Marry a wife by means of a marriage agreement and sanctification

The Literal Commandment

If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her... (Deuteronomy 22:13)

 

The literal commandment is that a man should take a wife and then "go in to her" (i.e. be conjugally intimate).

 

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)

 

He also affirmed the concept of marriage in general:

Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?" And He answered and said, "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, 'FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." (Matthew 19:3-6)

 

Pictures of Messiah

This commandment to marry a wife by means of a marriage agreement and sanctification pictures Messiah's metaphorical act of taking of a bride: He gave a "marriage agreement" at His last seder (the last supper) and then began the work of sanctifying His "bride" who are those who believe in Him.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

No evidence is given in Scripture that Messiah literally fulfilled this command: He never married a woman. Since He did not marry then He did not violate this command to marry in a specific way.

 

Traditional Observance

The traditional understanding of this commandment is that it is one of three ways to acquire a wife: by money, by a marriage agreement, or by conjugal intimacy.

 

By money

"If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money. (Exodus 21:11)

 

The idea from this passage is that a divorced wife will not have to pay back the money she received when she became married.

 

By agreement

"When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house..." (Deuteronomy 24:1)

 

The thought here is that if a man can divorce his wife with a document then he must be able to marry his wife with a document.

 

By conjugal intimacy

"If a man takes a wife and goes in to her" (Deuteronomy 22:13)

 

Here we see that the man takes a woman as a wife and then afterwards goes in to her conjugally.

At the root of these ideas is the precept that G-d commands men to perform an act with a woman to manifest the matter of their marital union before he consummates it with her, and he should not be conjugally intimate with her as one is with a harlot, with no other event beforehand between them.1

 

Marriage by documented agreement is optimal and preferred. The "and sanctification" part of the traditional commandment primarily involves abstaining from conjugal intimacy prior to marriage.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and a man should take a wife by means of a marriage agreement and sanctification.

 

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Footnotes

1. Charles Wengrove, trans., Sefer HaChinuch (Jerusalem:Feldheim Publishers, 1984), vol 5, p223 [back]

Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 122
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 4
  • Mishneh Torah Book Women
  • Mishneh Torah Category 20- Marriage
  • Reference Deuteronomy 22:13
  • Scripture Book Deuteronomy
  • Chapter 22
  • Verse 13
  • English If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her,
  • Hebrew יג כִּי-יִקַּח אִישׁ, אִשָּׁה; וּבָא אֵלֶיהָ, וּשְׂנֵאָהּ.
  • Greek 13 Ἐὰν δέ τις λάβῃ γυναῖκα καὶ συνοικήσῃ αὐτῇ καὶ μισήσῃ αὐτὴν
  • Parashah 49- Ki Tetze
  • Positive/Negative Positive
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 552
  • Sef. Hach. Command The precept of marriage to a woman
  • Category Marriage and Family
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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