Shabbat Parashat Pinchas| 5763
Some More Bibliographical Notes - Even Haezer
As we have seen throughout our discussions, Jewish family law is also part of the realm of dayanut. The section of the Tur and, subsequently, the Shulchan Aruch that deals with these matters is called “Even Haezer.” The Tur explains that the second word is related to the first description of the first woman, Chava, who was called an eizer (helper) for Adam. Apparently, the first word is connected to the name of the entire work Arba’ah Haturim, which refers to the stones in the choshen of the kohen gadol. Of course, a stone is an even in Hebrew. The two words together, Even Haezer, refer to a monument which Shmuel erected to recognize the help Hashem had provided for Bnei Yisrael in defeating the Plishtim (Shmuel I, 7:12).
Like Orach Chayim, Even Haezer employs a clearly sequential order in regard to the building of a family. First, it states the obligation to form a family and discusses whom it is permitted or forbidden to marry. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch then discuss how to affect the various stages of marriage, kiddushin and nisuim. The next major topic is the mutual obligations between husbands and wives, personally and financially. The last major topic deals with the breaking up of the family unit, primarily through divorce but also through the death of the husband, which could lead to chalitza or yibum. The sefer ends with the tragic possibility of dealing with the aftermath of rape or adultery.
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