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I recall learning, but am unsure of the source, that a couple who has been married for 10 years but has no children either should get divorced. What is the source and reason for this? Is it an obligation or just recommended as a praiseworthy thing? Does it matter if the husband already fulfilled the mitzvah of being fruitful and multiplying?

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The saddest Halachah ever deserves reference to the saddest Gemara ever. –  Seth J Mar 4 '13 at 21:11
    
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/35423 –  msh210 Feb 11 '14 at 16:01

3 Answers 3

The Rama (EH 1:3) writes that nowadays we are not accustomed to force people to get divorced over this issue. The Bet Shemuel there adds that in such a case the husband may divorce his wife against her will if he chooses to, without worrying about the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom.

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I heard (sorry, no sources), that going to Eretz Yisrael is a segulah for children. So a couple who has not gone there does not need to divorce because "they have not tried everything". –  Ariel Mar 4 '13 at 21:21
    
Rabbeinu Asher? –  sam Dec 29 '14 at 23:42
    
@sam Yevamos (hebrewbooks.org/…) ת"ר נשא אשה ושהה עמה עשר שנים ולא ילדה יוציא ויתן כתובה שמא לא זכה להבנות ממנה אע"פ שאין ראיה לדבר זכר לדבר מקץ עשר שנים לשבת אברם בארץ כנען ללמדך שאין ישיבת חו"ל עולה לו מן המנין –  Shmuel Brin Mar 20 at 22:03
    
The Rosh has a very interesting piece on that Misha ayin sham –  sam Mar 20 at 22:15

The current answers don't address the question in detail. So here goes:

What is the source and reason for this?

The source is the Mishna in Yevamos 64a and the subsequent discussion in the Talmud there. The reason is that the man is commanded to have children, and after 10 years with no pregnancy, he needs to do something else to fulfill the Mitzvah. It follows from that if we know the issue is with the man, there is no such obligation at all. (The Talmud there raises this possibility, and it is further discussed in the sources further on).

Is it an obligation or just recommended as a praiseworthy thing?

The Rambam (Ishus 15:8) says it is obligatory and non-negotiable (i.e. he is forced, just as he is forced to marry), and S.A. E.H. 154:10 paskens this way. The Rama, however (E.H. 1:3 and 154:10) says that in most issues of marriage issues we no longer force anybody to do these things (insist they get married, insist they divorce, etc.).

The Pischei Teshuva 154 s.v. 27 brings opinions that one is not personally obligated to divorce either and brings a lengthy discussion as to why. The upshot is that there are several opinions that this law only applies to someone living in Israel, and even according to the other opinions, there are limits to how much one has to lose in order to fulfill a positive commandment, and losing a wife of 10 years can be a tremendous loss. Note the context he is talking about is divorce where marrying a second additional wife is not possible due to the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom.

Does it matter if the husband already fulfilled the mitzvah of being fruitful and multiplying?

Yes it does. If he already has fulfilled the Mitzvah, this whole discussion doesn't apply.

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@RobertS.Barnes, notice the contradiction between 8 and 9 (plain - he gives her the Kesuba, vs. it depends). Sometimes he wants to divorce her over this issue, vs. sometimes he is forced to. When he wants to, he can claim I only married her assuming she would have children and it is her problem. If he is being forced to, he can't claim that, he still wants to be married to her. The Rambam doesn't discuss what happens if he is known to be the problem (probably not very practical in his time), but the Talmud does, as do others. –  Yishai Dec 29 '14 at 21:18
    
@RobertS.Barnes, she is believed because she would know better, he may not even be aware, but as you said the issue under discussion (which isn't impotence exactly) isn't dispositive about his ability to ever have children in any event. But 9, 10 and 11 aren't necessarily discussing when they both want to stay married. 8 is. –  Yishai Dec 30 '14 at 13:54
    
@RobertS.Barnes, You aren't addressing the contradiction between 8 and 9. And there is no single "no fault" case. There can be many cases - she wants out to be able to have children, he wants out to be able to have children, they both want to stay married, or they both want out but argue about the money. Nor is it reasonable to say that the Rambam in all cases lists all possible exceptions. –  Yishai Dec 30 '14 at 14:56
    
Let us continue this discussion in chat. –  Yishai Dec 30 '14 at 14:57
    
You should mention that he has the option of taking a second wife, but that due the Cherem Ashkenazim wouldn't do this, and make clear that "the issue is with the man" means the man is totally infertile and basically a saris, as the issue could be with the man yet if it's short of 100% infertility he could still be required to either take a second wife or be forced to divorce. –  Robert S. Barnes Dec 31 '14 at 13:57

Supplemental to above answer citing Talmud Yevamos, the "original" source is Breishit 16:3 which states that Sarah gave Hagar to Avraham after the end of 10 years living together in Cana'an. Rashi, there, references Yevamot.

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