Rabbi Mendel Epstein began a 10-year sentence on March 1st after being sentenced by a New York judge in December 2015 for kidnapping and torturing men into granting their wives religious divorces. This may sound a bit outrageous, but in order to understand the Rabbi’s crime, you must first understand the basics of Jewish divorce.
When the marriages of most couples become irretrievably broken, the most common way to end these marriages is to file for divorce. However, certain extenuating circumstances call for annulling the marriage rather than dissolving it.
There are two distinct categories of marriages in the context of nullities. There are marriages that are void and there are marriages that are voidable.