Friday, November 27, 2009

False Claims

A certain Rav Moshe proposed marriage to a widow who happily accepted. Shortly afterward, a certain Reb Yaakov approached Rav Moshe and claimed that he had already married the widow himself! Rav Moshe was shocked. How could she have possibly agreed to his proposal if she was already a married woman? Rav Moshe decided that this was very farfetched, so he asked Reb Yaakov, “Who were the witnesses to her acceptance?”
The man hemmed and hawed, “Actually, I am not one hundred percent sure...”
When Rav Moshe asked his new bride about this, she denied it categorically. “It is true that he proposed to me, but the only proposal I accepted was yours.”
Reb Yaakov continued to pester the couple, however. He even found a witness who he claimed that he saw the whole thing. Oddly enough, the witness he brought denied that the widow had accepted the proposal.
“Well, I proposed twice…” was Reb Yaakov’s evasive reply.
After Rav Moshe married the widow, the wife’s relatives decided to fake a divorce from Reb Yaakov. But their plan to try and salvage the woman’s good name was exposed.
Reb Yaakov exclaimed, “If I never married her, why were they trying to fake a גט?”
Eventually the Rosh, zt”l, was consulted about this case. “This Reb Yaakov is very unscrupulous indeed. He has sullied the reputation of a bas Yisrael, and to what purpose? It is clear to anyone that his claims are false. He says he married her. But it has been our long-held custom for to make a big wedding party with beds set and people entering and exiting, as we find on Gittin 89. Why has no one ever heard anything about such a wedding party arranged for the couple? Why doesn’t he even remember his own witnesses’ names? Why doesn’t even the one witness he presents support his claim?
“From the very fact that he claims to have proposed twice, it appears as though he is simply out to trick her. Maybe he figured he would give her something without proposing and subsequently propose. Although this is not a valid marriage, perhaps he hoped that the witnesses didn’t know that. The fact that he claims to have tried a second time when there was no change of heart in the widow is very suspicious.
The Rosh concluded, “It is fitting to punish him to ensure that people avoid such behavior in the future!”

No comments: