“…there is no such concept [of “falling in love”] in the haredi world”

…there is no such concept [of “falling in love”] in the haredi world (and in traditional Jewish societies, in both the Ashkenazic and Sephardic worlds, such a notion was hardly found at all). Any love between husband and wife is said to come after marriage, and the biblical support for this concept, repeated in numerous texts (both haredi and pre-haredi), is found in Genesis 24:67: “Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekkah. So she became his wife, and he loved her.” This verse states that Isaac loved Rebekkah, but only after he married her. R. Gamaliel Rabinowitz goes so far as to state that any love that is found before marriage arises from sin, as there is no room for “feelings” before marriage.

האהבה באה רק לאחר הנישואין, כל אהבה שלפני הנישואין מקורה בחטא רח”ל, ענין ה”רגשות” בכלל אין לו מקום לפני הנישואין, וזה דבר פשוט וברור שאין צריך לבארו.

R. Reuven Margaliyot mentions an interesting interpretation in support of this perspective. There are two contradictory biblical verses. Proverbs 18:22 states מצא אשה מצא טוב, while Ecclesiastes 7:26 states ומוצא אני את האשה מר ממות. The contradiction can be explained as follows.

In earlier years, parents would arrange marriages for their sons, and the overwhelming majority of the marriages succeeded. This is alluded to by the verse in Proverbs: מצא אשה מצא טוב. Now, however, things are different, and young men find their own brides, “and most of the time there isn’t peace between them after the marriage.” This is alluded to by the verse ומוצא אני את האשה מר ממות . In other words, if I find a wife for myself, most of the time it will turn out to be “more bitter than death.”

I think there might be another text that speaks to this concept, though I have not seen anyone who has made this point. The sixth of the sheva berakhot recited at a wedding states שמח תשמח רעים האהובים. The words רעים האהובים mean “beloved friends” or “beloved companions.” I don’t think one would use the word רעים to describe a man and woman who are “in love.” I believe that the words of the blessing mean a love that is found between two friends, rather than romantic love.

Marc B. Shapiro, “Some Recollections of R. Jehiel Jacob Weinberg, Love Before Marriage, and More”, The Seforim Blog (5 May 2016) [http://seforim.blogspot.com/2016/05/some-recollections-of-r-jehiel-jacob.html]