Since we last spoke, a few things have happened. The mementos I told you about, the shadow box of the wedding invitation, the wedding pictures, my Ketubah hanging on my wall have all been eliminated from my home. It was a good start. I also did something my massage therapist (see Massage and Therapy blog) recommended. I wrote down everything about my marriage, good and bad on paper, then I burned it, under the moon. Dramatic, yes, but a powerful and cleansing ritual.
Then, I got the get. Let me give you some background (thank you Wikipedia) before I dive in to the experience.
A get (/ɡɛt/; Hebrew: גט) is a divorce document, which according to Jewish Law, must be presented by a husband to his wife to effect their divorce. The text of the get is short: “You are hereby permitted to all men,” i.e., the wife is no longer a married woman, and the laws of adultery no longer apply. (Oh… so now you tell me!)
The word get is somewhat of a mystery. Some Jewish lore says it refers to the stone agate, which purportedly has some form of anti-magnetic property symbolizing the divorce. Other explanations mention that the Hebrew letters of Gimel and Tet of the word get are the only letters of the Hebrew alphabet that cannot make a word together, again symbolizing the divorce.
Spiritually (which is why I chose to get a get) a get officially separates the souls of the husband and wife and frees them from the marriage and each other. This is a powerful notion for me. I will always be tethered to my ex-husband as we have three amazing children together, but I am no longer his soul mate.
So, here’s how it went down.
The Rabbi/scribe is accompanied by two other Rabbis as witnesses. My ex-husband and I are there as well. The Rabbi asks my ex a series of questions ie: Is he giving the get of his own free will? Did anyone coerce him? Is this his given hebrew name? etc. My ex responds appropriately and the Rabbi begins to write. And I mean old school write.Quill, ink and parchment. (See photo on my facebook page, I think the longer and whiter the beard the more official the Rabbi… but I have to double check that.) It takes him 80 minutes to write 12 lines. Oy! Finally, he asks my ex more questions does some origami with the parchment and gives it to my ex. I then have to face my ex with my hands cupped underneath where he’s holding the get. He recites what the Rabbi tells him and drops the get into my hands. He has officially given me a get and I have officially received it. I have to place it in my purse and take a few steps away from them to ensure my ownership. Wow. Now let’s slow down. In civil divorces you never have to speak to each other, be near each other or look at each other (unless you go to court which we did not). And here we are looking into each other’s eyes as the man I’ve loved since I was 15 tells me, “You are now free to other men.” It was brutal. We both welled up and we both let go. It was good. It was not easy, but it was good. My civil divorce took over a year and felt like ice in my veins when the judge stamped it. My get, took 90 minutes and felt like freedom, validation and closure. In that moment it felt important to have a ceremony to mark this tragic event. I say tragic because my divorce is the death of what was once a beautiful marriage, and that is tragic. When my ex-husband looked at me I saw his pain. That didn’t make me feel good, but our combined sadness validated that we had a great run, but yes, it is over. There was no meltdown, not too many tears, just the end. My ex hugged me, and left to go back to work, I gathered my things, took a few moments to note my feelings and breathe.
Katy Perry threw a divorce party when she split with Russell Brand. Divorce ceremonies are becoming popular on both coasts. We Jews have been doing gettin (get plural) for thousands of years and I’m grateful to be a member of this tribe because my get helped me heal. I left the room feeling lighter, ($650 lighter after writing a check to the Rabbi) calmer, and finished. Now I’m done. While the get officially made me “free to other men” the important word in that phrase is ‘free’, and free is good.
Jordana will have a rabbi on her show to answer any questions Tuesday night at 8 p.m.