Contemporary Plural Marriage in Judaism

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  • #592483

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    Which groups still have a minhug to practice plural marriage today?

    (I know the Teimenim do.)

    #794221

    Are you referring to polygamy? Is plural marriage supposed to be a nicer term?

    #794222

    oomis
    Participant

    Mormons (and some Yemenites)

    #794223

    rebdoniel
    Member

    Not all Mormons. Only the sect known as the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

    #794224

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    I’m only asking regarding frum yidden. I’m aware that the Yemenites (Teimini) Yidden still marry more than one wife. Sefardim in general don’t have any halachic problem with it, and practiced it at least until the last few decades. (Only Ashkenazim were mekabel the Cherem.)

    #794225

    hello99
    Member

    Today NO Jews marry multiple wives, if for no other reason then that is illegal in nearly the entire civilized world.

    #794226

    miamimiami
    Member

    None to the Teimanim I know have more than one wife!

    #794227

    so right
    Member

    I heard of Teimanim who have more than one. Don’t know if they married back in Yemen to both, before moving out of the country. I also heard some Sefardim came to Eretz Yisroel with more than one, when they emigrated in the early days of the State.

    Some Mormons do it. The way they keep it legal is by not having a civil marriage with more than one. It is only illegal if there is more than one civil marriage in the U.S. Otherwise its just as legal as every other goy who has a bunch of girlfriends or lives unmarried with more than one woman in his house and whatever other crazy lifestyles the goyim do. Some of it may be nuts, but the law doesn’t bother anyone with an alternative lifestyle these days.

    #794228

    fabie
    Member

    The Baba Sali had 3 wives.

    #794229

    The Big One
    Participant

    The Vilna Gaon wanted to reinstate marrying multiple wives.

    Rav Ovadia Yosef is also in favor of it.

    #794230

    fabie
    Member

    The Big One –

    Do you have a source for that?

    #794231

    The Big One
    Participant

    fabie –

    Re: The Vilna Gaon, see Ma’aseh Rav Hashalem, page 276, where the Vilna Gaon is cited as saying reestablishing it would bring the g’ulah closer and that removing the ban was only one of two things he would interrupt his Torah learning and Tefilah, if he would be successful. (The other thing was to reestablish saying Bircas Cohanim every day — which his talmidim in E.Y. were successful in reestablishing.)

    As far as Rav Ovadia, I’ve seen him quoted to that effect, but I don’t have a source offhand. You can probably google it.

    #794232

    Moq
    Member

    Having multiple wives is categorically forbidden under the prohibition of Sfichas Damim. Some divorced poskim forbid even a single wife under this prohibition. I believe the Halacha is like them….

    Anyway, the Baba Sali had three wives – in succession. The first two died. He never had more then one at a time.

    In addition, it is clear from Chazal that though it was permissible, it was not commonly practiced, from the fact the Gemara refers to women as “D’Bishu R’ Chasidah” etc., assuming that only one woman could hold that title.

    The Peleh Yoetz – it’s clear that having two wives was practiced, but he strongly advises against it.

    Care to source the Goan & R’ Ovadia? ( R’ Ovadia is in favor of re instituting Yibum, as it the ruling of shulchan aruch that it should be practiced when mutually desired, but that is a totally different bowl of chulent).

    Once upon a time a man had the depth of self to be a husband to more then one woman (while a woman, by her very nature, is always totally given to a single man).

    Rabbenu Gershon saw that we are far smaller, and hence forbade a man from having more then one wive – a man barely has the capacity to treat one woman properly, much less two.

    For as far as the halacha is concerned, he may not be half a husband to two women, Somehow he had to be a full husband to each of them in all aspects of their relationship.

    This was impossible, in the days of Rabbenu Gershon. Today? Fugetaboutit. And hopefully we will not have to make a takana to forbid marriage altogether becomes of man’s silliness.

    #794233

    The Big One
    Participant

    “Care to source the Goan & R’ Ovadia?”

    Moq –

    I’ve sourced it. See above.

    Also note, the non-Ashkenazim were never subject to Cherem D’Rabbenu Gershom, and had more than one wife even in recent times.

    I also believe that Rabbeinu Gershom himself put an expiration date on the Cherem. Either it was the year 5,000 or 1,000 years from the date he implemented it. In either case, it would have passed already.

    #794234

    oomis
    Participant

    “I also believe that Rabbeinu Gershom himself put an expiration date on the Cherem. Either it was the year 5,000 or 1,000 years from the date he implemented it. In either case, it would have passed already. “

    Correct.

    #794235

    Miriam
    Member

    My husbands says that having 1 wife is enough!

    #794236

    hello99
    Member

    1,000 and it didn’t pas yet. Anyways, it only expires if the Gedolim of that time want to uproot it. They don’t.

    #794237

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    Its almost 1,000 years since Rabbeinu Gershom was niftar. Considering if he didn’t implement it just before passing away, its already likely over 1,000 years since implementation.

    In any event, The Shulchan Aruch (EH 1) says that the cherem was to have effect “ad sof ha’elef”, and some people have evidently taken that to mean “until the end of a millennium”, i.e. 1,000 years after it was enacted, but the correct translation is `until the end of the millennium’, i.e. the cherem expired at the end of the year 5,000, or about 300 years before the Mechaber’s own time. The Mechaber says, however, that those communities who accepted the cherem in the first place have continued to obey it even after the expiry date. The cherem now has the force of inhag, a minhag which has now lasted longer than the original cherem did.

    The Noda b’Yehuda in Mahadura Kama EH 1:84 brings a Rama from Shulcha Aruch EH 1, that says that the cherem (ban) on taking two wives was originally to expire at the end of the fifth millenium (i.e. 770 years ago). He says, however, that the cherem against divorcing a woman against her will (which is the subject of that particular tshuva) was intended to remain in effect permanently. He brings similar language in Mahadura Kama EH 1:1, Mahadura Tinyana EH 2:102 and Mahadura Tinyana EH 2:103.

    #794238

    mw13
    Participant

    I was always under the impression that the gezira expired, but has since become accepted as minhag yisroel.

    #794239

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    As far as what the Gedolim want, see the above references to the Vilna Gaon and Rav Ovadia Yosef.

    #794240

    Ofcourse
    Member

    I like this idea. Let only guys who make $1,000,000 plus yearly, per wife, have aditional wives, and provide each wife with a palatial estate and maids. All the guys would be dropping from heart attacks for their efforts and the women would rake it in with insurance policies. Wo.

    #794241

    myfriend
    Member

    It would certainly resolve the shidduch/age gap crisis in a spiffy.

    #794242

    Ofcourse
    Member

    myfriend, sure it would resolve the shidduch/age gap, many women would rush to marry the same ninety year old. And then on to the next conquest, real soon.

    #794243

    myfriend
    Member

    Ofcourse, they could more easily marry an already married 20-something or 30-something year old. Surely better than becoming an old maid unable to marry anyone due to the age gap.

    #794244

    charliehall
    Participant

    This is not of major practical application since the only countries in which Jews live that permit polygamy are a few Muslim countries.

    Are there any rabbis in the Mishnah or Talmud who had more than one wife at a time? I don’t recall any. That should say something.

    #794245

    so right
    Member

    I addressed the legalities earlier above, similar to how the Mormons practice it.

    #794246

    hello99
    Member

    so right: you addressed the theoretical legal loopholes, however the OP’s Q was who actively practices polygamy today and the answer is virtually no one.

    #794247

    so right
    Member

    hello99: It is more than just theoretical. It is practiced openly and unimpeded by thousands of Mormons in Utah, Texas, Arizona, British Columbia, and elsewhere.

    #794248

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Its actually a great solution for the Kollel community.

    Man marries 5 women. He learns. 4 wives work, 1 wife stays home with the kids.

    #794249

    hello99
    Member

    so right: he only asked about frum Yidden

    #794250

    Ben Torah
    Participant

    SJS: How will one wife be able to manage all 45 kids? I would think she would need at least one more wife to stay home with her.

    #794251

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    It won’t be 45 kids. By 4 most kids are in school. Chances are, there will be at most 12 little kids at home. Plus the older kids can help out.

    If need be, another wife CAN stay home. It just means less money. Or add another wife.

    #794252

    Moq
    Member

    This would make things so complicated. For instance, you’d have to say “I’ll have to ask my better quater/third/sixth”. And imagine the tax returns or even filling out the dependent sections…

    #794253

    myfriend
    Member

    If there’s a will, there’s a way…

    For the dependent section, since there is no civil marriage involved, they would be required to file individual returns, so each wife would list her children as dependents. If she’s working, as SJSinNYC suggested, it would work out. Plus they would avoid the “marriage penalty” of Married Filing Joint.

    #794254

    Interesting how only men are interested in this. Hashem created Adam with one wife to be an eizer k’negdo. The first polygamist wasn’t someone we would want to emulate, iirc.

    #794255

    myfriend
    Member

    Are you referring to Avrohom Avinu? Yaakov Avinu?

    Leah Imeinu, and the other Imahos, had no qualms. In fact, Sarah Imeinu is the one who suggested to Avrohom Avinu to take a second wife!

    BTW, I recall reading a post by “haifagirl” in the Coffee Room here, that she wouldn’t mind marrying someone who already had a wife.

    #794256

    trak443
    Member

    pascha bchochma,

    it’s the closest i’ll get to lakewood. every boy there has 5 people working for him.

    wife, shver, shvigger, mother, father.

    #794257

    myfriend: See Bereishis Perek 4 Pasuk 19:

    ??? ???? –

    ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?????, ??? ????? ?????? ???? ??????.

    ?? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ????? ??? ????? ??????? ???? ??????? ??????, ?????? ????? ????? ??????, ???? ????? ???? (???? ?? ??) ???? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ?????, ??? ?????? ????? ???

    Translation for our purposes: [Lemech] had two wives: this was the way of the generation of the flood, one for having children and one for marriage.

    #794258

    myfriend: I’d love to see the context of haifagirl’s statement.

    trak: So you want another wife in order to be able to sit and learn and be supported. Why didn’t any of our Gedolim ever think of this idea in order to be able to not worry about anything?

    #794259

    myfriend
    Member

    Okay, I dug up some old posts that I was referring to where she indicated she supports it (there might be others too):

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/is-there-a-shidduch-crisis/page/2#post-109865

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/resolve-the-shidduch-crisis/page/2#post-103799

    Read haifagirl’s other posts before and after in those two threads for context.

    As far as the Gedolim’s support for this, see the comments above regarding the Vilna Gaon and Rav Ovadia Yosef.

    #794260

    Ofcourse
    Member

    pascha bchochma, Im female and I think it could work to our advantage. We could marry wealthy ninety year old guys and live the good life and collect life insurance. How long are they gonna live?

    #794261

    1. Haifa girl says she’s not sure men were designed to be monogamous. They were – see the first ones in Beraishis! More men are born than women, but by adulthood there are slightly fewer men due to higher fatility rates. Why would more men be born if not for monogamy? Men are meant to learn to control themselves.

    Additionally, Haifagirl is not married and probably is very stressed out about the shidduch crisis. I would like to know how a married woman would feel if her husband said “Sweetie, I love you so much. I think I’ll get another wife that I’ll love as much as you. Don’t worry, I have enough love for both of you.” What woman wouldn’t be thrilled at this opportunity?

    2. A man who wants polygamy for selfish reasons, is not going to treat either wife properly. Besides for trak (possibly) no one claims they want another wife in order to learn Torah l’shem shamayim – they seem to want it for financial aid, or for their urges – just like Lemech. That’s not impressive. Also, Minhag Yisrael Torah Hi, which is why the above Gedolim haven’t tried to re-instate it.

    #794262

    Ofcourse: You’re single and desperate. Think harder – let’s say you did polygamy, you’d have to split his life insurance with the other wives and children, there’d be slim pickings left for you at the end.

    Also, if you’re going to marry someone 90 years old, it’s not so hard find a single one. Just visit the nearest nursing home.

    #794263

    myfriend
    Member

    The Torah allows it. Indeed, our Avos (amongst others in Klal Yisroel) practiced it.

    Halacha (i.e. Shulchan Aruch) supports it. For Ashkenazim there is a cherem that the author himself chose to put an expiration date on. And even the chrem didn’t apply to all of Klal Yisroel.

    Other than Ashkenazim, Klal Yisroel practiced it even in recent times.

    And for the second time, some Gedolim do support reinstating it, as indicated.

    #794264

    Myfriend: I’m personally not opposed to it. It has its place in serving Hashem. I just don’t think it should be reinstated as a solution to the shidduch crisis. It’s like saying, most of our boys are bad, so let’s share the few good ones. What does that say about us as a community, as families?

    #794265

    Ofcourse
    Member

    pascha bchochma, Im def NOT single!!! and as far as splitting life insurance, I’d stipulate a mansion and a mil of life insurance, minimum, for myself, or no go!

    #794266

    Ok, so in addition to instituting polygamy, you also want a prenuptial agreement very much to your benefit. Sounds like a recipe for a happy marriage to me!!

    #794267

    myfriend
    Member

    The only prenup necessary is the Kesuba.

    #794270

    Ofcourse
    Member

    pascha bchochma, there has got to be definite advantages for both sides! Why would any woman want to SHARE a poor nebish? Do you suggest we force the women into polygamous marriages?

    #794271

    Ofcourse: Is polygamy supposed to be mutually beneficial? I don’t see any source for that. Why WOULD any woman want to share the poor nebish? It’s him who wants it.

    It’s clear how men can and would gain from it but why would women want to allow it? You said money, so I brought that statement to its logical conclusion.

    I would have said that because women would rather live with anyone than as a widow, they would prefer to be married even in a less utopian situation.

    Baruch Hashem, Women can’t be forced into marriage in Torah law.

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