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Will Morton
Will Morton

The Divorcee


The Imamiyyah attach no significance to an act of a person in sleep or something done absent-mindedly, or under a false impression (such as his having intercourse under the impression that she is not his divorcee).

The Imamiyyah observe: A divorcee of khul' is entitled to reclaim what she has paid as a consideration as long as she is in 'iddah, provided the husband is aware of her reclaiming the consideration and has not married her sister or a fourth wife. Thus, when he is aware of it and there is no impediment, he is entitled to recant the divorce. By his recanting she becomes his lawful wife and there is no need for a new contract or mahr. If he becomes aware of her reclaiming the consideration but does not recant the divorce, the divorce which was irrevocable becomes revocable and all the rules applicable to it and its consequences will follow, and the divorcer will be compelled to restore what the divorcee had given him for divorcing her.

If there is a disagreement between the divorcer and a revocable divorcee, such as when he claims: "I have returned to her," and she denies it, the divorcer will be considered to have made the return if it takes place during the 'iddah, and similarly if he denies having divorced her at all, because his saying this guarantees his connection with the wife.

Thank you so much for Mr. Fitch's article. So you think that Sioux Fallsis like his description of it. He came in one night and left the nextmorning, then wrote an article which is a gross exaggeration in everyparticular. In the first place there was never but one French maid hereand she was Irish. It is true that some scandalous people come here, butthere are also scandalous[Pg 86] residents; however, there are many moredivorcees, quiet, charming and unseen, who do not fret away their sixmonths, but spend them profitably, writing, sewing, taking care of theirbeloved children, et cetera.

Be it as it may, Baron's compassion for the female victims ofJewish traditionalism is unmistakable. In the short story "Bill ofDivorcement," she presents the fate of the divorcee as a slowprocess of social dying. A previous translator, Felice KahnZiskend, entitled the story "Excision" in order to drive home thesocial critique it implies. (See "Excision" translated by FeliceKahn Ziskend in Lily Rattok and Anita Diament , ed. Ribcage:Israeli Women's Fiction, 1994). The original title "Kritut" canbe translated as both, though "excision" does make explicit what"Bill of Divorcement" does not. Indeed the word "mekupahot" in thefirst paragraph is literally "discriminated against" as Ziskendtranslates the word, while Seidman has opted for "afflicted." Theword "hitkaphu" is repeated again in conjunction with "workers."Seidman translates this word as "exploited" as does Ziskend. On thewhole, Seidman's translation focuses on creating a readable andengrossing text, at times, at the expense of literal accuracy. Theallusiveness and multiple meanings of Baron's diction could havebeen conveyed through footnotes, an option that Seidman decidedagainst, so as not to produce an overly academic book.

In Seidman's translation, the first paragraph of this storyreads as follows: "Of all the people who came before my father'srabbinic court, the women who were about to be sent away from theirhusbands' homes seemed to me the most afflicted. Certainly therewere others who had been robbed of justice: workers whose bosseshad exploited them or peddlers who had been cheated, but thosepeople stood some chance of seeing their situations rectified"(The First Day, p. 48). Baron's point is that the women "whowere about to be sent away" were sent away against their will, andthrough no fault of their own. The divorcees in both episodes thatmake up this short story are women who loved their husbands, whofulfilled their spousal commitments, women who did not deserve tobe "sent away." The first woman is sent away simply because herhusband's family resented her, and because her husband sought


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