Looking for some sources as to the connection (if any) between husband and wife in the afterlife, at least in the simple case where neither remarried.


3 Answers 3


Although I can not preclude any other opinions on the topic Rav Saadai Gaon writes:

Likewise, apropos of the subject of marriage, I will say that our minds are capable only of grasping present state. As for what is forbidden or permitted in a situation that has no parallel at all in our earthly existence, such as whether or not marriage bonds will be abrogated for those who are resurrected, we need not concern ourselves therewith, since there will be available in the beyond prophets and prophetic inspiration and divine guidance. (Emunos v'Deos 7:7, translation Friedlander, The book of Beliefs and Opinions, Yale)


In the Cave of Machpelah, Abraham lies in Sarah's arms while she gazes at his head, (B. Bath 58a).

The Mhrs"a in his aggadic explanations writes that righteous' deaths are likened to sleep, so Sarah was looking at his head while he slept, (perhaps inspecting it?), as is Derekh Eretz for a one to do for a sleeping person. He cites the wife of Rabbi Elazar Brebi Shimon's wife, B. Metz 84b, who inspected her dead husband's hair regularly. Obviously both Abraham and Sarah are dead during this story. It would seem that There is some sort of interaction or connection between a couple after death.

The Ben Jehoaida, writes that the whole experience was a dream to be interpreted allegorically, and that it refers to how Abram's name was changed to Abraham by way of a heh that was taken from the yud at the end of Sarah's name, and how that heh interacts with the aleph of Abraham's name. According to this interpretation, a transcending connection between the two names is suggested.

Man comes into the world with his portion, but woman comes into this world clean, her fortune being dependent upon the man's. Man pursues woman, like a person who lost something, in this case his rib/side while he slept. Woman looks up at man, from whom she was created, during intimacy. (Kiddushin 2b, Niddah 31b, see Rashi, Mhrs"a in both places. Probable context).

These sayings imply that the woman was taken from the man at some point. That she comes from him implies that they were connected at some point, and clearly not in this world.

  • thanks. but could be the tzadikim are in a different category as the masses.
    – ray
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 19:19
  • @ray added in more generally applied sources.
    – Baby Seal
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 21:22

Rav Elchonon Wasserman in Kovetz Shiurim chelek beis os 28 says that the wife of Eliyahu Hanavi was not allowed to marry because he did not go through "death" even though he was no longer alive in the normal sense. So at least according to Rav Elchonon there is some kind of marital connection that transcends this world.

To clarify: R' Elchonon proves from the fact that the gemara asks "misas haba'al minayin" (From where do we know that the death of the husband permits a woman to remarry?) that his not being alive would not automatically end the marriage. Rather, it is the "act of death" that ends the connection. Therefore, Eliyahu who did not have an "act of death" is still connected to his wife.

  • 2
    maybe it is because he was halachically still alive regarding the kidushin of his wife.
    – ray
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 21:57
  • She could be an eshet ish even if there is no ish.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 22:18
  • @ray R' Elchonon's starting assumption is that even though she is no longer אשת רעהו there was no "act of death" to end the marriage - see it yourself, but it is pretty clear he accepts that Eliyahu is not alive as far as marriage is concerned - his whole point is to prove that not being alive is not enough to end a marriage. Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 22:57
  • @DoubleAA - That is kind of my point - even though he is no longer alive, there is still a connection created by the marriage. I acknowledged in my answer that this is not a direct correlation to "the afterlife" but at least that marriage can exist after one party is not alive. Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 23:01
  • @YEZ My point is there doesn't need to be a marriage (at least not from the husband's perspective) for the issur eshet ish to remain.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 23:06

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