Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Yevamos 42: The Good Provider

On this daf, we find a case where a husband will not give money for special dietary needs.

A certain woman was quite ill. She suffered from frequent headaches and digestive troubles. She was very frustrated that her doctor was unable to help her. He did a bunch of tests, which all came back clean. “I have no idea what could be wrong,” he said. “I would assume that it is psychosomatic and you should see a mental health specialist for help.” The woman felt very upset with his diagnosis, since she knew herself to be perfectly sound of mind and so did everyone else.

After much heartache, she finally found an alternative doctor, who suggested a special diet of very expensive foods. When her penniless husband found out about this, he wondered if he was obligated to pay for this. Although he was obligated to pay for his wife’s healing, perhaps sacrificing for her dietary needs was not included.

When this question was presented to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, he was uncertain. When it reached the Tzitz Eliezer, he ruled that the husband would have to pay for the special diet. “This is clear from the Shu”t HaBach. It is also the opinion of the Mateh Lechem. He states explicitly that the obligation to give mezonos to one’s wife includes whatever food she requires. Why should this woman’s dietary requirements be any different?” (Nishmas Avrohom, III:79:1).

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