What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

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What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby Sander » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:33 am

In the past year in my neighborhood, a couple got married. The husband was about 20 and the wife 19. When I first heard about this I thought, how will they make a living?

Then I thought it over, two issues seemed to be at the core of the question.

1.
The financial support of the couple is not really in doubt. It is the support of their children that causes added burden. Assuming the couple will produce children, there needs to be money.

2.
What I understand of Torah is that the community should encourage marriage.

Is it ok for people to marry when the ability to earn a living is uncertain?

In a way this question is related to parsha Shemot (Exodus), because the Torah mentions how rapidly the children of Israel multiplied, even when the Egyptians were oppressing them with hard labor, and trying to kill the male babies. In modern times, religious families tend to have more than 3 or 4 kids that might be typical in north america. To what degree should finances be taken into account when making a decision to marry? A sub-question to this, is at what age should a man go out to work to make a living, as this is a main factor in supporting a family.
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby rivka » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:56 am

IMO, marrying kids off that young is doing them a HUGE disservice, and their future children as well. And that's even in those cases where the young couple's parents are financially able to support them for a few years, while they become financially established. Kal va'chomer when that is not so.

*shrug* But few people ask my opinion before marrying off their kids. ;)
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby Kira » Thu Jan 06, 2011 1:21 pm

There's always been a difference of opinion on this topic.

Some say, marry them off as young as possible (in some communities, it used to be about 14-15), and let the parents support them until they support themselves.

Some say (the Rambam), a person should first set himself up with a decent living, and then marry.

The thing is, these days, a person isn't able to support himself until 24 or so. In Israel, it can be as late as 27 (5 years hesder + 4 years university). So there are people who don't start looking until 28 (what do they do until then? Nothing good), and people who are supported by their parents.
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby aries » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:41 am

There is something called reproductive physiology. If you wish to have children, sometime after the ephiphyseal joints close (the ends of the bones fuse) would be best (about age 18 to 20) for the first pregnancy. It is also a good idea to find out if you are one of the 10% or so who are going to have difficulty getting pregnancy and the younger you start treatment, you higher your chances for successful pregnancy. If you wait to after age thirty for your first pregnancy, you are asking for tzourous. It is a long road from fertility treatments to artificial insemination to in vitro fertilization to intracytoplasmic injection. Although as a reproductive physiologist, I find this fascinating, I don't think the people doing it find it so interesting.
Considering world wide statistics today, the average size of a familiy is four children, the same it has been for the last two thousand years or so. Only then, having four children who lived to reproduce require 10 pregnancies. Nothing like the good old days.

Tzourous - Yiddish for suffering with high emotional distress
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby Enora » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:19 am

Now THAT'S rationality hehe.
Ask Aryeh when's the best age to marry?
It's ALL about reproduction.
It's as obvious as snakes with legs!! (or at least A leg)
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby aries » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:04 pm

Like all reptiles, snakes have legs. You just don't see them until you dissect them.
As for the parents helping out the young couple, that is the way it has been for the last two thousand years and I presume it will continue that way. The bridal dowry got the couple off to a good start. We don't have dowrys today but there are other mechanisms in place.
I do not know what is happening but something is happening among young orthodox Jews in America. People are not getting married. One possibility is that they wait until their thirties and then they are too set in their ways to enter marriage. As any matchmaker can tell you, the girls today have rediculous high expectations. Listen folks, if he was a handsome talmud chachim earning big bucks in hi tech who is going to help out at home and take care of the children, it is highly unlikely he is still looking for a mate at age thirty even if he existed.
However, no good studies have been done so we don't know.
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby Enora » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:14 pm

Like all reptiles, snakes have legs. You just don't see them until you dissect them.

Or till you see them reproduce!
I just found this out recently, thanks to my almost 4 yr old who's crazy about dinosaurs and reptiles in general.
Why do snakes have a leg, why does a Tyrannosaurus have those tiny arms and why it would be best to marry around 20...
all for the same reason!
Who said being a stay at home mom wasn't intellectually stimulating!? :lol:

Listen folks, if he was a handsome talmud chachim earning big bucks in hi tech who is going to help out at home and take care of the children, it is highly unlikely he is still looking for a mate at age thirty even if he existed.


I've actually told 30 yr old single friends this. They didn't speak to me for a while after....
But DUH!
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby Poster » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:46 am

I think that it depends on each person.

If the person is going to have sex, then it's time to marry, unless they don't support themselves, in which case they should not only not marry, but they shouldn't be having sex either.

I think it's worse for an 18-20 year old to be having sex outside of marriage than to be married and have a failed marriage, but I'm not sure.

If those are the only two options, then the parents have failed in their duty to train the person on how to be successful in this day and age.
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby aries » Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:54 am

That's close. A large number of people are marrying later because their parents were divorced or did not appear to them to have a happy relationship. I understand from the last batch of statistics that those who are marrying later are having few divorces than their parents.

I am by no means recommending pre-marital sex. However, the Halacha is a little vague on the topic. I mean that the bible doesn't mention it as something to be punished like adultery, incest or homosexual activity. Back in the days when couples got "engaged" (the word is erusin which was binding) and then got married a year later, pre-marital sex was the main custom in Judea.
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Re: What does the Torah say about age for work and marriage.

Postby Sander » Tue Jan 11, 2011 4:40 am

Poster wrote:I think that it depends on each person.

If the person is going to have sex, then it's time to marry, unless they don't support themselves, in which case they should not only not marry, but they shouldn't be having sex either.

I think it's worse for an 18-20 year old to be having sex outside of marriage than to be married and have a failed marriage, but I'm not sure.

If those are the only two options, then the parents have failed in their duty to train the person on how to be successful in this day and age.


When I opened this subject, I was thinking mainly about how financial circumstances are affecting opportunity to marry. Poster raises a point which I feel is the argument, and a powerful one, for the community to encourage young adults to marry early.

Those who delay marriage until age 30 are making it likely that they will not marry, or have less chance of marrying happily and permanently. That is my sincere opinion. They are also reducing the opportunity to have children. Even if a couple is fertile and produces children from age 30, there will be fewer years in which to bear children, so the size of the family will be smaller.

By staying single until age 30, a lady or man is training herself or himself to live outside marriage. The longer one lives outside marriage, the more likely that experience will re-inforce itself and become permanent. Some factors that occur over time as one remains single:
- one establishes one's own home as a single. Once a person has their own apartment, bungalow, house or whatever, and has worked out the means to support that home, it affects the outlook for getting married. A person learns to solve issues of loneliness, finance, and just plain getting the housekeeping done, as a single person. Whatever that solution is, whether it is government assistance, finding room-mates, hiring a housekeeper, eating out in restaurants; once that pattern is established, it becomes an obstacle to marriage because marriage would mean breaking up that pattern and starting to re-learn over again. You see this in secular society where the decision to "live together" is considered more serious than visiting overnight to sleep in the same bed.
- one finds a solution to managing sexual urge that does not involve marriage. I'll speak for men only on this, as I would not presume to understand women, but a man aged 30 who has not married must have found some outlet for his desires that is sufficient for him to continue unmarried. This reduces the motivation to make a commitment to married life.

As I am writing in the week of Parsha Beshalach (Shabbat Shira), and Joseph is connected to this parsha, consider this.
At age 17 Joseph was tempted every day by Potiphar's wife. The midrash says that for 12 months she asked Joseph every day to lie down with her, and every day he explained to her that he could not, for two reasons. One, that she was a married woman, and Joseph was working for her husband who trusted Joseph with everything. Two, that it would be a sin against G-d, who established morality. In this way, Joseph resisted her for 12 months, and Joseph did not have to run away from her. So what happened after 12 months? Joseph reached his limit. It happened on that day, that Joseph was about to give in to her. At that point G-d put a vision of Jacob in front of Joseph, to snap him out of it and help Joseph realize that the only solution was to get out of there immediately.

Joseph did marry, at age 30, when he was out of jail after spending 12 years locked up.
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