Some rabbis discourage teen marriage

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
Two prominent religious Zionist rabbis came out with a stern warning for religious Jewish teens this week: Grow up before you get married!

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the rabbi of the Beit El settlement, published an article stating that young men and women should experience independence several years before they get married because mental maturity cannot be acquired through reading instruction booklets, but only through life experiences.

"Without financial independence, mental independence cannot exist," Aviner wrote. "A wise man learns a trade, then builds a house and then he is ready for marriage. A foolish man weds first and only then realizes he has no home, and when he is hungry remembers that he has no means to support himself."

Aviner also said that the sudden transition from bachelorhood to marriage, parenting and work can put an enormous strain on young couples. "It's not enough to get married; you must stay married and married happily," he said.

He put the ideal age for marriage between 20 to 25 years old.

Another rabbi weighed in on the controversial subject, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon of Alon Moreh and head of its yeshiva. Levanon, who writes an advice column in a local publication, responded to a religious couple about whether they should allow their son who is in 11th grade to leave school and marry.

Levanon encouraged the parents to not condone such thoughts, which can lead to mutual emotional pain for both partners.

"Building a household is no game, this is an act that determines a man's fate for many years," wrote Levanon.

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