The Gospels give us the extraordinary account of the Leprous Messiah and His unparalleled work on our behalf. However, we also see HaTzadik (the Righteous One) interacting with the culture – and living out the Torah in every respect.

Unfortunately, the visible church does not recognize Yeshua Rabbeinu (Jesus our Teacher) as the Obedient One, but as a herald of a new era and a new Torah. This is impossible – and disqualifies Him as The Prophet. Their theology begins with the Apostolic Writings and works backwards, when necessary, to try and piece together G-d’s will and wisdom for the ages. This error leads to some disastrous counsel. The most recent I have encountered from this misguided approach involved divorce and remarriage. The questions presented were fueled by various sources, including “Biblical Research Reports,” whose mission is to provide in-depth Bible studies. Ironically, they are motivated by finding error in the teachings of the visible church! I’m sure their motives are pure, but with hayesod (the foundation) being the description of a man’s life – even a perfect man, instead of G-d’s timeless Torah, one can’t help but draw inaccurate conclusions.

The Torah is quite clear on the subject of divorce – and even remarriage, if we take the time to read the text. This oft-skipped portion of our Bible provides the outward expression of our faith. But I’m writing to Men Of Torah… so you already know that, right?

What the Torah says…

Divorce is permissible when a man finds some indecency in his wife. He writes her a get (certificate of divorce) and sends her out of his house. (Deuteronomy 24) Notice that the remarrying of the divorced woman is not prohibited.

This discovery of indecency is discussed in the Trial of Bitter Waters (Numbers 5) performed in the Temple by the Priest.

When we marry, a portion of our heart is given to our spouse. It is a spiritual as well as physical thing. We become one flesh, together for life, according to Hashem’s design – unless the hardness of our heart gets in the way (Matthew 19). This is why marriage is one of the few metaphors used to describe our oneness in Messiah, the loving mix of care and submission.

So dear is marriage and the union of a man and woman that it is no surprise that a man often comes to his senses when he realizes he has divorced his wife, and wants her back! This is the premise of last year’s movie, “It’s Complicated” with Alec Baldwin and Meryl Streep.

But the Scripture is clear in this regard men: If you were foolish enough to give your wife a get (certificate of divorce) and she remarries, you may not have her again. She is lost to you. This is Hashem’s point when he is chastising Israel for her harlotry (Jeremiah 3).

While a man may marry a divorced woman without concern for violating the Torah, a Priest may not do so (Leviticus 24, Ezekiel 44).

The allowance for divorce in the Torah proved to be too much grace for the Jewish community by the time of Hillel and Shammai – and the Master. Divorce without proper grounds became commonplace and the Elders of Israel were divided as to where the line should be drawn. That is, where do we build the fence around the Torah so we do not transgress His commands?

Now that’s a perfect time to examine the teachings of our Rebbe, Yeshua HaNotzri (Master, Jesus the Nazarene), since he is the ultimate carpenter – the Master Fence Builder.

It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:31–32)

Those taught in Beit Yeshua (House of Yeshua), following his halachah, will not divorce except for reason of unchastity. The issue is not one of divorce, it’s the reason for divorce.

Sadly, the author of the article referenced above misinterprets this passage, thinking that Yeshua has the authority to change the Torah. He goes so far as to teach that since adultery is only applicable with regard to marriage, the divorced woman is still married! Unbelievable. This convoluted nonsense is easily dismissed, if one begins with the Torah.

The wife is protected (as are daughters) while in the bonds of marriage. This protection is not just physical – it is spiritual, and significant, involving vows to G-d as well as armed bandits. We read in Numbers 30 that in the day a man hears of a vow his wife or daughter has made, he has the power (and responsibility) to annul the vow. In fact, he will bear her guilt. It’s again, a beautiful picture of a loving husband, just as we should be a chaste bride to the Holy One. Notice that the vow of a divorced woman shall stand – the husband can no longer annul the vow. She is not his responsibility – he can no longer provide this loving protection (see 1 Peter 3).

Once again, we see our friends, the P’rushim (Pharisees), checking out Yeshua’s theological stand on a matter of halachah (walk) in the case of marriage and divorce (Matthew 19). His high regard for the marriage bed took them by surprise. It’s no wonder the writer to the Hebrews doesn’t cut any slack with regard to infidelity! (Hebrews 13)

Brothers, we know what sin is – violating G-d’s written commands in His Instruction (Torah). We also know that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin, if we confess them to Him, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1). His Torah teaches us exactly how to gain that cleansing.

Remember the woman caught in the act of adultery. When brought to our Rebbe, did He start questioning whether she was married, or divorced, or remarried, or… <sigh> No. He directed her back to the Torah. “Go, and sin no more.” (John 8)

Rabbeinu Gershom, Me’Or Hagolah, (our teacher Gershom, the light of the exile) made several edicts banning certain behavior for the Jewish people. Many stand to this day for Ashkenazic Jewry. Among them are the prohibition of polygamy and divorcing a woman against her will. My favorite though, is the rule against reminding a ba’al teshuva (master of return) of his past sins.

You see, Rabbeinu Gershom recognized something with more clarity than we often do. He understood that Hashem is not the G-d of the dead, but of the living. Sha’ul (Paul) put it well describing us as dead to sin – but alive unto G-d (Romans 6). We are new creatures in Messiah. There is no gain in destroying a current marriage with doubts of oneness and future intimacy – simply to determine if we divorced properly. We are Gentiles, joined to Israel, saved from the wrath to come, walking in NEWNESS of life, according to His loving Torah. And so we press on, toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of Hashem in Yeshua, the Annointed One.

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