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Friday, 15 May 2015

Divorce Quick and Easy

Daf Yomi Kesubos 101

Comedian Mendy Pellin has a take on the children’s song “Clean up.”  He says that in LA, where he lives, the celebrities all sing, ‘Prenup, prenup, everybody, everywhere. . .”   We generally think of prenups as evil, selfish documents, but believe it or not, Judaism has had a kind of prenup for thousands of years.  The Rabbis were concerned that people would divorce on a whim and so they regulated the amount one must pay upon divorce in the ketubah document. 

One who marries a woman with a daughter from a previous marriage and she stipulates that he support the step-daughter for five years is obligated to continue to support her for that period, even if they get divorced.  The clever ones would write in the stipulation, ‘I will only continue to support your daughter on the condition that you stay with me.’

The purpose of the ketubah is to dis-incentivize divorce.  The ketubah makes it expensive for the husband to divorce his wife.  Similarly, in this case, the extra clause dis-incentivizes the woman to file for divorce.  As long as they are together, her daughter is being supported.  Should they separate, the sustenance would cease.

Sadly, nowadays divorce is way too easy.  A generation and more ago, married couples would figure it out.  They would take the time and effort to work on their marriage.  Today, if you’ve had enough of the other person, dealing with it means walking out.  After all, life today is all about infinite choices, why should your choice of spouse be any different?

It’s time to stand up to this immature societal trend.  The Almighty handpicked your spouse for you and it was, our Sages tell us, as miraculous as the splitting of the Red Sea!  Indeed, the Talmud teaches that the Holy Altar cries when a couple gets divorced. 

That doesn’t mean that divorce is never a good thing.  Sometimes it’s the best option.  But most of the time, the Almighty wants you to work on yourself and become a better spouse and you will see that your spouse will respond in kind.

Marriage, like anything worthwhile in this world, takes work.  May you merit a marriage that lasts a lifetime with your basherte that the Almighty handpicked for you!