Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Divorced, but still Married

Please forward this blog post to anyone you know who is in this situation. It could literally save their life !

There are, unfortunately, a lot of Jews out there who have divorced under the civil law, but not according to Jewish law - that is, with the husband writing out a  gett [Jewish bill of divorce] for his wife.  Actually, he doesn't write it, the rabbi does, but he has to hand the document to her.  The original ketubah [marriage certificate] is then torn up, and the couple are formally divorced.  If this hasn't happened... then they are still married, both according to Jewish law and according to Heaven, and all the laws of a married couple are still applicable. 

Jews who divorce without a gett cause themselves a multitude of problems: not the least of which can be a rapid descent into poverty for them both or singly, or even severe illness. This is because they are still married under Heaven's eyes, and their living arrangements as "divorcees" are not in accordance with their halachically "married" status.  Every day they continue in this manner, they are bringing more and more judgments upon themselves.

The following is written by Rabbi J. Forsythe (c) 2002

When a Jewish married couple decides that they are no longer able to live together as husband and wife, Jewish law requires that they separate from each other promptly and, in a reasonable period of time, terminate the marriage with a document of divorce, called in Hebrew, a "get." This applies whenever a Jewish man and Jewish woman have entered into marriage with each other.

Some people do not realize that their marriage remains fully intact as long as there is no get. A get is mandatory and inescapable to end a Jewish marriage. The Torah makes very clear that once a Jewish marriage has been created, only a kosher get, executed by a kosher bais din [Torah court], can undo it. The Torah refers to the get as the husband giving a "document of cutting off." The choice of words teaches 1. that the marriage is not at all terminated until this document is given by the man to the woman as the conclusion of the divorce procedure and 2. by the Torah's not using the literal name of the document ["get"], we should strive to refrain from ending a marriage [i.e. avoid coming to a get, just as the Torah avoids saying the word "get"] and we should consider it painfully sad when a marriage has to die and divorce has to come.

This is something which is not affected at all by a person's religious affiliation, philosophy, observance-level or marital-strife level. A civil divorce or agreement to be unmarried is not enough. Without a kosher get, executed by an authorized bais din, there has been no removal at all of the marriage status.

If a woman is separated from her husband, or has a secularly legal divorce, she might MISTAKENLY consider herself free to have a relationship with a man other than the husband with whom she had a Jewish marriage. However, THIS WOMAN IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER WOMAN MARRIED UNDER JEWISH LAW and her involvement on any level with any other man is adulterous. She may not be alone with another man, may not have physical contact with him, may not be without her body covered thoroughly by modest clothing or without her hair covered when in his presence, and she certainly may NOT have any intimate relations. A child born from such a union is a "momzer" which is an uncorrectable taint and distortion (on the soul of the child born from this union), which will be continued and passed on in all offspring through all generations. A "momzer" may not marry a "regular Jew," and his or her descendants will never be able to marry a "regular Jew" till the end of time.

If you know someone whose religious commitment is not strong, or who is not religious; whose marriage is essentially over but the couple is without a get, it is crucial that you bring to bear any influence or assistance to have the couple execute a KOSHER GET FROM AN AUTHORIZED ORTHODOX BAIS DIN WHICH IS UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED BY TORAH LAW AUTHORITIES. Generations are at stake - not just the couple. A Jewish marriage is holy and is in "rumos shel olam (the heights of creation)." Its violation; no matter how antagonistic or alienated the relationship is; is serious and treasonous trampling on the sacrosanct, is punished by premature death and is, in many ways, "playing with fire."

This is just a small extract; the entire article can be found here: Shalom Bayis Issues



More information can be found at Kol-Isha

20 comments:

Gil said...

It is a painful situation for many women, but the Torah of Moshe did that way as it was right especially for that time and this humanity.
The Torah of Mashiach, that is the fulfilment of Moshe's Torah, will solve the issue by giving the woman the same right as has a man to write a "get". As we are in transition towards olam haba, the birth-pangs of Mashiach contains also the suffering in marriage and relationships. The particular marriage pains of women may be more severe as they are those giving moral directions to societies.

Anonymous said...

Maybe not all, but most, in this situation, know the rules but choose to ignore. Or there are massive agunah problems. Life is complicated enough without all these threats of divine wrath and horrible eternal punishments.

PS

Devorah said...

This information in this blog post provides the remedy for the ''threats'' which are not really threats at all, but a reality for many people, and are the Torah guidelines for divorce. It's not meant to complicate things more, it's meant to inform and therefore assist.

Devorah said...

I also want to disagree with your assumption that most know the rules. Most secular Jews do NOT know, or do not want to expend the energy involved, without realizing the detrimental effect it can have on their lives.

Neshama said...

If one considers that a match between husband and wife is made in Heaven, i.e. two souls destined to be linked together as they belong to the ONE creation, I can understand the need for a (Shomayim) GET. But consider that two souls here on earth might not be really destined for each other and are not part of the ONE WHOLE neshoma, but nevertheless get married (in the crazy situations nowadays) and it does not work out. Then a divorce is necessary. I can understand that in this instance one might allow a wife initiate a GET (because she does not infact have her besherte). But then what if those two Neshomas only 'seem' not to be destined but nevertheless are supposed to work our their differences as tikkunim for their Neshomas. It is a complicated and spiritual dilemma. One must follow the advice of the Rabbis who know this inyun.

Ronnie Rendel said...

I actually agree with Anonymous (kind of). It's not the halacha that is "the problem", but the way you say it. I know a woman who was extremely frum and after getting a certain answer from the Rav, and the way the Rav said it without putting himself in her shoes or trying to say things in a way that will be accepted by her, the bottom line is she is walking around in shorts and tang tops today.

Also, the "threats" are not right, no one can ever tell another what the "price" of certain mitzvos or opposite is. You never saw the Rebbe tell someone that the result of doing this and that is this punishment, etc. NEVER. Especially such a sensitivbe subject.

I would go so far as to say take down this post, rewrite it, and post again. And watch out for the "musar mongors"...

Devorah said...

Neshama: that is true but I'm not giving marital advice. I'm passing on information for people who are already divorced via a civil court, but have not halachically divorced.

Devorah said...

Those threats are not mine, they are from the Talmud. It is just information that people may not know about. They may think that a gett is not necessary, but the Talmud gives many reasons why it IS necessary. I can't apologise for the Talmud's advice. I actually know a couple of people in this situation, and guess what..... they have lost their parnossa. Coincidental?

Devorah said...

Ronnie: After thinking a bit more about what you said.... yes perhaps it does need a re-write. Thanks for the feedback.

Mr. Cohen said...

If you need a Jewish divirce [gett]
but do not know how,
then please contact: www.kayama.org

Anonymous said...

Am very surprised at some of the responses here because just as one cannot change an iota of Torah law, be it the Written or Oral Law, the same holds true, naturally, for the Gett Law, just as the Kiddushim Laws. Today, even frum people seem to think that they can find loopholes where there are none. The Rabbi in the above article as well as the Rabbis in the video explain things very clearly. It seems not such a difficult thing to do, except, of course, for the emotional side. The consquence of,chas v'sholom, not getting a gett is extremely detrimental to the future generations of children who might be born to the woman who did not receive a Jewish Gett, and for generations to come, shelo neida.
We pray that all Jewish couples be happy and never in need of a gett. But, just as they saw fit in having proper kiddushin/nissuim, but if things go awry, they need the proper Gett.

Anonymous said...

My nextdoor neighbor is an elderly Jewish man, aged in his 90s. Up until a few months ago, his son paid half of the rent for him. But apparently the son divorced his wife - and mother of his children - and since then he has been unemployed and cannot find work. He did not give her a gett. He is now living with another woman, and unable to support himself, his exwife/children and to help out his father. They are secular Jews, very distanced from yiddishkeit, and I do not know how to broach the subject with them. After reading this blog post I am sure his unemployment problems stem from the fact that he has not given his wife a gett. In Shamayim he is still married to her, but here on earth he is living with anothr woman. And every one of them is suffering from the situation including the 90 year old father. Such a tragedy. I wish I knew how to help them and any ideas would be very much appreciated, but as I said they are very secular and I have even heard the elderly father say that he doesn't even belive in G-d. !!

Anonymous said...

Anon, "I am sure his unemployment problems stem from the fact.." Are you serious? Maybe you and all the others that know why someone is unemployed or sick can "divinely" discern these things. But, I'd rather believe, the only things we"re certain about is what we are not certain about!

Anonymous said...

Neshama, are you referring (in a roundabout way) re couple/s 'living together' rather than truly married? If they were not married under a chupah, with witnesses etc, I do not think that they can truly be regarded as married, in the sense that they would need a get, should their relationship flounder (I am sure halachah would disagree). Living together - in UK/US at least - before eventual 'kosher marriage' seems to be the norm for the vast majority of secular Jewish couples these days who truly intend to get married under the chupah when and if the time is right. I honestly cannot see secular Jews, whose relationship eventually fails, (and especially where there are no children involved) to go through the whole 'get' thing - can you? The logistics would be horrendous if they were expected to.

PS

Anonymous said...

Anon, 3:16 am: Maybe it's you who should start thinking. There are no coincidences according to Torah. The world and Jew cannot be hefker; otherwise, we only hurt ourselves and even others. We might not know exactly why things go our way or don't, but we do know that there is no sinless human being on earth (except for four of our ancestors), so everyone gets some kind of punishment because of our sins. This life is all a test, from Above.

Anonymous said...

Anon, the only thing that spurred my thinking is trying to figure out why you're so confused on this matter! I'll say it again, for your edification. We don't know why someone gets sick or something bad happens. Period. That there are no sinless people on earth today plays right to my point. But, we don't know anything else about that person or his life. Just like you would be a fool(maybe you would) to attribute any "sin" as punishment to any of the six million Jews that were murdered in the shoah! Here's something straight from pirkei avos, it should be easy for you, don't judge someone else.

Ronnie Rendel said...

I have a good friend who is extremely G-d fearing and meticulous in observance of mitzvos with hidur. learns Torah, gives tzedaka well beyond his means, and ALWAYS besimcha, and he is unable to pay for basic necessities with 9 kids at home and was recently hospitalized which as a day laborer means making no money for days/weeks. He should have an immediate refua shleima. So, my questions for all the know it alls - what's his sin?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 1:49 pm: You seem to think you're a bigger chacham than even our sages. Good for you.
No one is judging anyone here, just using common sense and what our sages say. Who is the one confused?

Anonymous said...

Anon, it takes a modicum of "seichel" to know whether you have it or not. You clearly don't even have that! To refer to these sensitive issues, (health, lack of parnasa) in unequivocal, black and white terminology, is the height of stupidity.
Absorb what was said and next time, think a little before commenting. '

Anonymous said...

Exactly..we don't know why these things happen , nor should we try to come up with "foolish" explanations such as these are punishments for x, y, and z. What the gemara is telling us, is that not having a "gett" is a serious matter, and leave it at that. That's all that should be said.