Friday, October 19, 2007

Husband Imposing Stringencies on his Wife

Rav Yosef taught the following braisa (Kesuvos 48a): Her she’eir implies close bodily contact. This means that he must not treat her in the manner of the Persians who perform their conjugal duties in their clothing. This provides support for a ruling of Rav Huna who stated that a husband who said, “I will not perform my conjugal duties unless she wears her clothes and I mine,” must divorce her and give her a kesuvah also.

The Ritva comments: Even though he is wearing his clothes for modesty purposes, and even if she would do the same, this would have the status of rejecting relations since it is not in an intimate manner and is therefore grounds for divorce.

Reb Avi Lebowitz points out that the Ritva does not seem to reject the notion that it would be more modest in this way; rather, it seems from the Ritva that in truth, one can make a legitimate claim that they want to maintain this stringency for the sake of modesty, nevertheless, she is not bound to keep his stringencies, and he therefore cannot impose this stringency on her without her consent.

Shulchan Aruch (YD 185:3) issues the following ruling: If a woman told her husband that she is a niddah, and later she retracts and says that she is not, she is not believed. If she gives an amasla, e.g. an excuse, such as, at first she said that she is niddah because she did not have strength for cohabitation, then, she is believed.

The Rama states that if the husband wants to be stringent on himself not to believe her, it is regarded as virtuous (midas chassidus).

The Chasam Sofer (Y”D, 149) discusses a case where a woman showed her garment to a Rav to determine if she is a niddah or not, and she was told by the Rav that she is permitted, but the husband who is a Torah scholar wishes to be stringent. The Chasam Sofer elaborates to explain that the nature of being married to a Torah scholar is to accept his stringencies, and his stringency may be imposed on her.

Reb Avi explains that by analyzing the context of the Chasam Sofer, it becomes evident that he cannot impose any stringency that he chooses on her. He is speaking of a situation where it should have been expected that he would keep these types of stringencies, but in cases where at the time of the marriage, there was not any expectation for him to act stringently, he cannot impose his stringencies on her, which would conform with the implication of the Ritva.

7 comments:

Avromi said...

Tosfos Niddah 17a cites a Medrash that Hashem despises those who have relations unclothed. The M"B writes that this is referring to a case when they are completely uncovered; however, if there is a covering on top of them, there is no problem whatsoever. Shaar hatziyon cites Mekubalim that this is the preferable method.

Poisek said...

Magen Avraham writes that if they both want to have relations in that manner, it is regarded as a midas tznius

Pilpul said...

Aruch Hashulachan (185;11) writes that there is an extreme novelty in this ruling: One is permitted to be strict on himself and not have relations with his wife even if it is the appointed time as prescribed to him (their particular onah).

Anonymous said...

Do the Rabbi's discuss wifes not being impossible demands on husbands also. I'm some of the websites the profiles that women want of men is very harrd to meet today.

Rabbi's worked in a profession that had no women and they tend to think sometimes the relationship are only one way even though that really isn't the case. They also tended to have more control then men who are not Rabbi's and have no bully pulpit. Just some honest thoughts.

Avi said...

shkoyach - very well written. i would just add that r' moshe when he asks the question on the ritvah quotes the chasam sofer, and seems to indicate that when it would be a chumra for both, he is entitled to impose the chumra on her.
good shabbos,
avi

Ron B. said...

It would seem completely opposite. As we know, for men, relations is 90% physical 10% emotional, while for a women it is 90% emotional and 10% physical. Since the beginning of the article states the purposes of not wearing clothes increases the intimacy of the situation this would seem essential for the women to satisfy her needs. The imposing of these "chumras" seems to be solely for the benefit of the man who only needs to satisfy his physical needs and neglecting the women's needs. confer with your spouse if you don't believe me.

Even a Talmud chacham must be considerate of their wives

Avromi said...

They must be extremely considerate and that is why the Chasam Sofer states that certain stringencies can only be imposed if she expected him to act in such a manner.

Also, you are not discussing the same case. They are referring to a case where the husband wishes to have relations with clothes on because of modesty reasons. This is not to satisfy any physical need of the man; this is a chumra he would like to accept upon himself similar to the other cases mentioned above. When a man wishes to be machmir and he considers his wife a niddah because of the uncertainty, he is not satisfying any physical need either.

Furthermore, the conclusion from the Gemora and the way we are explaining the Ritva is precisely because of the woman's physical needs. This chumra of relations with clothes may not be imposed because it is not regarded as intimate.