Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Perfume for the Yerushalmi Women

The Mishna had stated: The groom should give ten dinars to her “kupah.”

The Gemora (Kesuvos 66b) asks: What is her “kupah?” Rav Ashi says: It refers to her box of perfumes. Rav Ashi qualified this ruling: This law was only stated regarding Yerushalayim.

Tosfos explains: Although, the Gemora in Yoma (39b) states that a bride had no necessity to use fragrances because of the aroma of the ketores; they still required cosmetics in order to beautify her skin.

The Ritva (ibid) answers: It was beneath the dignity of the wealthy women in Yerushalayim to rely on the aroma of the ketores; their husbands were required to provide fragrances for them.

The Netziv answers that the aroma of the ketores was only sufficient during the time of the burning of the incense, but a husband needed to provide his wife with perfumes and cosmetics for the remainder of the time.

Reb Elozar Moshe Horowitz answers: On the contrary! The women of Yerushalayim required even more perfume than others. When they took leave of Yerushalayim, they needed to compensate for the lack of the aroma emanating from the ketores.

A similar answer is brought from the Likutei Chaver ben Chaim: A woman in Yerushalayim required even more perfume than an ordinary woman, for if she would want that her husband should recognize her distinct smell, she would need to use a lot of perfume in order that her aroma should not be negated by the aroma of the ketores.


Anonymous said...

These are the same Bnos Yerushlayim who when young men walked by steped hard on this besamin to cause hirhurim raim to the young men?

Alex said...

That was during the time of the first Beis Hamikdash (Yeshayah 3:16; the Gemara (Yoma 9b) cites this as an example of the "gilui arayos" that led to the churban). The mishnah that R' Avromi is referring to is presumably talking about the era of the second Beis Hamikdash - during which, as the same Gemara in Yoma points out, the "big three" aveiros were not an issue.