She’s free — But others remain chained

Unless you are completely detached from social media, you already have likely heard the exciting news that Gital Dodelson is free. Ms. Dodelson, perhaps one of the most well known (former) Agunot (chained women) became a media sensation when going public with her story. Her husband refused to give her a Get (a Jewish divorce) for many years leading her to live a life of uncertainty, mental abuse and many other negative repercussions. The Facebook page which was built to pressure the husband and his family to finally do the right thing seems to have done its job and Baruch Hashem, Gital was freed from the chains of her ex-husband during the past 48 hours. All of those who looked upon her case as the cause celebre of Agunot heaved a collective sigh of relief and cheers of Mazal Tov rang out, quite literally, around the world.

Which leads to a problem…

While we are all very happy that Gital has been granted her freedom, there are hundreds and hundreds of Agunot out there (including some men whose wives will not accept a Get). While EACH one who receives her Get is a victory, we cannot and we may not sit back and feel a sense of satisfaction that this one case has been resolved. It is INDEED worth celebrating, but at the same time, we need be mindful and not forget the others for whom there is no Facebook page and there is no media campaign to help them.

If you are in a position to take any action that will further the cause of these Chained individuals, it is your responsibility to do so. If you are not in such a position, never underestimate the power of your personal prayer for them. Perhaps get a name or two or many and include them in every one of your Tefillot.

We also must be mindful that Baruch Hashem the majority of men do NOT place their wives in this situation and the majority of men are repulsed by such actions against women. Yet, the spotlight is indeed on the men, and we need to be more proactive in this area.

The verbal abuse; the emotional abuse and anything else that may have occurred in the Dodelson case is happening in many others.

The bottom line is that this is one victory–but there are yet SO many others that need the help. Do what you can: be more informed; use the Halachik Pre-Nup; use all legal and halachik methods at your disposal to bring about a resolution to the plight of another individual; and daven. But one thing that should not be done: Don’t just sit on the side and do nothing.

Mazal Tov Gital Dodelson. May Hashem bless you with many years of happiness. May He also grant freedom to the others who need it so that they too may enjoy the same new beginning.

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.