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Marrying a younger man


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tishrei 6, 5775
Is it wrong for a woman to marry a younger man? It is not mentioned in the forbidden sexual relationships. But why was then Adam older than Eve? Where from does the tendency come that the man should be older than his wife? How can an older woman submit to a younger man?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with marrying a younger man! Just because Adam was a couple of hours older than Chava (Eve), that doesn’t obligate anything, just as there’s nothing wrong with marrying someone who’s name doesn’t begin with the letter A! There are many commentaries why Adam was created alone, and Eve only afterward, but they have nothing to do with our issue. It is only a tendency and more common for husbands to be older than their wives, because usually, women mature both physically and spiritually earlier, and at a faster rate, than men (that’s why girls’ Bat Mitzvah at 12, while boys' at 13), until about the age of 25. This is obviously just a tendency, is clearly not essential, and is often irrelevant. Additionally, women often prefer a husband who is financially secure or at least working, so at a young age, it may be advantageous for him to be a little older and experienced. Similarly, because of physical attraction and wanting children, 40 year old men are generally more interested in 30 year old women, than vice-versa, but again, it’s clearly not essential. One can even make a case for the opposite: men usually die earlier, so it might be advantageous to marry a younger man, so no one should be left alone for too long! The issue is only essential regarding older marriages, where men can often father children even in their 80’s, while women usually conceive only until their late 40’s, so if they want children, that’s your answer… If a woman finds it difficult to “submit” to a younger man, there’s nothing “wrong” with her decision, but there’s also nothing deep or meaningful regarding this issue. In short, marry whoever is right for you, hoping that you’re right for him, as well!
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