Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grounds for divorce in the Talmud

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Love and Marriage, Love and Marriage, They Go Together Like … If the point of marriage is not happiness but religion, what constitutes grounds for divorce? Plus: tips for grooming pubic hair.
In America today, we are used to the concept of “no-fault divorce,” whereby either spouse can end a marriage for any reason or none. But this practice only makes sense in a society that regards marriage as a voluntary union of equals for the purpose of companionship. If the purpose of marriage is happiness, then by definition a marriage that makes people unhappy should end. As we have seen over the last several months of Daf Yomi reading, however, the Talmud—like almost all legal systems in the world until very recently, and many still today—has a different idea of what marriage means. If a marriage is not a voluntary union but part financial transaction, part family alliance, and part sacred ritual, then what circumstances justify ending it?

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.