Senior rabbi rules that if a married man does not have any offspring because his wife cannot or does not want children, he is entitled to take a concubine • "The concubine may also live with the couple," says Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel.
Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel
Photo credit: Dudu Grunshpan
The Chief Judge of the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court, Rabbi Eliyahu Abergel, has ruled that in cases where a man has not fathered any children, and his wife cannot or does not want to bear children, the man may take a concubine.
In his recently-published book, Dvarot Eliyahu ("Eliyahu's Rulings"), the rabbi writes, "establishing a family is an important commandment. A woman who refuses to, or cannot, bring children into the word, and refuses to grant her husband a divorce, is preventing him from building a family and spreading his seed. In such a situation, the husband is permitted to take a concubine and there is no constraint under halachah [Jewish law]. This ruling will enable husbands to fulfill the commandment of procreation, even if it means taking a regular mistress. The concubine may also live with the couple."
Rabbi Abergel even relates in the book that he allowed the head of a major yeshiva in Jerusalem to take a concubine when it became clear that his wife could not have children.
The 64-year-old rabbi, who also serves as the chief rabbi for the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem and the head of the Tzuf Dvash Yeshiva in the capital, is one of the most important authorities on Jewish law in Israel. He has published dozens of books and thousands of rulings on Jewish law, and in the past has been considered for the position of the country's chief Sephardi rabbi.