If a man can’t satisfy his wife sexually because he was injured by someone or something else and made a eunuch (such as say during wartime injuries or a wood chipper) can his wife divorce him? Is there a responsa brought down on this specific case?

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  • @KirkBellard it answers very clearly - it says the maximum conjugal delay is 6 months.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Oct 23, 2023 at 19:38
  • @RabbiKaii I understand that, I still would like to know if permanent injury is an extenuating circumstance compared to sickness or dysfunction that one can normally recover from. It would be nice to see if there’s a specific reference point brought down on this specific question
    – Kirk
    Oct 26, 2023 at 1:59

1 Answer 1


According to Otzar Haposkim 5:2 a person who became a saris (a petzu'a daka: someone unable to reproduce due to disfunction of any of the 3 parts of his reproductive system) due to "human action" (and not born that way) must divorce his Jewish wife. Human action can be accidental, such as a traffic accident.

If she is a convert or freed slave, he may remain married, as this prohibition is based on Devarim 23:2, which implies a Jewish born woman (based on Yevamot 76a). However, she may choose to divorce him for not being able to fulfil the mitzva of ona, as mentioned in SA EH 76:11: the maximum conjugal delay is 6 months before there are grounds of divorce. This would apply to born-Jewesses as well, it's just that the other halacha of not being able to reproduce takes precedence.

This is made even more clear in Or Zaru'a; Chelkat Mechokek, EH 76:18; Beit Shmuel ad loc. 17, which states that if the doctors feel that the male may recover in a few years, she cannot divorce him on those grounds, which implies that if the doctors declare there is no hope, she definitely has grounds to divorce him.

If the person who became a saris did so because of illness, then this is not considered "human action" according to Rambam and most Rishonim, and this is the halacha (Yam Shel Shlomo; Mishkenot Yaakov; Birkei Yosef; Pitchei Teshuva 5:7; Maharsham; AHS 5:18)

The halachot and rationales are brought for this in Peninei Halacha Simchat Habayit U'Virchato 7

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    Thank you very much @rabbi Kaii for the wonderful answer
    – Kirk
    Oct 26, 2023 at 3:19

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