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Getting Married During the Omer: An Extraordinary Psak Din

Published on Sunday May 19th, 2019

An unusual situation, exceptional reaction.

Rebbetzen Penina Ohana from the city of Ashdod was to walk her son Itamar to the Chuppa (nuptial canopy) on Monday, March 26, 2012. It was not to be. The Saturday night before, she succumbed to a sudden heart attack.

According to Halacha, a person in mourning for his father or mother cannot get married for the next 30 days, so he could not get married before Pesach, which fell on April 7th. However, after Pesach, a mourning period begins that extends to Lag Ba'omer, according to the Sephardic custom.

The family, therefore, approached the halachic decision-maker of the generation, Rav Ovadia Yosef, to ask him if it was necessary to postpone his marriage until after Lag Ba'omer. He replied that it had to be celebrated immediately after Pesach, during a period when, under normal circumstances, marriages are forbidden.

The family then asked the Rav to write his Psak (decision) in order to present it to the rabbinate, so that they would officially authorize it. He agreed to do so while stating that this Psak was for this particular case only.

This story teaches us a lot. It tells us:

  1. The imperative need not to postpone a marriage without a serious reason and if need be, to seriously calculate the extent of the postponement. As long as a marriage is not celebrated, new elements may appear that at best risk affecting the joy, or at worst risk canceling it.
  2. In the case of a man who has not yet fulfilled the Mitzvah of Peru Urevu (bringing children into the world), each postponement of marriage de facto leads to the non-fulfillment of this fundamental precept. In this pre-Messianic era, it takes on an increased dimension: the Talmud (Yevamot 62a) teaches us that the Geula (deliverance) will come only once a certain number of Jewish souls are descended in this world to carry out their mission. Each marriage is, therefore, a bearer of deliverance for all the Jewish people.
  3. Finally, the need to refer to our Torah Sages, not only for strictly technical problems such as kashrut or others but also for factors that have a significant human component such as marriage (our Rabbis are well aware of human nature and its needs).

How many mistakes that are often fraught with consequences have been made by following the opinion of "elders" well-intentioned people but not well versed in Torah, who have permitted marriages to be postponed for a very long time, arguing that it is to respect the deceased.

May Hashem help us to always be guided by leaders who are inspired by His fear and with deep knowledge of the Torah.

The Torah-Box Team - © Torah-Box

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