What does the Torah, encompassing all of the Jewish works, say about the duties and responsibilities of a wife towards her husband? I would like some sources on the matter.

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    "..to keep a proper home; a quiet home; a kosher home ... so Papa's free to read the Holy Books!" (from Fiddler on the Roof)
    – DanF
    Sep 2, 2015 at 19:51
  • 1
    Unfortunately, Fiddler on the Roof is not halachically binding. :)
    – Ani Yodea
    Sep 3, 2015 at 14:02
  • rambam says she should treat him with great respect
    – michael
    Sep 8, 2015 at 16:29
  • 1
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    @TzafnasPaneach thank you very much for the link very nice (he quotes the Rambam on minute 35:30)
    – hazoriz
    Jan 3, 2016 at 20:49

4 Answers 4


This is documented in Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer around Siman 80 - including סימן פ - מעשה ידיה שהיא חיבת לבעלה, ודיני מיניקה ושאינה רוצה לעשות מלאכה

Some of her duties include:

א מַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיהָ לְבַעֲלָהּ

What she earns belongs to her husband.

What she finds, also - that's in another Siman.

ד וְכֵן כָּל אִשָּׁה רוֹחֶצֶת לְבַעֲלָהּ פָּנָיו יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו, וּמוֹזֶגֶת לוֹ אֶת הַכּוֹס, וּמַצַּעַת לוֹ אֶת הַמִּטָּה

Household duties, like making the beds.
Serving him, like pouring his drinks and washing his face, hands and feet.

ו יֵשׁ מְלָאכוֹת שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה עוֹשָׂה לְבַעֲלָהּ בִּזְמַן שֶׁהֵם עֲנִיִּים, וְאֵלּוּ הֵם: מַטְחֶנֶת, וְאוֹפָה, וּמְכַבֶּסֶת, וּמְבַשֶּׁלֶת, וּמֵינִיקָה אֶת בְּנָהּ, וְנוֹתֶנֶת תֶּבֶן לִפְנֵי בְּהֶמְתּוֹ, אֲבָל לֹא לִפְנֵי בְּקָרוֹ

If they are poor (and cannot afford a maid), she has to grind and bake, do laundry, cook, nurse and feed the domestic animals.

But all this is out of context - as the husband has duties towards his wife - that correspond to the above.

They also have to show each other mutual love and respect, and we learn in Yevamoth 62b and Sanhedrin 76b

תָּנוּ רַבָּנָן הָאוֹהֵב אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ כְּגוּפוֹ וְהַמְכַבְּדָהּ יוֹתֵר מִגּוּפוֹ וְהַמַּדְרִיךְ בָּנָיו וּבְנוֹתָיו בְּדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה וְהַמַּשִּׂיאָן סָמוּךְ לְפִרְקָן עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר (איוב ה-כד) וְיָדַעְתָּ כִּי שָׁלוֹם אָהֳלֶךָ.‏

  • Actually theres a gemara which talks about the household duties and days she's only chayiv in what her mother is used to. So if her mother is the wife of a billionare and she does nothing same for daughter. And in regards to the first one she can elect to keep her wages and reject his proviedence(food, shelter some clothes).I'll try to give the source. I think it's in chagiga
    – Orion
    Jul 4, 2018 at 13:46
  • @Orion - I'd be curious to see a source for that. Jul 4, 2018 at 13:50
  • it's on kesubos 61a. Starting from 7 lines down about a wet nurse. I figured it applies to ask things logically and the artscroll says Rosh and shulchan aruch even haezer 80:10 say the same. Whatever is the custom of women in either his or her family likula is her responsibility.
    – Orion
    Jul 4, 2018 at 17:14
  • @Orion you are right but there are exceptions sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh,_Even_HaEzer.80.1 and sefaria.org/Beit_Shmuel.80.12
    – hazoriz
    Jul 5, 2018 at 2:35
  • @hazoriz What's the exception in shulchan aruch? That it also depends on local custom? Its really just saying she should make at least some money. I just remembered learning that in the gemara. But it has nothing to do with chores. More like partial re compensation for his responsibilities. Seperate din.
    – Orion
    Jul 5, 2018 at 2:49

Proverbs/Mishlei 31:10-31 has a rather delightful summary of what makes a good wife, that I believe is often read at Jewish weddings. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Bible/Proverb31.html I hope this helps you.

  • 3
    I've never heard that read at a Jewish wedding, although many people recite this every Friday night at the Shabbat dinner.
    – Daniel
    Sep 8, 2015 at 12:31
  • 3
    @Daniel I have.
    – Fred
    Jan 3, 2016 at 5:22
  • Nice and original summary! Those guys dive straight into Halakhah :/
    – Al Berko
    Jul 5, 2018 at 12:02


... the work of her hands, what she finds, her fruits (the gains of her property), and her inheritance (belong to her husband ,unless they made other legal arrangements)

Rambam Sefer Nashim » Ishut - Chapter Fifteen - Halacha 20

And similarly, they (our Sages) commanded a woman to honor her husband exceedingly and to be in awe of him. She should carry out all her deeds according to his directives, considering him to be an officer or a king. She should follow the desires of his heart and shun everything that he disdains.

This is the custom of holy and pure Jewish women and men in their marriages. And these ways will make their marriage pleasant and praiseworthy

This Rambam is brought into practical law by
נטעי גבריאל - הלכות נשואין - חלק ב - פרק קיח - ב

And by.
האשר שבנשואין - חכמת נשים בנתה ביתה - פרק ג

And marital relations whenever he demands them (but he is responsible to get her in a good mood if she is not)

Rav Moshe Feinstein says that this is her only biblical obligation all the rest are Rabinic

אגרות משה (אורח חיים ו:ב.ה): מעיר על מה שפירש רש"י שאשה שפחה לבעלה כעבד
דמן התורה הא ליכא שום שעבוד על האשה לבעלה חוץ מתשמיש...

Rambam ibid

Halacha 18.

She should not deny her husband [intimacy] to cause him anguish, so that he should increase his love for her. Instead, she should oblige him whenever he desires.

And See rambam ibid chapter 14

halocho 8.

... A woman who withholds marital intimacy from her husband is called a moredet ("a rebel"). She is asked why she has rebelled. If she answers: "Because I am repulsed by him and I cannot voluntarily engage in relations with him," her husband should be compelled to divorce her immediately. For she is not like a captive, [to be forced] to engage in relations with one she loathes.

Halacha 9

[Different rules apply, however,] if she rebelled against her husband with the intent of causing him distress, saying: "I intend to cause him distress this way, because he did this or this to me," "...because he cursed me," "...because he has caused me strife," or the like, she is sent a messenger from the court, [who] tells her: "Take note. If you continue your rebellious conduct, you will forfeit your ketubah, even if it is worth one hundred maneh." ...

Just found book pele yoets

Hebrew starting on bottom paragraph of page י''ג

English Starting on bottom paragraph of page 19

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    The Gemara in Eruvin alone is a pretty bad source as t describes a social norm; not a halacha. Furthermore, the norm described is how they tell their spouse their desire; not whether or not the spouse must comply.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 3, 2016 at 19:13
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    Incredible cliams require incredible evidence. Claiming that the soman must comply with the man whenever he wants while admitting to not know a source IMHO lowers the quality of the answer.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 3, 2016 at 19:14
  • @mevaqesh see halocho 18 "Instead, she should oblige him whenever he desires" m.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/952889/jewish/… . shulchan aruch 77.2 moredes sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh,_Even_HaEzer.77.2?with=all . maybe now it is lost information but this is the only simple reason a man gets married "to use his wife"
    – hazoriz
    Jan 3, 2016 at 19:44
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    This doesn't make sense. Their is a explicit gemara eruvin 100b that it's forbidden for a man to insist his wife had sex with him. Additionally should implies optionallity as opposed to must /חייב
    – Orion
    Jul 4, 2018 at 16:30
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    @Hazoriz you said you're only talking aboutbad behavior but you said it's a chiyuv on her to have biah. I'm bringing sources to the contrary.it WAS a crime. At least Rabbinic. How do you explain eruvin 100b where it says אסור לאדם שיכופ אשתו לדבר מצווה? It says forbidden! And that's not even using uni account any embarrassment or pain you cause! Chillul hashem! Doing a disgusting act! There are so many reasons is אסור!
    – Orion
    Jul 4, 2018 at 16:51

see Booklet: What is Jewish Marriage

the wife's obligations from the index there: (for souces and details see above link)

her obligations:

W1 Conjugal Relations
W2 to be by her husband
W3 Work of the hands
W4 Found Things
W5 Usufruct of her property
W6 Inherit her Nedunya (the Nichsei Tzon Barzel)
W6.1 inherits all other property

her husband's rights

H.R.1 Right to have relations with his wife (W1 above)
H.R.2 Right that it is physically possible to have relations
H.R.3 Right to have relations without clothing
H.R.4 Right that wife does not have conjugal relations with another man.
H.R.5 Right to forbid wife from secluding herself with another man
H.R.6 Right that wife is not forbidden to him for relations
H.R.7 Right that his wife is able to do certain things
H.R.8 Right that wife works every day to prevent licentiousness
H.R.9 Right not to have a wife with vows
H.R.10 Right to have a child
H.R.11 Right that wife does not miscarry 3 times in a row
H.R.12 Right that all defects that a husband is forced to divorce his wife and epilepsy, do not happen to his wife
H.R.13 Right that wife does not make him sin
H.R.14 Right that wife does not cause the children to die
H.R.15 Right that wife acts modestly like Jewish girls
H.R.16 Right that wife is not bad
H.R.17 Right regarding where to live
H.R.18 Right not to have bad neighbors
H.R.19 Right to live in peace
H.R.20 Right regarding wife’s relatives visiting
H.R.21 Right that wife is with him
H.R.22 Right to hire a handmaid
H.R.23 Right that wife does not breastfeed other children
H.R.24 Right to the children after divorce

proper behavior:

W.C.1. to honor her husband exceedingly and to be in awe of him
W.C.2. She should carry out all her deeds according to his directives
W.C.3. She should follow the desires of his heart and shun everything that he disdains
W.C.4. A woman shouldn't accustom herself to go out a lot
W.C.5. Minhagim
W.C.6. If she helps her husband, so that he can learn Torah
W.C.7. To love your husband
W.C.8. Not to hate him
W.C.9. to make peace

  • This seems to be a link-only answer Jul 4, 2018 at 23:02
  • While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. - From Review Jul 4, 2018 at 23:33
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    18 had nothing to do with marriage. And applies to both parties. 21 source? 22 nothing to do with marriage. Also she can also do this. 23 possibly doesn't apply nowadays. 25 source? Also how does one have a right over children? Are we talking about a girl less than 12?
    – Orion
    Jul 5, 2018 at 3:58
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    The linked PDF is actually really useful, as are the other booklets on that site
    – SAH
    Jul 29, 2018 at 17:04
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    @SAH thank you, your opinion as a woman living in todays time, means alot
    – hazoriz
    Jul 29, 2018 at 17:10

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