web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Committed To Rabbeinu Gershom

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

In this week’s parshah the Torah discusses the halachos of one who has two wives and they both bare children. The Torah says that though one wife is more loved in her husband’s eyes, he may not give her son the firstborn rights if the other wife bore a child first.

Famously, around the year 1000, Rabbeinu Gershom issued a series of takanos, including a prohibition on polygamy.

The Acharonim were bothered by the following question: the Taz (in Orach Chaim 588 and Yorah Deah 117) says that the Rabanan may not forbid something that the Torah explicitly permitted. In truth this concept is found in Tosafos in Baba Metzia 70b. Therefore, they ask, how can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid marrying more than one wife, when the Torah explicitly permits it in this parshah?

Similarly they ask on another takanah of Rabbeinu Gershom, not to divorce a woman against her will. The Torah explicitly says that a husband may divorce his wife if he so pleases. How can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid these things when the Torah seemingly explicitly permits them?

One could suggest that Rabbeinu Gershom fundamentally disagrees with this concept and opines that the Rabanan may forbid something even if the Torah explicitly permits it. However, since we do not find any Rishonim who openly disagree with this concept, it is difficult to assume that Rabbeinu Gershom did.

I believe that the simplest answer to this question is that Rabbeinu Gershom did not enact a prohibition against marrying more than one wife or divorcing her against her will. Rather, he made a cherem against one who does these things. This means that one who acts in this manner should be put in cherem. However, it is not forbidden to act this way. Tosafos and the Taz only said that the Rabanan may not create an issur to do something which the Torah explicitly permitted. They never said that the Rabanan may not issue a cherem against such an act. This answer is brought in the Chasam Sofer (likutim chelek 6, siman 56).

To this extent, the Beis Shmuel (Even Ha’ezer 1:21) says that if a doubt arises concerning the cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom one may be lenient. This is because Rabbeinu Gershom never intended to create an issur; rather he wanted to prevent fighting.

Rav Shlomo Kluger (Teshuvos Tuv Tam Va’da’as 1:22) says that the Torah never explicitly permitted one to marry more than one wife. The Torah only discussed the halachah of when someone was in this situation. The Taz was discussing making a bris milah on Shabbos, where the Torah explicitly commands that we desecrate the Shabbos in order to make the bris milah. There the Rabanan do not have the authority to enact a decree forbidding such an action. Similarly, Tosafos in Baba Metzia was discussing lending to goyim with interest, something that the Torah explicitly permits. Tosafos says that the Rabanan would not be able to enact a decree forbidding such an action. However, here the Torah never explicitly said that one should or could marry more than one wife.

Rav Kluger continues to say that in our case there is one opinion in the Gemara in Yevamos (23a) that explains that the “hated” wife refers to a woman who it was forbidden to marry. She is halachicly “hated” and the pasuk is coming to teach us that her son will nonetheless receive the firstborn rights. We see that according to this opinion there is no source that the Torah ever permitted one to marry more than one woman.

The Minchas Elazar (1:62) suggests another solution to the original question. He first asks why Rabbeinu Gershom stipulated that this cherem last only until the end of the fifth millennium (see Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha’ezer, siman 1:10. The Rama says that communities have accepted this upon themselves even afterwards). The Minchas Elazar says that Rabbeinu Gershom did not enact his cherem for all generations because he couldn’t, since the Torah had permitted marrying two wives. He explains that the Rabanan cannot make a new prohibition that will be in affect forever when the Torah permitted something. They can, however, make a temporary prohibition. Therefore Rabbeinu Gerhsom only made his cherem for a short period of time. Afterwards the communities have accepted upon themselves to continue this on their own accord.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Committed To Rabbeinu Gershom”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers evacuating wounded near northern border town of Ghajar.
Northern Golan Heights Declared Closed Military Zone
Latest Judaism Stories
Tissot_The_Waters_Are_Divided

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

Parshat Bo

Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Life Before The Printed Word
‘A Revi’is Of Blood’
(Yevamos 114a-b)

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.

Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.

The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”

Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory

Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus

Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.

I think that we have to follow the approach of the Tannaim and Amoraim. They followed the latest scientific developments of their time.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Brisker Rav suggests that the barad, in fact, only fell on people, animals, and vegetation.

Why is it necessary to perform an aveirah punishable by lashes in order to be deemed a legal rashah and be pasul l’eidus m’d’Oraisa?

Why was Yaakov not afraid that granting Yosef’s sons the status of shevatim would cause jealousy among his children?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

It is clear that Tosafos maintains that only someone who lives in a house must light Chanukah candles.

But how could there have been any validity to Yosef’s allegations?

If one converts for the sole purpose of marrying a Jew the conversion is invalid.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/committed-to-rabbeinu-gershom/2014/09/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: