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A Joyous Divorce

A Joyous Divorce


A woman was married for many years to her husband, but had not had children. Her husband decided to divorce her, so he went to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, of blessed memory.

Rabbi Shimon told him that just as they had celebrated with joy their mutual bond when they got married, so should the severance of their mutual bond be celebrated in joy.

The husband therefore prepared a great feast, at the height of which he called his wife and asked her in his joy to choose whatever she desired of his possessions to be hers, and said that he would not refuse her anything.

What did she do? She served him so much wine that he got drunk and fell asleep on his bed. She then told her servant to take him on his bed into her bedroom in her father’s house.

The following morning, when he awoke and found himself in his wife’s home, he asked her why he was brought there—wasn’t it clear that he intended to divorce her? She replied, “Didn’t you tell me that I could take whatever I wanted? I desire not gold, nor silver, nor precious gems, nor pearls. All I want is you. You yourself are the sole object of my desire.”

When the husband heard this, he became once again enamored of his wife, and took her back as before. And in this merit the Holy One, blessed be He, granted them children.

Midrash Rabbah, Shir HaShirim 1
Excerpted from The Mystery of Marriage by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh.
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natasha kowalski manchester uk July 8, 2015

This story tells me the you must be happy and love truly love what you have and you shall be rewarded Reply

Anonymous Oviedo, FL February 6, 2013

I recently went through an uncontested simple divorce. (We had nothing of any value to split. Our children are adults. Quite honestly, telling them about the divorce was the toughest part of the entire ordeal.) As per the story, I really enjoyed reading it. And, since my "husband" (can't refer to him as my ex) and I have a really good relationship, I can understand her request. This is the first story of its kind that I have read, but now that I have done so, I will certainly look forward to reading more from the Midrash. My formal Jewish education was very limited as a child. Only when my own children attended a Hebrew Day School did I really begin learning so much more. And our local Chabad and its Rabbi (and his wife) have always been very welcoming. I was going through my mail today and found all this "new" material. I look forward to learning new things. Reply

Anonymous August 25, 2011

feb 12 2008 - Anon PA "It's OK Daddy, at least Mama doesn't yell at you anymore. "

I like this post. The child sees what his mother is like. The child understands the nature of the father and mother. This child will grow up knowing right from wrong. The divorce in this case clearly gives the youngster an important life lesson. He has free will to not make the same mistake when his turn for marriage rolls around.

Your story is uncommon, nevertheless, it needs to be told. Reply

Anonymous saipan, mp August 25, 2011

joyous divorce I am not divorced and loved this story so much!
and touched by lightning with the comments before me.
I hope that everyone can stand on a solid marriage foundation before they come into agreement to be married and bring forth children in their life. this is not only very sad for one of the couples but worst on their children too! *sobbing hard* Reply

Anonymous wisc June 1, 2011

love You gotta love this joke. Told with a little wink and a nod.

In real life, it's great when a divorce happens and both parties feel happy with the situation. And if both are not happy, hopefully, one of them is. Reply

Anonymous Virginia Beach, VA February 3, 2011

Response to I think G-d may have allowed this to happen in order to reinvigorate their marriage and in the process allow them each to perform a mitzvah.

The husband was completely generous, allowing his wife to take anything, and the wife showed her great love for her husband - which of course the husband returns meaning she both showed love and caused him to do so as well.

In the end, everything turned out far better than before the husband had sought the divorce. Reply

lisa gutknecht chattanooga, tn January 30, 2011

The Shabbat I clearly see the reason it is a midrash for Shuir HaShuirim, known as the Holy of Holies. At the separation of the Shabbat, Israel is being offered a parting gift, the reference here is intoxication of emotion/caused by the wine of torah. Israel the bride seeks only to remain near to G-d, her husband. The Great and Final Shabbat is granted in this love story. Reply

Anonymous Roanoke, VA January 28, 2010

What a jerk. What a jerk. Obviously they were intended for each other because otherwise there is no reason that a woman such as she should love such a man. Reply

Rebekah Yesilevsky Mar Vista, CA via September 17, 2009

What a beautiful story! Absolutely endearing! Reply

Anonymous Sterling Heights, MI/USA June 15, 2008

Joyous Divorce Anonymous of KC, ks, you couldn't have spoken any more perfectly what I've been feeling and living for the last 2 years. Last night my hubby of 20 years, in a drunken state as per usual on the weekends, handed me his decision to get a divorce so he could move on with his life. After all, "if you're crazy enough to follow Judaism, then you're crazy enough to go out and buy a gun and start shooting people!" -- his words...

Grieving in Michigan Reply

Anonymous Kansas City, ks via May 24, 2008

Joyous Divorce Wouldn't it be grand if the husband had the same desire for his wife that she--from this posting--clrearly had for her husband...too often the wife is put aside in our society by the husband looking to 'fulfill his desire' with little regard for the other members of his "fulfill his desire" i include, all aspects that take him away from the wife and children in which 'his' needs are more valued consciencely or not, than that of the family; drunkeness, workisms, affairs etc...

thus far it appear that one of the commentors is male while the blessing of the other commentors are get it together...this from a male who grew up taking his father's role early in life because he chose not to be with his family...what a shame and deep sadness it is for me while i think about some very dear friends who have divorced this year. Reply

Marc D. Goldberg, Esq. Los Angeles, CA February 16, 2008

Joyous Divorce As a divorce attorney, as well as having gone through a divorce myself, I found this story to be absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I am going to share it with all my new clients. Sure its not a way to make money, but I approach my practice with the idea that the money isnt everything. I have done things that have actually saved a few marriages since I started my practice. I agree with the anonymous poster from Brooklyn--I too live with the guilt of depriving our daughters of a home with 2 loving parents. But in the past two years I have done everything I can to make amends with their mom and to at least give them two parents who have become good friends (not to mention that we only live 2 miles apart) . We now do many things together as a family and I am hoping that this year, for the first time since 1999, we will all be together for the Passover Seder. Reply

Anonymous Philadelphia, PA February 12, 2008

Joyous Divorce Anonymous, you have spoken my soul. Every day I think about my poor son and daughter-to-be (adoption begun long before the divorce) and how the hateful, oppositional nightmare that my once loving wife became even as I struggled to succeed in a new career in the city of her choosing has rent their lives asunder, hers before she even knows what she has lost. To his credit, my son says, "It's OK, Daddy, at least Mama doesn't yell at you anymore." Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn , NY November 13, 2006

Joyous Divorce I truly was touched by this article. I wish all people who contemplate divorce would read this, and examine if the reasons that they want to split up are truly valid. And it is touching that people who are having problems conceiving are not breaking up, just because there are provsions for this in the Torah.

Also, I am divorced for other reasons, but as I pursue shidduch prospects, and I hear the terrible reasons given by the divorced men why they are divorced, I see that the reasons for my divorce are superfical in comparsion. And despite the hard work that I have done to save it, I feel bad that things that could be easily worked on, if my ex husband would have worked with me, and not against me- maybe we could have saved our 13 year marriage, and not destroyed the life, that we shared with our precious son! We truly deprived our son from having 2 loving parents raise him. I live with this guilt everyday. But I could not save a marriage alone! Reply

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