Friday, August 7, 2009

Evidence for the Judaic Marriage Imperative

Genesis 1:27-28

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Genesis 2:18

The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper [The Hebrew azar is also translated as partner.] suitable for him."
Genesis 9:1

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth."
Sirach 36:24-26 (2nd c.)

A man with no wife becomes a homeless wanderer. . . . So who will trust a man who has no home, and lodges wherever night finds him.

Talmud, Kiddushin 29a (2nd-3rd c.)
He must circumcise him, redeem him, teach him Torah, teach him a trade, and find a wife for him.
Talmud, Yebamoth 64a
Whoever renounces marriage violates the commandment to increase and multiply; he is to be looked upon as a murderer who lessens the number of beings created in the image of God.
Jewish Encyclopedia, Marriage Laws:
Age for Marriage.

The first positive commandment of the Bible, according to rabbinic interpretation (Maimonides, "Minyan ha-Miẓwot," 212), is that concerning the propagation of the human species (Gen. i. 28). It is thus considered the duty of every Israelite to marry as early in life as possible. Eighteen years is the age set by the Rabbis (Ab. v. 24); and any one remaining unmarried after his twentieth year is said to be cursed by God Himself (Ḳid. 29b). Some urge that children should marry as soon as they reach the age of puberty, i.e., the fourteenth year (Sanh. 76b); and R. Ḥisda attributed his mental superiority to the fact that he was married when he was but sixteen years old (Ḳid. l.c.). It was, however, strictly forbidden for parents to give their children in marriage before they had reached the age of puberty (Sanh. 76b). A man who, without any reason, refused to marry after he had passed his twentieth year was frequently compelled to do so by the court. To be occupied with the study of the Torah was regarded as a plausible reason for delaying marriage; but only in very rare instances was a man permitted to remain in celibacy all his life (Yeb. 63b; Maimonides, "Yad," Ishut, xv. 2, 3; Shulḥan 'Aruk, Eben ha-'Ezer, 1, 1-4;
see Celibacy).

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