כד עַל־כֵּן יַעֲזָב־אִישׁ אֶת־אָבִיו וְאֶת־אִמּוֹ וְדָבַק בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ וְהָיוּ לְבָשָׂר אֶחָד:
Transliteration: al-ken yaazav ish et aviv v’-et imo v’-davaq b’-ishto v’-hayu l’-vasar echad.
Translation: Therefor a man shall abandon his father and his mother and stick to his wife and they shall be for one flesh.
Vocabulary in this lesson:
Shall leave, abandon
“One flesh.” This phrase had legal consequences in cultures that claimed to take a stand on the Bible, making the woman a non-person. Beating your wife with impunity, stealing all her money and letting her starve and go naked, and restrictions on divorce, were some of them.
Jewish law held that the wife was still a separate person. Her husband had the responsibility of feeding, housing and clothing her, and if he didn’t, any money she made was hers to use for that.
She could also get the court to force him to give her a divorce, not only if he beat her or tried to isolate her from her family and the community (for no valid reason), but also if she simply realized that he had habits she couldn’t stand.
The issue of wives and husbands not testifying against each other in court did, however, apply in Jewish law. They were considered to be each other’s relatives and relatives could not testify in each other’s cases. This rule also applied to parents and children, brothers, and even uncles and nephews.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved