Chapter Twenty-nine

About Divorce, and the Bill of Divorcement of the Jews

In this matter, not only did the Jews receive an indulgence from Moses, and not only was it not thus from the beginning, and God did not ordain it; but on account of the hardness of their hearts it was permitted to them, so as to avoid great disgrace, as Christ clearly indicates in the New Testament Matthew, 5 & 19.

They have written a lengthy tractate in the Talmud about their current divorce, and other rabbis have made all kinds of subtle comments and interpretations about it, and they have established many causes for a divorce.

The causes are the same as at the time of Christ, and one may easily find a cause to divorce his wife. The bill of divorcement has to be written in a special way. It may only have twelve lines, not more and not less, and it has to be handed to the wife in the presence of three trustworthy witnesses, and also signed and sealed by them.

When he hands over the document the man has to say explicitly: See, wife, here you have your bill of divorcement, take it from me, so that you are divorced from me and permitted to another man. The bill of divorcement usually reads as follows:

On the second day of the week, [Monday] on the 28th of the month N. in the year of the creation of the world 5363, as we count now the city of Mentz [Metz] on the Rhine, I, Isaac, surnamed Eckendorff, son of Rabbi Abraham the priest, who have now my dwelling and residence in the city of Mentz on the Rhine have decided out of my free will, and not forced, to leave, free and divorce my wife Sara, with the second name of Trummerle, daughter of R. Levi the priest, who has been my wife until now. But now I leave you, free you, and divorce you, so that you may be on your own, and may go at your own free will and pleasure wherever you want, and noone shall hinder you from now until eternity. You are therefore permitted to any other man, and with this you have your bill of divorcement according to the Law of Moses and Israel.

This divorce cannot be done in any place but they usually choose a famous and well-known place situated on a river. Then some noble rabbis are sent there, if none are living in that city already, and they have to bring the matter to a conclusion.

The Jews are very careful about this carnal separation, and have written many books about it. But they cannot note the spiritual separation, which divides them from God, and which was lamented by the prophets, because of their stubborn hearts. Therefore they are separated from God, and wander over the whole world as they justly merit.


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Alan D. Corré
corre@uwm.edu