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How long after a divorce or the death of a spouse may the surviving spouse remarry?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Intimacy » Marriage | Subscribe | What is RSS?


A woman who is divorced (i.e. she received a Get [Jewish divorce document]) or widowed, must wait ninety days (not including the day of death/divorce, or the day of the subsequent wedding) before remarrying. This rule was imposed by the sages in order to distinguish between the children of the first and second husbands. If she were to remarry immediately and shortly afterwards she discovered that she was pregnant, the resulting child would be of uncertain pedigree. This would affect many areas: inheritance, relatives whom he/she may not marry, the child's status as Kohen, Levite, or Israelite, etc.1   

This rule was imposed by the sages in order to distinguish between the children of the first and second husbands
A divorced man may remarry immediately.

A widowed man technically must wait for the passage of three major festivals (Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot) before remarrying. The Sages did not want the man's mourning for his deceased wife to interfere with the joy of his new marriage. There are, however, many exceptions to this rule. Examples: if the man has not yet fulfilled his obligation of bearing children,2   or if he has young children who needs a mother-figure to tend to them. In case of need, a competent rabbi should be consulted to evaluate each individual case on its own merits.


  • 1. As is the case with most rabbinic decrees, they imposed their injunction across the board. Thus, this rule would apply even in the case of an elderly couple who are past child bearing age, if the couple was separated at the time of death, etc.
  • 2. This obligation is satisfied after siring one boy and one girl.


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Life Cycle » Death » Mourning
Life Cycle » Marriage » The Wedding
Life Cycle » Marriage » Divorce
Women & Judaism » Women's Issues

A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
A descendant of Levi, son of Jacob. The Levites were the teachers and spiritual leaders in the Land of Israel. They had various responsibilities in the Holy Temple, including choir and orchestral duties.
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).