The following summary of marriages prohibited by Jewish
religious law details specifically whom one may and may not marry.
A Man May Not Marry:
1. Anyone not Jewish.
2. The daughter of an adulterous or incestuous union (mamzeret).
3. A married woman, until the civil and Jewish divorces
have been completed.
4. His own divorced wife after her remarriage to another
man and the latter’s death or divorce.
5. A widow of a childless husband who is survived by a
brother, until after the chalitzah ceremony has been performed.
6. A married woman with whom he committed adultery, but now divorced or widowed.
7. A kohen may not marry a divorced woman, a
chalutzah-widow, a convert, a zonah, or a chalalah (see Kohen Marriages).
8. Relatives (primary and secondary incest):
(a) His mother, grandmother and ascendants; the mother of
his grandfather; his stepmother, the wife of his paternal grandfather, and of
his ascendants; and the wife of his maternal grandfather.
(b) His daughter, granddaughter, great granddaughter and
her descendants; his daughter-in-law; the wife of his son’s son, and
descendants; and the wife of his daughter’s son.
(c) His wife’s daughter or her granddaughter and
(e) His sister, half-sister, his full or half-brother’s
wife (divorced or widowed) except for Levirate marriage with the widow of a
childless brother, and the full or half-sister of his divorced wife in her
(f) His aunt, and uncle’s wife (divorced or widowed),
whether the uncle be a full or half-brother of his father or mother.
A Man May Marry:
1. His step-sister (a step-parent’s daughter from a
previous marriage, even though they were raised together as brother and sister
from their earliest youth).
2. His stepfather’s wife (divorced or widowed).
3. The daughter-in-law of his brother or his sister (divorced or widowed).
4. His niece. In American and English civil law, a man may
not marry a niece who is the daughter of his brother or sister, but may marry a
niece who is the daughter of his wife’s brother or sister. The halakhic
permission—even encouragement—to marry the daughter of a brother or sister is
superseded by the civil law’s prohibition in this case.
5. His cousin.
6. His stepson’s wife (divorced or widowed).
7. His deceased wife’s sister, but not his divorced wife’s
sister (unless she is deceased already).
8. A woman with whom he had relations in their unmarried
9. A kohen may marry a widow (who was never
A Woman May Not Marry:
1. Anyone not of the Jewish faith.
2. The son of an adulterous or incestuous union (mamzer).
3. A married man, until the civil and Jewish divorces have
4. A married man with whom she committed adultery.
5. Her divorced husband, after the death or divorce of her
6. The following relatives (primary and secondary incest):
(a) Her father, grandfather and ascendants; her stepfather;
and the husband of her grandmother and of her ascendants.
(b) Her son, grandson, great grandson; her son-in-law, and
the husband of her granddaughter and descendants.
(c) Her husband’s father, or grandfather, and the father of
her father-in-law and ascendants; and the father of her mother-in-law.
(d) Her husband’s son or grandson and descendants.
(e) Her brother, half-brother, her full or half-sister’s
divorced husband in her sister’s lifetime, and her husband’s brother.
(f) Her nephew.
7. A convert may not marry a kohen.
A Woman May Marry:
1. Her step-brother (a step-parent’s son from a previous
marriage, even though they were raised together as brother and sister from their
2. Her step-mother’s former husband (divorced or widowed).
3. The son-in-law of her brother or sister.
4. Her cousin.
5. Her sister’s husband (after her sister’s death, not
divorce, unless she is deceased already).
6. Her uncle. In Jewish incest law, an aunt-nephew marriage
is prohibited, but an uncle-niece marriage is permitted even though the state
prohibits it. A man may marry his deceased wife’s sister, but a woman may not
marry her deceased husband’s brother. Even a childless widow, whom the Bible
commanded to marry her husband’s brother, must today receive chalitzah,
7. A man with whom she had relations in their unmarried
8. A kohen’s daughter does not have the restrictions
of a male kohen.