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  • Family and Society
  • Damage and Theft

Boycotting Jewish business to free agunah

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Rabbi Ari Shvat

Kislev 8, 5774
Question
Recently, the news reported the story of a religious man who refused to give his wife a get for apparently selfish reasons. Now people are calling for a boycott of his family business to stop them from supporting him. The problem is, boycotting the business could hurt innocent workers who have no links to this man and whose livelihoods could suffer. Is it halakhically (or morally) permissible to do this to free an agunah?
Answer
You ask a very painful question, for in the name of justice we clearly don’t want to harm others unjustly. In addition, one must be very careful to verify all of the details, and fully hear-out both sides of the issue, something that the news often doesn’t do properly, but Batei Din are very careful to do so. I therefore would strongly suggest checking with that Beit Din who, in Israel, has a lot of power to cancel credit cards, passports, driving licenses, not allow the husband to leave the country, or even jailing, before taking any additional sanctions. On the other hand, it is legitimate for you to ask that Beit Din if they would like additional public pressure from you and others to hold demonstrations, publicizing the facts or the like. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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