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.
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: