What is rule and constraint on polygamy and polyandry in Jewish law? Are they allowed or prohibited? In both cases--whether allowed or not--give me the sources.

I found one or two questions on polygamy, but no one discussed polyandry.

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    That's because polyandry is prohibited black and white in the bible. – YDK Jan 30 '12 at 4:46
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    why vote down?can you give reason please? – Tofeeq Jan 30 '12 at 5:45
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    While many on this site may find this question rather trivial, I do not think it is inappropriate for the site. I don't know why they downvoted. Maybe one of them can explain. – Double AA Jan 30 '12 at 6:09
  • Agree With @DoubleAA.They should give reason at least to improvement – Tofeeq Jan 30 '12 at 6:27
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    @TofeeqAhmad, if that question's what you're really interested in, I recommend that you either edit it explicitly into this question or ask it as a new one. – Isaac Moses Jan 30 '12 at 15:36

There are commonly two answers given as to why its ok for a man to marry multiple wives, but not ok for a women to marry multiple husbands.

  1. Since tribal affiliation is determined by the father, and eventually land distribution as well, it would create a conflict since you can never really be sure who the father is. However, you should seemingly always know who the mother is.

  2. There is a theory that the only reason why a man is allowed to marry two wives in the first place, is so that there is a method for society to take care of women, who otherwise would not be able to get work and be cared for. Since it is assumed that a man can get along as a single person just fine in society, there is no reason for a woman to marry an extra man. Except for orphans, or the extremely poor or sick, there is no special commandment to take care of the Widower. However, there is a commandment to take care of a widow.

    2a. (Kabbalah) By the nature of the way that humans pro-create, a Woman is designated as a "receiver" (egg) and a man is designated as a "giver" (sperm). In marriage, this is also true, and the man is obligated to give and take care of his wife, however a wife has no similar obligation to her husband. A woman having two husbands, would seem to be a situation where you have the "receiver" being in the dominant position of who can "give", and would thus be a distortion of roles, similar to the prohibition of a woman not being allowed to wear men's clothing and visa versa.

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    Nice answer..First point is very good and logical. +1 – Tofeeq Jan 30 '12 at 6:58
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    Ummm... 1 and 2 may be logical, but do they have any Jewish source? – Double AA Feb 2 '12 at 7:06
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    @DoubleAA There are one liners in the Talmud, taken out of context which imply as much. But I can't remember them. – avi Feb 2 '12 at 7:16
  • If you can find them I'll +1 – Double AA Feb 2 '12 at 20:27
  • Sefer HaChinuch #35 lists your first reason as the reason behind Eishes Ish, though he doesn't say anything about tribal affiliation and land distribution; his list of pitfalls are Kibbud Av and arayos. – DonielF Apr 9 '17 at 4:32

In terms of polygamy, see the answers to this question: Questions about Polygamy in Jewish Law and Culture

In terms of polyandry, the Bible explicitly forbids it as a capital crime in Leveticus 18:20 and 20:10

  • I think bible is holy book of christian not for Jews – Tofeeq Jan 30 '12 at 5:06
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    @TofeeqAhmad, when people say "Bible" around here, they're generally referring to the "Hebrew Bible," which is definitely canonical for Jews. – Isaac Moses Jan 30 '12 at 5:19
  • ok..but what are the reason that prohibits it? – Tofeeq Jan 30 '12 at 5:44
  • why only for polyandry you say " polyandry, the Bible explicitly forbids it as a capital crime in Leveticus".that means Woman and Man has not same status in Judaism? – Tofeeq Jan 30 '12 at 6:56
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    @TofeeqAhmad It is a crime for the man as well. If a man sleeps with another man's wife, both he and the women are punished. In terms of why this is prohibited, as with all Biblical commandments, we believe them to be the command of God and accept them without reason. – Double AA Jan 30 '12 at 17:30

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