The Gemara in Arakhin 19a quotes Hizkiya, who explains why the value of a man decreases more with age than a woman's value decreases:

אמר חזקיה אמרי אינשי סבא בביתא פאחא בביתא סבתא בביתא סימא בביתא

Ḥizkiya said that people say a popular saying: If there is an elderly man in the home, there is a burden in the home, as he does not help with anything; if there is an elderly woman in the home, there is a treasure in the home,as she assists with various domestic labors.

From what I understand, the Torah's laws are timeless, but I am wondering, would these values need to be readjusted today given that the roles and value-adds of men and women are completely different than they were in those days?

Today, it would seem that it is generally not correct that older men are more of a burden than an older woman, and furthermore, if an older man IS in fact a burden, the woman has the option to divorce him and free herself of the burden, an option that was not available in the times of the Torah.

Do we have any modern halachic discussion on the monetary "values" of people as eras change?

  • I remember an old couple aleihem hashalom living in their parents' house, nearly blind. She sat and peeled vegetables all day. He really had nothing to do. - But you're probably right, that's unusual these days.
    – MichoelR
    Aug 10, 2023 at 13:15
  • I think this thing about her divorcing him is not relevant at all. We aren't discussing a negative thing about them, we're discussing arachim: their positive value, even in their old age. The gemara is saying that the old man has lost most of his positive value in a way that the old woman hasn't. - It obviously depends on the individual case, but the nature of arachim is not to take that into account.
    – MichoelR
    Aug 10, 2023 at 13:16


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