WHEN CAN ONE MEVATEL THE ENACTMENT OF FOOD FOR EARNINGS? [marriage:food:earnings]
47b: The Beraisa means that Chachamim enacted that a man feed his wife, to compensate for receiving her earnings. He redeems her, in exchange for the Peros of her property.
58b (Rav Huna): A wife can tell her husband 'do not feed me, and I will not work for you.'
He holds that the primary enactment was that she should be fed. He receives her earnings to avoid resentment;
If she wants, the enactment does not apply.
Question (Beraisa): It was enacted that he feed her in exchange for receiving her earnings.
Answer: It should say that the he receives her earnings in exchange for feeding her.
Rav Huna disagrees with Reish Lakish.
(Reish Lakish): R. Meir holds that her extra earnings are Hekdesh. Because he can force her to work, it is as if he said 'your hands are Hekdesh to their Maker'.
63a (R. Yosi bar Chanina): Rebellion is refusal to work.
Question (Mishnah): Similarly, if a man rebels against his wife...
Is he obligated to work for her?!
Answer: He refuses to feed her.
107a (Shmuel): We do not allot food to a woman whose husband is away.
Opinion #1 (Rav Zvid): He holds that we are concerned lest he left money for her food.
Opinion #2 (Rav Papa): He holds that we are concerned lest she accepted to feed herself from her earnings.
These opinions argue about an adult wife whose earnings do not suffice to feed herself. (She would not consent to feed herself.) They also argue about a minor whose earnings suffice for her food. (A man would not leave money with a minor.)
107b: The Halachah follows Rav Huna, who says that a wife can tell her husband 'do not feed me, and I will not work for you.'
Rif and Rosh (23b and 5:14): The Halachah follows Rav Huna, who says that a wife can tell her husband 'do not feed me, and I will not work for you.'
Ran (DH deka'Savar): The Ro'oh says that once she says 'do not feed me, and I will not work for you', she cannot say later 'feed me, and I will work for you.' It is unreasonable that she can change whenever she wants. When she does not find work, she will be fed, and when she finds work, she will work for herself! Rather, the enactment is Batel. She also forfeits clothing; it is included in food. She cannot exempt herself from other Melachos, i.e. grinding, baking and cooking. This is only when she says 'do not feed me, and I will not work for you'. If she says only 'I will not work for you', we do not say that it takes effect and her husband need not feed her. When she says 'what my hands produce is Konam to your mouth', her husband need not annul it. This shows that the enactment is not Batel until she explicitly says 'do not feed me'.
Ran (26b DH Gemara): The Gemara asked if R. Yosi bar Chanina holds that a man must work for his wife. It answered that refusal to feed her is rebellion. R. Eliyahu infers that one is obligated to work in order to feed his wife. This is wrong. Rashi explains that he must feed her in exchange for her work.
Ran (62b DH v'Havi). The Rif and Rambam hold that even though a husband (or orphans) receive the earnings of his wife (the widow), when we apportion food we do not deduct from it her earnings. This is astounding. They prove this from a minor whose earnings suffice for her food. According to Rav Zvid, we apportion food for her. (If we would deduct her earnings, she would get nothing!) This is no proof. Perhaps when he left, her earnings sufficed, but now they do not. Alternatively, perhaps she earns more than she is required, and this suffices; we deduct from her rations only what she is required to earn. It seems that Rashi explains like this. However, I cannot argue against the world's greatest Chachamim.
Rambam (Hilchos Ishus 12:4): Chachamim enacted that a man receives his wife's earnings in exchange for feeding her. Therefore, if she says 'do not feed me, and I will not work for you', we heed her and do not force her. If he says 'I will not feed you, and I will not take your earnings', we do not heed him, lest her earnings will not suffice to feed her.
Question (Rosh 4:10): Saying 'he feeds her in exchange for her earnings' connotes that the primary enactment was that he receive her earnings. If so, she should not be able to uproot it! Therefore, Rav Huna changed the text to say that earnings are in exchange for feeding her. It says that he redeems her, in exchange for her Peros. However, we obligate him to redeem her above the value of her Peros, i.e. the enactment was for her sake! If so, she should be allowed to say that she does not want it!
Answer (Rosh): Even Rav Huna does not say that she permanently uproots the enactment. If she says 'do not feed me today, and I will not work for you today', tomorrow she is fed and works for him. Regarding Peros, if she could uproot the enactment, it would be permanent, for her lifelong Peros are in exchange for redemption. Even if she can say 'do not feed me ever, and I will never work for you', this is unlike forfeiting redemption to keep her Peros, for we do not want her to remain in captivity among Nochrim. Alternatively, the husband acquires the land itself for the sake of Peros. This does not apply to earnings.
Shulchan Aruch (EH 69:4): Her earnings are in exchange for feeding her. Therefore, if she says 'do not feed me, and I will not work for you', we heed her.
Rema: Some say that once she says 'do not feed me, and I will not work for you', the enactment is Batel. She cannot retract and say 'feed me, and I will work for you.' Some disagree.
Beis Yosef (DH v'Chosav ha'Ran): The Ro'oh says that she cannot retract. R. Yerucham says that she can retract whenever she wants.
Chelkas Mechokek (6): The latter opinion holds that since the enactment was primarily so she will be fed, she has the upper hand. Since a Shi'ur of work was given for each week, each week she may decide whether she will work for herself or for her husband.
Beis Shmuel (3): The argument depends on whether or not clothing is included in food. The Ran holds that it is, therefore she cannot alternatively between being fed and working for herself. R. Yerucham holds like the Rosh that clothing is not included in food. If it were, her lifelong earnings would be in exchange for food and clothing. We cannot say that sometimes he clothes her, and sometimes she clothes herself!
Rema: Anyone who is not fed does not receive clothing, for it is included in food.
Shulchan Aruch (ibid.): If he says 'I will not feed you, and I will not take your earnings', we do not heed him.
Rema: He can say 'use your earnings to feed yourself, and if it does not suffice I will fill the deficit.'
Beis Shmuel (4): Later (70:9), the Shulchan Aruch says that she can protest. That is when her earnings do not suffice to feed herself. Here, they suffice, so she cannot protest. This is like the Ran (62b DH v'Havi). Others hold that she can protest even if they suffice, i.e. the Rambam (12:20) and Rashi, according to the Mordechai (in Hagahos Ashri Reish Perek 13).
Rema (ibid.): This is if she says 'I will not work, and I will be fed.' She may say 'I will not work, and I will not be fed.'
Beis Shmuel (20): When a nursing woman declines to be fed, she pardons the extra rations given to a nursing woman.