Let’s Talk about Divorce
So many people get divorces these days. Even those with children battle it out and aim at divorce. But this is surely wrong. First of all, is marriage something that we try on today and discard tomorrow? Kiddushin is a sacred thing. If husband and wife realized the sanctity of marriage and the holiness of the children, would they just divorce with all that implies? The popularity of divorce is proof that the entire Torah world is sick. Even animals love their children. But some parents love their rights, their freedom, etc. But once a person signs on to Kiddushin and has children, how will they answer in the Other World for the pain they cause the children? And who says that the pain of the spouse will not be judged?
The gemora in Eruvin 41b talks about suffering people. One of them is a man who has an “evil wife.” This is defined as one who yells at her husband during the day and when it come time to join him at the meal she turns away and will not sit with him. The gemora Yevomose in 63b says that “an evil woman, it is a mitzvah to divorce her.” On the other hand, maybe she has children, or she has a large kesubo. We see from that that if one has children, divorce, even for an evil woman, is not available.
I once was in a Beth Din during a GET, and saw that the wife was crying bitterly. It seems that two Israelis married and had a wonderful marriage. But the husband became religious and Haredi, a real Yeshiva bochur. The wife tried very hard to be religious, but she could not be religious. So there was a divorce, and the mother took the child.
Not long after this, I went to Posek HaDor Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l and told him about this. I asked what right the father had to destroy his child by giving her to a non-religious woman. He agreed. He said, “If she will keep taharas hamishpocho, he should not divorce her.” Imagine, a person is learning in a Yeshiva, in a Kollel, and his wife doesn’t keep Shabbos. He has more children and this non-religious lady raises them. Fine. But not divorce. And today, children are tossed out to twist in the wind for all kinds of reasons.
When you have a child you are stuck. It is that simple. And guess what? When you marry, you are also “stuck.” Unless you don’t accept the obligations if marriage, which is not a Torah attitude.
There is a lengthy gemora about this, regarding the great prophet Hoshea. See Pesachim 87A that Hoshea was the greatest prophet of his time, greater than Yeshayeh, Omus and Michah. HaShem told Hoshea, "Your children have sinned," and Hoshea could have replied, "Are they my children and not Your children?" Not only did he not do this, but he told HaShem, "Change them for a different nation." HaShem was not satisfied with this and decided to teach the prophet a lesson.
He told Hoshea to marry a noted prostitute. Hoshea did this (it is not clear if it actually happened or was just a dream) and had children from her. Then HaShem told Hoshea that his level of prophecy now required him to separate from his wife and be holy and together with HaShem with prophecy, as Moshe did. Hoshea was very upset about this. He said how can I leave my children? That was what HaShem wanted him to say. He therefore said to Hoshea, your wife has children but you are not sure if they are even from you. But you refuse to leave her. How can I leave my people?
Hoshea realized his mistake and his sin and began praying for the Jews that HaShem forgive them. This was what HaShem wanted. But we see from the gemora that to leave even a wicked woman is not so simple if children are involved.
And yet, today, there is a flood of people going for divorces and there are terrible fights over custody. Children who go through this suffer. And "Beth Din is the Father of orphants." Meaning, there is a responsibility to care about children whose parents are not taking care of them. Beth Din should protest the incredible divorce rate. But things just get worse.