The family is central to Judaism. Many feasts and ceremonies are celebrated within it. In traditional Judaism, marriage is part of the commandment to multiply and is regarded as the natural state. The Talmud gives 18 years as the age of marriageability, and states:
"Rabbi Elasar said: a man who has no wife is not a true man, for it is written in the scriptures that "God created the male and the female .and he called their name Mankind". This also applies to rabbis.
Weddings are performed according to specific rites beneath the Chuppah (canopy). An integral part of the ceremony is the Kethubah, or wedding contract, which lists in writing the duties of the husband and the rights of the wife.
Although the Bible recognises polygamy, monogamy was practised within Judaism from early times, and became the sole legitimate custom following the decree of Rabbi Gerschom of Worms at the Rabbinical Congress in 1040 CE. The Frankfurt city council imposed strict limitations on Jewish marriages as part of the residence code. This was intended to keep the population of the Judengasse within limits. Only twelve marriages were permitted a year, and only two marriages could involve a bride or groom from outside the city. Remarriage by widows and widowers was also subject to these restrictions, which remained in force up to the mid19th century.
Divorce is both permissible and practised within Judaism. As with marriage, a written certificate is required which has to be drawn up by the husband and accepted by the wife. This makes the agreement of both parties of central importance in the divorce. During the Middle Ages, the question of the validity of published divorces frequently led to violent disputes, in which the rabbis of Frankfurt and elsewhere were asked to provide rulings. The chief rabbi of Frankfurt, Abraham Lissa issued a divorce ruling in 1766 which led to a major controversy at the time.
There were other instances where the terms agreed in the marriage contract were devised to make divorce practically impossible.