I have never misunderstand R'Meir as much as I do here. He says that a wife who has irregular periods must divorce her husband and may never take her back. He is obviously trying to prevent a situation where he gets kares. If his ruling was halachah, my Rabbi agreed that the great majority of couple today would have to divorce, as most women have irregular cycles. What could he possibly be saying?
Barry Epstein, Dallas, USA
He is saying exactly what you said; Rebbi Meir is obviously trying to prevent a situation of Kares. Tosfos writes that although she is permitted during the 11 days when she cannot become a Nidah, we are still afraid of a mishap during the rest of the time.
(It is clear from the Gemara that according to Rebbi Meir, the marriage was a "Mekach Ta'us." In those days, it was very uncommon for a woman to have no regular Veses. Rebbi Meir's opinion is not difficult to understand in the context of the world in which he lived. -Y. Shaw)
I actually understand what he is saying. I was asking what he was thinking. Would he really enact his ruling today, which would cause 75% or more of the couples to divorce?
Barry, as your understanding of the severity of an Aveirah -- and all the more so an Aveirah of Kares -- develops, your difficulty in understanding Rebbi Meir's opinion will decrease.
The precautions which must be taken to distance oneself from an Aveirah of Kares could -- and should -- have been much more severe than divorce. (Compare to the Chachamim's enactment to entirely annul the Mitzvos of Shofar and Lulav for the entirety of the Jewish people when Rosh Hashanah and Sukkos occur on Shabbos, based on the very remote possibility that perhaps one Jew might carry the Shofar or Lulav in a place without an Eruv, accidentally!)