Marriage at 20?

Question

Dear Rabbi, isn’t 20 the recommended age for a young man to wed? It is not necessarily the best age in my opinion, but I believe that is the age many Orthodox Jews consider to be correct.

, 10 months

Answers

  1. We are taught: “Ben shemona esrei l’chupa” – meaning “an 18 old to the marriage canopy”. (Ethics 5:21) The Talmud says that if the young man isn’t married by 18 “God waits for him until he’s 20, and if he’s not married by 20 then God says ‘Blast his bones.’” (free translation, and this obviously needs much explanation!)

    But there’s a joke making the rounds these days: “What’s the difference between men and 30 year bonds? Bonds mature.”

    There’s some truth in jest. In our day, many people – women as well as men – seem too immature to wed at 18.

    But in the ideal world an 18 year old would be mature enough to marry. By then, both young man and young woman should have learned that life is about giving, which is the secret for a successful marriage. Along with open and honest communication. Indeed, in lots of Orthodox circles 20(ish) is the age when many marry, and even before, and these “youngsters” create dynamic, successful links in the chain of Judaism and its continuity.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team