Hebrew | Francais


> > Archive

Shabbat Parashat Ki Tisa | 5770

Hemdat HaDaf HaYomi: The Prohibition of a King to Marry Many Wives (21a)

Rav Ofer Livnat

Adar 14-20, Sanhedrin 16-22


This week in the Daf Hayomi, the Gemara deals with a number of halachot pertaining to a king. One of these halachot is the prohibition for a king to marry too many wives. Throughout history, for political reasons, it was necessary for a king to marry more than one wife. Nevertheless, the Torah prohibited a king from marrying an excessive number of wives. The Gemara deals with the issue of exactly how many wives he is permitted to have.
During this discussion, the Gemara states that there are two types of wives, a regular wife and a pilegesh (concubine). A regular wife is one taken with kiddushin and a ketuvah. A pilegesh is a woman taken without kiddushin or a ketuvah.

The Rambam rules (Ishut 1, 1-4) that it is prohibited to take a woman without kiddushin and a ketuvah. The question arises, how then is it permitted to take a pilegesh? Indeed, the Rambam rules (Melachim 4, 4) that only a king may take a pilegesh, but we still need to understand why a king is different from other people?

Rabbeinu Yonah (Sha'arei Teshuvah Sha'ar 3, 94) explains that the reason kiddushin and ketuvah are required is to prevent a situation of prostitution, where a woman has relations with many men. However, since people are in fear of the king, there is no concern of prostitution. Therefore, designating a woman for him, even without kiddushin, is sufficient to define his relations with her as marital relations.



A pilegesh is a woman taken without kiddushin and ketuvah. According to the Rambam, only a king may take a pilegesh. Rabbeinu Yonah explains that the reason for this is that for a king there is no concern of prostitution even without kiddushin



Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend


This week’s Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
R' Meir ben
Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld

Hemdat Yamim is endowed by
Les & Ethel Sutker of Chicago, Illinois in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.


site by entry.
Eretz Hemdah - Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. | Terms of Use.