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There have recently been some very high-profile cases of men refusing to give their wives Gittin (plural for "Get", the Jewish divorce document required to free a woman to remarry).

Reading about one of these cases led me to read about a husband who had abandoned his family and disappeared underground without giving his wife a Get. Nobody seems to know where he is, not even those who might be inclined to defend him from charges of abandonment.

There may be any number of reasons why this man disappeared, but somehow one strange possibility jumped out at me: what if he's become a woman? Suppose he were tracked down, despite this drastic change. At that point, Halachically, could he give his wife a Get if he wanted to? Would he still have the status of a man, at least for that purpose? Would he be deemed by Halachah as mentally competent to give the Get?

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would he also be patur in mitzva zman gerama like a woman? dont think so. being a man is not just a physical thing. the souls are different. –  ray Nov 6 '13 at 21:19
@ray, ok, so would he be deemed in Halachah to be mentally competent to give the Get? Maybe I should change the question. –  Seth J Nov 6 '13 at 21:22
do you mean to ask whether he is considered a shoteh (crazy)? –  ray Nov 6 '13 at 21:31
@ray, I just want to know if he can. Whatever reasons may exist that he cannot would answer the question in the negative. If anyone has studied the issue and written that no such concerns exist, that would be an answer in the affirmative. –  Seth J Nov 6 '13 at 21:32
I seem to recall that the Tzitz Eliezer rules that sex changes work halachically to change one's gender (though they're assur lechatchila), while some other poskim rule that they do not change one's halachic gender. So it would seem like the problem is only according to the shita of the Tzitz Eliezer. –  Malper Nov 6 '13 at 21:35

1 Answer 1

Yes, he would certainly be allowed to give his wife a get. According to the vast majority of poskim, he is a man despite whatever surgery he had. He obviously does not meet the qualifications for a shoteh. According to the minority view of the Tzitz Eliezer, he would not have to give his wife a get, because the marriage dissolved when he "became a woman."

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This answer would be much improved if you could cite your sources. Can you give some examples of poskim who hold by the majority? Where does the Tzitz Eliezer say what he said? –  Charles Koppelman Nov 6 '13 at 22:11
See R. Bleich, Contemporary Halakhic Problems, vol. 1, p. 100ff. –  wfb Nov 6 '13 at 22:33

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