Concubines are now Kosher

Chief Judge Rabbi rules that if a married man doesn’t have any offspring because his wife can’t or doesn’t want children, he is allowed to take a concubine • “The concubine may also live with the couple,” says Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel.

By Yehuda Shlezinger


The Chief Judge of the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel, has ruled that in cases where a man has not fathered any children, and his wife cannot or does not want to bear children, the man may take a concubine.

In his recently-published book, Dvarot Eliyahu (“Eliyahu’s Rulings”), the rabbi writes, “establishing a family is an important commandment. A woman who refuses to, or cannot, bring children into the word, and refuses to grant her husband a divorce, is preventing him from building a family and spreading his seed. In such a situation, the husband is permitted to take a concubine and there is no constraint under halachah [Jewish law]. This ruling will enable husbands to fulfill the commandment of procreation, even if it means taking a regular mistress. The concubine may also live with the couple.”

Rabbi Abergel even relates in the book that he allowed the head of a major yeshiva in Jerusalem to take a concubine when it became clear that his wife could not have children.

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  1. Is anyone expected to use the intelligence Gd gave him when studying the commandments? If you work hard enough you can find a way to nullify every commandment and law and justify anything! What if my wife says “no” to this idea? Am I suppose to instantly say, “I divorce you” three times and it’s all going to be right before Gd?

  2. Elisheva Barre says:

    Why should the second wife be inferior to the first and not receive the status of legal wife with Ketuba and all the rights attached to it, but be kept in this inferior status of Pilegesh (concubine)? This is NOT according to Halacha which forbids concubines except for the King. Rav Abergel and his colleagues should rather cancel the Herem of Rabbeinu Gershom and together with it the State Law in Israel which makes of polygamy.
    Instead of this, what we have today is that many a man will indeed take a Pilegesh, with no need for any rabbinic kosher stamp!

  3. I am shocked to read the ruling of Rabbi Abergel. There is a saying, “Knowledge is structured in consciousness,” and I am not sure what level his consciousness is at, but this ruling can only bring disaster to all concerned.What does “no Halacha constraints means?” Can the man have a Muslim concubine? Does the same apply to the wife, if the husband cannot have children? Is this Rabbi in the 21st century, or back in the dark ages? Who says that his interpretation of Halacha is correct? Just because he has studied the Torah, who is to say that he has the consciousness, the wisdom, the spiritual insight to understand Jewish Law? Is he motivated by dogmatic belief? These are crucial questions, because one day soon, Israel will rise or fall depending on the level on consciousness of these mortal men (not women). Another point: I often hear Rabbis and others talk about Halacha, and various points of the Law,and I have heard very little about love, compassion, respect, and honour. There is too much mind and intellect and too little heart in these rulings.

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