Suppose a married woman goes her own way and leaves (but not divorces) her husband. She engages in sexual relationships with other men.

But after a year, she realizes the error of her ways and does teshuva. She desires to reconcile and return with her husband. And the husband -- though he is aware of his wife's infidelity -- forgives her and welcomes her back.

In the Orthodox Jewish opinion, would such a situation be frowned upon?

Two potential mitzvot come to mind, the stoning of adulterers (Lev 20) and the law regarding the wife who must not return to her ex-husband (Deut 24).

For adulterers, we don't carry out such penalties today. But does Deuteronomy 24 apply? In Deuteronomy 24, the mitzvah states that a woman who divorces and remarries cannot ever return to the first husband. Would this apply to the woman, even though no divorce was issued?


1 Answer 1


Maimonides writes in Laws of Divorce 11:14 that Deuteronomy 24 does indeed apply in the case of a married woman willingly committing adultery, such that she is then forbidden from returning to her husband, even in the absence of any divorce.


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