There is nothing now, as formerly, in Talmudic doctrine, against polygamy. It is practiced by Jews in countries where it is allowed.
A 1952 book by Salo Wittmayer Baron, Professor of Jewish History, Literature and Institutions of the Miller Foundation, Columbia University, is entitled, A Social and Religious History of the Jews and is published by the American Jewish Committee's Jewish Publication Society of America. The chapter, "The World of the Talmud," cites the harem of King Solomon (which finished him morally and otherwise), saying its "memory kindled the imagination of polygamous Jews in subsequent ages." Although we are told [page 25] that there was no real difference between Palestinian and Babylonian Jewries fundamentally, the book states "there are indications that Babylonian Jewish society had more polygamous features than did that of Palestine."
And: "Anecdotes like those current in regard to Rab and Rabbi Nahman [who] after arriving in a foreign city they used to advertise for women ready to marry them for the time of their sojourn ('man havya le-yoma') . . In law, too, the Babylonian emphasis lay upon the Jew's right to 'marry as many wives as he is able to support.'"
It was Rabbi Gershorn Ben Judah (bom Metz, 960; died Mayence, France 1040), whose edicts were accepted by European Jewry as final for all time, who commanded Jews in Christian countries to stop getting into trouble with the law by polygamy.
Israel first proposed extra allowances for plural wives but now seems to be screening polygamy from Christian eyes.
After the period of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and before this, in the case of Adam and Noah, monogamy ruled. The Prophets were monogamists. Moses commanded regarding a man of God that: "Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away. ..." (Deuteronomy 17:17) And, admittedly, the polygamy of David and his son Solomon ended the Israel twelve-tribe united Kingdom. Their hordes of pagan wives, and foul, pagan altars broke down any Godly spirit which had formerly united them. However, reversing the Bible once again, Pharisee "Sages" embroider upon the above words of Moses against polygamy, their permission to have 18, 24, or 48 wives. (Talmud, Sanhedrin 20b-21a) The Mishna asks: "Why then is it written, neither shall he multiply wives to himself . Rabbi Simeon said: He must not marry even one who may turn away his heart — From which it might be inferred that he may marry a lesser number even if they should corrupt him."
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