Is it halachically wrong to marry a woman to have a physical outlet and with mutual understanding that this is the purpose until a more suitable candidate arrives? This practice is found in Islamic countries and was condemned in Dawkins’ book the G-d delusion.


1 Answer 1


It sounds like you are asking if Judaism has something analogous to the Shiite Islamic practice of Nikah mut'ah. A marriage for pleasure which is set to contractually expire at a predesignated time.

There is a Talmudic passage that appears to endorse the propriety of a temporary marriage of a similar nature (Yoma 18b/Yevamoth 37b records a particular sage that would declare "Who will be mine for a day?" when arriving in a certain town). However post-Talmudic decisors/interpretors widely did not read it as endorsing such (see Rabbenu Hananel Yoma 18b and Meiri Beth ha-Behira who read the scenario as one wherein sexual intercourse did not take place). There was some notable exception, such as R. Yaaqov b. Sevi Emden (She'eloth Yabes, vol. 2, no. 15), who saw it as evidence of justification for concubinage. Some have questioned whether the Talmudic passage is altogether a later spurious interpolation intended to mock (Hiddushei ha-Riṣad, Zevahim vol. 4, p. 88). Of significant note is that Rabbenu Saadia Gaon, who lived in an Islamic context, stated that such temporary marriages are biblically forbidden as prostitution (Perushei Rasag 'al ha-Torah, p. 180 and Qafih ad loc fn. no. 3).

Basically, it is questionable whether such marriages were ever permitted, many early post-Talmudic sources seem to have been against it, and in the modern era it is an altogether unknown practice in the Jewish world.

  • who is chiddushei ha-risad? מהר"י אסאד?
    – N.T.
    Apr 20, 2022 at 20:27
  • @ N.T. It is the חידושי הריצ"ד of הרב יוסף צבי דינר. I usually transliterate צ as s (and ṣ when less lazy). Apr 20, 2022 at 20:37
  • I would be more concerned whether the marriage would take effect, if it is only untill you find someone else.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Apr 25, 2022 at 1:08
  • Nice sources @Deuteronomy. If you take halacha as a whole, and keep in mind hashkafa, you'll get the picture that being interested in sex for sex's sake is completely inappropriate for a God fearing person. One should be into one's spouse as a person, and intimacy is part of supporting and deepening that.
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Sep 30, 2022 at 14:38

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