Theme #3: Economics/Relationship between Husband and Wife

Theme #3: Economics/Relationship between Husband and Wife

In this excerpt, Glückel describes the importance of travel and fairs to her husband’s business and the toll that travel takes on his health. She also demonstrates her own importance as a partner in her husband’s business affairs.

While my husband was attending the Leipzig Fair he fell grievously ill.  In those days Jews ran a terrible danger in Leipzig; if one among them, G-d forbid! Died there, all his possessions were forfeit.

Judah Berlin, who was also at the fair, tended to my husband and nursed him with great care; and when he saw that my husband has recovered somewhat, he spoke to him as one good friend to another, and urged my husband, who was far from strong bodied, to give up the hard journeys.  He proposed they should enter into business partnership; he was young and willing to travel, and confident that he could make enough for both of them to live comfortably.

My husband said to him, “I cannot decide in Leipzig.  I am not yet myself, and I fear to remain here any longer lest, G-d forbid, I grow even worse.  Since this is settlement week at the fair and at best little business can be done, I will hire a coach and return home, and you can ride along with me.  Once home, G-d willing, we can talk further, and my Glückelchen (sweet way to refer to his wife, Glückel) will be there to give us her sound advice.”  For my husband did nothing without my knowledge. (p. 66)

Questions to Ponder:

What does this excerpt imply about the dangers of anti-Semitic legislation?

How would you describe the relationship between Glückel and her husband based on this excerpt?

Why was traveling for work so common for Jews in the early modern period?


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Theme #3: Economics/Relationship between Husband and Wife." (Viewed on May 20, 2024) <>.