Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Rav Moshe Shternbuch: On Marrying A Widow & The Battle Of The Neshamos

The Zohar says in Parshas Mishpatim that if a man marries an Almana, a widow, the neshama of her first husband goes into his former wife and causes problems for the marriage.  This is because his former wife is considered half his Neshama and a foreign man is treading on it.  Based on this Rav Moshe Shternbuch (4:279) was asked if marrying a widow is advisable.

Rav Shternbuch said that in Yerushalayim people are wary of this Zohar and only get married after a Mekubal performs the Tikun Rashash to remove the danger.  However in Chutz LaAretz it is not done and men routinely marry almanos.  

Rav Shternbuch mentions a number of reasons why they are lenient in this matter.  Firstly he says that this Zohar is only talking about Zivug Rishon, meaning a widow from a first marriage, since only in a zivug rishon are the husband and wife considered two halves of the same neshama.  However today that the neshamos are not originals, only Gilgulim of other neshamos, our marriages are considered Zivug Sheini which means that the match is based on our actions and not that husband and wife were neshamos that were split and predestined to meet again.  Therefore the husband's neshama has no claim of infringement against the second husband.

Secondly the Zohar is only referring to a marriage where the first husband was a Talmid Chochom and the second one is an Am HaAretz.  In any other case, the first husband has no desire to see his wife remain alone for the rest of her life.  Additionally the Chida and Maharsham both bring down that this Zohar only refers to the first 12 months after the first husband died, but not after that.

To be on the safe side, Rav Shternbuch says that it is quite easy nowadays to send a request to the Mekubalim in Yerushalayim to perform the Tikun Rashash.  However most importantly, says Rav Shternbuch, is to make sure that all your actions are L'Shem Shamayim and to conduct your marriage in accordance with Halacha.  There is also a minhag for the widow to give tzedaka L'Iluy Nishmas her former husband on her wedding day and this should be sufficient.

Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.