Monday, April 22, 2024

14 War Widows Perform ‘Halachically Necessary But Unpleasant’ Chalitza Ceremony


14 widows who lost their husbands during the Swords of Steel war have recently undergone the Chalitza ceremony which enables them to remarry, according to figures released by the Beis Din.

In a special session last week during the vacation period, Rabbi David Lau together with Rabbi Michael Amos and Rabbi Eliezer Igra performed the ceremony for one of the widows, who are considered chained and unable to marry until they are released by the brother of their deceased husband.

M, one of the women, told the Yisrael Hayom newspaper that “in the end the procedure was fine. The Rabbis were very sensitive and Rabbi Lau led the ceremony as gently and as genially as possible in the circumstances.”

T, who also lost her husband in the war, said that “It was hard to hear the details, many of which were new to me, especially that I was an Agunah (chained) and after the ceremony will be considered like a divorced woman who cannot marry a Kohen.”

T said that she had gone to a rabbi who accompanies her family to sit with him and understand better the procedure. She said that it could be “uncomfortable and painful” and discussed the matter with her brother-in-law before undergoing the procedure.

T said that “This is not a pleasant procedure but one which is halachically necessary. Just as one marries via the rabbinate, this is also via the rabbinate. I still believe that there should be changes internally, with rabbinic approval, to streamline the procedure.”

T added that widows should go to a rabbi they know to understand both the technical and spiritual aspects of the process.

Another widow said that she had not known that such ceremonies still existed and thought that they were only in the period of the Temple.

“I married the man I loved so much. I lost him in battle and now have to deal with the complex, painful and embarrassing situation. On the other hand, his family are warm and friendly and I believe we’ll get through it despite the great stress which I have been under since.”


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