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Beit Midrash Family and Society Marriage and Relationships

Must One Get Married?

Why must a person marry? People often date because of social pressure, parents, etc., yet they do not really desire to marry. In such circumstances there is very little prospect of a making a successful match.
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Question: I am twenty-five years old. I have dated many young women, yet I feel that perhaps I don't really want to get married. I would like to know why a person must get married?

Answer: This is indeed an important question for one who is on the road to marriage. People often date because of social pressure, parents, etc., yet they do not really desire to marry. In such circumstances there is very little prospect of making a successful match.

Getting to the point, the need to marry and establish a family stems first and foremost from the Torah commandment to "be fruitful and multiply," and from the words of the prophets, "He created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited" (Isaiah 45: 18; and see Yevamot 62).

Yet, a Torah commandment alone does not satisfy the soul. Therefore we must offer our own explanation, based upon personal viewpoint, in order to understand and arrive at a inner acceptance of the divine command. This we learn from daily experience.

And what do we learn? We learn that "it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18) This too is a verse from the Torah, yet it is very close to reality. There are two levels of understanding in this matter. The first, basic level is that a person who lives alone suffers greatly because man is by nature a social creature. When a person enters his home and nobody comes happily to greet him, he feels somewhat superfluous in the world.

Yet this matter can be understood on a deeper and more profound level. It is possible to interpret this verse as coming to teach us that every person possesses some inner good which he must bring to realization. Alone, a person is unable to reveal the good which is concealed within him. This is what is meant by the words "It is not 'good' that man be alone," and this is the opinion of those sages who say (Yevamot 62), "A man who has no wife lacks joy, blessing, goodness," i.e., he is unable to bring this 'good,' this goodness to realization. Only through interaction with a woman does man reach his full potential.

One more general note: The unit which makes up the Jewish people is the home, the family. An individual cannot become partner in bearing the burdens of the the Jewish people. We desire to act together with the entire nation, and to do this we must find a partner with whom we can create the block which will become part of our national building, to realize communal ideals and to bear the burdens of the Jewish people.

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