Proponents of polygamy

I was searching for something completely different when I happened upon the site that declares itself "THE ORTHODOX JEWISH PRO POLYGAMY PAGE." http://emeslyaakov.com/
To set the record straight: the Torah did allow multiple wives.  However, the Torah also shows that multiple wives can be far from the bliss some men may imagine it to be.  Just about any time we get an insider look at a household with more than one wife in TaNaCh, the stresses and tensions that arise show that a man may get far more than he bargained for when taking on another wife -- even when there are particular reasons for it, like an infertile first wife.  We also notice that in situations where there was a Divine direction behind the shidduch, as in the case of Tamar and Yehudah or Ruth and Boaz, the first wife of the men involved was dead and buried beforehand.  So even in these unusual cases, the matches were monogamous.

 Avraham only took on Hagar at his wife's urging, and he sent her away for the same reason.  Yitzchak  married only once. Yaakov's circumstances in marrying 4 were highly  uncommon, and even though it was necessary, the situation created bad feelings between the two sisters he married.  Almost every other man we hear of in TaNach takes on only one wife.  And we see that Elkana's situation with Penina on top of Chana was far from ideal. In fact, I've heard that Rabbenu Gershom's motivation in instituting the ban against polygamy may have been inspired by his own unhappiness as the husband of more than one wife.  But I have not verified that.

Following up a bit on the search results, I found some different views here: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/contemporary-plural-marriage-in-judaism  The ones who think it's a great idea seem to believe it is a way to openly have a wife/mistress setup.  That reminds me of another lesson in Torah about marriage.  Chazal tell us that in the generations before the Flood, the custom was to take 2 wives, one for childbearing and one for pleasure -- in the role of mistress. Of course, even then, the plan sometimes backfired and the one designated as mistress also had children. The people who were saved, Noach and his three sons, had only one wife a piece.  Even the animals taken on board were limited to a single mate.

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Comments

Batya said…
People love to rationalize their sins. In Yemen multiple wives were permitted, but today it isn't. Halacha does change.
Orthonomics said…
After reading the YWN link and being assaulted by some of the most elementary thought processes I believe I've laid eyes on recently, it is clear that some straightening out is desperately needed.

Perhaps the comment most insulting to the intelligence at YWN was the one insinuating that polygamy is fine as 2/3's of the Avos had multiple wives. Surely the writer realizes that Tanach is not a saint's hagiography? Or, perhaps not?

As for the Emes L'Yaakov page, I've ran into it too, and while it attempts to make a convincing argument for bringing back polygamy, I'd say the warning at the end is rather telling, i.e. "we are unfamiliar with how it works in practice."

Actually I'd say we are quite familar with how multiple wives works in practice and we don't even need to leave Berishit. We have the saga with Avraham, Sarah, and Hagar. And we know the trials and tribulations of Yaakov, most notably the incident of his son Reuven breaching the privacy of the husband-wife relationship when changing the location of the beds, which he is later criticized by Yaakov when he calls his sons before his passing.

But, for those that prefer a more modern account of polygamy, the FLDS story that hit the news a few year back brought polygamy in American out of the closet.
Ariella said…
Not everything that was permitted by the Torah is no longer in practice today. Anyone who tries to marry off his daughter of 7 will be arrested. The same goes for the man who marries her. Dina demalchutha dina is a real halacha that cannot lightly be flouted by people who think there would be some benefit to polygamy. They actually advise how to skirt the law. Perhaps one can get away with it legally, but such behavior is quite the antithesis of becoming an Or Lagoyim.
Orthonomics said…
Admittedly I was taken by the FLDS story and community back in 2008, as I was completely unaware of this community somewhere between 30-50K strong with all its various subsects.

Turns out I found a recent study by a scholar that polygamy causes a glut of single MEN. Perhaps those pontificating the advantages of polygamy in terms of the shidduch crises should take a good look at what little is out there in the way of studies and consider the real world implication. At first glance, perhaps a glut of single men is surprising. But in practice it makes a lot of sense and would likely happen even if practiced in a "better" way.

One has to be careful that when rushing to solve one "crisis", another far worse issue is not introduced. Being an Ohr L'goyim is central to Torah. So rationalizing behavior that is almost universally unacceptable is a horrific fallout.
Noam said…
Most men cant handle one wife, why in the world would want another?

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