- Question: [Thursday, 18th Shevat, 5783]
A few years ago, I became widowed from my husband, who did not have any children. My husband has brothers with whom I understand must perform Chalitza with me prior to me remarrying. It was really complicated to arrange so in the meantime, I simply pushed it off because I wasn’t planning to remarry right away. Recently, someone called me up with a very interesting Shidduch suggestion, and when I contacted a rabbi to arrange for the Chalitza, he said it would take some time to arrange. My question is, is it permitted for me to already entertain and meet on this Shidduch prior to the Chalitza taking place, or not?
Although there is no actual prohibition involved in doing so, practically, one should not begin entertaining Shidduchim, and certainly should not close on a Shidduch, until after the Chalitza is performed. [However, in the event that one already entered a Shidduch prior to the performance of the Chalitza, such as if one was unaware that Chalitza was needed, then since no actual prohibition has been performed, therefore the couple may continue to go out and get married after the Chalitza is done. Nonetheless, until the Chalitza is done, it is certainly proper for the couple to avoid meeting each other often, as is the case even with a regular Chasan and Kallah that per the Rebbe’s directives they should not meet more than once a week, and certainly in this case that she’s forbidden to him in marriage until Chalitza is done.]
Explanation: It is forbidden for a Yevama to get married prior to having Chalitza performed. Accordingly, the question is raised as to whether it is permitted for her to entertain Shidduchin or get engaged prior to this time. While we do not find this question directly discussed in the Shulchan Aruch or classic Poskim, we do find the following information from which we can base the answer on: The Poskim rule that it is permitted for a woman who is a divorcee or widow to go on a Shidduch and get engaged prior to the passing of 90 days, even though it is forbidden for her to marry until 90 days. Based on this, some Poskim deduce that the same would apply regarding a Yavam, that it is permitted for him to go on Shidduchim prior to giving Chalitza to his Yevama. Other Poskim, however, prohibit this, due to the reason that so long as the Yavam is still attached to the Yevama, he cannot marry another wife due to the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom, and hence it is not allow for him to become Mishudach. A similar ruling is found in the Poskim regarding if a married woman may entertain a Shidduch prior to her impending divorce, of which they rule that that this may not be done and it is a severe prohibition from the spirit of the law to do so. Based on all this, we can conclude that it is certainly improper to entertain a Shidduch while a woman is still a Shomeres Yavam, prior to Chalitza having taken place, and so explicitly rules the Rama in one of his responses. Nonetheless, if the Shidduch did take place, as is common to happen in situations that the couple was unaware of the Chalitza requirement, then it is a valid Shidduch, and the couple may get married after the Chalitza takes place, and the Shadachan is to receive his payment for Shadchan Gelt.
Sources: See regarding the general prohibition for a Yevama to marry before Chalitza: Michaber E.H. 159; Encyclopedia Talmudit “Yevama Lashuk” Vol. 21 p. 438; See regarding initially not doing a Shidduch before the Chalitza: Shut Rama 65; Shut Rav Tiyah Viyaal C.M. 10:9 [may receive Shadchan Gelt]; Chashukei Chemed Kesubos p. 421 See regarding cases in which a Shidduch was done before the Chalitza: Shaar Efraim 75, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah Y.D. 192:1; See regarding not doing a Shidduch before having a Get: Chavos Yair 196; Beis Dovid 14, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah E.H. 143:10; Shut Rav Tiyah Viyaal C.M. 10:9; See regarding if a Yavam may enter a Shidduch before giving Chalitza: Rama E.H. 159:5; Avnei Miluim 26; Pischei Teshuvah E.H. 1:15; Sdei Chemed Mareches Chalitza in name of Chacham Tzevi for prohibition, although initially writing liheter; See regarding a widow or divorcee being allowed to date before the 90 day period: Rama 13:1; Beis Yosef 13 in name of Teshuvas Harosh; Terumas Hadeshen 217; See regarding Chasan and Kallah not meeting often before wedding: Rebbe in Shulchan Menachem 6:144-145; Hanissuim Kehilchasam 3:93; Koveitz Or Yisrael Monsey 14:167; Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar Ratzabi 6:205 footnote 55