Mamzer Scandal in Philadelphia
- Book:: Philly Scandal of Remarriage without a GET
- Shalom Bayis Beth Din - For All Ages
- Men and Women: Who is Superior? And the Moon Woman...
- Broken Marriages and Derech Erets Today
- Teshuva Created a Stable World
- Projects of Jewish Outreach Congregation
- Table of Contents
- Marital Intimacy
- BLOGS BY RABBI DOVID E. EIDENSOHN
Monday, March 19, 2018
Saturday, March 17, 2018
I am a Talmudist who studied under the greatest rabbis of the past generation, Rabbi Aharon Kotler, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashev, Rabbi Shmuel HaLevi Wosner and others. On the other hand, I live in a world which is in flux, and various forces are at work to bring new elements to the control of our world. I have a friend who has spent years studying these various forces, and he is very pessimistic.
Therefore, on the one hand, I feel confident presenting my books and blog materials to the public, rooted in my ancient reliance on Talmudists and Torah. On the other hand, there are huge numbers of people who are restless and seeking and who have strong opposition to what is going on in the world today. Therefore, I have to decide whether to just talk Talmudic, or to talk directly to those who demand changes in the world, or else, and they are growing stronger every day. Do I have a right to talk about them when I surely am no expert in their grievances and ambitions?
My friend actually gave me an idea that might just work for me. He told me that in the many masses of people who are upset with our systems for various reasons, there are among them two basic responses. One holds that our masses do not have reliable attachment to spirituality and are therefore hungry for somebody to help them with it. Others have other grievances and are looking for some hideous solutions to the problems.
One person who succeeded in reaching these people big time began by talking Talmud to them and succeeding with prominent leaders! On the one hand they are seeking something new, but on the other hand, they know that spirituality is crucial for them and for the world, and they have no clue how to achieve it, after they have basically dropped faith in previous religions. But when presented with Jewish Talmudic teachings they often feel that this is closer to the truth and they want to hear more!
As my friends tells me frequently, the world is splitting into various groups who are angry at much of what is happening socially and spiritually. But these angry people have questions and no answers. They desperately want to re-connect to beliefs that can point to a spirituality that has a history and a future. There is no solution for these people other than to learn a bit of Jewish Orthodox beliefs. Here is why.
The Jewish Orthodox community is growing by leaps and bounds while other religions are disappearing. We have a solid source going back thousands of years of a G-d who is loving and caring and who wants to listen to the feelings of humans. We have a bible written by Moses with the help of G-d and we have thousands of years of great rabbis teaching and explaining so that people realize that they are involved with truth.
If anybody wants to talk to me about these matters, write to me at email@example.com or ask for my phone number, which could take a bit longer.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
By David Eidensohn
This morning something happened that made me happy that I believe in HaShem! That may not sound so special, especially for all Torah Jews who worship HaShem daily. But listen to my story and then let me see if you agree with me, at least, partially.
The story begins some years ago, and I will cut to the quick, to get to what happened today, Thursday March 15, 2018. I had such a strong sensation and excitement about HaShem taking care of us even people who have great problems, that I spent hours contacting people about the great miracle, and it was only in late afternoon that I got working on other things.
Really, the story is about my wife, who realized that somebody was suffering, and decided to do something about it, even though nobody seemed available to do something about it. But my wife powered on. She said, "I live in Monsey. It is a city of kindness. If your child needs some attention, you snap your fingers and ten very busy mothers are heavily involved in kindness. There is no such thing in Monsey as a mother or a child or any individual just rotting away. There are people everywhere who see what they see, know what they know, and get to work along with a lot of other people. At any rate, that was a fact as I lived in Monsey many decades, and my wife knew it was a fact, and now, she stood alone while somebody is in a terrible situation.
After I had digested my wife's pain, I went into another room, opened up a Tanach with the entire Torah in it with no commentaries, and flipped open a passage in Yeshayeh 29, where Hashem explodes with anger and showering destruction. It was not a solution for my problem, but I took it as a sign that I keep thinking. And as I did, I realized that the solution is right in my pocket. I got to work, made some phone calls to the right people with the right suggestions, and pretty soon I had a small group of men and women who were going to devote themselves to giving broken people strength, and organizing people to help others.
Now let me go to phase two if we call it that. Phase two I am in shull, a baby is being prepared for a bris mila. The baby is shrieking. A friend tells me, "If a baby screams, that is a sign that HaShem will shower us with mercy." Okay, I was ready for that if ever I was. I went over to the Rov, told him basically that I had a problem, and I wanted Eliyohu HaNovi, who comes to everyone's bris, to some into the shull and participate to establish an atmosphere of miracle.
The Rov was happy to cooperate with my request, and I repeated my request to the Mohel and some others. Then, I went home after the bris, and I felt a great pain that my relative was suffering so much. My wife was upset. I was upset. Who wasn't upset? Surely our niece was upset.
I called up a friend and we had a long talk. He is a friend that I talk to regularly. He is very smart and we get along well. While we are talking, my wife barges into my room and shrieks, "She succeeded in going to court without a lawyer, with no money, and tangled with somebody loaded with money from him and his family, a person determined to tear the children away from our niece and afterwards to make sure that she has desperate poverty that could destroy her." And now this woman has succeeded getting a court of law to give to her her five children? Did they go further than that? How? Somebody suggested that the judge ruled that her ex-husband with his parental alienation antagonized the judge who realized that the former husband is such a wretch that the children will really suffer living with him, which they are never allowed to do, as he likes privacy.
I will stop here, after I made a lot of phone calls and talked up our group. Yes, yesterday I spoke to about six people about making a group to help people with kindness. And today the heavens opened and what a miracle it was.
If anyone has an article they want to write for my group, please do so. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 845-578-1917. Let's turn the world into Monsey, into Chesed.
I have long been busy studying marriage problems. One day I will discuss my findings. But the first step is to be kind, and to love people who are hurt, who need some love. And when the Satan comes over with some ideas on how to hate people, just tell him that you can hate people, but only people who are cruel to good people.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Monday, February 19, 2018
The idea of demanding from a husband that he have relations with his wife is fully developed in Yevomose 63b and 64a.
The basic obligations of a husband for
his wife are שאר כסות ועונה. KESUSE means clothing,
the obligation to give his wife clothes. ONAH is marital relations. SHAIRE is
according to Beis Shmuel in Even Hoezer chapter 76:13 an argument. Some learn
it means giving his wife food, and some learn it means that they must have
marital relations without wearing clothes. That is, they surely may have an
outer covering of a blanket or similar protection. But between the husband and
wife they are required to be together without any clothing separating the
husband and wife. The Shulchan Aruch goes so far as to say that somebody who
demands that they have intimacy only when wearing clothes is doing the wrong
thing. The basic teaching of the Code of Laws is that such an attitude can
require a divorce. Others maintain that it is not required, but the Code of
Laws says that it is required. One who refuses to have intimacy without clothes
separating husband and wife, according to the Code of laws, must issue a
divorce and pay a Kesubo if he is a husband, and the wife who demands this must
accept a divorce without receiving a Kesubo. (See Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer
Let us now turn to the Rambam "The wife of a man is permitted to him. Therefore,
all that a man wants to do with his wife, he can do it. He may have marital
intimacy with her anytime he so desires. He may kiss any organ that he desires.
He may have relations with her penetrating front or back. As long as he is not
guilty of spilling seed. Despite this, as a trait of piety, one should not be
so accustomed to do these things, and he should sanctify himself during
intimacy, as we explained in the laws of Dayose. And he should not turn away from
the proper style of people that these things are for the sake of having
children. End quote.
This Rambam is quoted in the Ramo. It is
thus essentially the opinion of the Code of Laws. Even though the Rambam and
the Ramo both, after saying what a person can do, that one should follow the
path of piety to resist doing too much intimacy, but the call to resist doing
too much is not said as the law but as a piety. At any rate, we must understand
that Rambam and Ramo begin with an enthusiastic embrace of letting a man do
what he wants, and then they go in reverse and say about piety not to do these
things. What is then their opinion? Let us look once more
at the words of the Rambam."The wife of a man is permitted to him. Therefore, all that a man
wants to do with his wife, he can do it. He may have marital intimacy with her
anytime he so desires. He may kiss any organ that he desires. He may have
relations with her penetrating front or back. As long as he is not guilty of
“All that a man wants to do with his
wife, he can do it.” Why does the Rambam not say simply “A man can do with his
wife what he wants”? Why does it say stronger, “All that a man wants to do with
his wife, he can do it.”?I believe that in the question is an
important idea. The stronger form of the statement reveals that there is a
stronger need to do certain things with one’s wife, stronger than plain desire
to do it. What is the stronger desire to do something with one’s wife? I
believe that the stronger desire means that the husband has a powerful urge to
perform certain things with the wife. In such a circumstance, the husband has a
choice: Either accept that he has a very strong need for such things, or don’t
accept that, but simply agree that doing certain things are desirable, but not
with any strong pressure.
Actually, we can go even further. The
stronger form of the attitude of the husband reveals that he has a great need
to perform these things. It is not just a thing that he might be in the mood to
perform. It is something very important for him to do. He needs, something in
his heart is demanding, that he do things with his wife.Now, when a person has a great desire to
do something and something blocks him, whatever the block is, what happens
next? A man who has a very strong desire to do something with his wife but
knows that the chasiduse or piety would frown on it, may therefore refuse to do
it. This is a big mistake. Because when a husband really wants and needs those
things from his wife, if he doesn’t get it from her, he is probably going to
get it elsewhere, maybe from somebody else’s wife! This is an important rule.
Somebody who has great desire to do something with his wife but knows that holy
piety prevents this, must perform what he truly desires to do. If not, he will
do it anyway, and he may do it in a way that will destroy his soul, such as if
he is overpowered to do these marital things with a woman not his wife.
Therefore, the Rambam says clearly that what a person has a great desire to do
with his wife, he MUST DO IT, or else!
source for this rule is in Nedorim 20A-B. A rabbi Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi
spoke of men who have need for intimacy with their wives so that they may
fulfill their needs. The gemora does not say that if the husband has a need for
this intimacy that he can do it. It says rather that Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi
simply says that people who do certain things with their wives that are not
appropriate for a pious person will suffer great punishment with their
children. But the gemora there says that the law is not like Rebbe Yochana ben
Dihaboi. The law is rather exactly what the Rambam said, that a person may,
without any feelings of guilt, take from his wife the pleasures that he needs.
Let us return to the gemora Nedorim 20A
about the statement of Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi. He says, “Four things were
taught to me by the Heavenly Administering Angels.” And the four things were
terrible punishments for people who fulfilled their desires with their wives
while feeling guilt, even though those guilty feelings were introduced by the
Heavenly Administering Angels. The gemora on Nedorim 20A states clearly that
the law is not like Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi; rather the law is that what a
man wants from his wife he can take it. No guilt. Rather, knowing that if he does
not take when he has a great desire for these things, he may end up taking
these things from a woman who is not his wife, maybe from the wife of another
man. Therefore, taking when he has a strong desire for it will save him from
the suffering attached to the teaching of Rebbe Yochana ben Dihaboi.
The gemora says clearly there that the
law is not like Rebbe Yochanan ben Dihaboi, but like the rabbonon. And the
rabbonon don’t claim to have heard this law from Heavenly Administering Angels.
So where did they discover that a husband can do what he wants when he has a
great desire for some pleasure from his wife? As we explained, if a person has
such a desire, either he takes his pleasure with full confidence, or else, it
is quite possible he will take his pleasures from a woman not his wife!
But there is more to it than that. The
gemora there explains that one may take pleasure from his wife, and it says
that people want a piece of meat or a fish, they have many ways of preparing
the meat or the fish, and all of these ways are permitted. These appetites are permitted with no
punishment as long as the desire to eat the meat or fish is sincere. Eating the
meat and fish satisfies the man and he will not get his appetites in doing a
sin. But one who has a real desire for his wife and refuses it can end up
sinning with another woman, because his need for intimacy is very strong and he
better do it with his wife rather than sin with somebody else’s wife.
Now when a man wants a piece of meat or
fish, it is not sinful to want such pleasures. And this is the level of wanting
a wife. It is not sinful, and there is no punishment for doing it. But, this
applies only if one takes his wife as he would take meat or fish. He has a real
appetite for meat or fish, and eats it, anyway he desires, there no sin is in
doing this. The same holds true for marital desires. There is no sin, if a
person has a true desire for the intimacy and if he does not perform the
intimacy he may get into major trouble, perhaps with another woman not his wife
but somebody else’s wife.We come now to another phase of intimacy.
True intimacy is ideally when both husband and wife know that they are
accustomed to be together on a certain day of the month or a similar schedule.
At this time, they both prepare for intimacy. Both husband and wife are filled
with desire for each other. Then husband and wife anticipate that they will be
together with no disturbances until they complete their process. Ideally, the
couple anticipates and assumes that the two husband and wife will work together
building up the desire to have intimacy until its conclusion. This is the ideal
way of doing things.
But it is not always so simple. Maybe the
husband or wife had a rough day and are just not in the mood for serious
intimacy. Maybe husband or wife had a good day anticipating intimacy but the
other spouse did not have a good day anticipating intimacy, rather a rough day,
and intimacy is on the back burners.This is especially prevalent in a family
with little children. Little children are accustomed to start crying and
demanding whenever they are in the mood. And that can make a problem with
For this, on day when intimacy is
scheduled, the appropriate thing is for the husband and wife to schedule
prayers that their intimacy will not be interrupted.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Rambam Chapter 15 of the Laws of Marriage says, “The rabbis have decreed that a man should not be without a wife lest he come to sinful thoughts.” The Magid Mishneh there brings the source of the Rambam in the gemora Yevomose 62B, “A man is forbidden to live without a wife.” Let us understand that the Rambam and the Magid are not saying that if a man has a wife and they have no intimacy that this is okay. It is not okay. The Rambam and the Magid mean that only when a man has a functioning marriage where there is regularly intimacy as taught in the Shulchan Aruch and gemora is he fulfilling his obligation. But if a wife wants a divorce and the husband refuses to give her one, even if they continue to live in the same house, the husband has no intimacy nor does the wife. This can cause both of them to find intimacy with another person who is forbidden to them and if they do this they are doing a horrible sin.
See also the Code of Laws Even Hoezer about marriage, chapter 76 paragraph 13, that a husband or wife who demand that intimacy be only wearing clothes separating husband and wife, that this is grounds for divorce. See also Beis Shmuel there. This may be an argument among the authorities, but this is what it says in the Code of Laws.
Another problem is that even if a marriage is broken and husband and wife live in the same house without intimacy, the biological processes of both husband and wife, the need for regularly intimacy, is not being served. This can either lead to the husband and wife seeking other partners not their spouses, or the husband can sin with masturbation, a serious sin. But biology must be served, and one who lives without a functioning wife is not serving his biology. The wife also has a biology and emotions and they must be served.
Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer chapter 23 paragraph one says that it is forbidden
to emit sperm and this is a very great sin. The Shulchan Aruch elaborates on
the very serious nature of that sin.
so, a husband who has reached a point with his wife that he cannot have
regularly intimacy with her, either because she refuses or because he does not
want to be with her, we have a crisis. Biology is burning for a young person,
and it doesn’t go away for many years until the person is really old, and even
then, who knows if anybody is really cleansed of the biology. If so, the only
solution is a good marriage. If a person is unable to have intimacy but the
marriage is good, things may be fine. But especially with younger people, any
marriage with no functioning intimacy and nothing to calm the fire of the biology,
what hope is there to be saved from serious sins?
are today thousands of people without a proper protection from their biology.
Many people divorced and cannot remarry for whatever reason. Many people can
marry but are reluctant because of the many problems in marriages today, the
gender war, etc. Many people delayed marriage until it got to the point that
they could only marry by accepting somebody much older or much different than
the person they always planned to marry. Such people can wait and wait and wait
until they find what they always wanted, but it is not easy to find somebody
you wanted in your youth when you are much older.
is a crisis and it is only getting worse. The gender wars, the fears, the lack
of proper guides for many people, yes, it is a crisis and it is only getting
us review our teaching here. A husband and a wife are supposed to live together
with regularly intimacy. This is crucial to save them both from sin. If the
marriage is not going well, and the two live in the same house, but there is no
regular intimacy, we have a very dangerous situation that can lead to very
serious sins. It is therefore sinful for a man and a wife to live in the same
house in a broken marriage without regular intimacy.
is crucial today when many marriages break down and intimacy suffers, that both
should recognize they are living in sin that can lead them heaven forfend to
very serious sin. Again, it is a sin for a husband or a wife to live without
regular intimacy. If the marriage has broken down both husband and wife live in
sin. Now, if the husband wants the wife but the wife is against the husband and
doesn’t want anything to do with him, for instance, the classical case of a
woman complaining that her husband disgusts here, this is a situation where
there is no proper intimacy in the family, and it is a sin for both husband and
wife to live together.
woman with Kiddushin cannot force the husband to divorce her against his will, only to
divorce her willingly. And if the husband refuses to divorce her willingly, he
is living in sin, and she is suffering, but the sin is not hers, the sin is
that of the husband who will not give her a GET. If there are children who will
suffer from a broken family and a GET from father to mother, it may be that the
husband has an excuse to save the children from a divorce. But the husband is
living without a functioning marriage, which can lead to serious sins.
a couple living together and certainly living apart without regular intimacy
are living in sin. If the marriage has broken down but there cannot be a
divorce because of the children, we have a very serious problem that leads to
serious sins. Every effort must be made to rectify the problem.
if the Beth Din or people involved in solving the problem can convince the
husband to improve his attitude to the wife, and if the wife can be convinced
to improve her attitude to the husband, perhaps they can improve their marriage
and find a way to have regular intimacy. But if not, they are both living
separately and are both exposed to biological problems that lead to serious
rabbonim have told me that today there are entire sections of Orthodox people
who live in sin, because of the problems today with marriage. Every day that
the marriage exists without regular intimacy is a day of sin.
the one hand, a woman cannot force a Kiddushin GET from the husband. On the
other hand, the husband is not allowed to live without a functioning marriage,
meaning, a marriage with regular intimacy. Something has to give. And the
greatest efforts must be made to solve the problem. The key is to find people
who can solve these problems, and bring the husband and wife back together
until they accept regular intimacy.
the one hand, a husband cannot be forced to divorce his wife if the marriage
was made with Kiddushin. On the other hand, the husband is not allowed to live
without a regular intimacy, nor is the wife permitted to live this way.
come to a situation where either people get involved who can solve the problem
of the marriage, or they must consider a divorce. If children are involved, and
a divorce is a terrible thing for them, and perhaps husband and wife don’t want
to divorce, and yet they don’t want to have regular intimacy, I don’t know how
husband and wife are allowed to continue without regular intimacy, because of
the biology that has no cure.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
To Marry and to Escape It
By Rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn
To Marry and to Escape It is about an Orthodox Jewish woman who marries an Orthodox Jewish man with Kiddushin and then finds that her marriage is a mistake. She may not remarry without receiving a GET divorce document from her husband, given willingly, or if her husband dies. She may leave her husband but not remarry. See footnotes about this problem and what I recommend as a solution, namely, not to marry with Kiddushin but to marry with Pilegesh, a marriage recognized by the Talmud in Sanhedrin 21A and the Shulchan Aruch in the beginning of the Laws of Kiddushin.
The gemora above brings it and great authorities permit and encourage it, such as the Ramban in his name and the name of the Rambam as long as the couple behaves in a proper marital manner and not zenuse[i]. Rav Yaacov Emden son of the Chacham Tsvi is enthusiastic about it. See Shailess Yayvetz II:15 especially at the end of the lengthy teshuva, for his enthusiastic encouragement of Pilegesh. He also indicates that refusal to marry with Pilegesh can result in problems.
Despite this, my main enthusiasm for Pilegesh is because today women who want to leave their husbands are often encouraged by certain rabbis to do things such as forcing their husbands to give them a GET or recently to leave their husbands and remarry with no GET. The majority of Torah authorities consider either of these invalid to the extent that the children born from the new husband are likely mamzerim. A mamzer who marries a Jewish woman produces more mamzerim, for all generations. So I say better Pilegesh than mamzerim, even if there may be some quibbling about Pilegesh. Again, the gemora in Sanhedrin 21A quoted by the Vilna Gaon clearly states that Pilegesh is a Torah marriage. The Shulchan Aruch quoted above mentions that some forbid Pilegesh because the woman may be ashamed to go to the Mikva. But if she is encouraged by the husband or local rabbis to go to the Mikva there is nothing wrong with it. And I feel that even if here and there somebody disagrees with Pilegesh, better to do that with all who back it, and not make mamzerim. Just ask the children who will be mamzerim.
Now I want to talk a bit about the problems faced by married people and those who simply are not marrying.
Briefly stated, we have many people even Orthodox Jews, who refuse to marry. We also have many people, including Orthodox Jews, who divorce. We also have many people of various ages whose biology give them no peace, and they end up doing serious sins. Young people are boiling with biology. If I was their age, and not seventy-five years old, I would probably sin also. I have spoken to rabbis who are familiar with the situation and they tell me that entire sections of the Orthodox community have adapted a lifestyle that is the opposite of kedusho.
There is a man well known who has worked for years on trying to get divorced Jews to remarry. He told me he failed to find success in that, despite great efforts. Briefly, the Torah gives us laws of when to marry and how to marry. If parents are involved with getting their children married, and find the proper mates before the age of twenty, and do the necessary checking of the prospective mates, there is hope. If we are too busy to follow the Torah, we are in trouble.
How a husband engages in having children and how he treats his wife is taught in the Torah and the Talmud. It is the first subject taught in the Code of Laws (Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer) about marriage laws. What the Code of Laws says are direct quotes from the Talmud with references from the Torah. Therefore, let us begin with the beginning of the Code of Laws about marriage.
We quote the Shulchan Aruch there, “The Laws of Being Fruitful and Multiplying. Chapter One – The Laws of Being Fruitful and Multiplying and the Sin of Being Without a Wife: 14 paragraphs.”
Note the two things here. First, “the Laws of Being Fruitful and Multiplying.” Two is “the Sin of Being Without a Wife.” First we will deal with the mitsvah to be fruitful and multiply.
“Every man is obligated to marry a woman in order to be fruitful and multiply. And anyone who is not active in being fruitful and multiplying is as one who poured blood and shrinks the Image of G‑d and causes the Divine Presence Shechina to depart from the Jews.
This is from a gemora in Yevomose 63b. There it explains more than is explained in the brevity of the Code of Laws. The language in the gemora is: “Tanyo, we have learned in the name of Rabbi Eliezar: Anyone who is not involved in being fruitful and multiplying is as one who spills blood. As it is said, ‘One who spills the blood of a person in the person, his blood will be spilled. After this it says, ‘And you be fruitful and multiply.’” The Maharsho in his commentary there explains that HaShem created the first man, Adam, to come into the world. Adam came into the world together with the souls of those who had to be born. This birth came about by people being fruitful and multiplying. Thus, anyone who does not practice being fruitful and multiplying has caused the body of Adam to be missing that part of him that could have grown into a human being and helped fill the world with people. Thus in a sense it means that a person who does not fulfill this potential of creating human life is as one who destroys the potential of souls that could have become human beings if a human would have practiced being fruitful and multiply.
The gemora there continues and says, “Rabbi Yaacov says that one who does not practice being fruitful and multiplying it is as if he had made smaller the image of G‑d.” That is, “because people were created in the image of G‑d” which is followed by the passage “and you be fruitful and multiply.” Meaning, having children assures that there will be people in the image of G‑d. The more children coming into the world create those in the image of G‑d. And one who does not produce these children by refusing to be fruitful and multiplying is blamed for not creating a person in the image of G‑d.
The gemora on page 64A says that one who does not engage in having children causes the Schechina to depart from the world. The Schechina wants to rest upon Jewish children, and if there are not enough Jewish children, where does the Schechina go? To pieces of wood and the stones?
The Ramo Rabbi Moshe Iserles quotes a gemora in Yevomose 62b about bringing joy to one’s wife and self
The Shulchan Aruch then quotes the Ramo, who brings teachings for Ashkenazi Jews. We are still in chapter one paragraph one, but first comes the teaching of Rabbi Caro a Sefardi and then the teaching of Ramo who was an Ashkenazi.
“Rabbi Tanchum in the name of Rabbi Chaniloy says, ‘Any man who lives without a wife lives without happiness without blessing and without goodness. Without happiness as it is said, ‘And you should find happiness through you and your wife.’ Without blessing as it says, ‘to bring blessing to your house.’ Without goodness as it is said, ‘It is not good for a man to be alone.’ In Israel they would say, ‘Without Torah and without a wall (the wife protects her husband).’ Rovo bar Ulo says, ‘without peace.’” The gemora then discusses the obligation of the husband to have marital relations with his wife when appropriate, and that brings husband and wife happiness.
The gemora we quoted before now brings the topic of marital relations as a key to Shalom Bayis. This gemora is connected to the previous gemora that we quoted above about a wife bringing happiness, etc. And now we have the mitsvah upon the husband to make his wife happy with marital intimacy.
The gemora is that above in Yevomose 62b that discussed the need for a man to have a wife. Now the gemora expands this to explain the obligation of the husband to make his wife happy, an expansion of the gemora above saying that the wife made the husband happy. Now it goes in two directions. The wife makes the husband happy and the husband makes the wife happy. This is specifically mentioned in the gemora when the husband has marital relations with his wife, something crucial for Shalom Bayis and the happiness of the wife.
The gemora there begins by continuing the previous thread of how crucial a wife is for the happiness of the man. And now it talks about how crucial the man is to make the wife happy and to make Shalom Bayis in the family. This is done when the man fulfills his obligation to have intimacy with his wife on a regular basis.
The gemora brings a passage, “And you will know that there is peace in your tent, and you will visit your home (meaning you will have intimacy with your wife) and not sin.” This means, says the gemora, that a husband who refrains from having marital intimacy with his wife is a sinner.
The gemora there then expands on the obligations of the husband to his wife and says, “He who loves his wife as he loves himself, and who honors his wife more than himself, and he who raises his sons and daughters to go in the path of righteousness, and he who marries off his children just prior to the age of marriage, of him the passage says, ‘and you will know that there is peace in your tent.’”
The honoring of the wife more than himself is explained to pertain to spending money on the wife. Even though the husband needs to buy something he must defer to his wife and buy for her if there is only money for one of them to purchase. Rashi in the gemora there explains that a woman without the clothes and other things that women need suffers more than a man without those things, so the husband must first satisfy his wife with spending and only afterwards should he spend on himself.
The Raishise Chochmo mentioned below in the footnote explains, “And the husband must always honor her so she has enough money to buy what she needs and for her to have proper clothing, even if the husband has to spend more money on her than he can afford.” Of course, if the husband spends more on his wife than what he can afford, it means that he will have to make up the loss by sacrificing himself and not buying something that he needed.
We see here that although a wife provides a husband with the afore-mentioned gifts of happiness, etc., this comes about because the husband sacrifices for his wife and suffers loss of buying what he needs so that she can buy what she needs. This theme of the husband sacrificing for his wife is based upon a passage in the Torah.
See Devorim 24:5, “When a man takes a new wife….he will make his wife that he took rejoice.” Rashi notes that the obligation on the husband to make his wife rejoice means that she rejoices, not him. The same is taught in the Zohar that emphasizes the need for the husband to make his wife rejoice not that he rejoices. The husband must sacrifice to make his wife happy. As the Zohar says, “This rejoicing is not for the husband to rejoice but for his wife to rejoice, as it is written ‘and he shall make his wife rejoice.’” Here we see the husband sacrificing to make his wife happy.
The Shulchan Aruch and commentators suggest that a boy should marry at the age when he begins his eighteenth year meaning when the seventeenth year has turned into the beginning of the eighteenth year. We must keep in mind that this is appropriate for families when the parents are in charge of finding a mate for the boy. If a boy has parents who are not involved with his marriage, as we sometimes find, this can be a problem.
Parents who struggle with finding the right mate for a child sometimes just get worn out and quit. If that happens a child may have friends who suggest a match, or a shadchon. But to marry young is advisable mainly when parents are heavily involved. Of course, the choice must be the choice of the child not the parents. And yet, without heavy parental efforts in finding the right mate, there can be problems.
We find in that paragraph, “Under no circumstances should one be over the age of twenty and not marry.” This is surely not the custom in the Yeshiva world, as some are busy learning and don’t want to get married at the age of twenty. Also, if somebody is looking hard for a shidduch but didn’t find the right one, this is not so serious. But if somebody just refuses to look for a shidduch, that is serious, unless the person is busy learning Torah and doesn’t want to stop learning.
There is a story I heard about a young man who was not marrying, and he spoke to his rebbe. He explained that he found some appropriate candidates for marriage, but he thinks he could do better. The rebbe told him, “The people you saw last year and two years ago, those are the people you will see later on.”
I once learned in a Yeshiva where a student was a great learner and very handsome. But for some reason he didn’t get married. I want over to him and asked him if he knew what HEFSED MERUBO meant. He surely knew what that meant. It means “a great loss.” That is, sometimes a rabbi is asked a question about Jewish law, and it is possible to want to be strict about the problem and forbid it. But if there is a great loss by being strict a prominent rabbi might rule that we should be lenient.
I continued: Tell me, I said, you have been involved in shidduchim a few years and no marriage. Each year that goes by and you don’t marry, you could have married and had a child. Is that not a great loss? Soon he was married.
A young man called up his father and said, “Dad, mazel tov!” The father had no idea what that meant. It seems that the father was one of those parents who just gave up the struggle to find his child a shidduch. So he let his son float. The son waited and waited, and finally found a shidduch on his own. He then called up his father and said “mazel tov!” The father was surprised, and he deserved to be surprised. Yes, a parent suffers to find the right mate for a child. But that doesn’t mean that you just drop it. There are shadchonim. There are other people who have contacts with the kind of people you are looking for. But just to drop your child in the middle of getting married?
A Person Who Had a Boy and a Girl Has Fulfilled Pru Urevu but Should Preferably Marry and also Continue to Have More Children
A Jewish person is supposed to be married and is supposed to have children. The mitsvah in the Torah is PRU URVU be fruitful and multiply.
Another mitsvah is taught in the Beis Shmuel chapter One paragraph 1. Even somebody who already has children has another mitsvah לערב אל תנח את ידך meaning even if you had children in your younger years, as you get older, you still have a mitsvah to increase with more children. This is not the mitsvah of pru urvu but it is another mitsvah “in the older phase of your life do not refuse to have more children.”
The world is created and designed to produce children. This is called "לשבת יצרה“.
See the Mishneh and gemora Yevomose 61B: “A man must not refrain from having more children unless he has children. Beis Shamai says two male children. And Beis Hillel says a male and a female, as it is says, ‘male and female He created them.’”
The gemora says, “We infer from this that if he has children he can refrain from being fruitful and multiplying. But this does not exempt him from the obligation to have a wife. This is a proof to Rav Nachman in the name of Shmuel who said, ‘even if a man has many children it is forbidden to be without a wife as it is said, ‘it is not good for a man to be alone.’” See also there the Tosfose Chad Mikamoi if two males are better than a male and a female. The plain teaching of the Mishneh seems to say that male and female to Beis Hillel is better than two males.
If I recall correctly there was somebody who had a lot of boys but no girls. The question is if he had to divorce his wife as he had not achieved a boy and a girl. I understand that the Gaon Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashev zt”l blocked him from divorcing his wife even though he had no female but many boys. The plain meaning of the Mishneh above is that two children means a boy and a girl but not two boys. And this is the basic understanding of Tosfose Chad Mikamoi. However, see Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer chapter one paragraph 5, “When a man has a boy and a girl he has fulfilled the mitsvah of being fruitful and multiplying.” The Bi’are HaGola there#40 says, “The source is a Mishneh in Yevomose 61B according to the opinion of Beis Hillel.” It doesn’t say that two boys are also good. However, to divorce a wife for having too many boys and no girls is also a problem because divorce isn’t just a bandaid, it is a disaster, unless the wife is completely unable to have children, and even then we could discuss the situation. See Ramo in Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer chapter one paragraph 3 that for many generations we have not kept to the custom of forcing a divorce on a woman who cannot have children. (See also the Gro there 1:10 Lo Nohadu other opinions.)
See Beraishis II:18, “And HaShem Elokim said, ‘It is not good that a man should be alone. I will make for him a helpmate opposite him.” We see that a man alone is “not good.” The plain understanding is that it is not good, not because the wife produces children, but because the man himself needs a “helpmate opposite him.” The two of them are one. This is born out in subsequent passages that Adam was alone and unhappy until HaShem brought to Adam part of his body that became his wife. Then Adam rejoiced and said, ‘And man said, ‘this time there is bone from my bones,and flesh from my flesh. To this shall be called “woman” because this is taken from a man.’” (In Hebrew it is understood better. ISH is man and ISHO is woman. They are similar. They are one.)
See chapter one paragraph 13: A woman is not commanded to be fruitful and multiply. Nonetheless, some say she should not live alone lest people suspect her of having relations with men not her husband. The Vilna Gaon brings there a gemora in Bovo Metsiah 71A that a woman who lives alone and has men living in her building can sin with them when she doesn’t expect them to publicize her sin. If so, any woman who is not married and has men in her building can be suspected of sinning, even though the gemora does not say this but rather says that a woman is possibly suspected when she buys a servant who will not publicize her sinning with him. But if she does not buy a servant it is not definite that we suspect her. However, living alone obviously is a biological test for a woman and she may be tempted to sin.
 The vast majority of Orthodox women men and women marry with Kiddushin. This creates the above situation that the wife cannot leave the marriage unless the husband gives her a document called GET willingly or dies. Whereas many women are bitter at this and some leave Orthodox Judaism, I propose that women consider marrying with Pilegesh, a permitted kind of marriage that does not penalize a spouse for leaving the marriage, and it is a valid Orthodox marriage. For information about this contact me at 845-578-1917 or email@example.com.
 See Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer Laws of Kiddushin 26:1 and various commentators especially lengthy comments by Vilna Gaon.
 See Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer Laws of Being Fruitful and Multiplying chapter one paragraph one the Shulchan Aruch and the Ramo.
 The Shulchan Aruch has three sections. One is the teaching of Rabbi Yosef Caro called Shulchan Aruch. Then we have the comments of Rabbi Moshe Isserless, who adds teaching pertaining to Ashkenazim to offset the sefardic teachings of Rabbi Caro. The third section are the various latter commentators.
 Raishise Chochmo page 266b דרך ארץ האיש עם אשתו.
 volume III page 277b in the parsha of Saitsai.
 Shulchan Aruch Even Hoezer chapter One paragraph 3 see Beis Shmuel and Chelkas Mechokake.
 There are discussions in the above paragraph about forcing older people to marry. Some want to force and some refuse to force. There is also a discussion in paragraph 4 about somebody who only wants to learn Torah and not marry.
 See chapter one paragraph 8. There is a question in the Beis Shmuel if marrying to have more children is a dirabonon or a diorayso.
 Beraishis II:18
 In the gemora there Yevomose 61B the gemora says that a man without children must marry a woman who can have children. But one who has children is not so forced to marry a woman who can have children. See the discussion there if one can sell a Torah scroll to merit having children. See also the Tosfose there NAFKO MINO.
[i] Ramban is in the volume of Rashbo called Meyucheses. Some of the responsum there is signed clearly by the Ramban, including number 283 and 284. In 2843 he deals with Pilegesh. The vast majority of the material the volume called Meyucheses is not signed by the Ramban and is not signed at all. We must therefore assume that the signed teshuvose are surely from the Ramban, and the unsigned teshuvose are possibly not from the Ramban but maybe the Rashbo. The volume is titled שו"ת הרשב"א המיוחסות להרמב"ן.