Sanhedrin 55b:4

אמר רב יוסף תא שמע בת שלש שנים ויום אחד מתקדשת בביאה ואם בא עליה יבם קנאה וחייבין עליה משום אשת איש

"A girl who is three years and one day old whose father arranged her betrothal is betrothed with intercourse, as the legal status of intercourse with her is that of full-fledged intercourse."

I've been confronted with this as justifying sexual intercourse with minors, but I've also seen Talmudic passages condemning sexual intercourse with minors. So how does this passage coincide with other passages?

Is this passage in fact saying that one is allowed to marry off his daughter when she's over three years old, but only consummate the marriage when she's a of age?

  • judaism.stackexchange.com/a/4752/7539
    – Rish
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 22:50
  • Out-of-context Talmudic quotes similar to this are often found on <stormfront>dot<com> and in books by (((David))) (((Duke))) and (((William))) (((Pierce))). It is absolutely illegal to have sexual relations with a child. For circumstances when it is imperative for a man to marry a virgin, such as is the case of a Kohen, a girl who was sexually assaulted aged younger than three-years-and-a-day, the girl retains her virgin status. The penalty for the man who performs such henious act against her is discussed elsewhere in the Talmud
    – JJLL
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 23:28

1 Answer 1


I don't see any mention of condoning this behaviour. As with all of the Talmud, the Rabbis are teaching the halachic ramifications of whatever scenario they discuss. A person who does these things with a girl 3 or older have the following halachic ramifications.

In terms of condoning this behaviour or not, you mentioned you have seen it is not condoned. I don't see any contradiction.

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