Are they married? Wife says yes, but husband insists he's single

Rabbinic court called upon to determine whether couple are actually married.

David Rosenberg ,

Divorce (illustration)
Divorce (illustration)

A rabbinical court in Haifa was called upon to rule on whether a man and woman from northern Israel are a married couple.

At a hearing held by the court, under the aegis of Rabbi Daniel Edri, the woman claimed that the man is in fact her husband, despite the man’s insistence that he is single.

The couple was originally married and registered as a married couple 17 years ago. The marriage produced two daughters before the couple divorced three years ago through a rabbinic court in Haifa.

Yet their status at the time of the hearing was unclear, as the wife claimed her ex-husband had remarried her, but never registered the marriage with the Israeli Rabbinate. As proof, the wife pointed to a celebration the couple held – what she argued was a wedding – adding that a rabbi had even been present to conduct the ceremony. The wedding contract, she said, had been taken and hidden by her husband.

The husband denied the claim, however, stating that the festive meal was never intended to be part of a wedding, and that no marriage agreement had been signed, ring given to the bride, or signatures of witnesses given.

For his part, the husband brought the alleged “rabbi” who was said to have conducted the wedding ceremony to testify on his behalf that the couple had not remarried, as the wife had claimed.

But after the wife provided a recording of a conversation between her and the “rabbi” that suggested he did in fact take part in a wedding ceremony.

At that point the “rabbi” became exasperated, broke down, admitted he had been lying, and begged forgiveness from the wife.

“I’m sorry I lied,” he said. “That’s it, I can’t keep lying,” he told the husband.

It was also revealed in the investigation that the “rabbi” in question had never actually been ordained, and had only been presented as such for the purposes of conducting the wedding ceremony.

After the discovery, the court urged the husband to issue his wife a divorce, and ordered him to pay 50,000 shekels in damages ($13,300).