Tasers and Stun Guns: How Rabbis Modernized the Orthodox Divorce Process in America
Many of the high-profile news stories about how Orthodox Rabbis were arrested for plotting to force a recalcitrant husband to divorce his wife unfairly portray Orthodox practice as primitive.
Nothing could be further from the truth. For centuries Orthodox rabbis have been modernizing divorces in America. Those biased news stories omitted the account of how much the divorce process has progressed in America.
Going back to early colonial days -- if a husband refused to issue a divorce his wife rabbis had to resort to hot cattle prods applied to private areas of the husband's body. That was messy and left marks.
But, after Ben Franklin's invention in 1749 rabbis immediately modernized the technology of the divorce processes. They were able to connect the recalcitrant husband's privates to a lightning rod. That was a significant technology upgrade to the divorce process. However rabbis still had to wait for a thunderstorm to get a divorce decree from an uncooperative husband.
After the technological innovations of the late 19th century, when electric utilities became commonplace, rabbis modernized their processes again. Divorces could be obtained at any time by connecting up wires pluggged in to the wall to the husband's testicles. However even with that astounding modernization, all the parties still had to be near a power source, and that was somewhat limiting.
In the 20th century rabbis modernized divorce processes again by adopting in the 1940's the electric cattle prod and the stun gun to deliver an electrical shock -- anywhere and anytime -- to the genitals to persuade a husband to issue a divorce.
Rabbis continued to modernize in recent years by adding the taser to their arsenal in the 1970s. The rabbis indicted last week (10/2013) in New York and New Jersey were promising to use the most up-to-date stun guns, cattle prods and tasers available in America.
As you can see from the history of the technological innovations that rabbis have made, it is simply a case of media bias to wrongly characterize up-to-date Orthodox rabbinic divorce processes as backwards or primitive.