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Woman Allowed to Remarry First Spouse

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Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has allowed a divorced woman to return to her first husband even though she had remarried. The ruling was given despite the halachic ban on such cases.

Yasef’s ruling was made in the case of a couple who were wed in a civil marriage in the Soviet Union. After arriving in Israel, they divorced according to halacha. Because both are Jews, rabbinical courts prefer to perform a regular divorce ruling, even if a couple had not married according to the halacha, “to avoid any doubts.”

Yosef explained that actually there was no need for a divorce in the case of a civil marriage, since it is not really recognized as a marriage in Jewish law. Therefore, in this specific case, Yosef actually nullified the first marriage, and thus the ban on a divorcee remarrying her first husband was not violated. The woman said she wished to return to her first husband because their son suffered from the separation.

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