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.
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
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