Jewish law says that if a couple has no children after ten years of marriage, and the man is not allowed to take a second wife, they must get a divorce so the man can remarry and try again to fulfill the mitzvah of procreating. [Yevamot 64a; Rambam, Ishut 15:8]

But the law is not enforced, even when the couple is very observant. The last Lubavitcher Rebbe is a case in point. The Rema says in EH 1:3: "Nowadays, the custom is that one does not force in regards to this." But how can he make optional, with no explanation, a clear Talmudic injunction codified in stone by the Rambam?

Is there a discussion of circumstances under which does the injunction not apply?

  • 1
    How about "how come we don't enforce a couple to get divorced if they haven't had children, considering it's an explicit law in the gemarra and Shulchan Aruch"?
    – robev
    Oct 13, 2020 at 18:36
  • ----------rephrased Oct 13, 2020 at 18:49
  • 1
    @doubleAA -- So, why don't you reopen? Oct 13, 2020 at 19:35
  • There was a rebbe in London who had no children, so he used to divorce his wife every 10 years and remarry her.
    – The GRAPKE
    Oct 13, 2020 at 23:47
  • Perhaps more pointedly, why do Sephardim, not usually known to rely on the Rema, also hold leniently in this case? Oct 14, 2020 at 19:43


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