can someone please clarify the halachic side of the topic of honoring one's wife.

i.e. what is halachically obligatory (beyond what one is obligated towards other people) and what is just good practice.

  • 1
    Can you clarify how you know there is an obligation to honor one's wife? (I'm not saying there isn't, just suggesting how you could improve your question). Oct 26, 2014 at 19:04

2 Answers 2


Rambam Hilchos Ishus 15:19:

וכן ציוו חכמים שיהיה אדם מכבד את אשתו יותר מגופו, ואוהבה כגופו; ואם יש לו ממון, מרבה בטובתה כפי הממון

And similarly the Sages commanded that a person should honor his wife more than his own body, and love her like his own body. If he has money, he should increase her benefits according to his wealth.

  • what does "tzivu" mean. is this binding halacha or just good practice such as in pirkei avot.
    – user813801
    Oct 27, 2014 at 13:38
  • @user813801, it isn't clear. Some argue that it is advice, but I find that argument very weak (many of the things listed there are absolute obligations in poskim, so to say the Rambam didn't think so ...). More likely it is rather things that are unenforceable in Beis Din.
    – Yishai
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:32
  • See Sifsei Chachamim in lech lecha passuk 12:8
    – sam
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:37
  • thanks yishai, but then this does not answer the question. was looking for a source which states what is definitely halacha not just a source which is doubtful as to whether it is good practice.
    – user813801
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:57
  • @user813801, I don't know why you don't think these things aren't Halachically obligatory.
    – Yishai
    Oct 27, 2014 at 15:02

Yevamos 62b says that a person should "אוהבה כגופו ומכבדה יותר מגופו" - love her like himself and honor her more than himself, or literally "more than his body." R' Yerucham Levovitz explained (I don't have a source on hand, I heard it several times in shmuessen for chassanim) that what this means is that when it comes to love, a person should be very familiar and intimate with his wife, and love her as if they are one person. When it comes to honor, however, he must still treat her like a separate person and not forgo her honor as he would his own. He must act respectfully to her as if they do not have such a familiar relationship.

Accordingly, it does not seem to require more respect than would otherwise be accorded, but means to not use the familiar nature of the relationship to compromise on the respect deserved.

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