Rabbi Stewart Weiss quite correctly argues that some creative, out-of-the-box thinking is needed to resolve the increasingly complex issue of
agunot (“America’s pain and the aguna’s chain,” August 30).
I call his attention to an early episode during the first season of the landmark Mafia-related television series The Sopranos. In that episode, the head wise guy, Tony, enters into a contract to obtain for a local Hassid’s daughter a “get” from her recalcitrant husband. Tony, needless to say, is somewhat confused over what this is all about, but what the hell, a job is a job, right?
So off he sends two of his goons, but to everyone’s surprise, the black-coated, “pe’ot
ed” hubby resists both the threatened and actual violence. She’ll get nothing, he screams, until he gets some compensation for the effort he put into building up his father-in-law’s business (the guy might have a point, you know).
Well, this put Tony into a quandary. He really wanted to avoid the need to whack the guy (a term, by the way, which must be unique to New Jersey, since I never heard it used in
The Godfather trilogy), so he turned to a Jewish friend of his, Hesh, for some advice.
Hesh thinks for a minute and then offers Tony a southbound suggestion. The viewers don’t hear all the details of Hesh’s idea, only the end: “Finish up the guy’s bris, Tony.”
Smiling, Tony pays another visit to the stubborn holdout, bearing, this time, a hefty pair of garden shears. Not surprisingly, within minutes the get was signed, sealed and delivered.
BARRY NEWMAN Ginot Shomron