Monday, August 20, 2012

Every wife is to be ruled by her husband - Ben Yehoyada (Men 43b)

Ben Yehoyada (Menachos 43b): Rabbi Meir said that a man is obligated to say three berachos every day.  [See also Torah Temima]... It seems to me that a woman is at a major disadvantage relative to a man in that she is required to be subordinate to her husband and that he should rule over her. This submission is demonstrated by the nature of their sexual relations. For example, there was a woman who was very learned and smart and her father was a great and important man who married her to an ignoramus who was the son of an ignoramus. She did not want to submit to her husband but rather she wanted to control him. Her father said to her, Submit yourself to your husband and he shall rule over you because that is what G‑d decreed. She said to him, That cannot be the decree for me or those like me - since I am educated and the daughter of a great man – to submit to a boor. Her father replied, The fact is that the decree of G‑d for a woman to submit to her husband is for all women – even for people like you – without exception. This can be seen from sexual relations which is the principle attachment of a wife to her husband in which he is above her and she is below him. These positions are the same for all men and women in the world. This is a strong proof that everyman rules over his wife – no matter who she is. There is a well-known story regarding a king of one of the nations and he only had a single daughter as his heir. She sat on his throne after his death and did not get married. Her uncle told her that she should hurry and get married. She refused saying, And can a queen submit herself to a commoner to be his mattress under him. The uncle replied, You must get married because if you don’t your kingdom will be lost after death since you have no children. She was forced to listen to his words and she got married. Therefore my daughter you must submit yourself to your husband according to the decree of G‑d who created the nature of sexual relations in this manner that the man should be above and the woman should be below. This never changes even for a queen who is the wife of a commoner. Thus we see in the Torah (Bereishis 3:16), And to your husband shall be your desire – which our Sages say is referring to sexual relations. Thus this is a strong proof that your husband is to rule over you. And similarly we can generalize from sexual relations that the husband should rule over his wife. Consequently in the morning after the night which is the time of sexual relations - a man says the blessing that he was not made a woman. With this introduction we can understand the story that is brought in Bereishis Rabbah (20:7) concerning a woman who the child of important people who was married to a lowly man who afflicted her. The Sages heard about this to chastise him. When they came he placed before them a golden candelabra with a clay lamp on top as an allusion to the verse, “And your lust should be for your husband.” Rashi explains that he was hinting to them that even though she was an important person like the gold candelabra but her husband was like the clay lamp on top – nevertheless she loved him. As we stated he was demonstrating to them from the issue of sexual relations that there was a necessity that he rule over her.


  1. you mean ruled in bed.
    From Tenach we learn that men should be guided by their wives. Hashem told Avraham to listen to Sarah, Rivka "saw" what Yitzchak did not; even Yaakov did not "rule" over his wives and command them. When it was time to leave Lavan's house, he reasoned with them and they gave him their acquiescence.
    My husband came from a truly unfortunate background which has negatively colored his worldview. I will not allow him to make me or raise our children to be as anti-semitic, angry, and rebellious as he. I will not accept that it is my tafkid to agree with his bitter, poisonous rants.
    However, I'll let him "rule" in bed.

    1. You have raised an important point. However the language of the Ben Yehodyada and the Toram Temira do not restrict the submission to sexual relations.

      Do you have any sources which explicitly state that it is only in regards to sexual relations? It is clear in regards to honoring parents that our sages say that this does not apply if they tell you to sin. I haven't found a similar statement in regards to a wife's relationship to her husband though it is reasonable that there should be such a disclaimer.

    2. Perhaps because a wife is not obligated to OBEY her husband as she is her parents. She must follow his hashkafa and minhagim, she must aver to his decisions regarding money (as she cannot own anything - not even her own salary), and she must honor him. Do not confuse subordinance with obedience. It is the Christian marriage rite that includes the words: "Love, honor, and obey".

    3. please read the post regarding the Torah Temima which I linked to. I don't see any difference in the nature of subordination - except that a wife appears to be more subordinate in that honoring her husband takes precedence over honoring her own parents.

    4. In the context above, in which she was a superior person to her husband (Bas Talmid Chocham to Boor) it is illogical to require her to "be subordinate to her husband and that he should rule over her" in *all areas of life*, especially if her decisions are based in Yiras Hashem and his are based in stupidity. There must be a limitation of some sorts that is not expressed in the Ben Ish Chai.

  2. Bansa Bayis definitely has a valid point. NOBODY and NOTHING is above and beyond TORAH. A wife is obligated to be מוכיח her husband, no differently than she is obligated to be מוכיח anybody else, though she might need to do so בדרך כבוד as in the case of תלמיד לרב ובן לאביו. In instances where a husband instills values that are in contradiction to Torah true values, תוכחה is most definitely warranted.

    This concept is clearly illustrated in the following Gemora (Perhaps someone has the time to translate it):
    (ע"ז יז: - יח.) אתיוהו לרבי חנינא בן תרדיון אמרו ליה אמאי קא עסקת באורייתא אמר להו כאשר צוני ה' אלהי מיד גזרו עליו לשריפה ועל אשתו להריגה ועל בתו לישב בקובה של זונות עליו לשריפה שהיה (יח.) הוגה את השם באותיותיו והיכי עביד הכי והתנן אלו שאין להם חלק לעולם הבא האומר אין תורה מן השמים ואין תחיית המתים מן התורה אבא שאול אומר אף ההוגה את השם באותיותיו להתלמד עבד כדתניא {דברים יח-ט} לא תלמד לעשות אבל אתה למד להבין ולהורות אלא מאי טעמא אענש משום הוגה את השם בפרהסיא [דהוי] ועל אשתו להריגה דלא מיחה ביה מכאן אמרו כל מי שיש בידו למחות ואינו מוחה נענש עליו. (פרש"י) עליו לשריפה. למה נענש כך לפי שהיה הוגה את השם באותיותיו דורשו בארבעים ושתים אותיות ועושה בו מה שהוא חפץ: להתלמד עבד כדתניא כו'. ומיהו הקב''ה מדקדק עם הצדיקים כחוט השערה (יבמות דף כא:) ואפילו להתלמד יש לחוש לכבוד הרב וקרא דלא תלמד לעשות במילי אחרניתא תוקמה כמו נטיעת קישואין דסנהדרין (דף סח.) ודמות צורת לבנה דר''ג (ר''ה דף כד.):
    The catch is knowing what Torah-true values are, because we unfortunately live in times where few people care to carefully base their values on what the Torah considers "right' but rather go for a "feel good" approach to life. A case in point: permissive parenting is "in" regardless of the negative consequences, and authoritative parenting is "out".

    In issues pertaining to שיקול הדעת, Chazal also offer clear guidelines (here again, please excuse the lack of a translation or explanation):
    (ב"מ נט.) ואמר רב כל ההולך בעצת אשתו נופל בגיהנם שנאמר {מלכים א כא-כה} רק לא היה כאחאב וגו' א''ל רב פפא לאביי והא אמרי אינשי איתתך גוצא גחין ותלחוש לה לא קשיא הא במילי דעלמא והא במילי דביתא לישנא אחרינא הא במילי דשמיא והא במילי דעלמא.

    Frequency and "mechanics" of sexual relations are (within limits) not איסור והיתר. THAT is what the בן איש חי refers to. Torah true values are not monopolized by any gender or ANY individual. The world would be a much better place if we listened to Chazal's words of wisdom!

  3. According to what has been said, why then would it be necessary to be told explicity that one can not violate the Torah in order to obey a parent?

    רמב"ם ממרים ו

    הלכה יב
    מי שאמר לו אביו לעבור על דברי תורה בין שאמר לו לעבור על מצות לא תעשה או לבטל מצות עשה אפילו של דבריהם, הרי זה לא ישמע לו שנאמר איש אמו ואביו תיראו ואת שבתותי תשמורו כולכם חייבין בכבודי.

    Is there are comparable statement regarding the limit of obeying one's husband?

    1. RDE, you ask "Is there are comparable statement regarding the limit of obeying one's husband?"

      Well, is there a comparable statement to Kibud Av V'Eim -- IN THE TORAH OR SHULCHAN ARUCH/RAMBAM (not just other commentaries) that a wife must obey her husband, just as a child must obey his parents?

    2. Aside from the Torah Temima and the Ben Yehoyada how would explain
      Tehilim (45:11-12): Listen, daughter and consider, and incline your ear. Forget your own people and your father’s house. And the king will desire your beauty. Because he is your master and you shall bow to him


      קידושין ל:

      דת"ר: איש - אין לי אלא איש, אשה מנין? כשהוא אומר: תיראו - הרי כאן שנים; א"כ, מה ת"ל איש? איש סיפק בידו לעשות, אשה אין סיפק בידה לעשות, מפני שרשות אחרים עליה

      What does it mean she is in the reshus of her husband?

    3. What does it mean she is in the reshus of her husband?

      DT: Please explain what that means. In what sense is she in his reshus? Thanks

    4. It is understood in the gemora that her first obligation is to her husband and therefore if there is a conflict with honoring husband and honoring father - her husband comes first. If her husband dies or if he permits then she can respect her father as she wishes.

      Whether it means more than that - I have not found any commentary that explicates the term more than this.

  4. Several reasons come to mind: 1) One would erroneously believe that Kibud Av would trigger the concept of עשה דוחה לא תעשה, like מילה בצרעת, שעטז בציצית, etc. when a parents commands contradicts a לא תעשה. Also 2) One would think that Kibud Av is דוחה a Mitzvah מדרבנן, where in fact it does not.

    1. Since honoring husband displaces honoring parents and in the case of honoring parents there is a possibility that it displaces the Torah and thus requires an explicit statement of Chazal- then surely I would need an explicit statement in the case of a wife that she can not listen to him against Torah and Rabbinic laws.

  5. How about this:

    1) Rambam compares wives obligation to honor husband to that of honoring king. 2) Chazal clearly state that Torah takes precedence over honoring king.

    1) Parameters for honoring husband are in Rambam הל' אישות פרק ט"ו:
    כ וכן צוו על האשה שתהיה מכבדת את בעלה ביותר מדאי ויהיה עליה מורא ממנו ותעשה כל מעשיה על פיו. ויהיה בעיניה כמו שר או מלך מהלכת בתאות לבו ומרחקת כל מה שישנא. וזה דרך בנות ישראל ובני ישראל הקדושים והטהורים בזיווגן. ובדרכים אלו יהיה ישובן נאה ומשובח:

    2) That one may not listen to a king in contravention to Torah:
    (סנהדרין מט.) אמר ליה (דוד לאבנר) מאי טעמא קטלתיה לאבנר ... מאי טעמא קטלתיה לעמשא אמר ליה עמשא מורד במלכות הוה דכתיב {שמואל ב כ-ד} ויאמר המלך לעמשא הזעק לי את איש יהודה שלשת ימים וגו' וילך עמשא להזעיק את יהודה ויוחר וגו' אמר ליה עמשא אכין ורקין דרש אשכחינהו דפתיח להו במסכתא אמר כתיב {יהושע א-יח} כל איש אשר ימרה את פיך ולא ישמע את דבריך לכל אשר תצונו יומת יכול אפילו לדברי תורה תלמוד לומר רק חזק ואמץ ... {מלכים א ב-לב} והשיב ה' את דמו על ראשו אשר פגע בשני אנשים צדיקים וטובים ממנו טובים שהיו דורשין אכין ורקין והוא לא דרש. (רש"י) אכין ורקין דרש. אשכחן שמצאן שהיו עסוקין במסכת ולא רצה לבטלן כדמפרש ואזיל דאינו מורד במלכות דכתיב רק חזק ואמץ רקין מיעוטין שאם בא המלך לבטל דברי תורה אין שומעין לו: ... שהם דרשו אכין ורקין. שלא לקיים מצות המלך לעבור על דברי תורה עמשא כדאמרן אבנר כשאמר לו שאול לעבדיו (שמואל א כב) סובו והמיתו את כהני ה' וגו' וכתיב (שם) ולא אבו עבדי שאול לשלוח ידם ולפגוע וגו': והוא לא היה דורש. והרג אוריה במצותו של דוד אע''ג שלא צוה דוד אלא באיגרת כדכתיב (שם ב יא) ויכתב בספר לאמר הבו את אוריה וגו':

    1. interesting attempt. But the Rambam doesn't say that her husband has the halachic status of a king in relationship to her but rather she should view him as a king in order that she can respect him properly. The gemora in Kiddushin simply says

      קידושין ל:

      דת"ר: איש - אין לי אלא איש, אשה מנין? כשהוא אומר: תיראו - הרי כאן שנים; א"כ, מה ת"ל איש? איש סיפק בידו לעשות, אשה אין סיפק בידה לעשות, מפני שרשות אחרים עליה.

      she is in her husband's reshus - and thus she is being shielded from having to keep other mitzvos such as honoring her parents. It would be conceivable that she might be required to sin if her husband ordered her to do so since the honor of parents is compared to the honor of G-d and yet she must honor him before his parents.
      קידושין ל:

      ת"ר נאמר: +שמות כ+ כבד את אביך ואת אמך, ונאמר: +משלי ג+ כבד את ה' מהונך, השוה הכתוב כבוד אב ואם לכבוד המקום; נאמר: +ויקרא יט+ איש אמו ואביו תיראו, ונאמר: +דברים ו+ את ה' אלהיך תירא ואותו תעבוד, השוה הכתוב מוראת אב ואם למוראת המקום; נאמר: +שמות כא+ מקלל אביו ואמו מות יומת, ונאמר: +ויקרא כד+ איש איש כי יקלל אלהיו ונשא חטאו, השוה הכתוב ברכת אב ואם לברכת המקום; אבל בהכאה - ודאי אי אפשר; וכן בדין, ששלשתן שותפין בו. ת"ר, שלשה שותפין הן באדם: הקדוש ברוך הוא, ואביו, ואמו, בזמן שאדם מכבד את אביו ואת אמו, אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא: מעלה אני עליהם כאילו דרתי ביניהם וכבדוני.

  6. I think you misunderstood my point.

    It's a "כל שכן".

    If any Torah commandment takes precedence EVEN to listening to a king - surely the same applies to a husband, who is obviously in a lesser position of authority.

    Frankly, I don't think any proof is necessary - NEVER do we find ANYONE above Torah law. The exception would be אם בדוק לך כאליהו בהר הכרמל..... and even then only for הוראת שעה. As mentioned in Rambam יסודי התורה פ"ט ה"ג.

    Since this is the regular standard, no specific statement is necessary limiting the husband's authority. On the other hand, one would need an explicit proof to expand the husband's authority.

  7. Furthermore, the reason why Torah takes precedence over Kibud Av is mentioned in ב"מ לב.:
    ת''ר מנין שאם אמר לו אביו היטמא או שאמר לו אל תחזיר שלא ישמע לו שנאמר {ויקרא יט-ג} איש אמו ואביו תיראו ואת שבתותי תשמרו אני ה' כולכם חייבין בכבודי

    This same reason applies to husbands as well:
    כולכם חייבין בכבודי

    Seems pretty clear.

    1. I agree that it is clear and that is why it is strange that the Torah needs to explain that parents are not an exception. Once this exception is made is would follow that other relationships need to be stated also such as husband and wife or rebbe and talmid. In other words by bringing proof to that which apparently shouldn't need proof - it undermines the contention that no proof is needed.

  8. At the dawn of our nationhood ALL the women of the midbar saw fit to disobey their husbands when it concerned the egel. Anyone find a chazal that criticizes them for that?

    1. Why is it so difficult for you to accept that both the laws of nature and the laws of the Torah require that a wife submit herself to her husband's command.

    2. It's news to me that all couples in the world have physical relations the way the Ben Yehoyada describes. Christian missionaries found indigenous peoples practicing various other positions and discouraged them, leading to Ben Yehoyada's position being described as the "missionary position."
      Also, if a couple has a normal relationship, I doubt even the missionary position inculcates any feeling of domination and submission. You could claim a waiter dominates the guests at a restaurant because he stands over them.

    3. D writes: "Why is it so difficult for you to accept that both the laws of nature and the laws of the Torah require that a wife submit herself to her husband's command."
      Perhaps it's because the "laws of nature" would direct us to be lust-driven, selfish animals and the Torah teaches us to sublimate our natural desires to serve Him. Perhaps it's because maasei Tanach demonstrate that independent, righteous women repeatedly saved their men and/or the nation. Perhaps it's because the Torah is ambiguous about the nature of a husband's "command". Perhaps its because Hashem created women with their own neshamas, seichel, chachma, bina and yetzer hara and yetzer tov. Perhaps its because Yiras Shomayim ALWAYS trumps yiras husband. Perhaps it's because I've known too many deeply flawed men.

    4. In response to my own question re: what chazal thought about the women of the Dor Hamidbar who refused their husbands' commands to contribute their gold jewerly to the eigel, I believe that in addition to not being punished with misa (as were all the men of that generation), Jewish women forever after were gifted with Rosh Chodesh as a reward for their "disobedience".

    5. Impressive answer - which only serves to sharpen the question why there is strong and consistent insistence of the texts that women are to be subordinate to their husbands.

      In other words - I agree with your historical evidence for the independence of women and yet the texts emphasize the opposite.

    6. Bunsa Bayis:

      Jewish Law clearly obligates a wife to adhere to her husband's command.

    7. D-
      Like a broken tape recorder, you keep repeating that "Jewish law clearly obligates a wife to adhere to her husband's command." Apparently, you are not keeping up with this blog strand because there is nothing "clear" about it. And you never address my DIVINE (i.e. Torah miSinai) examples that support otherwise.

  9. El ishech tehi TESHUKATECh - no lust, no sex! Sorry, dude. That's why he has an obligation to satisfy her, but not vice versa.

    1. What do you do with the following

      רמב"ם איסורי ביאה כא

      הלכה ט
      אשתו של אדם מותרת היא לו, לפיכך כל מה שאדם רוצה לעשות באשתו עושה, בועל בכל עת שירצה ומנשק בכל אבר ואבר שירצה, [ובא עליה כדרכה ושלא כדרכה] ובלבד שלא יוציא שכבת זרע לבטלה ואף על פי כן מדת חסידות שלא יקל אדם את ראשו לכך ושיקדש עצמו בשעת תשמיש כמו שביארנו בהלכות דעות, ולא יסיר מדרך העולם ומנהגו שאין דבר זה אלא כדי לפרות ולרבות.

      שולחן ערוך אבן העזר הלכות אישות סימן כה

      הגה: ויכול לעשות עם אשתו מה שירצה, בועל בכל עת שירצה ומנשק בכל אבר שירצה, ובא עליה בין כדרכה בין שלא כדרכה, או דרך אברים ובלבד שלא יוציא זרע לבטלה (טור). ויש מקילין ואומרים שמותר שלא כדרכה אפילו אם הוציא זרע, אם עושה באקראי ואינו רגיל בכך (גם זה טור בשם ר"י). ואף על פי שמותר בכל אלה, כל המקדש עצמו במותר לו קדוש יאמרו לו (דברי הרב).

      A woman who refuses to satisfy a man is called a moredes.

      In fact there are mutual sexual obligations

    2. I think you are mistaken. A moredes is a woman who wants to have sex with her husband, but refuses in order to obtain something.

      A woman who for some reason does not want to have sex with her husband is a wholly different case.

      I cannot understand why you all construe that a wife has to lie with her husband when she does not want (which is just one step away from spousal rape)...

      Why can you all not understand that the husband has to make efforts so that she will have lust. Actually the torah says, she is naturally inclined to want sex. So if she stopped wanting it, something quite serious must have gone wrong. And the husband cannot just trespass and still have sex. He has to right the wrongs, until she wants him again, then he can have sex.

      the obligation of sex is just from the husband to the wife, because he has exclusive right to her sex. If he will not satisfy her, who will?

      On the other hand, originally, the wife does not have exclusive rights on her husband's sex. So if she does not want, he will take someone else. But he cannot force her.

      Again, I am appalled that this blog promotes spousal rape.

    3. I don't think those passages refer to consent or no consent. They just refer to positions allowed or forbidden, so, a priori, no position is forbidden. OK. But, of course, only with her consent. it does not say he may rape her as he likes. I suppose the question of consent is treated in an other passage.

      If you were to read it as "he may rape her as he likes, vaginally or anally", judaism would really, really be a disgusting religion.

    4. If a man refuses to have relations with his wife according to her needs - would you agree that is ground's for divorce since he has an obligation? If they have a genuine loving relation but his wife says she doesn't want sex 3 times a week and he says he respects that but he needs a wife who will satisfy his needs - is that grounds for divorce?

      In other words if either partner isn't interested in satisfying the reasonable sexual needs of their spouse - is that grounds for divorce? If it is that would indicate that they both have an obligation to their spouse which they are not fulfilling.

      It is clear in the halacha that a man can not rape his wife so that is not even under discussion.

    5. שו"ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק ד סימן עה

      שלכן משמע שהאשה משועבדת להבעל לתשמיש בכל זמן שרוצה אף שלא בזמן העונה אם היא בבריאותה, והבעל אינו מחוייב אלא בימי העונה שקבעו חכמים ובליל טבילה ובשעה שיוצא לדרך וכן כשהוא מכיר בה שהיא משדלתו ומרצה אותו ומקשטת עצמה לפניו כדאיתא באו"ח סימן ר"מ,

      Thus it would appear that a woman is subjugated to her husband for the purpose of sexual intercourse whenever he wants it - even if it is not the specific time that he is obligated to her - if she is healthy. On the other hand the husband's obligation to his wife regarding sexual intercourse is only the times decreed by Chazal, and the night she goes to mikve, when he goes on a journey or when he perceives she is interested by her actions as we see in Orech Chaim 240.

    6. Ora: There is no concept of "spousal rape" in Jewish Law. Jewish Law obligates a wife to have sex when her husband demands it. Period. It is his absolute right and he is empowered to enforce it.

    7. D please cite sources in Rambam or Shulchan Aruch that say such a thing. You are clearly mistaken. While it is not a crime that he is chayiv misa for doing it - it is clearly prohibited.

      The following state we do not force a wife to have relations with her husband against her will.

      Keseubos (63)What is to be understood by ‘a rebellious woman’?24 — Amemar said: [One] who says. ‘I like him25 but wish to torment him’.26 If she said, however, ‘He is repulsive to me’, no pressure is to be brought to bear upon her.27 Mar Zutra ruled: Pressure is to be brought to bear upon her.28 Such a case once occurred, and Mar Zutra exercised pressure upon the woman and [as a result of the reconciliation that ensued] R. Hanina of Sura29 was born from the re-union. This, however,30 was not [the right thing to do]. [The successful] result] was due to the help of providence.

      רמב"ם איסורי ביאה כא:יב

      וכן אסרו חכמים שלא ישמש אדם מטתו ולבו מחשב באשה אחרת, ולא יבעול מתוך שכרות ולא מתוך מריבה ולא מתוך שנאה ולא יבוא עליה על כרחה והיא יראה ממנו, ולא כשיהיה אחד מהן מנודה ולאו /ולא/ יבוא עליה אחר שגמר בלבו לגרשה, ואם עשה כן הבנים אינן הגונים אלא מהן עזי פנים ומהן מורדים ופושעים.

      שולחן ערוך אורח חיים הלכות ק"ש ותפלה של ערבית סימן רמ סעיף ג

      וברותי מכם המורדים והפושעים בי (יחזקאל כ, לח) אלו בני תשעה מדות: בני אנוסה; בני שנואה; בני נידוי; בני תמורה; בני מורדת; בני שכרות; בני גרושת הלב; בני ערבוביא; בני חצופה.
      מגן אברהם סימן רמ ס"ק ז

      ז (פמ"ג) אנוסה - אפי' אינה אנוסה רק שאינה מרוצה לכך לכן יפייס ואח"כ יבעול:

      משנה ברורה סימן רמ ס"ק יד

      (יד) אנוסה - אפילו אינה אנוסה רק שאינה מרוצה מפני כעס שיש לה עליו לכן יפייס ואח"כ יבעול:
      ערוך השולחן אורח חיים הלכות תפילות מנחה וערבית סימן רמ

      אמרו חז"ל בנדרים [כ':] כתיב וברותי מכם המורדים והפושעים בי אלו בני תשע מדות בני אנוסה שבא על אשתו באונס ואפילו לא באונס ממש רק שאינה מרוצה לכן יפייס ואח"כ יבעול וכך אמרו חז"ל בעירובין [ק':] אסור לאדם שיכוף אשתו לדבר מצוה שנאמר [משלי יט, ב] ואץ ברגלים חוטא וכל הכופה הוויין לו בנים שאינן מהוגנים דכתיב [שם] גם בלא דעת נפש לא טוב ויש לנו ללמוד דרך ארץ מתרנגול שמפייס ואח"כ בועל וכך אמרו שם שיש ללמוד צניעות מחתול שאינו מטיל רעי בפני אדם ומכסה צואתו וגזל מנמלה דכתיב [משלי ו, ח] תכין בקיץ לחמה ואינה גוזלת מאחרים ועריות מיונה שאינו נזקק אלא לבת זוגו ודרך ארץ מתרנגול ע"ש:

    8. DT: My above comment is supported by the רמב"ם איסורי ביאה כא שולחן ערוך אבן העזר הלכות אישות סימן כה שו"ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק ד סימן עה you cited right above.

    9. There is no way that Rambam or Rav Moshe could be understood to be saying that a wife can be forced to have sex against her will and that they would go against the gemora in Nedarim, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, Magen Avrahom, Mishneh Berura and Aruch HaShulchan.

    10. "There is no way that Rambam or Rav Moshe could be understood to be saying that a wife can be forced to have sex against her will and that they would go against the gemora in Nedarim, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, Magen Avrahom, Mishneh Berura and Aruch HaShulchan."

      Thank you, that is my point.

      What happens if a man does not fulfill the mitzwah of onah? Will he be raped? No, he has to pay a fine.

      A wife has no mitzwah of fullfilling her husband's sexual desires.

      For example, if she says: I had a child and childbirth is so horrible that I will not do it any more, therefore I do not want to have sex (so as not to become pregnant), she is entitled to refuse sex, and no-one can force her to have sex, since no-one can be forced to put his life in danger (and birth is potentially life-threatening, according to the texts). This is the reason why the women have no mitzwah of pru u rvu.

      so, of course, it might be that the husband can divorce her in such a case and look for someone else who wants to have sex (some say he can even look for someone to have sex with without even divorcing her, that's the famous "lovesh sh'chorim ve yotze michutz la ir).

      But he cannot force her to have sex. Same thing if she finds him repulsive...

  10. I think the Ben Yehoyada has taken one interpretation of the klalos in Bereishis. However, using that same reasoning, it would not be permissible to learn full time or stop working even if one is wealthy as Hashem already said bezeas apecha tochal lechem. Furthermore, it may not be permissible to ease a woman's pregnancy pain. However,another way to look at the klalos is that they are something we are allowed to try to avoid or even things that we are to try to reverse.

  11. Maybe Jewish women tend to be strong willed, and Jewish men who marry them have, through the ages, tried to find ways to keep them in check in a 3000-year war of the sexes. Jewish women are famously depicted in the American media as headstrong, wearing the "pants" in the family, independent, etc., in comparison to their goyische counterparts. Ditto the eigel story, as already discussed above. In fact, the Nazis pointed to the relative economic independence and lack of deference among Jewish women in Europe as one of the many proofs of the jews' moral degeneracy.

    I say this mainly in jest, but I can't help but thinking that commentaries like these are a passive-agressive coping mechanism by nerdy rabbis who wish that their wives would just listen to them and do what they're told. I'm imagining Ben Ish Chai scribbling away this comment in his study soon after being pushed around by his wife (yet again), and taking comfort in the knowledge that, at least in theory, his wife is supposed to obey him like a servant (especially when it comes to whether or not buying that new oven and stove was really necessary - I mean, we just bought that other oven 10 years ago, and it definitely has at least another 5 good years left in it).

  12. "she is required to be subordinate to her husband and that he should rule over her"

    The Ben Yehoyada's statement is true, but only in a quite narrow sense. A Jewish wife should "view" and respect her husband as a king, but he is not actually a king over his wife because his power over her is NOT the same as an absolute monarch's power over the monarch's subjects.

    Both spouses are obligated, for the most part equally, in mitzvos bein adam l'chavero. The wife actually seems to have more halachic rights within marriage than her husband, based on Evan HaEzer Seman 69.

    Based on Baba Metsia 59A, the wife seems to be granted a lot of authority in material matters, although it seems the husband could overrule her in some cases such as discretionary household spending using the husband's funds. In spiritual matters the wife does seem to be subordinate to the husband, although there are no doubt limits to that also, for example, if the wife wants to make aliyah and the husband refuses, he might have to give her a Get. (Evan HaEzer 75).

    So within superficial Western concepts, I think Torah marriage can be characterized as moderate and balanced, being neither feminist nor male chauvinist. Feminists love to accuse Torah of being "sexist" or male chauvinist" in its treatment of women. In truth its the Western feminist family court system which should be characterized as brutally feminist, extremist, reactionary, and sexist in its treatment of fathers.

    1. According to Jewish Law, a wife must adhere to her husband's instructions and directions to her. The reverse it not the case, under Jewish Law.

    2. Bava Metzia (59a): Rab also said: He who follows his wife's counsel will descend14 into Gehenna, for it is written, But there was none like unto Ahab [which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up].15 R. papa objected to Abaye: But people say, If your wife is short, bend down and hear her whisper! — There is no difficulty: the one refers to general matters; the other to household affairs.16 Another version: the one refers to religious matters, the other to secular questions.

  13. Chaim, I agree with you that in general the wife must adhere to the husband's instructions, (if his instructions do not violate the wife's halachic rights or other Torah laws), but the reverse is not the case. This of course does not mean she is a slave or that he can abuse her.

    A new question did occur to me. The Ben Yehoyada cited above seems to claim that a husband may always assume the upper sexual position. If a wife claimed that her "onasa" required her to take the upper position, would her husband have to comply with her due to his mitzvah aseh of "onasa"?

  14. I don’t get this mekor at all. First of all, G-d did NOT decree that a man MUST rule over his wife any more than he decreed that women MUST have pain in childbirth or that men MUST sweat when they eat bread. Do you sweat when you eat bread? I don’t. Never seen a posek require it either. (Too literal for you? Guess what? I don’t sweat when I earn my living either. I sit at a desk.)

    Second, his repeated reference to sexual relations as proof doesn’t quite do it. As pointed out above, man-on-top is not the only position. Are women who prefer to be on top not required to submit to their husbands then? (Likewise for his point that night is the time of relations. Crazy as it might be, some people do have relations during the day!)

    The fact that the Ben Yehoyada says it does not to me mean that it is so. R’ Yonasan Eybeschutz wrote that Copernicus was wrong. Go figure.

  15. Regarding Bunsa Bayis' comment on women in the midbar, there is also the statement that the women in Mitzraim kept the faith.

    However, I don't know a source offhand, but I distinctly remember learning that during the time of the Bayis Rishon, the women were the most zealous in their pursuit of avodah zarah. Can someone clarify this for me? If true (and I'm pretty sure it is), then you could learn exactly the opposite of her assertions. Same with Sarah and Rivkah. They were known and acknowledged prophets in their own right. If Hashem wanted Yitzchak to be aware of the deception, he would've been aware of it. And if Hashem wanted Avraham to pursue his own feelings regarding Yishmael, He would've stayed silent or actually said the opposite of what He said. Further, you could say that Hashem had to tell Avraham to listen to Sarah because otherwise she would have been obligated to his decision in the matter, which would have been to not expel Yishmael. Rivkah never overtly went against Yitchak. She arranged a deception, but it was actually perpetrated by Yaakov, who bore the risk if he failed. She never openly questioned Yitzchak's judgement or decision.

    1. Spent most of the afternoon chasing down your claim that First Bayis Era women were more zealous in their pursuit of avodah zarah than men. I even spoke to a frum Jewish History professor at Bar Ian. Here's what I got:
      1. Shlomo Hamelech's many FOREIGN wives brought their avodah zarah with them to Yerushalayim. He even built them their own temples.
      2. Confusingly, most popular idols of the time were of females. MEN worshipped female-formed idol (fertility symbols). For example, according to Navi, Ashtoreth was a goddess figure.
      3. Chazal teach that most ivdei avodah zara were men motivated by lust seeking a lifestyle that permitted immorality.
      4. Navi is rife with tales of Jewish kings who were ovdei avoda zara, like Menashe (Melochim Bet, Perek 21) who sacrificed his own son to avodah zara. Don't bring up Jezebel as an example. She was the non-Jewish daughter of a Phoenician king.
      Perhaps you're confusing all the metaphorical sifrei in Ksuvim which speak of faithless wives. Theses wives symbolize Am Yisroel or Tzion and are not meant to be understood literally.

  16. According to the Torah and chazal, it is the husband's obligation alone to support his wife and family. Yet an entire community of faithful Torah observers, with their wives' permission, breach this law. Likewise, the healthy marrieds today know that a husband who "commands" his wife is a tyrant and a bully, and by mutual consent breach the whole Husband is dictator rule for the benefit of all.
    Personally, I think that the man who DEMANDS obedience at home because "The Torah says so", rather than earns it through his fine character and judgement, is some desperate loser who gets and deserves no respect in the outside world.

    1. You are correct that a man will never get anywhere with a "the Torah says so" reason. Not if he's a loser in general. However, you are wrong otherwise. In the case of irreconcilable household disputes, someone always has to have the final word. Always. And if it's the husband, which it should be, the wife might very well consider him a "tyrant and bully" because she doesn't get her way. But the husband is better off just doing what he wants and ignoring his wife's inevitable histrionics in that case.

  17. A rebbetzin told me that early in her marriage she had conflicts of this nature with her husband regarding who was the boss. They went to Rav Hutner who told them to following, "Regarding issues of tznius your husband has the final say. If he doesn't like you to wear open toe shoes for example you must listen to him. However in regards to running the home - you are basically two roommates and you need to negotiate a solution."

    1. hmmm......So then how should this play out? A young kallah confided in me that her husband demands that she lets her hair down in the back (sticking out of a hat or bandanna) because he "likes the look". She is upset because she feels strongly about covering all her hair. Obviously, they are on different pages here. Who gets the deciding vote?

    2. Honestly, there is no question that if a husband tells a wife to violate halacha, she is obligated to refuse and she is required to follow halacha. It isn't even a question.

      Imagine if a husband told his wife to eat chazir or to light a fire on Shabbos. Of course she cannot do that.

    3. regarding the kallah - if it accepted in her community to cover all hair the husband has no right to tell her to go against the community minhag.

      Rav Moshe has a teshuva where the husband objected to his wife wearing a sheitel because he viewed it as maris aiyen. Rav Moshe rejected his assertion and said that his use of a shaver was a bigger problem of maris aiyen.

      In short the community standards plays a significant role in these cases.

  18. Daas Torah,

    It appears from Rav Hutner's statement ("you are basically two roommates and you need to negotiate a solution") that Rav Hutner did NOT hold like the Ben Yehoyada above "that the husband should rule over his wife" (in all matters). Rav Hutner's position seems to be similar to Baba Metsia 59A which we mentioned above.

    We should not lose sight of the fact that the mainstream Torah positions such as Rav Hutner are in fact moderate, reasonable positions. Whereas the ORA - YU rabbis (Schachter, Stern, etc.), while masquerading as "centrists", are in fact feminist, anti-male extremists who support women who have absconded with their children to another state preventing the father from having a normal relationship with his children.

    1. Yes it would seem that Rav Hutner did not accept the Ben Yehoyada's view. Problem is that I would like a recognized source saying it in an acceptance text and I haven't found it yet.

  19. I wonder if it has a source. he may have been using common sense that today if the husband imposes his will al pi halochoh he may well be 100% correct but it will inevitably lead to serious marital strife and ultimately divorce. Today secular society has permeated the frum world no matter how much it tries to cut iteself off from it.

    1. She has no ground to demand a divorce if his commands to her did not violate halacha. So he can command her to do his bidding (so long it violates no halacha), and she is required to follow his wishes and directions. Even if she doesn't like or appreciate it, she cannot force him to divorce her.

    2. she can claim ma'os alei if he insists on ordering her around and she doesn't like it. While that doesn't require that he give a get - it does enable her to separate from him. If he is a controlling personality the beis din might decide that he should give a get

    3. Claiming ma'os alei does not give her the halachic wife to separate from him. (We don't pasken with Rambam on ma'os alei.) As his wife, she is required to live in his home (and be available for his sexual needs.)

      And if she walks out of his home, she falls under the halachic rubric of "moredes", and he can take her to Beis Din to force her to move back with him.

    4. Pat you are completely wrong - it is a clear gemora in Kesubos that we do not force her to live with him. The point of disagreement with the Rambam is that he insists that the husband can be forced to give a get while the majority of poskim said that he can't.

      Kesubos (63b): What is a rebelious woman (moredes)? Amemar said it is a wife who says I like my husband but I want to torment him. In contrast if she says that he is repulsive to her (ma’us alei) no pressure is brought on her to stay with him. Mar Zutra disagreed and said pressure is to be brought on her to stay with him. There was in fact a case where Mar Zutra exerted pressure on such a woman. [As a result of the reconciliation] Rav Chanina of Sura was born. However this was not the correct thing to do. The successful result was the result of Divine assistance.

      Please give your source for your assertion that a woman can be forced to have sexual relations with her husband

    5. DT: I'm not following your point. Are you claiming that halachicly any wife can walk out of her husband for any or no reason at all?

      I am asserting that she cannot. And that Beis Din can order her back to her husband's home.

    6. I am saying that a woman will not be forced to live with a man she doesn't want to have sexual relations with. And likewise a man will not be forced to live with a woman. Beis Din will provide financial pressure on her/him - but there is no physical force. That is the point of the gemora Kesubos 63b that I cited and that is the accepted halacha. The only point of contention is the Rambam says that the husband should be forced to give a get while the majority of poskim say he isn't.

    7. DT: All I'm saying is that Beis Din is empowered to order the wife to return to her husband's home.

    8. I don't know what you mean by empowered? Does that mean that if the wife says "No!" that she is committing a sin in rejecting the demands of beis din? or do you simply mean that beis din has the right to suggest they reconcile and to reduce her kesuba to pressure her to reconcile with her husband? It can't mean that they can physically force her or beat her to comply and it doesn't mean that the husband can rape her.

      bottom line- The wife has the right to say no to living with her husband and neither beis din nor her husband can force her to live with him.

    9. Why not? Beis Din has the right to use physical force to enforce its ruling. And a wife has an obligation to live in her husband's home. And Beis Din can enforce that.

    10. the fact that beis din can use physical force is irrelevent. I could find no source where a woman was physical forced to be with her husband - except for Kesubos (63b)where the gemora explicity says it was done against the halacha. Shulchan Aruch poskens that it is prohibited for a man to rape his wife.

      So your sevora has absolutely no basis in halacha

      Again show me a halachic source which says that a wife can be forced to have sexual relations with her husband against her will?

    11. Please explain what the Shulchan Aruch considers constituting "a man to rape his wife". I don't believe the S"A uses the terminology rape, and thus the S"A doesn't consider it to be rape. (Even if it is prohibited for another reason.)

    12. Also, putting aside the entire issue of whether she can be forced to have sexual relations with him, look at the Rambam quoted below (perek 21, halacha 7 and halacha 10). Rambam says the husband (or beis din) can physically beat the wife until she performs her wifely duties. Obviously she has to live in her husband's house to perform her wifely duties. (i.e. making his bed, pouring his drinks, etc. -- whatever else her halachic duties as a wife are.)

      So clearly my point that she can be forced against her will to live in his house is correct. (Whether she can be forced to have sex is a separate question.)

    13. She can not be forced to live with him if she doesn't want to have sexual relations with him. That fact that if she wants sexual relations with him but refuses to work and demands to be fed and clothed - the Rambam says she can be beaten. The Ravad says he never heard of such a thing.

      The point under discussion is your assertion that she can be forced to provide sexual services against her will - she cannot nor does she have to live in the same house with him if she doesn't want sexual relations.

    14. Rambam doesn't condition beating the wife into submission to carry our her wifely duties, on having sex. Rambam says the wife is beaten until she performs her wifely duties. Rambam doesn't say if she is willing to forgo sex, then scrap the halacha that she is to be forced to perform her wifely duties.

    15. And Rambam doesn't either say she can forgo be fed and clothed to avoid carrying out her wifely duties. (The Ravad says her food and clothes are denied her in order to force her to perform her wifely duties. Rambam says she is beaten in order to force her.)

    16. So even the Ravad agrees she is to be forced to perform her wifely duties. Only The Ravad differs from Rambam how to go about forcing her. But The Ravad agrees she is required to perform and may be forced to do so.

  20. Rabosei....

    I think we're missing the boat here. The assumption seems to be the Ben Yahoyada gives a husband free reign to command his wife to do anything he decides.

    Might we be possibly be missing a bit of "background information?

    Here is what the Shulchan Aruch says in או"ח ס רל"א:
    סימן רלא - שכל כוונותיו יהיו לשם שמים, ובו סעיף אחד: א. ... בכל מה שיהנה בעולם הזה לא יכוין להנאתו אלא לעבודת הבורא יתברך כדכתיב בכל דרכיך דעהו ואמרו חכמים כל מעשיך יהיו לשם שמים שאפילו דברים של רשות כגון האכילה והשתיה וההליכה והישיבה והקימה והתשמיש והשיחה וכל צרכי גופך יהיו כולם לעבודת בוראך או לדבר הגורם עבודתו שאפילו היה צמא ורעב אם אכל ושתה להנאתו אינו משובח אלא יתכוין שיאכל וישתה כפי חיותו לעבוד את בוראו. וכן אפילו לישב בסוד ישרים ולעמוד במקום צדיקים ולילך בעצת תמימים אם עשה להנאת עצמו להשלים חפצו ותאותו אינו משובח אלא אם כן עשה לשם שמים. וכן בשכיבה אין צריך לומר שבזמן שיכול לעסוק בתורה ובמצות לא יתגרה בשינה לענג עצמו אלא אפילו בזמן שהוא יגע וצריך לישן כדי לנוח מיגיעתו אם עשה להנאת גופו אינו משובח אלא יתכוין לתת שינה לעיניו ולגופו מנוחה לצורך הבריאות שלא תטרף דעתו בתורה מחמת מניעת השינה. וכן בתשמיש אפילו בעונה האמורה בתורה אם עשה להשלים תאותו או להנאת גופו הרי זה מגונה ואפילו אם נתכוין כדי שיהיו לו בנים שישמשו אותו וימלאו מקומו אינו משובח אלא יתכוין שיהיו לו בנים לעבודת בוראו או שיתכוין לקיים מצות עונה כאדם הפורע חובו. וכן בשיחה אפילו לספר בדברי חכמה צריך שתהיה כונתו לעבודת הבורא או לדבר המביא לעבודתו. כללו של דבר חייב אדם לשום עיניו ולבו על דרכיו ולשקול כל מעשיו במאזני שכלו וכשרואה דבר שיביא לידי עבודת הבורא יתברך יעשהו ואם לאו לא יעשהו ומי שנוהג כן עובד את בוראו תמיד:

    Is it a stretch of the imagination to assume that the Ben Yahoyuda lived HIS life this way, and also assumed others do the same?

    If so, perhaps all he is saying is that the husband has the final say in HOW to define כל מעשיך יהיו לשם שמים! As the Ramban famously says in Parshas Kedoshim, the Torah does not and can not give clear guidelines on how much and what to eat, drink, sleep, etc. since different circumstances dictate different things. So Ben Yehoyuda tells us that in these GREY AREAS - in including frequency of sexual relations - the man decides.

    As I've written before, Bunsa Bayis is CORRECT in stating that she has an obligation to enforce Torah values OVER her husband's objections.

  21. I'm not surprised that there aren't so many discussion on this particular Ben Yehoyada in halachic works. It's a relatively late work (end of 19th century), and the Ben Ish Chai is the more famous work by the author (which is also more directly relevant to halacha le-ma'aseh). This is especially so in Ashkenazic circles (litvak, chassidic, MO), where direct references to 19th century Iraqi scholars are less common in the first place. How often does one find, in any topic, a statement in an Ashkenazic halachic work like "The Ben Yehoyada says X. However, I hold Y for the following reasons"?

  22. Bunsa Bayis - Impressive and insightful comments, thank you. I am anti-feminist, and your comments have resonated with me. You sound like a very strong, confident woman but in a l'shem shomayim way. Some of what you say could be taken for feminist rhetoric, but you nuance it in such a manner that I don't take you for one. I give that out as a tremendous compliment and I hope none of this offends you. Based on your very first comment, I do hope and pray that there is much to love and like about your Husband, despite any issues he may have. Surely, to one degree or another we all carry some baggage from our past.

    1. Thank you. I actually answer your post a little further down this strand. It begins with "Thank you".

  23. I have rejected a number of comments simply because they were anonymous. Please make sure you use a unique name when commenting

  24. In cultures where men are allowed to bully their wives, the wives are in general manipulative and deceptive: they find more complicated methods to get what they want.

    So I think men who want a loving, honest, open relationship with their wives would be better off to forget what ben yehoyada says here.

    I know a couple where the husband bullies the wife in the name of torah (including forcing her to have sexual relations when she does not want), but what the husband really wants is LOVE, and he will never get it this way, because everything he does makes his wife hate him.

    I sense this longing to be loved in many comments who advocate the "husband ruling over the wife" and the "wife having to satisfy the husband's sexual desires". Well, that's not the way how they will get it.

    In human relations, one can either be feared or loved, but you cannot have it both ways.

    1. Excellent point. Of course this cuts both ways. There are women who insist on taking the position of mashgiach of the family and tell their husbands how to learn and conduct themselves based on their (mis)understanding of a drasha they heard. while insisting that they are doing it for their husband good - they don't understand the resentment and family disfunction they are causing.

      your point is that while you may get compliance you don't get love and respect or happiness by having rigid rules or insisting on bossing your spouse.

    2. Actually, it depends. There are times that love just doesn't cut it, and when מילי דשמיא is at stake a father / husband is OBLIGATED to enforce the right action - even when love is not forthcoming.

      See what the רד"ק and מצודות write concerning why עלי הכהן was punished, because although he DID point out his son's transgression, he was TOO "aidel" about it. See שמואל א פרק ג-יג on the פסוק "ולא כהה בם":

      ,ולא כהה בם. רצה לומר : אף בשמוע דברי איש האלהים, עם כל זאת לא חש ולא גער בבניו להכהות מראות פניהם לביישם ברבים : (מצודת דוד)
      שהי' לו לעצרם ולמונעם, למנעם ולהריב עם בניו בחזקה-רד"ק

      It's a last resort, of course, but still better than the alternative of allowing negative values to become ingrained.

      We wouldn't need Police, Courts and Jails if enough love always did the trick - would we?

    3. you seem to believe that the man is the real adult in the relationship and thus he has to enforce the right action even if it alienates his wife. You give examples regarding a parent's need to discipline children - and thus a husband must be strong and discipline his wife?!

      This is clearly the Yam shel Shlomo's view expressed in BK 28 - but I don't think people in those days really cared if their wife's loved them - they were more interested in respect.

      The point is that if one wants to be loved he has a different attitude to demanding authority then if his major concern is obedience.

      A more helpful approach to getting a spouse to do the right thing even if she/he doesn't want is to have a rav that both sides agree to accept.

    4. Iv'e already mentioned earlier that BOTH have the obligation to enforce Torah values by whatever means they have at their disposal. (See Gemara in Avoda Zora concerning wife of ר' חנינא בן תרדיון

      על אשתו להריגה דלא מיחה ביה מכאן אמרו כל מי שיש בידו למחות ואינו מוחה נענש עליו

      What you mention as the Yam Shel Shlomo is actually the תרומות הדשן, quoted in Rema Choshen Mishpot ס' תכ"א סי"ג. See the Tremus Hadeshen inside. He refers to a husband physically punishing a wife that curses. The same is quoted in אבן העזר ס' קנ"ד ס"ג. There the Rema brings two opinions on whether husbands can mete out physical punishments for transgression.

      I'd never recommend the corporal punishment thingy today because of the "possible" problems.. lol. But when everything else fails a tongue lashing for serious transgressions is surely warranted, even today.

      Please note that אונאת דברים is מותר לתועלת.

    5. The Yam shel Shlomo in actuality indicates that if someone is doing wrong and you can stop the transgression - even if it means physically beating the person - it is permitted. Accordingly if the wife thinks the husband is doing wrong and she has the physical ability she can beat him into behaving.

      It is obviously not the way to behave in modern times and I am not sure how relevant it was in the middle ages

    6. The Shulchan Aruch is for ALL times. The physical part simply won't work today. Talk of "Modern Times" being different is dangerous.

      Also, I'm puzzled by your comment that

      "I don't think people in those days really cared if their wife's loved them - they were more interested in respect.The point is that if one wants to be loved he has a different attitude to demanding authority then if his major concern is obedience".

      It's not a question of caring for love. It's a question of Torah values taking precedence, or even more - of TRUE love meaning the willingness to make hard decisions, even if they hurt.

      Imagine America 70 years ago ... and a husband SCREAMING at his wife NOT to go to the movies on Shabbos.... Was he motivated by a lack of love?

      האומר לאביו ולאמו לא ראיתיו..... כי שמרו אמרותיך ובריתך ינצורו!!

    7. Our job in this world is to do Hashem's will.

      Ora's case where "the husband bullies the wife in the name of torah (including forcing her to have sexual relations when she does not want", is NOT what we're talking about here. That's an issue where the husband can and most definitely SHOULD try working on his urges, assuming that they are מקיים מצות עונה.

      In real life, taking a reasoned, firm approach should usually gets the point across that fairness and reason rule in the home and that manipulations are both unnecessary and futile. But as radical selfishness becomes a "שיטה", everything becomes harder....
      Additionally, love and reason should ALWAYS be attempted, until that avenue is fully exhausted. At THAT point, במילי דשמיא the Rambam tells us in הלכות דעות פ"ו הלכה ח':

      המוכיח את חבירו תחלה לא ידבר לו קשות עד שיכלימנו ... שאסור לאדם להכלים את ישראל וכל שכן ברבים. ...לפיכך צריך אדם להזהר שלא לבייש חבירו ברבים בין קטן בין גדול. ... במה דברים אמורים בדברים שבין אדם לחבירו. אבל בדברי שמים אם לא חזר בו בסתר מכלימין אותו ברבים ומפרסמים חטאו ומחרפים אותו בפניו ומבזין ומקללין אותו עד שיחזור למוטב כמו שעשו כל הנביאים בישראל:

      He gives us the right to "pick and choose" which Rambam's we like? We should stop measuring right and wrong based on secular values. Period.

    8. A typo:
      "He gives us the right to "pick and choose" which Rambam's we like?"

      Should read:

      "WHO gives us the right to "pick and choose" which Rambam's we like?"

    9. What about a situation where a woman can't stand her husband and the last thing she wants to do is sleep with him, but she doesn't want a divorce for whatever reason. Her husband makes it clear that if she wants to stay married, he needs to have relations on a regular basis. Is that rape? She consented to stay in the relationship, but she is really being forced to do it. I'm not talking about a case where she says no and he does it anyhow. This might be very unhealthy but in my opinion this is NOT rape.

    10. agreed. She is forcing herself.

  25. I'd like to fine-tune my earlier comments that Bunsa Bayis is CORRECT in stating that she has an obligation to enforce Torah values OVER her husband's objections, and that the Ben Yehoyuda simply tells us that in GREY AREAS - including frequency of sexual relations - the man decides.

    In her original comment, Bunsa wrote "My husband came from a truly unfortunate background which has negatively colored his worldview. I will not allow him to make me or raise our children to be as anti-semitic, angry, and rebellious as he. I will not accept that it is my tafkid to agree with his bitter, poisonous rants".

    The following caveat is NOT referring to her actions in any way, shape or form, but rather meant as a general statement:

    Not everything that seems "anti-Semitic, angry, and rebellious" is really so. Herscel Tzig recently posted a fascinating piece written by non other than Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz Zatzal, harshly attacking the Manhigim of his time for allowing the kashrus standards in America to slip into the abyss. He was hardly "anti-Semitic, angry, and rebellious" - he was standing up for TORAH TRUTH.

    The Edelsohn's and others have rightfully stood up against enablers of sexual abuse and establishment figures that look to revise the laws of Gittin. A careful, scholarly reading of Halacha is of paramount importance in judging right and wrong, and NOT what popular culture decides, based of the whims of secular society.

    I humbly posit that a woman unlearned in the intricacies of Halacha should tread carefully in deciding what's " anti-Semitic, angry, and rebellious".

    Thank You.

  26. Perhaps I should have been more specific: "anti-Chareidi", "anti-Agudah", "anti-Chassidish", and volubly so.
    And don't blame me for being unlearned in Halacha. I feel it keenly.

  27. Thank you. I am not a feminist either, though I do believe that over the millenia, the Torah's true intentions have been distorted by our proximity with host nations and now more closely resemble Christian Medieval European attitudes. I know that the G-d I love and His holy and all-encompassing Torah would never enslave, demean, and silence His holy Daughters of Israel.
    I thought long before I put in that tidbit about my husband's past. I love and admire my husband very much, not least of which is because he overcame horrific challenges. Nevertheless, I feel that it is my tafkid as his Eizer Kenegdo to correct his corrupt world view. Don't mock me as an unlearned, ignorant woman, or call me arrogant for daring to "impose" my viewpoint. Accept that Hashem in his wisdom ordained that there be two parents in the creation of a child - not one - and didn't reserve all the intelligence for men alone. I am grateful to Hashem and my parents for instilling in me a natural, unbreakable emunah, and I believe I must utilize this gift for my family's sake.

    1. From the bottom of my heart, I commend your strength and passion in believing that it is the distortions of Torah that are the problem, while Torah itself offers the most ideal solutions.

      Yes - you most definitely MUST utilize the gift of Emunah that you were instilled with for your families sake.

      And no - I had absolutely no intention of mocking you as "an unlearned, ignorant woman". I believe that the sad fact is that in contemporary discourse very few MEN OR WOMAN search for answers based on CAREFUL Halichic analysis, in areas beyond the typical Hilchos Shabbos, מאכלות אסורות, etc, etc.

      From my experience, even some Rabbonim are no better. They get their way by belittling, ignoring, etc.

      My intention was simply to say: Try to discuss your details with a learned person who has YIRAS SHOMAYIM, lest you be misled.

      Stay Strong!

      My attention was that if you want to d

  28. Rabbi Yeruchem GellowitzAugust 23, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Rambam, Laws of Interpersonal Relations, perek 21, halacha 7:

    "We find that every woman performs five tasks for her husband. She spins, washes his face, hands, and legs, pours his drink, makes the bed, and serves him. There are six tasks some women do and some don't: grind and bake and cook, wash, nurse children, and feed the animals."

    Halacha 10: "Any woman who does not do the tasks which she is obligated to do is forced, even with a stick."

    The Rabad meforesh on this: "I have never heard of hitting a woman with a stick, but one reduces the necessities given to her and her food until she gives in."

  29. Rabbi Yeruchem GellowitzAugust 23, 2012 at 1:35 AM

    6. Rambam (21:10): If a woman refuses to do any
    obligatory Melachah, we force her, even with a
    i. Rebuttal (Ra'avad): I never heard about hittng
    women with sticks. Rather, he diminishes her
    needs and food until she submits.
    ii. Beis Yosef (EH 80 DH u'Mah she'Chosav Yir'eh):
    The Tur says that the Rambam holds that
    rebellion from Melachah is rebellion. He learns
    from the fact that we force her with sticks. If
    she could say 'do not feed me, and I will not
    work for you', why would we force her? However,
    why didn't the Rambam say that we deduct from
    her Kesuvah? I say that the Rambam does not
    consider her a rebel. He said (12:4) that if
    she says 'do not feed me, and I will not work
    for you', we heed her. In Perek 21, he
    discusses one who wants to be fed without
    working. The Ran explains that since she did
    not pardon food, he must still feed her,
    therefore he can force her to work.
    Alternatively, even when she says 'do not feed
    me, and I will not work for you', this helps
    only for spinning, but not for other Melachos.
    iii. Rosh (5:31): Rav Huna says that refusing to
    work is not rebellion. This is like he said
    above, that a wife can tell her husband 'do not
    feed me, and I will not work for you.' R. Yosi
    b'Ribi Chanina says that it is rebellion. He
    holds like Reish Lakish, who says that a man
    can force his wife to work. If he can force
    her, why is she considered a rebel? Since she
    works only through coercion, she is a rebel.
    (c) Poskim
    1. Shulchan Aruch (EH 80:15): If a wife refuses to do a
    mandatory Melachah, we force her.
    i. Gra (25): We cannot say that we do not force at
    all. We force a woman to nurse. Even if she
    brings in 100 slaves, we force her (for
    idleness ruins people).
    2. Rema: He does not feed her until she does it. Beis
    Din excommunicates her or sells her Kesuvah to hire
    a slave. Some say that Beis Din forces her with
    i. Chelkas Mechokek (26): Beis Din does not
    excommunicate her if he does not feed her, for
    then she may say that she will not work for
    him. Rather, they excommunicate her if he does
    not want to withhold food, e.g. she is nursing
    or for another reason.

    1. We're not talking about the same things.

      The disagreement between Rambam and Raavid pertain to a woman that doesn't fulfill her responsibilities vis-a-vis her husband.

      I was talking about מילי דשמיא.

      The rambam I quoted earlier concerning תוכחה only allows אונאה לתועלת by מילי דשמיא.In such cases תוכחה is a duty - with no backing down except when efforts are futile.

      Although the husband has rights, his ability to force his way is more limited.

  30. Rav Avigdor Miller (Awake My Glory):

    There cannot be two kings. The marriage relationship is two-fold. 1) The wife is submissive. This is not only Jewish but natural. There can be no harmony when there are two commanders. Without this indispensable condition, the home is disordered. "Arrogance is unbecoming a woman" - Megillah 14B. For a man it is not an ornament, but for a woman it is as if she wore a mustache. 2) The second, but equally essential foundation: a man must always demonstrate respect for his wife. This is "the way of Jewish men that... honor and support their wives in truth" as stated in the Jewish marriage contract. "He honors her more than his own body" - Yevamos 62B, Bava Metzia 59A. He is the captain, but she is the First Mate whose counsel is respected. She cannot be made a doormat, she need not beg for money, she deserves some assistance in the house chores, and the husband sides with her against his kin. He must express frequent appreciation and give words of encouragement, and he should remember his wife from time to time with gifts, big or little. Husband and wife should always say "Please" and "Thank You" and never forget to be always polite to each other.

    Before marriage it is imperative to ascertain the young woman's attitude toward feminism and "women's rights" and careerism. It is out of the question to build a Jewish home, or any home whatsoever, if the prospective wife has been tainted with these anti-natural and anti-social preachings. The woman's career and happiness are in her home: absolutely and entirely. Her husband, her children and her home are the expressions of her personality and her Free Will, and they are her chief forms of serving G-d. The modern orthodox "Rebbetzin" with a college degree and a job in secular professions is a misfit even in a non-Jewish home. The ideas of revolt against a husband's authority and the unrealistic dream of equal leadership in the family, lead only to unhappiness and failure, and very frequently to divorce. A Beis Yaakov girl should be wed soon after or before graduation. Every day after she leaves the Beis Yaakov marks another step away from idealism, for the street and the office and the secular school have an unfailing effect which increases from day to day. It is never a simple matter to achieve harmony in the home; effort and wisdom and fear of G-d are required. But with the additional burden of feminism, all problems become aggravated; and like all the unnatural and anti-social affectations of the libertarians this leads only to failure and unhappiness.

  31. PatAugust 23, 2012 3:21 AM

    Please explain what the Shulchan Aruch considers constituting "a man to rape his wife". I don't believe the S"A uses the terminology rape, and thus the S"A doesn't consider it to be rape. (Even if it is prohibited for another reason.)

    There is a rabbinic prohibition of a husband forcing his wife to have sexual relations against her will - that is the definition of rape. I don't understand what point you are trying to proof at this point. You haven't produced a single source which says that a man is permitted to force his wife to have sexual relations - not a single one! You have changed the topic from sexual relations against her will to beis din forcing her to live with her husband against her will and now you won't accept what I am saying unless it the sources say rape?! Please look up the Hebrew text of the sources I present here.

    Nedarim (20b): And I will purge out from among you the rebels and them that transgress against me (Yechezkiel 20:38). R’ Levi said these are the children that result from 9 improper types of intercourse. They are children born of a fearful relationship, rape, a hated wife, one whose husband was under the ban, when intercourse was done by mistaken identity, when they were fighting, when they were drunk, when he mentally planned on divorcing her, from a promiscuos relations and a brazen woman.
    Rambam (Hilchos De’os 5:4):… A husband should not force his wife to have sexual intercourse when she doesn’t want it. Rather it should always be done with the desire of both of them and with their happiness. Therefore he should speak and joke a bit with her in order that she be in the mood…
    Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:17):…. Furthermore he should not rape her or force her to have sex. Rather he should have sexual relations with her only with her consent and only in the context of pleasant conversion and joy.
    Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 240:10): If he is angry with her it is prohibited to have intercourse until he has placated her. He is able to speak with her prior to intercourse until she is interested.
    Shulchan Aruch (E.H. 25:2): A man should not have sex with his wife unless she is willing. If she is not willing he should placate her until she is willing. …
    Eiruvin (100b): It is prohibited for a man to force his wife to participate in the mitzva of intercourse… Whoever forces his to wife to participate in the mitzva of intercourse will have children who are unworthy. What is the proof? It is Mishlei (19:2): Also without consent the soul is not good. It was also taught in a braissa: Also without consent the soul is not good – that is referring to a man who forces his wife to participate in the mitzva of intercourse.

    1. Okay, I can concede to the prohibition against forced sexual relations with ones wife.

      But I have proved that a wife is forced to live with her husband -- and to serve her husband. Even if she doesn't want to.

    2. thank you for your concession regarding marital rape.

      you have not proven you second point. The Rambam's case is a woman who wants to live with her husband but doesn't want to work. She can be forced to work either by force (Rambam) or other pressures(Ravad).

      Please show me a single source that says that if a woman doesn't want to live with her husband she can be physically forced to do so? she can only be pressured with the loss of her kesuba.

    3. Rambam nowhere limits his ruling to a case where the wife wants to live with her husband but doesn't want to work.

      The plain meaning of the text in Rambam is that the force can be applied even if the wife does NOT want to live with her husband.

    4. I can't believe you are persisting with this nonsense. The Rambam poskens that in a case where the woman says she doesn't want to have sexual relations with her husband we force the husband to give a get because she is not a captive.

      רמב"ם אישות יד

      הלכה ח
      האשה שמנעה בעלה מתשמיש המטה היא הנקראת מורדת, ושואלין אותה מפני מה מרדה, אם אמרה מאסתיהו ואיני יכולה להבעל לו מדעתי כופין אותו להוציא לשעתו לפי שאינה כשבויה שתבעל לשנוי לה, ותצא בלא כתובה כלל ותטול בלאותיה הקיימין בין מנכסים שהכניסה לבעלה ונתחייב באחריותן בין מנכסים שלא נתחייב באחריותן, ואינה נוטלת משל בעל כלום ואפילו מנעל שברגליה ומטפחת שבראשה שלקחן לה פושטת ונותנת וכן כל שנתן לה מתנה מחזרת אותו שלא נתן לה על מנת שתטול ותצא.

      In spite of this you conclude that the Rambam means that the wife can be forced to live with the husband against her will?!

      Please stop cherry picking quotes, making ridiculous deductions and ignoring the full literature. If you can't quote a single source that explicitly says that a woman can be forced to live with her husband against her will - I will not be posting anymore comments from you!

    5. DT... Excuse me for saying so, but perhaps you'd be well advised to heed your own advice...

      You write "Please stop cherry picking quotes, making ridiculous deductions and ignoring the full literature."

      Yet you seem to have done the same earlier in this thread, by ignoring the Rambam, רמ"א, תרומת הדשן, ים של שלמה concerning חיוב תוכחה and writing "It is obviously not the way to behave in modern times and I am not sure how relevant it was in the middle ages".

      That's NOT "ignoring the full literature"?

    6. In the communites that I have lived in - no one has been beaten up by someone because he didn't keep mitzvos. No one has been beaten to death because he refused the mitzva of esrog. That is what I am referring to as modern times. How many cases do you know where the Yam Shel Shlomo was applied to beat someone up?

      It is true that in certain chassidic communities it is done sometimes. In fact after I published my books on child abuse - someone said - what do you need all that halachic analysis to justify calling the police. Do like the Gerrer chassidim do and you won't have a child abuse problem. Interesting comment in light of Mondrowitz.

      Check out the Mishne Berura and others contemporary sources - you won't find the use of this Yam Shel Shlomo. Aside the absence of citations is the fact that it is a violation of dina d'malchuso.

      You might remember the Ravad's comment to the Rambam's statement that a wife can be beaten to ensure she does her work "I never heard of this happening". You have the recent Briskman case in Lakewood where the police were called according to the psak of Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky after he was beaten by those who wanted him to give his wife a get.

      so what is your point - that there are isolated quotes that justify violence - such as Rav Schachter's citation of the Yam Shel Shlomo? But that is clearly not the norm of the halachic literature nor is it the accepted practice in the world. so how am I ignoring the "full literature?"

      Again I will issue my challenge - show me a source that a wife is forced to live with her husband against her will?

    7. Seems to me like you lost track of who is saying what in this thread....
      As I've mentioned before " I'd never recommend the corporal punishment thingy today because of the "possible" problems.. lol. But when everything else fails a tongue lashing for serious transgressions is surely warranted, even today. Please note that אונאת דברים is מותר לתועלת". So we're talking about VERBAL ENFORCEMENT, if need be.
      The Rambam in Hilchos דעות that I quoted earlier, and Radak and Metzudos all talk about VERBAL ENFORCEMENT.
      So I don't condone physical enforcement, which simply won't work today. I'm simply applying the reasoning of the ים של שלמה, תרומת הדשן, רמ"א et. al. to what is oft used today for much less important areas of life, and simply saying that we should care as much about כבוד שמים as a good manager cares about his employee that constantly slacks off and misses deadlines, causing his employer to lose money... You can be sure that the employee will be dealt with firmly and that "love" will take a back seat. Actually, a good manager will do it out of love - he doesn't want the employee to lose his job.
      So your earlier comment that...
      "I don't think people in those days really cared if their wife's loved them - they were more interested in respect.The point is that if one wants to be loved he has a different attitude to demanding authority then if his major concern is obedience" is in my humble opinion ignoring the literature.

      BTW, I'm not the guy that wants to force wives into living with their husbands, either. I know you've got a lively thread going here, but please try not to mix us all up, okay?

    8. RDE: Please allow this comment, it is a sincere point for explanation.

      Let's put aside Rambam for a moment. Shulchan Aruch itself (EH 80:15) says we force a wife to perform her wifely duties. Shulchan Aruch also says that a maus alei claim by a wife is not accepted at face value.

      So according to Shulchan Aruch it seems to me, and I stand ready to be corrected if you can do so (as I conceded on the forced sex issue), that according to Shulchan Aruch a wife can be forced to live in her husband's home against her will and perform her duties to him. And she can't run out with a maus alei claim, according to Shulchan Aruch. And EH 80:15 says we force her to serve her husband, which obviously must be done in his home (making his bed, giving him drinks, etc.)

      Do you dispute this? If so, on what basis?

    9. Again, I stand ready to be corrected if you can source otherwise. I will happily concede if necessary.

    10. Pat while you admit that a woman can't be forced to have sexual relations with her husband - but you are claiming she can be held against her will in her husband's house in order to keep house?! In fact the correct understanding of the sources that you cited is that **only** if she wants to maintain the marriage i.e., sexual relations - but she simply refuses to work and yet demands food, clothing etc - can beis din can force her to work. However if she doesn't want to have relations with her husband - whether it is because she says ma'ous alei or she simply is bored with him - she can not be forced to remain with him. If she claims ma'us alei the Rambam says the husband is forced to divorce her while the majority view is that he has no obligation to give a get. The Gemora in Kesubos 63b clear indicates that she can not be forced to have sexual relations with him. That means she can leave the home and can not be kept as a slave. If there is objective basis to ma'ous alei, beis din can apply some pressure such as harchakos of Rabbeinu Tam or simply tell him he should give her a get. If there is no objective basis- then beis din **does nothing** if she wants to leave.

      I find it hard to believe that you think that 1) a woman can be held prisoner according to Torah law 2) that while she doesn't have to have sexual relations but she must live in the same house with her husband?! That means of course they are going to have a platonic relationship right - despite yichud? There is absolutely no basis for claiming that such a situation is acceptable by halacha. I am simply horrified that you think that your proposal for keeping this woman a slave - even without sexual relations is a reasonable understanding of yiddishkeit.

      Please ask your local Orthodox rabbi or any of your friends or neighbors whether your conjecture seems a reasonable Jewish view. There is a basic concept in Yiddishkeit of darchei no'am and your proposal clearly isn't pleasant by any standards.

    11. RDE: I'm looking at this strictly from the textual sources of halacha. You are correct that she cannot be forced to have sex. BUT, that decision not to have sex was hers alone. He is willing to have sex. Her declining to have sex does not give her additional rights. Such as a right to abrogate her marital duties (serving her husband.)

      You are screaming how can I possibly think she can be forced against her will to live in her husband's house. YET, Jewish Law clearly says she can be forced against her will to serve her husband (make his bed, serve him, etc.) So applying force against her to compel her to do her duties is clearly within the framework of Jewish Law.

      Your assertion that Jewish Law allows the wife, by simply asserting she no longer wishes to have sexual relations, to effectively end the marriage means that you are claiming a wife can end the marriage for any reason or even for no reason whatsoever, by simply declining to have any more sex. Yet a wife does not have that power under Jewish Law. (The power to unilaterally end the marriage, that is.)

    12. Pat you are simply wrong. You don't believe me - go ask anyone else in the world whether they agree with your understanding. Only if you can find one other person in the world who agrees with you I will continue this discussion. There is simply no basis in halacha for a woman who is not interested in sexual relations with her husband to be forced to be his slave. You have not shown a single source to justify this cruel and bizarre understanding. You just keep repeating your assertions - which are wrong.

    13. Putting aside the issue we were discussing (of leaving a marriage)... how do you in general deal with the Rambam 21:10 that says a wife is beaten into submission until she performs her marital duties of serving her husband? I understand the Ravad and others disagree and say she is "only" starved into submission, etc. But everyone agrees she is forced. But my question is specifically regarding Rambam who says physical coercion is utilized.

      This certainly does not mesh with modern 21st century westernized secular views of marriage. Not only the coercion, but the halachic fact of what a wife's obligations are to literally serve her husband (i.e. Rambam 21:7 and the relevant Shulchan Aruch). Yet is it halacha.

    14. Your translation is not very accurate.

      "Whenever a woman refrains from performing any of the tasks that she is obligated to perform, she may be compelled to do so, even with a rod.16 When a husband complains that [his wife] does not perform [her required tasks], and [the wife] claims that she does, [the dispute should be clarified by having] a [neutral] woman dwell with them or [by asking] the neighbors.17 The judges should clarify the matter in the best way they see fit.

      Rav Kapach emphasizes that the Rambam's intent is not that the husband should beat his wife himself, but that he should bring her to the court, which should administer corporal punishment if they see fit.
      The Ra'avad objects to this ruling, explaining that it is unheard of to compel a woman by corporal punishment. Instead, her support should be cut back until she accepts her household duties. The Rashba offers other options - to place her under a ban of ostracism or to sell her ketubah and use the proceeds to hire a maid.

      When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 80:15) mentions that the woman is compelled to perform her tasks, but omits reference to the means of compulsion employed. The Ramah quotes the opinion of the Rambam together with that of the Ra'avad and the Rashba, but appears to favor the latter views.
      Rambam does not say beaten into submission - he does say compelled - even with a rod. It is up to the discretion of the court what type of pressure to apply and how much.

      Likewise the Ravad does not say she is starved into submission - it says her support and food are reduced. That could simply mean that she gets tuna instead of steak or 1 portion instead of two.

      Your point that the Rambam says beis din can use physical force - is definitely not Western society - instead a person is thrown into jail or bankrupted. The Ravad's point is that he never heard of physical force being used against women. I gather you have no problem with physical force against men?

    15. And then you return to your focal point that that according to halacha a woman's obligation is to serve her husband. I gather you are not bothered by the fact that the husband's obligation are to support clothe and feed the wife?

      I gather you would prefer that a wife has no obligation to do anything? The halacha has obligation for both the man and the woman.
      Rambam continues in halacha 4

      Halacha 4

      Our Sages also ordained that the fruits of a wife's labor should parallel her subsistence, [the obligation to] redeem her should parallel [the right to] the benefit from her property, and [the obligation to] bury her should parallel [the right to] inherit [the property mentioned in] her ketubah.

      Therefore, if a woman says: "I will not [hold you obligated for] my subsistence, but I will not work,"5 she is given this option, and she cannot be compelled to work.6 If, however, her husband says: "I will not provide for your subsistence, and I will not receive the right to the fruits of your labor," he is not given this option, lest the woman be unable to earn her subsistence.7 Because of this institution, [the obligation to provide for a woman's] subsistence is considered to be one of the t'na'ei ketubah.8


      Instead of the image of a woman being a slave for her husband that you repeated bring up - the truth is there are mutual responsibilities and our Sages tried balancing the rights and obligations of the husband and wife

    16. "Rav Kapach emphasizes that the Rambam's intent is not that the husband should beat his wife himself, but that he should bring her to the court, which should administer corporal punishment if they see fit."

      There are two different explanations among the commentaries to the Rambam. Some explain Rambam means the husband should administer the corporal punishment on his wife (I think most explain it this way), and others explaim Rambam to mean Beis Din should (like Rav Kapach explains.)

    17. It is very problematic to read the Rambam as permitting wife beating.

      See for example

    18. Prof Avraham Grossman in his book "He shall rule over you? page 125-128. Amongst other things he says " The majority of contemporary commentators say that the Rambam is referring to beis din not to the husband. He also points out that the Rambam (Hovel u'Mazik 4:16) requires that the husband must pay for damage, embarrassment and suffering if he hits his wife and the money is entirely the wife's and he gets no benefit from it.

      He does acknowledge that a number of rishonim and achronim can be understood as saying that the Rambam was talking about the husband hitting the wife.

    19. "Contemporary commentators"?? What does that mean? And what is wrong with older commentators?

    20. "He also points out that the Rambam (Hovel u'Mazik 4:16) requires that the husband must pay for damage, embarrassment and suffering if he hits his wife and the money is entirely the wife's and he gets no benefit from it."

      I understand that to mean if he hits her unjustifiably. If he hits her where Rambam rules it permissible, obviously no damages are due her.

    21. Interesting attempt to explain it. So every time he hits her they need to go to beis din and ascertain whether he hit her for the right reason and the right amount? So what is gained by claiming he has the right to hit her? In addition according to the Yam Shel Shlomo - if she has the ability to beat him - she can do beat him when he does something wrong. of course she might need a rolling pin or frying pan to get his to behave!

      You are describing life long warfare - with constant visits to beis din - not a marriage.

      Of course the alternative is that they will have others living with them as referees to determine who hit the other legitimately. This is as the Rambam says

      רמב"ם אישות כא

      הלכה י
      כל אשה שתמנע מלעשות מלאכה מן המלאכות שהיא חייבת לעשותן כופין אותה ועושה אפילו בשוט, טען הוא שאינה עושה והיא אומרת שאינה נמנעת מלעשות מושיבין אשה ביניהן או שכנים, ודבר זה כפי מה שיראה הדיין שאפשר בדבר. +/השגת הראב"ד/ כופין אותה ועושה אפי' בשוטי'. א"א מעולם לא שמעתי יסור שוטים לנשים אלא שממעט לה צרכיה ומזונותיה עד שתכנע.+

      If the husband has the undisputed right to beat his wife - why be concerned with her point of view?

      So please tell me how you envisage the Jewish concept of marriage according to your view that a man can beat his wife to get her to behave properly?


    1. I posted this Torah Temima

      Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar (Chapter 14) notes that this is one of the curses of a woman and she should have her ear bored as a permanent slave and as a maidservant. The Radal says that this teaches that it has been decreed that a woman always has to pay attention to the words of her husband. It is logical that the reason for the practice of piercing a woman’s ears for jewelry is an allusion to the fact that she is enslaved to her husband as is noted in Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezar. If so then why isn’t the expression in this verse “He shall rule over you” explained according to this understanding [and instead the gemora says it means that she can’t asked openly for intercourse]?

      this is simply a drasha and has no halachic or hashkofic significance - see the Ramban concerning agadata. Girls generally have their ears pierced before marriage - does that show servitude to their father's or maybe their mothers or perhaps their Beis Yaakov teachers. do they have them pierced again at the door of their house upon marriage? Also why don't all Jews have their ears pierced since they are slaves to G-d? It is clear that no woman has her ears pierced to show she is subservient to anyone and the one's who don't pierce their ears are not showing they reject their husband's authority.

  33. Actually if she had a conditional marriage she in fact can.


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