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The Bet Din Ruled: Shaming for Get-Refuser Living Abroad

This is Yigal Sagi – a get-refuser who is preventing his wife from receiving a divorce and jailing her in their failed marriage. A decade ago he left for the United States, he is not cooperating with the Israeli rabbinical court. Now the dayanim [rabbinical judges] have ruled that sanctions may be levied against him on religious and social levels including, not to help him and not to do business with him. 

By Kobi Nachshoni | Ynet News | 6 October, 2019

Yigal Sagi get refuserThe Supreme Bet Din (Rabbinical Court) in Jerusalem has issued a ruling permitting the publication of Yigal Sagi’s name and picture.  Sagi has withheld the get (religious divorce) from his wife Sarit and has kept her shackled to their failed marriage.  Ten years ago, Sagi left Israel and now lives in a religious community in Brooklyn, New York.  He does not cooperate with the rabbinical court in Israel, and does not obey its rulings on his case.  The dayanim (rabbinical judges) have now decided to put more pressure on him through “shaming” in the hope that he will end his refusal to grant a divorce to his wife. 

Sarit appealed to the Supreme Bet Din concerning a ruling by a lower regional religious court not to force him to give the get, and the Supreme Bet Din ruled in her favor.  The panel of judges, headed by the Chief Rabbi David Lau, ruled that Yigal is required to give her an immediate divorce and that “all the sanctions against him that are legally permitted should be invoked against him.”  They decided to use the “harchakot de-Rabeinu Tam (religious, social and communal bans), including publication of his name and picture.”

The religious judges issued their ruling based on the halakha in the Shulhan Arukh (Code of Jewish Law): “All Jewish people are forbidden to help him or engage in business with him.  This prohibition also applies to his relatives and every Jewish community and religious court all over the world, and also to anyone who helps him persist in his refusal to give his wife a get.”

Additional sanctions to be used against him include: a restriction order banning him from leaving Israel, a prohibition on issuing him a passport or driving license, to employ him in a statutory organization or in a profession requiring a state approved license, and he is forbidden from having a bank account.

Ohr Torah Stone’s Yad La’isha: The Monica Dennis Goldberg Legal Aid Center, which represents Sarit in her fight, posted on its Facebook page: “Sins that Yom Kippur do not atone for!  Look at this picture – Yigal Sagi left Israel in 2009, and since then he has been chaining his wife… the religious court ruled that it is permitted to “shame” him and publish his name and picture and invoke various sanctions against him.

“Sarit Sagi has not for one moment given up on her right to be free.  With the help of rabbinical court advocate Devorah Brisk of Yad La’isha, who is representing her in the case, the Bet Din issued its ruling in the hope that the publication of his name and picture will result in him giving the get. Please share this post so that there will be enough pressure on the recalcitrant husband and on anyone who knowingly or unknowingly supports him …it is a mitzva (obligation) not to bring him into the house.” 

Pnina Omer, director of Ohr Torah Stone’s Yad La’isha added: “We are in the middle of the days of introspection and this is an opportunity to consider our ways and correct the actions that are not forgiven by the day of Yom Kippur itself.  I hope that some of the recalcitrant husbands who are chaining their wives will use the special days of forgiveness at this time of the year and release the iron chains binding their wives to the marriage by giving them a get.  This is also a time for introspection in the entire community and to support the chained women and spurn their husbands who chain them.  A just society cannot let these get-refusers feel free and at ease.”

Read the original Hebrew article on the Yediot/Ynet website


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