[LMB] OT: Jewish marriage law [Was: about the ratio of unmarried to married]

Mitch Miller mitchmiller at entertainmenttax.com
Thu Sep 20 18:30:09 BST 2007

Right.  I just wanted people to have some idea of the
value.  It's not just 200 bucks!  Even if we were talking about
copper zuzim, 100 baby goats would represent considerable
wealth.  Kal v'homer (a fortiori), 200 silver zuzim!

As to the coercion, IIRC, the man could be lashed (caned?)
until he granted the divorce.  I believe today in Israel
he may be jailed.  I recall hearing once that a few men prefer
jail to granting a get and have stayed in jail for years.

G'mar Chatima Tova!  (May you be sealed for good! [in the Book of Life])

Mitch Miller

From: "Michael Bauminger" <lmblist at mikebomb.com>

As for the zuzim, just because the price of the kid in the
song at the end of the Seder ("Chad Gadya", or in English,
"One Kid"; kid meaning baby goat, not human child) is two
zuzim, it does not mean that the 200 zuzim in the Ketubah
equals the price of 100 baby goats. For one thing, the song
does not say "silver zuzim", as the Ketubah does. A zuz is a
coin of a certain weight. There could very well have been
copper zuzim as well as silver zuzim, with the latter worth
quite a bit more than the former.

> IIRC, there are a couple of situations where the wife may
> force a divorce: e.g., if the husband refuses to grant
> her her conjugal rights (in Jewish law, it is the right of
> the wife to demand, and the obligation of the husband to
> provide, sex, to the extent she wants); or if the husband
> takes up some distasteful occupation, the example I
> remember is tanning hides, since the smell was then
> (approx 500 BCE - 400 CE) impossible to clean off, after
> the marriage.

"Force" in this context still means only that the husband
can be coerced to grant it. If a wife is unhappy in her
marriage, she may request a divorce from her husband; if he
grants it, they are divorced. If he refuses, she has no real
recourse under Jewish law. The situations above are those
where, in times and places where Jewish religious laws were
enforceable, the wife could have the religious court (Bet
Din) coerce the husband to grant the divorce.

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