Rabbenu Tam (1100-1171) dealt frequently with the laws of Jewish writs of divorce (gittin) and matters pertaining to them. Particularly significant was his decree that forbids questioning the validity of a get after it was given. The style and wording of this decree are exceptionally harsh. Alongside this decree we possess a responsum by Rabbenu Tam in which he overturned the Halakhic practice of his day which allowed the coercion of a husband to divorce his wife if she claimed that he was intolerable to her. The present article suggests that this revolutionary Halakhic ruling and the decree were both written to combat a social phenomenon among the communities of northern France, where the Halakhah and the rabbinic judicial system were abused and gittin granted in the past were discredited in order to affect the social standing of certain individuals and families.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Regulation, Law and Everything in Between: the Laws of Gittin as a Reflection of Society
|Number of pages
|תרביץ: רבעון למדעי היהדות
|Published - 2013