are the problem

      • You mean he represents men too??? Didn’t #10 say that’s to true? just goes to show what happens when people speak without having any firsthand knowledge of what they speak.

    9. This is the biggest joke. No system is perfect,but the jewish system is the best int he world.

      Do you really think that 2 people that are born with selfish needs (yes every person is selfish), can really be living with somebody especially from the opposite sex without giving after and working on their middos. The jewish system works because people will try to make it work, there are abusive marriages, there are bad and scary people out there, but most people want to make it work, and have an incentive to make it work.

      Go on the “goyishe” marriage sites, and you’ll see what it’s going on the other side of the coin, and yes this is after dating for 8 years, and “knowing” each other…….

      I am very proud of what we have to offer!

    10. What no one wants to say either is that with unlimited access to media and all types of peritzus, it has a definite effect on men (and maybe women).
      Not just pornography but social sites and friending. Ask any active Rav and they will tell you that these are home destructers.
      When there was an asifa at Citi field it was not just show and tell. There were Rabbonim there that had experienced the breakup, destruction and collapse of yiddishe families of all backgrounds because of the internet.
      Even if one does not get drawn into a shady life on line, seeing all the ads erodes one’s temimus and sensitivity. I know in Manhattan you see it as well. But why the hell do you have to bring it into your house!
      Filters are not important. They are imperative to your future!
      This true in the goyish world as well. In general, trends in the goyish world seep into the yiddish world. Vi se kristels zach azoi yiddels zach.
      Vetaher libeinu leavdecho b’emes.

    11. I personally know of cases where the wife was the instigator of the divorce, ran to secular court, ignored Beis Din and then cried Agunah. The article is biased and should be taken with a grain of salt. Remember there are 3 sides to every story. His side, her side and the Truth.

      • I cannot argue what your personal knowledge is of particular cases, but women fear going to bais din as the men end up doing better there, from the cases I personally know. 4 cases I am aware of recently, the men got the home though the woman is raising the kids and needs the home more, for their sake. Or the man forces the sale and kids are crowded into a small apartment, because he wants his half of money. Sorry but the mothers care more about the kids then the men, their dads, usually. How many men would not give a dime if the courts did not say they must do so and even then they disobey so again woman has to go to court and spend legal fees to eventually have it garnished. The man paid his attorney the money he did not pay for his own kids!

    12. He is wrong regarding not respecting your wife’s family, at times its more important to cut off ties with your family if the family is unhealthy emotionally, at times in-laws mix into families, that itself destroys a marriage.

    13. Over 15 years ago my rebellious ex wanted a get after meeting someone at work. Rabbi Epstein handled everything fairly and handled the crazy women well. I’ve heard the accusations over the years, none have which have been proven to my satisfation. As far as I know, he’s an honest well meaning rav who generally takes the side of the one that’s in the right, which usually is the woman.

      • Actually, it’s the other way around. As a to’en, whichever side pays him, that’s the side that’s right. Wake up! This is a one-sided tirade. The Rabbanut in Eretz Yisroel does not accept his Gittin. Guess why. He also works in collusion with his daughter – who is a divorce attorney. It seems that his entire livlihood, and that of his progeny, feed off of misery. And if there’s not enough misery in the world, he helps generate more misery. Of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion.

        • May I ask this insider if all other beis din gitten from US are accepted by Rabbanut in Israel? What is the reason they do not specifically accept from Rav Epstein? Although his daughter may be a divorce attorney he also recommends other attorneys if he is called. Perhaps she is too busy or does not want that case those times. He gave someone I know a different attorney and it not go well with her at all. It is a dirty business all around and even in frum communities people are not credible and fabricate stories their attorneys tell them to. It is the way divorce is handled by those claiming to be frum attorneys and judges that is bringing Hashem’s wrath on us. Horrible!

        • It seems that most here have respect for a Rabbi and for a Dayan, so look to understand what was put forth here. Yet quite a few who actually used Rabbi Epstein’s Beis din had only bad to tell. It is not ONLY losing that makes someone upset, but the process, if perceived as unfair. The process should not be dragged out to make more money ( one accusation) nor should one enter the beis din with expectation of mediation only to then have the Beis din petition one side to use them as their representative ( another commenter made that accusation.) There were several others and that disturbed me a lot. If a Beis din is not coming across as fair, it may be just a disgruntled spouse’s perception, but it may also ring true. There needs to be a very high level of sensitivity to human beings going through the trauma of divorce.
          I know a women who called a Rav of a shul where her ex davened and asked him to intervene for her for a child’s needs, and the Rav told her, ” Did you use my beis din? No. So why are you calling me now?” Apparently if he could no longer make money off her he has no reason to be concerned about her or the welfare of her family, as any mensh would be. $$$$$$$$ is all

    14. Today I heard of the 3rd divorce of my friends and it’s only Monday. In all 3 cases, the husbands refused to work and the wives had to work to support the husbands and 5-10 kids. No wonder there is so much divorce in our community. Everyone is tired.

    15. It’s the Men !!!!! Not ! It’s what it always has been. The women !

      Oh btw, do you know what else it is ? It’s Toanim becoming Dayanim, and Dayanim charging 200 dollars per hour, per Dayan, (going rate). It is not just contrary to what the Torah wants. It is also why people have less respect for Beis Din. (Chillul Hashem)
      If each community had one Beis Din that didn’t charge any money, without “Zabla”, without Toanim, and Dayanim who would recuse themselves from people they know, with ONLY the klal in mind, perhaps people would be more willing to respect Din. (Kiddush Hashem).
      Instead of women’s bill of rights, perhaps a bill of rights for those who are being judged at Beis Din is necessary.
      I wish NO ONE went to courts, but until we revamp our Batei Din, and make them FREE, and places where people serve the KLAL, we will have problems getting people to run to Beis Din.

      • You don’t begin to know how correct you are! Steinberg is self appointed – he made himself a Dayan- no community appointment or Rabbinical assignment. He hired a Sofer and began writing Gittin WITHOUT even meeting the couple beforehand. He then de-facto titled himself the Dayan of Queens. He is too uneducated to understand when to refer to counselling and when to begin a divorce. He also is only interested in a few thousand dollar fee, many of his giitin should not have been written. His secret lust for money has made him known to lend money for 18% Ribis. No rogue Bais Din should be tolerated. This is one ugly tale of Rabbinic abuse.

    16. How about a bill of rights for Husbands

      1. Not to be abused (Abuse doesn’t need to be physical)

      2. The wife has to respect his parents.

      3. The wife should realize that the husband doesn’t have a cash machine, and should try to take some responsibility when possible.

      4. He is entitled to a normal conjugal relationship.

      5. A father has the right to his children even after a divorce, and should be respected.

      6. A father should not be accused of doing horrible things with the children, simply because she doesn’t want him to have visitation rights.

      7. A Husband should have the right not to give a get until all issues regarding child support and visitation are straightened out.

      Out of all 4 rights in R’ Epstein’s bill of rights, there is none for the husbands protection, so I had to come in and do my share.

      • Realistic!! this time i’m fully in with you what you wrote !!!!! rabbi Epstien you just proofed that your the same womanizer like all Marriage Therapist they are the first want to make the problem’s and the rest is history …. they wanna fix problems which was never broken.

    17. “Epstein confessed that there are, however, occasions where going to court first is beneficial, especially when there is a particularly obdurate and uncooperative husband involved. Unlike beis din, the court can demand and compel the husband to disclose all his personal financial information, which a Jewish court does not have the full legal ability to do. Sometimes this process will be convincing enough for a man to voluntarily give his wife the get.”

      Is he recommending people to go to court?

    18. “(2) She is entitled to be supported by her husband. Read the kesubah”… Why don’t the full-time learners read that instead of making their wives and in-laws support them?

      • RobertS. How sad and unfortunate your life must be that you feel such an urge to bash kollel life, and the beauty of learning Torah. It’s obvious that you have an agenda otherwise why would you go off topic and attack something so special that is not even being discussed. I always give this advice to the likes like you; sit down and open a gemorah and you may be pleasantly surprised, but you won’t know till you try it. Let us know now it went.

    19. Sorry Rabbi Mendel Epstein does not have the knowledge to intervene into any marriage. “Period” My cousin with seven children was involved with Mendel Epstein and his wife wasn’t to easy and they both mutely agreed to stay in the marriage and go for consoling and Mendel Epstein did not rest until he made sure that there is a divorce.

      How dare you take such big responsibility’s to leave seven children in the limbo. Rabbi Mendel please do your home work. At times the man can also be on the right. Please do Tashuva send your clients for consoling and stop breaking up family’s especially when there are kids involved.

      Kasiva Va’csima Tova

    20. Nothing was said here about the over demanding wives who want, want, want, vacation, furinture, maids,fancy clothes, fancy sheitals, trips, fancy nights in restuarants, fancy house,fancy summer place and the list goes on. He is in the city for the summer and she is vacationing, he is tryiing to pay the bills and eating cold food for 8 to 10 weeks except for shabbos. I believe the problems is from BOTH sides; but the main problem the door to the house is open; open for listening to goyish ways. Our parents fought and their parents fought but the mainly fought to survive instead of each other. Close the door to the goyish life and start enjoying our Jewish way of living.

    21. Use your common sense:
      Why do people go to the doctor, Why do people have infections
      Why do people see therapists, Why some couples have arguments,
      Who should they turn to -Rav – Doctor – Parents – Inlaws – Police – Court.
      Why do people devorce, Is it better to devorce or to suffer,
      and more and more questions, some people want one answer for all, here it is ,SEICHEL BROSH each case is different use your seichel, if you don’t have seichel nothing will help, cause you can’t buy it.
      This is the truth after handling many many cases without a fancy 2000 number.

    22. It seems the man is all bad. But tell me, the woman always treats her husband and contributes?? Huh?? What about the wife who makes no effort to look good for her husband; doesn’t excersize, or watch what she eats, or takes care of herself. Isn’t that a reason for infidelity??? Or the wife that spends TOO much time doing that thereby neglecting her husband and kids. Or the wife that is moderate about that, but doesn’t allow her husband to get physical, and when she does, she makes him feel like a heel. Huh??? Or what about the wife that never cooks and leaves her husband to eat cereal for supper? Or what about the wife that simply doesn’t speak nicely to her husband??? Or what about the wife that only serves takeout for shabboss?? Or the wife that runs around the avenue buying herself frappacinos and gets manicures everyday??? These too can cause infidelity and friction. So while some men are dogs, and lot of women are their female counter-parts.

    23. Epstein is a royal hypocrite! He is encouraging a man to withhold a get because he knows that he could get more money out of the poor girls family. This woman is not at fault in the situation and worked really hard to keep the marriage alive- there is no saving a marriage when the husband sleeps around with the town whores-and its public knowledge!! He writes this article to sound all high and mighty when in truth, he’s a ganef who feeds off people’s misery. I have a family member who is an aguna for close to 4 yrs because of Epstein’s encouragment for the guy to get as much money as possible. What a drek.

    24. I am confused. Is the Rav saying there should be fewer divorces? Or that women should have more power in arbitration because many husbands are lousy. The two positions are exclusive of each other. I believe that finances are even a greater factor in Jewish divorce than in the secular world. We are necessarily very money conscious as a frum lifestyle is so financially pressuring. A friend told me today about how pressured he was to spend twenty thousand dollars to semd his daughter to seminary. Our community structure turns marriages into powder kegs.

    25. Since every to’en has his pluses and minuses, it is foolish to pass judgment on any of them. Many do better representing the women, others the men. R’ Mendel has long been an advocate for women, who tended to fare more poorly in batei din, and he exerts himself to insure that such abuse does not happen. There are many who dabble in gittin, and there are some major resho’im in the field who are grossly dishonest and abusive to one party (could be either). The shame is that dayanim are supposed to pasken halachos and implement them, not take sides. Once they have a bias, they must exclude themselves.

      Spousal abuse is a real problem. The challenge is that it is easily fabricated, and there is no recourse to the husband who was falsely accused.

      I support the Women’s Bill of Rights. I equally support the Men’s Bill of Rights.

      We’d all be better off if chasanim and kallahs were prepared better for marriage. Rabbonim need to refer couples in trouble for professional help.

      I concur with the abuse of the “kollel” system. Such a shame.

    26. Maybe if the frum community learned to think independently and were not so fixated on the views of individual rabbis like Epstein and Miller, there would be more common sense solutions and fewer divorces. As so many posters have noted, a woman whose husband refuses to work and support his family is absolutely entitled to a divorce although in many cases, his laziness and likelihood of using learning in kollel as an excuse to remain unemployed was probably known before the chassanah. Indeed, there have been stories posted here on VIN that some girls actually tell the shadchan that they only want to date and marry a bochur who is “a learner” and not a “worker”. Those girls deserve what they get and don’t deserve a get…hamayvin yavin.

    27. I normally don’t write in public, but this I will.
      One of the main cause of divorce is one of the sides having mental health issues and not disclosing it. Even the friends and Rabonim ,many times will not disclose a problem not wanting to ruin his chances of getting married. Again I am talking thru my own personal experience . I won’t go into details, but I will say, my ex was abusive, paranoid a control freak, and wasn’t able to be a man. Halacha dictated that he gives a get and pays a kesubah , but that is not what happened to me. I paid the extortion money to get free. Some say, I was lucky because some boys don’t give gitten to make their spouses suffer even more.
      I am still not married. Now all this could have been prevented if when I asked information we were told the truth.
      Now do you expect me to believe in Rabonim after this?

      • It says in the Torah:
        Aseh lecha Rav.

        You have the freedom and responsibility to find and accept a Rabbi who thinks like you, and who you can trust with your sheilot.
        No, I agree: You don’t have to believe in “Rabbonim” after this…. but you do have to do the research and investigation to find a Rabbi who had a real Smicha from Sinai, and who is encouraging his talmidim to fulfill their obligations and be the heads of families that H’ commanded them to be!

        No one has the luxury to be taken care of by whomever….. Ribbono Shel Olam!, this generation has taught us that.
        : We women have to be PRO active, and investigate the worthinesss of the man who asks us to be his EZER K’Negdo.

        • “Aseh lecha Rav” is a statement in the Mishnah, not Torah. It is speaking to men, not women.

          Second, no one alive today has Smicha from Sinai, so it really shortens your list by quite a lot. Besides, Shmuel (the Amorah) did not have Smicha, and I don’t think people refused to become his Talmidim.

          And your attitude is commendable, but totally misses the point. When a person has a very bad experience with several representatives of a group, their opinion of the entire group is tarnished. This is human nature and is perfectly understandable. This is exactly why Chillul Hashem is such a serious sin. Even though you are one person, when you act poorly, it reflects poorly on Hashem! Kal v’Chomer on the rest of the Jews. Many people fail to understand why its critical to reign in extremism. This is why. When animals in Meah She’arim throw stones or when Arabs blow themselves up, the rest of us (and them) can’t just point and say it’s some fringe. Those who make the news reflect on all of us who don’t.

          • You are correct on many of your points.
            What I was trying to convey, and think that you would agree with, is that just like Rabbi Epstein says, there are Rabbanim who poorly advise women (and men), and there is a point where a person is expected to use their common sense and knowledge and stop ‘outsourcing’ major decisions to a Rav that doesn’t truly represent their views.
            And to continue: this is why he has written! To push back against those ‘animals’ in Meah Sha’arim, etc…. to stop having them be the representative of what is accepted as Torah Judaism.

            Besides this, are you really saying that we cannot search out a Rav who can trace his Mesorah to… Europe… North Africa…. the Exile? I believe that this is what we are expected to do.

      • Sorry to hear what happened to you. But I think one of the issues in current dating system is people do not date long enough and rely on references & etc. I think if people dated for longer maybe these issues would show up before marriage.

      • i feel very sorry for you. but if you paid.this means that bes din did not except your side of the story. because if you would of been not guilty he would of paid you. not you him.unless there is something more to the story.

    28. So it took him 30 years. busy making money off divorces and now he had it and wants to retire.
      what about husbands that are abused in marriage and are affraid to talk? and what about wifes mental illness that are destroying families.. instead of them taking the blame they blame others.

    29. We need to be honest in the beginning of our relationships. If we are gay and being forced to marry by our parents, we need to divulge that information. The same is true for mental or physical illness. It’s too late to salvage anything once the marriage is legal…why waste everyone’s time and cause additional pain? I know of dozens of people who are homosexuals in a man-woman marriage. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

      • “I know of dozens of people who are homosexuals in a man-woman marriage.”

        No, you don’t. There are very few homosexual men around to begin with, and even fewer get married. So it is statistically neigh impossible for you to know more than one or two and your exaggeration makes me seriously doubt that you know even one, or whatever else you are blabbing about.

        As to why you have such a need to exaggerate, that’s between you and your counselor.

    30. there are alot of women who just want to look their way and the husbend should b a shmate, shame on this ugly women n askunim n so called rabbis who helping them

    31. He has really good points of course, but seems to be favoring women. Statistics show that 2/3 of all divorces are instigated from the woman. The system of Jewish marriages is certainly going through terrible times. Yet his one sided comment of “There are so many women left in limbo by the process,” – leaves men as the aggressor. This is not the case is so many of times! What about an ex-wife that holds her kids as ransom to harm the father? Or even cases where the ex-wife yells child abuse, just to put the father in jail?!!! In my own community, this has happened all too often. There is a problem, yet it is NOT one sided at all! If your ex purposefully withheld your children, wouldn’t you do whatever you can…FOR THEIR SAKE…to get them back, even to hold back the get? There are some terrible situations for many women out there. Abuse should never ever be tolerated! EVER! My comments merely reflect that Rabbi Epstein’s opinion do not reflect the totality or the majority of cases out there.

    32. I was never married and in no rush to. I am competent 28 year old male.

      Society is punishing heaven help us. Both sides cheat and abuse. Both sides are shallow and selfish… Where are the good sincere people ?

      And its heart breaking to read the comments of women divorced and crying st spousal abuse. Tell me, did you look for a emesdike mench or were you blinded by the fake stuff ?

      • What do you mean by “competent?” If you are referring to a legal definition, perhaps you are. But if by “competent” you mean “well adjusted,” if you are frum, not married and not eager to be at 28, you couldn’t possibly be. The other sign that you are not is your skewed perception that “both sides cheat and abuse.” In reality, very, very few frum men cheat and abuse and even fewer women do.

    33. What about the women who receive a get right away but continue to drag their husbands thru the court system for many years after that! And refuse to give proper visitation to spite the father. Mendel epstien is either a fool or a rat.. I would say he’s a foolish rat!

    34. this is so heart breaking to read this kind of foolishness,

      it hurts to see someone with power that 100% takes the woman’s side of things, even the court system especially the Family court has been opening up their eyes to see that woman take advantage when they have the power and upper hand,

      yes they shlep the man through mud, and do things spitefully, to hurt him, they loath the system at its best ,,

      Rabbi I am not religious anymore for this reason,

      a hunk of Cr,,p


    35. In this day and age, everyone should have a prenuptial agreement signed by the same witnesses that sign the k”subah. No Rav or Rabbi should perform the ceremony till this is done.
      Teach this in schools now so in five years from now it will be the norm.

      • Nope. If the ksubah was good enough for my mother and my grandmother and for her mother, then it is good enough for my wife and will be for my daughters.

        Prenuptial agreements may sound good to the modern dubiously orthodox because they 1) already emulate goyim in most of their ways and 2) divorce waaaaaay to often. But it’s not for the frum.

    36. I agree that something needs to be done. yes there are cases of both men and women being abused. And something needs to be done about both. I think that this rabbi is great for speaking up about fixing the situation. We are the chosen people who have a mission to spread light. Let’s not throw away our special quality. Both men and women need to be respected and given what they need. A man needs to be able to support his family. A women needs to be able to take care of her family without being overburdened. Together, the couple can help each other complete their mission

    37. According to Torah and Shulchan Orach law, the male children of divorced couple should reside with the mother until age of 5 or 6; then he should reside with the father! Yet the “system” (I’m talking about Beis Din) automatically “assigns” them to the mother, and the father has to fight for visitation rights. This is against the Shulchan Orach, and the burden of proof is on the mother to show that the father is incapable of raising the boy. The Batei Dinim is going against Halacha!!!

      Also, the article implies that. many times, the father goes off the Derech. I have numerous divorced friends where the mother goes off the derech and just maintains Yiddishkeit for “show”, in order to keep the children; yet the father remains strictly religious . Even in such circumstances, and even with male children over six, the children are “automatically” assigned to the mother, because “it’s better for the child to be by the mother”. This is anti-Torah, yet it is the norm with many Batie Dinim. Shame on them!

        • The Torah thinks otherwise. There is a Torah obligation for the father to teach his son Torah, not just text, but Tefilla, Brachos and Derech Eretz. He can only do this if his son spends the greater bulk of time with him. The Torah does not required the mother to perform these tasks. Any capable father can do all those jobs you described above.

    38. The biggest problem is that parents are not raising marriage ready children. It’s easier to raise them to look the part according to what your neighbors think ex. placing them in the right yeshivas or seminaries, leasing the right cars…etc. We have a warped sense of what “marriage ready” means.
      However, parents are not the only ones culpable. Rosh Yeshivas should guide each boy properly even if that encourages some to go to college and/or work.
      We have a perverted sense of what frumkait really is.

      • You have hit the nail on the head. Everyone should be more introspective and understand who they are and what is best for them instead of following the herd.

      • I think that you hit the nail on the head. We send our kids off to learn in Yeshivot in Israel. They think that they can manage themselves for 1 or 2 or 3 years and then they are set for life.
        At 19, 20, 21, they have to see the dynamics of living in a home, the responsibility that both parents have towards each other, how both help to raise a family. In a yeshiva setting far away, all they know is that ‘someone else’ will provide. There is no responsibility, no achrayus, no deep inner need to learn to make a parnossa so that they van fulfill the obligations of a kesuva.
        Answer – let then learn for 1 year, then bring them home. Learn 1/2 a day, then the rest of the time to learn a trade or to learn in a school that will give you the tools to learn a trade. Learn respomsibility. Not everyone will become a rov or a teacher.

    39. I found this because my cousin posted it on her FB. I no longer observe, basically because of this issue. My father is verbally and emotionally abusive towards me, my sister, and my mother. Part of my issue is her not standing up for any of us, but divorce is so frowned upon in the community I live in, she won’t do it. I’m finally out of the house after living my whole life dealing with the aftereffects of my dad’s taunts and hurt. Our rabbis side with him, no one tries to help my mom, sister and I, just defend dad’s actions. If mom could get a divorce, or even if someone would just *step in* and say he has no right to call me rude names because I was sexually assaulted when I was a child… I don’t know. I liked Judaism. But since it seems that his is the norm in so many families and relationships where I grew up… I consider myself Atheist/Agnostic, as sad as that makes me at times. I can’t make myself follow a religion whose modern day voices (The rabbis/rebbetzins of my area, and it seems, many others) don’t object to such abuse. Maybe if the rabbis in my community were like Epstien, things would be different.

    40. Over 25 years ago I heard the same concern expressed about sending young boys away to out of town yeshivot by a prominent Rav at a Detroit Womens Orthodox League meeting. This is a problem of long standing maybe we need to at least discuss this within the community. Certainly bringing peace between husband and wife is a Torah-true goal.

          • Not to keep this going on, but not willing to leave your claim open:
            Rabbi Epstein HELPED me with the Beit Din in Jerusalem. My Toen (in the Rabbinut of Jerusalem) spoke to him, used his LETTER (signed), to speed up my situation.
            Would you like to name this ‘retired Rav’ who ‘doesn’t accept divorces performed by R. Epstein?’
            And: A friend of mine, divorced by R. Epstein, recently REMARRIED in Jerusalem. Hmmmmm. Wonder how that ‘unaccepted Get’ slipped under the radar???
            Don’t assert nonsense so easily disproved.

    41. I feel for the religious women of Zefat in Israel, when the so called religious man leave them for other women, the women go before three men just like the husband that has their faith in their hand and most of the time the women come out of court in tear not knowing how to feed their children. My daughter 7 years later is trying to get her ex husband to support her three children. These Rabbis need to wake up and take care of the women and children, remember HaShem does not sleep.

    42. I’d like to see some real statistics. Until then we these facts.
      men know more men that were abused by their wives before and after the Get. And Women will know more women that were abused by the husband. The only statistic I’ve seen in Israel is that there are slightly more men that are denied Get then Women.

    43. it’s a tremendous bracha that Rabbi Epstein has taken on this issue ….. aside from the torturous life of creating so many women who don’t receive their get in a timely manner (i knew two women who died before ever receiving their get …. one for over 30 years) ….. these divorce issues rarely hone in on much of the cause, which (as Rabbi Epstein correctly stated) more often than not are the men who are sloppy and complacent in their interactions with their wives. there is precious little dating and marriage life skills being taught in yeshiva, yet many of these men spend huge tracts of time learning before dating and marriage. making use of those years to carefully study and incorporate the prohibitions against loshon hora and onoas dvorim would do wonders towards creating shalom bayis …. there is so much to be desired in the education and training of current and future spouses ….. Rabbi Epstein has merely touched upon the tip of the iceberg …… nothing in marriage can be left to chance (or ‘instinct’, as my son’s shadchan once claimed) any longer if we are ever going to fix this ….

    44. I am a divorced man and can see both sides of the argument. My Ex twice cancelled our appointment with Beis Din to complete the Get. She finally came to Beis Din after the Dayan told her she was being foolish as we had a pretty fair agreement in place for support, children etc.. In my opinion, the civil agreement and Get should be signed at the same time.

    45. To #10: your information is incorrect. Rabbi Epstein does not represent only women, like you claim. I happen to know several men who we’re represented by him. He does many times represent people who are abused by their spouses (men AND women) , who are in a particularly difficult, not so average marital situation, and who would not otherwise be given a fair shake. Don’t speak when you don’t know the facts.

    46. “…the dalliances leading to infidelity very often “start in shul” and with people coming and going freely…”

      No, it starts in the bedroom, after many nights of laying up alone staring at the ceiling, wishing he had a real person to hold…

    47. HaRav Avigdor Miller zt’l often and clearly said that over 99% of frum couples that got divorced did so unnecessarily and it could and should have been avoided. 99+% of actual divorces these days should have stayed married. The Rov zt’l said only in extreme cases is divorce necessary and correct. The example he gave of such an extreme case is where the wife committed infidelity, as then halachicly a divorce is mandatory.

      • the gemera seems to give far less extreme cases that warrant a divorce. Yes in a perfect world were we have worked on our selves and understand our motives yes than most divorce cases can be avoided but thats not the reality and therefore lets be practical. I dont think R’ Miller intended that couples who hate each other stay married forever.The Gemara says its not permitted to have relations if man and wife hate each other. A Rav needs to Pasken on each case independently. its very black and white thinking to quote Rabbi Miller to say that only under extreme circumstances (infidelity) should a man get divorced. I believe that R’ Miller was trying to make a point that many cases we are too hasten to get divorced and its unnecessary at that time. But if a man ( or woman) is constantly abusive ( perhaps due to their own childhood neglect and trauma) why would any competent Rav feel that they should stay married. Would you advocate your child to stay in a loveless marriage??

    48. Why is all the blame on the men? How about the system teaching extremely frumkeit to girls , and women which are more תמימותדיג take it serious , and when the man isn’t satisfied at home either he’s looking for something else , or he’s just giving out his anger in different ways. It’s about time to start teaching the girls basic halâcha, and the rest if both of them agree should they do all the other stuff

    49. I think that before they get married, every couple should be forced to work for at least a year or two. Learning in a yeshiva will never give the young man the knowledge or the tools to be married and support a family. Similarly, a young woman should be forced to also work for at least a year or two in order to understand how to financially manage a household (in case the husband can’t or won’t). The last thing that a couple should do if they need to divorce is consult a Rebbe. What does a Rebbe know about what went on in that couple’s household? Too many young people are getting married without being prepared. They do so because either they or their parents have blind faith in what their Rebbe says or are pressured by their communities to act accordingly. Nonsense! If they’re unprepared, then they shouldn’t get married. Period!

      • That’s the set of non-Jewish ideas if ever I saw one. You are a very good example of what happens when non-frum are trying to throw in their stale ideas into the frum discussion, all the way thinking they sound reasonable!

        1) “Learning in a yeshiva will never give the young man the knowledge or the tools to be married.”

        And working in the goyisher office will supply him with exactly the tolls he needs.

        2) “A young woman should be forced to also work for at least a year or two…”

        And what if she does not intend to work (if she doesn’t have to) while married to a man who will provide? For what purpose then did she waste two good childbearing years?

        3) “The last thing that a couple should do if they need to divorce is consult a Rebbe. What does a Rebbe know about what went on in that couple’s household? ”

        If c”v they think of divorce, to whom should they go? To your favorite secular psychologist? He would know for sure what goes on in a Jewish home…

        I don’t think the problem with your suggestions is that you are secular. It is that you are not at all insightful.

    50. Let’s set aside abuse, which is worthy of separate treatment, and discuss the main thrust of the article: the lack of proper husband material in Rabbi Epstein’s circles. To my mind, it seems to stem from two main issues regarding husbands:

      1) Inflated self-worth: in much the same way that the “self-esteem” movement has created a whole generation of male and female narcissists who care nothing for others, the yeshiva movement seems to have created a whole generation of young men who think they’re God’s gift to mankind simply because…well, they go to yeshiva (or wear a black hat).

      I think it’s possible to correct this without bashing being a yeshiva student. Simply teach that being a yeshiva student is a responsibility and a burden, not just an entitlement. Like the pioneers and leaders of old, yeshiva students should be taught that they of all people should look out for the welfare of others as well as themselves, and as God’s representatives in learning, all the more so. Teach them real mentchlichkeit.

    51. 2) Not being a proper husband: Religious Jews in general, and I imagine yeshiva students in particular, know next nothing about being attractive to their wives or being the head of a household.

      The former is because of the excessive emphasis on modesty which doesn’t change much after marriage. Even once they learn how to “do the deed”, they often still are in the dark about all the pre-sex attraction cues that are important such as charisma, leadership and confidence. These things are just as important to a marital relationship as time spent in the bedroom. Athol Kay’s books are a must for this.

      The latter is an unfortunate byproduct of yeshiva education – the absolute disdain for that creature and third-class citizen of religious Jewry known as the baalabos or “head of the household”. But a male Jew who wishes to be head of a family MUST learn to become a good baalabos. This is a change the yeshiva world should effect. Rather than disdain being a baalabos – show how yeshiva students can make the best baalabosim.

      • “Athol Kay’s books are a must…”

        Before anybody contemplates taking Avi Woolf’s advice (I doubt any intelligent man would) I would like to alert you of the following:

        Athol Kay made his name with the book titled “How To Answer “Do These Pants Make My Ass Look Fat?” And Get Laid Like Tile!”

        Yep, I can see where this would be very useful to a frum man.

    52. A final note:

      I’m very wary of Rabbi Epstein’s suggestions that women be more ready to leave bad marriages. While I certainly agree this is the case when it comes to abuse or infidelity (or reckless financial irresponsibility or addiction), other cases tend to be far less clear. A very large percentage of divorces in the non-Charedi world are due to very vague reasons that usually stem from some (often temporary) feeling of boredom or dissatisfaction. Encouraging divorce in cases like this is a Pandora’s box that could lead to the break up of many, many families which could have weathered the storm if they remained true to the idea that divorce was a last resort to be used only in the above-mentioned cases, not an easy way out to the good, independent “free” life as it is portrayed in the Western world.

      In any event, just my two cents.

      • Of course he encourages divorce. Do you think GM would discourage driving? Does McDonalds discourage eating French Fries? Does coke discourage drinking soda?

        More divorces in the from world translates into more busine$$ for his bai$ din.

        • Encourages is not the word to use. Does a doctor want people to get sick as if not he would have no business? The need is there and he fills it. A funeral director is needed when someone dies he does not encourage death, etc.

      • Boredom and feelings of dissatisfaction in marriage, need to be examined closely to uncover the true reasons for that result. Couples need to learn how to communicate openly in a healthy manner and discuss issues and concerns openly, thus allowing it to be solved. As opposed to suppressing certain wants and frustration,till you cant stand it any longer and by than matters are more difficult to solve. My Point is, no Marriage is falling apart because of boredom. Boredom perhaps is the result of difficulty’s in the marriage and not the actual cause for the failing marriage.

    53. I would like to commend VIN for posting this article. It brings up the issues that must be dealt with today in order to assure a better future for frum families. I personally know many examples of families who had difficulties because of the issues the Rav mentions. These are not small things but they can be changed if we try to see that there really can be a better way to deal with them without decreasing our frumkeit (and rather enhancing it). This will make the community and our families stronger. I believe the point of this is not to create more divorce in the long run, but to cause people to realize both parties must be treated with the proper respect and responsibility in order to support a healthy family and relationship. Many have been speaking of introducing different systems to teach young men and women in the community about how to care for their families in aspects of financial obligations, relationships, and other important factors that some may not be able to develop in the current system. I hope we can think about a way to deal with these issues in a way that will really help the frum community, and not make it stagnate in great debates over who said what.

    54. I publically wish to thank Hashem for sending me an amazing shaliach; Rabbi Epstein. Rabbi Epstein helped me receive my GET several weeks ago.

      He was a real mentch thruought the painful process.
      I stayed in a horrifically broken marriage for way to long…

      It is my dream to become an advocate on helping victims of abuse to become empowered to know whom to marry and c”v when to leave…

      Also, the agunah situation is insanity. Sadly I know several women waiting for years…years for a get. We as a community must do more to help these chained prisoners…(im not blaming all men….in the cases I am referring to the men refuse to grant one.)
      with tremendous thanks to Hashem I share my mazel tov and hope to be able to say it to those waiting.

      Rabbi Epstein, I can never thank you enough! May HKB”H bentch you and reward you for helping me!!


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