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  • Family and Society

Giving A Get

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Rabbi Jonathan Blass

21 Shevat 5765
Question
With respect to a similar question, previously answered: If for no stated reason a man refuses absolutely to give (grant?) his wife a Get, no matter which party has brought the action before a Rabbinical court, (the divorce having been granted / all other terms having been agreed to) is there anything the woman can do within Halacha that will result in the get being decreed (?) no matter the inaction of the man - including a "notwithstanding" declaration of the same / a higher ranking Rabbinical court? If not, would a (subsequent) civil divorce be of any value to the woman in such a case? If, in the end, nothing can be done, what is the reason(s) that a Get must be given, and in any case why only by the man / why not by the party who has brought the action in the first place, in which case if the Get is not given, neither is the divorce granted ?
Answer
A "get" by definition can only be given by a husband to his wife. In Israel, if he chooses not to do so even after the rabbinical court tells him this is required, the law allows the court to deny him certain of the privileges granted by society: opening a checking account, having a driving license etc. Just recently someone who refused to divorce his wife when required to do so by the bet din was obligated by a civil court to pay damages for the injuries he caused her by not allowing her to remarry, This irrespective of whether he eventually agrees to give his wife a get. The damage has already been caused The options outside of Israel are considerably more limited. I have read that often social pressure brought to bear on a refuser - demonstrations outside his home, no aliyot to the Torah etc. can persuade the refuser to change his mind.
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