Would a baalat teshuva need a get from each previous sexual relationship? In light of the idea that marriage can be contracted solely through bi'ah/public knowledge of the couple's relationship (as discussed here and here), would a woman who has had previous sexual relationships--perhaps a baalat teshuva--need a get from each one in order to be married again? What other obligations rest on her previous partners?

NOTE: If this situation is relevant to you, please consult with your Rabbi.

  • 7
    Even if your logic holds true, you'd prob only need a get from the first one. I don't think a woman can be married to more than one man at a time.
    – Hahu Gavra
    May 4, 2012 at 14:56
  • 6
    @HahuGavra ... unless each one creates an possible ("safek") marriage, in which case, it might be that we'd consider each one to possibly have taken effect, assuming all the previous ones hadn't. I expect, though, that this logic would only apply if it was logically consistent, which would be if the uncertainty is about a matter of fact that could vary per relationship and not about a matter of law that applies to all of them equally.
    – Isaac Moses
    May 4, 2012 at 15:33
  • 1
    ... but the safek would IIUC be whether this sort of relationship takes effect; so the bottom line is still either the first took effect, or none. So need a get from the first.
    – yitznewton
    May 4, 2012 at 16:39
  • 2
    @yitznewton Only if it's a sefeika dedina. If it's a safek metzius (like did she have daat kiddushin) then she would need from all of them.
    – Double AA
    May 4, 2012 at 17:05
  • Agreed. I assumed that we are talking about no-daat-kiddushin unions here.
    – yitznewton
    May 4, 2012 at 17:46

4 Answers 4


According to Even HoEzer 26:1 there is no need for a divorce when the relationship was not for the purpose of marriage.

  • 6
    what if it was a long-term relationship where they lived together?
    – Menachem
    May 6, 2012 at 23:40
  • 1
    And wouldn't the public sexual relationship itself in fact be considered a marriage by some standards?
    – SAH
    May 16, 2012 at 13:15
  • 1
    @Menachem, even a long term committed relationship does not normally include marital intent. SAH, do you know people who say "oh, everyone knows they live together and are intimate, so they're married"? No one believes that public sexual relationships are some sort of de facto marriages. Maybe if they were together long enough that one might begin consideration of a common-law spouse, OK, I hear the question. I can't imagine this happens more than once in anyone's life, and never in most lifetimes.
    – Ze'ev
    Jul 24, 2012 at 4:40
  • 4
    I'm not attacking your answer, just curious.....what happened to אין אדם עושה בעילתו בעילת זנות?
    – MTL
    Nov 14, 2014 at 19:13
  • 1
    I regret that many of the comments here were deleted. I am now completely in the dark about what makes something exist "for the purpose of marriage." It seems to be a completely circular argument: we call it marriage only if it is marriage, but if we are calling it marriage, then it is marriage. What is the actual standard here?
    – SAH
    Jul 3, 2015 at 13:56

This seems to be a minority opinion, but:

According to Mordekhai (Kiddushin 533, to Kiddushin 65b (page 4a in the Vilna Mordekhai; he cites Rabbenu Barukh), a couple who lives together and eidim see them have relations, even without any legal ceremony requires a get upon separation.

Source: this page, which adds: "This is an oft-cited opinion, but in reality, he is in a significant minority. Very very few poskim agree with him about this."

These are the words of the mordechai:

פסק רבינו ברוך הבא על הפנויה וראו עדים דצריכה הימנו גט דאמרי אין אדם עושה בעילתו בעילת זנות ואם בא עליה בעדים אדם אחר צריכה גט משניהם ומיימוני פליג
Rabeinu Baruch says Someone who cohabits with an unmarried girl and 2 witnesses saw, she needs a get since we say a person doesn't have relations for the sake of immorality, however if another man had relations with her Both of them need a Gett (divorce), this is because we are not sure of the motivations so in case of doubt both men need to give a gett. The Maimonidies (Rambam) argues that no Get is needed.

  • 1
    This seems predicated on the assumed principle that a person does not make their bi'ah a be'ilas zenus. Therefore, the "default da'as" is assumed to be for kinyan/kiddushin. We generally use this to "help" a person avoid an aveirah by ascribing this default kavanah. The counter argument is that generally those "involved" in these liasons intend the act for pleasure, not marriage (and are likely not aware of the rabbinic presumption). Dec 18, 2015 at 4:37
  • Is דעת w/o דיבור enough to be a קנין? Jun 6, 2017 at 1:51
  • i typed the mordechai from a gemora for your post +1 for obtaining this information which i never heard of
    – user15464
    Oct 20, 2017 at 13:52
  • @IsaacKotlicky FWIW I have seen this applied, without regards to the daas, if the couple spent the night in a frum area.
    – SAH
    Dec 26, 2017 at 17:37

simply "lying" with a woman does not create a marriage, a get is only effective to break the bond created by Kiddushin, if there was no Kiddushin, there is no need for a Get.

  • 5
    Is it that simple? A woman can be acquired through bi'ah and "eiyn adam oeseh be'iyso bias znus"..
    – Michoel
    Oct 10, 2012 at 9:17
  • 4
    @Michoel Actually, adam oseh biyaso bias zenus all the time, especially in this case where it seems to be his intention
    – Double AA
    Oct 10, 2012 at 12:25
  • 3
    Reb Chaim, for the benefit of others, what's your source? Feb 3, 2015 at 21:38
  • 1
    What is a kiddushin? So people are married if and only if they have a kiddushin?
    – user4951
    Jul 2, 2015 at 7:36
  • 3
    @SAH According to R' Moshe Feinstein, Jews in a secular marriage are possibly considered halachically married via intercourse, whereas Jews who marry in a Reform ceremony are not, since they believe that the ceremony was religiously binding and therefore are deemed not to consider any subsequent intercourse as consummating their relationship (Igros Moshe EH 3:25).
    – Fred
    Dec 10, 2015 at 20:37

Rambam gives a pretty colorful, emphatic "no" (though citing minority voices who differed).

Laws of Divorce, Ch. 10:

הורו מקצת הגאונים שכל אישה שתיבעל בפני עדים, צריכה גט--חזקה, שאין אדם עושה בעילתו בעילת זנות. והגדילו והוסיפו בדבר זה שעלה על דעתם, עד שהורו שמי שיש לו בן משפחתו, חוששין לו, ולא תתייבם אשתו--שמא שיחרר שפחתו, ואחר כך בא עליה; ויש מהן שהורה שוודאי שיחרר, שאין אדם עושה בעילתו בעילת זנות.

י,כא וכל הדברים האלו--רחוקים הם בעיניי עד מאוד, מדרכי ההוראה; ואין ראוי לסמוך עליהן: שלא אמרו חכמים חזקה זו, אלא באשתו שגירשה בלבד, או במקדש על תנאי ובעל סתם, שהרי היא אשתו--ובאשתו הוא, שחזקתו שאינו עושה בעילתו בעילת זנות, עד שיפרש שהיא בעילת זנות, או שיפרש שעל תנאי הוא בועל. אבל בשאר הנשים--הרי כל זונה בחזקת שבעל לשם זנות, עד שיפרש שהוא לשם קידושין.

A few of the Gaonim had ruled that any woman who has relations in front of witnesses, requires a Gett, as we assume the intent is marital and not promiscuous. Some took this odd idea of theirs even further, that if a man fathered a child with his non-Jewish female slave ... we suspect -- or assume -- that he freed her first and thus the child is Jewish, as "a person doesn't intend for promiscuous relations."

All of this, in my opinion, is tremendously distant from the ways of halachic ruling, and it would be inappropriate to rely on such an opinion. The Sages only stated this assumption [assume relations are with marital intent, not promiscuous] concerning one who divorced his wife and then slept with her; or one who married a woman with some condition, and then slept with her with no conditions -- as that is his wife! Concerning his wife, we assume the intent is not promiscuous unless stated otherwise. But any other woman? With a promiscuous woman, we assume he has promiscuous intent unless he explicitly states otherwise.

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