Thursday, February 19, 2009

the problem with marriage

I went to a lecture on Jewish Get Law the other day. One of the guest speakers, a well known half-Jewish lawyer had an interesting and rather creative idea for solving the whole Get issue.
According to her, problems could totally be resolved if people just never married in the first place.

Yup, that was her great solution. While a Get is a contract that requires the consent of two people, a Ketubah is a unilateral contract where only one person, the husband, makes a promise to his wife.

If you take out the Ketubah from the equation, and only marry civilly, you only have to get divorced civilly.

And - again, this is what this lawyer was saying - Ketubahs are not really necessary. There is no mitzvah to get married (but apparently there is one to get divorced!), and a child is not a mamzer if he or she is born to unwed parents (mamzers only happen when there is adultery).

So maybe this whole 'get rid of marriage' thing isn't such a bad idea.... After all - no one in the Torah signed a Ketubah (if they had, wouldn't Yacov have known that he was getting the wrong sister) and it's not like anyone actually follows the terms and promises of a Ketubah these days...

So is the Ketubah out of date? Women don't exactly have to worry about being stranded in the desert by a mean hubbie anymore....

16 comments:

Bilingual said...

I can see both sides of this issue. Unfortunately, the frum divorce rate is going up; that's a lot of crying for one mizbe'ach to do. Giving people a way out without divorce might be a good thing. At least give them more time to get to know each other and get used to marriage before locking them into a nesu'in.

On the other hand, though, without the whole lock, stock, and barrel, I think you'd have even more couples splitting up. If there's no penalty for getting out, and we're making relationships without marriage mainstream, there will be even less reason for couples in trouble to try to work things out. That couldn't be good for society as a whole, even if it would be good for specific individuals.

G6 said...

I had a relative who used to sit through Kesuba Readings at weddings and mutter under his breath "sheker... sheker..." as they read all the ways the husband was obliged to support ("support?!??!? Heaven forfend!!! I'm LEARNING!") his wife.

In any case - if you are planning on taking up the crusade, you unwittingly created your own slogan - "GET out of marriage", he he....

4ron said...

I believe someone is confused here and I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it is the half-jewish lawyer. Kesubah and Kidushin are two different things. Kiddusin is marriage Kesubah is a contract that the rabbonon instituited to go along with marriage. While nobody in the Torah had a Kesubah they were married. A woman that does Kidushin will need a Get regardless of whether or not she also has a Kesubah. Obviously I oppose getting rid of either Kesubah or Kiddusin but just realize that it is two different issues.

chaviva said...

I really wanted to read this blog post ... but I can't get past the "half-Jewish" thing.

Anonymous said...

So if she's half Jewish, what's the other half? Does she keep Shabbos for 12.5 hours?

Mikeinmidwood said...

The kesubah promises a certain amount of money if the husband where to divorce his wife. This is why people dont want to divorce so quickly.

Moshe said...

Polygamy, marriage w/o a kesuba...am I the only one seeing a pattern forming. ;-)

tommy said...

wow im amazed how some of you pick up on one single word in an article that has nothing to do with half-jews or full-jews or whatever....

some people just need to get over themselves and stop focusing on every lettter!

(right mm?)

dani said...

did anyone ever hear of a pilegesh?
(concubine) no kesuba or kedushin, (there is some type of an agreement) the children are legit, and no need for a get!! and there are many halachik opinions that say its ok.

Jessica said...

I like my ketuba. It's pretty. And if my husband ever tries to divorce me (God forbid) I want a goat... or whatever it is that it says in the ketuba.

"Noah Smith" - Pilegesh.org said...

B"H
This idea has been already proposed by Gaon R. Yaakov Moshe Toledano http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ya'akov_Moshe_Toledano in halachik journal 88 years ago. After he was criticized for it he wrote a 15 page defence in his book Yam haGadol seif 75.

shoshi said...

this does not seem to work, since a civil marriage could also be considere marriage by rabbonim and would require a get.

The only solution would be not to marry jewish, since marriage to a non-jew is not recognised by religion.

shoshi said...

But if you look at the system, you come to the conclusion that it is one-sided.

In order to be balanced, the woman should be the one who is allowed to give a get, even without the consent of the husbund.

Why? Because the woman has a strict obligation of fidelity, while this is much more lenient on men.

i.e. if a men is still married and has an affair with someone else, it's not a big thing. So he does not really need the get. Women however are strictly forbidden to have affaires outside marriage. So they need the get.

shoshi said...

PS: the pilegesh thing is not a solution for the get problem either. I suppose a pilegesh also needs some sort of a get, since I understood that her relationship has to be exclusive (with this one man and no one else)...
@pilegesh
I think your propaganda for polygamy is disgusting. And it's even more disgusting to claim that this "works in the framework of orthodox judaism".

harry-er than them all said...

where the half-lawyer may be wrong is in her lack of understanding of the laav of 'lo tiheye kedeysha' or dont be a male/female whore. you can't live with whomever you want whenever you want.

but aside for that issue, it is a very slippery slope that people are going down if they abolish marriage.

btw this post has been tagged
http://ayeshivishharry.blogspot.com/2009/03/where-have-good-people-gone.html

Anonymous said...

i'm not one to post but when jewish law is on the line i feel there is not much of a choice.

1)whether or not marriage is a mitzvah is a dispute between the rambam (hilchos nashim 1:4) and the rosh (ketubot siman 12) the latter holding that there is no mitzvah to get married

2)whether a ketubah is d'oraysa or d'rabanan is a dispute between many rishonim (see meseces ketubot daf yud. tosofos there, ramban and rosh)

3)regardless of the status of a ketubah, it is simply a stipulation that is inherit in a marriage. without a marriage the concept of ketubah doesn't exist (in fact the only reason we write it down in a contract is "k'dey lehafis dy'tah" which mean "so that her mind should be settled")

4)as harry-er so eloquently stated the torah says "lo ti'yeh ke'day'sha" what the exact definition of ke'day'sha is a matter of dispute among the commentaries, however, there is no way around the kidushin. despite dani's seemingly deep understanding of pilegesh which rashi in chumash defines as kidushin with no kutubah which is assur nowadays to marry with no ketubah. acc to the rambam pilegesh doesnt exist these day. take a look at the shulchan aruch my man... these things are way more complicated than they seem and when dealing with d'oraisa it's always l'chumra (not a suggestion rather l'chumra is the law)