You think the rabbinic court is trying to protect children from being labeled as “mamzerim” (bastards)? Well, think again. In reality, the number of registered “mamzerim” tripled between 2008 and 2013.
And if anyone had any doubt, it’s the State of Israel that gives the religious judges the authority to decide who goes on the “blacklist”, and it is the State which holds on to this secret list.
Here’s the story: A woman applies for a license from the State to marry the man she loved, after lawfully divorcing her first husband. When the clerk found out that the woman had a baby who was less than two years old, he refused to register the couple for marriage, explaining that they fell under the rule of a nursing mother (“meineket havero”), and sent them to the rabbinic court to clarify the matter.
The “meineket havero” rule states that a woman cannot get married as long as she is breastfeeding. In ancient times, women would nurse their children for two years. Because there were no milk supplements, the baby could die if it was not breastfed. The sages were apparently afraid that the new husband would prevent his new wife from breastfeeding a baby that was not his, and that he would not be willing to pay for a wet nurse. Therefore, a woman was not allowed to marry until her baby was two years old.