Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson / Flash 90
Israel's Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau

Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau on Tuesday ordered to delay the burial of the mother of a Get refuser who has been keeping his ex-wife in a state of Aguna (literally: anchored, unable to remarry) for more than a decade.

Five years ago, the man remarried in an unofficial rabbinical court, leaving his first wife without a Get (Jewish divorce document) which keeps her from being remarried in a religious ceremony.

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The Chief Rabbi ordered Israel’s burial society to refrain from burying the mother, whose coffin had arrived overnight from the US to Israel, until the order of the United States Rabbinical Court is upheld.

Rabbi Lau said: “We hope this move will bring about a speedy Get and the woman will be released from her moorings after so many years.”

In their judgment, the American rabbinic tribunal wrote:

“After the husband has anchored his wife for some 15 years, and also unlawfully married another wife about five years ago, and he has already been ruled a refuser and is refusing to divorce his wife after a divorce bill had been issued by a United States court … We the rabbinical tribunal decide and order according to halacha not to allow his mother’s burial in a Jewish grave until the son divorces his wife.”

The court emphasizes that the mother supported her son in refusing a Get to his wife.

The son himself did not fly to Israel to attend his mother’s funeral for fear of being arrested.

Update: On Tuesday afternoon, the Get refuser allegedly announced that he would obey the court and give his Agunah wife a proper Get. The husband was required to place a financial deposit with the court to ensure that he appear speedily at the court and obey its rulings. As a result his mother’s funeral will take place as scheduled.

We will update the report if and when the woman actually receives her Get.

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