Those that refrain from allowing a younger sibling to get married prior to an older sibling mention the verse from Lavan, "Lo Yaiose Kain BimiKomeinu Losais Hatziyira Lifnei HaBechira, In our locale we do not marry off the younger child prior to the older one". Are there any other sources for this Minhag? Is there an age that you say "at this point we stop waiting"? (sources please)

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    ". . .mention the verse from Lavan. . ." - Does this mean they cite it as the source of the minhag? Do we maintain other minhagim from the Lavan side of the family?
    – WAF
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 0:48
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    @WAF, of course: we learn from his next statement that אין מערבין שמחה בשמחה.
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 3:42
  • Isn't it a Shach
    – sam
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 4:08
  • ...And for some reason you think Lavan followed Yiddishe minhagim? He was a goy - an idol worshiping goy. Why do you think his "custom" would reflect Jewish practice?
    – ezra
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 4:02

4 Answers 4


Here is a series of excerpts from the Lubavitcher Rebbe's letters regarding this. A summary of the points:

  • The Chabad Rabbe'im were Makpid on "Lo Yaiose Kain BimiKomeinu Losais Hatziyira Lifnei HaBechira", when talking about the parents having an option which children to find a shidduch for first.

  • When an younger sister precedes the older in shidduchim:
    1. she should first ask permission and forgiveness from the older sister (preferably in front of witnesses or in writing).
    2. the l'chaim (vort) should be held in a restrained manner
    3. don't make a quick wedding (give the older sister time, maybe she'll find a shidduch too)
    4. the marriage is what counts in this regard, not the engagement.
    5. younger sister and parents should set aside some money for the older sister's wedding.

  • When a younger brother wants to get married before the older brother:
    1. once the younger brother has reached 18, we don't worry about age.
    2. younger brother should ask forgiveness from older brother before starting shidduchim

  • when the brother has an older unmarried sister:
    1. groom and bride should each set aside some money for the shidduch and wedding expenses of the older sister
    2. ask her forgiveness
    3. wedding should be celebrated in a relatively quiet manner.

  • when the sister has an older, unmarried brother:
    1. ask him forgiveness in front of 3 people
    2. set aside some money for the shidduch and wedding expenses of the older brother

  • when the sister has two older unmarried brothers
    1. Although there is technically nothing wrong, get a psak from a Rav that it is OK to get married before them, this gives it Da'as Torah.
  • Why must the younger sister/brother ask for forgiveness? Did they do something terrible to them? Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 1:03
  • @Imray: I think it's making sure that there are no ill feelings, that the older sister is OK with it.
    – Menachem
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 1:10
  • I understand that, but I wouldn't call it "forgiveness". More like seeking their blessing. Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 1:20
  • @Imray: From the link: "if the older sister will forgive [her younger sister] with complete forgiveness, this matter [of her getting married first] has been permitted [by our Sages]" -- find which statement of our Sages he is referring to, and you'll probably find more information.
    – Menachem
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 2:19

One of the first responsa in Igros Moshe Even HaEzer says if you're ready to get married, then go get married; don't wait for an older sibling (even if s/he complains).

If two siblings get engaged at approximately the same time, then we'd say the older one's wedding should happen first. But that's all the waiting we do.

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    Does that simply mean that Rav Moshe does not hold of the minhag or does it mean he holds of it and has a very low threshhold for forgoing it?
    – WAF
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 0:49

It's mentioned in Tosafos, Kiddushin 52a.

There is a detailed analysis of the topic, by R' Wasserman of Los Angeles, here: http://www.shtaygen.co.il/?CategoryID=1565&ArticleID=6008

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    The real question is "Why are we we following minhag hamakom of a bunch of idolaters in aram naharayim?"
    – Yitzchak
    Commented Jun 12, 2011 at 22:25
  • Well if you read the response, it mentions also the Bnos Tzelafchad. Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 1:37
  • @Yitzchak: also, the fact that the Torah mentions this custom (and doesn't find it objectionable) indicates that it has validity.
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 3:43
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    @Alex, Although the Torah does not find it objectionable, it is clear that Yaakov was perfectly content to marry the younger sister before the older was married. Do we see Lavan's excuse as more legitimate than what Yaakov was ready to do in practice?
    – jake
    Commented Jun 16, 2011 at 18:10
  • @jake: well, we see that Yaakov waited seven years to marry Rachel; that might be in keeping with one of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's points (quoted in Menachem's answer) - that this was, among other things, to give time for Leah to find a shidduch too. If that's the case, then that would imply that Yaakov agreed with this principle too, just that he didn't consider it a showstopper.
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 17, 2011 at 0:57

From Rabbi Chaim Kaner Family First magazine 24,4,13 The earliest source for not skipping an older child stems from a comment of the rashbam in BB 120a. Tlofchod had five daughters and married according to age. Like Lavan said the older comes first. Rav Graubart, in 'chavalim banimim' that yaakov didnt agree with lavan. The Maharsham 3:136 says its a matter of courtesy not halacha. Therefore since a boy has mitsva to marry and not a girl he may go ahead. Also if the older sibling is 27 or more the younger need not wait. The sefer Shulchan hoezer is stringent in these matters. Since he is shaming his older sibling even a boy cannot marry before a girls. Shaming a person takes precedence over the mitsva. RMF says one doesnt have to wait only for the wedding not the engagement. RMF does not consider it to be shaming. This is in short the article.

  • I have provided sources for many of the previous comments from seforim.
    – user2709
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 17:32

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