The Talmud devotes an entire tractate to discuss Jewish marriage and marital rights in great detail[i]. Obviously it is beyond the scope of this article to cover the topic comprehensively. Main points include: A husband is obligated to provide his wife with food, clothing, marital intimacy, shelter, and her basic needs. A woman should contribute to the household income to an extent, ensure the home functions, care for the children, and perform affectionate tasks for her husband.

These cover the letter of the law. The ideal standard goes beyond that, as the Rambam says (loosely translated), “Our sages commanded a man should respect his wife more than himself, and love her as himself. If he has money, he should increase in her goods according to the money. He should not place on her extra awe, and his speech with her should be gentle. He shouldn’t be tense or angry (when interacting with her).

“The sages also instructed the wife to respect her husband exceedingly. She should feel awe of him and follow his direction. He should be in her eyes like a minister or king. She goes in the desire of his heart and distances what he dislikes. This is the manner of the daughters and sons of Israel who are holy and pure in their mating. With these ways, they will have a peaceful and praiseworthy life”[ii].

More questions about Jewish marriage? Get your answers.

[i] Maseches Kesubos

[ii] Mishna Torah Ishus 15, 19/20

By Rabbi Pinchos Fried

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