Teshuva After Marriage

If you were already married when you made teshuva, did you decide to have another wedding that complied with halacha (i.e. an Orthodox wedding)?

Also, did you or your wife wait until having an Orthodox wedding to observe taharas hamishpacha and cover your hair?

25 comments on “Teshuva After Marriage

  1. Just to reiterate, post 22 is inaccurate according to Rav Moshe who holds that non-halachic marriages are not valid, even w/the couple living together as such afterward (it is never l’shem Kiddushin).

    This is the psak that has “saved” vast swaths of world Jewry from mamzeryus problems.

  2. Fern-
    My husband’s cousin became frum after he was married, but his wife wasn’t especially interested in becoming more observant. She agreed to have a kosher wedding but made it VERY clear she wouldn’t be covering her hair and had no interest in keeping taharas hamishpacha. He didn’t pressure her at all and didn’t let anyone else pressure her either. That was about eight years ago. They now keep a kosher kitchen, and she covers her hair.

    I think your attitude about your husband’s observance is very commendable.

  3. IIRC there are a number of halachic oversimplifications and innacuracies in the above post.

    Fern- consult a competent posek.

  4. while some of my friends opted to have a second wedding, there is no requirement for it– there is a requirement for a kosher kesubah. As far as get/divorce being required for that russian couple described above, they would need a get anyway if everyone knew that they were living together as husband and wife. Living together in public and saying you are husband and wife gives you marriage status halachically. the most important aspect in your question is the taharas hamishpacha/family purity laws one. that is serious stuff with very profound reprecussions and should always be the first step. there is one couple I’m friends with where the hubby became observant and the wife did not. the only thing the rabbis mandated for this couple to continue to have a marriage was her undertaking family purity since transgression of this is in the category of Karays.

  5. and besides the immediate humiliation, having not become frum if her current marriage ever does end what will the likelihood be of her ever wanting, much less recieving, a kosher get.

    And where were that leave her and any kids from a future marriage???

  6. Here’s another angle on this. We knew a young Russian couple who had settled, for a time, in a frum community. They had been married in Russia. Both, as I recall, were halachically Jewish, but someone determined it would be a good idea to urge this couple to have a kosher chupa and invite kiruvy people in town to it and have a big simcha.

    The couple was not frum, and were not oriented to become frum. They were getting more exposure to Judaism, but what really happened was that they were used as props for someone else’s kiruv-powered BT chasuna fantasy. While everyone was dancing in circles and singing at the big “mitzvah” they were witness to, the “subject” — a woman who had a child and had understandably considered herself a very married Jewish woman for quite some time — felt utterly humiliated. She told us this later; but it would have been obvious to anyone who would have actually looked at the “kalla”‘s face that her “simcha” was forced and that she was not a happy camper.

    They moved away a short time later, and I do not believe they ever became frum. I don’t know if they ever would have, but it was not a great moment. The story’s really only tangentially related to this post but this seemed as good a place as any to memorialize a sour example of when people are turned into “kiruv projects.”

  7. In and of itself this will not resolve any marital tension, nor speed an unmotivated and/or resentful spouses T’shuva process.

    I realize you are making a general statement, but what you’ve described above does not apply to my particular situation. My husband and I are happily married, and I’m not trying to use any part of my own teshuva process to force him to do anything. Would I love it if he was walking this path with me? Yes, of course. Do I pray that he will change his mind about observant Judaism? Yes, of course. But I don’t want to get remarried to force him to be more observant. I want to get remarried because I want to bring our children into the world in the best possible situation possible and because it causes me stress now that I know our marriage is not halachically valid. Of course I will be discussing this all with a Rabbi (I highly doubt a Rabbi would help us get remarried without talking to us first!!!), I was just curious what other people did. That’s all. :-)

  8. I reiterate: Unless the “first” marriage is on solid ground and BOTH spouses are committed to eventual T’shuva the “frummer” spouse may be well advised to proceed with caution. Especially if it’s the wife who’s frummer than the husband.

    Talk to a Rov /counselor first.

    It’s often been said to folks with a variety of issues who look to marriage as a panacea that “the only problem that marriage solves is that of being single”. Similarly “the only problem that a second halchic marriage solves is that of the first being halachically invalid”.

    In and of itself this will not resolve any marital tension, nor speed an unmotivated and/or resentful spouses T’shuva process.

  9. PS: Of course, a kosher kesuvah was written and signed. We had already taken on all of the halachos of marriage. You know what? We found the whole “getting remarried” experience to be really terrific!

  10. Fern

    It was very simple, we needed kosher witnesses and a proper ketuba (as ChanaLeah just said) . Actually our conservative one is very ornate and showy while our Orthodox one is just a piece of paper (but yet more powerful in a way).

    One BT thing we did is to only invite our observant friends. We did not want to have to explain to others why we did this after spending ooodles of $$ on the first wedding. And we wanted it to be a very positive experience. The only relative was our 1 year old daughter, who to this day brags to her siblings that she was the only one invited!!!

  11. Chaim G

    I would assume or meant it was either directed to a male or female reader, Fern couldn’t know who would be reading it.

  12. Oops. Sorry to leave the question so open-ended. What I was asking about what the ceremony/ketuba and not the party. I’m just beging to research what exactly would be involved and what the steps would be, but I’m in the middle of moving apartments and changing communities, and the new community’s Rabbi won’t be in town until August, so I thought I would find out what other people do while I’m waiting for the opportunity to ask a Rabbi.

    I was just asking in general, not necessarily as it pertains to my specific situation. I have discussed getting “remarried” with my husband and taharas hamispacha and he doesn’t have a problem with either. He is usually pretty supportive of me so long as I don’t force him to change what he is doing, or we find a compromise that meets both of our needs.

  13. How about another possibility…

    Long ago, before we ever considered marriage, my then girlfriend began learning about Judaism and Torah while in college and spent several years doing so. She then converted via a member of the conservative clergy. I was not a BT at the time, and we were married several years later, also via a graduate of JTS. We both later became BT’s, my wife and our two children went to the mikvah, and we went under the chupah in a ceremony held in the parking lot of our favorite yeshiva in Monsey, NY surounded by Rebbi’s and bochurim. Not exactly “When Harry Met Sally”, but an interesting story, no?

  14. Fern:
    We had a new ketuba written, with kosher witnesses. No frills, just a kosher ketuba.

    As for the mitzvos, we actually learned about them and began observing them before it occurred to us to write a new ketuba. Sort of haphazard, but that’s the typical fits & starts of becoming frum, I think.

  15. “did you or your wife wait until having an Orthodox wedding to observe taharas hamishpacha and cover your hair?”
    Note the “or” instead of the “and”

  16. Chaim G.

    You are revealing something about Fern that she did not put in this entry nor did she indicate she was only looking for examples of that situation. (unless I missed a link somewhere)

  17. Yes, we did on the advice of our Rav. My wife had already done the other steps. Our Rav told us that the first one was most likely OK but this was sort of a precaution. I told everyone that I hoped that my second marriage worked out better than my first, which was immediately followed by a sharp pain in the back of my head.

    PS David Linn was there but it would really be presumptuous to thank him for the compliment.

  18. Apples and Oranges David.

    In your case both became BTs. In Ferns only the wife is on board.

  19. I attended a small wedding ceremony with a very short round of dancing and light reception for a couple that (both) became frum after they had already been married. I usually tell my wife that it was the best wedding I ever attended.

  20. If ones spouse in uncooperative and doesn’t seem to be on board for the T’shuva ride, demanding an Orthodox wedding may be creating more problems than it will solve.

    Neither the wedding nor T.H. can be done without spousal cooperation. From a dry Halkhic persepctive I think the TH issue is the more pressing of the two.

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