BialyGen: Bialystok Region #Bialystok #Poland Re: Marrying dead wife's sister #poland

Zalman Usiskin

I do not know how to decide whether a practice is "common", but I can
provide a little evidence that the practice of marrying a dead wife's
sister was not rare in the middle of the 19th century. Both of my
mother's sets of grandparents were the second marriage of exactly
such a relationship.

My mother's paternal grandfather Avrohom Yitzchak (Avromch'k)
TSUKERMAN (spelling not known) lived in one or more of the shtetls
between Michalowe and Zabludow. He married Esther GARBER c1848 and
with her had four children. She died and he then became betrothed to
her very young (some say 12-year-old) sister Leiba and waited four
years to marry her c1860.

My mother's maternal grandfather was a cantor in Mitau in Courland,
and his marriages occurred c1837 and c1849, so marrying a dead wife's
sister occurred probably throughout the pale of settlement around
this time.

Zalman Usiskin


Subject: Re: marrying dead wife's sister
From: Sharlene Kranz <skranz_99@...>

But it certainly did happen. My great-grandfather married his dead
wife's sister. They lived in Czeszenow.

-sharlene kranz


Subject: Re: Inter-family marriage question

I understand that if a man died, it was common for his brother to marry
the widow. I'm just wondering just how common this was in Eastern Europe
in the 1800s. Did it occur often?
Quite the opposite. Except in the specific case of the levirate
marriage, a man may not marry his brother's wife, even if the
brother is dead. This is specifically proscribed. And the levirate
marriage is no longer in practice.

What about the other way around? If a woman died, would her sister step
up and marry the widower?
Often, but certainly not dictated by halacha. After all, who better
to raise the dead sisters kids? On another level, I had an uncle in
the US who married his dead wife's widowed sister - she wanted to
make sure that no "other woman" took their inheritance.

Israel Pickholtz

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