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    Sanctions for adultery – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. I am aware that adultery is forbidden in Judaism, but what are the sanctions against a person who cheats on their spouse?

    A. The Biblical law concerning adultery (Ex. 20:13, Deut. 5:17) clearly establishes the principle of marital faithfulness. Husband and wife must be able to trust each other. Cheating on a spouse may be thought to be fun, but it undermines the fabric of one’s marriage.

    It is all very well for someone to say, “I’ve forgiven my husband (or wife)”. But it’s not so easy, and things can never be the same again.

    In the Torah the attitude to adultery is plain: “If a man commits adultery with a married woman, if he commits adultery with his neighbour’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death” (Lev. 20:10).

    Today, when there is no death penalty in Judaism, there should be a gett for the woman who has committed adultery and, according to many authorities, the man who has committed adultery should also give his wife a gett. The man and woman who have been adulterous are not permitted to marry.

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