Pelegish Makes A Comeback – In Iraq, With Shites

The Washington Post reports:

Fatima Ali was a 24-year-old divorcee with no high school diploma and no job. Shawket al-Rubae was a 34-year-old Shiite sheik with a pregnant wife who, he said, could not have sex with him.

Ali wanted someone to take care of her. Rubae wanted a companion.

They met one afternoon in May at the house he shares with his wife, in the room where he accepts visitors seeking his religious counsel. He had a proposal. Would Ali be his temporary wife? He would pay her 5,000 Iraqi dinars upfront — about $4 — in addition to her monthly expenses. About twice a week over the next eight months, he would summon her to a house he would rent.

The negotiations took an hour and ended with an unwritten agreement, the couple recalled. Thus began their "mutaa," or enjoyment marriage, a temporary union believed by Shiite Muslims to be sanctioned by Islamic law.

The Shiite practice began 1,400 years ago, in what is now Iraq and other parts of the region, as a way to provide for war widows.…

[Hat Tip: Who else?]


Filed under Religion

8 responses to “Pelegish Makes A Comeback – In Iraq, With Shites

  1. I read about this phenomenon years ago. I wrote a post about it in my blog last year in about March or April. I think it’s an ingenious idea that can be adapted to Judaism if people try. You could create a “temporary ketubah” that gets renewed every couple of months.

  2. B”H
    It’s not new to Judaism :

    Talmud Yoma 18b (see also reference Yebamoth 37b where it says it should be limited to famous rabbis and such to make sure fathers identity is preserved by the woman to prevent the eventual situation of sister accidentally marrying brother etc.):

    When Rav would visit Darshish he would announce, “Which [woman] is [available] for a day?” When Rav Nachman would visit Shkhantziv he would announce, “Which [woman] is [available] for a day?”

    Of course if it’s done publicly or for a longer period of time it’s less of a problem.
    While it sounds “weird” to Ashkenazi and lehavdil Christian ears it’s in my opinion better, more honest than the current situation when a woman hopes for a longer terms relationship while a man uses her few times or just a one night stand leading her to think it will or may lead to a long term relationship.
    Rabbi Yaakov Emden says it’s permitted to make a pilegesh relationship have an expiration date.
    What we have to understand and internalize that sex is not inherently evil – the original sin and the reason Torah frowns on prostitution for example is that it leads to unintentional incest later on but not because it’s suposedly always inherently evil to has a short term relationship. As Rabbi Emden writes it all depends on the intentions of the heart.

  3. Daryavesh commander of the Achashteronim of Hashem!

    “While it sounds “weird” to Ashkenazi and lehavdil Christian ears …. leading her to think it will or may lead to a long term relationship.”
    To this sefardi’s ears, it does not only sound weird, but also sinful. Please do not use non ashkenazim to give yourself a hekhsher for your mischief.
    The one night’s stands of Rav and Rav Nachman is taking halacha ad absurdum. Not meant for a Smith to peddle on the internet 1500 years or so later.
    “…that sex is not inherently evil – ”
    In modern secular law too, often prostitution itself is not criminal, but pimps (shiddul) are/(is).
    “Rabbi Emden writes it all depends on the intentions of the heart.”
    In this case, we are exposed solely to the heart intentions of the peddlar. (sarsur lidvar aveira).

  4. B”H
    Shalom Reb Daryavesh!
    If even R. Shafran a spokesman for Ultra Orthodox Agudas Yisroel of America says it’s permited see
    : New York Jewish Week article here
    who are you an anonymous commenter on a blog to argue with daas ha’Torah?:-)

    By the way the blog has Rishonim and Acharonim on this topic it’s not just 1 quote from Talmud.
    And freedom of speech is still not revoked here unless you live in Cuba or China or under the kingship of your royal highness in ancient Persia (where wife for day was permited and still is in Iran btw it’s called a Nikkah Mutah or simply Mutah .
    I only provide a automated personals site like frumster jadate etc and a blog that deals with Torah laws on the subject even if
    it would be prostitution which it isn’t for many reasons I still wouldn’t be doing anything illegal by running these sites check with your lawyers. I charge membership (now it’s still free anyway) and accept donations I don’t tell people who to choose or get involved in their online romances and shiduch negotiations in fact I have no idea what they are writing to each other like those who run frumster Jdate etc. can’t be charged with prostitution either.
    By the way the most people on the personals site want a monogamous open ended relationship like a boyfriend girlfriend relationship (or as it’s called legally common law marriage) not simply a “wife for day” as in the example from the Talmud quoted above. The reason I quoted this was to show that this too is permitted by our Holy Torah and halocha if done properly and honestly.
    Rabbi Noah Smith

  5. Sam Horowitz

    Pilegsh is a just another form of legalized prostitution ? Amen

  6. Um… the obvious problem is the utter double standard, that is unless you’re counting on pilegesh males as well.

  7. B”H
    1)Sam Horowitz how about this:
    “Marriage with a prenuptial agreement is a just another form of legalized prostitution ? Amen”
    makes any sense?
    How about this : to paraphrase the Ramban
    Holiest Jews in particular all thru the ages were notorious being engaged in “legalized prostitution by taking pilagshim”
    makes any sense?
    Sounds right?

    a)Torah doesn’t have to be and isn’t always “politically correct”.
    b)And G-d said to the woman […] ve alaiv teshukato ve hu imshshol boch – and towards him is your desire and he shall rule over you” so by definition G-d created a world where in general women are subordinate to men and not the other way around . You don’t like it stop bitching and create your own world.
    c)G-d didn’t give women the ability to urinate while standing is that also a double standard?:-)
    d) This really should be “a)”
    There can be tangible advantages for a woman to be a pilegesh and not a wife as Rabbi Yaakov Emden explains here:

    in fact if you think about it especially in modern times the wife with a ketubah that needs a get to leave the relationship and remarry is in much worse position than a pilegesh who doesn’t have this encumbrance on her freedom.
    One can argue that Orthodox Jewish marriage with a ketubah is in some cases a last legal form of slavery if a woman wants to leave the marriage and husband demands the ransom to give a get and few things can be done to compell him to give it in a free society like ours.

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