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Jewish Marriage and Divorce: Understanding the Significance of the "Get"

Posted by Michael Geller | Jul 01, 2023 | 0 Comments

Marriage holds profound importance in Jewish culture and religion, representing the union between two individuals and the building of a family. Similarly, divorce, though regrettable, is recognized as a necessary process within Jewish law. In the context of Jewish marriage and divorce, the "get" plays a pivotal role. This blog explores the significance of Jewish marriage, the process of obtaining a get, and the importance of the get in the dissolution of a Jewish marriage.

Jewish Marriage

Jewish marriage is a sacred and joyous occasion, celebrated with rich traditions and rituals. The wedding ceremony, known as a "kiddushin," involves the couple's commitment to one another before witnesses and under a chuppah (a wedding canopy). It is important to note that while Jewish weddings vary in customs and practices, they all share the common foundation of Jewish law.

Jewish law recognizes the couple's mutual consent as the fundamental basis for a valid marriage. The bride and groom willingly enter into a binding covenant, affirming their commitment to each other. The ketubah, a marriage contract, outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties and serves as a legal document.

Jewish Divorce ("Get")

When a Jewish couple decides to end their marriage, a divorce, or "get," is required to dissolve the union according to Jewish law. This process is necessary for religiously observant Jews, as a civil divorce alone does not terminate a Jewish marriage. The get ensures that the couple is religiously divorced and grants both parties the freedom to remarry within Jewish law.

Obtaining a get involves a specific procedure overseen by a religious authority, such as a rabbi or a religious court. The husband, known as the "husband/giver" (ba'al keriah), initiates the divorce by presenting the get document to his wife, known as the "wife/receiver" (mo'elet). The get is written by a skilled scribe (sofer) and includes the husband's agreement to divorce his wife voluntarily.

The wife must willingly accept the get in the presence of two valid witnesses. The witnesses must ensure that the get is presented and received according to Jewish legal requirements. The document is then delivered to the wife, finalizing the divorce. It is crucial to note that both parties must participate in the process willingly and without coercion for the get to be valid.

The Emotional and Spiritual Implications

The get process is not only a legal formality but also holds emotional and spiritual significance for the couple involved. While divorce is considered regrettable in Jewish tradition, the get offers closure and provides an avenue for individuals to move forward within the boundaries of their religious beliefs. It acknowledges the challenges faced by couples and facilitates the possibility of new beginnings.

Jewish marriage is a cherished institution, and divorce, though unfortunate, is recognized as a necessary process within Jewish law. The get, a religious divorce document, holds paramount importance in the dissolution of a Jewish marriage. It ensures that divorces are conducted in accordance with Jewish legal requirements, granting both parties the freedom to remarry within the framework of their faith. By understanding the significance of the get, we gain insight into the complexities of Jewish marriage and divorce, and the importance of honoring religious traditions in navigating life's changes.

Do You Have Questions About Jewish Divorce? Contact The Geller Firm

If you have questions or concerns about Jewish divorce, consider contacting The Geller Firm. Our team of experienced and respected Lafayette divorce attorneys are here to help during this difficult time. We are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and are proud to provide legal services in Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, and Contra Costa County, along with San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and Pleasanton. Our legal team is available for virtual and in-person consultations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

About the Author

Michael Geller

Michael Geller is an attorney licensed by the State Bar of California.


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