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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Ishut - Chapter Twenty One

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Ishut - Chapter Twenty One

1

A husband is entitled to [any ownerless objects] discovered by [his] wife,1 and the proceeds of her labor.2 What [type of work] must she perform on his behalf? Everything follows the custom of the country. In a place where it is customary for women to weave, she should weave. [In a place where they] embroider, she should embroider. [In a place where they] spin wool or flax, she should spin.

If it is not customary for women in that place to perform these labors, he may compel her only to spin wool; [wool, but not flax,] because flax damages [a woman's] mouth and lips. [This occupation is chosen because] spinning is a task designated for women, as [implied by Exodus 35:25]: "And all the skilled women put their hands to spinning...."

א

מְצִיאַת הָאִשָּׁה וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיהָ לְבַעְלָהּ. וּמַה הִיא עוֹשָׂה לוֹ. הַכּל כְּמִנְהַג הַמְּדִינָה. מָקוֹם שֶׁדַּרְכָּן לֶאֱרֹג אוֹרֶגֶת. לִרְקֹם רוֹקֶמֶת. לִטְווֹת צֶמֶר אוֹ פִּשְׁתִּים טוֹוָה. וְאִם לֹא הָיָה דֶּרֶךְ נְשֵׁי הָעִיר לַעֲשׂוֹת כָּל הַמְּלָאכוֹת הָאֵלּוּ אֵינוֹ כּוֹפָהּ אֶלָּא לִטְווֹת הַצֶּמֶר בִּלְבַד. שֶׁהַפִּשְׁתָּן מַזִּיק אֶת הַפֶּה וְאֶת הַשְּׂפָתַיִם וְהַטְּוִיָּה הִיא הַמְּלָאכָה הַמְיֻחֶדֶת לְנָשִׁים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לה כה) "וְכָל אִשָּׁה חַכְמַת לֵב בְּיָדֶיהָ טָווּ":

2

If a woman exerts herself and produces more than would be expected of her,3 her husband is entitled to the extra amount.4

Even when her husband5 is very wealthy and even when the woman has several maids, she may not sit idle, without work. For idleness leads to lewdness. [Her husband] may not, however, compel her to work for the entire day. Instead, according to the extent of his wealth, her obligation to work is minimized.

ב

דָּחֲקָה עַצְמָהּ וְעָשְׂתָה יוֹתֵר מִן הָרָאוּי לָהּ הַמּוֹתָר לַבַּעַל. הָיָה לוֹ מָמוֹן הַרְבֵּה אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה לָהּ כַּמָּה שְׁפָחוֹת אֵינָהּ יוֹשֶׁבֶת לְבַטָּלָה בְּלֹא מְלָאכָה שֶׁהַבַּטָּלָה מְבִיאָה לִידֵי זִמָּה. אֲבָל אֵין כּוֹפִין אוֹתָהּ לַעֲשׂוֹת מְלָאכָה כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ אֶלָּא לְפִי רֹב הַמָּמוֹן מְמַעֶטֶת בִּמְלָאכָה:

3

When a man takes a vow that prevents his wife from doing any work at all, he is obligated to divorce her and pay her [the money due her by virtue of her] ketubah. [The rationale is that] idleness leads to lewdness.6

Every wife is obligated [to perform the following household tasks] on behalf of her husband: to wash his face, feet and hands, to pour him beverages, to make his bed,7 and to do his bidding - e.g., to bring him water or a utensil, to remove an article from his presence, or to perform similar tasks. She is not, however, required to do the bidding of his father or his son.

ג

הַמַּדִּיר אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא תַּעֲשֶׂה מְלָאכָה כְּלָל יוֹצִיא וְיִתֵּן כְּתֻבָּה שֶׁהַבַּטָּלָה מְבִיאָה לִידֵי זִמָּה. וְכֵן כָּל אִשָּׁה רוֹחֶצֶת לְבַעְלָהּ פָּנָיו יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו וּמוֹזֶגֶת לוֹ אֶת הַכּוֹס וּמַצַּעַת לוֹ אֶת הַמִּטָּה וְעוֹמֶדֶת וּמְשַׁמֶּשֶׁת בִּפְנֵי בַּעְלָהּ כְּגוֹן שֶׁתִּתֵּן לוֹ מַיִם אוֹ כְּלִי אוֹ תִּטּל מִלְּפָנָיו וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ. אֲבָל אֵינָהּ עוֹמֶדֶת וּמְשַׁמֶּשֶׁת בִּפְנֵי אָבִיו אוֹ בִּפְנֵי בְּנוֹ:

4

These tasks should be performed only by a man's wife alone.8 Even if she possesses several maids, these tasks are performed for a man only by his wife.

ד

וּמְלָאכוֹת אֵלּוּ עוֹשָׂה אוֹתָן הִיא בְּעַצְמָהּ וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ לָהּ כַּמָּה שְׁפָחוֹת אֵין עוֹשִׂין מְלָאכוֹת אֵלּוּ לַבַּעַל אֶלָּא אִשְׁתּוֹ:

5

There are other tasks that a woman performs for her husband when they are poor; they are: to bake bread in an oven9 - Ezra ordained that a woman get up early and bake bread so that there will be bread available to give the poor.

She should cook food, wash clothes, nurse her child, place straw before her husband's beast10 - but not before his cattle - and grind [flour].

What does grinding [flour] involve? [Not that the woman actually operates the mill herself,] but that she stays at the mill, sifts11 the flour and prods the animal [who turns the mill], so that [the operation of] the mill will not be hampered. If it is the [local] custom, for women to grind [flour] using a hand mill, [a woman] should grind [flour in this manner].

ה

יֵשׁ מְלָאכוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה עוֹשָׂה לְבַעְלָהּ בִּזְמַן שֶׁהֵן עֲנִיִּים וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. אוֹפָה הַפַּת בַּתַּנּוּר, וְעֶזְרָא תִּקֵּן שֶׁתִּהְיֶה אִשָּׁה מַשְׁכֶּמֶת וְאוֹפָה כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה הַפַּת מְצוּיָה לָעֲנִיִּים. וּמְבַשֶּׁלֶת אֶת הַתַּבְשִׁילִין. וּמְכַבֶּסֶת אֶת הַבְּגָדִים. וּמֵינִיקָה אֶת בְּנָהּ. וְנוֹתֶנֶת תֶּבֶן לִפְנֵי בְּהֶמְתּוֹ אֲבָל לֹא לִפְנֵי בְּקָרוֹ. וּמְטַחֶנֶת. כֵּיצַד מְטַחֶנֶת. יוֹשֶׁבֶת בָּרֵחַיִם וּמְשַׁמֶּרֶת הַקֶּמַח וְאֵינָהּ טוֹחֶנֶת. אוֹ מְחַמֶּרֶת אַחַר הַבְּהֵמָה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִבָּטְלוּ הָרֵחַיִם. וְאִם הָיָה דַּרְכָּן לִטְחֹן בְּרֵחַיִם שֶׁל יָד טוֹחֶנֶת:

6

When does the above apply? With regard to a poor [couple]. If, however, a woman brings a maid to [the household] or property with which a maid could be purchased, or if the man possesses a maid or funds with which a maid could be purchased, the wife is not required to grind [flour], to bake, to do laundry or to place straw before her husband's beast.

If the wife brings two maids to [the household] or property with which two maids could be purchased, or if the man possesses two maids or is [wealthy] enough to purchase two maids, the wife is not required to cook or to nurse her child. Instead, she gives him to a maid to nurse.12

ו

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בַּעֲנִיִּים אֲבָל אִם הִכְנִיסָה לוֹ שִׁפְחָה אַחַת אוֹ נְכָסִים שֶׁרָאוּי לִקְנוֹת מֵהֶן שִׁפְחָה אַחַת אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה לוֹ שִׁפְחָה אַחַת אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ מָמוֹן כְּדֵי לִקְנוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁפְחָה אַחַת אֵינָהּ מְטַחֶנֶת וְלֹא אוֹפָה וְלֹא מְכַבֶּסֶת וְלֹא נוֹתֶנֶת תֶּבֶן לִפְנֵי בְּהֶמְתּוֹ. הִכְנִיסָה לוֹ שְׁתֵּי שְׁפָחוֹת אוֹ נְכָסִים הָרְאוּיִין לִקְנוֹת מֵהֶן שְׁתֵּי שְׁפָחוֹת אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ שְׁתֵּי שְׁפָחוֹת אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה רָאוּי לִקְנוֹת שְׁתֵּי שְׁפָחוֹת אֵינָהּ מְבַשֶּׁלֶת וְאֵינָהּ מֵינִיקָה אֶת בְּנָהּ אֶלָּא נוֹתֶנֶת אוֹתוֹ לַשִּׁפְחָה לְהֵינִיק:

7

Thus, there are five tasks that every woman must perform on behalf of her husband: to spin [thread], to wash his face, hands and feet, to pour beverages for him, to make his bed and to do his bidding. And there are six tasks that some women perform and some women do not perform. They are: to grind [flour], to cook, to bake, to do laundry, to nurse, and to place straw before her husband's beast.

ז

נִמְצְאוּ כָּל הַמְּלָאכוֹת שֶׁכָּל אִשָּׁה עוֹשָׂה אוֹתָן לְבַעְלָהּ חָמֵשׁ מְלָאכוֹת. טוֹוָה וְרוֹחֶצֶת פָּנָיו יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו וּמוֹזֶגֶת אֶת הַכּוֹס וּמַצַּעַת אֶת הַמִּטָּה וְעוֹמֶדֶת וּמְשַׁמֶּשֶׁת בְּפָנָיו. וְהַמְּלָאכוֹת שֶׁמִּקְצָת הַנָּשִׁים עוֹשׂוֹת אוֹתָן וּמִקְצָתָן אֵינָן עוֹשׂוֹת שֵׁשׁ מְלָאכוֹת. מְטַחֶנֶת וּמְבַשֶּׁלֶת וְאוֹפָה וּמְכַבֶּסֶת וּמֵינִיקָה וְנוֹתֶנֶת תֶּבֶן לִפְנֵי בְּהֶמְתּוֹ:

8

All the tasks that a woman must perform on behalf of her husband must also be performed by a woman while she is in the niddah state, with the exception of pouring beverages, making his bed and washing his face, hands and feet. [The rationale for the exceptions is that] this is a decree, [enacted] lest [sexual] thoughts arise, and the husband be prompted to engage in relations.

Therefore, when she is in the niddah state, she should make his bed when he is not present. When pouring a beverage for him, she should not place it in his hand as is her usual practice, but rather leave it on the ground, on a utensil or on a table, and he will take it.13

ח

כָּל מְלָאכוֹת שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה עוֹשָׂה לְבַעְלָהּ נִדָּה עוֹשֶׂה לְבַעְלָהּ חוּץ מִמְּזִיגַת הַכּוֹס וְהַצָּעַת הַמִּטָּה וְהַרְחָצַת פָּנָיו יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו גְּזֵרָה מִשּׁוּם הִרְהוּר שֶׁמָּא יָבוֹא לִבְעל. לְפִיכָךְ מַצַּעַת מִטָּתוֹ כְּשֶׁהִיא נִדָּה שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו וּמוֹזֶגֶת אֶת הַכּוֹס וְאֵינָהּ נוֹתֶנֶת אוֹתוֹ בְּיָדוֹ כְּדַרְכָּהּ תָּמִיד אֶלָּא מַנַּחַת אוֹתוֹ עַל הָאָרֶץ אוֹ עַל הַכְּלִי אוֹ עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן וְהוּא נוֹטְלוֹ:

9

When a woman breaks utensils while performing household tasks,14 she is not held liable. This ruling does not reflect the dictates of the law, but is instead an enactment [of our Sages]. For if this were not the case, there would never be peace in a household. For a woman would be overly cautious and would refrain from performing many tasks, and there would thus be strife between [the couple].15

ט

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁשָּׁבְרָה כֵּלִים בְּעֵת שֶׁעָשְׂתָה מַלְאֲכוֹתֶיהָ בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתָהּ פְּטוּרָה וְאֵין זֶה מִן הַדִּין אֶלָּא תַּקָּנָה שֶׁאִם אֵין אַתָּה אוֹמֵר כֵּן אֵין שָׁלוֹם בְּתוֹךְ הַבַּיִת לְעוֹלָם אֶלָּא נִמְצֵאת נִזְהֶרֶת וְנִמְנַעַת מֵרֹב הַמְּלָאכוֹת וְנִמְצֵאת קְטָטָה בֵּינֵיהֶם:

10

Whenever a woman refrains from performing any of the tasks that she is obligated to perform, she may be compelled to do so, even with a rod.16 When a husband complains that [his wife] does not perform [her required tasks], and [the wife] claims that she does, [the dispute should be clarified by having] a [neutral] woman dwell with them or [by asking] the neighbors.17 The judges should clarify the matter in the best way they see fit.

י

כָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁתִּמָּנַע מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת מְלָאכָה מִן הַמְּלָאכוֹת שֶׁהִיא חַיֶּבֶת לַעֲשׂוֹתָן כּוֹפִין אוֹתָהּ וְעוֹשָׂה אֲפִלּוּ בְּשׁוֹט. טָעַן הוּא שֶׁאֵינָהּ עוֹשָׂה וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת שֶׁאֵינָהּ נִמְנַעַת מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת מוֹשִׁיבִין אִשָּׁה בֵּינֵיהֶן אוֹ שְׁכֵנִים. וְדָבָר זֶה כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁיִּרְאֶה הַדַּיָּן שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר בַּדָּבָר:

11

During the time a woman nurses her child, she is not compelled to perform as many tasks [as usual], and wine and foods that are beneficial to nursing are added to her support.

If, despite the fact that she was allotted the foods appropriate for her, she desires to eat more or desires to eat other foods, because of the craving in her stomach, she is entitled to eat everything she desires [provided she pays for the additional food] from her own funds. The husband cannot prevent her, saying: "Perhaps she will overeat or eat harmful foods18 and the child will die." [The rationale is] that the physical pain the woman feels takes priority.

יא

הָאִשָּׁה כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהִיא מֵינִיקָה אֶת בְּנָהּ פּוֹחֲתִין לָהּ מִמַּעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיהָ וּמוֹסִיפִין לָהּ עַל מְזוֹנוֹתֶיהָ יַיִן וּדְבָרִים שֶׁיָּפִין לְחָלָב. פָּסְקוּ לָהּ מְזוֹנוֹת הָרְאוּיוֹת לָהּ וַהֲרֵי הִיא מִתְאַוָּה לֶאֱכל יוֹתֵר אוֹ לֶאֱכל מַאֲכָלוֹת אֲחֵרוֹת מִפְּנֵי חֳלִי הַתַּאֲוָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ בְּבִטְנָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ אוֹכֶלֶת מִשֶּׁלָּהּ כָּל מַה שֶּׁתִּרְצֶה וְאֵין הַבַּעַל יָכוֹל לְעַכֵּב וְלוֹמַר שֶׁאִם תֹּאכַל יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי אוֹ תֹּאכַל מַאֲכָלִים רָעִים יָמוּת הַוָּלָד מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצַּעַר גּוּפָהּ קוֹדֵם:

12

When a woman bears twins, she cannot be compelled to nurse both of them. Instead, she is required to nurse one, while the husband is required to hire a nursemaid for the second child.19

If a woman desires to nurse another woman's child together with her own, her husband may object and restrict her to nursing only her own child.20

יב

יָלְדָה תְּאוֹמִים אֵין כּוֹפִין אוֹתָהּ לְהֵינִיק שְׁנֵיהֶם אֶלָּא מֵינִיקָה אֶחָד וְשׂוֹכֵר הַבַּעַל מֵינִיקָה לַשֵּׁנִי. הֲרֵי שֶׁרָצְתָה הָאִשָּׁה לְהֵינִיק בֶּן חֲבֵרְתָהּ עִם בְּנָהּ הַבַּעַל מְעַכֵּב וְאֵינוֹ מַנִּיחָה אֶלָּא לְהֵינִיק בְּנוֹ בִּלְבַד:

13

Although a woman takes a vow not to nurse her child, she may be compelled to do so until the child - whether a boy or a girl - is 24 months old.21

If a woman desires to nurse her child, but her husband objects, claiming that this will mar her beauty, she is given this prerogative, for it is painful for her to part from her child.22 [This law applies] even if she owns several maids.

יג

נָדְרָה שֶׁלֹּא לְהֵינִיק אֶת בְּנָהּ כּוֹפֶה אוֹתָהּ וּמֵינִיקָתוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בֶּן כ''ד חֹדֶשׁ אֶחָד הַזָּכָר וְאֶחָד הַנְּקֵבָה. הִיא אוֹמֶרֶת אֲנִי אֵינִיק אֶת בְּנִי וְהוּא אֵינוֹ רוֹצֶה שֶׁתֵּינִיק אִשְׁתּוֹ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּתְנַוֵּל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ כַּמָּה שְׁפָחוֹת שׁוֹמְעִין לָהּ שֶׁצַּעַר הוּא לָהּ לִפְרשׁ מִבְּנָהּ:

14

If she is poor and would thus be obligated to nurse her child, but her husband is rich, and it is appropriate that his wife not be obligated to nurse his child - if his wife does not desire to nurse, he must hire a nursemaid or buy a maid, even if he did not possess any maidservants beforehand. [The rationale is] that the woman's social standing rises together with that of her husband and does not descend with his.

יד

הָיְתָה עֲנִיָּה שֶׁהִיא חַיֶּבֶת לְהֵינִיק אֶת בְּנָהּ וַהֲרֵי הוּא עָשִׁיר שֶׁרָאוּי לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא תֵּינִיק אִשְׁתּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ שְׁפָחוֹת אִם לֹא רָצְתָה לְהֵינִיק שׂוֹכֵר מֵינִיקָה אוֹ קוֹנֶה שִׁפְחָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה עוֹלָה עִם בַּעְלָהּ וְאֵינָהּ יוֹרֶדֶת:

15

If a woman claims that [her husband] is of [a social standing that] requires him to hire or purchase a maid, and he claims that he is not, the burden of proof is on the woman. [The husband] is not [required] to take an oath.

טו

הִיא אוֹמֶרֶת רָאוּי הוּא לִשְׂכֹּר אוֹ לִקְנוֹת שִׁפְחָה וְהוּא אוֹמֵר אֵינוֹ רָאוּי. עָלֶיהָ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה וְאֵין כָּאן מָקוֹם לִשְׁבוּעָה:

16

When a woman is divorced, she cannot be compelled to nurse [her child]. If she desires to nurse the child, [her ex-husband] must pay her a wage.23 If she does not desire [to nurse], she should give the son to his father, and he should care for him.24

When does the above apply? When she did not nurse the child long enough for him to recognize her. If, however, [the child is able] to recognize his mother, even if [the child] is blind,25 he should not be separated from his mother because of the [possible] danger [the separation will cause] the child.26 Instead, the woman is compelled to nurse the child for a wage until he reaches the age of 24 months.

טז

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה אֵין כּוֹפִין אוֹתָהּ לְהֵינִיק. אֶלָּא אִם רָצְתָה נוֹתֵן לָהּ שְׂכָרָהּ וּמֵינִיקָתוֹ. וְאִם לֹא רָצְתָה נוֹתֶנֶת לוֹ אֶת בְּנוֹ וְהוּא מְטַפֵּל בּוֹ. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים שֶׁלֹּא הֵינִיקָה אוֹתוֹ עַד שֶׁהִכִּירָהּ. אֲבָל אִם הִכִּירָהּ וַאֲפִלּוּ הוּא סוּמָא אֵין מַפְרִישִׁין אוֹתוֹ מֵאִמּוֹ מִפְּנֵי סַכָּנַת הַוָּלָד. אֶלָּא כּוֹפִין אוֹתָהּ וּמֵינִיקָה אוֹתוֹ בְּשָׂכָר עַד כ''ד חֹדֶשׁ:

17

[A husband] is not [obligated to] support his divorcee, even when she is nursing his child. In addition to the wage she receives [as a nursemaid], he must, however, provide her with those things that the child needs for clothing, food, drink, salves and the like. A woman who is pregnant is not entitled to any [payment] at all [from her ex-husband].

[The following rules apply after the 24] months have been completed, and the child has been weaned. If the divorcee desires that her son remain in her custody, he is not separated from her until he completes his sixth year [of life].27 Instead, his father is compelled to provide him with his sustenance while he lives with his mother.

After the child completes his sixth year, the father has the right to say: "If [my son] is in my custody, I will support him. If, however, he continues to live with his mother,28 I will not give him anything."29

A mother, by contrast, is given custody of her daughter forever, even after [she passes] the age of six.30

יז

הַגְּרוּשָׁה אֵין לָהּ מְזוֹנוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא מֵינִיקָה אֶת בְּנָהּ אֲבָל נוֹתֵן לָהּ יוֹתֵר עַל שְׂכָרָהּ דְּבָרִים שֶׁהַקָּטָן צָרִיךְ לָהֶן מִכְּסוּת וּמַאֲכָל וּמַשְׁקֶה וְסִיכָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. אֲבָל הַמְעֵבֶּרֶת אֵין לָהּ כְּלוּם. שָׁלְמוּ חֳדָשָׁיו וּגְמָלַתּוּ אִם רָצְתָה הַמְגֹרֶשֶׁת שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּנָהּ אֶצְלָהּ אֵין מַפְרִישִׁין אוֹתוֹ מִמֶּנָּה עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בֶּן שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים גְּמוּרוֹת. אֶלָּא כּוֹפִין אֶת אָבִיו וְנוֹתֵן לוֹ מְזוֹנוֹת וְהוּא אֵצֶל אִמּוֹ. וְאַחַר שֵׁשׁ שָׁנִים יֵשׁ לָאָב לוֹמַר אִם הוּא אֶצְלִי אֶתֵּן לוֹ מְזוֹנוֹת וְאִם הוּא אֵצֶל אִמּוֹ לֹא אֶתֵּן לוֹ מְזוֹנוֹת. וְהַבַּת אֵצֶל אִמָּהּ לְעוֹלָם וַאֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר שֵׁשׁ:

18

What is implied? If the father is [wealthy enough] to be obligated to give charity, the money necessary for his daughter's support should be expropriated from him and used to support the daughter, while she is in her mother's custody.

Even if the mother marries another [man], her daughter remains in her custody, and the father is obligated to provide for her sustenance until his death, as an act of charity. [Moreover, even if the girl's] father dies, she is entitled to receive her sustenance from his estate, as a provision of [her mother's] ketubah, although she remains in her mother's custody.

If a mother does not want her children - either males or females - to remain in her custody after she weans them, she has this prerogative, and she can give their father their custody, or make them wards of the community if there is no father, and [the community] must care for them.31

יח

כֵּיצַד. הָיָה הָאָב רָאוּי לִצְדָקָה מוֹצִיאִין מִמֶּנּוּ הָרָאוּי לוֹ בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ וְזָנִין אוֹתָהּ וְהִיא אֵצֶל אִמָּהּ וַאֲפִלּוּ נִשֵּׂאת הָאֵם לְאַחֵר בִּתָּהּ אֶצְלָהּ וְאָבִיהָ זָן אוֹתָהּ מִשּׁוּם צְדָקָה עַד שֶׁיָּמוּת הָאָב וְתִזּוֹן מִנְּכָסָיו אַחַר מוֹתוֹ בִּתְנָאֵי כְּתֻבָּה וְהִיא אֵצֶל אִמָּהּ. וְאִם לֹא רָצְתָה הָאֵם שֶׁיִּהְיוּ בָּנֶיהָ אֶצְלָהּ אַחַר שֶׁגְּמָלָתָן אֶחָד זְכָרִים וְאֶחָד נְקֵבוֹת הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדָהּ וְנוֹתֶנֶת אוֹתָן לַאֲבִיהֶן אוֹ מַשְׁלֶכֶת אוֹתָן לַקָּהָל אִם אֵין לָהֶן אָב וְהֵן מְטַפְּלִין בָּהֶן:

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Footnotes
1.

Ketubot 47a states that since a woman's husband supports her, he might object if she were granted ownership over the items that she discovers. The Jerusalem Talmud (Ketubot 6:1) offers a slightly different explanation: that if women were entitled to the objects that they discover, a woman might conceal her earnings and later claim that the funds came to her for ownerless objects that she discovered.

2.

As mentioned in Chapter 12, Halachah 4, in exchange for the obligation incumbent on the man to support his wife, our Sages granted him the right to the income she generates.

3.

There are two interpretations of "more than would be expected of her": a) that she worked overtime, more hours than common custom requires, b) that she performed several tasks at one time.

4.

There are authorities who differ with the Rambam and maintain that a woman is entitled to keep the additional amount she earns. The Bayit Chadash (Even HaEzer 80) states that it is not Ashkenazic custom to require a woman to give her husband any of her additional earnings.

5.

Literally, "he is." Many manuscript copies and early printings of the Mishneh Torah state "he and she are," instead of "he is."

6.

Hence, rather than compel a woman to follow a course of conduct that will lead to wanton behavior, Ketubot 59b requires the husband to divorce his wife.

7.

The commentaries discuss whether the intent is to make her husband's bed or to make all the beds in the house. The difference is with regard to a rich woman, who could have maids perform household services. She is, nevertheless, obligated to make her husband's bed as a reflection of their personal closeness. The question is whether this applies to making the other beds in the house. Ketubot 61a uses the expression "makes the bed for him," indicating that the emphasis is on the husband's bed.

8.

I.e., they are a reflection of their personal closeness.

9.

In contrast to bread baked in a pan or over coals - i.e., the woman must bake in an ordinary manner (Ma'aseh Rokeach).

10.

I.e., the animal on which he rides. This reflects the version of Ketubot 61b possessed by the Sephardic authorities. The Shitah Mekubetzet explains that this is included in a woman's household duties, because those duties involve tasks that affect her husband's person. The standard printed text of that Talmudic passage reverses the decisions regarding his beast and cattle. (See the rationale offered by Rashi.)

11.

Alternatively, guards the flour (Tur, Even HaEzer 80).

12.

The commentaries mention the importance of selecting a Jewish nursemaid. For milk that comes from non-kosher food will breed undesirable tendencies in the son's character.

13.

The Rambam does not mention washing her husband, because his wife is forbidden to touch him while in the niddah state. (See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 11:18-19.)

14.

The Chelkat Mechokek 80:29 states that based on the Jerusalem Talmud, this law applies even when she breaks household articles while she is not in the midst of her household chores.

15.

While he accepts the Rambam's ruling, the Ra'avad offers a different rationale. The commentaries, however, justify the Rambam's view.

16.

Rav Kapach emphasizes that the Rambam's intent is not that the husband should beat his wife himself, but that he should bring her to the court, which should administer corporal punishment if they see fit.

The Ra'avad objects to this ruling, explaining that it is unheard of to compel a woman by corporal punishment. Instead, her support should be cut back until she accepts her household duties. The Rashba offers other options - to place her under a ban of ostracism or to sell her ketubah and use the proceeds to hire a maid.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 80:15) mentions that the woman is compelled to perform her tasks, but omits reference to the means of compulsion employed. The Ramah quotes the opinion of the Rambam together with that of the Ra'avad and the Rashba, but appears to favor the latter views.

17.

The woman is not required to support her claim with an oath, because a pattern of the husband's complaining and the woman's being compelled to take an oath would arise, and peace would not reign within the household (Chelkat Mechokek 80:28).

18.

Although a woman is enjoined not to eat foods that would harm her milk supply, she is allowed to do so if she feels physical pain, because her needs take priority over those of the child. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Karo objects to the Rambam's ruling; in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 80:11), he quotes dissenting views together with that of the Rambam, without favoring either view.

Note the Chelkat Mechokek 80:22, who emphasizes that when there is a real danger to the child's life, and no danger to the mother, the woman must adjust her diet to help the child.

19.

Rabbenu Asher states that she is required to nurse both children, but this view is not accepted by the later authorities.

20.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 80:14) quotes the Tur, which states that a husband may even prevent a woman from nursing her own child who was born to her from a previous husband.

21.

Implied in the marital contract is that the woman will nurse her children. Hence, she may not object.

22.

Rashi (Ketubot 61a) mentions another rationale: having milk without nursing causes pain.

23.

For a father is obligated to pay for his child's sustenance until the age of six, as stated in Chapter 12, Halachah 14.

24.

The husband cannot, however, be compelled to pay for a nursemaid if the mother is given custody.

25.

For even a blind child can recognize his mother from her smell and the flavor of her milk.

26.

The pain of separation from his mother could cause the child to undergo travail that might lead to weakness. Rashi (Ketubot 59b) states that it is possible that the infant might reject another nursemaid and hence starve to death.

27.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's decision, explaining that a father is obligated to begin educating his child at an early age, and this is impossible when the child is in the mother's custody. The Maggid Mishneh refutes that argument, explaining that the amount of teaching that the father is obligated to give the child can be communicated at visits.

It must be emphasized, however, that the Rambam is referring to a situation in which the mother shares the same standards of observance as the father. If that is not the case, and the mother's observance is lacking, the father should be given the right to custody.

28.

From the Rambam's wording, it appears that if a son desires to stay in his mother's custody, and the mother is willing to support him, he is entitled to do so. (See Chelkat Mechokek 82:9.)

29.

At present, there are many courts that require the father to continue supporting his son, even if he desires to remain with his mother.

30.

For her mother is more prepared to train her to grow up as a woman.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 82:7) states that this law applies only when the court feels that it is in the daughter's best interests to remain in her mother's custody. If, however, it appears that the daughter's interests will be served better when she is in her father's custody, he is awarded that privilege.

31.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this implies that a woman does not have any responsibility to raise her children. The Ma'aseh Rokeach maintains that if the mother has means, she is required to provide for her children's support and cannot cast the burden on the community. She need not, however, raise them in her home, lest this deter other men from desiring to marry her. This latter opinion is not, however, mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 82:8) or its commentaries when dealing with this situation.

The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.