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17

It certainly is difficult. Good question. I think the Mishnah is demonstrating a technicality; that if this were done (with intent and witnesses), various laws of marriage would be binding (and then he would have to take care of her for life); not at all that this was a recommended practice! A few points that can help a bit here: The Torah said that ...


13

Seder Hadorot tells us that Moshe Rabbeinu was born in the year 2368. It then tells us that G-d spoke to Moshe at the burning bush on the 15th of Nissan in the year 2447. This would mean that Moshe had just turned 79 a little over a month before, on the 7th of Adar. Moshe then goes to talk to Pharoah when he is 79. (Incidentally, the Seder HaDorot brings ...


13

Bava Metzia 87a: Until Abraham there was no old age; whoever wished to speak to Abraham would speak to Isaac, and the reverse. Thereupon he prayed, and old age came into existence, as it is written, And Abraham was old and well-stricken in age. So during the age when people lived 200+ years, they showed no signs of age.


12

R' J.H. Hertz, in his Chumash commentary, quotes someone (I forget who) who claims that the original version of the statement was in fact the other way around: Sarah was as beautiful at 100 as at 20, and as sinless at 20 as at 7. However, R' S.R. Hirsch writes that the way we have it is correct. If I recall correctly, his point is something like this: We ...


11

Rabbi Haim Vital in his introduction to Sefer Eitz Haim gives three pre-requisites to learn Kabbalah, 1) A person must be married 2) A person must have learned Gemarra for five years 3) A person must be 20 years of age. Rav Ovadyah Hedayya(He was the Chief Kabbalist of Israel, as well as the Av Beit Din of Jerusalem, and Rav Ovadyah Yosef's Rav) in his seer ...


11

Vayikra 19:32: מִפְּנֵי שֵׂיבָה תָּקוּם וְהָדַרְתָּ פְּנֵי זָקֵן Berachos 8b: והזהרו בזקן ששכח תלמודו מחמת אונסו, דאמרינן: לוחות ושברי לוחות מונחות בארון. Sefer HaHinuch 257: And for this reason, Issi Ben Yehuda said in the Gemara (Kiddushin 32b) that even a wicked old man [deserves honor]. That is, one who is not knowledgeable is ...


11

The Ben Ich H'ay (paracha chofetim paragraph 1) states that 13 is too young to get married but 14 is good. My grandmother get married at 14. It was common in Tunisia at that time (1930's).


11

The lechatchila age minimum, according to Simlah Chadasha (1:30), is 18 years old, because at that point a person is a "בר דעת" and knows how to be careful with things. This minimum can be bypassed if a person is an exceptional ירא שמים, and is considered to be a גדול (adult; see footnote for technical definition). What would happen if a minor* slaughtered? ...


10

Seder Hadoros also brings down two other opinions 1. from Sefer "Zekukin DeNorah" that Avrohom was 76 (making Sarah 66). He lso brings a Yeish Omrim that Avrohom was 50 at the time he married Sarh and Sarh was childless for 50 years.


10

Sefer Hayashar says that Haran was 42 when Sarai was born to him. Further on, it says that Haran died at age 82 (from being thrown into the fire with Avram), and that "at that time" Avram and Sarai married. So that would make them respectively 50 and 40.


9

Strictly speaking, there is no upper age limit, though some have the custom to impose an across-the-board limit of age 70 (perhaps to kindly retire certain aged shochtim who won't admit to their waning stamina, and who cannot be forced out due to political considerations). On the Nirbater Rav's list of policies for the Meal Mart company under his hashgacha, ...


9

As others have said, the Shach (the Sifsei Cohen), says that one must be 40 before they can learn kabbalah. Others disagree: Even though there is an opinion that one should not begin to study Kabbalah until the age of 40, the great masters of Kabbalah and Chassidut did not agree with this opinion. Some of the greatest teachers of Kabbalah--including the ...


9

Yaakov was 99 when Rachel died. He outlived her by 48 years. The Talmud (Megilah 17a) says that Yaakov was away from his father for 36 years. The first 14 were at the Yeshiva of Ever, 20 were spent at Lavan's house, and the last two were spent along the way home (at Sukkos and Beis-El), after which Rachel died. Since Yosef was born six years before Yaakov ...


8

Bereishit Rabbah 39:13 (39:4 in some edition) brings a machloket Rav and Shemuel if Esther was 40 or 80 years old respectively.


7

From this Yalkut Shimoni (16:78), it seems like 25/15 as they were "barren from Yitzchak for 75 years".


7

Levush (Orach Chaim 616:2) says that it is simply a matter of the Sages' grasp of human physiology: they knew that boys (usually) start developing signs of sexual maturity (specifically, two pubic hairs) at thirteen, and girls at twelve. The Gemara (Niddah 45b) homiletically explains Gen. 2:22 (ויבן ה' אלקים) to mean that "women were given more ...


7

Although, as @DoubleAA noted, Ibn Ezra, as well as other commentators, identify the relevant verse (Bereshis 6:3) to be referring to the deluge and irrelevant to the human lifespan in general, still other commentators (Abarbanel and Malbim are ones I know of) interpret this verse as placing a cap on the human lifespan. But how do they reconcile this with the ...


7

I have no source for this, but I would guess that it has something to do with the fact that the Torah calls Yitzchak "שְׂבַע יָמִים" - "full of days" at his death (Bereshis 35:29), a description not given to the other avos at theirs. This would seem to imply that Yitzchak lived a "full" life in terms of length, i.e. he lived as long as he should have and as ...


7

Chayei Moharan perek 105 states that Rebbe Nachman of Breslev zy'a married shortly after his bar mitzva. I recall learning specifically that this was common practice at the time, but I cannot find this statement sourced in any of the commentaries. I may have heard it in a shiur covering the sefer. In looking for it I saw a note saying that Yemei Moharnat ...


7

The Ramban addresses this in his commentary to B'reishis 17:17. He explains that miracle of Yitzchok's birth was not the age of Avraham or Sarah (as Avraham later had children from Keturah (Hagar) when he was 140). At that time, as long as people remained fertile they could still conceive children past age hundred. Rather, the miracle was in the fact that ...


7

OK. The reason is that according to halacha a hymen will regrow if ruptured before the age of three.1 For this reason, it is considered as if no sexual act has occurred as far as the girl's halachic status is concerned, to the extent that her status as a virgin has not changed. Hence, she (for example) is entitled to a minimum kesuba of 200 zuz, just as ...


7

The rationale behind it is that Tehillim describes a lifetime as seventy years in the verse ימי שנותינו בהם שבעים שנה ואם בגבורות שמונים שנה (90:10.) Thus -- the reasoning goes -- 83 is 13 years into your "second lifetime" which is as good an excuse for a kiddush as any. I do not know of any source for it prior to the twentieth century or of any book ...


7

Nitei Gavriel Taspores 2:1:2 says the source of those who do it at 2 is based on Braishis 21:8 "Vayigdal Hayeled" and Rashi says that was at 24 months. Also Shmuel-1 1:22.


6

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/48917052.html The Rashbam explains that at 30 one is worthy of leadership. L'Havdil in order to be President of the USA you have to be at least 35. Orach Chaim 581:1 mentions that a Baal Tefila for the High Holy days should be at least 30. The Mishna Berura explains that at 30 one is humble and broken hearted.


6

The worldwide experts in fertility and halacha are Machon Pu'ah. They have a questions & answers section on their website. According to Rabbi Elhanan Lewis (link) it is permissible with halachic supervision. I second the opinion to ask your local rabbi, and I think it is relevant to draw your rabbi's attention to Machon Pu'ah.


6

The Ibn Ezra discusses this in Gen 6:3 אבן עזרא בראשית ו:ג והיו ימיו י"א שזה קצב כל האדם. ואם מצאנו יותר כן, מצאנו מעט, רק על הרוב ידבר. ואין זה אמת, כי הנה שם חיה שש מאות, וכל הדורות אחריו חיו שנים רבות. ובימי פלג חסרו השנים. ומימות דוד עד היום שבעים או שמונים שנה. והאמת מה שאמר המתרגם ארמית שנתן קץ לאדם, כטעם עוד ארבעים יום (יונה ג, ד). ואם ישובו ימלטו, ...


6

If we count from the mabul we get a different answer. According to this site, the mabul began in 1658, and it lasted a year, so it ended in 1659, 4114 years ago. 4114 is 17 times 242. Cicadas come from the ground when, after their rest period (which varies by species) the ground warms up. I would think that the mabul would have reset that clock and the ...


6

The Maharam Shik posed this question in the first teshuva on Even Ha'ezer. (See the second and third paragraphs here). He says that the Avot wanted to have holy descendants and therefore delayed the mitzva of 'peru urvu' until the time that they could find the most suitable spouse. Generally, one is allowed to delay the fulfilment of a mitzva if one will ...


5

In central and eastern Europe in the early modern period (even into the 19th century in Russia and Congress Poland) it was common for Jewish marriages to take place very young. This is especially true under Nicholas I, whose conscription policies (beginning 1827) specifically did not include married men. The tradition of "kest" (when a young bride and ...


5

According to Seder Hadoros (Year 2217) Er and Onan were seven or eight years old when they married Tamar. I'd assume they died quite soon after. However see Ibn Ezra to Breishis 38:1 who states that it was not possible to procreate until age twelve. He reconciles the 22 years by explaining that "At that time" could mean before the sale of Yosef. (Thanks ...



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