By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com
Rav Yaakov Emden (1697-1776), better known as the Yaavetz, was one of the Gedolei haAchronim. He lived in Altona, which was then a territory owned by the King of Denmark called Holstein Glueckstadt. Jews lived there because the taxes were significantly lower than nearby Hamburg.
There is a fascinating Yaavetz which many Jewish women would love to point out to their husbands. It deals with the Gemorah in Megillah 23a. The Mishna explains that on Yom Tov only five people are called to the Torah. The Gemorah is trying to identify the author of the Mishna.
As part of this endeavor, the Gemorah cites a Braisah which explains that only five are called on Yom Tov and no more. Why is that the case? Because, the Gemorah explains, on Yom Tov – people come later and leave early. Rashi explains that they are busy with the meal preparations.
The Yaavetz asks a question on Rashi. Why would the preparing of the food affect how the men come to shul? Isn’t the food preparation generally the domain of women? He answers that the men are to be taking care of the children and watching over the household.
Many Seforim and Poskim point to this Yaavetz as an obligation to assist one’s wife during these times.
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