Sefer Ha-Hayim Blog
Monday, December 20, 2004
Spousal Abuse
R. Daniel Z. Feldman, The Right and the Good: Halakhah and Human Relations

Yashar Books is proud to announce that we will shortly be publishing R. Daniel Z. Feldman's The Right and the Good: Halakhah and Human Relations in a significantly revised and expanded edition. The erudite volume discusses topics regarding interpersonal mitzvos, presenting the various hakiros (analyses) on the subjects and the lomdus (theory) behind them with encyclopedic breadth. Chapter eleven of the book deals with the issues of hitting someone else and, as an addendum to the chapter, the author concludes with a very brief discussion of hitting one's spouse. These are his words:

It must be emphasized that, as the Mordechai [70] points out, a person who would strike his wife is not only in violation of the aforemen´┐Żtioned prohibitions, but he has committed additional prohibitions as well. The Talmud commands that a man show his wife "honor more than to himself." [71] Certainly, physical violence tramples this concept as well as many other relevant prohibitions. [72] Thus, such behavior is considered to be even more egregious and to be dealt with most severely. [73] R. Meir of Rothenberg [74] writes that the individual who would strike his wife must be excommunicated and punished with all means available to society. The Agudah [75] adds that the husband must give his sworn assurance that he will immediately cease this behavior and, if he does not, he must release his wife from the marriage and pay the full value of her ketubah. [76]

[70] Ketubot 5:186, quoting Rabbeinu Simchah. Note Responsa Terumat HaDeshen 218, and Sdei Chemed, Ma'arekhet Heih 5, at length.

[71] Yevamot 62b and Sanhedrin 76b.
[72] This is codified by the Rama in Even HaEzer 154:3.
[73] See Be'er HaGolah to Even HaEzer and Piskei Batei Din HaRabbaniyim 12, pp. 80-86, 91-92.
[74] Responsa Maharam MiRotenberg (Prague) 81.
[75] P. 121b.
[76] See also R. Eliezer Papo, Pele Yoetz, Ma'asekhet Haka'ah, and Pitchei Teshuvah, Even HaEzer 154:8.

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