I often hear Jews, including Jewish "Rabbis", say that a man is half a person. (And his wife is his other half)

What are the sources for this?

I know only of sources that a man is not a man with out his wife, but nothing about a half.
Yevamot 63a

Rabbi Elazar said: Any man who does not have a wife is not a man, as it is stated: “Male and female He created them…and called their name Adam”(Genesis 5:2)

  • 2
    Could you please edit in more detail about where you've heard of this concept and why you suspect it may be based on Judaism?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 18:24
  • @IsaacMoses I only heard it from Jewish "Rabbis"
    – hazoriz
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 18:24
  • Do you mean "half" in a mathematical sense? A halachic one? Yevamos 62b says that an unmarried man is lacking many things but that isn't about his status as a complete human male under the law.
    – rosends
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 19:10
  • @rosends I am looking for in any sense (even half a soul)
    – hazoriz
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 19:12
  • It's not a question for this SE site, but "Where did the common expression "...so where's your better half?" originate?" has me curious now..
    – Gary
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 2:59

3 Answers 3


The expression פלג גופא in reference to a person without a spouse is in the Zohar Volume 3 in several places (7b, 109b, and 296a).

Although there is some discussion in the comments here about פלג meaning half vs. part, the typical English translation of that expression would be "half a body."

Of course it is quoted approvingly in many other places.

  • sefaria.org/…
    – hazoriz
    Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 23:03
  • +1 This of course leads into: A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he's finished. Zsa Zsa Gabor. Great sheva brachos opener.
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 13:52

In Sefer HaShem (p. 17), the Rokeah quotes the passage in Yevamot 63a as saying that a bachelor is not a complete man:

כדאמרינן ביבמות (סג, א) כל מי שאין לו אשה אינו אדם שלם

As we say in Yevamot (63a): anyone who doesn't have a wife, is not a complete person.

This idea, that man is in some way incomplete without a wife is stated in numerous other sources, such as in Rabbenu Bahya's Kad HaKemah (Hattan B'Beit HaKnesset) who writes:

אין שלימות האדם אלא עם הנשואים

Completion of Man only comes with marriage.

  • +1 beautiful sources but I am looking for "half"
    – hazoriz
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 19:45
  • What do you think half a person means? An incomplete person. Which is what these sources say.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:04
  • often the word "half" in America is used by Jews to say that a husband and wife are half half (50/50)
    – hazoriz
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:06
  • @sabbahillel The meaning of different words in different languages referring to portions of a whole, is wholly irrelevant. The only relevant thing is clarifying the intent of the OP, and relevant texts which may answer the question.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 20:59
  • other discussion about "half" meaning 50% or not judaism.stackexchange.com/a/15845/759 @hazoriz
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 11:53

to put it simply whole and half refers to a persons potential , to achieve your fullest is only with the help of an isha .....

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    The question is asking for a source, not just an explanation. Can you edit to add a source for what you say? Thanks. Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:37

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