The Get, or Bill of Divorce

The get is the bill of divorce that the husband gives to the wife to release her from the marriage.

The [get is the] bill of divorce given by the husband to the wife in order to dissolve the marriage.

Just as a Jewish marriage is established by the delivery of the ring together with the declaration of marriage in the presence of two witnesses, an instrument, the get, is required to be given before the marriage can be dissolved. Thus the get is not merely a record of dissolution of the marriage but the means of dissolution.

There are many rules about the get, especially that it be written specifically for this particular husband and wife whose names have to be recorded with complete accuracy. The word “get” means “a document” and is used in the Talmud for other types of documents, but the term generally denotes the bill of divorce.

The universal procedure is for the get to be written in Aramaic, the language with which ordinary people were familiar in rabbinic times, and there is now a standard form for the document, of which the following is an English translation:

“On the ____ day of the week and ____ day of the month ____ in the year ____ from the creation of the world, according to the mode of reckoning in this place ____ by the River ____ , do I ____ son of ____ of the town of ____ and by whatever other name or surname I or my father may be known, and my town and his town, thus determine, being of sound mind and under no constraint; and I do release and send away and put aside thee ____ , daughter of ____ and by whatever other name or surname thou and thy father are known, and thy town and his town, who have been my wife from time past hitherto; and hereby I do release thee and send away and put thee aside that thou mayest have permission and control over thyself to go to be married to any man whom thou desirest, and no man shall hinder thee in my name from this day and forever. And thou art permitted to be married to any man. This shall be from me to thee a bill of dismissal, a document of release, and a letter of freedom, according to the law of Moses and Israel.

____ son of  ____ a witness

____ son of  ____ a witness”

Reprinted with permission from The Jewish Religion: A Companion , published by Oxford University Press.

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