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Is divorce the new marriage?

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Comments (41)

(41) lisa, December 29, 2010 3:11 AM

Its their party & they'll cry ( or not) if they want to!!!

This is truely something you can't really comment on until you've been through a divorce. As it says in Perkai Avot.....let's not judge our fellow man until we've been in his shoes.

(40) Anonymous, December 27, 2010 3:53 PM

Totally agree with Shunrata!!!!

100% agree with the women that say celebrating a bit is not making a mockery of divorce...it's just telling the world...I'm OK.it'll be OK...it's like letting out a big sigh!!

(39) Shunrata, December 27, 2010 9:56 AM

Yes, you ARE missing something!

Rabbi Salomon, I am so very happy for you that you are missing something. It means that you have never been through the horrible nightmare of an abusive marriage. After being through years of hell, the first time you close the door at night and realize you don't have to be afraid of anyone you live with - well, that is certainly a reason for celebration and relief. There are times divorce is not just 'acceptable' or 'necessary', it is freedom from bondage. Do we celebrate Pesach, when we escaped the evil Egyptians? Do we celebrate Independence Day? Then why not celebrate escaping a physically or psychologically brutal spouse? The cake and ring thing seems a little weird, but I'd be inclined to cut some slack in this situation.

(38) Anonymous, December 27, 2010 2:11 AM

Celebrate your new life it's a rebirth.

Staying in a marriage that has ended is making a mockery of marriage. To ridicule, pretend, cheat and deceive is making a mockery of marriage. I could say you are making a mockery of devorce by jeering and by being glib. You made your point and I had a good laugh. I say celebrate. Invite friends and family from both sides let them know there is no need to choose sides. If it's possible both parties minus attorneys could be present. Am I missing something? I am 70 years old devorced at 43 wish I celebrated. My kids and family would have been better for it...to know Mom is O.K. and entering a rebirth.

(37) Leslie Duverge, December 27, 2010 12:54 AM

I don't think Rabbi Salomon is missing anything from the new ways of divorce. I firmly believe it is people's lack of integrity with their own self and the sanctity of marriage. A marriage is something beautiful from God, and I agree that when there are children, it is true, there is a great level of pain for the children regardless of their age. After 26 years of marriage and three children, mine ended in divorce. I felt compelled to file for divorce, but I would never celebrate the trials and tribulations of a marriage gone wrong. When someone called me to celebrate, I thought it was very disrespectful of my friend to suggest a celebration. Rather, it is as if a part of what I worked so hard to sustain for the sake of family permanence and our children, left my soul...it is more as if mourning a loved one, regardless of the circumstance that led to the divorce. Celebrating a divorce in any way, to me is low, and a lack of respect toward one's own children and toward that other person with whom you had built a life before. It would be more beneficial to focus on offering mental and emotional stabilities to the children by the divorcing parties. Thanks Rabbi Salomon for discussin the issue and making people more conscious about their behavior towards divorce.

(36) Anonymous, December 26, 2010 5:43 PM

although unfortunately some divorces really are happy

I agree 100% - although today there are some terrible situations, where a spouse makes getting a divorce such a challenge, that you really do feel like celebrating when you are finally 'freed' and not in a 'false agunah' status for so long. But even then, to do anything public - throw parties, and have cakes and jewelry designed for the divorce is in terrible taste. I could grant a celebratory lunch/dinner with your close and involved group of family/friends but keep it discreet. Unfortunately, today, when public television/magazines thrive on reality shows that publicize the most obnoxious and private details of people's lives, we are losing our sensitivity to the sanctity of good old fashioned values, and this type of exhibitionism is just one result of that.

(35) irit, December 25, 2010 12:28 PM

the saddness of divorce

I agree with your view on divorce parties. I think is bad taste and brings a wrong message to all people, the ones married and the ones that are going to be married. We are becoming too modernized with strange ideas. I personnaly believe that in some occasions divorce is necessary but it is sad.

(34) GMC(SW/SCW) Peter M Michelson, December 24, 2010 8:31 PM

Times the are a Changing

Sad to see that our MOTs are not getting the real meaning of Bershert! The blessing of finding your Bershert is a complete Mitzvah of the highest order. To vlend as one, live as Jews, in all forms and have a happy family. Is it easy no way, and now way is it easy especially when most folks think divorce is the answer. In my day and Generation there were some who chose this path. I am luckyfor I have Great examples of long marriages that lasted upto 60 to 70 yrs. We are Jews, G-d made Jewish Man and Woman for a reason. Find your Bershert marry live life and enjoy. Do not fall for the secluar lure of lust from others, drinking, living beyond your means, greed, lying. I served our Grat Nation, found my Bershert and am truly blest in every way.

(33) Cynthia Wedlund, December 24, 2010 3:51 AM

I agree 100%

(32) nancy, December 24, 2010 12:29 AM

my uncle's feelings

After my horrible marriage ended, my religious uncle stated that he was happier over my divorce than he was over his grandson's bar mitzvah...enough said!

(31) Nancy, December 24, 2010 12:26 AM

Divorce was happier than wedding

After 14 years of servitude in an abusive marriage, my divorce was a mitzvah compared to my wedding. I was cut off from my family for the entire time, and my "nice Jewish Husband" was an absolute nightmare. It is almost 30 years later, and I still can't think of that person without feeling ill. Thank heaven for divorce!

(30) Frank Adam, December 23, 2010 8:13 PM

Who has been living a sheltered life???

I remember as a student at the turn of the 50's /60's seeing a cartoon in the London press of two characters at a party in which one said to the other, "This is nothing [the nisi]. Wait till they throw their absolute." At the time divorce was just coming out of the woodwork as a social phenomenon because so many wartime or just post-war marriages were hitting rocks, and Princess Margaret had had her arms twisted not to marry Group Captain [full colonel] Peter Townsend as a divorce which is ironic given she and three of her sister's children ended in the divorce courts. However marriage has always been across all eras & cultures a property deal between the couple and their families so do not get too sanctimonious. Secondly if the catering and jewellry businesses have muscled in what is new? They are not charities. This is precisely what Marx - Karl not the Brothers - griped about that bourgeois society turned everything into cash nexus and only the bottom line - like Midas and the ass' ears he could have added! But being a classics PhD, he probably thought that too obvious to be sarcastic with.

(29) Anonymous, December 23, 2010 6:00 PM

Yeridos Hadoros

This is just one more indication of how far our society is falling. It's a sad commentary on our generation. Hopefully its a sign that Moshiach is one step closer to comming :)

(28) Anonymous, December 23, 2010 8:51 AM


I think you are missing something. People often do feel relief when they divorce, and actually, living here in Eretz Ysrael, it is common for people to have a divorce party, it is considered normal in the religious world to have a divorce party after the divorce. the fact is people who divorce do need support, and they do need to celebrate. It is a mitzvah to get divorced, even if we do not think of it that way. now maybe some of these parties go too far, having special divorce rings and special cakes, is rather odd, and maybe is over board, but the idea of a party itself is healthy, in terms of friends being there to support, and also recognizing the relief of the ending of a troubling and often traumatizing relationship that one no longer has to live with every day.

(27) Anonymous, December 23, 2010 1:18 AM

Never had a party, but

If a party were to mark the finality, then it would be good to know when the child-related issues, the sharing of information issues, & the money issues could be civil and settled. Unfortunately, none of them are settled (still) and going through the wedding of one of our children right after the granting of the divorce was like going through the whole divorce all over again. SSDD. What an awful shame.

(26) Anonymous, December 23, 2010 12:37 AM

Its not really a "party"

Dear Rabbi Salomon [and other reading this article], I watch you every week (for years now) and admire your wisdom and humour, but I think this time you are a little amiss. Unfortunately, I have too many friends who are divorced, as well as myself, and have attended a few such events. The truth is, divorce is extemely sad, excrutiatingly painful and the view of what lies ahead is frightening to say the least. Everyone who goes to these parties really knows that its just a way to help the person to transition, so they are not sitting alone and depressed, its more like sitting shiva. Obviously it takes more than one evening for such a person to recover and move on, it takes years to become whole again, but the "party" or dinner event or an evening with the girls, is just a way to say that we are there for each other. At least that has been my experience. G-d willing, there should be as few divorces as possible and none of us should have to go through it in life.

(25) Anonymous, December 22, 2010 10:00 PM

Divorce is Heartwrenching

As a woman married 27 years who is now going through an amicable divorce, I am stunned that such a emotionally wrought decision could be mocked in such a way. For me divorce is a nightmare, comparable to mourning...although it is a mutual decision, the sadness is all-encompassing. Celebration is that last thing on either my or my soon to be ex-husbands mind. When my divorce is finalized, I plan only to go to the mikveh in order to physically, spiritually and emotionally cleanse and renew myself. For me, it will symbolize the beginning of my new life.

(24) b sloan, December 22, 2010 9:58 PM

not so new

I remember friends of friends having a divorce party in Chicago no later than 1970. Then they and their child all moved to Denver. Maybe it is becoming more common but it is not new to me. With divorce so rampant today, perhaps it is not surprising. People talk about "starter" marriages too. i wonder if they really understand going in how painful it would be to divorce.

(23) Jamaican Guy, December 22, 2010 5:38 PM

Your right

yes it bad thing to make party's but can i have the cake throw

(22) Yehudis, December 22, 2010 2:56 AM

Rabbi Solomon, you are 100% right. It's is a private matter

(21) Anonymous, December 22, 2010 12:39 AM

I'm having a party next week

Why? To celebrate that I've never been arrested. Why would I celebrate? If people can celebrate their failed marriages, surely I can celebrate my clean record. I'm kidding, of course. However, I totally agree with you, Rabbi, that making a celebration of a failed marriage is absolutely ridiculous. Celebrations are not for the mundane facets of life.

(20) Anonymous, December 22, 2010 12:03 AM

GET Divorce Party!

I know that you don;t think that a divorce should be celebrated, but when a GET was withheld and a woman finally gets it and can move on with her life- that is the party to be celebrated.

(19) joe, December 21, 2010 11:07 PM


You come off a little too pro-divorce in the way you said it here that you think it's needed sometimes. You made it sound like it's an outpatient surgery but it really is horrible and marriage couseling and trying to save it is vital esp. when there are kids.

(18) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 10:08 PM

the other side of the coin

I believe that there might be some historical precedence for the celebration of a divorce. It is told that a couple who were very devoted to each other, but who had not produced children after 10 years of marriage, consulted their Rabbi. They were instructed to divorce, but that just as they had celebrated their marriage with a feast, so, too, they should end their marriage with a feast. At the feast the husband, who cherished his wife, told her that she might choose the one thing in their home that she most valued, to take with her. The wife plied her husband with alcoholic beverages until her husband was inebriated and fell asleep. At that point the wife instructed her servants to carry her husband to her father's house. The next morning,confused at finding himself in his wife's parents' house, he asked why he was there. His wife told him that he had granted her permission to take the one thing in his house that she valued most, and so she had chosen him! The Rabbi ruled that the couple could remain married. I, too, am divorced. The rabbi involved in my case instructed my ex-spouse and me to go out to dinner the night before the get was to be given. He recognized that, although spouses can get divorced, the children don't get divorced from either parent, and both parents need to maintain a civil relationship in the best interests of the children they share. If the children are to be well-adjusted, they cannot be caught as pawns in an ongoing struggle between former spouses. It was essential to build open lines of communication to benefit our children. B"H, our five children were all well-adjusted, kids, knowing that they were loved by both parents, and that it was okay for them to love both parents without having to fear that they were betraying one parent by loving the other. That said, the examples cited by Rabbi Salomon are admittedly way over the top, but the concept of a feast/party to celebrate a divorce is essentially sound.

(17) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 9:05 PM

I've been divorced for 7 years and remarried 6 months ago. For me, the divorce was a blessing and brought peace and stability after an emotional roller coaster and abusive 6 year marriage. My advice to young people is to wait to get married. Wait until you are mature and know yourself as well as how to read others around you. Also, marry someone much closer to you in age - no more than 10 years older. There's a fine line between those generational barriers and commonalities. Had I been smarter/more mature in many ways, I wouldn't have had the heartache, nor the divorce and get. I am newly remarried to someone else, happy, and vowing that I will make this work and divorce isn't a choice either of us will choose again.

(16) , December 21, 2010 8:51 PM

yes it is but can usend some of that cake

(15) YosefRaphael, December 21, 2010 8:00 PM

Feel sorry we rush into marriage to do this!!!!

sometimes we grow apart from each other. and then to celebrate a death makes me cry cause we sink so low. dont marry if You are not willing to fight to work at it ,otherwise just know we as a people will disappear from the face of the world. without our enemies lifting up a finger!!!!

(14) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 7:18 PM

I am divorced and single at this time. Unless there is violence or abuse in some way, marriage is a commitment and each person must give at least 100% or more. People do change and I am hopeful that they evolve as a couple in order for the marriage to continue to work. However, people will be people, but parties to celebrate a divorce? No, it would seem that heartlessness is nothing to celebrate. The action taken to end violence or other types of abuse is a very serious undertaking and I believe it should be viewed as such. After this kind of reason, then the ending is a good thing. The abuse has been stopped. Life can go on and upward bound with Hashem, joy can again be attained with the appropriate person. Sometimes people have very odd ways of looking at things and those ways can be abhorrent.

(13) Beri, December 21, 2010 7:05 PM

I don't know; it's complicated and a very mixed bag.

I never heard of the ring and cake business, but celebrating being out of a miserable situation has some merits. I don't believe anyone can comment on what goes on between 2 people in the privacy of their own home and within their relationship. From the outside it may appear a certain way, and others would bet money that they "know" what's going on with a couple. But inside the home, and inside the marriage, no one is there except for the 2 of them (and HaSh-m), and only they know how bad it is. So I'd say let's refrain from judging others. We never know how it is on the inside, and since we can never be inside someone else's marriage, then we can never really know. I also want to say kol hakavod to those who can move on with their lives and not carry the sorrow with them always. That takes a lot of strength.

(12) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 6:28 PM

Shoe on the other foot

Looking at divorce SELFISHLY, the "I'm better off and more happy now" person should ask "If my "settlement" was like my ex's, would I be saying this?" If I didn't have the kids, but my spouse did, and if my spouse got the most financially out at the end and not me, would I be saying that divorce was better? And if I didn't get "payments" but I had to give "payments," would divorce be good? Instead of forcing the marriage to work [which is how we go into marriage] we choose the cop out because "I want to get more." So we change our own vows. And instead of giving up him/her to the other woman/man why are we not suing the other woman/man for "attempted assasination" or "assasination" of the marriage? [Lawyers want to suck out of the marriage too instead of bring the two together.] Instead of blaming the spouse, why are we not asking ourselves "Did I GIVE to (ie. love) my spouse or did I want to TAKE from my spouse?" Or perhaps, "What is MY problem? Why did I abuse my spouse?" (Physically, verbally, mentally, etc.) Why are we not asking ourselves NOW (before divorce), "Is there anything at all that WE can do to prevent the [marriage] crash?" But today instead, it all about the selfish ME. We choose to not judge our spouses favorably and we choose to not trust the other. And we choose to get all we can out of the marriage and we choose to use and misuse our spouse...to get for ME. "I (ME) want out. It's all about ME.

(11) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 6:00 PM

An amicable separation is a necessary condition for a divorce party

Dear Rabbi, you seem to oversee that a couple has to a g r e e to a party, and ths is a great step forward. To many divorces end with people not wanting to talk to each other - e v e r again. There is a quantum of good in a n y evil condition pertaining us humans.

(10) Anonymous, December 21, 2010 3:37 PM

divorce parties

Welcome to the interesting world of "no fault" divorce. As a single mom who got divorced for several, legitimate and necessary reasons, I'm personally sickened by the trivialization of the institution of marriage and all that it represents. Divorce parties, offensive as they are, are merely the latest in a series of trends that reflect that. Meanwhile, politicians, while doing nothing to hold people responsible for their actions that lead to divorce, waste our time and money talking about amending the Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Seriously??? Whatever one's personal opinion of homosexuality and gay marriage, it is clearly not something that warrants amending the Constitution, written as it was to insure the rights of ALL of its citizens (including those of homosexuals). If they are so concerned about the state of the American family and the sanctity of marriage, why don't they turn their attention to the effects on the millions of children whose heterosexual families are torn apart by divorce each year? Oh yeah... That could prove to be problematic for them, since so many of them show such a gross lack of regard for their own marriages and families. The whole thing offends my personal sensibilities and just makes me sick to my stomach.

(9) cheryl, December 21, 2010 3:06 PM

divorce/swallowing cut glass in slow motion.

My parents where married 56 yrs until my father passed.I am so grateful to have come from love.I took my marriage vows very seriously and I do not know if I will ever marry again because people don't understand the committment involved. At least ,I can say that I never wanted to hurt someone I loved so much.It is 7 yrs later and I am still not over it.I wish my x husband well.The only party I have now is I appreciate everything I have.Grateful to come from a Jewish home that my parents loved each other so much. I celebrate life.It pains me to hear that people are disposable and to not care what happens to someone you went before your family and G-D and not take that seriously.

(8) Rena, December 21, 2010 2:34 PM

nothing to celebrate

I am divorced (almost three years), even though it was my choice and I have no regrets and I have real peace in my life right now, I cried like a baby throughout the whole get process. I expressed to my closest friends that I felt I was mourning a death and that I felt something like a shiva would be appropriate. I know the comparison well because unfortunately I have that experience too. Even though I know it was the right thing to do and my kids and I are in a much healthier place, it is and was a tragedy - nothing to celebrate. Our lives were not whole then and it is not whole now, G-d willing, Hashem will send us a new husband/father figure that will complete our family in all the positive ways it can.

(7) sharon, December 20, 2010 4:12 PM


I am divorced and getting a get was extremely important for me. I understand the religious reasons why ,but more importantly it provides closure. The intimate undoing ceremony in the presence of G-d ,ones soon to be X husband and necessary witnesses encapsulates the seriousness of breaking up what is meant to be a sacred unit. From this point on, you are a different person. Divorce is the death of a marriage and people cope in different ways . We cannot pass judgment on how a person morns.Outwardly it might seem callous to celebrate .There are no set rules of behaviour because this is a very personal journey. The road that we have to take now is for a completely new journey. I had a divorce brunch and I am pleased that I did.

(6) peter kraynik, December 20, 2010 10:51 AM

Before Flood, Sodom /Gomorrah

Well received Rabbi. It is this kind of trivialized thinking the adversary is working towards. Water down the sacredness of life leaving values behind. If the process is gradual, it is more effective and lasting. What would have shocked us years ago; we go ho hum today,SOP.

(5) smb, December 20, 2010 5:36 AM

good point

you have a point, while it might be neccessary for some, and it feels good for them to be free, a reverse party is not the best thing. If they want, they could do something else like go on a fun outing with a friend or two and have lunch or something. It's best to not dwell on it but move forward, especially when there are kids involved.

(4) SusanE, December 20, 2010 2:32 AM

Divorce Parties sound a bit Tacky.

Divorce is tough. Being with friends can be in order after it is over. But I never heard of a Divorce Party like the ones you describe. That is just so tactless, and wrong on so many levels. Being with friends and enjoying yourself is fine, but the Party and Photos and ring is over the line. The party thrower hasn't gotten over their 'ex' yet. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ These divorced people haven't heard that "Living well is the best revenge."

(3) Rosen, December 20, 2010 1:15 AM

contemplating responsibilities and consequences of marriage and divorce

I'm reminded of the saying that "love is blind". Therefore, it's important to love smart and factor in all the risks and consequences of a marriage and/or divorce. Otherwise, it can be a lot easier to NOT get married in the first place which can save time, emotion, finances, etc. So, don't let chemistry and infatuation get too much in the way when it comes to persuing a relationship for marriage.

(2) L Kanterman, December 19, 2010 8:34 PM

divorce as "gangrene"

My best friend from college was told by his wife of 35 years (and 3 kids) once the last kid went off to college, "I don't want to be married to you any more." I was very upset for my friend. There seemed to be no good reason for this divorce. Are there good reasons for divorce? Of course. Cheating, abuse, etc. But not "we've grown apart" or "maybe I could do better". I like the "gangrene" metaphor for divorce. If you have gangrene in your leg, you will cut your leg off to save your life. But you wouldn't cut off your leg for an ingrown toenail. And that seems to be the problem for me these days. Too many people rush to get divorced over trivial things, things that could be fixed with some effort. They assume things will be better after the divorce without considering the hurt, pain and tremendous expense (both financial and emotional) to all parties involved.

(1) Anonymous, December 19, 2010 7:13 PM

Not something to celebrate but....

Dear Rabbi, My brother in law was having an affair with a younger woman for 8 years. What do they call that? He traded in the old model for a new one? Well, my sister in law (wife number one) gave herself a 40th Anniversary Present. She Divorced the Bum. I'm not for a party but I'd really like to take my sister in law out for a nice dinner to celebrate her decision.


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