For the first time in the history of the State of Israel, the full Supreme Rabbinical Court will shortly convene. They will be deciding on the case of a get that was issued by the rabbinical court in Tzfat, headed by Rav Uriel Lavie, to the wife of a man who has been in a coma for the past nine years.
The question is whether a rabbinical court can grant a divorce in such a case. The Supreme Rabbinical Court is being convened by Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Israel’s Sephardi chief rabbi and the head of the court.
It’s unclear how the court will rule. The late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, former chief rabbi and father of the Yitzchak Yosef, ruled after the 1973 war that wives of soldiers who were missing in the war, with no evidence whether they were dead or alive, could be granted a divorce. This freed them from their status as agunot and allowed them to move on with their lives and remarry.
On the other hand, there is another case of a comatose husband in which Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ruled, in a 10-page teshuvah, that there was no place granting divorce in the case of a comatose husband.