web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

May One Have More than One Wife?

The Gemara says that anything made forbidden by a court must have an explicit permission put forth by another court in order for the prohibition to be removed.

Jacob Woodling, his son and his two wives, in a 1983 production of "Paint Your Wagon" at the Woodminster Amphitheater, Oakland, CA.

Jacob Woodling, his son and his two wives, in a 1983 production of "Paint Your Wagon" at the Woodminster Amphitheater, Oakland, CA.

This column is dedicated to the refuah sheleimah of Shlomo Eliezer ben Chaya Sarah Elka.

The Gemara in Beitzah 5a says that anything made forbidden by a beis din or group of rabbanim must have an explicit heter (permission) put forth by another beis din (court) or group of rabbanim in order for the prohibition to be removed. This applies even if the reasons for the prohibition no longer apply. The Gemara there cites as a source for this halacha (law) the fact that in parshas Yisro the Torah says that no one may ascend upon Har Sinai (Mt. Sinai). The implication was that this prohibition was only made as long as the Shechinah (emanation of God on earth) would be present on the mountain.

Yet in this week’s parshah the Torah states that after the shofar is sounded people may ascend upon the mountain. Why did the Torah need to explicitly write that we may ascend on the mountain once the Shechinah  is not present; the prohibition should fall off as well. We derive from here that since a prohibition was set forth it cannot be permitted unless explicit permission was granted, even though the cause for the prohibition no longer exists. The Gemara there continues to apply this rule to rabbinic prohibitions as well.

Tosafos (Talmudic commentary), in Beitzah, discusses a machlokes (dispute) regarding whether a prohibition that was initially made for only a specific time would require an explicit heter to permit the prohibition to expire when the allotted time arrives. The dispute stems from the other source that the Gemara attempts to bring for this halacha. The Torah says that the Bnei Yisrael were to prepare themselves for three days prior to mattan Torah (giving of the Torah) and that they should not be with their wives in order to maintain purity. The assumption was that after the Bnei Yisrael accepted the Torah they would not have to maintain the high level of purity, thus permitting them to be with their wives. Nevertheless, after mattan Torah the Torah explicitly says that they were permitted to be with their wives. The Gemara attempts to derive from this that any prohibition requires a heter in order for the prohibition to be overturned, even though the reason for the prohibition no longer applies. The Gemara rejects this as a source because perhaps the pasuk (verse) that permitted them to return to their wives was not necessary for the prohibition to expire, but rather to reinforce the mitzvah of onah (having relations).

Those that opine that a heter is required to permit the expiration of a prohibition that had a specific time period drew a proof from this Gemara that applied the rule prohibiting a man to be with his wife for three days before mattan Torah. We see that even though the prohibition was only made for three days, it still required a heter.

Tosafos and the Rush disagree because they do not believe that the pasuk limiting the prohibition to be with one’s wife before mattan Torah was limited to three days. They believe instead that the Bnei Yisrael were told to prepare themselves for three days and – in a separate commandment – told not to be with their wives. Therefore Tosafos and the Rush rule in favor of the opinion that an explicit heter is unnecessary in a situation where the prohibition was initially made for only a specific time period.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even Ha’ezer 1:10) says that Rabbeinu Gershon made a cheirem for anyone who marries a woman while he is still married to his wife. The Beis Shmuel, quoting the Hagaos Mordechai, explains that the reason for this cheirem was to avoid fighting in the home – not for any halachic issues.

There is a dispute whether the cheirem forbade one to marry a second wife in a situation of yibum. The Mechaber quotes from the Rashba that this cheirem was not universally accepted. The Rama adds that unless one knows with certainty that it was not accepted in his place of residence, we assume that it was accepted there.

The Mechaber adds that the cheirem was only applicable through the end of the fifth millennia (until the Jewish year 5,000). The Rama nevertheless holds that in all of the countries, the minhag and the takanah are applicable and one may not be married to more than one woman at a time.

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.

One Response to “May One Have More than One Wife?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    to bad

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
Sen. Cruz Asks if Obama ‘Launched Political Campaign against Netanyahu’
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

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

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.

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

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

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

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

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).

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?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/may-one-have-more-than-one-wife/2013/02/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: