Where to find sources regarding what happens when a man needs to travel to support his family (he cannot support them if he does not travel) (in both cases that if he will not traval he 1. can live off donations (localy) or 2. he does not have this option (he can not support his family at all)), but by doing so he will not fulfill his marital obligations (עונה) in the amount that his wife was used to.

For example, if someone who works in town and is obligated to be with his wife 2 times a week, now can not make enough money can he work out of town and by doing so he will now only be with her 1 time a week?

  • 1
    According to Rambam, Ishus 14, he needs her explicit permission IF it is a new practice. If this was his job before the marriage, it's like he's a Halal or sailor and is allowed to have a lesser number of onah. On the other hand it's not punishable, but if it's frequent she can sue him in court.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 7:09
  • Interestingly, it seems that the obligation of Onah is more stringent that the obligation of supporting the family, unless we call it a real Pikuach Nefesh. From Torah perspective it's ok to be poor.
    – Al Berko
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


See Shulchan Aruch Even Ha'ezer 76:5, which states that he may not take on such a job against his wife's will

(6-7) שו"ע אבן העזר - סימן עו (ה) יש לאשה לעכב על בעלה שלא יצא לסחורה אלא למקום קרוב, שלא ימנע מעונתה; ולא יצא אלא ברשותה. (ואפילו אם נותנת לו רשות, אין לו להתאחר, אלא חדש בחוץ וחדש בביתו) (טור והרא"ש). וכן יש לה למונעו לצאת ממלאכה שעונתה קרובה למלאכה שעונתה רחוקה, כגון חמר שבקש להעשות גמל, או גמל להעשות מלח; ות"ח יוצאים לתלמוד תורה שלא ברשות נשותיהם ב' וג' שנים; וכן טייל שנעשה ת"ח, אין אשתו יכולה לעכב. (ואם נותנת לו רשות, ת"ח יכול לילך בכל מה שתתן לו רשות) (טור בשם הראב"ד):

A woman may forbid [delay] her husband from going for merchant but to a close place, so he won't avoid he period; and he won't leave but [unless] in her permission. And even if she gives him permission, he shouldn't be long, only a month out and a month in his house (Tur & the Rosh) and also she can [has to] forbid him from going from short [close by] period jobs to long [far] period jobs, like a donkey driver wishing to become a camel driver, or camel driver to become a sailor. And scholars [Talmidey Hachamim] leaving for Talmud Torah (even) without their wives permission for two and three years. And [al]so a hiker who became a scholar, his wife can't forbid (him). And if she gives him permission, a scholar can go with however-much she gives him permission (Tur in the name the Ravad)

And this is because a wife prefers (or might prefer?) the intimacy of her husband, even if it means a low standard of living, as it says in Kesubos 62b:

(1) אמר ליה רבה בר רב חנן לאביי חמר ונעשה גמל מאי אמר ליה רוצה אשה בקב ותיפלות מעשרה קבין ופרישות:

Rabba bar Rav Hanan said to Abaye: If a donkey driver who is already married wants to become a camel driver, what is the halakha? Is he permitted to change his profession in order to earn more money from his work, even though this will mean he reduces the frequency with which he engages in conjugal relations with his wife? He answered him: A woman prefers a kav, i.e., modest means, with conjugal relations to ten kav with abstinence. Consequently, he is not allowed to change his profession without her permission.

I am assuming that the couple could make enough money to survive, without taking on the better paying job, as this is usually the case nowadays.

  • +1 2 questions 1. This is even if this will force them to live of tzedoko? 2. what if the can not survive?
    – hazoriz
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 9:58
  • If the husband is going to work in a different town, why can't they just move there? Then they will not need tzedakah, and will have a comfortable income.
    – shmu
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 11:14
  • 1. It might be mose expensive to live there (so it will not help) or 2. She does not want to move (halachikli she has the right not to move)
    – hazoriz
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 11:16
  • If a person's financial state is such that he is eligible for tzedakah, it doesn't say any place that he is barred from taking this tzedakah because he fails to travel far and wide in order to earn a living. Forgive the expression, but you can complain all you want that a schnorer is lazy and not trying hard enough to earn a living, and that complaint can't stop him Halachically from taking handouts...
    – shmu
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 11:20
  • on one hand you are right but there is this sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh%2C_Yoreh_De'ah.255.1
    – hazoriz
    Commented Jan 17, 2019 at 11:46

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