Friday, December 16, 2016

Even though both husband and wife must honor (kavod) each other - it is done differently

The requirement of kavod (honor) for husband and wife is different. It seems that a husband's obligations are in the realm of spending money on her while the wife's obligation is showing deference and respect and doing what he wants. The husband is also supposed to be concerned with her feelings when he tells her what to do - while this is not necessary for the wife since she is traditionally expected to obey rather than tell her husband what to do.

If anyone has sources that say otherwise - I will glad to post them.

Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:18): Our Sages commanded that a woman should be modest within her home and should not have too much conversation and levity with her husband. Nor should she directly ask him for sexual relations and should not speak about this activity. Furthermore she should not avoid sexual relations with him in order to distress him so that he will have additional desire for her. Rather she should comply with his request whenever he wants it. She should also be careful with his relatives and the members of his household so that he doesn’t having feelings of jealousy. She should stay away from disgusting activities and things which have the appearance of disgusting activities. 
Ben Ish Chai (Torah Lishma 319): Question: Is a wife obligated to listen to her husband when he orders her to do ridiculous things? For example, does she have to listen when her husband demands with threats that she should ride on a broomstick in the courtyard like little children do or to bray like a donkey or bark like dog? She refused because of embarrassment. Does she in fact have an obligation to listen to her husband even for foolish things because a woman is obligated to honor her husband and to do what he wants because that is his happiness? Or do we say that she has no obligation to listen to foolish demands? Answer: She is not required to listen to him when he says foolish things. It says in Kesubos (71b) that if a man takes an oath that his wife must fill up a bucket 10 times with water and empty it in the garbage dump – he is required to divorce her and give her the kesuba because doing so makes her look like she is crazy. So also in our case. Doing these foolish things makes her look like she is crazy and she is not obligated to listen to him in these things. 
Torah Temima (Bereishis 3:16): And he will rule over you - we learn from this that a woman asks for intercourse through her actions while the man asks for it directly and this is a good trait for women (Eiruvin 100b). Even though the trait of modesty is a good trait, nevertheless it is a curse that she can’t openly express her desires to her husband. It should be noted that this doesn’t explain the language “And he will rule over you” in terms of its literal meaning of having a master… 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]? … Nevertheless it definitely would appear that the verse doesn’t lose its literal meaning and that is also meant. Therefore in terms of the relationship of a husband and wife, the wife is obligated to accepted the authority of her husband as we find in the Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): “Our Sages have commanded that the wife view her husband as a king and lord.” Aside from the language of this verse this idea of ruler ship can also be seen in the Sifre…that a woman does not have permission to speak before her husband. This is also possibly the source that Pesachim (108a) that a woman does not have to recline at the Pesach Seder in the presence of her husband. The reason being that he rules over her. She is exempt in the same way that a student is in the presence of his teacher. He cannot recline in the manner of freedom because of his fear and respect of his teacher. It is logical that this is the reason that a woman who does not fulfill the wishes of her husband is called a moredes (rebel). Since it is an obligation to accept him as king and lord [as stated in Rambam] therefore when she does the opposite - it as if she had rebelled against the kingdom. …  
Torah Temima (Devarim 22:16 note 136): From the fact that the verse begins by saying “The father of the girl took” and then it concludes with “The father of the girl” alone. Furthermore it says afterwards “He spread out the garment.” All of this shows that the woman is not allowed to speak in the presence of her husband. The reason is that she has to accept the lordship and authority of her husband as it says in the Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): Our Sages have commanded that the woman view her husband and a king and lord… Perhaps he is basing himself on the exposition on this verse. From this we can also see a source for Pesachim (108a) that a wife is not required to recline at the Seder in the presence of her husband. Since she has to accept his authority over her therefore she is exempt in the same way that a student is exempt in the presence of his teacher. It would seem that this is the reason that a woman who doesn’t do the will of her husband is called a rebel (moredes) as is known in Kesubos. Since she has the obligation to accept him as king and lord so when she does the opposite she is a rebel as one rebels against the king.
 Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:19): And thus our Sages commanded that a man should honor his wife more than himself and love him as himself. If he has money he should increase her welfare according to the money. Furthermore he should not place too much fear on her and he should speak with her pleasantly and he should not be sad or angry.
Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 15:20): And thus our Sages have commanded that the woman honor her husband to an extreme degree and the fear of him should be on her and she should do all her deeds according to what he says and he should be in her eyes as a ruler or king. She should orient her activities according to that which he desires and stay away from that which he hates. This is the manner of the daughters of Israel and the children of Israel who are holy and pure in their marriages. In this way the community will be pleasant and praiseworthy.
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.
Chullin (84b): A person should always eat and drink less than what he can afford and he should have clothing appropriate to his wealth but he should honor his wife children on a higher standard than his wealth because they are dependent on him while he is dependent on G d.
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.

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