Rabbinic Authority Vol. 4

Daniel D. Stuhlman ● AJL Reviews

Rabbi Warburg continues his series on Jewish law in this fourth volume of Rabbinic Authority. If you don’t have the previous three volumes, you should purchase them because Warburg refers to them so that he does not have to repeat material. This volume deals with issues concerning children within a divorce proceeding as well as issues surrounding the agunah (lit. ‘chained wife’). When dissolving a marriage without co-operating parties the Beit Din (religious court) will on rare occasions declare the initial kiddushin (marriage ceremony) was mistaken (called bittul kiddushin or kiddushin ta’ut). This means the marriage is annulled and was a mistake. Warburg discusses the Halkhah and precedent for ending a marriage when both parties don’t agree, as well as the definition of marriage and ways of ending a marriage with a coerced get or without a get.

The second half of the book contains extreme cases concerning end of marriage rulings. In every case the couple was unable to complete the divorce at a civil or religious court. These are cases where the husband refuses to give a get (divorce document) or the wife refuses to accept the get. All of the cases are extreme and not meant to give a ruling on similar issues to other couples; all of the cases end well with the woman able to get a divorce.

This book, with its detailed scholarly apparatus, is highly recommended for academic libraries and other libraries with patrons interested in understanding modern Jewish law. The book and the previous volumes are recommended for personal collections of rabbis, scholars, and others who can read and understand this kind of scholarly work.

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