Jerusalem – Though it is well-established in Jewish law that a Kohen may not marry a divorcee, according to the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, there are exceptions to the halacha. As Ynet News reports (http://bit.ly/Mhga4y), the Court ruled last week that it would grant a divorce to a couple who had been married in a civil service in the United States with a Christian judge presiding. The divorce will not prohibit the woman from entering into a second marriage with a Kohen.
Testimony from relatives on both sides indicates that the purpose of the January 2006 marriage was strictly to obtain a work visa for the woman. The couple resided together for only four months before opting to seek a divorce without a “Get.” The woman stated she has been dating a Kohen for more than a year and wants to marry him according to Jewish custom and ritual. The husband also confirmed that he intended for his future marriages to be conducted in accordance with Jewish tradition.
The Dayanim (judges) found that the woman’s appeal to marry a Kohen was valid under the halachic state of “Sha’at Dachak” (time of distress), which allowed the Court to approve her request to marry a Kohen and grant the divorce without a “Get.”
“We have been witnessing a growing trend of couples who marry in civil ceremonies without being aware of the fact that the marriage is valid (from a Jewish perspective) with all that implies, and when this involves Jewish-Israeli residents, the authority (in charge of) divorce is the Rabbinical Court alone,” said Maggy Halperin, the attorney who represented both sides in this matter before the Court.