Marriage Is Not to Be Delayed to a Later Age

.. You write about the custom that used to prevail in some of the Yeshivos in times past that they would marry at quite a late age, when they were thirty or older.

Our earlier Sages have already bitterly protested1 against this custom of delaying marriage in these spiritually impoverished generations. This has been amply explained both in Rishonim and Acharonim. See as well Hilchos Talmud Torah, ch. 3, of the Alter Rebbe, regarding the necessity of specifically studying Torah in a state of spiritual purity.

It has never been the custom in Chabad Yeshivos to — G‑d forbid — delay marriage to such a late age.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIV, p. 30)

Marriage at a Young Age — Not Only
Among Sefardim But Also Among Ashkenazim

I must register here my profound distress regarding the fact that for many years, beginning with the emigration of our brethren, the Sefardim, to Eretz Yisrael, they found it appropriate to raise the age of marriage. This is in opposition to the custom that prevailed in the countries from which they hailed [where they would marry at a younger age].

If at the time of this decree there were doubts as to what would be greater, the benefits or the losses [that would accrue by delaying the marriageable age], unfortunately, the distressing and bitter results that have ensued because of this decree have more than amply demonstrated the tremendous damage and destruction that resulted from this [decree of raising the age of marriage].

Obviously, my intent is not to lament the past. Rather, as from time to time this issue comes to the fore with various opinions rendered as to whether to decrease the age of marriage or increase it, one can most clearly understand from the above my opinion regarding this matter.

Would only that Ashkenazim as well begin getting used to this concept of marriage at a very tender age, in keeping with the words of Rav Chisda [that marriage at an early age leads to superior spiritual qualities and freedom from sin].2

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XX, p. 175)

Follow the Sefardic Custom

.. Since you are of Sefardic lineage and Sefardim have the good custom of marrying around the age of eighteen, and you have already passed this age, you should therefore begin interesting yourself with regard to shidduchim. Understandably, you should do so in a manner that befits the instructions of our Torah, i.e., in a manner of tznius.

Our Sages have already notified us [in regard to conducting oneself in a proper and sacred manner]:3 “When a person sanctifies himself but a bit below, he is [in return] greatly sanctified from above.”

With regard to your question whether you should seek a shidduch or wait until you are offered one, [the answer is as follows]: Our Sages explicitly state4 that a shidduch is to be sought “as a person seeks an object that he has lost.”

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVIII, p. 436)

Follow the Jerusalem Custom

According to the custom in Yerushalayim — and, indeed, it is a good and fine Torah custom — not to delay marriage to a late age, you should occupy yourself with due diligence in seeking a good shidduch.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XI, pp. 18)

Having Passed the Age of Eighteen

.. You write that the custom in your family is to try and fulfill the saying of our Sages,5 “At eighteen, marriage [should be commenced].”

Since you have already passed this age, suggestions are being made to you with regard to marriage. You, however, are not sure whether you should act upon these suggestions since you desire to study Torah in tranquillity for a period of time.

In my opinion, it would be proper for you to interest yourself in a shidduch. Surely, according to the prevailing conditions in Yerushalayim, you will be able to continue learning after your wedding for quite a lengthy period of time.

It is already well known how praiseworthy our Sages, of blessed memory, considered studying Torah in spiritual purity.

With regard to your apprehension that getting married will interfere with your assiduous study of Torah: This depends entirely on your degree of desire. If you will truly desire to continue to learn, then you will be successful in your Torah study, both in Toras HaNigleh, as well as Toras HaChassidus, both before and after your wedding.

May G‑d provide you with a shidduch that at the same time is appropriate for you both in a physical as well as in a spiritual sense....

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XIII, p. 23)

Following the Family Custom

.. In accordance to that which is explained in Hilchos Talmud Torah of the Alter Rebbe,6 and especially in accordance with the custom of Yerushalayim and your family [of seeking a shidduch at a relatively early age], it would be appropriate that you energetically interest yourself in finding fitting suggestions for your son and that they be suggested to him.

May it be G‑d’s will that all the above meet with success, and your son should succeed — after his marriage as well — to learn Torah — both Toras HaNigleh and Toras HaChassidus — in spiritual purity.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 51)

When One Desires to Continue to Learn

.. I received your letter in which you write that you have been spoken to regarding a shidduch. You, however, desire to continue learning Torah and wish to enroll in a Yeshivah in another city for a goodly amount of time, [and] you do not wish to hear about a shidduch until that time. You ask me for my opinion.

In accordance to that which is explained in Hilchos Talmud Torah of the Alter Rebbe,7 and especially in accordance with the custom of Yerushalayim and surely your family also follows this custom [of seeking a shidduch at a relatively early age], it seems to me that it would be inappropriate to push off interesting yourself in a shidduch.

In situations such as these, the custom [of seeking a shidduch at a relatively early age] is itself [part of] Torah.

However, it is self-understood that the suggested shidduch be one where they agree wholeheartedly that you will be able to learn in tranquillity after the wedding as well. Indeed, there are truly many who get married in this manner and succeed afterwards [in their Torah studies] as well.

As to what you write that the Torah study of an unmarried individual is dissimilar from a married person — see there in Hilchos Talmud Torah.

Most importantly, according to that which we observe in actuality, it is worth considering whether the difference [of learning Torah before marriage versus after marriage] is positive or negative, [i.e., whether the positive qualities of studying Torah after one is married does not, in fact, outweigh the positive qualities of learning Torah before one is married].

It is only that in many places this practice of marrying at an earlier age is not observed, because the wretched custom has become rooted in those places that immediately after the wedding, the newlywed is forthwith entirely immersed in worldly matters, business and the like.

Since in Yerushalayim the fine and ancient custom of continuing to study Torah after one’s wedding is still observed — so much so, that it is well received even by the women — then it is entirely unfitting for you to break with this custom, G‑d forbid.

This is especially so, since I am convinced that in your case it would be best that you become involved in a shidduch as soon as possible.

May G‑d grant you success in your quest, consonant with the verse:8 “A wise woman is [granted] by G‑d.” You will then be able to learn Torah — both Toras HaNigleh and Toras HaChassidus — in the holy city of Yerushalayim in spiritual purity.

(Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 52)