The Yerushalmi (Bikkurim 3:3/11b) says that a chassan has his sins atoned for. This is derived from Esav, who married a woman, the daughter of Yishmael and sister of Navos, named Machalas (Bereishis 28:9). Now, another wife of Esav's who is the daughter of Yishmael and sister of Navos is named Basmas (Bereishis 36:3) and is presumably the same person. Why, then, is she called Machalas in our passuk? Because on her account, Esav's sins were atoned for (nimchalu).

This drashah is kind of crazy if you think about it. Esav was a murderer (Rashi to Bereishis 25:29) and an idolater (Rashi to Bereishis 27:1, first explanation). And yet you say that getting married just wipes that all away? Also, this wasn't even his first wife; he had previously married Adah and Oholibamah (Bereishis 26:34). Yet it's still an atonement for him?

How can it be that one is able to spend his days doing horrendous sins and his nights getting married and he'll get a free pass into Olam Haba?

I suppose an easy answer is that it's just an asmachta, but I'd really like it if someone could find a source that actually makes the drasha work.

  • This is a question on Rash"i, right? Otherwise, the source that makes it work is the non source of not reading the comments of Rash"i you cited, I believe.
    – WAF
    Jan 18, 2017 at 21:08
  • What's difficult with it being a get out of jail free card? Marriage jokes aside, I wouldn't really consider getting married the easiest of loopholes to find. If a guy gets married a thousand times, that still doesn't cover 3 full years of life. Jan 18, 2017 at 21:08
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    Note also that this would likely only refer to Spiritual punishment (as you seem to hint to in the question). A physical court can still hold a Chassan guilty of crimes commited, he just won't burn in Gehinom for it. Jan 18, 2017 at 21:10
  • @WAF I guess you can phrase the question that way.
    – DonielF
    Jan 18, 2017 at 21:10
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    I think you may be mistaken on that last point. A Machzir Gerushaso does not need to go through the regular Kiddushin process I believe. I don't have time to look into it now, although Sefer Hachinuch 580 might be a good place to start. Jan 18, 2017 at 21:24

2 Answers 2


Apirion L'Shlomo brings the following in the name of the Imrei Emes.

Rashi in Parshas Tazriah says that a Chasan that sees Tzora'as we wait until after the seven days of Simcha end before going to the Kohain. The Imrei Emes questions how it is possible for a Chasan to get Tzara'as when he was forgiven on all his sins? The Imrei Emes says that just like Yom Kippur it only forgives on sins between man and Hashem. For sins between people it requires asking forgiveness and doing Teshuva. Therefore it is possible for a Chasan to get Tzara'as.

Based on this it is not a get out of jail free card. It is an opportune time to do Teshuva.

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    R' Chaim Kanievsky (Sefer Tamah D'Kra) writes that the antonement for a Chosson is even without Teshuva. He proves this from Eisav (who is the source), who definitely didn't do Teshuva (see Gemara Megilla, that he was ברשעו מתחילתו ועד סופו). [See also Moshav Zekeinim (Tosfos), who compares it to Yom Kippur]
    – chortkov2
    Nov 5, 2018 at 19:30

See footnote 35 of this article (read the article for context):

This is true with regard to each and every Jew, whatever his or her spiritual status may be, for all Jews form a soul connection with their spouses on their wedding day.

In light of the above, something extremely puzzling is understood: The Torah derives from the marriage of Esav to Machlas that the bride and groom’s sins are forgiven. Seemingly, why should the Torah inform us of such a lofty teaching from the wedding of the wicked Esav? It does so in order to illustrate to us that every bride and groom, whoever they may be, even someone like the wicked Esav, has his or her sins forgiven on the day of their wedding. Whatever state they were in prior to their wedding does not affect the forgiveness of their sins, since a wedding is primarily an act of the Divine soul.

See also the discussion in Likkutei Sichos (Vol. XXX, p. 161), whether forgiveness is achieved on the wedding day even without repentance as a result of the special and unique quality of the wedding day, or whether some form of active repentance is also necessary. This would be similar to the dispute between Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi and the Sages (Shavuos 13a) with regard to Yom Kippur, whether “the very day itself atones” only when accompanied by repentance, or whether atonement is achieved even if one does not repent. See also Or HaTorah of the Tzemach Tzedek, Nach, p. 616.

  • "Since a wedding is primarily an act of the soul." This doesn't change when it's done for ulterior motives? Esav married Basmas/Machalas just because she's not a Kena'ani. I find that hard to believe.
    – DonielF
    Jan 18, 2017 at 23:53
  • See the 3rd paragraph
    – Menachem
    Jan 19, 2017 at 1:45
  • Yep. I saw it. It's a "discussion," it's "similar to the dispute between Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi and the Sages." That means there's two viewpoints. There's someone who says it works automagically.
    – DonielF
    Jan 19, 2017 at 1:50

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