Monday, May 26, 2014

Rav Moshe Feinstein : A man is more of a slave to his wife than she to him


I noticed this comment of Rav Moshe Feinstein this morning while I was looking through the 9th volume of the Igros Moshe. I found them puzzling since he is commenting on the gemora which itself says that a wife is similar to a slave. [Eliyahu G wrote: these exact words have already been written by R. Moshe in Dibros Moshe Gitin page 511]  Text available on Hebrew Books here

Menachos (43b) It was taught: R. Judah used to say, A man is bound to say the following three blessings daily: ‘[Blessed art thou . . .] who hast not made me a heathen’, ‘. . . . who hast not made me a woman’; and ‘ . . . who hast not made me a brutish man’. R. Aha b. Jacob once overhead his son saying ‘[Blessed art thou . . .] who hast not made me a brutish man’, whereupon he said to him, ‘And this too!’ Said the other, ‘Then what blessing should I say instead?’ [He replied,] . . . who hast not made me a slave’. And is not that the same as a woman? — A slave is more contemptible.1 [Rashi- nevetheless a slave is on a lower level than a woman Or alternatively, ‘nevertheless go on (including the blessing concerning the slave)’, so as to make up the three blessings.]

אגרות משה (אורח חיים ו:ב.ה): מעיר על מה שפירש רש"י שאשה שפחה לבעלה כעבד
 ]ועיין ברש"י [מנחות מג:] שפירש בפירוש ראשון על הקושיא היינו אשה, דאשה נמי שפחה לבעלה כעבד לרבו. ולולא דמסתפינא הייתי אומר שצריך למחקו דח"ו לרש"י לומר דברי הבל כזה, דמן התורה הא ליכא שום שעבוד על האשה לבעלה חוץ מתשמיש, ולענין תשמיש הוא משועבד לה יותר דהא עליו איכא גם איסור לאו, ורבנן שתיקנו שמעשה ידיה לבעלה הא  כנגד זה חייב במזונות ואינה מחוייבת לעשות רק עניני הבית ולא עבודת שדה ומעט עשיה בצמר שהיא מלאכה קלה ממלאכות שדרכן של בנות העיר בזה, עיין בש"ע אהע"ז ריש סיי פ,' והמזונות מחוייב שלא לגרוע מכפי דרך משפחתה ודרך משפחתו ובכל אופן  לא פחות מכפי שהוא אוכל, וכן שמחוייב בכסות לפי  מנהג בנות העיר ולפי דרך המשפחות שלו ושלה  דעולה עמו ואינה יורדת עמו ומחוייב לכבדה ואינו  יכול לילך מביתו בלא רשותה רק למלאכתו הידוע לה,  והבעל אדרבה מחוייב לעשות כל המלאכות שצריך האדם לפרנסה כלשון שתיקנו לכתוב בכתובה, ואף להשכיר עצמו סברי התוסי בשם רי אליהו בכתובות  דף ס"ג ד"ה באומר שהוא מחוייב, ונמצא שאדרבה  הוא יותר עבד לה מכפי שהיא שפחתו וצע"ג[.    

8 comments :

  1. As a practical matter. From a purely legal perspective, under halacha a wife is close to being a slave to her husband.

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  2. TO THE EDITOR
    YOUR WEBSITE DOES NOT SEEM TO BE WORKING WITH INTERNET EXPLORER - CANT READ THE COMMENTS NOR WRITE COMMENTS
    THAANKS

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  3. and what about the halacha,"she has to wash his feet" and what about the halacha that a father can sell his under age daughter (under the age of 12 ) as a slave even to a 70 year old (MUKEI SHCHIN) and this guy has the option to marry her even against her will,what would you call this if not slavery?,and what about the halacha that daughters and even wives do not inherit their husband and father,and what about the halacha that a woman has absolutely no personal ownership,everything she earns or even she receives a gift does not belong to her,her husband can just take it away from her
    You just cannot get away from it,under biblical law,women have absolutely no rights and yes they are slaves,yes CHAZAL later on liberalized certain aspects and gave her more rights,
    as believing Jews we have to accept that fact even though it bothers us and are embarrassed by it and we don't understand it we will accept and implement these laws 100%,but to deny the obvious and twist ourselves into a pretzel trying to deny the obvious is really disingenuous and makes us look silly,
    Of course i understand it's being done to be MEKAREV unaffiliated jews,but it really won't work because spreading TORAH with falsehood and SHEKER never works,because eventually they will realize we lied to them,
    Why not be honest and tell them "we are believing jews ,and accept what the TORAH tells us even though we don't understand it

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  4. You have to understand these words are claimed [It is from the 9th volume of the Igros Moshe] be that of Rav Moshe Feinstein and he didn't write apologetics for kiruv purposes. And to make the question stronger he is commenting on the gemora which itself says that a wife is similar to a slave.

    Menachos (43b) It was taught: R. Judah22 used to say, A man is bound to say the following three blessings daily: ‘[Blessed art thou . . .] who hast not made me a heathen’,23 ‘. . . . who hast not made me a woman’; and ‘ . . . who hast not made me a brutish man’. R. Aha b. Jacob once overhead his son saying ‘[Blessed art thou . . .] who hast not made me a brutish man’, whereupon he said to him, ‘And this too!’24 Said the other, ‘Then what blessing should I say instead?’ [He replied,] . . . who hast not made me a slave’. And is not that the same as a woman?25 — A slave is more contemptible.1 [Rashi- Or, ‘nevertheless go on (including the blessing concerning the slave)’, so as to make up the three blessings.]

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  5. your are correct for version 11 - will try getting an answer from Disqus.

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  6. Disqus officially supports Internet Exploerer versions 8-10 not 11. However there seem to be people who have trouble with these versions also. The obvious thing is to switch to Firefox or Chrome

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  7. Was not commenting on Reb Moishe's TSHUVAH, would never have the audacity to comment or second guess chas veshalom,what the posek hador wrote in his tshuvah,i was just stating my personal feelings on this matter.

    by the way,i absolutely agree with Reb Moishe Z"L,that us 20th and 21st century husbands are slaves to our wives no one would dispute that

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  8. I don't have a Igros Moshe vol. 9, but these exact words have already been written by R. Moshe in Dibors Moshe Gitin page 511.

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