Friday, November 30, 2007

A Minor Getting Married

The Mishna (Kesuvos 90a) discussed a case where a minor was married off by his father. The Rishonim (Shitah Mekubetzes, Tosfos Yevamos 62b) bring proof from here that there is no prohibition for a minor to get married, for otherwise, the Mishna would not have mentioned this case without informing us that it is indeed forbidden.

The Rambam, however, in Hilchos Ishus (11:6) rules that it is forbidden to marry off a minor, and it is regarded as a promiscuous cohabitation.

The Pischei Teshuva (E”H, 1:3) cites a Knesses Yechezkel, who explains the Rambam’s opinion. The Rambam is referring to a case where the minor married a woman by himself, without his father. Our Mishna is referring to a case where the father married him off.

The explanation for this distinction is as follows: A minor who marries a woman by himself cannot obligate himself to pay the kesuvah and therefore, it is regarded as a promiscuous cohabitation since we have learned that one who cohabits with his wife when she doesn’t have a kesuvah is regarded as being involved in a promiscuous relationship. However, when the father marries him off, he has the ability to obligate himself to the kesuvah and there is a lien on the property; then, it is not regarded as a promiscuous cohabitation.