According to halacha, what conditions need to exist before a husband can give his wife a gett (Jewish divorce), or before a wife can accept a gett from her husband?

In the letter below from Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, it suggests that an enforceable agreement is extremely important - and maybe even required - before a gett can be given, or otherwise there are risks that the gett may become invalid if the wife violates the agreement.

I am searching for information and halachic sources on this topic

Rabbi Feinstein Letter

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    Welcome to MiYodeya and thanks for this first question. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Feb 24, 2023 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


Complicated subject. Rabbi Yonah Reiss of the Beth Din of America has lectures on this matter. He noted that a hundred+ years ago in Eastern Europe, the couple would settle everything, square it all away, and then the very final step would be the Gett.

Today in America, common practice is for the Gett to be the very first step after the couple have moved out and decided it is over. Then they can kill each other fighting over the money, kids, or the like. (The concern is if it's left till the end, it may never happen, or be used as leverage.)

If I'm reading this correctly, the issue raised by the Rabbis Feinstein is specifically if the order is: a.) they agree to some settlement. b.) The Gett is given. c.) She reneges on said agreement.

Again, if I'm reading it correctly, the issue here is that it now looks like the whole Gett was under false premises. Suppose first the couple settles (between themselves) that he'd get 50%; then they do a Gett; then she refuses to hand over the keys unless she gets 60%. He could then claim "I only agreed to the Gett with the assumption that I'd get 50%" ... leaving the Gett possibly invalid.

That's kind of a niche case. There are several ways to avoid it, fortunately, as I'd see it:

A.) Don't do the Gett until everything is totally done and squared away.

B.) Do the Gett after a legally-binding arbitration agreement is signed, so no one in their right mind will try to renege on it.

C.) Just don't renege on the settlement! This letter isn't saying "you can't do the Gett at this point"; it's telling the unhappy ex to deal with the terms of the agreement. Once Rav Moshe told such a person to back down from their complaint, the Gett remained valid and everyone went their own way.

  • Regarding the possibility that he might claim "I only did the gett because I thought x, y, and z", do you know where I can find sources that this might invalidate a gett?
    – lgshost
    Feb 24, 2023 at 15:58
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    "leaving the Gett possibly invalid" It sounds like he carefully crafted this precisely in order to avoid this language. He states that it will cast aspersion upon the gett and that it would be incumbent upon her to nullify it. The presumption being that it is otherwise standing and valid. Feb 24, 2023 at 16:19
  • "leaving the Gett possibly invalid" was not Rabbi Feinstein's language
    – lgshost
    Feb 26, 2023 at 2:04
  • @lgshost agreed -- we don't want aspersions ... aspersions of what? We don't want anyone to claim the Gett is invalid. For instance, if someone goes routinely by both Yosef and Shimon and the Gett says just Shimon, the Gett is invalid miderabanan because someone could later claim "hey that's not the guy." We would therefore ask her to get a new Gett containing both names ... however fundamentally it was an actual Gett (as Rambam writes, pasul not batel), so the kids from a second marriage would not be mamzerim. The goal is for the Gett to leave no trace of doubt.
    – Shalom
    Feb 26, 2023 at 11:48
  • @Shalom do you have any links to the lectures you refer to?
    – lgshost
    Feb 27, 2023 at 2:16

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