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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Has two wives, one loved and one hated. (Deutoronomy 21:15)

And has the first born from the "hated" one he receives a double portion.

Anyway, Rabbis want the Messiah to come because they think they will then be able to have multiple wives although when the Messiah comes I'm sure Rabbis will be found out as impostors anyway.

But I don't think it means literally hated as a man should not stay married to a woman he hates. It likely means that doesn't love her as much as the other woman.

Which even though it is all academic at this point the Rabbis claim you have to love each women equally which #1 how do you enforce and #2 clearly the men in the bible did sometimes love one women more then another and it is what it is. For various reasons. Beauty and sometimes character. One women has somewhat better character then the other. Sometimes there could be different reasons he loves one of his wives and for other reasons the other one. To demand sameness is asking a man to be above a human being and also suggesting that all women deserve to be treated the same regardless of what they do which is lazy on their part.

Yes, I realize this is all academic but when I hear that a man is suppose love two women the same if he is married to them and treat them the same for many reasons it is absurd. And sometimes God will make up for it in some way that one is loved more then the other which is likely what is meant here by "hated".

As here in this case the son of the less loved one gets more of an inheritance then the other son.

As to why a first born gets a double portion that not sure of.

7 comments:

SouthernBelle Rivky said...

We already talked about how multiple wives probably wasn't that common except for kings and wealthy. Situations like infertility or levirate marriage. Or maybe in situations like after a war where there was a shortage of men so multiple wives meant more woman were able to get married. It wouldn't work in a normal situation in large numbers as given the male/female population is about equal when young adult, some men having multiple mean other men don't get married. More women could make some men go crazy being outnumbered in the house...hahaha

The childless first wife might feel 'less than', and therefore it feels hated. Though she might later end up having a kid, sometimes that happens. Ditto for the wife that was acquired by levirate situation might feel that way too since her current husband got stuck with her and her offspring are not credit to current husband (not sure if double portion would apply here). Same for older or not as pretty. Though I don't know why (or it just seems that way!) lots of men place such a high priority on looks over everything else--I think Mr. Adam ought to explain that one (don't say it doesn't happen either)!

I don't think hated meant as in despise, just less favored. I am under the impression that treated equal meant in terms of ketubah rights. So equal in terms of clothing, home, time with spouse, etc. Not in terms of controlling emotion which as you said can't really be controlled. I'm not sure but I think the 'head wife' is granted some additional privileges which of course doesn't make things equal

So I think the intent of equal means the favored wife doesn't get the best designer clothes and jewelry (ok biblical times it would have been dyed garments) and the other wife is stuck feeling crummy about being less loved and then wearing shmatte which of course is even more of a downer. Or husband spends all his time with the favorite wife which isn't fair to the less liked even though she might be the nicer person and wants same time spent with her too. Not sure how it could really be enforced unless there was a major noticeable injustice.

The other idea about liking equal or same could be applied to children as well. There likely are different things parents love and appreciate about each child.

I have idea on the double portion, but I need to look up a few things.

Analytical Adam said...

The double portion only goes to the first born of the father (not the mother) which is the whole point here that if the first born is from the less loved wife he has to give him the double portion of the inheritance. Look at the passages over here.

Analytical Adam said...

Regarding your second point of what "equality" means the bible never says this. That is an inventions of the Rabbis who push socialist type ideas and it isn't just the secular who do this which is one issue I take issue with DF.

The fact is if the Rabbis meant certain issues they should have said so but "equality" is impossible to enforce and gives them an excuse to intrude with no real reason into another man's reason which is the same kind of thing with the so called "equality laws" that the EEOC forces in companies.

Even in regards to clothes some women have different tastes or are used to different clothes. Let us not put this all on the man here. A lot of women are into fancy clothes and overdue it that actually turns off men.

Even in the situation with Achasverus (Xerxes) in the story of Esther Esther just wanted the minimum of what was giving to her and Achasverus loved her more then the women that overdid it. So this concept of "equality" is just the Rabbis making impossible demands on other men and giving women another reason to hate rank and file men so they can then worship the male Rabbis and give all their attention to the male Rabbis and be their helpmate even though they already have a wife.

SouthernBelle Rivky said...

I think you are correct in thinking about different likes and values in terms of equality. You are right some people (guys too) instead of fancier clothes would prefer something else. So the example of giving fancy clothes to someone who's interest is more outdoorsy, gardening, etc. wouldn't be as appreciated than say something that is more related to their hobby since fancy clothes would not be practical. In that case, a more plain person shouldn't feel slighted since it isn't there interest. If I was given/won let's say expensive tickets to a big sporting event, I really wouldn't appreciate it as I would a movie ticket at the dollar theater (OK they don't have them in NYC..haha). Though the sport tickets are worth far more, I would rather see a cheap movie. I'd be happy for someone that liked sports to get the tickets instead of me. Same idea can be applied to children. One kid could have a strong talent or interest say in sports. Is 'fairness' forcing all the other siblings to be involved with sports even though they aren't any good and don't like at all. What if a sibling would rather do music or computer, is that still equal?

Jacob had four wives and well, it appears they weren't all equal. Rachel was the favored. Leah ended up having more children, so their was some sort of trade off. After Rachel passed, Jacob stayed with not Leah, but the maidservant with the youngest child. While there were some issues (of course every family has some), it doesn't appear all wives were at each other's throats all the time. So I would agree with you on the idea of equality not being enforeable and could be intrusive. What business is it of everyone else if a family divides resources different if the family is happy doing whatever their doing.

Or course, the flip side is that no one wants to be the less loved person whether it is among siblings, or even amongst peers or coworkers or in this case spouses. And it would feel even worse if attention, resources, etc were publically lavished on the more loved person at the expense of the less loved. Kind of a double slight, being less loved and then perhaps worse is everyone else knowing it! Though like you said, it would be different if a person didn't particularly care about fancy clothes, but if they did also, and not only did they get the short end of the stick, the other wife is flaunting their special status, it would really feel crummy. Same with siblings, perhaps the one that has more talent in some area might end up having more resources his/her way to pursue that talent. But instead of being grateful, being a mean kid to the other siblings who aren't getting the same breaks, it would really be hurtful.

That's just human nature, just as you say it is human nature to love more because of character (which is understandable) or beauty (sorry but that just seems more shallow!--though you'll disagree). I suppose the only principle is just to be a mentch. If it might be human nature to sometimes love another more, still it's only fair to consider the others' feelings. One doesn't have to shower the favorite spouse or child in front of the less liked, which would be humiliating to the other person. Especially if the reason isn't being of character, but something shallow. The less favorite still deserves to be treated kindly. If the someone that is more loved or gets a special break, it really isn't good character to show off and rub it in where it would hurt someone else's feelings.

Analytical Adam said...

OK. I agree with most of what you said and certainly think decent people try to be fair and not do it in someones face to shame them or make them feel bad which CAN cause problems. But even so a person is human and clearly it is obvious one is loved more then the other although it certainly it isn't done in an obnoxious way.

In the case of Rachel and Leah God saw that Leah was less loved and give her more children so that Jacob would have a different reason to love her.

In the workplace one person deserves more then another even though they both contribute on some level and it is what it is.

At the end of the day you are asking men to be above God as God for whatever reason doesn't create all of us equal as well.

SouthernBelle Rivky said...

Going back to the original assumption, multiple wives were not that common of a scenario. Plenty of biblical figures only had one wife. Even before the polygamy ban, how many of the big rabbis can you think of that had multiple wives (at the same time, not they were widowed and remarried)? In societies were polygamy occurs today, say African tribes and Muslims, still most men don't have multiple wives. The tribal leaders due to status and wealth as do maybe some successful men. Unless there's been some war or situation where a lot of men are wiped out leaving a lot of women. Your 'average' guy is doing well if he can support his current family with one wife, nevermind a multiple wife household.

All the emotional stuff cannot all put on the man though and I never said it was his fault (other than not being a mensch). The second wife knew going into the deal knowing there's already another wife and perhaps know in advance she would not be the favored one. But she could feel she's getting enough out of the marriage to agree. Being a multiple wife of a king or wealthy man could be a better lifestyle for her and her children even if having to share the husband. And at the time when it was permitted, even the first wife knew it was a possibility in certain situations.

So a good deal of the emotional issues of not being favorite is the woman's burden, not the man's, when she knew of her status going into the marriage. But as I think we agreed earlier, still it doesn't mean it's OK for the husband or other wife show off and be a meanie to the less loved person especially if there's nothing wrong character wise with her.

Though if a guy wanted to be improper, he doesn't have to marry another woman. Plenty successful men took mistresses who don't have the security of being a wife. I think that would be more hurtful situation for the woman than being less favored, but proper second wife. Though largely not practiced (except in the imagination of guys posting on craigslist..haha) is a concept of pilegesh which seems like it is a less favorable arrangement for a woman and any offspring to be in. So in this light, a guy is more decent to marry so the woman has more rights and higher social standing. So I am not claiming a man is expected to be better than G-d.

My thought on the not favored wife's firstborn getting the double portion perhaps is a way of making up for the slight. Perhaps as being the offspring of the less favored, they either got or felt they got the short end while they watched their half siblings and their co-mother (for lack of better)get more love and possibly more resources. While their mother might have choose the lesser status, the children born into it didn't have the choice. In terms of why just the firstborn getting the double portion and not all the siblings, the first born often takes over the head of household role, so new responsibilities are added. That is just a wild theory though, still thinking and looking it up.

Analytical Adam said...

I agree. Certainly polygamy was not the ideal as the first people created was one man and one woman. It certainly was better then a woman being unable to marry at all but it certainly is not an ideal and Moses only had one wife as did Aaron as well. Most of the Patriarchs were pushed into polygamy by their wives who gave them their maidservant.

And the case with Laban at least in terms of wanting to marry his older daughter first I can't really fault him for that even though Jacob liked Rachel more.

In terms of the less liked getting a double portion I don't think it has to do with making up with the fact of being the less favored wife because the first born could be from the favored wife. It is just saying if it comes from the less favored not to deny him a double portion being the first born because he is from the less favored wife.