Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Maharal - Why a husband can go to Gehinom for listening to wife's advice about the world or spirituality

Maharal (Avos 1:5 ):One who frequently has idle talks with his wife will inherit Gehinom.... The woman is attached to deficit and when he frequently has idle talks with his wife he deviates from his level and heads toward negativity. Therefore he inherits Gehinom because Gehinom is the absence of reality as we have explained. But this is not equivalent to the woman herself who is attached to deficit because we don’t say about her that she is inherently going to Gehinom. In fact her portion is in Gan Eden just as the man. But when the man deviates from his level to increase idle talk with his wife who is attached to deficit relative to the level of man – concerning him it says that in the end he will inherent Gehinom. That is because Gehinom refers to the loss of man and the absence of reality of the man. Gehinom has various names all of which indicate teach that one who goes to Gehinom is one with a definite deficit. And this matter doesn’t require additional discussion,. Consequently that is why it says that in the end he will inherit Genhinom. 

Without any doubt, this is the correct way of understanding the words of our Sages and not like those who explain the words of our Sages as being mere conjecture and guesses. That is because these things which we said are words of wisdom, we explain elsewhere concerning the words of our Sages. Bava Metzia (59a), “Whoever follows the advice of his wife will fall into Gehinom...But people say if your wife is short then bend down and hear her whisper? That is not a contradiction because the one that says not to listen to you wife is referring to worldly matters while the other is referring to household matters. Alternatively do not listen to your wife in spiritual matters but it is permitted concerning worldly matters.” Now I will explain with this the words of the Mishna which says that a man who follows the advice of his wife will fall into Gehinom. 

The man who is compared to the Form, if he follows after his wife who is Substance and substance is inherently deficient and he obeys her advice then it is definitely fitting that he should fall into Gehinom. That is because as we explained before – Gehinom is complete deficiency – as the names of Gehinom teach... Therefore since the Form deviates from his proper level to be drawn after Substance he is attaching himself to deficit and falls into Gehinom as the Form is drawn to Substance. 

The question was raised from, People say If your wife is short then bend down and hear her whisper. The answer was given that one should not listen to her for worldly matters only for household matters. The explanation of household matters is that the man is not deviating after his wife when he listens to her in thes matters since the wife is the foundation of the home. And that is the way it has been in the order of the world. And consequently if he follows the advice of his wife in household matters we don’t say that the man is like the Form following after Substance and thus deviating from his spiritual level. That is because in this that the wife is the foundation of the home, from that aspect he is not attaching himself to deficit. In fact the opposite is true since the wife is the basis of the existence of the home and therefore she should be listen to in household matters. However in all other matters in which the wife is not the prime figure, if the man follows after her advice then he will be in fact going after deficit and will fall into Gehinom.

And even according to the alternative answer of listening to worldly matters and not to spiritual matters – he should listen to her in worldly matters because that would not be deviating towards deficit. That is because this world is materialistic which is relevant to the woman who is Substance and therefore for advice in worldly matters he will not fall into Gehinom. In fact the opposite is true – he should follow her advice in worldly matters since that involves material things and that is the wife’s domain. It is only in spiritual matters that he should not listen to her because concerning spritual matters he is the Form and she is only Substance to which is associated the deficit. Consequently if he listens to her in spiritual matters he is deviating after the deficit and he will fall into Gehinom because he is being brought into a deficit and a state of lacking. 

I am writing these things to explain to you that the words of the Mishna are clearly correct and are not mere conjecture.

Furthermore in Berachos (61a), They say that it is better to go behind a lion and not go behind a woman. In other words even though a lion can maul a person, nevertheless one who goes behind a lion is not in as much danger as one who goes behind a woman. That is because the lion is not deficit as is a woman. Because going after a woman is the Form following the Substance which causes completely loss to the Form when he deviates to follow after Substance. There is no question that it is worse for him then what the lion can do to him. Because even if the lion harms him, the lion’s main concern is to maul to eat and is nothing personal. But the deficit which is attached to Subtance - that involves his essence. Thus a lion will sometimes damage and sometimes not as is in all cases of accident which is not the case of following after a woman. I will offer addition explanations of this with G-d’s help.


  1. Is this your translation?

    Does it mean 'deficient' where it says 'deficit'?

  2. yes this is my translation
    העדר can be translated as deficient, deficit, lack
    Websters says that deficit also means deficient

  3. I was at a Carlebachy type minyan a while back and the visiting rabbi gave a whole speech about how the wife should be the rebbe of the man. I guess he never read this Maharal, or the Gemara.

  4. Perhaps it might be interesting to explore what the Zohar says on the topic. I heard that it has attitudes similar to the Maharal.

  5. Avraham was told to listen to Sarah , everything she said, regarding Ishmael.

    However, it does not explicitly say this about Rivkah, regarding Esav. Was Yaakov , therefore, justified or punished in listening to Rivka to deceive his father Yitzhak? It seems, that the blessings he "stole" from Esav were of little benefit to him, as his sons were taken into slavery, he himself was pursued all his life, etc etc.
    How does Maharal's statement correspond with the stories of the Humash?

  6. No, deficit is a noun. Can't be used in that context.

  7. here is an interesting perspective of the man- woman quality issue https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1276998689005255&set=a.574520332586431.1073741828.100000854073840&type=3&theater

  8. So according to this headline, one can go to gehenom for following "daas tora" on whom one marries?


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