By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld
In Bereishis, Perek Chof Heh, posuk chof it says that Yitzchok was forty years old when he married Rivkah. In posuk chof vov it says that Yitzchok was sixty when Yaakov and Esav were born. The Gemara in Yevamos, daf samech daled, amud alef says that if a person is married for ten years and fails to have children he should divorce his wife and pay her kesubah. We learn this from Avraham Avinu when he married Hagar after being married to Sarah for ten years in Eretz Yisroel. The Gemara asks why was Yitzchok Avinu able to be married for twenty years without having children and he did not divorce his wife? It seems that there isn’t a ten-year limit. The Gemaraanswers that in the case of Yitzchok Avinu, he also was an “akar” (unable to have children), therefore there would be no reason to marry another woman. The Braisa says that despite the fact that Avraham lived in Chutz Le’aretz for many years, it did not count as part of the ten years that he did not have children because we can always say that the reason one who is in Chutz Le’aretz does not have children is because the person is oveir on the aveirah of living in Chutz Le’aretz.
There is a machlokes Rishonim whether or not the problem of not being in Eretz Yisroel applied only to Avraham because he had a direct command from Hashem and anyone else would not be judged this way. This would be the opinion of the Rosh in Yevamos, Perek Vov, seif yud bais; however, the Rosh acknowledges that there are others with the opinion that it applies to everyone.
What is the din if a man lives with his wife for ten years in Chutz Le’aretz and does not have children, and then decides he wants to move to Eretz Yisroel but his wife refuses to go? The Noda B’Yehuda in Chelek Alef, Even Ha’ezer, siman alef says according to those who hold that even today the years spent in Chutz Le’aretz don’t count, one has to live ten years in Eretz Yisroel without children before divorcing his wife due to not having children. A result of this is that one may not divorce his wife in Chutz Le’aretz. In the case where the wife refuses to go to Eretz Yisroel, the husband would be able to divorce her as the Gemara says in Kesubos, daf kuf yud, amud bais that if a husband wants to move to Eretz Yisroel and the wife does not, she gets divorced without getting her kesuba.
There is an opinion in Shulchan Aruch that if there were a danger to going to Eretz Yisroel, this rule would not apply and she would be exempt from following him. In the above case the wife would still be eligible to be divorced. If we hold that one has to go to Eretz Yisroel, even in the case where there would be danger, then she would be divorced for not following her husband to Eretz Yisroel. But even if we hold that she would be exempt because of the danger, she still would need to follow her husband since she has no children and in order for her to have children she would need the zechus of Eretz Yisroel to help her. If she refuses, she can get divorced.
The Haflaah argues against the Noda B’Yehuda in Teshuvos Givas Pinchas and says the wife may not get divorced for either of the above-mentioned reasons. Even if the wife is staying in Chutz Le’aretz willingly; nevertheless, a ratzon that comes via “ones” is not a reason for divorce. We see the machlokes between the Haflaah and Noda B’Yehuda whether an “ones” together with a ratzon is an exemption or not. The Haflaah will say it is not an exemption, whereas the Noda B’Yehuda will say it is an exemption. The nafka mina will be if one wants to eat neveilah, but before he can do so on his own, someone stuck neveilah in his mouth and forced him to do so. According to the Haflaah he would be chayev as he had a ratzon. According to the Noda B’Yehuda he would be pattur as he is an ones.
Let us hope that we are all zocheh to live in Eretz Yisroel with Moshiach.