Marriage

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Lioba
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Marriage

Post #1

Post by Lioba »

I have a question. When Judaisme turned from polygamy to monogamy was it only for the reason of cultural adaption or exist also theological, spritual or mystical reason?. As far as I know, the Ashkenasim turned defnitly to monogamy around 1000 p.C.

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Jrosemary
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Post #2

Post by Jrosemary »

I don't think there's any Jewish scripture that forbids polygamy, but at some point (the time may have been around 1000 or even later, I'm not sure) prominent rabbis began forbidding it. I imagine it was more a cultural thing than a religious thing.

By that time, polygamy was pretty rare in most Jewish communities . . . but not in all. There were a few Sephardic communities that still practiced polygamy until very recently. Israel, in fact, has a 'grandfather' rule about polygmany--if you make aliyah to Israel from one of those rare communities that still has (or had till recently) polygamy, you're covered. But you can't contract a new polygamous marriage in Israel.

At any event, there's no theological or spiritual reason I know of to forbid polygamy. As long as you're talking about consenting adults, I personally don't see anything wrong with it. The problem with the renegade Mormons who practice polygamy is the fact that it so often involves underage girls with no say in the matter. Additionaly, it sometimes involves an excessive number of wives. (Islam forbids any more than four wives, who must each be treated equally. One to three was probably the norm in mid-eastern culture, but I'm talking off the top of my head at the moment, without solid research to back me up.)

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Post #3

Post by Jrosemary »

This is from Wikipedia:
Judaism

The Hebrew scriptures document approximately forty polygamists. Notable examples include Abraham, who bore for himself a child through his wife's maidservant; Jacob, who had fallen in love with Rachel, but was tricked into marrying her sister, Leah; David, who inherited his wives from Saul; and perhaps most famously, Solomon, who was led astray by his wives.

In practice, multiple marriage was considered a realistic alternative in the case of famine, widowhood, or female infertility. One source of polygamy was the practice of levirate marriage, wherein a man was required to marry and support his deceased brother's widow, as mandated by Deuteronomy 25:5–10.

The Torah, Judaism's central text, includes a few specific regulations on the practice of polygamy, such as Exodus 21:10, which states that multiple marriages are not to diminish the status of the first wife (specifically, her right to food, clothing and conjugal relations). Deuteronomy 21:15–17, states that a man must award the inheritance due to a first-born son to the son who was actually born first, even if he hates that son's mother and likes another wife more; and Deuteronomy 17:17 states that the king shall not have too many wives. The king's behavior is condemned by Prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 8 . . .

The monogamy of the Roman Empire was the cause of two explanatory notes in the writings of Josephus describing how the polygamous marriages of Herod were permitted under Jewish custom.

Modern practice

In the modern day, Rabbinic Judaism has essentially outlawed polygamy. Ashkenazi Jews have followed Rabbenu Gershom's ban since the 11th century. Some Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews (particularly those from Yemen and Iran) discontinued polygamy much more recently, as they emigrated to countries where it was forbidden.

Among Karaite Jews, who do not adhere to Rabbinic interpretations of the Torah, polygamy is almost non-existent today. Like other Jews, Karaites interpret Leviticus 18:18 to mean that a man can only take a second wife if his first wife gives her consent (Keter Torah on Leviticus, pp. 96–97) and Karaites interpret Exodus 21:10 to mean that a man can only take a second wife if he is capable of maintaining the same level of marital duties due to his first wife; the marital duties are 1) food, 2) clothing, and 3) sexual gratification. Because of these two biblical limitations and because nearly all countries outlaw it, polygamy is considered highly impractical, and there are only a few known cases of it among Karaite Jews today.

Israel

The State of Israel has made polygamy illegal, but in practice the law is not enforced, primarily so as not to interfere with Bedouin culture, where polygamy is common. Provisions were instituted to allow for existing polygamous families immigrating from countries where the practice was legal. Furthermore, former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef[29] and Israeli columnist Greer Fay Cashman have come out in favor of legalizing polygamy . . . by the Israeli government.

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McCulloch
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Post #4

Post by McCulloch »

OK, thanks. What about concubinage?
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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Jrosemary
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Post #5

Post by Jrosemary »

The halacha (Jewish law; literally 'the way') regarding concubinage is a bit beyond me. However, I do know that, technically speaking, adultery in Judaism means sleeping with a married woman. So if a married guy sleeps with an unmarried woman, it's not adultery. We don't generally regard it as a good thing, of course--and there haven't been formal concubines for centuries (unless, like polygamy, there were a few small communities that retained the practice.) I think there are rules and regulations about how you treat your concubines.

Once in Torah study, we were discussing the embarrassing fact that a Jewish guy keeping a mistress is not technically forbidden (though certainly frowned upon nowadays.) One guy's face lit up with mischief, and he told us that as soon as he got home, he would say, "Honey, guess what I learned in Torah class today!" :eyebrow:

Edit: Here's some more info from Wikipedia.

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Nilloc James
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Post #6

Post by Nilloc James »

I like that dose of liberalism, as long as everyone is consentating its alright.

What about the other side of a coin;

Could a women have multiple husbands and what if a married women sleeps with an unmarried man?

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Post #7

Post by Jrosemary »

Nilloc James wrote:I like that dose of liberalism, as long as everyone is consentating its alright.

What about the other side of a coin;

Could a women have multiple husbands and what if a married women sleeps with an unmarried man?
As I answer this, remember that while I, personally, don't see anything wrong with polygamy among consenting adults, that doesn't mean Judaism overall is ready to embrace it again. Marriage between two individuals (and two individuals only) has been the norm for a long time now in Judaism, excepting those rare communities mentioned above. And while polygamy doesn't seem to break any halacha (Jewish law), I've never heard of any significant push to bring it back into fashion.

Honestly, I doubt we'll see one. Gay marriage is the big issue now. Out of the four main branches of Judaism, three branches--Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist--allow gay marriage, but no form of Orthodox Judaism does.

Meanwhile, there's no way to practice polyandry within Jewish law. (I think polyandry is the right word for one woman with multiple husbands.) I don't have an issue with it, personally--and I don't care if the state legalizes polyandry among consenting adults. But I doubt we'll ever see a rabbi performing a polyandrous wedding ceremony! To be fair, though, I don't know of any rabbis who would perform a polygamous ceremony either.

A married woman who sleeps with a man other than her husband is guilty of adultery according to Jewish law. Technically it's regarded as much worse than a married man sleeping with an unmarried woman--however, practically speaking, both are severely frowned on nowadays. Everyone wants to see a happy married couple (gay or straight, in liberal synagogues) who don't cheat on each other.

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elle
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Post #8

Post by elle »

Jrosemary wrote:Meanwhile, there's no way to practice polyandry within Jewish law. (I think polyandry is the right word for one woman with multiple husbands.) I don't have an issue with it, personally--and I don't care if the state legalizes polyandry among consenting adults. But I doubt we'll ever see a rabbi performing a polyandrous wedding ceremony! To be fair, though, I don't know of any rabbis who would perform a polygamous ceremony either.
You're right, that would be polyandry. Is there a reason for the double standard here? Is it because of the culture or because practically that type of union does not provide the benefits of polygmy you mentioned such as producing children?
A married woman who sleeps with a man other than her husband is guilty of adultery according to Jewish law. Technically it's regarded as much worse than a married man sleeping with an unmarried woman--however, practically speaking, both are severely frowned on nowadays. Everyone wants to see a happy married couple (gay or straight, in liberal synagogues) who don't cheat on each other.
Again, why the double standard? I don't see why it is worse for a married woman to sleep with an unmarried man than for a married man to sleep with an unmarried woman. Do you know what the reasoning behind this is?
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.--Carl Sagan

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Post #9

Post by Goat »

elle wrote:
Jrosemary wrote:Meanwhile, there's no way to practice polyandry within Jewish law. (I think polyandry is the right word for one woman with multiple husbands.) I don't have an issue with it, personally--and I don't care if the state legalizes polyandry among consenting adults. But I doubt we'll ever see a rabbi performing a polyandrous wedding ceremony! To be fair, though, I don't know of any rabbis who would perform a polygamous ceremony either.
You're right, that would be polyandry. Is there a reason for the double standard here? Is it because of the culture or because practically that type of union does not provide the benefits of polygmy you mentioned such as producing children?
A married woman who sleeps with a man other than her husband is guilty of adultery according to Jewish law. Technically it's regarded as much worse than a married man sleeping with an unmarried woman--however, practically speaking, both are severely frowned on nowadays. Everyone wants to see a happy married couple (gay or straight, in liberal synagogues) who don't cheat on each other.
Again, why the double standard? I don't see why it is worse for a married woman to sleep with an unmarried man than for a married man to sleep with an unmarried woman. Do you know what the reasoning behind this is?
Tradition. Back in the day, things were very male dominated, and the rules stem from that time period. Since monogamy is the current 'rule' of the day, there certainly isn't any reason to change things.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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elle
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Post #10

Post by elle »

goat wrote:
elle wrote:
Jrosemary wrote:Meanwhile, there's no way to practice polyandry within Jewish law. (I think polyandry is the right word for one woman with multiple husbands.) I don't have an issue with it, personally--and I don't care if the state legalizes polyandry among consenting adults. But I doubt we'll ever see a rabbi performing a polyandrous wedding ceremony! To be fair, though, I don't know of any rabbis who would perform a polygamous ceremony either.
You're right, that would be polyandry. Is there a reason for the double standard here? Is it because of the culture or because practically that type of union does not provide the benefits of polygmy you mentioned such as producing children?
A married woman who sleeps with a man other than her husband is guilty of adultery according to Jewish law. Technically it's regarded as much worse than a married man sleeping with an unmarried woman--however, practically speaking, both are severely frowned on nowadays. Everyone wants to see a happy married couple (gay or straight, in liberal synagogues) who don't cheat on each other.
Again, why the double standard? I don't see why it is worse for a married woman to sleep with an unmarried man than for a married man to sleep with an unmarried woman. Do you know what the reasoning behind this is?
Tradition. Back in the day, things were very male dominated, and the rules stem from that time period. Since monogamy is the current 'rule' of the day, there certainly isn't any reason to change things.
That makes sense. Thanks.
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.--Carl Sagan

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