Writing & Delivering the Get

Writing and delivering the get (bill of divorce) is a complicated process requiring experts in Jewish divorce law.

Print this page Print this page

Then the get is read again.

To the husband:

  • "Do you give this get of your own free will?"
  • "Did you perhaps make a statement you may have forgotten that might cancel all other statements you made?"

To the wife:

  • "Do you accept this get of your own free will?"
  • "Have you made any statement or vow that would compel you to accept this get against your will?"
  • "Have you made any statement that would nullify the get?"

To those present: "If there is anyone who wishes to protest, let him do so now."

Delivering the Get

The husband then calls upon the witnesses to witness the delivery of the get. The rabbi tells the wife to remove all the jewelry from her hands and to hold her hands together with the palms open, facing upward, so as to receive the get. The sofer folds the get and hands it to the rabbi. The rabbi hands it to the husband who, with both hands, drops it into the palms of his wife [she has to be sitting on a chair and not wailing since it is forbidden to transfer the get to a woman who is moving.]. He says, "This is your get, and with it you are divorced from me from this time henceforth, so that you are free to become the wife of any man." The wife holds up her hands with the get in them, walks a few paces, and returns.

She hands the get to the rabbi, who reads it again with the witnesses who are asked once more to identify the get and signatures. The rabbi pronounces an ancient ban against those who try to invalidate a get after it has been transferred. Then the four corners of the get are torn, so that it cannot be used again. It is placed in the files of the beit din for safekeeping, and the rabbis give each party a shetar piturin, a document of release, stating that the get from X to Y is effective, and each is now free to remarry.

If either of the parties cannot, or desires not, to be present, he/she can appoint an agent to stand in. The husband must place the get that he authorized and was written for him by the sofer in the hands of the agent, who proceeds to deliver the get to the woman or her agent on a day that is specified in the get. The laws of agency are quite complex, which is why the rabbis of the beit din prefer both parties to be present. Nevertheless, agents for the principals are used whenever necessary.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Blu Greenberg

Blu Greenberg is the founding president of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. She was also the Conference Chair of both the first and second International Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy. She is the author of Black Bread: Poems After the Holocaust, How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household, and On Women and Judaism: A View From Tradition.