(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Sun, 10 Oct 1999 19:24:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Rambam Ishus

Regarding the numerous discussions on the so called alleged heter of wife
beating in Rambam 21:10 (Bais Medrash Vol 1 Nu 93).

I and several other posters have already pointed out that the reference is
to court enforcement (and not to actual wife beating)(See postings by Me,
Yishai Hornbacher, Frid etc or Rabbi Menkin's insightful remarks or
Rachamim Pauli's comments in a later issue)

I would like to simply add my shock at the lack of citation of the
elementary fact that striking somebody and causing bodily harm/pain is
Biblically prohibited (Eg Rambam Torts 5:1)

The Rambam explicitly states that a person who strikes his wife must pay
her and she is free to do with the money as she pleases. Moreover the
Rambam explicitly states that if a husband damages his wife during
relations he must pay her (See Rambam Torts Chapter 4:16-17).

The truth is that the prohibition of damage is a basic idea in
Judaism--indeed it is even prohibited to cause pain to animals.

I think the awareness of this general principle should PRECEDE any
discussion we have on topics like this. Such an awareness would also make
the atmosphere of the discussions pleasanter. In other words EVEN before I
find an answer to difficult Rambams (like MARRIAGE 21:10) I nevertheless
must be aware of the basic human rights with which all people are protected
under jewish law.

Russell Hendel; Phd ASA
RJHendel@Juno.Com; http://www.shamash.org/rashi