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From a halachic viewpoint, what is the proper age for a boy to meet one's potential wife nowadays? (i.e. dating)

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    I dont think this is a halachic question; Jewish law does not regulate this. It is left to personal choice. – mevaqesh May 26 '16 at 15:41
  • Pirkei Avot suggests that by age 18 one should be married. But, it doesn't state anything about "dating". Perhaps, at that time, couples first met under the Chuppa? (Hmmm ... sounds like Fiddler on the Roof, no?) – DanF May 26 '16 at 15:47
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According to the Minchas Chinuch (or perhaps it is the Sefer Hachinuch), the mitzva of פרו ורבו only applies at the age of 18, as in the mishna in Avos 5:22. The Gemara in Kidushin 30a is somewhat critical of someone that waits beyond the age of 22 or 24; however, the exact age depends on the emotional maturity of the child, as per חנוך לנער על פי דרכו, "Educate the youth according to his way" (Mishlei 22:6).

So, to answer your question, the exact age depends on the individual, and generally varies between 18 and 24 to begin the search. Obviously, one cannot be held accountable for marrying late if the search took a long time (אונס רחמנא פטריה, the Torah does not hold one liable for circumstances beyond his control).

Kidushin 29b discusses the ramifications of one who is learning, perhaps abroad, and Rashi and Tosafos have different interpretations of under which circumstances one could marry later because of learning Torah. (I don't believe this would apply to non-Torah higher education, which is not a mitzva per se.)

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    It's not a Mishna but a Braysa attached to Avos. – Double AA May 26 '16 at 16:13
  • @DoubleAA Chapter 6, Perek Kinyan Torah, is a baraisa attached to Avos. Chapter 5 is part of Avos proper. R' Tarfon's statement, בן שמונה עשרה לחפה, is perek 5, mishna 22. – Menachem May 26 '16 at 16:17
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    That's mostly true, but that one "Mishna" 5:22 is not a Mishna but added in later. It's not in old editions. That's why the Rambam's commentary skips this "Mishna" hebrewbooks.org/… Note how the previous bit ends with " כן יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלוהינו שתיבנה עירך בימינו, ותיתן חלקנו בתורתך, ועם עושי רצונך" as if it's the end of the work. See too the Shinui Nuschaot section in the above link, and look at this manuscript-based edition for instance mechon-mamre.org/b/h/h49.htm – Double AA May 26 '16 at 16:22
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    The Chinukh doesn't explicitly reference it sefaria.org/Sefer_HaChinukh.1 though some footnote person seems to think he did. That reference could easily be to the Gemara in Kiddushin. – Double AA May 26 '16 at 16:29
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    I would like to explain the rashi and tosfos you mention on kiddushin 29b. There are three/four machlokes there. Does one have to support a wife if one is not living with her. Does one have "tahara" if one is not living with her. Did people from Israel also study in Bavel. Also were people in Israel rich and Bavel poor. @Menachem – newcomer May 26 '16 at 16:29

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