I’m an Italian noahide.

This question covers my exclusively intellectual curiosity, being an halachic case that does not concern the Gentiles but only the Jews.

We read in Mishneh Torah -Melachim uMilchamot 4:4 (English translation by Rabbi E. Touger):

“Similarly, he (the king of Israel) may take wives and concubines from the entire territory of Eretz Yisrael. The term 'wives' implies women who were married with A ketubah and kiddushin; concubines, women who were not given A ketubah and kiddushin. With the act of yichud alone, the king acquires her and relations with her are permitted him. A commoner is forbidden to have a concubine. The only similar relationship is the union with a Hebrew maid servant after she has been designated by her master.”

However, some Torah scholars have pointed out that:

  • The Nevi'îm report cases of Jewish men who, despite not being kings of Israel, had pilagshim;

  • Neither the Tanakh nor the Talmud report the prohibition of the pilegesh to a commoner.

Among these scholars there are very authoritative rabbis such as:

  • Ya'avetz (Rabbi Yaakov Emden;we can read the English translation of his responsum at http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/faxes/RYE_pilegesh.pdf );

  • Ramban, as reported by his student Rahsba in Teshuvot haRashba Meyuchas LehaRamban No. 284 ,whose Hebrew text is here https://www.sefaria.org/Teshuvot_haRashba_Meyuchas_LehaRamban.284?lang=bi ( on the basis of this step, among other things, Nachmanides would have maintained that Rambam did not at all reserve the pilegesh for the only king of Israel, a position that creates considerable exegetical problems in relation to the text of Melachim uMilchamot 4: 4 in our possession;

  • The Vilna Gaon, commenting the beginning of the Laws of Kiddushin in the Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 26:1:6-7; also this master, like Nachmanides, says that Rambam allows the pilegesh to ordinary Jewish men.

It is clear that an extraordinary jurist like Rambam must have identified a precise halachic source to support his position: but what source do we talk about, if not even magnificent rabbis such as Ya'avetz, Ramban and the Vilna Gaon identified it?

The problem of why Nachmanides and the Vilna Gaon say that Rambam allows pilegesh to all men remains moreover open. The orthodox rabbi Dovid E. Eidensohn supports a particular exegetical thesis about this question, accessible at the link http://torahhalacha.blogspot.com/2018/07/ramban-and-rambam-permit-pilegesh.html

but I don't know how much it is shared in the world Jewish.

  • Is your question specifically what the source for the Rambam's opinion is, or also how he deals with the proofs brought by "some Torah scholars"?
    – DonielF
    Apr 10 '19 at 20:27
  • Mi sembri molto information. Dove hai imparato tutte queste cose?
    – kouty
    Apr 10 '19 at 23:31
  • @kouty my man, you forgot to turn on your Google translate...
    – user6591
    Apr 11 '19 at 1:07
  • I tried to write in Italian but my Google keyboard makes me an error at 4th word. I am very impressed by the level of knowledge of this question @6591
    – kouty
    Apr 11 '19 at 3:11
  • 2
    @Amos74 Ciao! Yes, that’s why I dropped it into your question. I don’t usually do that sort of thing, but figured you could use the assist based on your comments. I hope you don’t mind. To your surprise, Rambam didn’t provide the sources for most of his decisions in Mishnah Torah. He is purported to have regretted that & wanted to write a companion sefer with his sources but didn’t live long enough to accomplish that goal. Apr 11 '19 at 21:44

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