Recently a man went into a Sephardic synagogue with his Conservative Convert fiance to pray and eat. Upon learning of the woman's status, the Rabbi informed the man that once the marriage is consummated, he would be forbidden from receiving 'Aliyoth and there may be further halakhic repurcussions as time goes on. The Rabbi said that nothing could be done because it was the ruling of Ovadia Yosef as codified in Yalkut Yosef. Does anyone know if this is true and where in the Yalkut Yosef it can be found? And as a second question, does anyone know if it is normative halakha to restrict someone in such ways because of their marital status?

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    It's not marital status (there is no marriage to a gentile) as much as public unabashed sinning, presumably.
    – Double AA
    Mar 16, 2015 at 18:30
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    When asked if people who drove to the synagogue or other obvious and public sins were able to receive Aliyoth, the Rabbi said that yes they were. So is there a different halakhic classification of those types of public unabashed sins?
    – Aaron
    Mar 16, 2015 at 18:38
  • Certainly different sins could be categorized in different ways.
    – Double AA
    Mar 16, 2015 at 18:40
  • So then the question is asking about those categories of sins, and what the repercussions of them are. Any ideas?
    – Aaron
    Mar 16, 2015 at 18:44
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    Reaction to being married to a gentile and/or driving on Shabbos is very community-specific. I have been in Orthodox shuls where people who did both were given aliyah. In other shuls, the very idea would be anathema.
    – Mike
    Mar 17, 2015 at 3:53

2 Answers 2


I'm not aware of Rav Ovadiah's responsum. There are different communal standards about this.

While a kohen is married to a divorcee (or non-Jewish woman for that matter), his kohen status is "voided" and will not receive any kohen-specific honors in the synagogue. The Talmud entertains -- and then rejects -- the possibility that a Levite would lose Levite honors if he marries someone illegally.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein has a responsum about giving synagogue honors to a sinner. The issue is that we are prohibited from validating a sinful behavior. (If necessary you may tell a gangster something vague like "you're an okay guy"; but you may not tell a Jew who is driving on shabbos "what you're doing is okay.") He concludes that giving someone an aliyah or the like is not necessarily commenting on any of his actions, and is therefore not prohibited.

Nonetheless, a community has the right to make a statement about certain actions they feel are beyond the pale. A few hundred years ago, there was a blue-blooded Sephardic Jewish fellow in London whose "heart was stolen" by an Ashkenazic girl named Jochebed Baruch; his Sephardic community decided that he could still attend synagogue, but receive no honors. (Okay, that's an extreme example.)

There are many Sephardic communities that draw a simple line in the sand: wear a kipa or not, keep shabbat or not, we don't judge. But if you officially marry out, that's it. You are shunned.


There is such a thing as a "marriage" with a non-Jew. See Ezra chapters 9-10:


It may well be that it isn't a "marriage" without consummation as kesef and sh'tar don't work.

As was the case in the book of Ezra, or possibly because of his reaction, Rabbis may have put a kind of "cherem" on men who marry out in order to pressure them to "divorce" or send away their wives.

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