web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with US President Barack Obama at the White House, Oct. 1, 2014.
Netanyahu, Obama Focus on Different Priorities in White House Talk
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

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

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Chafetz Chaim answered that there are two forms of teshuvah; teshuvah m’ahava and teshuvah m’yirah.

Since it is a Rabbinic prohibition we may follow the more lenient opinion.

They ask, how can Rabbeinu Gershom forbid marrying more than one wife, when the Torah explicitly permits it in this parshah?

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

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: