Rabbinical views regarding marriage

Targum Ruth Aramaic Word Cloud

Not trolling, genuinely rediscovered this during my research (see Tg. Ruth 4:6).

Said Rab to R. Assi, “Don’t dwell in a town where horses don’t neigh and dogs don’t bark, don’t dwell in a town where the head of the community is a physician, and don’t marry two women, but if you do marry two, then marry a third.” — b. Pes. 113a

If I am not mistaken Rashi added to this, “Because two may conspire against you, but the third will tell you of their plans.”

And here is the Targumic text that led me to the quote above. This is “So-and-so” responding to Boaz’s statement that if he should buy the field, he also “acquires” Ruth.

4:6 The redeemer said, “In that case, I am not able to redeem for myself. Because I have a wife, I have no right to marry another in addition to her lest there be contention in my house and I destroy my inheritance. You, redeem my inheritance for yourself, for you have no wife, for I am not able to redeem.”

The question at hand is whether he was objecting, saying “I have a wife” and cannot marry another because it is illegal (as Levine suggests, saying that the Targum is “anti-rabbinic” in this passage) or is he simply saying, it would be too much trouble to have more than one wife. I think the latter is correct and in keeping with the sentiment of b. Pes. 113a.

 

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