Court nullifies nightclub marriage

For the first time in history: Rabbinical court cancels two marriage ceremonies of same woman and allows her to marry a fourth time.

Eliran Aharon ,

Jewish wedding
Jewish wedding

A woman from the south of Israel arrived at the Rabbinical Court in Be'er Sheva for the purpose of clarifying her personal status, after being referred to the court by a city rabbi through whom she had requested to marry.

It turned out that the woman divorced 15 years ago, but in the intervening years she underwent two marriage ceremonies to two different men and, now that she has become more religiously observant, she sought to marry a fourth person in accordance with Jewish law.

The first of these marriages took place 15 years ago at a Tel Aviv nightclub. She related that, as she danced on the stage in minimal clothing, a Jewish man asked her if he would marry her, and she said “yes.” Then he took out a ring and said to her, "You are hereby sanctified to me with this ring, according to the law of Moses and Israel."

At least four Jewish men saw the event. It should be noted that the bride and groom and all the attendees were drunk and under the influence of drugs.

The second case occurred a few years later. She met a man via Facebook and he offered to marry her fictitiously so that she would gain certain rights from the Welfare Ministry. They held a party in an apartment where there were also a number of Jewish men who did not keep the Sabbath and he said to her, "You are hereby sanctified to me." Afterward, the two lived together for several months.

According to the woman, in both cases the marriages were in jest. Regarding the first case at the nightclub, she has no idea who the man who gave her the ring is. As for the second case, years passed, contact with the man was cut off and she did not know where he currently was.

Today she is completely religiously observant, “observant of mitzvot and modesty,” she says. She met a man who is religiously observant and asked the rabbinical court to allow her to open a new page and be married according to Jewish law.

The complex issue was brought before the members of the Rabbinical Court in Be'er Sheva, head of the court Rabbi Aharon Dershowitz, and judges Rabbi Ovadia Hefetz and Rabbi Avraham Tzvi Gauftman, who thoroughly investigated the petitioner and the relevant persons related to the matter, and after receiving a thorough picture of the events, examined precedents throughout history relating to the subjects of "joke marriages" and "fictitious marriages," and marriages with witnesses who violate the Sabbath.

At the end of a detailed verdict containing dozens of pages written by the rabbis of the court, Rabbi Gauftman wrote, "Regarding the marriage at the nightclub, it has no validity, whether from the assessment that they intended it in jest, or from the invalidity of the witnesses. As for fictitious marriages [like in the second case], in principle, we must say that they have no validity. "

In addition, after a great deal of effort, the court succeeded, with the help of other parties, in locating the second marriage partner. He confirmed the facts and also agreed to give another divorce due to doubt about the marriage, since the couple lived together for a few months after the invalid ceremony.

At the conclusion of the ruling it was written that "The applicant is entitled to marry any man."