Sunday, November 11, 2012

Is love an obligation: Rambam vs Yevamos (62b)

updated 11/11/12 In the discussion about the nature of marriage - the prime question is the role or necessity for love between husband and wife. It is important to note there is an apparent contradiction between the language of the Talmud and the language of the Rambam and subsequent authorities. The Rambam clearly states that the obligation to love  one's wife as oneself is rabbinic. However if he is basing himself on Yevamos (62b) - which the commentaries state is his source - there is no assertion of a rabbinic obligation. It simply says that if one does love one's wife as oneself and a bunch of other things  - there will be peace in his tent. At most it is a wise suggestion. An additional problem is that the Rambam in his commentary to the Mishna (Kiddushin 2:1) clearly states that the obligation is from the Torah command to love your fellow as yourself. That is the language of the gemora Kiddushin 41a. So is the Rambam basing his  obligation of love on a Torah command or rabbinic? Is he basing himself on Yevamos 62b or Kiddushin 41a? Are there two obligations of love as Rav Zilberberg suggests below? Finally it seems from the following sources that love is refering to caring or not hating or not doing negative things to another person . It is not referring to the emotion that we call love.
Yevamos (62b): Our  Rabbis taught: If a man loves his wife as himself and honors her more than himself and guides his sons and daughters on the straight path and has them married close to the age of puberty - the verse (Job 5:24) is applied to him, And you shall know that your tent is in peace.
Rambam(Hilchos Ishus 3:19): Similarly a man should not marry of a child nor should he marry a woman until he has seen her and she is acceptable in his eyes. That is because if he doesn’t see her first it might turn out that she doesn’t find favor in his eyes when he does see her.
 Kiddushin (41a): Rav said that it is prohibited for a man to marry a woman until he has seen her because when he does see her he might notice something which disgusts him and the Torah (Vayikra 19:18) has commanded, “You shall love your fellow as yourself.”
Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:19): Our Sages have commanded that a man should honor his wife more then himself and love her as himself.
Rambam(Commentary Kiddushin 2:1): It is correct that each man marry directly rather than through an agent, since we have a general rule that a man should not marry a woman until he has seen her. That is because we are concerned that she won’t find favor in his eyes and yet he will remain married to her in spite of not loving her. Such a thing is prohibited since there is a rule, “You should love your fellow as yourself.” Therefore it is important that the man marries directly rather than through an agent.
Aruch L'Ner(Kerisus 28a): This that the Beis Shmuel says that a man should honor his wife – we do not find that this means an obligation. In fact in Yevamos (62a) and in Sanhedrin (76b) it says that if a man honors his wife more than himself... the verse You shall know that there is peace in your tent is applied. This language implies that it is only a act of piety (midos chasidus) to not be insistent on one’s honor against her. Nevertheless according to the straight law she in fact is obligated to honor him more than he honors her

Eliyahu Rabbah (#16): One who fulfills the wishes of his wife and directs his children properly and marries his son before puberty before he comes to sin – about him it says “you shall know that there is peace in your tent (Job 5:24).
Pele Yoetz (Love between husband and wife): The love between a husband and wife must be a passionate one. We will begin with the love of the husband to his wife for the declaration of our Sages (Yevamot 62b) is known, "That the husband is obligated to love his wife as himself and to honor her more than himself."
Pele Yoetz (Love between husband and wife): The primary love is the love of the soul. It is incumbent upon the husband to admonish his wife with pleasant words, to guide her in the ways of modesty, to distance her from slander, anger, cursing, the mention of G-d's name in vain, and similar things in the Orders of Nashim and Nezikin. He should caution her in regard to the details of mitzvot – especially in the areas of prayer, blessings of benefit from this world, the observance of Shabbat, etc. How good and how pleasant it would be for him to teach her ideas of ethical improvement and to share with her words of the Sages in all matters that are relevant to her and their severity.
Yad Rama (Sanhedrin 76b): The braissa says that if a man loves his wife as himself – that means that he should have mercy on her as he is merciful to himself but more than himself is not relevant. That is because love is something which is in the heart and a person is not able to love another more than he loves himself. However regarding honor that is something for which it is possible that he can honor her more than himself with clothing which is nicer than what he gets for himself.
Kiddushas Levi (Bereishis 224:67): And Yitzchok brought her into his mother’s tent and she became his wife and he loved her. What was the reason that the Torah tells us that Yitzchok loved Rivkah? A possible answer is based on the fact that there are two types of love a man has for a woman. The first type is the physical lust that a man has for a woman because he wants to satisfy his desires. Because this type of love is solely concerned with what he wants,  it is actually not love for the woman at all but entirely love of himself. The second type is the love which is not concerned with satisfying his physical lusts but rather is because she is an instrument that enables him to fulfill the commands of his Creator – thus he loves her just as he loves the other mitzvos. This is called love of his wife. That is the meaning of “And Yitzchok loved her.” He had no thoughts regarding physical lust but only loved her because she enabled him to fulfill the mitzvos of G‑d.
Ramban(Bereishis 24:67): What was the reason that the Torah mentions that Yitzchok loved Rivkah and was comforted? This alludes to the fact that he was very distraught at the loss of his mother and could not be comforted until he was comforted by the love he had for her. Because otherwise what could possibly be the reason it would mention that a man loved his wife?
Rav Chaim Paltiel (Bereishis 24:67): And Yitzchok loved her This statement of the Torah is surprising – does that mean that originally he hated her? A possible answer is when he had the first sexual intercourse with her - he did not find signs of virginity. That was becasue she had fallen off the camel when she first saw him and this caused her to lose the signs of virginity and therefore she had the halachic status of one was lost the signs because of a physical blow (muchas eitz) – not because of intercourse. As a result of not finding the signs of virginity he hated her because he suspected that she had had relations with other men. She protested that she had done nothing wrong with any man. Eliezar also defended her innocence of wrong doing. She explained that when she fell of the camel, the force had caused her to lose the signs of virginity. She added, “Perhaps G-d will do a miracle and I will find the signs of virginity.” They went to the field where she had fallen and they found the signs of virginity on a stone and a dove was sitting on them in order to preserve them from the sun.
Rabbeinu Bachye (Kad HaKemach – Ahava): ... The attribute of love is great but the attribute of desire (cheshek) is even great than love. That is because love means loving the person in all his actions whether they are open or secret. However there are times when the love disappears and he forgets about her – such as when he is eating or drinking or sleeping. In contrast desire (cheshek) is when the person’s thoughts are constatnly attached in great and powerful love and there is no interruption at all in his desire. An example is Bereishis (34:3) where it says that Shechem soul clung to Dinah and Bereishis (34:3), Chamor said that his son Shechem’s soul desired (cheshek) Yaakov’s daughter. When someone has desire then he thinks of nothing else. Even when eating or drinking he doesn’t stop thinking about her. In fact sometimes he will lose his appetite and not eat at all. Even while sleeping that which he desires will appear to him dreams and will speak to him... Shir HaShirim is based on this attribute of desire (cheshek) which begins with (Shir HaShirim 1:2), Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth....
Rav S. R. Hirsch (Bereishis 24:67):... A man’s love for his wife grows with time. An example is the marriage of the son of the first Jew. This is the way it is with the majority of Jewish marriages. They are not built on the basis of lust (cheshek) but rather on careful deliberations. The parents and relatives make the decision as to whether these young people are compatible with each other. As a consequence of this objective compatibility, love grows with the marriage as the couple spends more time together. In contrast the majority of non-Jewish marriages in the world are based on what they call “love”. One has only to look around to have clear proof that there is a great chasm between the “love” prior to marriage and that which exists after the marriage. One sees how quickly things change after marriage and are so different than what people imagined they would be. This “love” is blind and false. In contrast the Jewish marriages are described by this verse, “And he took Rivkah and he married her and he came to love her.” The Jewish wedding is not the result of the flowering of love but is the cause of it.
Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein (Chashukei Chemed - Yoma 2a):  Question: It says in Yevamos 62b) that one who loves his lives as himself and honors her more than himself....will have peace in his tent. The Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:19) writes that the Sages commanded that a man should honor his wife more than himself and love her as much as himself. But this requires an explanation as to why they gave such a command since we already are commanded to love our fellow man and a person's wife is obviously included in this Torah command? Answer: I asked this question to my brother -in-law Rav Chaim Konievsky and he replied that it was because there are times when a person is not obligated to show love from the Torah command of "love your fellow as yourself." For example it says in Nida (16b), Rav Shimon bar Yochai said there are 4 things that Gd hates and I don't like. 1) A person who suddenly enters into his house and surely into the house of another person [because person they are involved in intimate matters - Rashi]. The Maharasha writes, "G-d hates them because these are matters of pritzus (immorality) but regarding himself Rav Shimon just says I don't love them. That is because it is possible that these things are not pritzus that would justify violating the prohibition of hating another." Consequently in such a case if the wife suddenly enters into the house then at that moment there is no obligation to love his wife from the aspect of the Torah law of "love your fellow as yourself." However in regard to the command that is derived from "you will have peace in  your tent"- there is still an obligation to love her. Furthermore there is a question regarding what the halachais when a wife sins. There is no longer an obligation to love her from "love your fellow" - in fact the opposite is true and there is an obligation to hate her. Is this rabbinic command "of peace in your tent" still applicable? It would seem that even  if there is  no mitzva to love her there is still a mitzva to honor her. That is because the obligation to honor her is because of gratitude because she raises the children and saves him from sin. This gratitude is still obligatory even if she sins. Therefore it is correct to honor her and to buy her appropriate clothing - even though she sins. Rav Shmuel Arvah gives an additional answer why there is a special verse to love his wife. It is based on the Maharsha (Shabbos 31a) which explains the answer of Hillel to the goy who wanted to learn the entire Torah while standing on one foot and  Hillel replied that what is hateful to you do do to your fellow. The question is why he worded in a negative way that he should be good to his fellow as he is to himself? He answers that the Maharsha says that the verse of "loving your fellow as yourself"  only applies to negative commands such as not taking revenge. However not to the positive commands of the Torah to do good to others.  That is because your life always comes first. Consequently we can say from the obligation of loving your fellow as yourself - there is no obligation to be good to your wife as to yourself. However from the obligation to honor your wife - there is an obligation to honor [sic] her as yourself.


  1. Care to explain the contradiction? I don't see any.

    1. The gemora says a man who loves his wife as himself will have peace. No obligation is mentioned whether from a Torah obligation or a rabbinic decree. In contrast the Rambam says that loving one's wife is a rabbinic decree. Where does it say that there is a command to love one's wife? The Pele Yoetz follows the Rambam and says there was a rabbinic decree and Rav Silberstein despite citing the gemora says that it is an obligation. How do you read the gemora to mean a rabbinic decree?

  2. I see no contradiction between the Talmud and Rambam that RDE claims to see.

    1. Where does it say that there is a command to love one's wife?

    2. DT: "Where does it say that there is a command to love one's wife?"

      Have you excluded "ואהבת לריעך כמוך"? About which, a few comments:

      1. I think we can concur with Western psychology that romantic love of the Hollywood type is actually love of a "malleable" (i.e. distortable per one's narcissism, grandiosity, etc.) representation of a woman within one's psyche, rather than love of a woman who actually exists in the world.

      2. As I understand it, the mitsva is a "differential law" specifying a mode of moment-to-moment behavior which derives from a mode of being-in-the-world. One's mode of relating to all is the same. However, many qualia of the relating will vary according to the particulars of the relationship -- and one's marriage is unique among one's relationships in many ways.

      3. Before marriage I am clearly obligated in "ואהבת לריעך כמוך" toward the woman who will become my wife. Can it be that marriage terminates this obligation?

      4. The quantifying term 'כגופו' ("as one's soma") found in יבמות סב/ב is the same as is used to quantify "ואהבת לריעך כמוך".

      WRT the Rambam, I don't see a contradiction. The Rambam (grammatically) states an imperative. The gemara states a consequent of meeting that imperative.

    3. if you want to go that route then there is nothing unique about the emotional connection between husband and wife - she is no worse then Joe the barber or any strangers one meets during the day. The Rambam is clearly basing himself on the gemora in Yevamos - as all commentaries acknowledge.

      Rav Zilberstein does raise this question - the answer is not very satisfying - but I'll get to the translation soon.

      Where is the source for the imperative - the gemora does not say or imply that there is?

      Bottom line - according to your approach we need to translate the word ahava - not as love but rather "being concerned for another's welfare."

    4. (I'm not sure I parsed your comment as you intend it.)

      DT: "if you want to go that route then there is nothing unique about the emotional connection between husband and wife - she is no worse then Joe the barber or any strangers one meets during the day."

      That's the opposite of what I tried to say: "[M]any qualia of the relating will vary according to the particulars of the relationship -- and one's marriage is unique among one's relationships in many ways." I think we agree that the subjective experience of the husband-wife relationship is unique, for example WRT the degree and type of passion, which arises from sexuality, cohabitation, shared child-rearing, etc. I was addressing the structure of the relationship phenomenon which -- if I'm correct -- is what "ואהבת לריעך כמוך" determines. (A personal remark: Raised as a Westerner, I find "imprinted" in my psyche an expectation -- even a commandment -- that love-of-wife ought to be unique in all possible ways. On reflection, however, finding that the Tora's love-of-wife shares a 'mode' with love-of-fellow-citizen seems much more consistent with צדק.)

      DT: "Where is the source for the imperative - the gemora does not say or imply that there is?"

      I don't understand what you're getting at here, though I sense it could be keeping us from communicating.

      The mitsva of love comes from the Tora itself; the injunction of honor comes from the gemara in order to clarify its application to marriage.

      DT: "Bottom line - according to your approach we need to translate the word ahava - not as love but rather "being concerned for another's welfare.""

      I'm not sure what your point is. Does my personal remark above address this at all?

      Lastly, I don't see a similarity between my understanding and Rav Zilberstein's.

    5. At this point I really don't understand what you are saying - primarily because you don't seem to understand what I am saying.

  3. Then Yakov Avinu was remiss in his obligation to love Leah.

    1. No it is generally explained that he loved Rachel more - but that he still loved Leah. So it was only relative to Rachel that she was "hated"

  4. If he didn't really hate her then why did Hashem deem it necessary to keep giving her sons? Why would the posuk say that Hashem saw she was hated? Why would mefarshim say that Yaakov never forgave Leah for tricking him? Why doesn't the Torah mention when Leah died (mefarshim say it was because Yaakov still hated Leah)? Rachel recognized that Yakov hated Leah. That's why she demanded of him to give her children or she will die (in other words, love my sister already). And that's why she traded her night with Yakov - in the hope that he will finally come to love Leah and then Rachel can have children. It seems that only Yakov couldn't see what was obvious to Hashem, Leah, and Rachel. And that he (and Rachel and Leah and even Yosef) ultimately suffered for his failing to love his righteous wife.

    1. Can't discuss your question if I don't see the sources inside. Where do these comments come from?

    2. Midrash, Ramban... Also, if Yakov had forgiven Leah, he wouldn't have humiliated her by moving his bed into Bilha's tent after Rachel was niftar.

  5. רמב"ן (בראשית כט:לא): כי שנואה לאה - הנה לאה רמתה באחותה גם ביעקב, כי אם נאמר שנהגה כבוד באביה שאחז בה והכניסה אליו ואל תמר בו, היה לה להגיד או לרמוז כי היא לאה, אף כי היתה מתנכרת כל הלילה, ולפיכך לא הכירה עד שראה אותה בבקר, ולכן שנאה יעקב. והאלהים יודע כי להנשא אל הצדיק עשתה כן ורחם עליה. וכך אמרו בבראשית רבה (עא ב) כיון שראה יעקב מעשים שרמתה לאה באחותה נתן דעתו לגרשה, וכיון שפקדה הקדוש ברוך הוא בבנים אמר לאמן של אלו אני מגרש. וזה טעם "וירא אלהים", כי חמל עליה שלא יעזבנה:
    ויש אומרים (הרד"ק) כי שתים נשים שהאחת אהובה מאד תקרא השניה שנואה כנגדה, כמו שאמר ויאהב גם את רחל מלאה, לא ששנאה, והיתה בושה בדבר וראה אלהים את עניה:
    It seems the majority of commentaries explain it like the Redak and apparently the Ramban acknowledges that view since he cites it as an alternative. The gemora in Bava Basra (123a) specifically rejects the negative understanding.

    So while it is possible to find sources that say the things you mentioned - it seems that is a minority view and as a minimum there is clearly a positive understanding put on these verses by Chazal and the commentators.

    רד"ק (בראשית כט:לא): וירא ה' כי שנואה לאה - לא היה יעקב שונא אותה, אבל היה אוהב אותה, אלא לפי שהיה אוהב את רחל יותר מלאה קרא לאה שנואה, כלומר כנגד אהבתה של רחל היתה שנואה, וכן האחת אהובה והאחת שנואה (דברים כ"א ט"ו) ולפי שהית' עלובה בעיניה שלא היתה אהובה כאחותה ראה ה' בעניה ויפתח את רחמה. ובאמרו ויפתח, מלמד שהיתה עקרה וה' פתח רחמה, ורחל נשארה עקרה כמו שהיתה:

    רבינו בחיי (בראשית כט:לא): כי שנואה לאה. ח"ו שישנא יעקב את לאה, אבל יאמר עליה "שנואה" בערך רחל שהיתה אהובה ביותר. או אמר "שנואה" מרחל, והשנאה בעבור הקנאה

    Therefore the question becomes why do some medrashim and commentators view Yaakov's attitude towards Leah in such a negative manner when there is clearly no need to understand the verses that way.

    1. Because the pshat is always correct, even if it also could be understood with a favorable spin. The Torah is always emes.
      And what could be a "positive" way to interpret Yakov's moving his bed into Bilha's tent?

    2. "why do some medrashim and commentators view Yaakov's attitude towards Leah in such a negative manner when there is clearly no need to understand the verses that way"

      Well, presumably, those authorities simply felt that it was the most compelling and correct way to understand the Torah.

    3. you raise a critical point i.e., what is pshat? The normal understanding is that it means the simple meaning - is widely rejected. There has been a tremendous amount of ink expended trying to define the word "pshat". "How do we know this" by Dr. Jay Harris follows the shifting meaning of pshat through history. Strongly recommend it.

      Just a brief samply of comments:

      Mar Kashisha: Pshat as that which appears sensible to a scholar rather than the simple translation of the words of a child or layman. He adds if the simple explanation makes no sense and we must interpret it in others ways to make it sensible - this interpretation is called pshat.

      Rav Avrahaom Eliyahu Kaplan: Contrary to the common perception, pshat does not mean the simple understanding prior to thorough study but the understanding after study.

      Maharetz Chajes (Shabbos 63a): In my opinion the expression that a verse does not lose its plain meaning is a major Torah principle. Otherwise it would be possible to assert that all the mitzvos of the Torah are contrary to the meaning of the Torah verse and thus - G-d forbid – they would all be invalid. For example the mitzva of mila would be allegorically explained to mean that one's heart should be circumcized. The mitzva of tefilin would be allegorically explained to mean that one should remember in one's heart. The Rashba (#415) attacks those that misrepresent the events described in the Torah as being mere allegories. For example they say that Avraham and Sara represent the philosophical concepts of matter and form. Look at the Ramban's comments to Sefer HaMitzvos (Shoresh II) that the principle is not that only the peshat is siginficant but rather the peshat as well as the derash is significant. In other words that both are true both the inner essence and the outward appearance. The verse thus in fact contains both. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example the gemora(Yevamos 24b) states that even though in the entire Torah there is the rule that the peshat of the verse is also meaningful, but concerning the verse about Yebom the gezerah shaveh nullifies the peshat entirely. Similarly concerning poetic expressions the drash is the main thing. We see from the medrash of Koheles that the Divrei HaYomim is primarily for drash. A similar statement, that for agadata and poetic expressions the main is drash, is found in the Rambam's introduction to the Moreh Nevuchim…


    4. ספר באר הגולה - הבאר השלישי
      והנה דברי חכמים הם לפי הדקדוק, והם דברים נגלים שהעמיקו מאוד לדקדק ולירד עד עומק הכתוב, ודבר זה נקרא מדרש חכמים הם הדברים היוצאים מן עומק הכתוב. אבל פשוטו קיים עומד שכן אמרו בפרק ב' דיבמות (כ"ד, א') אין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו, הרי שהם גילו לנו שאין לעקור הפשט כלל, אבל הוא נשאר והדרש שדרשו בו הוא עומק הכתוב. למה הדבר דומה לאילן אשר שרשו עומד בארץ, מוציא ענפים ומוציא עוד פירות ועלין והכל יוצא משורש אחד. וכן הפשט הוא שורש הכתוב ומתפשט אח"כ לכמה דברים, שמסתעפים ומשתרגים ממנו כמה ענפים לכל צד. וכך אמרו בפ"ק דסנהדרין (ל"ד א') מקרא אחד מתחלק לכמה טעמים, ולפיכך אין קשיא כאשר תמצא כתוב אחד דרשו אותו לכמה פנים, כי אף הדברים הטבעים דבר אחד מתפשט ממנו כמה דברים כמו שאמרנו כי מן העיקר האחד מתפשטים ומתחלקים דברים הרבה. ומכ"ש בדברי אלקים חיים, שאין ספק כי הדבור הקדוש הוא מתחלק לכמה פנים ולכמה דברים, כי הדבור הקדוש הוא מן השם יתברך לפי השכל, ואין הדבור של השם יתברך שרוצה וחפץ בו מבלי טעם ושכל, שאילו היה כך הדבר שהוא מצד שהוא רוצה וחפץ, אין מתחייב מזה דבר אחד שהרי ענין זה דרך רצון וחפץ בלבד, אבל דבור של הקדוש ברוך הוא שהוא התורה אינו כך, רק מצות התורה הם מתחייבים לפי החכמה, ומהדברים המתחייבים לפי החכמה נמשכים עוד דברים, ומתחייבים מהם עוד דבר חכמה ודבר זה ידוע לכל משכיל. לכך התורה אשר דבריה מושכלים נמשכים ומתחייבים מזה דברים הרבה מושכלים. וזה ענין התורה התמימה, אשר כתוב אחד מתחלק ומתפשט לכמה טעמים, יש רחוק מפשוטו ויש קרוב מפשוטו, דומה לאילן אשר שרשו ועיקרו בארץ, נמשכים מעיקר שלו דברים גם רחוק מן העיקר, מ"מ כלם הם נמשכים מן השורש, וכן הוא בתורה השורש הוא אחד הוא פשט הכתוב ומן הפשט מתחייב דברים הרבה לכל צד והם הדרשות. והאדם הוא חושב כי הדרש הוא מחולק בפני עצמו ואינו יוצא מן פשט הכתוב, ואין הדבר הוא כך כלל, כי היורד לעומק דברי חכמים ימצא דבריהם נמשכים מן הפשט ומתחייבים ממנו, יש קרובים ויש רחוקים, אבל השורש אחד ודבר זה ברור מאוד ואין להאריך עוד:
      ועוד יש לך לדעת ולהבין, כי כל מה שדרשו חכמים מן הכתוב, לא היה עיקר שלמדו זה מן הכתוב, רק כי בלא זה הדבר הוא כך לפי דעת ושכל חכמים והדבר הוא אמת בעצמו, רק שאי אפשר שלא יהיה נרמז הדבר הזה בכתוב, כי התורה היא תמימה ויש בה הכל, ולפיכך אי אפשר שלא יהיה הדבר נרמז במדרש, אף שהוא רחוק מאוד סוף סוף נמצא בתורה הכל כמו שראוי לתורה.
      ועוד יש לך לדעת ולהבין, כי כל מה שדרשו חכמים מן הכתוב, לא היה עיקר שלמדו זה מן הכתוב, רק כי בלא זה הדבר הוא כך לפי דעת ושכל חכמים והדבר הוא אמת בעצמו, רק שאי אפשר שלא יהיה נרמז הדבר הזה בכתוב, כי התורה היא תמימה ויש בה הכל, ולפיכך אי אפשר שלא יהיה הדבר נרמז במדרש, אף שהוא רחוק מאוד סוף סוף נמצא בתורה הכל כמו שראוי לתורה. ובזה הוסרה גם כן התלונה הזאת, כי בודאי אי אפשר לפרש הכל כי לא יספיק בזה לדבר שהוא עיקר התלמוד אבל יספיק דבר זה שיהיה ראי' על שאר דברי חכמים שכולם אין דבר חסרון בהם למי שמעמיק ומעיין בהם:

      הכתב והקבלה (ויקרא כ:ט): ואם נתבונן לירד לעומק דעת רבותינו יראה בעליל שהוא המובן האמתי בלשון המקרא עצמו... ואהני לן גז"ש המקובלת לבאר לשון המקרא על עומק פשוטו וכהלכתא:


    5. מלבי"ם (הקדמה לויקרא): ...וכי הדרוש הוא הוא הפשט הפשוט. וכל דברי חז"ל מוכרחים ומוטבעים בעומק הלשון וביסודי השפה העבריה... כי אמנם כבר נבוכו הלבבות והמעיינים השתאו... לאמר זאת התורה אשר לנו הנקראת בשם תורה שבע"פ מה יסודה ואיה משכן כבודה... כי כל מעעין בצסק ושופט במשרים יראה שהיא נסמכת תמיד על משענת הכתובים ונדרשת מן המקראות כמו שיראה כל העובר על הפקודים בספר מלכתא ספרא וספרי בבל דרשותיהם, וכן השט בשני התלמודים הבבלי והירושלמי בכל חלקיהם. אולם כאשר נבקר את הכתובים עצמם ונשית לב למסלה דרך הלכו בהוצאת ההלכות מן הכתוב. מעגלותיה נעו ועקבותיה לא נודע. כי ברוב דבריהם נראה שלא לבד שאין פשט המקרא מכריח את הדרוש ההוא שהוציאו ממנו, כי כם לפעמים היה בהפך שעומק הפשט סותר את הדרוש ומתנגד אליו, וברוב פעמים תלו כל שלטי הגבורים על קורי עכביש וסמכו הלכות גדולות וקבועות על מלה או אות אחת אשר בכל אשר יעמל האדם לדעת לא יוכל למצוא באיזה אופל הכריחו דבר מן המלה או האות ההוא אשר בא כמשפטו וכהלכתו, וגם אם יאמר החכם לדעת לא יוכל למצוא מה שייכות יש להאות הנדרש אל הדרוש הנדרש ממנו. וגם לו היה הדבר כן הלא יפלא מדוע לא רקחו כמהו בכל מקום שבא האות והמופת הזה במקרא, וימצא לפעמים שדרשו מלה אחת וגם לפעמים העמיסו עליה דרושים רבים שונים משא לעיפה במקום אחד מיוחד, ובא כדבור הזה וכמתכונות במקומות רבות למאות והונח על מכונו בשלום, ולא גערו בו ולא הכלימוהו ולא דרשו בו דבר. ולפעמים דרשו דרוש א' במקום אחד ובמקומות אחרות דרשו ממלה הזאת עצמה בהפך כאילו דרשו ככל העולה על רוחם, דברים התלוים על בלימה. וכאשר שאלנו לדרו ראשון ומזקנים נתבונן מה ענו על זאת. ראינו כי מלבם יוציאו מלים שהכתובים המובאים לראי' אל ההלכות הם רק ציונים ואסמכתות אשר הציבו להם ציינים לעורר הזכרון. ועקרי ההלכות היו מקובלות בידים בעל פה. וזה רחוק מאד כי ראינו שהם שאולים תמיד מנא לך ומשיבים מקרא פלוני. ומקשים והא האי קרא מבע"ל לכתניא, ומתרצים ומקשים ומפלפלים, שלא יצויר שיקשו כן על דבר שהוא רק רמז וסימן לבד. וכשיש מחלוקת כ"א מביא ראי' לדעתו מן המקרא. ודוחה ראייתו של חברו. והגמ' מפלפל תמיד ביניהם בענין המקרא ומדקדק על כחוט השערה, וסתר ובונה ומכריע ביניהם מן המקרא. עד שמבואר שעיקר ראיתם הוא מן הכתוב, ששם נוטעו ההלכות גם שורשו ולא באו כשורש מארץ ציה... והדבר הזה מלבד אשר הפליא את העם הזה הפלא ופלא, ובני פריצי עמינו התנשאו להעמיד חזון ונכשלו, ויצאו מהם הקראשים והמכחישים אשר שברו עול נתקו מוסרות וישחיתו עצומים ועם קדושים, הנה גם מן המשכילים יכשלו לצרף ולברר וללבן, ויפסחו על שתי הסעיפים, לפעמים יטה לבבם אל חכמת הלשון ואל פשוטי המקראות והי' הדרוש בעיניהם לזרה ויקראו שמו מרה, ולפעמים ימשכו אחרי הדרוש והקבלה וינאצו כל יודע הגיון וכל משים שכל להבין במקרא, וינצו שני האחים הפשט והדרוש יחדיו וירננו באהליהם ואין מושיע... וכי כל דברי תורה שבע"פ ומכרחים ומוטבעים בפשט הכתוב ובעומק השלון. וכי הדרוש הוא לבדו הוא הפשט הפשוט המיוסד כפי חוקי הלשון האמיתיים והברירים. וכל מקום אשר דרשו חז"ל איזה דרוש יש שם איזה זר היוצא מכללי השלון, וע"י הדרוש ישיב הכתוב לאיתנו כמשפט הלשון וחוקותיו. וכל דרש אשר דרו איני בודד במקום ההוא לבדו רק כן דרשו וכן פירשו בכ"מ אשר בא הזרות הזה כדמות וכצלמו...

  6. I think the whole discussion is a non-starter.

    Hallachically, according to EVERYONE - the mans love and honor of a wife must be as the Aruch Lener says:

    "a act of piety (midos chasidus) to not be insistent on one’s honor against her. Nevertheless according to the straight law she in fact is obligated to honor him more than he honors her"

    This MUST be since in Yoreh Deah Siman ר"מ the halacha is
    "אביו אמר לו השקני מים ואמו אמר לו השקני מים מניח את של אמו וכו'"

    The Fathers Honor PRECEDES the mothers because she is obligated to honer him hallachically, and not vica versa.

    1. And yet...
      Rabbi Mansour sent out the following for last week's parsha:

      "The Torah in Parashat Lech-Lecha writes about Abraham Abinu’s experiences after settling in Eretz Yisrael, and we read that when he reached the land, “Va’yet Aholo” – “he pitched his tent” (12:8). The word “Aholo” (“his tent”) in this verse is spelled unusually, with a letter “Heh” at the end, instead of “Vav,” as though it says, “Aholah” – “her tent.” The Rabbis conclude on the basis of this spelling that Abraham made a point of pitching his wife’s tent before pitching his own tent.

      The Sifteh Hachamim commentary explains the reason for Abraham’s conduct based upon the Gemara’s exhortation, famously codified by the Rambam, that a man must treat his wife with greater honor than he gives himself. Abraham, a man of great piety and distinction, recognized and fulfilled his obligation honor his wife more than himself, and this dedication to his wife’s honor is expressed in his decision to pitch her tent before his.

      The Gemara tells that the sage Rabba once said to his students, “Give honor to your wife so that you will become wealthy.” The reward for honoring one’s wife, it seems, is wealth. Rabba proves his point by citing a Pasuk later in Parshat Lech-Lecha, where the Torah says that Abraham became wealthy in Egypt “Ba’aburah” – “because of Sara” (12:16) – indicating that he received wealth on her account, because of the respectful way he treated her. "

    2. What he is citing are drashos - which do not have the status of halacha or even hashgofa. 1) First of all even if the drasha is true it is at most something nice - midas chassidus and not din There is a problem if the ideas expressed in these drashos happen to contradict Shulchan Aruch. The bottom line is that the wife has a greater obligation to honor the husband then the other way around. Avraham happened to get rich because he put her in danger and she was given compensation for nearly being raped - and he benefited from the compensation. Don't think that is a model for us.

      רש"י בראשית פרשת לך לך פרק יב פסוק טז

      (טז) ולאברם היטיב - פרעה בעבורה [נתן לו מתנות]:

      רד"ק בראשית פרשת לך לך פרק יב פסוק טז

      (טז) ולאברם הטיב בעבורה - מיד שלקחה הטיב לו בעבורה לפי שאמרה אחי הוא, ומה היא הטובה ששלח לו צאן ובקר, ולהנאתו הטיב עמו פרעה שהיה סבור שתהיה לו לאשה, אבל אחר כן לא פייסו ולא בקש ממנו מחילה אלא ששלחו מארצו ולא כן עשה אבימלך. ופירש ויהי לו, מאת פרעה ששלח לו:
      תורה תמימה בראשית פרשת לך לך פרק יב פסוק טז

      (טז) ולאברם וגו' - א"ר חלבו, לעולם יהא אדם זהיר בכבוד אשתו, שאין הברכה מצויה בתוך ביתו של אדם אלא בשביל אשתו, שנאמר ולאברם היטיב בעבורה [ב"מ נ"ט א']:
      תורה תמימה הערות בראשית פרק יב הערה טז

      טז) ואף על פי דהלשון היטיב קאי על פרעה, אך הן כל הטובות מהקב"ה מתגלגלות ובאות באמצעות אנשים, ולפי"ז א"צ למש"כ מהרש"א דהגמרא מפרש דהיטיב קאי על הקדוש ברוך הוא, כי באמת אין פשט הכתוב מורה כן, ולפי מש"כ הענין מבואר בפשיטות:

      שולחן ערוך הרב חושן משפט הלכות אונאה וגניבת דעת

      וצריך ליזהר מאד באונאת אשתו שלא לצערה בדברים שמתוך שדמעתה מצויה פורענות אונאתה ממהר לבא. ולעולם יהא אדם זהיר בכבוד אשתו שאין ברכה מצויה בביתו של אדם אלא בשביל אשתו וכך אמרו חכמים לבני דורם כבדו את נשותיכם כדי שתתעשרו:

      It is also interesting that men are told to honor their wives in order to get rich - not because it is a Torah or rabbinic obligattion.

  7. How should this question be relevant?

    you mean, for example, can a wife ask for a divorce on the grounds that her husband does not love her?

    1. no it is simply a question of what constitutes the view of marriage of the Torah or that of Chazal.

      Or alternatively what is the Rambam claiming that a husband is obligated to do? It is clear in terms of kavod that one who buys nice clothing etc is giving his wife kavod. What does it mean that he must lover her? Are we talking about an expression of emotion or development of an interdepdency? Or does it simply mean he has to show her that he wants to take care of her? Does a husband have obligation according to the Rambam to make his wife feel loved or is it enough he does thoughtful things like he would do for his fellow workers or neighbors?

  8. I think the point is that there is a general idea of mitzvah lishmoa
    divrei chachomim which is behind the Rambam's statement. This would also be applicable to any other moral advice found in the gemara.

    1. If all advice is considered a rabbinic command does that mean that there is obligation to have male children?

    2. There is, definitely! People have to go on having children, until at least one is male!

      Actually, the obligation is to have one boy and one girl, at least, but the girl can be taken care of in the following generation.

      Of course, if a man is incapable of producing a son, he is incapable, so he did not do a mitzwa taasseh, like sleeping in instead of davening shachriss...

  9. The sources you listed, to me, appear to consistently understand love as an emotion. Many of the sources start with the premise that love is an emotion then go on to explain how the feeling of love translates (or should translate) into certain actions such as caring, not hating or not doing negative things. This makes sense, because when the authorities are dealing with love, a major consideration becomes: What is the halacha? What sorts of actions are we obligated in based on this mitzvah to love another? Still and all, “love” seems to be consistently understood to be an emotion first and foremost.

    Rambam(Hilchos Ishus 3:19) refers to a woman finding favor in his eyes when he sees her. “finding favor” sounds like an emotion.

    Kiddushin (41a) refers to love in contradistinction to the man noticing something that disgusts him.

    Rambam(Commentary Kiddushin 2:1): “That is because we are concerned that she won’t find favor in his eyes and yet he will remain married to her in spite of not loving her.”

    Pele Yoetz (Love between husband and wife): “The love between a husband and wife must be a passionate one.” Surely, the word “love” is referring here to a feeling. The Pele Yoetz then gpes on to discuss how that love is translated into action in your second source.

    Yad Rama (Sanhedrin 76b): “love is something which is in the heart and a person is not able to love another more than he loves himself.” This is contrasted with honor which is primarily defined by actions and not a feeling.

    Ramban(Bereishis 24:67): “[[Isaac]] was very distraught at the loss of his mother and could not be comforted until he was comforted by the love he had for her.” Again, sounds like an emotion.

    Rabbeinu Bachye (Kad HaKemach – Ahava): Compares and contrasts love and desire, and says that desire is a stronger, all consuming emotion, whereas love can come and go.

    1. If you want to define not doing something to another which you find unpleasant - as the emotion of love than you are correct. However that is not how the emotion of love is understood today. The sources that you cite indicating love as passion - are the modern feeling but they indicate that the couple has such feelings not that the are required. It is important to differentiate between prescriptive and descriptive accounts of love.

    2. Not sure what you mean. I'm pointing out that just about all of the sources you cited (I'm not bringing any new citations here) discuss love as an emotion that engender positive feelings and actions towards the object of the love, not merely a series of actions.

  10. eizehu mechubad? ha mechabed et ha beriot. (Pirkei Avot)

    If a husband wants to be honored, it won't work if he tells his wife and children "honor me, honor me". this will have quite the opposite effect.

    If he wants to be honored, he should honor his wife (and children), and in the long run, they will honor him.

  11. Replies
    1. Don't agree with your basic assertion that the second meaning is a drasha of chazal. The word itself has different connonations depending on context. This is clearly Rav Zilerstein's understanding also when he asks why there is an additional rabbinic mitzva to love one's wife when there already is a dorissa command to love your neighbor. Clearly he equates the two types of love and doesn't go to your proposal.

      The question still stands. In addition apparently the Rambam does this in other cases of turning advice into a rabbinic command.

  12. i know you don't agree with my basic assertion. though you are saying that even now you don't. that this is also clearly rabbi zilberstein (a late acharon)'s understanding doesn't matter to me either. is there evidence he **thought** of my proposal prior to not going for it?

    1. If you are so convinced that he is mistaken when he asked the question - then why don't you enlighten him?

  13. in general, indeed, i don't go about enlightening chareidi rabbis about such things, in person.

    if i were to typically to engage in such activity, i would have already enlightened him about the fact that jews and gentiles do NOT in fact have a different number of teeth, something a posek in medical halacha should know. or that one should not counsel a teenage girl to cut herself for tznius. i am so convinced that he is mistaken in these, yet i don't enlighten him.

    i am sure he has his expertise. but that expertise does not necessarily involve the deeper mechanisms of derashot, as a field in and of itself. (for example, could you say offhand how Chazal derived that Sarah saw dam when preparing the cakes -- that is, what in the pasuk says this explicitly? this is the sort of stuff a midrashic expert can intuit.) and he comes from a sociological background where romantic love might be frowned upon, such that he would not necessarily see it in Rav's derasha; that same background might well cause him not to accept it when it is pointed out to him.

    kol tuv,


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