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Jewish Divorce (Get)

A Jewish divorce consists of one document written by the husband or a sofar/scribe under the proper authority.

Jewish law for a divorce is that the man writes a document that his wife now will be permissible to another man. The literal translation of a Get is: “You are hereby permitted to all men.” This means that a woman is no longer held to the laws against adultery and is absolved of the duty she held in her marriage. The document is called a Get in Hebrew and is speculated to have received this name from the word Git (meaning document in Hebrew).

A Get must be hand scribed (written by a certified scribe called a Sofer). It must be written specifically under the instruction and approval of the divorcing husband and only be intended for his wife. It is pertinent that the husband deliver the Get to his wife and the wife accept it. The Get must be scribed on a new document, must be written on something that is not attached to the ground (older times of writing on leaves), and must be dated on the exact day (to ensure authenticity).

If a man refuses to write a Get, the woman can sue for divorce and bring the case to a Beit Din (rabbinical court). The best case scenario is that the rabbis can reason and convince the man to free the wife if the marriage has no hope for reconciliation. If the wife is refusing a Get, she is forbidden form marrying again and is called a mesorevet get (refused a get). This is in extreme instances when a man refuses but the Jewish community can usually influence his signing by shaming him.