Divorce (illustration)
Divorce (illustration)ISTOCK

A twice-divorced Jerusalem woman has requested that a rabbinic court in the capital ‘erase’ her first marriage, claiming it had been a mistake which make it more difficult for her to get married a third time.

The unusual request was made to a rabbinic court in Jerusalem headed by Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel recently, based on the woman’s claim that her two first marriages had been “mistakes” based on false presumptions. According to the woman, the two marriages were thus never truly marriages at all, and should have been nullified, rather than terminated by way of divorce.

Under Jewish law, a divorced woman is not permitted to marry a Cohen (priest), thus making it impossible for the court to nullify both of her marriages and subsequent divorces.

Nevertheless, the woman requested that the court nullify her first marriage and corresponding divorce, leaving her status as a divorcee unchanged, but removing all records of her first marriage, allowing her to claim to potential suitors that she was divorced just once, not twice.

In justifying her request, the woman claimed that her first husband was mentally ill, a fact that was deliberately concealed from her prior to her marriage.

An examination of the matter by Rabbi Abergel revealed, however, that the woman’s claims were baseless. While her first husband did in fact have a history of mental illness, the court found, the woman was in fact well aware of the man’s mental state prior to their marriage. The court managed to produce a document written by the woman proving her awareness prior to the marriage of the man’s mental illness.

Based on this discovery and technical problems with nullifying the marriage, the court rejected the woman’s request.