May 9, 2018

Interesting Psak: no removal of wedding and divorce

An interesting case came before the beis din of Yerushalayim.

A woman already twice divorced came before the beis din complaining about the difficulty she is currently having in finding a new husband. All potential suitors are concerned about her two divorces and don't want to continue the relationship with her. They think of her as a serial divorcer and think she is too big a risk. She says people compare her to a "black widow".

She asked the beis din to wipe out her first wedding and divorce and make it as if that marriage never happened. Then she would be divorced just once previously and that is fairly normal in today's society and would not on its own scare away potential suitors.

Why would they wipe out the first marriage?

She claims that the first marriage was a complete mistake - even to the level of mekach taus.  She says that before she got married to her first husband she was unaware of his disturbed mental state. She claims she was deceived by him so the marriage should not have been valid at all.

After looking into her claims, the beis din decided that she knew enough about his mental state before marrying him and had even written about it. And even if she had been deceived and the marriage was a mistake, you cannot just wipe it away as if it did not happen.

So, the beis din, headed by Rav Aberjil, decided they would not erase her first marriage, but they would write her a note as part of her psak saying that there is nothing preventing anyone from marrying a woman who has been divorced multiple times.
source: Haredim10, Kipa

I hope it helps her find comfort, but it seems to me that their note would only help reassure people that there is nothing wrong from a halachic, perhaps even kabbalistic, perspective. They still might say she is divorced twice and perhaps she is too much trouble to invest in.. I hope she finds her match and finds happiness, but it seems there is nothing the beis din can do to help her with that - she has to do that on her own.

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  1. This reminds me of a story that happened to me a very long time ago.

    We had an engaged couple as guests for lunch. I didn't particularly like her at the time. I don't remember if I had known anything about him before that day and thankfully, at this point I don't even remember who he was.

    He was a very rude guest and left me with a very negative impression. He came to shul with me for Seudat Shlishit and sat with my friends. He completely trashed his fiancee during the entire meal. I was absolutely disgusted. I was very glad to hear that the engagement had broken off.

    A few years later he contacted my wife, asking for shiduchim references. She refused and recounted his behaviour from that day and anything else that may have been relevant. He responded that 'he had changed and had letters from Rabbonim to prove it.' My wife told him to use those Rabbonim as references. The argument of why he should get a good character reference from us based on testimony from others that contradicted our personal experiences was totally lost on me.

    Being married twice doesn't have to be a stigma. Based on the fact that she went to bais dean to cover it up, sets off a warning flag that perhaps the divorces are a reflection of a more fundamental problem. I hope she finds happiness. I hope that her future husband does his due diligence to figure out what will be needed to make a marriage work.

  2. No that is wrong a "black widow" is the one killer not divorce at list in USA

    1. correct. but the point is she is saying people are considering her dangerous for marriage, similar to the way a black widow is considered dangerous

  3. Odd that she went to a beis din. The issue she has is not a halakhic one, so what are they supposed to do?

    And even if they annulled her first marriage, so what, she was in a relationship, a quasi-marriage that ended. That plus the second divorce would scare away some people.

    The whole thing seems ill-considered to me.

  4. So if they'd annulled the marriage, she'd go around (falsely, in all but the most technical sense) saying that she'd only been married why can't she just lie and say the same thing without their annullment?

    Basically, she's asking them for permission to lie and be comfortable with that.

    1. actually, I guess she could lie but doesnt want to. she is asking them to make it easier for her to not have to, or be tempted to, lie


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