Pidyon Kaparot Now

Fulfilling Husband’s Will

Chazal say: Who is a worthy woman? One who fulfills her husband’s will.

I heard that this is also a din in Shulchan Aruch, Even Haezer 60-69. I would like to know the practical ramifications of this halacha. (Obviously, a husband can’t tell his wife to do soemthing against the Torah.) Does this imply that a women’s husband is her Rav? How does this work?

Thank you, kol tuv.

Answer:

Many different expositions, not all of them following the “simple meaning” of the words, have been suggested for this teaching of Chazal.

In its simple form, the teaching can be explained as defining the partnership between man and women involves different roles, the role of the woman being a role of implementation and application, and the role of the man being more initiation. The man provides the “raw material” (as the Gemara in Yevamos writes), and the woman makes it into the final product.

This is the meaning of “doing her husband’s will” — she takes the “initial will” and makes of it a final product.

I don’t know of where this teaching is mentioned in a practical sense. It doesn’t mean that the husband is necessarily his wife “rabbi,” but rather that the husband-wife partnership, much like in the process of child formation, brings the initial “will” of the husband to fruition.

Indeed, a man without a wife (as the Gemara writes) is lacking in everything, because he is unable to truly fulfill himself without the complimentary nature of a wife.

Hope this helps a little, and best wishes.

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