In our Gemara on Amud Aleph, a scenario is discussed where a man provides a Get (bill of divorce) with the condition that he appease his wife within thirty days. However, despite his efforts, she remains unappeased. Rav Yosef questions whether the man needed to give her an exorbitant gift in order to appease her, suggesting that fulfilling the condition does not require extreme measures. This viewpoint asserts that the divorce is valid because the man made reasonable attempts to fulfill his stipulation, even if the outcome was beyond his control.
The alternative perspective holds that the divorce is valid because the man could not fulfill his terms, regardless of his efforts. This opinion emphasizes that there is always more that can be done, figuratively expressed by the question, “Did he give her a bucket of Dinars?” This highlights the idea that fulfilling the condition may involve extreme measures or extravagant gestures.
While the Halakha regarding conditional divorce is complex, it is worth considering the personal circumstances that lead to such a situation. This scenario bears a resemblance to a post-nuptial agreement, which can be a valuable tool in cases where one spouse no longer wishes to work on the marriage while the other does. In such instances, a comprehensive divorce agreement with negotiated terms, including potential financial penalties (with appropriate halakhic guidance to avoid unintended consequences of it become a גט מעושה), can be established. The agreement may include a provision that for a specified period or number of therapy sessions, both spouses make a genuine effort in a final attempt to repair the relationship.
This approach is particularly relevant when one spouse alleges abuse. While some individuals genuinely undergo transformative changes, many abusers may express a desire to change without effectively addressing their distorted beliefs, rationalizations, and defenses that perpetuate their harmful behavior. The option of trying “one more time” or attempting reconciliation “for the sake of the children” may be considered. However, the process is more likely to succeed if there is a detailed post-nuptial agreement in place for two reasons: Firstly, the abuser’s ability to exert power and make threats is diminished due to the presence of an absolute time limit and a sunset clause. Secondly, the victim feels safer and gains a sense of control through the arrangement, enabling them to consider possibilities with an open mind.