Jewish views of marriage

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Jewish views of marriage refer to the Jewish outlook on marriage, which is considered the ideal state for a Jewish man and woman. According to the Talmud, a man without a wife is considered incomplete.[1]



In Jewish law, an engagement (shidukhin) is a contract between a man and a woman where they mutually promise to marry each other at some future time and the terms on which it shall take place.[2] The promise may be made by the intending parties or by their respective parents or other relatives on their behalf.[3] The promise is formalized in a document known as the Shtar Tena'im, the "Document of Conditions", which is read prior to the badekin. After this reading, the mothers of the future bride and groom break a plate. Today, some sign the contract on the day of the wedding, some do it as an earlier ceremony, and some do not do it at all.

In Haredi communities, many marriages are arranged by a professional match-maker ("shadchan") who receives a "brokerage-fee" for his or her services. The parents may be actively involved in the matchmaking procedure, but the young couple is not forced to marry. The Shidduch is thus a system of arranged introductions rather than arranged marriages.

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