Teimanim With Multiple Wives

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  • #1325813

    Joseph
    Participant

    Teimanim, who have the minhag of marrying multiple wives, do they have a limit today on how many wives they can be married to?

    I know there are young Teimanim in Eretz Yisroel, England and America today that have more than one wife. I also know that in Yemen some Jewish husbands had at least four wives as late as in the 1950s. But as they continue to practice their ancient minhagim they carried with them from Teiman to the countries they settled in over the past 50 years (the last Yidden in Yemen only left very recently), how do they manage to keep their traditions they’ve carried out from before the Churban Beis Hamikdash through modern times in the new lands they settled in?

    #1325935

    anonymous123
    Participant

    I personally heard from a Sefardi Rav in America that someone came from the old country with two wives, an older one and a younger one. As this was not legal in the US, he asked the Rabbanim which wife to divorce. ( I do not know what he was told)

    #1325939

    RashbiJr
    Participant

    Actually the practice is slowly dying out.

    One of my Rabbeim’s father had 2 wives, but he said, due to Western (i.e. US, UK, etc.) laws – it’s not allowed. As for Eretz Yisrael, since the majority of-even chareidi seferdim-people have one wife, there is public pressure and, in his opinion multiple wives are frowned upon.

    (Put aside pritzus and zenus issues)

    #1325950

    Joseph
    Participant

    Rashbijr: Was you Rebbi a Teimani?

    #1325974

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Did you have to close the web page with the gemara on it to post on this thread?

    #1325977

    MDG
    Participant

    “….do they have a limit today on how many wives they can be married to?”

    According to the Shulchan Aruch E”E 76:4 IIRC, there is a limit of 4.

    #1325979

    Avi K
    Participant

    The practice might be revived, at least in the US. There is a case before the courts that seeks to overturn Reynolds vs. United States on First Amendment grounds.

    #1325998

    PosterGirl
    Participant

    Is it legal in E’Y to marry more than one wife? I have many Sephardic and Yemenite neighbors where I live and all have one wife. Unless the other one is hidden in a closet or something 😉

    #1326049

    MDG
    Participant

    “Is it legal in E’Y to marry more than one wife?”

    The state of Israel prohibits marrying more than one wife, but if someone came in with more they allowed them to remain married.

    #1326057

    Joseph
    Participant

    Israel allows Arabs to marry multiple wives. Afaik, they don’t have any law against it. Additionally, people in Israel who want to marry that cannot do it in Israel often go to Cyprus or elsewhere out of the country to marry. South Africa allows multiple wives and the South African president himself has several. Additionally, even in America Mormon Fundamentalist and some Muslims have multiple wives and have been accepted without legal interference for over a hundred years since they only conduct a religious marriage without obtaining a civil marriage license for more than one wife.

    #1326061

    besalel
    Participant

    Rashbijr: your implication that having more than one wife encroaches upon pritzis and znus issues is highly ignorant and biased. Titbayesh.

    #1326082

    akuperma
    Participant

    What the halacha is, is subject to debate. Some people argue that the halachic ban on polygamy should not apply and so far that is not a widely held position. If the United States were to formally recognize polygamous marriages, the halachic debate would become much more “interesting”. At present, America does not consider a second wife (with the first wife still married to the husband) as anything more than the husband’s “girl friend”, with no legal status at all.

    Under American law, the first marriage is valid and the second marriage is consider void (i.e. only the first wife can be covered on a joint tax return, and she inherits the spousal share, and only the first wife can own a house as a tenant by the entireties.). However since American law no longer criminalizes consensual intimate relationships, it isn’t clear that criminal bigamy laws would be upheld, complicated by the issue as to whether this is a religious freedom issue.

    #1326094

    Joseph
    Participant

    akuperma: The halachic issue (actually, cherem) never applied to anyone other than Ashkenazim. And even for Ashkenazim, a cherem is theoretically removable by the gedolei rabbonim.

    #1326098

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    besalel,

    Rashbijr: your implication that having more than one wife encroaches upon pritzis and znus issues is highly ignorant and biased.

    Having more than one wife is not an issue of pritzus or znus. Joseph’s seeming fixation with it through multiple posts and threads on the CR may be a different story.

    #1326203

    beisyosef
    Participant

    @rashbijr I don’t understand why you think having multiple wives is a pritzus issue. Are you so unlearned that you don’t know one of R’ Yaakov Emden’s most famous tshuvos about having a pilegesh? He says that he feels it’s a great thing and that it’ll save a person from chet. Problem with the world today is ppl got too yeshivish… he was a boss.

    #1326779

    beisyosef

    The Dvar Avraham refuted that

    #1327054

    Joseph
    Participant

    Refuted or disagreed? Machlokes haposkim is common.

    #1327058

    akuperma
    Participant

    Joseph: As I said the issue is subject to debate. Through the mid-20th century, most Ashkenazim lived in countries whose laws prohibitted polygamy, and with criminal penalties for extramarital relationships (e.g. between a husband and a second wife). If western countries legalize polygamy (in part due to Muslim complains that anti-polygamy laws are discriminatory, in part since their religious basis is meaningless to a secular society, and in part since “living together while unmarried” is now lawful there is no logic to penalize “living together while married”), I suspect it will reopen the debate. Note that very few men could support multiple wives, put in an industrial society it might work out especially some some wives held jobs while other provided free child care for the ones with the jobs. Another factor would be if there was shidduch crisis caused by male mortality rising rapidly (a military fiasco in Israel could have that effect) or if it developed that males were likely to be OTD than females – but absent such I doubt polygamy would ever be popular.

    #1327097

    beisyosef
    Participant

    Just because the dvar avraham is cholek doesn’t suddenly make something pritzus. Look at history, look at plain Halacha, you can’t say it’s pritzus. You can say that it’s probably not the healthiest thing for a marriage these days. (I know my wife would kill me if I even mentioned a havah amina lol) but to say it’s pritzus doesn’t make sense to me.

    #1327194

    Joseph
    Participant

    How do Teimani husbands with multiple wives manage their family? Do all the wives live together in the same household as he or does he maintain separate homes for each wife and set of children?

    #1327389

    RashbiJr
    Participant

    “Rashbijr: Was you Rebbi a Teimani?”

    He’s Tunisian

    #1327402

    Joseph
    Participant

    So we have it established that Teimanim aren’t the only contemporary Yidden with multiple wives. RashbiJr’s Tunisian Rebbi’s father had two. Which makes sense since Tunisian Yidden are mostly Sephardim.

    #1327419

    akuperma
    Participant

    I believe that almost all non-Ashkenazim living under Islamic rule would have been able to have multiple wives. During the colonial era, the British and French generally allowed local marriage laws to stay in force. So for most non-Ashkenazim the first restrictions on polygamy would have been when they moved to Eretz Yisrael.

    #1327432

    limnos yameinu
    Participant

    Let’s summarize
    Ashkenazim continue to hold not to marry more than one wife (if cherem expired then midin minhag.not simple but all Ashkenazim follow this way).No difference between Sephardic and Yemenites.Simply allowed for them,however since it has become general custom to only marry one wife ( not just because it’s illegal) and there are many sources that show that it is generally preferable to have only one wife,some say that in the ” new world” it is also prohibited for sefardim.Since a religious ceremony of marriage is not illlegal and a second marriage license is impossible no question of Dina dimalchusa could even begin.

    #1327451

    Joseph
    Participant

    Chacham Ovadia Yosef zt’l expressed support for plural marriage among Sefardim. Nevertheless, even though it is fairly well known Teimanim engage in plural marriage in contemporary times it is less well known that Sefardim do too. (As RashbiJr provided an example.)

    #1327470

    Shulchan Aruch
    Participant

    See Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 1…discusses multiple wives at length. the S.A. recommends not more than 4. Grandchildren from Baba Sali’s 3rd wife live in Lakewood. There are those who have multiple wives today. The known ones have a “legal” wife. and the others are friendly to the first and live together usually with {private) Chupah and Kidushin..ie… not registered with the government…so she appears as a “live in”. Others have a “wife” in other countries whom they visit for extended periods. The Vilna Gaon is noted as saying that there are 2 things that are “meakeiv haGeula” stop the redemption of the Jews… 1. that Ashkenazim stopped Birchas Cohanim, which he and his talmidim tried to re-start, and were successful in Eretz Yisroel… and 2. the Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershon forbidding multiple marriages, which he explained was only accepted because of the goyim, and was not a Jewish concept. See the Cherem which says so specifically

    #1327796

    A pilegesh would necessitate singles going to the mikveh.
    There are many teshuvos forbidding this ( officially/ publicly at least)

    #1327822

    the Noda beyehuda?
    rav moshe?
    .
    the dean of gush?

    #1328562

    Joseph
    Participant

    An interesting question is whether a Teimani or Sephardic man could marry an Ashkenazic girl as his second wife. It would seem so since a) a wife follows the husband’s halachic/minhagim obligations, and it is permitted for him and b) the Cherem for Ashkenazim is against a man taking a second wife; it isn’t against a woman becoming a second wife.

    Either of those two reasons, independently, should halachicly permit it.

    #1328674

    Shulchan Aruch
    Participant

    correct.. but know that the current minhag is to include an extra line in the Sefardi Ketubah stating that the Chatan will not take a 2nd wife.

    #1328755

    Joseph
    Participant

    SA: Obviously not by all Sefardim, as we see above with RadhbiJr’s Tunisian Rebbi.

    #1329384

    Joseph
    Participant

    If the Ashkenazic Gedolim end the Cherem, probably with severe restrictions in permitting it again with specified instances when it is allowed (it obviously wouldn’t become the standard default or even majority of most mishpachas), it could potentially be a solution to the shidduch crisis where there’s a disparity in the number of boys (less) and girls (more) in shidduchim. This is in addition to other potential benefits, such as those that prompted the Vilna Gaon to want to end the Cherem, as someone noted above.

    #1329440

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Joseph, SA said “current minhag.” Presumably the Tunisian rebbi’s father got married quite a while ago.

    #1329448

    PosterGirl
    Participant

    I think no current marriage would withstand this. I guess our concept of marriage is a new fangled thing and in the olden days it was more of a practical thing and less of a ‘soul mate’, BFF type of relationship which is espoused nowadays.

    #1329665

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    so she appears as a “live in”.

    I don’t understand this. Isn’t a man taking a second wife supposed to provide her with her own home -not together with first?

    #1330181

    Joseph
    Participant

    Does the Shulchan Aruch pasken he has to have separate homes for each and he cannot have one home for all?

    #1526341

    yitzchakmba
    Participant

    Just making excuses for following catholic dogma on marriage laws the jewish world is so assimilated in this regard to christian ways and they cant even see it!

    #1526342

    Avi K
    Participant

    Joseph, not so far as I know but it is better that way. I heard that that was the custom at least after they came to Israel. In fact, Yaakov’s wives and concubines each had her own tent.

    #1526410

    yudel
    Participant

    Solve the shiduch crisis. Mary 2

    #1526426

    Joseph
    Participant

    Avi, why do you think it is better for a man to have a separate home for each of his wives rather than one home for all his wives?

    #1526433

    Uncle Ben
    Participant

    For all those hoping for the US Supreme Court to allow polygamy based on religious freedom, don’t forget that this can work both ways. Women will demand the right to marry multiple husbands. See what a can of worms will be opened.

    #1526444

    Avi K
    Participant

    Joseph, because of the friction having them in one home will cause. I know of an Arab who is mehadrin. He has one wife in Abu Ghosh and another in Cairo, whom he visits on his vacation.

    #1526445

    Milhouse
    Participant

    “See the Cherem which says so specifically”

    You cannot possibly be telling the truth, because the original text of the cherem does not exist. Nobody for centuries has known exactly what it said, which is why there’s the machlokes rishonim over whether it expired in the year 5000. The Shulchon Oruch says it did, but many others say no, there was never any such expiration date. (I’ve even heard a modern amhorzatzus that it expired recently and the Israeli Rabbanut renewed it, as if it would have the authority to do such a thing.)

    #1526452

    Joseph
    Participant

    Avi, I know in Teiman some of the Yidden had wives in different cities, with a separate home for each of them.

    Milhouse, isn’t the machlokes whether the Cherem expired in 5000 or whether it expired 1000 years after it was issued? I seem to recall that according to those Rishonim that it expired in 5000, it was extended by the rabbonim of the time of expiration. Which would mean that the Cherem today, based on those that hold R”G’s expired, is not based on R”G’s original Cherem but rather on its later extension. It also means that the rabbonim today have the right to end the Cherem, should they consider that to be prudent. I heard Rav Miller zt’l say that the contemporary rabbonim could discontinue it.

    #1526457

    yitzchakmba
    Participant

    Interestingly their is not band for Sephardim / Mizrachim etc but we still see great resistance to this being accepted which considering this the default Jewish culture for marriage it seems that the only source for this is external factors ie feminism and perception / acceptance to western morals which by extension is sourced from christian dogma.

    #1526458

    Avi K
    Participant

    Joseph,

    1. I think that the Jews in Teiman would have been very surprised to be called Yidden.

    2. The Israeli Chief Rabbinate ruled that it is now minhag Yisrael to have only one wife at a time (@Milhouse, their authority is that of a bet din kavua, at least for Israel). In fact, the Mechaber says that the Sephardic ketuba has a clause prohibiting the husband from taking an additional wife without his current wife’s permission.

    3. Someone I know told me that an Arab co-worker (he worked for a while in construction) bragged that he can have four wives. My acquaintance replied that that means four mothers-in-law.

    #1526459

    yitzchakmba
    Participant

    Further I can tell you without a doubt that as a Sephardi man the main and obvious issue is where to find woman/women to marry . Torah Permits, My Wife Permits , My Rabbi agree’s however in a Jewish world that is entrenched in a culture of Monogomy it’s almost near impossible to find a additional woman to marry.
    Most Shadchanim want do it, Jewish Dating sites ban any discussion let alone someone looking for an additional Ishah all the while I see more and more Christians starting to embrace Polygany I am sure our forefathers and foremothers would shake their heads in disbeleif of what Jews do today and call it Jewish!

    #1526478

    mentsch1
    Participant

    Uncle Ben
    Very good point .
    I knew that after the toeva marriage law, that polygamy would be the next “frontier “, after all, the government shouldn’t have the right to tell us who to marry.
    But you are absolutely correct . And the only argument against the idea of multiple husbands is not knowing the father of the children, but that’s easily solved with dna tests.
    OTOH
    I don’t believe the Supreme Court will ever allow incest bc of genetic abnormalities and obvious coercion arguments

    #1526552

    Avi K
    Participant

    Yitz, whenever polygamy is mentioned in Tanach there is trouble. By Talmudic times it was not the custom. In fact, not one Tanna is mentioned as having more than one wife at a time.

    #1526594

    Joseph
    Participant

    Avi, how many Tanaaim are we told who their wife or wives are? Most wives of theirs aren’t named altogether, so lack of mention doesn’t indicate lack of existence.

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