Do desperate times call for desperate measures? Does religion dictate the rules for what some say is outdated and unjust? Should the answers to these and other existential rhetorical queries best be left to university scholars and philosophers? What does the rest of the population think?
This is what laws are for. It should be simple, but as reality attests, not always the case.
A recently accused member of Jewish Orthodoxy became the unlikely target of an FBI sting in bending divorce rules. His reasoning? Shock and outrage that any woman, Jewish Orthodox or otherwise, should be trapped in an abusive marriage. The 68-year old man of God has been an advocate of those women who need to release themselves from the patterns of violent and uncooperative husbands.
The downside to this noble effort has been questionable actions, money misappropriation, and FBI allegations of an interstate ring accused of coercion and kidnapping.
The irony seems to be to fight force with force, something that just doesn’t sit right with either Jewish or US federal law. A complaint filed in the US District Trenton Courts listed measures too graphic to mention, suggesting egregious action. Officials obtained evidence to bring charges to the scheme and the rabbi.
Arrests have brought to light the issue of how a couple’s assets (legal or otherwise) can be divided. New York law has recently been changed to reflect new means to divvy up the goods. Suggested solutions are ironclad prenuptials, and annulments, if necessary.
At the end of the day, the justice system decides what is right and wrong. Some of us go home happy, some not so much. But none of us should go home with bruises and scars. Forcing an unhappy spouse to remain in chains is a big deal in divorce settlement, regardless of which higher power we are relying upon.
thejewishweek.com, “Accused Kidnap Rabbi Known For ‘Wild West’ Rules” Adam Dickter, Oct. 16, 2013