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Examination of Laws and Processes Women and Men Play in Jewish Orthodox Divorce

Jewish Orthodox divorce is a complicated and contentious process in which men and women play important roles. This paper will examine the laws that govern Jewish Orthodox divorce and the roles men and women play in the process. It will investigate how Jewish Orthodox divorce differs from traditional civil divorce, the roles of rabbis and religious courts, and the impact of gender roles on the process. It will also look at how the laws have changed over time, balancing men’s and women’s rights and modernizing the process. Discussing the implications of these laws and processes and interpreting them in a modern context will conclude the essay. This paper will provide a comprehensive view of the role of men and women in Jewish Orthodox divorce by examining all of these factors.

Understanding the traditional roles that men and women are expected to play within an Orthodox community is the first step in familiarizing oneself with the distinctive aspects of Jewish divorce law and practice. The body of Jewish law known as Halacha assigns distinct roles to men and women in Jewish society. While men are required to study and uphold the Torah’s laws, women must maintain the home and fulfill the mitzvot (commandments) associated with home maintenance. Men are required to study and uphold the Torah’s laws. This division of responsibilities is commonly interpreted as a reflection of the gender roles that the Torah attributes to God (Butler & Kuzmarov, 2022).

When divorce is involved in an Orthodox Jewish marriage, the differences between men’s and women’s responsibilities become more pronounced. According to Halacha, the husband is the only person who can begin the divorce process, which in Jewish law is referred to as a “get.” The procedure of obtaining a divorce for Orthodox Jews begins with the completion of the get, a legal document that dissolves the marriage. The husband is accountable for locating a rabbinical court and submitting the request to be written. The get is then presented to the wife, who must accept it for the divorce to be finalized. Even if the wife does not have the right to initiate the get or refuse to accept it, she is permitted to appeal to her husband or the rabbinical court before doing so (Cooper & Guzman, 2022).

In contrast to the husband’s role during the process of getting a divorce, the wife’s function is primarily one of passivity. Although Halacha does allow for the possibility of a wife seeking a divorce even if her husband refuses to do so, the mechanism by which this is accomplished is significantly more complicated than the role of the husband in beginning the divorce process. The rabbinical court requires the wife to submit evidence of her husband’s refusal and a list of witnesses who can attest to her husband’s refusal. In addition, the wife must provide a list of witnesses who can testify to her husband’s refusal. Suppose the rabbinical court finds the husband has refused to grant a divorce without justification. In that case, the court may provide the wife with a “heter meah rabbanim,” which grants her a divorce sanctioned by the rabbinical court (Gudefin, 2022).

In the context of Jewish Orthodox divorce, how men and women are expected to behave can be quite distinct from one another, which can considerably influence the lives of the people involved. Because he is the one who is ultimately responsible for the dissolution of the marriage, the process of initiating a divorce can be stressful on both the emotional and spiritual well-being of the husband. The process of seeking a divorce can be lengthy and complex for the wife since it requires her to go through a complicated legal procedure to acquire a divorce that the court has approved. These differences in roles and responsibilities can also lead to a power imbalance between the husband and wife, which makes it difficult for the wife to have her voice heard and forces her to rely on the court to grant her a divorce. As a result of this power imbalance, the wife is forced to rely on the court to grant her a divorce (Kalev, 2022).

The procedure of Jewish Orthodox divorce is unquestionably tricky since it is governed by many rules, all of which can differ from one jurisdiction to the next. As a result of considerable differences in the roles that men and women play throughout the process, it is also a process that is strongly weighted with gender roles. In this paper, we will investigate the specific rules and practices that regulate Jewish Orthodox divorce and explain the responsibilities that men and women play throughout the process (Knauss, 2022).

Jewish Orthodox divorce, or “get,” is a unique and intricate procedure that needs a substantial amount of education and comprehension of the Jewish religion. Jewish law, also known as Halacha, governs divorce following Jewish tradition. A divorce must be granted by a rabbinical court known as a “Beit Din” for it to be legal. The procedure of obtaining a Jewish Orthodox divorce begins with the husband initiated the process by filing a “get” proclaiming his intent to divorce his wife. During a formal ceremony, two witnesses will witness the exchange of vows. The husband must next provide his wife a written document known as a “get” that legally dissolves the marriage.

The rabbinical court must receive the get, which the spouse and two witnesses must sign. (Rosenbach et al. 2022).

The rabbinical court then examines the get to determine whether or not it complies with Halacha standards. The court will issue a certificate of divorce, also known as a “Gittin,” if it deems it legal. After the Gittin is dispersed, the husband and wife are no longer considered married, and their marriage is said to have ended. The requirement that both the husband and wife consent to the divorce for it to be lawful is one of the distinguishing aspects of Jewish Orthodox divorce. This agreement between the two parties is known as the “get-mehira,” and it is negotiated as a contract. Following the terms of this agreement, if his wife consents to the dissolution of their marriage, he will pay her monetarily or in some other way. The name for this document is “ketubah.” (Sperber, 2022).

In Jewish Orthodox marriages, the fact that only the husband can apply for a divorce is another characteristic of this type of divorce. Since the spouse is the primary breadwinner and family head, this is the case. The husband’s financial resources can influence the divorce proceedings since he can threaten to withhold financial support or other resources to force his wife to consent to the divorce. In divorce proceedings, the husband often has an advantage due to the power dynamics of the situation. Jewish Orthodox divorce is a lengthy and challenging process. Because it needs a substantial quantity of paperwork and various legal procedures, an expert rabbi or attorney is strongly advised to manage it. Extensive negotiation and compromise required throughout the process can be emotionally demanding for both sides (Zion-Waldoks, 2022).

The Jewish Orthodox divorce is a one-of-a-kind and complicated procedure that necessitates familiarity with Jewish legal customs and principles. A ceremonial ceremony in which the husband announces his decision to divorce his wife is followed by the reading of a get, the signing of a contract called a get-mehira, and the reading of a ketubah. In addition, the husband is the only one who may file for divorce, and the procedure is complicated emotionally. As a result, it is strongly recommended that an experienced rabbi or lawyer deal with it.

In conclusion, Jewish Orthodox divorce is an extraordinarily complex procedure requiring knowledge of its intricate laws and procedures. This paper examines the differences between the roles of men and women in the context of Jewish Orthodox divorce and the effects these differences can have on those involved. The traditional gender roles assigned by Halacha can result in an imbalance of power between husbands and wives and make it difficult for wives to obtain a divorce. Consequently, it is essential to acknowledge the unique challenges women face in Jewish Orthodox divorce proceedings and ensure that their voices are heard and respected.


Butler, D., & Appel Kuzmarov, B. (2022). A Canadian Story of Jewish Divorce: Listening to Rabbis Across Denominations Wrestle with Egalitarianism and K’lal Yisrael. Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses, 00084298221095192.

Cooper, S., & Guzmen-Carmeli, S. (2022). Inventing culture: structure and symmetry in Jewish life and ritual. Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 1-21.

Gudefin, G. (2022). “Should I go to other Rabbis… or should I go to court”: Eastern European Jewish women and Marital Litigation, 1900–1920. American Jewish History, 106(1), 1-30.

Kalev, H. D. (2022). Canon and Tradition in Transition: The Case of Gender in Israel. Religious Diversity, State, and Law (pp. 247-264). Brill Nijhoff.

Knauss, S. (2022). Teaching Religion and Gender with THE COHEN’S WIFE (IL 2000): Where, Why, How, and what? Journal for Religion, Film, and Media (JRFM), 8(2), 33-48.

Rosenbach, N., Sokol, Y., Rosensweig, C., Bernstein, D., Salamon, M. J., & Schechter, I. (2022). Struggles in the Orthodox Jewish shidduch dating system—A large‐scale qualitative analysis. Journal of Community Psychology.

Sperber, H. (2022). The Plight of Jewish Deserted Wives, 1851-1900: A Social History of East European Agunah. Liverpool University Press.

Zion-Waldoks, T. (2022). Rescuing the Jewish Family, One Divorce at a Time: An Israeli Take on the “Jewish Continuity Crisis” Debates. Contemporary Jewry, 1-24.


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