Chelkas Yaakov: Can You Break A Shidduch If The Girl Lied About Her Age?


shidduch-smallThe Chelkas Yaakov (Even Ha’ezer 80) was asked about a girl who was supposedly 28 years old a the time of her engagement and when it was time to get married three years later, it was discovered that she was 36 and not 28. Does the chosson have halachic grounds to break the engagement?

The Chelkas Yaakov answers that we don’t find anywhere in the Gemara, in mesechtos Chulin or Kesubos, among the list of mumim, blemishes, that age is considered a mum. However, the Chasam Sofer says that the Gemara in Bava Basra says that a women who is over 40 years old and was never married cannot have children, and therefore, not only can you break a shidduch, but even if they were already married, one should divorce her because of the mitzvah of peru urevu. Other than that, he says, breaking an engagement because of age is not justified.

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  1. That is the most ridiculous interpretation I have ever heard. No disrespect, but come one, lying is lying and how can that not be justified? If anyone in an engagement withholds any information that would be pertinent to any type of future; then, that is wrong on so many many levels. Let me take this further, if he/she lied about her age, then what else has he/she lied about? And this doesn’t extend to age it can be a variety of things.

    Truth is the best. Just let it out and then have the other person decide whether or not to continue.

    Interesting how he did not bring down the following: Rashbatz, Yad Remah, Bava Bathra 172a. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 402,12. Chofetz Chaim, Introduction, Positive Mitzvah 13. Responsa of Rema, 11 and Responsa Shailath Yavetz 1,5, who are among the halachic authorities who write that lying violates a Torah prohibition, both in the course of everyday conversation and in business.

  2. While 3 years may be a long time it is still a good time to see if the person is right for you. I say I year minimum 2 people should date so that they can see how the other person is.

    The problem in our community today, is that too many people get married too quickly not allowing the two people to get to know each other. Might be one of the reasons there is a high divorce rate amongst the frum community.

    Bottom line: If it took 3 years for this gentleman in question to find out the skinny on the other person then good on him. Why? For it is better to know and jump ship than to find out when there are kids involved which takes this to a whole new level of unfairness to innocent children.

  3. Reply to number 1:

    When did G-d die and put you in charge to decide what is grounds for broken engagement and what not?

    I also get a kick how you can denigrate some of our greatest sages and in the next breath say, “no disrespect”.

    That’s like me saying, “With all due respect you are a dope”.

    How does that sound? A bit oxymoronic. Think before you talk.

  4. I would be worried for the girl. If it took the guy three years to do his background check and find out she was lying, he doesn’t look exactly like an illui. Is he that clueless in general? Maybe he needs a mother, not a wife?

    Granted, she shouldn’t have lied, but it seems to me there might be something wrong with the guy too. It seems to be a very unusual situation – one wonders if there is a lot of additional information which is not given.

    Or, is this a real situation or a test to see what people are thinking? Is someone perhaps doing a study on the shidduch crisis?

  5. Reply to number 4:

    G-d did not put me in charge I am bringing down what greater sage and the Torah says. Remember the Torah? And what are you talking about here?

    We are speaking of lying and what the Torah, as well as, the great sages say. And are you saying that any sage is greater than Torah? What kind of Jew would say that in any breath?

    So instead of focusing on your lack of Torah knowledge, how about focusing on the fact that if she’s willing to lie about this, it reveals a serious character flaw about the person. Middot is the bottom line here.

  6. Two points everyone is missing.
    1) The Chelkas Yaakov is not suggesting lying is permissible. Rather it is not the basis for breaking a shidduch.
    2) The 3 year engagement in this instance was not intended in order to allow each individual “see if the [other] person is right for you”.

  7. Whatever either side decides, EVERYTHING is better than getting married, having kids and then divorcing. Child custody issues make even the most sane people lose their minds. Hatred of the spouse comes ahead of the love of the child.

    Umacha Hashem Dimah

  8. The real point here is that lying which is against Torah (Pasuk: Matot Masey). The purpose of a shidduch is to end up in a marriage which will promote a Torah home. Ergo, if someone breaks something midraisa, then it is permissible. Since I have the right to my opinion I think that the ruling does not address the issue properly. So the way I read it is that if it is not the basis for breaking a shidduch, then that does constitute a lie to be admissable. But again that is how I am reading it.

    And no, the 3 years is not to see how it goes but as I have stated before, it is a long time but imagine if after 10 years of marriage, either spouse finds out something about the other which was blatantly lied about.

    And yes, the Mida of Emet is VERY important. I disagree with #5 where it is the guy’s fault. A lie is a lie is a lie period. Doesn’t matter how long it took or background checks. if someone lies then they are to blame. Any lie will get caught sooner or later. Thus it does constitute a breaking of a shidduch.

    Basically, if someone lies to get what they want or meet their needs in a shidduch it is up to the person who was lied to to decide whether or not to continue the engagement.

  9. I cannot understand why the young man is considered by anyone to be at fault; if the young lady was represented to be a certain age, why would he “check” to verify that? Have we gotten to the point where no one’s word is to be believed?