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Is it considered adultery for a married man to have an affair with an unmarried woman?


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Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

Larry: I need a definitive, up to date opinion: if a married man has sex with an unmarried woman, is that considered adultery on his part?

Larry: A female friend of mine has raised a problem which she has...

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: If by adultery you mean a capital crime for which the biblical punishment would be execution, the answer is no

Larry: No, I just wish to know if this is considered immoral.

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: yes, this is one of the most immoral acts

Larry: So therefore, this man who calls himself "Orthodox" is absolutely wrong in insisting that it's OK for him to have sex with an unmarried woman?

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: that is correct

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: he is misrepresenting the truth

Larry: I need one further clarification: what is the source material for what you say? I would like at least to cite something which contradicts him.

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: the Torah makes it a positive commandment that we should be married to the people wwith whom we have intercourse

Larry: So I understand!

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: one who sleeps with a woman though he is not married to her has transgressed this positive commandment

Larry: Thank you, Rabbi! I think that this should be sufficient for my purposes. You've been a great help. Shabbat shalom!

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: shabat shalom to you too

Rabbi Eliezer Gurkow: Thank you for visiting Ask Moses today and I invite you to come back at any time

[Ed. note: see also What is the Torah source prohibiting premarital sex?]

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.