Legal Information: Religious

Jewish Get Law (Divorce Law)

March 12, 2010

What is a “beit din”?

A beit din is a rabbinical court, usually consisting of three rabbis, though sometimes it consists of one rabbi and two learned secular (nonreligious) members of the community. A beit din can be held for many reasons, such as to oversee a person’s conversion, and to give a couple a get.

If a husband requests a get, the beit din meets only once, to witness the writing of the sefer k’ritot and its delivery to the man’s wife.  In this case, the beit din will not question either party but will simply oversee the process.  If a wife seeks a get, the beit din must first meet to hear her case.  If they decide her case is valid, they will require her husband to appear before them to give the get, though again, they have no civil legal authority to force him to do so.  A beit din generally will not require a woman to appear if she is in danger, and will usually not ask a woman to appear at the same time as her abusive husband.