If a married Jewish man had an extramarital relationship with a woman who was not in the category of arayos or issurei biah, what, if any, sins would he have committed, and to what, if any, punishment would he be theoretically subject?

Which of these would also apply if he were unmarried?

If it matters, let's say he is an Ashkenazi.

Related: Punishment for Polygamy

Does Judaism permit sexual relationships outside of marriage?

  • 1
    Do you mean sins aside from the ones he'd be committing were he not married?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 1:27
  • @DoubleAA Great question/point. No, i guess include those. I'll edit iyH
    – SAH
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 1:28
  • 3
    @ezra It's not adultery. The woman isn't married. It's just an extramarital relationship.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 2:06
  • 2
    Does his wife mind? ואהבת לרעך כמוך.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 2:47
  • 1
    I expect he is subject to the punishment of divorce for a start
    – Ze'ev
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 3:18

2 Answers 2


Assuming she's not married, and
assuming she's not a Niddah, then:

Firstly there's an Issur of Yichud, that forbids one to be secluded with a member of the opposite sex to whom one isn't married or closely related like a sister or mother.

If she is a divorcee and he's a Cohen, then there's the sin of Chalal.

I'll use the word sins to refer to an action a verse disapproves of. We're not Gcd's gatekeepers to know the score.

This article (in Hebrew) discusses the issues in depth. Some highlights:

  • Rashi claims there's the sin of "ומלאה הארץ זמה" - filling the land with licentiousness. The Ramban argues.

  • The Rambam says there are 2 sins involved:

    • "אל תחלל את בתך להזנותה" - don't degrade your daughter, making her a prostitute
    • "לא תהיה קדשה מבנות ישראל" - there shall be no prostitutes amongst the daughters of Israel

The Rambam says such a person deserves 49 lashes (each time he sleeps with her).

The Tur seems to agree with the Rambam, adding that one (Bet Din, I assume) should force them to separate.

No Get (divorce) is required, as long as no act of Kidushin (in the presence of 2 Kosher witnesses, while stating it's being done for Kidushin) has been done.


  • Rambam forbids it unless you're a king.
  • Rosh and Tur forbid it because of Nidda issues
  • Ramban allows it even for a layman
  • Rav Yaakov Emden claims Pilegesh is a good solution for various problems.
  • Radvaz emphatically forbids it nowadays.

However, a Pilegesh was a 2nd class wife and not an extramarital relationship (usually hidden from public).

If at any point in time the couple claim to be married, and live together as a family unit, then halachically they are considered married, and she would require a Get - else she's committing adultery if she ever lives with (or marries) anybody else.

Him being married (or not) has no impact on the above, unless you include the sin of not Loving your Wife as Yourself, and being unfaithful definitely would qualify.

No obvious Ashkenazi/Sefardi difference, it seems to me.

  • Editing any sources into the post would of course improve it.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 8:36
  • 1
    @DannySchoemann Thanks. I thought yichud might disappear as a potential issue because his wife is in town? (Irony point.)
    – SAH
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 16:42
  • yichud is an interesting point since the issur of yichud is that its the "goirem hagadol" that leads to actual relations, but if there is no actual issur of arayos would there still be an issur of yichud?
    – yih613
    Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 19:08

I believe that there is a machlokes rishonim if the issur of Kedeisha is relations with a prostitute woman or even any woman without Kiddushin

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