Submitted: Get Refusal Isn’t Always So Simple

I wanted to take this opportunity to weigh in on an issue that has been raging in our community for the past short while: the get refusal issue.

I want to state this very clearly right from the beginning: I am not taking a side in this.

I don’t know the details of any of the stories, and I am not someone in a position to take a stance one way or another. I do find it reflexively repulsive that people would withhold giving a get until they receive what they want. Holding a woman hostage because you don’t like how things turned out is not okay. It’s a horrible, terrible thing to do. But it’s also important for outsiders to understand that these situations are not always so clear-cut and straightforward.

Let me give you an example. About seven years ago, a friend of mine’s marriage fell apart. What began as normal spousal arguments quickly ballooned into a crisis that no rav or therapist was able to help fix. They didn’t see eye to eye on anything and they didn’t share the same values anymore. Divorce was inevitable. As negotiations of the split began, he was advised not to immediately give a get to give him at least some leverage in the negotiations. But my friend, being a mentch, gave the get immediately; he didn’t want to be part of the growing problem of get refusers.

Almost immediately after she received the get, his now ex-wife walked into family court and started lobbying false accusations against him, claiming that he was beating the kids and abusing her. These supposed “issues” were never brought up beforehand and played no part in them splitting up in the first case. There was never a single report or previous complaint from either her or the children supporting her claims, and the children adored him, but somehow her accusations were accepted in court. His lawyers fought valiantly for him but to no avail. She received full custody of the children and he didn’t even get visitation rights. She then picked up the kids and moved across the country so that there was no way for him to see his children again. And, indeed, he has not seen his children in six years. Why? Because a vengeful ex-wife decided to use her power to wreck his life. Imagine for a moment his pain and suffering.

Now, ask yourself, did he make the right decision to give his wife a get? Was being a mentsch worth suffering for literally the rest of his life? Was having his children torn away from him a fair trade for him giving up the little leverage he had over his wife who was clearly wicked, for the sake of being nice?

I am not arguing that any of the current get refusal cases are the same or even similar as my friend’s. All I am saying is that it isn’t a blanket truth that refusing to give a get is a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it is the only way to get a disturbed spouse to be sensible about a split, and in many cases it’s the only way for a father to ensure his children will be kept in a frum home.

I know it’s true, because I saw it with my own eyes.

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66 COMMENTS

  1. No one is disagreeing with you. In all cases a shailah must be asked. However, you are missing the point that the recent uproar is about cases where there was already a siruv from Beis Din.

    • Unfortunately, many Rabbonim are clueless when it comes to this issue because they don’t understand the motive of a Jewish mother to do something like this. How could a mother do something so terrible to her children? They cannot understand it . I had a Rav tell me that what I am reporting to is impossible because no Jewish mother would ever do this.

  2. I think you needed to end your letter after the sentence “he was advised not to give the get right away to give him some leverage”. In what world is it ok to use a get as leverage just because hes a man??? That in itself is the whole problem with this situation. That men are using it as “leverage” is abuse. It was not put into the Torah as a way to give men leverage.

      • Just because he says it doesn’t make it untrue either. What do you have to refute it with? There are thousands of cases in books documenting it including a documentary called “Erasing Family” . It is called parental alienation and it is a growing problem in our community. Sorry for the inconvenient truth.

    • I have personal knowledge of piskei din that a husband is entitled to have a din torah as to all issues prior to giving the get. To that end, he should cooperate promptly to submit the matter and all issues to a Bais Din. The story in this post and many similar stories amply illustrate why such a psak is necessary and justified. As much as the pure get refusers (just for spite or for money) are terrible scoundrels, not all women are angels: some are extremely vindictive and willing to totally destroy their spouse at all costs.

    • Please tell us then why Hashem put it in the Torah that only the man can give the get and not the woman ? I think a better word here than leverage is protection. It is not abuse when a man wants to use it to protect his children and his access to his children. That is a fundamental parental right of a father or mother for that matter.

  3. Even if he would have withheld the get if the woman was an alienator, she would have done the same thing and brainwashed her children against him. If the lady has a personality disorder, she would have done the same thing either way. Withholding a get would not have helped.

    • It helps when she is not willing to pay the high price of being alone without a get. If that pressure is not enough then other pressure needs to be applied in addition to it. But to say something just won’t help is just being a naysayer without knowing it will help as it is impossible for you to know. Any and all effort and pressure needs to be applied to such alienators. When you become an expert on effective means of how to deal with such alienators please let us know so we can give these women a get.

  4. You are hundred percent right. So many cases, Of what appears to be a nice, intelligent, charismatic, good mother,Frum, Who out of the blue, when it’s time for the divorce, allegations such as child abuse, come out so many times, but the hatred, the nonsense, takes over over the truth. The children’s welfare is put to the side,And I hate iTakes over. So many times, Out of left field, espouse claims all of a sudden, child abuse. So many times, things are not what appears to be. We tend to get inference heavily my warm version, even though he’s totally fake. Especially when we listen to only one side. I advise the young couples, not to get involved to attack or form a judgement Against someone, without speaking to both parties, as the nicest, sweetest, person develops “divorce rage” ( similar to road rage) and emotions and bad feelings take over the Truth.
    May Hashem save us from ‏שלום בית issues. But when it happens, be very careful before you take sides.
    Chag Sameach

  5. A woman’s right to remarry is not his to use as blackmail. Even if a judge is wrong, you still don’t have the right to “steal” what you feel should be yours, Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    The children will eventually see what’s really happening and will forever resent their mother for depriving them of a father. If he withheld the get, then he’d have been the bad guy.

    • A woman’s ability to exploit false charges, to alienate children from their fathers and to extract economic concessions is not hers to use as blackmail. The get issue and all other marital issues should be promptly submitted to Bais Din with the Get given upon entry of the Psak.

    • There is no mention of blackmail in this article. What is being stolen here ?
      The goal is not to have two wrongs here the goal is to have no wrongs. Unfortunately the means to get to that goal are two wrongs as you call them but they are not. It is not wrong to delay a get to protect ones children from being torn from their father . How many times do see it printed how nebuch it is when a father dies leaving behind 8 children or so but nobody cares when he is effectively dead to the children by an alienating mother? The children may NEVER ever see what’s really happening and even if they do how many days months years were lost and wasted where they had no relationship with their loving father? I have one son who reconnected with me after 22 years of alienation but I have 3 daughters who after 26 years have still not seen what’s really happening as you say. You have no idea what you are talking about.

  6. Lol like withholding a get is the answer to his problems. Clearly it doesn’t work. And it’s actually against halacha to withhold a get. Guess what, he can go fight her in court about it. I know of people who couldn’t afford a lawyer and represented themselves against vindictive exes w/ money and won. At least he has a CHANCE to fight in court, with a get there is nothing to do about it and zero recourse. That is what makes it so cruel. Sorry but there is NEVER a “good reason” or any reason whatsoever to withhold a get. It’s 100% abusive. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Stooping even lower beneath her by withholding a get won’t make you the winner, sir.

    • Says who? Who says it’s abusive, any more than any negotiating tactic? It’s not against Halacha to withhold a get if she doesn’t have a recognizable claim against him in marriage, so you’re definitely wrong about that.

      You need to explain why it’s “automatically abuse” to withhold a get.

  7. If he had withheld the get, do you think the woman would act any differently? Maybe she would have complied just to get the get but once she had it she would have pulled shtick anyway, if she’s that type of person.

    Anyone who just doesn’t show up to Beis din and gets a siruv is 100% wrong.

    • What if his Beis Din and Rav paskened that he doesn’t need to show up because she has brought multiple frivolous and false Seiruvim against him from unscrupulous Batei Din?

        • A person who is called to Beis Din needs to answer. They need to sign a Shtar Birurin in a different Beis Din, or arrange a ZABLA.
          Da’as Torah does not have the right to go against Torah, and a Bais Din can’t decide something hearing just one side.
          If a wife calls a husband to Beis Din, and the husband goes, he has the right to leave the Get to the end of the negotitations.
          But if he doesn’t show up at all, if he ignores the demands, and use his ability to withhold a Get as a non-judicial blackmail tactic, he is a terrible person.
          Again, I don’t know what this post is referring to, but this is the rule.

  8. Well said and we’ll needed article. Unless witholding children from a parent is any less of abuse- and it’s not! it’s a fair playing field.
    If it’s blackmail for money or other technical issues then it’s rishus.
    The seruv is a joke for anyone that has any experience with some so called batei dinim.

    At a minimum both sides of a story have to be heard by competent people- not by bloggers. And to doxx the siblings is abhorrent. They have no way of forcing a get and u are just breaking apart a wounded family even more.
    These organizations are all a front for progressive feminism and they want nothing more than to rewrite the torah and change halachah. Don’t be fooled

  9. Such a sad story. Why aren’t people going outside this woman’s home protesting that she’s withholding the mans children I can’t imagine his pain.
    My point is just like men shouldn’t take advantage of woman aka with get withholding it’s just as wrong to withhold the mans children and who’s
    Standing up to support such a man.

  10. you lost me by the word leverage. Withholding a geht is not leverage its abuse and wrong every time! You hate the woman enough to get divorced unchained yourself! Why do you still want to be connected to her? Stop with this leverage business ????

  11. How funny that the only articles coming out in the frum world are victimblaming! I am yet to see 1 that actually condemns get extortion…
    No, child custody issues does not equal ownership of someone’s body and free will. What is unclear here.

    • When someone has a Sirus it is not the time for don lekaf zechus, there are’nt 2 sides when the get issue is completety in the mans hand.
      Listen to David Lichtenstiens podcast from 2019 in which he details with interviews the alleged “2 sides”

  12. Totally agree to holding the get until they can negotiate properly custody issues . This shouldn’t take so many years. Also until someone knows both sides of the story he should NOT get involved and parade outside the husbands house. Many people are just joining bc they feel bad for a sweet sounding lady who may be a witch . Even in cases of a siruv, there have been ones that were faked under names of big Roshei yeshiva that signed a paper that was sent to the husband and some words got changed up.

  13. U give a get and fight out custody money or any other issues you may have in court that’s why there is a us family court system..holding a women hostage is 100 percent abuse

    • The court system is corrupt, foolish and backward.
      The idea that a person has a chance of a fair hearing in court is ludicrous.

      Stay far away from any US family court, and go only to Beis Din. The worst Beis Din is still better than court in the US

  14. I agree 100%! Too many people here pretend to know Halacha. In fact no one knows, and the fact that people could pass judgement so quickly borders along the lines of Lashon Harah and sinas chinum.

  15. Since when is it okay to post all the siblings names and their personal phone numbers as if they have any control over their sibling that’s withholding a divorce. Most people I know cannot give their sibling and opinion about a piece of clothing their wearing nevermind a divorce. Sibling relationships have their own dynamic it’s usually mind your own business.

  16. It is the responsibility of Moshe (the Rabbonim) and Yisroel. If she takes away the kids in court. That is how I got the world going down. As we see.

  17. Although there are sad stories all around that truly break your heart. It is unfortunately the woman who usually has no recourse if she is at the mercy of a vile extortionist -although there are some women who have acted very badly, it is mostly women who end up chained and extorted. Nobody wins in these battles and the kids are the victims who rarely get healed -it is tragic and a selfish choice by the withholding parent. Custody and school choice have to be mutually decided with a rav committed to make the best choice for the situation- this is not a time to be vindictive and self absorbed. You have to be vigilant to protect your children’s mental health and insane withholding of a get especially for financial gain is contemptible and terrible abuse -you wonder where such a person grew up with such terrible middos. May we no longer know such tzar. And if it takes rallying around someone’s house who has refused to listen to a siruv and has not responded to bais din then a rally is unfortunately necessary and we can’t leave our chained friends locked in such misery.

  18. Knowing first hand an agunah, any stiuation that becomes public like the few this week, is only done after exhausting every other avenue possible. Orah, the organization that helps these women by trying to negotiate with the husband, will do everything they can to avoid making a public demonstration. I know this firsthand…sometimes it even seems they are being too patient with the recalcitrant husband.
    Yes, there are always 2 sides to every story, BUT, at the point where it becomes public, you can be sure that the husband is at fault for withholding the get.
    Keep up the momentum…there are dozens of women all over the world who are receiving tremendous chizuk and hope for their personal yeshuah, from what has been accomplished on the East coast this week.

    • I know a man who was very naive and gave the get as soon as they had asked him after the girls family signed that she would only meet in beis din .
      Well guess what? the next day he was served papers to go to court and guess what? Ora was not there to help him fight for his kids .
      It took him 5 years to get 50/50 custody !
      The mere fact that an organization wants to make a statement in Lakewood without one public approval from any of the local accepted rabbanim shows me that there is a very strong case to support the man `s right to be heard before we pass judgement .

  19. Of course he was right to give the get, what happens afterwards is not his concern, you do the right thing, don’t concern yourself with what happens later. Unless of course a real Rav tells you not to give it. Learn about King Chizkiyahu and why he didn’t want to get married and why he was wrong. Don’t concern yourself with what is not in your control. You do what you are supposed to do even if it isn’t reciprocated.

  20. We went for therapy. It was unsuccessful. She refused my geht and demanded obligations from me worth $750k to accept the geht from middle-class me. My rabbi said he would arrange a heter mea rabbanim because he said she cannot condition her acceptance of my geht on my agreement to her financial demands. She then agreed to accept the geht and did. Good bye to my child visitation.

    Though the divorce settlement required that child support, alimony, yeshiva tuition, medical insurance, over half our assets, and title to our family home be paid/given to my ex-wife (all of which I paid/gave) the required provision of child visitation was honored in the breach. Across several years, she denied me visitation over 100 times. Since she defied many summonses to bais din and refused to participate in any bais din, with bais din permission I filed suits to enforce my visitation rights. Sadly, the secular court was unwilling to enforce my rights. Decades later, my first children are still estranged from me.

    I remarried and was blessed with many Torah children and Torah grandchildren.

    Court-ordered visitation refusers must be condemned with the same intensity as bais din certified geht refusers. Both varieties of frum Jews are monsters. Both need to be outed, publicly humiliated and expectorated upon. A woman without a geht suffers no more than a child without a father (or mother).

    • This is an excellent point. They should be protest at people who dont’ give gets – AND ppl who refuse to allow their ex spouse to see their children.

  21. I personally heard one of today’s senior poskim, in the midst of condemning the רשעות of withholding a גט, say that the only valid reason to withhold a גט is when the woman is withholding his right to see his children.

  22. This is all disgusting. Please everyone realize you are dealing with ruing people’s lives here (the couple, children, parents, siblings) every decision has to be weighed by a true daas torah who got involved and knows both sides. Not by some organization that has absolutely no leadership from rabanim! These rallies are mostly attended by non frum people who don’t have true torah values. Everything in these situations has to be done with real daas torah.

  23. MUSAR MUSAR MUSAR
    If you have a Rebbi Muvhak and learn MUSAR then this wouldn’t happen on either side
    Look at what Rav Avigdor Miller Zatzal said

    Ps be mature when you are dating have real values and not just getting married bc you had a good time 6 times together and then gave each other gifts as status quo
    and we won’t have so many divorces unfortunately

  24. A geht refusal is simple – it’s against halacha. When there are grounds for divorce, withholding a geht is wrong. It won’t help “get leverage.” Anything can change AFTER courts rulings and the civil divorce is complete anyway. Motions can still be filed. Accusations can still be made…

  25. Judges are not stupid; that’s their profession, they are very well trained and experienced of which they can see immediately if the woman is bluffing or if she and the kids were really abused.
    She didn’t ask or expect a cent of alimony from him, she was just terrified from him and wanted to get far away with the kids.
    This guy is no angel.

    • Wow! You are very naive if you believe what you posted. Without attacking the intelligence of judges, I can say with certainty that they operate in an incredibly pro-woman system, that many themselves have very harsh feminist views and that it is incredibly easy for a willing litigant to “work the system” and frustrate a parent’s lawful and well-deserved visitation and custody rights.

  26. Bottom line is no one knows the real story
    Also remember the courts always side with the mother so withholding a get for a few months till they sort out the details is ok.
    Remember to always be nice to your wife and always do what she wants you will be a happy man as she will reflect your selflessness ps keep watering the flower you will get sweet scent

  27. I did not battle for custody and visitation. But turned to Rabbonim, Askonim and Donor’s. Their disregard brought havoc to the world. Disrupting weddings and normal life. Also costing lives.

  28. Unfortunately a comment tactic for the Women is to obtain a Restraining order against her Husband which is fairly very easy for a Wimen to Obtain In New Jersey especially in Ocean County than get the Husband arrested on some Flimsy “Violation” of the Restraining order which is also very easy to do…

    SO now the Husband is a “Criminal” and from that point on he is Branded a Bad and Dangerous person and he loses everything ..the House , His Kids , His Money and Businesses and His Freedom

    So the only way to stop this insanity often tome is not to Give her the Get until she behaves and stops Using the Police Courts and Jails as Way of Gettimg Revenge and Full custody of the Children Property and Money

  29. The whole issue is really silly. The reality is that the man cannot move on without giving a get either. A “hetter meah rabbonim” is not something that is done easily. Blanket statements like “withholding a get is abuse” are practically meaningless and don’t take into consideration the many ways that BOTH women and men can be unreasonable and abusive.

  30. @BF.
    Spot on.
    Heter mean rabbanim is rare, expensive and almost impossible to pull off. Most Batei Din will not write a get unless all financial and custodial agreements are done. Get is the final step.

    “Get protests” are just populist rage like BLM.
    Don’t confuse its people with the facts. They don’t care, they have a narrative before they heard any one sided details….

  31. Too often the man is automatically perceived to be wrong and the courts favor the ‘poor’ women. Halacha dictates that a woman cannot demand a get. She’s called a ‘moredes’. Look it up.

  32. Husbands have no right to take so long to give a get.

    They both get together and work out the differences. The issue is when husbands just totally ignore any type of conversations to work on an agreement.
    These issues are not hard to work out. All the issue of custody and financial support have been worked out and if people would be mentchlich on both sides it can get to a good place and an get would be given. Problem is when one side holds the other hostage. That is UNACCEPTABLE. Work out the differences. They can be worked out, just a matter of actually wanting to do it.

  33. @ChaimYankel
    If they can work their issues out so easily they would still be married….
    Once they are separated there is always drama.

    This notion that they are two wonderful people who just didn’t want to be married anymore “because they are no longer in love, but they will stay friends” only exists in soap operas…

  34. Can anyon here answer a simple question?
    Why did the Torah say that the husband is the one who can give the get. Not the wife?
    Answer is simple. Yes Torah give leverage to party who can think without emotions.

  35. The author lost me when referring to the get as leverage. The get signifies the end of a couple living together in marriage. It is not about leverage and never was either halachically or historically.
    And if you want to talk about leverage, what about leverage for the woman? Oh there is none. Today, standard custody is 50/50. What happened in the author’s story is just as likely to happen with the roles reversed. Men are as likely to alienate their children as women are. Look up the statistics. Mothers do not have a monopoly on alienation. Fathers do it just as much.

  36. Curious how many people voicing their strong opinions here have ever been through a divorce or closely involved in a divorce? Matters are not simple and Halachos are complex. A woman can go to beis din and the beis din can be mechuyav a man to give a geht if he is not fulfilling his obligations towards his wife.

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