Ask the Rabbi: Should soldiers grant divorces before going to war?

By SHLOMO BRODY
November 2, 2017 15:53

The Talmud asserts that soldiers in King David’s army issued divorce documents before going out to war. In fact, one medieval commentator even attributes this practice to wars in the time of Moses.

4 minute read.



‘THE VICTORY of Joshua over the Amalekites’ (1624-25) by French painter Nicolas Poussin

‘THE VICTORY of Joshua over the Amalekites’ (1624-25) by French painter Nicolas Poussin. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

In recent decades, terrorists have kidnapped Israeli soldiers, dead or alive, to ransom them or their bodies (or even information about their fate) for the release of their comrades held in Israeli captivity. In some cases – such as those of Ron Arad and Ehud Goldwasser – the captured soldiers were married, thereby raising the possibility that their wives would remain agunot until the fate of their husbands was legally determined. This tragic phenomenon has led to renewed discussion over the wisdom of authorizing halachic divorces before military service.

The Talmud asserts that all soldiers in King David’s army issued divorce documents before going out to war. In fact, one medieval commentator even attributes this practice to wars in the time of Moses.

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