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Why marry at eighteen if one's reasoning isn't great yet?

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Although I can't seem to find it now, I recall a rule that says that no one under the age of twenty can sell real property that he's inherited. Why? Because people under the age of twenty are not trusted to make reasoned decisions.

We also find that God does not punish people under the age of twenty. I'm guessing that this is for a similar reason.

Yet the recommended time to marry is at age eighteen. Whom to marry is one of the most important choices one makes. How do we understand that it should be done even before one can sell ancestral property?

(If marriages were wholly arranged, it could perhaps be understandable. But, even in the cultures of arranged marriages, Judaism has a rule that a man must decide to marry his wife.)

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6 comments

"Judaism has a rule that a man must decide to marry his wife" - more accurately (at least with regard to the Rambam you're quoting), a man has to look at his future wife. The reason is "שמא יראה בה דבר מגונה ותתגנה עליו" (Kiddushin 41a). It's easy enough to tell if she's pretty or not before 20. (Obviously both the husband and wife have to decide to marry, or else the marriage never happened at all) user8078‭ 18 days ago

This question will, of course, be much stronger if you can find and add the source for the assertion in the first paragraph, which is the core rule that you're presenting in tension with the guidance toward marrying at 18. Isaac Moses‭ 18 days ago

if a father arranges a shiduch, wouldn't it be disrespectful to him as a parent not to decide to marry the chosen woman? rosends‭ 18 days ago

The Rashba basically writes what you said that punishment only after twenty is due to a lack of reasoning ability: שו"ת הרשב"א ח"ו סי' קע"ט וז"ל: והטעם לפחות מעשרים שאינו דן דיני נפשות אפילו שהביא שתי שערות לפי שאין אדם עומד על שלמות דעתו עד שיהא בן עשרים, ולפיכך אינו נידון בדיני שמים עד שהוא בן עשרים עכ"ל. robev‭ 16 days ago

Similarly, why learn Talmud before one has good reasoning? And why get married before 40 or 50 when they are even wiser? AA ‭ 16 days ago

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