Reply To: Ladies First – Is it respectful or not?

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Several times I asked for a logical explanation why anyone might think that it is more appropriate that the guy specifically open the door for the girl rather than the girl specifically open the door for the guy. After much kvetching and handwringing, being unable to give a logical explanation, we were offered a tongue-twister of trying to squeeze out of Keddushin 2B that since the norm is men try to woo women in marriage rather than vice versa, therefore it bridges that men should open the door for her. That’s quite a stretch but that was the best that anyone came up with.

But I have much better evidence that the woman should open the door for the man than what was offered for the other way. We learn in halacha (Rambam Hilchos Ishus 15:20) that “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.” Rambam also lists the various obligations wives have for their husband (pours his drinks, washes his hands, makes the bed and serves him). Rashi in Menachos 43b (during the discussion of shelo asani isha) goes so far in comparison to say that “the wife is also a slave to her husband as a slave is to his master.”

Clearly as a wife must treat and fear her husband as her King and ruler and do everything he desires and serve him, should be doing the very minimal serving of opening the door for him.