If a Jewish woman lived on an island without any other Jews & she was unable to leave or convert any of the locals, is she permitted to marry & have children? Would there be any difference or preference if the locals were Muslim, atheist, or idolaters?

  • 2
    Why might you think that would be permissable? Please edit to clarify. If I'm in McDonald's I can't eat a cheeseburger (even for a required Shabbat meal) because it's all that's available (unless perhaps I was starving and could die; is that the case here without having children?)
    – Double AA
    Nov 28, 2018 at 14:58
  • Theoretically she might have herself consumed forcefully ( raped) and have children , and that's the only Halachic way of having intimate relations with aGoy for women (see the Esther story on Purim).
    – Al Berko
    Nov 29, 2018 at 7:42
  • Huh? No. rape is not legitimate. Ever! The OP asks why should a women need to marry and have children? there is no mitzvah for her to get married (see Hilchos Ishus Rambam ch. 1), The mitzvah is on the man - see Sefer HaChinuch and Minchas Chinuch there.
    – user18323
    Nov 29, 2018 at 13:19
  • @DoubleAA "... and could die; is that the case here without having children"? Made me think of "ותאמר אל-יעקב הבה-לי בנים, ואם-אין מתה אנכי" (Bereshit 31:1), and Rashi there: "מכאן למי שאין לו בנים שחשוב כמת" (Based on Bereshit Rabah 71:6).
    – Tamir Evan
    Nov 30, 2018 at 12:17
  • Wether or not allowed, her children (according to some halachic rulings) would still be considered Jewish. Most of the time though it’s considered as a prohebition, because the partner could pull them away from their Jewish background (assimilation).
    – Levi
    Nov 30, 2018 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


Here are some Halachic considerations:

  1. A Jewish woman is NOT obligated to marry and have children (Rambam Hichiot Ishut)

  2. A Jewish woman can not marry a non-Jew unless he's properly converted.

  3. Because a woman is [thought to be] passive in intimate relations (called קרקע עולם - the seabed), she's not considered transgressing if being fornicated forcefully, like in the Megilat Esther story. Therefore, she can cohabit and have kids in this way - subjugated to a non-Jew. Bonus: the kids are still considered 100% Jews.

  4. Clarification, based on the above a Jewish woman should not prefer death to intimate relations with a non-Jew, unlike a Jewish man (also disputable).

  • Why do you translate קרקע עולם as the seabed, not just land? Also it does not seem from the OP's question that there is force to have relations so it should be forbidden no? Jun 16 at 14:20

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