Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Does maternal lineage matters?

Not really, because Torah explicitly states that we are to identify lineage by the father (i.e Numbers 1:1-4). This is most certainly very wise, logical and reasonable. Even science confirms that the lineage passes through the males and not females.

However, to make a person one needs a father AND a mother, so sometimes mothers do play a role. Let's see what restrictions on maternal lineage is there in the Written Torah...

First passage is a requirement for the Priests (kohanim): 
YLT Lv 21:13 'And he taketh a wife in her virginity; 
YLT Lv 21:14 widow, or cast out, or polluted one--a harlot--these he doth not take, but a virgin of his own people he doth take for a wife, 
YLT Lv 21:15 and he doth not pollute his seed among his people; for I am Jehovah, sanctifying him.
So as you can see, the Priests were so holy to God that he restricted their maternal lineage to the Hebrew virgins basically. A priests couldn't even marry a sojourner, not to mention a foreigner, even if such woman is a virgin. Only a virgin from HIS OWN PEOPLE - HEBREWS.

The second passage I want to cite talks about maternal restriction for all Hebrews. Let's take a look:
YLT Dt 7:1 'When Jehovah thy God doth bring thee in unto the land whither thou art going in to possess it, and He hath cast out many nations from thy presence, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations more numerous and mighty than thou, 
YLT Dt 7:2 and Jehovah thy God hath given them before thee, and thou hast smitten them--thou dost utterly devote them--thou dost not make with them a covenant, nor dost thou favour them. 
YLT Dt 7:3  'And thou dost not join in marriage with them; thy daughter thou dost not give to his son, and his daughter thou dost not take to thy son, 
YLT Dt 7:4 for he doth turn aside thy son from after Me, and they have served other gods, and the anger of Jehovah hath burned against you, and hath destroyed thee hastily. 
YLT Dt 7:5 'But thus thou dost to them: their altars ye break down, and their standing pillars ye shiver, and their shrines ye cut down, and their graven images ye burn with fire; 
YLT Dt 7:6 for a holy people art thou to Jehovah thy God; on thee hath Jehovah thy God fixed, to be to Him for a peculiar people, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the ground.
As you can see, we are prohibited to take any woman (even a virgin) from 7 condemned nations of Canaan.

Also, one can't marry a Moabite or Ammonite and other foreigners (mamzerim) who do not live according to the Written Torah. See Deuteronomy 23:2-6. However, it seems that if a woman is a virgin, it is acceptable. See Numbers 31:17-18.

So, as you can see, maternal lineage does matter in some cases. Otherwise, we are free to marry however we chose and love.

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