Sunday, September 18, 2005

Polygamy in the Parashah II

Following up on this post, R. David Silverberg asked me to point out to readers that his source of information was the book Ke-Motzei Shalal Rav.

R. David Cohen (Harhavas Gevul Ya'abetz, kuntres "heter mefurash ba-kasuv", sv. herem de-rabbenu gershom) directs readers to Minhas Elazar 1:62 that discusses this issue. The Minhas Elazar offers other answers to the question, in addition to the answer given by the Hasam Sofer:

1. Rabbenu Gershom et al made this a time-limited ban in order to avoid this problem, even though they really wanted it to last forever. This is why we continued observing the ban even after the time limit expired. Temporarily prohibiting that which the Torah discusses is allowed.

2. Our practice is to require a heter me'ah rabbanim to avoid Rabbenu Gershom's ban even when one has not yet fulfilled the obligation to procreate. Thus, clearly our assumption is that Rabbenu Gershom intended his ban uproot an explicit biblical obligation. So certainly it also uproots an implicit biblical permission.

3. Rabbenu Gershom actually intended and wanted this ban to be only temporary.

At the end of his introduction to this section (p. 103), R. David Cohen quotes the Toras Hesed (Orah Hayim no. 10) who argues that the Taz's concept only applies to an explicit permission mentioned in the Torah within the context of the prohibition being discussed (e.g. circumcision on Shabbos). But the concept does not apply to a statement made in a different context that implies that something is permitted. This last description applies to our discussion of polygamy.

In the next paragraph (p. 104), R. Cohen quotes the Rishon Le-Tziyon (Hagigah 7:2) who states similarly that the concept only applies to an explicit biblical permission and not to anything merely implicit.

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