There's this reality TV show where strangers meet at the altar for the first time and get married on the spot. Like a really intense arranged marriage. Would this sort of thing be permissible in Halacha? Could a couple meet for the first time at kabbalas panim for example?

  • jufend, welcome to MY! Hope to see you around
    – mbloch
    Nov 19 '17 at 4:28
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    The gemara deals with this. Talmud Sota 2a, "matching couples is as great a miracle as splitting the sea" and story of woman who ordered two lines of servants to marry. Nov 19 '17 at 9:08
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    See the midrash at length (Lev. Rabba 8:1) for the story @sabbahillel is referring to
    – b a
    Nov 19 '17 at 12:04

It might theoretically and halachicly be possible to set it up if you had two kosher witnesses. But since this marriage would be real, i.e., require a get (divorce) to undo it, it would be highly unwise.

For practical reasons a real-time wedding is not possible as there is a due process that needs to take place ahead, e.g., in Israel you need to register, prove Jewishness, take kallah classes.

In the Israeli version of the show, participants do not get married halachicly. The Jerusalem Post writes

The Chief Rabbinate sees the transformation of the institution of marriage into a television program as a desecration of the sanctity of the supreme value of family life and marriage. Participants in this program could find themselves in complex halachic situations that could place them and their future descendants in a halachicly questionable status.

As to whether such an idea even works, the article continues

Of the 12 couples who wed in the first four seasons of the show, just two remain married today. In the UK, all seven couples who have participated are now divorced.

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    What about the Gemara in Kiddushin 41a? אסור לקדש עד שתראנה
    – Double AA
    Nov 19 '17 at 4:44
  • @DoubleAA How is this an issue? Don't they see each other on the show? (I assumed yes but never watch these things)
    – mbloch
    Nov 19 '17 at 4:52
  • I've never see it either, but the implication is it's forbidden to get married before doing [appropriate] due diligence to ensure you are compatible. That seems to be the exact opposite of the show.
    – Double AA
    Nov 19 '17 at 5:30
  • I see and agree of course. I thought the question meant to ask if it was possible. Not sure Halacha would prevent it. I remember a story about a mock wedding in camp and R Moshe had to be asked if it needed a get
    – mbloch
    Nov 19 '17 at 5:51
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    First, mbloch is right, the Israeli show stresses that this is not an official Kosher wedding, and not even a secular one. Second, the participants are well aware that they are on a show and take the risk. The Halakha clearly allows such an arrangement, as they do see each other before saying "Arey At..." and they are clearly seen by the witnesses as "engaged in marital talks" before the wedding (Kiddushin 5-7). They can always regret before it and run away. This is not a mock wedding - it is real, with the two persons with seemingly serious intentions for this marriage to work out.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 20 '17 at 0:03

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