Der get

[The Divorce]


Scene 1. Sore-Khantsi, counting eggs into a sack, launches into a diatribe about how her son in-law, Motl, spreads vicious rumours about her. Her husband, Ruvn-Hersh dismisses her complaints, but she insists that Motl and his friend Levi-Binyomin are up to no good. After Ruvn-Hersh exits, Sore-Khantsi sets out to turn her daughter Etl against Motl by slyly hinting that he has been unfaithful. Etl insists, “It’s a lie, Mama, it’s a lie” but she is clearly disturbed. Motl enters, and Sore-Khantsi leaves. After much prodding, Etl reveals her suspicion to Motl. He is frustrated, astonished, and saddened, but he finally persuades his wife of his fidelity, and they make up. She swears never to doubt him again.

Scene 2. Sholem Matchmaker comes to Ruvn-Hersh to speak about a match for Etl, taking her divorce from Motl as a given. But Ruvn-Hersh praises his son in-law lavishly, and says he won’t allow the divorce. Sholem concurs with Ruvn-Hersh’s high praise for Motl. Over food and drink, Ruvn-Hersh complains that with his hellish marriage, he’s the one who needs a divorce. Sholem says it’s the same with him. Sore-Khantsi enters, berates both men for drinking, and says they’ll have plenty of time after the divorce. She sends them slinking out with their tails between their legs. Meanwhile, Motl is crying over the divorce. Levi-Binyomin tries to console him, pointing out that he’ll be free of his mother in-law.

Scene 3. Sore-Khantsi arrives at the rabbi’s house, pretending to be sad about the divorce. The Rabbi’s Wife consoles her, saying that perhaps the marriage was not destined to be. Sore-Khantsi hides when she sees her husband and others coming. The Rabbi, Scribe, Witnesses, Matchmaker, Levi-Binyomin, and Ruvn-Hersh enter for the divorce proceedings. Etl and Motl are brought in, both looking shaken. The Sexton shows them to their places and the Rabbi leads the couple through the divorce proceedings. But when the time comes for Motl to place the bill of divorce in Etl’s hand, he drops the paper, embraces her, and they indulge in a “long, hot, fiery kiss.” As the crowd remarks on what a “comedy” the situation is, Levi-Binyomin reples, “A comedy, you say? You’re really the ones to make a comedy out of! Some day, someone will come along to describe you, to make a comedy out of you.” Sore-Khantsi, coming out of hiding, declares that she said all along that the young man would write about her.