JHOM - Personalities - Gluckel - Early Marriage

Glückel biography

About Glückel's name

Glückel as businesswoman

Glückel's view of her suffering

The Memoirs (analysis and selections)

Glikl's girlhood was brief. Before she turned twelve, she was betrothed to Haim. Only a few years older than Glikl, Haim was the son of the trader Joseph ben Baruch Daniel Samuel ha-Levi (or Segal), known also as Joseph Goldschmidt and Joseph Hamel, of the small town of Hameln.

Glikl was wed to Haim two years later. This early age of marriage was much in contrast with that of the Christian women in Hamburg and elsewhere in western Europe, who rarely took their vows before they were eighteen, but it was not uncommon among better-off Jews in central and eastern Europe. Among other uses, it guaranteed a Jewish marriage to the parents' liking and promoted the mitzvot — the command and the good deed — of progeny. And why wait when parents were endowing the young with credit connections and liquid capital rather than landed property or a craftsman's shop? Furthermore, the newlyweds could be shepherded through the first period of marriage by the Jewish custom of kest, or boarding, provided for in the marriage contract.


Barnes & Noble linkNatalie Zemon Davis. Women on the Margins. Copyright © 1995 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge: Harvard University Press), p. 11. Reprinted by permission of the author.



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