Gittin 85 - 90
“G-d acted with kindness to the Jewish People by hastening their exile at the time of King Tzidkiyahu while those who had previously been exiled at the time of King Yachoniya were still there (in Bavel).”
This “kindness” that
But, really, what kind of “kindness” is it to be “hurried into exile”?
The Sage Mareimar answers this question with the above teaching regarding the exile at the time of King Tzidkiyahu being followed relatively quickly by the exile of King Yochaniya. The latter exile followed soon after the earlier one, eleven years later.
Another explanation for the “kindness of being hurried into exile” is offered by the Sage Ulla. He taught that
- Gittin 88a
Rabbi Elazar said, “Whoever divorces his first wife, even the Altar sheds tears for him.”
After the mishna on amud alef teaches the rulings of Beit Shammai, Beit Hillel and Rabbi Akiva regarding what constitutes “grounds for divorce”, based on how to interpret the verse in the Chumash regarding an acceptable reason to permit divorce (Duet. 24:1), Rabbi Elazer cites an additional source that discourages divorce if at all possible. He quotes a prophecy of Malachi, “And this second thing you do, to cover the Altar of the Gd with tears, weeping, and sighing, such that He will no longer turn to the offering, nor will He take anything willingly from your hand. And you will say, ‘Why?’ Because the Gd testified between you and the wife of your youth, that you dealt treacherously with her, and she is your companion and the wife of your covenant.” (Malachi 2:13-14)
Based on these verses Rabbi Elazar teaches, “Whoever divorces his first wife, even the Altar sheds tears for him.”Thismay sound like merely a poignant idea but not a legal issue, especially since nowadays we are without merit of having a Beit Hamikdash with an actual Altar. However, his teaching is in fact cited as halacha in the Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha’Ezer 119:3. The Rema cites Rabbi Elazar’s teaching as reason to forbid divorce even in a situation where it is permitted, providing the wife was not unfaithful (in which case it would be a mitzvah to divorce), or unless the woman also wants to divorce. The Mechaber states that one should “not hurry” to divorce (unless required by halacha), based on this same teaching of Rabbi Elazar.
- Gittin 90b