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Is it acceptable for Jews or those who live a Jewish lifestyle to become bachelors? I know of the New Testament verses that inspire my view but am wondering if Jews are commanded to marry and have children?

marked as duplicate by mevaqesh, Gershon Gold halacha Sep 27 '17 at 21:37

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  • You use the word "become". Do you mean "intentionally remain"? – Lee Jul 22 '15 at 10:40
  • Does it make a difference? Explain it to me please. – Neil Meyer Jul 22 '15 at 10:45
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    One is born a bachelor, Neil Meyer. cc @Lee – msh210 Jul 22 '15 at 12:48
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    Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8175 – msh210 Jul 22 '15 at 12:51
  • Possible dupe: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/43579/8775. Asks how far long one can push off marriage. The answer may be indefinitely which would answer the question, or the answer might be a time limit which would also answer this question. Either way, any answer to that would answer this. – mevaqesh Sep 27 '17 at 19:59
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The general answer is no it is not acceptable. Marrying and having children is a personal obligation of every Jewish man. Even if a man has the required number of children, or is unable to have children, in Judaism he is still required to get married (to help him avoid sins of a sexual nature). (Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 1:1 and 1:8)

However, there is one exception. If someone is so drawn to Torah learning and their bachelor status will not lead them to sin they can learn Torah instead. This is under the rubric of one who is busy fulfilling one commandment is exempt from fulfilling others. This is considered highly exceptional and not encouraged at all. (ibid. 1:4)

Either way, marriage in Judaism is not considered a "compromise" or an "allowance." It is considered a good thing, that fulfills a religious requirement, that fulfills a very important commandment of "be fruitful and multiply" among other things.

For further reading (under the heading "The Marital Relationship").

  • I would add the Rambam Hilchos Ishus 15:3 which uses a loshon of bedieved meaning there is no sin,but still shouldn't be done – sam Jul 22 '15 at 11:28
  • And there may be people who just aren't cut out for marriage. But generally, marriage and parenthood are the right move. – Shalom Jul 22 '15 at 13:23
  • @Shalom, indeed there are. That would be under the category of Oneis - for reasons out of the person's control, they can't get married, which can apply to all sorts of Mitzvos. The Ben Azzai situation isn't understood to be that, though. – Yishai Jul 22 '15 at 13:29
  • This is the Rambam:ג מי שחשקה נפשו בתורה תמיד, ושגה בה כבן עזאי, ונדבק בה כל ימיו, ולא נשא אישה--אין בידו עוון: והוא, שלא יהיה יצרו מתגבר עליו; אבל אם היה יצרו מתגבר עליו--חייב לישא אישה, ואפילו היו לו בנים, שמא יבוא לידי הרהור. – sam Jul 22 '15 at 13:32
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    @Yishai agreed. Some have even argued that we could apply the halachic argument of "if the lulav costs more than 25% of my net worth I don't have to buy it" if any marriage would be incredibly difficult for this person. (I doubt it would be for his wife either, in that case.) The Ben Azai case is "I could be a good husband but I'd rather focus exclusively on study", which we theoretically can allow begrudgingly in rare circumstances. – Shalom Jul 22 '15 at 14:39
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In addition to the great answer by the user Yishai:

There is a mitzvah incumbent on every human being to be "fruitful and multiply" in the wording of Genesis 1:28, and is the first command to mankind in the Torah. Thus it not only is a mitzvah for a Jewish man to get married, but it is also a mitzvah for a non-Jew to get married!

See this article and this video lecture for more on the topic.

  • Why the downvote? – ezra Sep 27 '17 at 20:35
  • It's not clear gentiles are obligated in that mitzva. It's certainly not one of the classical 7. See too judaism.stackexchange.com/a/1116/759 Incidentally the mitzva of pru urvu doesn't necessitate marriage per se. – Double AA Sep 27 '17 at 20:43
  • While I didn't downvote, one might interpret that as a blessing; not a commandment (for Jews or non-Jews). Citing halakhic sources that interpret it thusly would improve the post. – mevaqesh Sep 27 '17 at 20:44
  • @mevaqesh - Actually, although the passuk says "And G-d blessed them, saying" the word פרו ("be fruitful") is in the imperative. – ezra Sep 28 '17 at 1:46
  • אבן עזרא בראשית שיטה אחרת - פירוש פרק א פרו ורבו היא ברכה. והעתיקו חכמינו (קדושין לה, א), כי פריה ורביה מצוה ושמו זה הכתוב לזכר ולאסמכתא, כאשר פירשתי בתחלת זאת הפרשה The perils of (nearly) unsourced answers: you never know when something is more complex. – mevaqesh Sep 28 '17 at 3:02

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