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    A divorce party? – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. I know some people that are making a party to celebrate getting divorced. Do you approve?

    A. I would like to re-phrase your question. Kohelet says there is a time for everything, including a time to weep and a time to laugh (Koh. 3:1,4). What is divorce – a time to weep? A time to laugh? According to the rabbinic sages, when a couple divorce even the altar in the Temple weeps tears, and this does not sound very much like laughter.

    The fact is that divorce does not happen out of the blue. There are several stages leading up to it and several leading away from it. Some of those who have been through the experience describe it like this. Beforehand there is indecision (“Shall we stay together? Shall we part?”). Then comes decision (“We have to do something about it. We have to separate”). The legal procedures may take two contrasting forms – a couple who snarl, a couple who are at ease with each other. There is renewed anxiety and loss once it all sinks in. Finally there is the difficult coming to terms with the break, the difficult climb back onto the ladder of life. All is more complicated and painful of course if there are children.

    My rabbinical career brought me into contact with many cases of divorce. There was much more weeping than laughter. I too heard of people having divorce parties but I never met anybody who actually had one. Let me add that on a few occasions I conducted a remarriage of a couple who had divorced each other and then decided they could and should have worked harder on their original marriage. Only on those occasions did I actually know of there being a party.

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