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Wife Beating in Jewish Law

 

Many people wrongly think that Jewish law permits a man to beat his wife. This is incorrect. In a recent article, R. A. Yehuda Warburg, a practicing dayan (rabbinic judge), explores how Jewish courts function in cases of abuse, whether against a spouse or a minor, and focuses particularly on the evidentiary rules (fairly liberal) and potential punishments meted (solely financial). The article (“Harnessing the Authority of Beit Din to Deal with Cases of Domestic Violense” in Tradition 45:1, Spring 2012) is not yet online but I reproduce here a key paragraph establishing the prohibition against beating your wife (p. 39):

The seriousness of the issur [prohibition] of battery expresses itself in a husband’s liability for injuring his wife while engaging in onah (conjugal relations).[8] The duty of a husband to engage in onah is mi-dioraita [biblical].[9] Lest one argue that engagement in a mitsva exempts one from responsibility from injury caused during its performance, halakha states otherwise.[10] Hence, Hazon Ish contends that engagement in the mitsva of onah does not serve as a defense.[11] Even if the husband unintentionally injured his wife due to losing self-control, i.e. ones, nevertheless, regarding any assault against another person, adam muad le-olam, a person is always deemed forewarned.[12] Cosnequently, it is no surprise that numerous posekim argue that it is the husband’s responsibility to foresee the possibility of potential injust and therefore, if injury nevertheless transpired, he is negligent.[13] Similarly, a husband who argues that he lost self-control and therefore assaulted his wife will be equally responsible. As R. Shlomo Luria notes, if a husband is liable for any injury caused to his spouse during onah, a fortiori, should he become angry and assault his wife at any other time, he is liable.[14] A husband must control his desires and not injure his wife under any circumstances. Moreover, neither the establishment of marriage nor a mutual agreement between spouses to sanction a husband’s assault of his wife even for her enjoyment may serve as grounds for a husband’s exemption form liability for any ensuing damage.[15] Any agreement between two individuals to be a subject of battery is prohibited.[16]


[8] Shulhan Arukh, Even ha-Ezer 63 (end); Shulhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat 421:12.
[9] Shemot 21:10; Tur, Even ha-Ezer 69; Shulhan Arukh, Even ha-Ezer 69:6.
[10] Talmud Yerushalmi, Bava Kamma 6:13; Shulhan Arukh, Yoreh De’ah 340, Hoshen Mishpat 418:12; Responsa Havvot Yair, no. 207; Responsa Be’er Sarim, Vol. 1, no. 10. For exceptions to the rule, see Rambam, Hilkhot Hovel u-Mazzik 6:8; Shulhan Arkuh, Hoshen Mishpat 359:4.
[11] Hazon Ish, Bava Kamma 11:21.
[12] Shulhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat 378:1; Hazon Ish, supra n. 11. Cf. Tosafot, Bava Kamm 27a s.v. u-Shemuel amar; Tosafot, Bava Metsia 42a, s.v. amar Shemuel.
[13] Piskei ha-Rosh, Bava Kamma 2:10.
[14] Yam Shel Shlomo, Bava Kamma 3:21.
[15] Revid ha-Zahav 42:3.
[16] Bava Kamma 93a; Teshuvot ha-Rosh Kelal 68:10; Shulhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat 421:12.

In an online article, Naomi Graetz surveys the halakhic literature on the subject: Domestic Violence in Jewish Law. However, I am not clear how seriously to take this article. For example, she writes about the Maharshal:

In his commentary on the Talmud, R. Solomon ben Jehiel Luria (Poland, c. 1510–1574) refers to Maimonides and Isserlein in a discussion about punishing a “bad” wife. Luria goes further than Isserlein did in Terumat ha-Deshen #218, when he writes: “A man may hit his wife when she curses her father and mother, because she transgresses the law. … There is no need to bring her to the court, as is so in the case of the Jewish slave. And he can beat her for other reasons as well—whenever she transgresses the laws of the Torah. He can beat her until she dies [until her soul departs—ad she-teze nafshah], even for transgressing a minor negative prohibition. Of course, he shouldn’t hasten to beat her. He should warn her first. He can only beat her if she doesn’t heed his warning” (Yam shel Shelomo, Bava Kamma, Third Chapter, 20b #9).

That is just totally incorrect. The Maharshal (Bava Kamma, ch. 3 no. 21) forbids beating your wife under any circumstance. He suggests that the Rambam permits beating your wife to prevent her from sinning but quickly and firmly adds that the Ra’avad’s dissenting opinion is authoritative. You can see it in these two editions, neither of which are easy to read: link 1, link 2. I checked a third edition offline and it reads like the other two. I have no idea what Graetz was quoting.

Graetz writes about the Rema:

His [R. Yosef Karo's] views are further complicated by R. Moses ben Israel Isserles (Rema, 1525 or 1530–1572), the glossator of the Shulhan Arukh. He rules that, although unwarranted wifebeating justifies compelling a husband to divorce his wife “if she is the cause of it, for example, if she curses him or denigrates his father and mother and he scolds her calmly first and it does not help, then it is obvious that he is permitted to beat her and castigate her. And if it is not known who is the cause, the husband is not considered a reliable source when he says that she is the cause and portrays her as a harlot, for all women are presumed to be law-abiding” (Darkei Moshe, Tur, Even ha-Ezer 154:15).

I’m looking at the Darkei Moshe she cites (although it’s no. 16, not 15) and it says the exact opposite! Look for yourself: link.

Graetz also makes a big deal about those who forbid wife beating but do not force husbands to divorce their wives in such a case. Either way, they still forbid wife abuse. But even with her apparent bias and mistakes, she concludes that contemporary rabbis forbid beating your wife:

In the modern period the following sages follow the liberal rabbinical precedents based on the French and German rabbis of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries: R. Shlomo b. Abraham ha-Kohen (Yugoslavia, 1520–1601), R. Hayyim ben Jacob Palaggi (Turkey, 1788–1869), R. Avraham Jacob Paperna (Poland, 1840–1919), Eliezer Shem Tov Papo (Sarajevo, c. 1824), Raphael Aaron Ben Simeon (Cairo, 1848–1928), R. Isaac Herzog (Dublin and Israel, 1888–1959), R. Eliezer Judah Waldenburg (b. 1912), and Rabbi Moses Feinstein. The later rabbis all show an awareness of the earlier debates and an increased interest in issues of money and property. They do not hesitate to disagree with earlier rabbis who were influenced by Islamic society. They do not allow for beating even in the case of the “bad wife” who curses her husband.

For an interesting article on the Rambam’s position, see “Did Maimonides Really Say That? he Widespread Claim That He Condoned Wife-Battering May Be Mistaken” by David E. S. Stein: link – PDF.

UPDATE: I plan on posting a follow-up which clarifies and corrects some of the claims made in this post. Read the comments for more information.

 

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Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

77 Responses

  1. Leah Cypess says:

    I believe I read Naomi Graetz’s article years ago (I no longer remember the author’s name, but this sounds familiar), and was very troubled by it; unfortunately, I did not have the training to check out her sources. I truly appreciate your bringing up her article and pointing out is errors.

  2. Bas Yisroel says:

    Rambam, Laws of Interpersonal Relations, perek 21, halacha 7:

    “We find that every woman performs five tasks for her husband. She spins, washes his face, hands, and legs, pours his drink, makes the bed, and serves him. There are six tasks some women do and some don’t: grind and bake and cook, wash, nurse children, and feed the animals.”

    Halacha 10: “Any woman who does not do the tasks which she is obligated to do is forced, even with a stick.”

    The Rabad meforesh on this: “I have never heard of hitting a woman with a stick, but one reduces the necessities given to her and her food until she gives in.”

  3. Hirhurim says:

    See the PDF linked at the end of the post “Did Maimonides Really Say That?”

  4. IH says:

    With respect Gil, do you really believe the apologetics in an academic article in the Journal of Religion & Abuse is a legitimate source for the halachic interpretation of MT?

    If someone raised such an argument — “That reading ignores the text’s figures of speech. And it fits neither the dynamics of the case, the legal history of the issue, nor the literary context.” — in regard to an issue where you didn’t like their reading, you would shred them to bits based on what I’ve seen.

  5. MB says:

    Is the author of the article you linked to a Reform rabbi? The way he reads the Rambam is no different than what the Reformers do to the Torah. The Rambam says something beferush and he says that the Rambam doesn’t mean what he wrote.

  6. Moshe Shoshan says:

    I never understood how the Rambam could be construed as allowing a husband to beat his wife. IT seems to me that the form “kofin” can only refer to beis din, not the husband.

  7. Moshe Shoshan says:

    MB
    have your ever heard or read a reform rabbi explain a rambam? You may not like his reading but I dont understand what maked it reform.

  8. Elon says:

    I looked up David Stein. He is a Reconstructionist Rabbi.

    I agree that the language כּוֹפִין אוֹתָהּ וְעוֹשָׂה seemingly implies the Beit Din, but then וְאַפִלּוּ בַּשּׁוֹט seems to add something extra.

  9. Shalom Rosenfeld says:

    R’ Kafach stressed the point about the Rambam as well, that *kofin* means if she insists on remaining married to him but wants to eat his money and do absolutely nothing to help around the house, in theory he could take her to court and they could force her. Not that the husband could beat her, G-d forbid.

    Of course Rambam also holds that as soon as she says she physically can’t stand her husband (“ma’us alai”), the courts can force him to give a divorce.

  10. Yakov says:

    I’m not an expert on the Maharshal and I don’t know how to resolve the two seemingly contradictory passages, but Naomi Graetz didn’t make up the passage she quoted.
    Here is the original Hebrew:
    ומכאן הביא הגאון מהריי”א בתרומת הדשן סימן רי”ח. שמותר אדם להכות את אשתו שהיא מקללת אביה ואמה. מחמת שעוברת על דת, ועביד דינא לשמים. ואין צריך להביאה לב”ד, כמו גבי נרצע. ולאו דוקא כה”ג, אלא כל מה שהיא עושה כנגד דת תורה אלהית. מכה אותה עד שתצא נפשה. אפילו עוברת במצוה שב ואל תעשה. ומ”מ אל ימהר בהכאה. אם לא בתוכחה גמורה מקודם, ורואה שאינה נשמעת.
    It’s where she wrote that it is, in BK third perek, #9.

  11. Yakov says:

    I’m not sure about the Darkei Moshe she quotes, but, as she points out in the article, the Rema definitely says that in his gloss to EH 154:3:
    וכל זה כשהוא מתחיל, יב] אבל אם מקללתו בחנם או מזלזלת אביו ואמו, והוכיחה בדברים ואינה משגחת עליו, [ט] י”א דמותר להכותה, וי”א דאפילו אשה רעה אסור להכותה. יג] והסברא ראשונה היא עיקר.

  12. MB says:

    regarding the Yam Shel Shlomo, ad she-tetse nafshah doesn’t mean until she dies.

  13. Yakov says:

    with all due respect, you didn’t check her sources very well before criticizing her.
    the darkei moshe she cites is the next one after the one you linked to – #17 in the edition you linked to. in the nice tur (shirat devorah), it’s #21.

  14. Josh says:

    I do not understand the compulsive need to reconcile the Rambam to modern domestic relations standards. The Rambam himself adhered to the concept of evolving morality with regard to korbanot (i.e., that they were a crude form of worship that the Torah incorporated for the sole purpose of transitioning the Israelites from idolatrous worship to the true religion). The same concept has been applied to explain why Yfat Toar and slavery may have been provided for in the Torah, but are no longer acceptable today. Most recently — and controversially — Rabbi Lamm has used the concept to explain why the mitzva of mechiyat Amalek is no longer applicable. Now, if our greatest scholars can make such statements about Torah Hakedosha, why are we so resistant to making such a statement about the Rambam? I am fully comfortable saying that the Rambam provided for wide beating under certain conditions, just as I am comfortable saying that the Rambam would not have considered my wife’s mitpachat to be an acceptable kisui rosh in reshut harabim (indeed, he likely would encourage our wives to adopt the burka).

  15. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    With reference to the Rambam, it seems that kofin otah refers to the court, but afilu be-shot should be taken literally.

  16. MB says:

    Gil, this post is not up to your normal standards. Maybe you wrote it late at night and were tired, because had you spent just a few minutes on it, you would have found that she was correct in her citations. The Rama is also found in the Shulchan Aruch and the Yam Shel Shlomo is there also.

  17. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Gil, You made a very serious accusation against a scholar which has been directly challenged by a few commenters with specific citations. It is imperative, for your credibility as well as Dr. Graetz’s, that you wither demonstrate you were right or issue a very specific and prominently placed apology and retraction.

  18. Hirhurim says:

    Yakov: You are correct and I made the mistake of thinking 20b was the siman and not the page number. HOWEVER, the resolution is right there in the Maharshal (no. 9). He writes:

    ולאו דוקא הרב לעבדו ובעל לאשתו ה”ה כל בר ישראל יכול להכות חבירו לאפרושי מאיסורא
    And not just a master to his slave and a husband to his wife but any Jew may hit his fellow to prevent sin.

    In other words, this is not an issue of wife beating but how you can treat anyone.

  19. Hirhurim says:

    Joseph: If you read the post carefully, you will see that the accusations were limited. I now believe that they can be expanded and IY”H will be in a follow-up post.

  20. Hirhurim says:

    Yakov: You are also correct that the Darkei Moshe is in #17. However, the quote Graetz attributes to the Rema is really him quoting the Binyamin Ze’ev, after which he quotes the Maharam who forbids hitting a wife and then a Terumas Ha-Deshen who permits. In other words, the language she attributes to the Rema belong to someone else, which he follows with a quote to the contrary.

  21. Hirhurim says:

    And in the prior entry (#16), the Rema quotes Mordekhai and Maharam without dissent.

  22. IH says:

    I note the link and use of David Stein’s article seems to have been silently removed. Amusing.

  23. Hirhurim says:

    You note incorrectly.

  24. IH says:

    Mea culpa. It is still there, but moved to the bottom as “for an interesting article”. That’s fair.

  25. Hirhurim says:

    No, it didn’t move anywhere. That’s where it always was.

  26. IH says:

    Not my memory of its placement or more importantly its wording, but I don’t have last night’s version in my browser cache to check. Apologies if I am mistaken.

  27. Joseph Kaplan says:

    I read your post carefully and your language was, and still is, intemperate: “totally incorrect”; “exact opposite!”. From what I read in your explanations, you disagree with her interpretation. You may be correct and she may be wrong but you made it appear that she was making up sources and quotes when she clearly was not. You still owe it to your credibility and hers to, at the very least, modify the language in this post (although, if one of my children did this I would recommend that they apologize as well. You, not being my child, can, more easily than they, ignore my suggestions.)

  28. Hirhurim says:

    Note that I only challenged two sources and left open whether the rest of the article is reliable.

    When I wrote this, I thought she might have made up the language in those two sources although I thought there was probably a better explanation. I explained why and gave detailed sources for my objections. Now I think she was just either incorrect or at best grossly misleading.

  29. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Joseph: Knowing you and them well, I’m sure all your children always listen to your sage suggestions. As for Gil…

    On the issue at hand, I’m with you. As other commentators have shown, Naomi Graetz is not as “off the wall” as appears from Gil’s post. Note especialy Rema’s comment ” ve-ha-sevara ha-rishonah hi ha-ikkar.”

  30. IH says:

    One thing that would help is removing the gratuitous “However, I am not clear how seriously to take this article.”

  31. IH says:

    In evaluating how seriously to take Prof. Graetz’s research, here is a related article with footnotes.

    http://wjudaism.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/wjudaism/article/view/172/205

  32. HAGTBG says:

    I’m not understanding this. Gil’s post starts: “Many people wrongly think that Jewish law permits a man to beat his wife. This is incorrect.” It seems to me that the traditional sources as cited here actually disagree amongst themselves over this point. I don’t understand how saying that the Maharshal let you beat anyone who sins in any way lessens the fact that he would allow a husband to beat a wife… and, in fact, one can see many ways how this seemingly neutral application would still lead to unequal applications against a wife in many contexts, putting its overall propriety aside.

    Also, reading R’ Warburg’s brief excerpt made me wonder if certain terms were being used as their seculat connotation implies. “Moreover, neither the establishment of marriage nor a mutual agreement between spouses to sanction a husband’s assault of his wife even for her enjoyment may serve as grounds for a husband’s exemption form liability for any ensuing damage. Any agreement between two individuals to be a subject of battery is prohibited.” I am not sure where this is going or how far or what they mean by “battery” but this is not necessarily protecting someone from real damage (i.e. something they do not want) or, more relevantly, abuse.

  33. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Gil: If we are being hypercritical here, I find it hard to understand how you thought “20b” can be a siman and not a page numbe, particularly when it is followed by “#9.”

    It a much worse criticism to say, as you did originally, that she made up a source, than to say, as you did upon being corrected, that she overlooked a source and incorrectly interpreted the source she cited. You seem to fail to understand this major dfference.

  34. MB says:

    I am curious how you could even suspect someone of making up a source. Do you think she just invented it and provided a reference to a non-existent source?

  35. Hirhurim says:

    HAGTBG: All I said, and both R. Warburg and Dr. Graetz agree, is that Jewish law today forbids wife beating. The Maharshal is irrelevant to that.

    Dr. Kaplan: I very consciously and specifically did not accuse Dr. Graetz of anything.

    MB: That’s why I thought there was probably a better explanation.

  36. ruvie says:

    r’ gil – “Many people wrongly think that Jewish law permits a man to beat his wife. This is incorrect.”
    this statement seems to indicate there has been no change in the law by rabbis (with other views) over time. its a very misleading statement. the word today -or the modern era – should be inserted somewhere.

  37. Isaacson says:

    This post is interesting because it seems to only address half the story. What about post-facto? Should a beit din intervene? Should the couple divorce? What about abuse that is not physical? (I realize your topic is “beating” as opposed to abuse, and I assume it was chosen carefully)

    I see in the comments you are planning to do a follow up. I think broadening the discussion would be useful; this is sadly a topic that is more relevant than some may realize.

  38. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Gil: I was imprecise. True, you just said “I have no idea what Graetz was quoting” when she handed you the reference on a silver platter! You really should rewrite your critique.

  39. Elon says:

    Ruvie, I’m not sure that is a fair assessment. The only unequivocal source is the Maharshal, and then is the context of rebuking anyone . Rambam is not clear as to who does the beating. The shulchan study uses the same language Rambam uses. Raavad argues against beating. The issue seems to have been in dispute, but it certainly doesn’t seem the prevailing view here has changed.

  40. Hirhurim says:

    Dr. Kaplan: True, you just said “I have no idea what Graetz was quoting” when she handed you the reference on a silver platter!

    Yes, and I misread her citation and was clear about that. On the other quote, her citation was wrong and I used the nearest relevant text. I was extremely precise in what I was criticizing and based on what, providing links to the actual text I was referencing. There is nothing ambiguous in what I wrote and people are free to judge my claims against hers. The next post on this subject will correct my mistakes and show what her real mistakes were.

  41. Hirhurim says:

    Isaacson: Read R. Warburg’s article. It is all about how a Beis Din should respond to a case of physical abuse.

  42. HAGTBG says:

    All I said, and both R. Warburg and Dr. Graetz agree, is that Jewish law today forbids wife beating. The Maharshal is irrelevant to that.

    Does every Orthodox rabbi of any note agree that Jewish law today forbids a husband from hitting his wife in anger or to “educate” or to stop sin? And if they do so, is there any agreement (as Isaacson asked) as to what the penalty is?

  43. ruvie says:

    just to be clear: some geonim had no issue in beating one’s wife:
    “…and she is not permitted to raise her voice to him, and even if he strikes her she should be silent in the manner of modest women” otzer hagoanim ketubot – 169-170 – attributed to rav yehudai gaon.

    the above quote may not have been the norm since the geonim require a husband to pay a monetary fine depending on his economic status and severity of violence.
    the source for the rambam’s ruling seems to come from the geonim. the husbad was permitted to beat his wife or ask the court to beat her if she refused to perform the domestic tasks she is required by law – mishnah ketubot for list. see pious and rebellious by grossman for the difference between spanish and askanazic rabbis

  44. Rafael Araujo says:

    Joseph Kaplan,

    To be honest with you, your constant refrain that Gil issue public apologies, which I have seen you make in a number of posts Gil has put up on his blog over the years, makes you appear as little more than a domineering parent or school teacher, scolding Gil for his perceived (by you) errors. While you have every right to criticize Gil, and any others for the subject matter and factual correctness of posts and comments, I believe you cross the line when you demand such apologies. If Graetz is offended, she should let him know, provide her response, and demand an apology from him. With all due respect, I don’t believe its your role or right to do so on her behalf.

  45. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Gil: I think you should add a note to your post indicating that you will correct nand update your critique.

  46. ruvie says:

    Elon – you may be right and there seems to disagreement (and evolvement) of what to do. also, it should be noted that beating one’s wife was acceptable practice among the non-jews.

    on the raavad – against a beating – it seems the raavad did not have a tradition – ” i never heard of beating” – of permitting to beat a women with a stick or whip. not that people didn’t beat women under any circumstances. only, men or the court did not have that right to beat them for women not performing their duties.

  47. Hirhurim says:

    Dr. Kaplan: Fair enough. I added something at the end of the post. Thank you for the suggestion.

  48. Hirhurim says:

    HAGTBG: Does every Orthodox rabbi of any note agree that Jewish law today forbids a husband from hitting his wife in anger or to “educate” or to stop sin?

    Does every Orthodox rabbi of any note agree on anything? Can I say unequivocally that M&Ms are kosher or do I need to add caveats and disclaimers to everything? Can I even say that Jews are not allowed to eat pig when there are circumstances under which Jews would be allowed to do so?

  49. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Rabbi Student: I appreciate your positive response to my suggestion.

  50. ruvie says:

    r’ gil – you should be able to make an intelligent statement. like its assur to take a rod and hit your child as in corporeal punishment – unless you think child abuse is ok as well as battering one’s wife.

  51. Steve Brizel says:

    Why should R Gil apologize and/or withdraw his comments re Dr Graetz? The linked article confirms that she is a feminist who is out to prove that since halacha is male dominated, the system cannot be counted on to protect women from abuse. I am surprised that R Gil treated such an article as worthy of analysis in the first place.

  52. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie-see R Wolbe ZL’s Zeriah UBinyan bChinuch re corporal punishment. Then ask yourselve whether raising the issue of corporal punishment today is what is called raising a red herring.

  53. ruvie says:

    steve b. – are you saying that a simple statement about rabbis today on beating one’s wife is impossible to state? its a kvetch… it could also be noted that rabbis in general since the middle ages were against such actions even though it was acceptable – and as a matter of law – in the population they lived in.

    why is it a red herring? abuse is abuse whether its child or spouse? it is usually done by someone that “rules” over them. separate issue – what about women abusing men in halacha? do they get a deduction from their ketubah?

  54. Steve Brizel says:

    IH, who first posted this link, of which this is the concluding paragraph of an article by an author with an expertise in feminist gender theory and evidently problematic command of the relevant sources wrecking havoc on Halacha:

    ” Unlike Riskin, who takes a rather paternalistic attitude, (“it is up to the contemporary halakhic community to grant the woman her proper due”), one can argue that the halakhic stance is a priori inimical towards women. Furthermore, the halakhah is androcentric; it assumes that women is the “other” and it plays down women’s roles. [23] Women cannot initiate divorce, they depend on their husband’s consent to get divorce; they bear the sole responsibility for the stigma of mamzerut. Until recently, there were no female rabbis, and women did not have access to learning and thus could not be part of the halakhic process. At present only in the Conservative and Reform movements are women ordained as rabbis. Until women are full-fledged rabbis in the major three movements and all disabilities against women are erased–not because men want to ‘grant’ woman what is her due, but because women are equal to men and it is just and correct to do so–the best course for women is to simply ignore the rulings of those rabbis who discriminate against them and turn to those rabbis who are willing to use the halakhic tools of coercion of marriage (kefiyat get), annulment (hafkaat kidushim), and prenuptial arrangements (kidushim al tenai).”

  55. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie wrote:

    “why is it a red herring? abuse is abuse whether its child or spouse? it is usually done by someone that “rules” over them. separate issue – what about women abusing men in halacha? do they get a deduction from their ketubah”

    Your comment is IMO a red herring and borders on Charedi baiting because it assumes that such practices are considered normativein the Charedi world, when, in fact, they are not, and have been condemned as such.

  56. HAGTBG says:

    Does every Orthodox rabbi of any note agree on anything? Can I say unequivocally that M&Ms are kosher or do I need to add caveats and disclaimers to everything? Can I even say that Jews are not allowed to eat pig when there are circumstances under which Jews would be allowed to do so?

    Both of the points you’re making are mine as well. Clearly, there was a line of halachic thought that women could be hit (in a way that today would be called physical abuse). This line of thought might still exist today in the halachic community. And there are times that hitting might not be physical abuse (e.g. consensual).

  57. Rafael Araujo says:

    “And there are times that hitting might not be physical abuse (e.g. consensual).”

    Oh no, don’t go there.

  58. shaul shapira says:

    “One thing that would help is removing the gratuitous “However, I am not clear how seriously to take this article.”

    Censorship. Justice Brandeis would not be pleased.

  59. Hirhurim says:

    Not to mention that it isn’t gratuitous

  60. IH says:

    Coincidentally, this is on ynet today:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4242090,00.html

    “Dr. Mally Schori-Biton, a criminologist and couples’ therapist from Ariel University Center conducted a pioneer research that aimed to distinguish the phenomenon’s unique characteristics within the religious and haredi sectors, while addressing a subject that was considered taboo for many years – violence against women.

    The research will be presented during a conference in Bar Ilan University on June 20, which will host the top therapists in the haredi sector.”

  61. HAGTBG says:

    Oh no, don’t go there.

    R’ Warburg’s writing excerpted by Gil went there.

  62. ruvie says:

    steve b. – “… it assumes that such practices are considered normativein the Charedi world…”

    your kidding? i was not baiting anything. my assumption is there aren’t any that considered it ok – to beat one’s wife under any circumstances today – even though it may occur in all segments of society. are you saying there are rabbis that halachikally approve? i am in the dark in what you mean.

  63. Tal Benschar says:

    “Censorship. Justice Brandeis would not be pleased”

    Shaul, look up the definition of censorship. Criticizing someone’s writing, research or scholarship is not cenorship.

    That’s the way the marketplace of ideas is supposed to work. Anyone is free to say or write almost anything. And anyone else is free to express their own evaluation of what the first person said or wrote.

  64. Noam says:

    One of the chareidi teachers at the MO high school that my kids attend reportedly told a class of girls that they should not object if their husbands hit them. This approach still seems to have some acceptance.

  65. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Shaul Shapira: IH made a suggestion for revision that Gil was free to acoept or not. One may agree or disagree with suggestion, but where is the censorship?

  66. Moshe Shoshan says:

    steve-
    i dont care if the author is a feminist or a fascist. If Gil accused her of misrepresenting the sources and this in fact untrue, he owes her an appology. have you no intellectual honesty?

  67. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Tal Benschar: I now see you antcipated me. Glad to see we are on the same page.

    Steve Brizel: I’m with Moshe Shoshan. The issue is whether Gil’s specific criticisms were valid or not. Gil, to his credit, acknowledged that one of his criticisms was invalid, though he maintained the justice of his overall critique, and updated his post accordingly.

  68. Ruvie says:

    Hagtbg- “Clearly, there was a line of halachic thought that women could be hit (in a way that today would be called physical abuse). This line of thought might still exist today in the halachic community.”

    There ” was” doesn’t mean there still is. But with r’ Gil’s silence or sidestepping your question I wonder how prevalent it is? Of course, I assume it will go unreported in the community like child uses abuse. But are you saying rabbis have no issues with wife beating from an halachik perspective today? Is there any evidence of that? Have rabbis’s lost the moral high ground in the orthodox community or is it a perception that many feel?
    You wonder why some many rabbis want to ban the Internet.

  69. HAGTBG says:

    But are you saying rabbis have no issues with wife beating from an halachik perspective today?

    I accept the assumption most rabbis prohibit domestic a husband striking his wife. Gil in his article implied that all orthodox rabbis today prohibit a husband striking his wife but then back tracked on that in his comments. Noam above says a teacher taught in his daughter’s school that the wife should accept a smack without objection. Now take an anonymous bloggers allegation with a grain if salt but still.

  70. IH says:

    It is not clear to me what motivated the post, but like other issues (e.g. working vs. learning, women learning Talmud, etc.) there is sufficient ambiguity in our texts that can be used to justify each side.

    This seems to be particularly the case with Rambam and the status of women. The obvious (Modern Orthodox) path out of the thicket is historical context.

  71. Steve Brizel says:

    Moshe Shoshan wrote:

    “i dont care if the author is a feminist or a fascist. If Gil accused her of misrepresenting the sources and this in fact untrue, he owes her an appology. have you no intellectual honesty”

    We differ. I think, and I don’t think that I am alone in stating that Gretz’s works are unworthy of being considered as a Cheftza Shel Torah in a serious discussion of the issues at hand, and IMO, the fact that an author has a certain intellectual bias towards Halacha is a factor that cannot be divorced from his or her presentation of the issues.

  72. Scott says:

    Steve,

    Teachers of logic will be grateful to you for supplying a perfect example of the argumentum ad hominem, which is–in case you didn’t know–a type of fallacy.

    See here: http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/person.html

  73. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve Brizel: Even if one grants your claim that Gil did not have to take Dr. Graetz’s article seriously or bother to respond to it, once he DID criticze her arguments, he had the resposibilty to make sure his criticisms were accurate. Gil understands this rather basic point, while you unaccountably seem to fail to understand it.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I see I left my comment yesterday in the wrong thread. Here it is, with the added bonus that I’ve corrected my typo in Dr Kaplan’s name.

    shaul shapira on June 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm
    Tal, Dr Kaplan: I was facetiously referencing IH’s bizaree claim recently http://torahmusings.com/2012/06/news-links-99/comment-page-6/#comments that if you declare someone heterdox, you are in someway censoring them. I simply used the nugget of info about Justice Brandeis that he taught me when explaing why he thinks it’s productive to counter Tal’s alleged hate speech with sunlight disinfectant.

  75. Daniel Shain says:

    MB: regarding the Yam Shel Shlomo, ad she-tetse nafshah doesn’t mean until she dies.

    What does it mean?

  76. [...] a previous post on this topic, I critiqued aspects of an article by Prof. Naomi Graetz (link). I was rightly criticized for both brevity and errors. I submit the following as a more detailed [...]

 
 

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