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Jewish marriage occurs in two distinct stages, each with its own halachic implication.

Chazal term the first kiddushin and the latter nisuin.

Biblically they're termed eirusin and likuchin, respectively.

(As an aside, on a biblical level, likuchin seems to be synonymous with marital relations, or followed immediately thereafter by it.)

Devarim 20:7 states:

וּמִי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר אֵרַשׂ אִשָּׁה וְלֹא לְקָחָהּ יֵלֵךְ וְיָשֹׁב לְבֵיתוֹ פֶּן יָמוּת בַּמִּלְחָמָה וְאִישׁ אַחֵר יִקָּחֶנָּה.

What man is there who has pledged to be married a wife, and has not taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.

Contrast that with ibid 24:5

כִּי יִקַּח אִישׁ אִשָּׁה חֲדָשָׁה לֹא יֵצֵא בַּצָּבָא וְלֹא יַעֲבֹר עָלָיו לְכׇל דָּבָר נָקִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵיתוֹ שָׁנָה אֶחָת וְשִׂמַּח אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר לָקָח.

When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out in the army, and he shall not be assigned any matter. He shall be free at home one year, and shall bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.

With Rashi explaining:

ולא יעבר עליו לכל דבר – שהוא צורך הצבא, לא לספק המים ומזון, ולא לתקן דרכים. אבל החוזרים מעורכי המלחמה על פי כהן, כגון בנה בית ולא חנכו (דברים כ':ו'), ארש אשה ולא לקחה (דברים כ':ז'), מספיקין מים ומזון ומתקנים את הדרכים.

לכל דבר AS REGARDS ANYTHING – that is a requirement of the army: not to supply water and food, nor to repair the roads, while those who returned from the battle array at the bidding of the priest, e.g., one who had built a new house and had not yet dedicated it, or one who had betrothed a woman and had not yet taken her to wife (Deuteronomy 20:5–7), are bound to supply water and food and to repair roads (Sifrei Devarim 271:2; Sotah 44a).

It is clear from these pesukim (and from Chazal's own explanation) that לקיחת אשה refers to the second stage of marriage.

So here's the issue:

Devarim 24:1 states:

כִּי יִקַּח אִישׁ אִשָּׁה וּבְעָלָהּ וְהָיָה אִם לֹא תִמְצָא חֵן בְּעֵינָיו כִּי מָצָא בָהּ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתוֹ.

When a man takes a wife and marries her, then it shall be, if she does not find favor in his eyes because he has found some unseemly thing in her, that he shall write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.

Chazal say that the words כי יקח in this verse refer to the first stage of marriage or eirusin/nissuin, with Torah Temimah ad loc citing numerous kiddushin related halachos that are derived from this pasuk.

My question is that as it is clear from the pesukim that לקיחת אישה denotes the second and final stage of marriage, with the the earlier eirusin/kiddushin not even mentioned in the pasuk, then how can Chazal say that it is referring to eirusin/kiddushin deriving many fundamental kiddushin related laws from it?

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    I believe lekicha could mean either. By war, where eirusin is already mentioned, this must mean marriage. However, in the passuk which mentions ובעלה separately, which denotes marriage, lekicha must be referring to eirusin. I'm not 100% sure this is true, but it seems so
    – Lo ani
    Dec 28, 2023 at 21:33
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    @Loani Great point! I was waiting for someone to make that suggestion. Tantalizing as it is to say, I havent seen internal biblical evidence to support it. In the Torah, lekicha and biah seem to be synonymous. Altho it is presumably a workable solution for Chazal. I will try to research your proposal more. Thanks!
    – Nahum
    Dec 28, 2023 at 22:07
  • Lekicha isn't biah, it's before biah (even when lekicha refers to marriage). According to most rishonim, nissim (lekicha) is done in other ways, before relations: yichud, chuppa, entering his house, the veil... (Although from the Torah, biah also definitely works)
    – Lo ani
    Dec 31, 2023 at 21:35
  • @Loani you're of course correct rabbinically speaking, I just meant that biblically it seems to be used synonymously with biah and therefore presumably could not also refer to eirusin, of course I may be completely wrong, either way thanks again.
    – Nahum
    Dec 31, 2023 at 21:57

1 Answer 1

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The Ramba'm says (ishut 1:1)

כיון שנתנה תורה נצטוו ישראל שאם ירצה האיש לישא אשה יקנה אותה תחלה בפני עדים ואח"כ תהיה לו לאשה שנאמר "כי יקח איש אשה ובא אליה" (דברים כב, יג).

Once the Torah was given, the Jews were commanded that if a man wants to marry a woman, he must acquire her first (Kiddushin) before witnesses and then she may be his wife (nisuin), as it says "when a man takes (likuchin) a woman, and has relations with her"

The Ramba'm learns this passuk to mean that likuchin means Kiddushin, and biah is nisuin. Meaning, since biah already alludes to nisuin, seemingly there's no reason to mention likuchin, unless it refers to Kiddushin.

(Note that some mefarshim [I.e. Ma'ase Roke'ach ad. Loc.] say that the correct version of the Ramba'm should be with the following passuk: כי יקח איש אשה ובעלה, rather than the one in the Ramba'm itself.)

However, the ha'amek Davar (devarim 24:1) says (in brackets):

והא דאיתא בקדושין דנפקא ליה קיחה קיחה לענין קדושין הוא ג"ש המקובל, וכוונה שניה במקרא כי יקח בכסף או ובעלה היינו שיקנה בבעילה, אבל פשטא דקראי פי' כי יקח היינו נשואין ואפילו בעלה בגמר ביאה, ומכאן נפקא לו דמהני גט אפי' לנשואה

And the fact that in [tractate] Kiddushin they learn "kicha" [here] to "kicha" [by Efron] about Kiddushin, this is the accepted Gezeira shava, and a secondary meaning of this passuk, that "when [a man] takes" means Kiddushin through money, or "has relations with her" means Kiddushin through relations. However, the simple understanding of this passuk is referring to marriage, "when one takes" to marry, "and has relations" meaning even if he had complete relations¹, and from here [this simple understanding of the passuk] we learn that a Get works even for a married woman.

Meaning, the simple reading of the passuk is what you would think- a reference to marriage. Because of the Gezeira shava, we understand it to refer to Kiddushin.

A Gezeira shava must be given through mesorah, halacha l'moshe misinai (pesachim 66a, rashi there). Therefore, this understanding of the passuk (that it refers to Kiddushin), which is learned through a Gezeira shava, is halacha l'moshe misinai, even if it's not the simple understanding of the passuk.


  1. This is referring to something the ha'amek Davar was talking about earlier in his explanation of this passuk.
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  • I'm not sure the Ramba'm is necessary or adds anything to the Rambam, but I'll leave it in for now until I get feedback
    – Lo ani
    Dec 31, 2023 at 22:35
  • I appreciate that העמק דבר also sees it that way in the world of peshat however I'm not sure I'm following your answer. To my understanding קיחה-קיחה is predicated (as are all the other derashos cited by TT in the body question) on Chazal's interpretation of כי יקח as referring to kiddushin. They can then derive via גזרה שווה and other exegetical methods the means by which kiddushin is effected. If one defines כי יקח as meaning nisuin then all the ג"ש would do is say that nisuin can be effected via כסף. I'm gonna stick with your answer in the comments for now.
    – Nahum
    Dec 31, 2023 at 23:11
  • @Nahum I think chachamim understood that ishut (marital relations) can't be caused through just money, therefore it must be talking about Kiddushin. (Another point that I just thought of, is that we know Kiddushin exists because it's mentioned in the torah, but we don't know how it comes about. So chachamim have to find a source for it z therefore any unneeded word that could be referring to Kiddushin, is said to be referring to Kiddushin. Not sure that that's true tho)
    – Lo ani
    Dec 31, 2023 at 23:50

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