If one's spouse wants to move (or moves) to Israel the other spouse halachically responsible for not going (see Mishne Torah 19-20 here)

I heard that this is might not be the practical/contemporary Halacha.

What are specific sources in contemporary Halacha regarding this?

I heard Rav Schachter of YU said it is not - where can I find this written or recorded?


2 Answers 2


R Hershel Schachter writes in The journal of halacha, vol 8 that

The Mishna (on Ketubot 110b) rules that should one partner in a marriage desire to move to Israel while the other opposes the move to the point of divorce, it is the spouse who wants to go who is considered justified in his claim, and the other one is guilty of breaking up the marriage.

In practical terms this means that if the wife is the recalcitrant partner, she need not be paid the sum to which her Ketubah entitles her in the event of divorce or the death of her husband.

If the husband refuses to move, he must divorce his wife, if she so wishes. and pay her the amount of her Ketubah. In the Gemara it is clear that the halacha sides with the partner who wishes to go because it is he who is conforming to the mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael.

If you want to listen to R Herschel Schachter on the topic, you could start here (sources sheet here). For instance at 5'35" he quotes a tshuva from R Shlomo Kluger saying one can only divorce his wife if moving to Israel lishma (le shem ha mitzvah yishuv Eretz Israel - but not for parnassa), otherwise it is an aveira of mistreating his wife.

For further sources, see here from Eretz Hemda regarding a recent psak from the Supreme Rabbinical Court. It says the ruling will depend on the circumstances regarding the state of the marriage and the rationale to move to Israel.

See also from R Eliezer Melamed in Peninei Halacha commenting on the SA you cite first

Therefore, the halachah that a husband and wife can force each other to make aliyah (Ketuvot 110b) is applicable at all times, as the Shulchan Aruch determines (Even HaEzer 75:3-5). This is also the consensus of the Rishonim and Acharonim, as the Pitchei Teshuvah cites there.

True, Tosafot in Ketuvot (110b) quote Rabbeinu Chayim’s opinion that the mitzvah “does not apply today,” but the greatest Rishonim and Acharonim disregard this opinion, claiming that a mistaken student authored it (Maharit, Yoreh Deah 28; many of the greatest Acharonim agree; see also Gilyon Maharsha, Ketuvot 110b; Responsa Chatam Sofer, Y.D. 234). See here on MY for more details.

Finally note R Chaim Navon's article on the topic where he writes

[...] nowadays, for technical reasons, a husband cannot force his wife to live in the Land of Israel.

  • i think it was what R Herschel Schachter said: that since today it is easy to travel to Israel if it was not discussed before marriage they can not force each other now
    – hazoriz
    Commented Nov 19, 2017 at 3:51

There is a teshuva from Rav Y.S. Elyashiv zatza"l, published in Kovetz teshuvos (I think volume 1) who explains why it doesn't apply practically today.

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