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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q8.35 TOC Q8.37 >

Question 8.36:
What has been the youngest age for marriage (not betrothal) amongst Jews for men and for women?


One can marry as soon as they reach majority, which has been defined since well before the first century as age 12 for girls, 13 for boys.

In the early biblical period, they instead defined majority as having two pubic hairs (with some extra rules for people who couldn't grow any). The change in definition is rabbinic, and therefore doesn't apply to some biblical matters, such as conversion. However, it does apply for marriage. However, in those days a father had the right to marry off his minor daughter at any age, with the assumption that he knows what's in her best interest, and that's part of caring for her. She has the right to anull the marriage when reaching age 12. Today, the father would be violating a prohibition if he exercised this right, however, the marriage would be binding and a writ of divorce necessary.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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