If your marriage must come to an end, do it the right way—
with wisdom, practicality, and understanding.
What does Judaism tell you about divorce? What guidance, strength, and insight can Judaism provide?
In this first-of-its-kind handbook, Perry Netter—divorc, father, congregational rabbi, and pastoral counselor—shows how wholeness can be found in the midst of separation and divorce. With a title drawn from the words of the eleventh-century biblical commentator known as Rashi, Divorce Is a Mitzvah< provides practical wisdom, information, and strength from a Jewish perspective for those experiencing the challenging life-transition of divorce.
Drawing on wisdom from centuries of biblical and rabbinic teachings, as well as modern psychological research, Netter offers suggestions for transitioning through the stages of separation and building a new life.
This indispensable guide for people in crisis—and the family members, friends, and counselors who interact with them—shows us how to transform a traumatic time of life into one of growth, right behavior, and greater spiritual understanding.
If marriage is a holy act, what does that make divorce? A rabbi, divorced father of three and the child of divorce, Netter writes about divorce with clarity on both practical and emotional issues and doesn't hesitate to share his own pain and growth. Jewish literature, both classical and contemporary, he says, is uncharacteristically silent about divorce. Conventional wisdom still interprets it as a sin, an embarrassment to family and community. One exception is Rashi, the 11th-century biblical commentator, who states succinctly that "divorce is a mitzvah"(a commandment or good deed) in his remarks on a passage in Deuteronomy about granting a bill of divorce. "To seek the holy and the sacred is what I believe to be the central question governing divorce," writes Netter. Each chapter tackles common questions that Netter addresses with tact and sensitivity, placing them in appropriate psychological, legal, emotional, financial and religious contexts: Why is this happening to me? Should I leave or not? What do I do with all this anger? What is the ritual of the "get" (Jewish bill of divorce)? Do I litigate or mediate? How do we continue raising children together? Powerful biblical examples recast the growth process that often accompanies divorce. Rabbi Laura Geller's afterword on new Jewish divorce rituals adds a welcome feminist perspective. Netter's guide reads like an extended visit to the rabbi's study especially comforting because this rabbi knows all too well what his visitor is going through.