Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Premarital relations

26 October, 2004

Question:

Thanks so much for this site. I was raised modern-Orthodox and while in college I strayed somewhat from orthodoxy and did engage in pre-marital relations. However, I recently became religous again and wanted to know what the halacha was about the repurcussions of pre-marital sex. In the ketubah does it have to say something? Is there something else I need to do (besides teshuva) to redeem myself? I dont know if these are stupid questions, but any help you could offer would be much appreciated. Thanks so much.


Answer:

Your questions are quite appropriate and not at all stupid.

The ketubah traditionally states whether or not a woman is a virgin, but we try to avoid embarrassment. In the case of a woman who was never married and is not a virgin, some sources advise to write simply ha'ishah  (the woman) or hakallah (the bride). Others rely on the Gaonic reference to a betulah as any woman who has never given birth.

Another difference is the conduct after the first relations – If a woman has had previous intercourse before this wedding, and is not a virgin, she does not become a niddah after relations the first night and need not separate from her husband until her next period.


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