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

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Premarital relations

26 October, 2004


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.


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.

This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

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