Does G-d want intermarried couples to divorce? I don't want to provide too much explanation, but rather leave it open-ended.

I will ask those who post answers to consider a broad range of cases, like wife vs. husband Jewish; whether there are children involved; and whether teshuvah and/or conversion may be imminent possibilities.

I am interested in answers that use sources to support a philosophical position on whether such a thing would make G-d "happy" or "sad"—in light of possible pain to children, and of the assertion in Talmud that "Anyone who divorces his first wife - even the Altar sheds tears." (Gittin 90a-b)

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    Not really providing an answer to this, but it's questionable whether halacha recognizes intermarriage AS a marriage. If not, the referenced gemara in gittin wouldn't apply. Rambam certainly doesn't hold of marriages within the non-jewish world as being contractually binding - they are mutual agreements broken off as soon as one side wishes. Feb 17, 2015 at 4:38
  • @IsaacKotlicky Actually the reality is even worse as Rambam's context is to two non-Jews whose union constitutes marriage as far as adultery among non-Jews. The union of a Jew to a non-Jew is even weaker and is no marriage at all. (Perhaps this was your intent)
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 17, 2015 at 4:44
  • That was exactly my point. There wouldn't be marriage with a jew+non-jew (kiddushin isn't tofes), but among non-jews you can easily break and remake marriages. If a non-jew doesn't break off their marriage before "engaging" with someone else, that would seem to fall under the category of adultery. Feb 17, 2015 at 4:49
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    God does not have emotions. see rambam yesodei torah
    – ray
    Feb 17, 2015 at 7:29
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    @ray Dibra SAH b'lashon bnei adam.
    – HodofHod
    Feb 17, 2015 at 19:02

3 Answers 3


A proof that one should divorce is Ezra ch. 10 where he tries to encourage everybody to leave their non-Jewish wives, he does not tell them to stay together to avoid the mizbeach shedding tears. Furthermore he makes no distinction between any cases.

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    It seems inconceivable that the Gemara would advocate the sin of intermarriage. It sees abundantly clear that it is speaking of Jewish divorces. In general we are obligated to follow halacha even when it hurts others feelings. E.g. if I am in a situation where you will be hurt if I dont eat pig I am still prohibited (I will IY"H try to source this but it is such a basic assumption that one needs to find proof for the opposite; that prohibitions can be disregarded because they hurt others.) Furthermore, there is no prohibition of making the mizbeach cry, while intermarriage is forbidden.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 17, 2015 at 4:58
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    Also relevant is R. Soloveitchik's comment regarding a case of a genuine giyores who was mekarev a Jewish boyfriend who ultimately was revealed to be a kohen shortly before their marriage. He described it as a tragedy, but nevertheless emphasized that the first priority is devotion and submission to the Law.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 17, 2015 at 15:11

The Gemara in Yevamos (66a) says that we don't let a Kohen's illegal (Jewish) wife's (Melog) slaves eat Teruma, even though according to biblical law they should, since the Rabbis want her to get angry at her husband (I can't eat Teruma, my slaves can't eat Teruma, What am I, a Zona??!!) and get a divorce.

The Gemara doesn't differentiate if there are children or not, so it implies that there's no difference.

Obviously, the Rabbis feel that it's always good to divorce an illegal wife.


Malachi 2:16 | Read whole chapter | See verse in context For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away(divorce):

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Could you please add the quote to your post by editing it? Hope you continue to contribute.
    – Scimonster
    Feb 17, 2015 at 12:17
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    Ibn Ezra reads the verse that way, but notes that it's referring only to a fitting wife, (seemingly from the context specifically in contrast to intermarriage). I'd -1 this if I could: it's afaict wholly wrong.
    – msh210
    Feb 17, 2015 at 14:10
  • @msh210 why can't you? Mar 13, 2015 at 6:36
  • @ShmuelBrin I did downvote it since posting that comment. I guess I'd used up my daily vote quota that day.
    – msh210
    Mar 13, 2015 at 20:31

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