A man must marry the widow of his childless brother

The Literal Commandment

When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. (Deuteronomy 25:5)

 

The literal commandment is that a man should marry his deceased brother's childless widow.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

Although Messiah died, He was resurrected three days later. He never married a woman so He did not have a childless widow. While this commandment does not picture Messiah directly, it does show G-d's gracious provision for the widows by ensuring they had heirs and a provider.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

No evidence is given in Scripture that Messiah literally fulfilled this command: He did not have a brother who died and left a childless widow for Him to marry and thus did not violate this command.

 

Traditional Observance

This commandment is traditionally observed in that every Jewish man is restricted from being conjugally intimate with a childless widow unless she goes through the process of rejecting her deceased husband's brother in a process called halizah. In most contemporary Jewish communities halizah is preferred over the levirite marriage.

 

Other Notes

Men might or might not be able to fulfill this commandment today. If a man is otherwise unmarried then he man should marry the widow of his childless brother unless she indicates she has no desire to marry him.

If a man is already married then many nations forbid the man marrying the widow of his childless brother.

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 128
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 4
  • Mishneh Torah Book Women
  • Mishneh Torah Category 22- Levirate Marriage and Release
  • Reference Deuteronomy 25:5
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 25
  • Verse 5
  • English When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband's brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband's brother to her.
  • Hebrew ה כִּי-יֵשְׁבוּ אַחִים יַחְדָּו, וּמֵת אַחַד מֵהֶם וּבֵן אֵין-לוֹ--לֹא-תִהְיֶה אֵשֶׁת-הַמֵּת הַחוּצָה, לְאִישׁ זָר: יְבָמָהּ יָבֹא עָלֶיהָ, וּלְקָחָהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וְיִבְּמָהּ.
  • Greek 5 Ἐὰν δὲ κατοικῶσιν ἀδελφοὶ ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ καὶ ἀποθάνῃ εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν, σπέρμα δὲ μὴ ᾖ αὐτῷ, οὐκ ἔσται ἡ γυνὴ τοῦ τεθνηκότος ἔξω ἀνδρὶ μὴ ἐγγίζοντι· ὁ ἀδελφὸς τοῦ ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς εἰσελεύσεται πρὸς αὐτὴν καὶ λήμψεται αὐτὴν ἑαυτῷ γυναῖκα καὶ συνοικήσει αὐτῇ.
  • Parashah 49- Ki Tetze
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 598
  • Sef. Hach. Command The precept of levirate marriage
  • Category Marriage and Family
  • We can fullfill today Maybe

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