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    Marital war – Ki Tetzei

    The sidra begins with the tragedy of war but as well as describing how wars are waged between nations (Deut. 21), it speaks of marital war when a husband and wife have a falling out.

    The Rambam says that the Torah is designed to create peace in the world, but here we seem to see the opposite – the Torah accepting and legislating marital breakdown.

    The lesson is that the ideal is unity between a couple, but if divorce is unpreventable even the altar in the sanctuary weeps tears of remorse (Gittin 90b) and the whole people of Israel is affected. A divorce document has twelve lines since all twelve tribes are affected when a marriage comes to an end.

    In addition the divorce procedure should be carried out in a realistic and respectful way.

    The document is severed, which shows that the dreams and hopes with which the marriage began are at an end; both parties must now begin a new era. When they meet or even think of each other from now onwards it must be with respect and dignity.

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