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Husband & Wife (Cohabitation)

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From the Encyclopaedia Judaica 8:1122

The Husband’s duty to cohabit with his wife stems from biblical law (Exodus 21:10) and he is obliged to do so according to his physical abilities and so far as it is possible for him having regard to the requirements of his occupation (Yad, Ishut 14: 1,2 ; Sh. Ar., EH 76: 1-3)
If he unable to fulfill this duty the wife is entitled to demand a divorce (Yad, Ishut 14: 7 Sh. Ar., EH 76:11) unless there are reasonable prospects, on the strength of medical evidence, that he may be cure of his disability. (PDR 1:85-89 ; 3:84-89)

Mored (“rebellious” husband).


A husband refuses without justifiable reason, to cohabit with his wife is called a mored but he is not if he refuses to fulfill his other toward her. (ibid and Maggid Mishneh, Ishut 14:15 ; Bah, EH 77).
Proof that her husband is mored entitles the wife to demand that he be obliged to grant her a divorce, and if necessary, that he be compelled to do so (on the distinction). As long as the husband persists in his refusal to cohabit with his wife, she is entitled to demand the amount of her ketubbah be increased from week to week, as may be determined by the court and to receive ketubbah upon the grant of the divorce. (Ket. Yad, and Maggid Mishneh, Ibid ; Sh Ar., EH 77:1)

Moredet (“rebellious ” wife).

The Wife similarly regarded as a moredet only when she persistently refuses to cohabit with her husband (Ket. 63A, Yad and Maggid Mishneh, Ishut 14:8 ; Sh. Ar., EH 77:2)
The moredet falls into two categories: firstly, that of a wife who refuses to cohabit with her husband because of anger or a quarrel or for other reasons offering no legal justification; secondly, that of a wife who refuses to cohabit with her husband because she cannot bring herself to have sexual relations with him and can satisfy the court that this is for genuine reasons which impel her to seek a divorce even with forfeiture of her ketubbah.

In Both cases the moredet immediately loses her right to maintenance (Sh. Ar., EH 77:2 ; Pdr 6:33, 42) and in consequence of it, her husband loses his right to her handy work since he is only entitled to this in consideration of her maintenance, i.e. only if she is actually maintained by him (Rema, EH 77:2)


Ultimately, the moredet also stands to lose her ketubbah and the husband will be entitle to demand a divorce, but this depends on conditions that differ according to the category of moredet and in this regard the
halakhah underwent various developments.

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