"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lower the age of marriage!

In the letter below, the Rebbe makes clear his position that in general, the age of marriage should be lowered. I have added the relevant excerpt from the Gemara that the Rebbe references:
Here I feel duty-bound to express the profound pain that I have felt for several years now at the fact that when the mass immigration of our Sephardic brethren to the Holy Land, may it be rebuilt, began, it was found “appropriate” to raise the age of marriage in a way contrary to the accepted custom in the lands from whence they came.


If when this said decree was made there was doubt as to which is greater—the benefit or the loss [of this change]—the bitter consequences of this decree during these years on account of our numerous sins, and to our great distress, have demonstrated the tremendous damage of this change. 

Obviously my intention is not to bemoan the past; however, from time to time new suggestions are raised with regard to raising or lowering the age of marriage, and my opinion is definitely evident from the above. If only Ashkenazic Jewry would also become accustomed to marriage at a very young age, in accordance with the words of Rav Chisda* (Kiddushin 29b).
*R. Chisda praised R. Hamnuna before R. Huna as a great man. Said he to him, “When he visits you, bring him to me.”

When he arrived, he saw that he wore no sudra. “Why have you no sudra?” asked he. “Because I am not married,” was the reply. Thereupon he turned his face away from him. “See to it that you do not appear before me before you are married,” said he.


R. Huna was thus in accordance with his views. For he said: “He who is twenty years of age and is not married spends all his days in sin.” “In sin”? Can you really think so? But say [that it means that he], spends all his days in sinful thoughts.

Rava said, and the School of R. Yishmael taught likewise: “Until the age of twenty, the Holy One, blessed be He, sits and waits. When will he take a wife? As soon as one attains twenty and has not married, He exclaims, ‘Blasted be his bones!’”

R. Chisda said: “The reason that I am superior to my colleagues is that I married at sixteen. And had I married at fourteen, I would have said to Satan, ‘An arrow in your eye.’”


Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 22, p. 404.

2 comments:

  1. Don't I wish. But how is this feasible today? To the contrary, one who marries young will place astronomical burdens on others in providing for his home and then children. Unless he is full-time in the search for parnasa. But even then, it takes time to go through the proper channels in order to secure a reasonable parnasa. A friend of mine is a terrific mathematician, as well as programmer (the practical side of mathematics), but he is working incredibly hard now (age 23) just to get a masters. Another friend of mine has been in finance for years, and has had much internship experience. He has the mind for it. But he doesn't even have a proper job yet. Getting the proper credentials and a solid job is only the beginning, with a reasonable period of time holding that job and raising revenue also a necessity.
    Plenty of people I know in the more frum community are already married, and I admit that I am madly jealous. But facts must be faced. I reason that since it is a delight to marry and have children, yet practically unfeasible (for those who are less frum and meticulous than their brethren), "business before pleasure", as they say, and the encouragement and yearning to marry must be the yetzer hora in disguise.
    Perhaps this article was addressed only to chassidim and therefore not relevant to myself, as I am not part of the chassidishe kehilah.

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  2. The Rebbe is clearly discussing the desired age not just for those in the Chassidic community, but for all Jewry, as the Rebbe explicitly refers to the differences between Sefardic and Ashkenazic Jewry.

    Marrying early may provide challenges in terms of parnasa for some, but those challenges can be overcome. And remember what Chazal say: "ein adam yodei'a bameh mistaker"--a person does not know how he will earn a living.

    Marrying early, on the other hand, provides tremendous spiritual benefits that make whatever material difficulties may be associated with it minuscule in comparison.

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Thank you for your comment! :)