Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kiddushin Declaration

Rav Papa inquired (Nedarim 6b): Is there a yad for kiddushin or not (A man may betroth a woman by saying, “You are hereby betrothed to me.” What is the halacha if he makes a partial declaration? Do we compare kiddushin to nedarim or perhaps there is a distinction between the two; a vow is strict that it takes effect with merely a declaration, but kiddushin requires an action as well?)

The Gemora explains the case: A man said to a woman, “You are hereby betrothed to me,” and then he said to another woman, “And you.” Do we say that he is saying to her “And you, too,” and based upon this partial declaration, kiddushin would take effect with her. Or, perhaps, he is saying to her, “And you have seen that I married the first woman,” and kiddushin will not take effect? The Gemora leaves the matter unresolved.

Reb Chaim Brisker analyzes Rav Papa’s inquiry: Was he uncertain regarding the words “and you,” if that constitutes a language for kiddushin or not? Or, perhaps, it certainly is a valid expression for kiddushin; Rav Papa inquired regarding someone who uses this language. Is his intention to effect kiddushin or not? Reb Chaim concludes that the Gemora’s doubt is regarding the language, for if the question would be in respect to his intent, there would be a simple solution: Ask him! Reb Shimon Shkop explains the uncertainty of the Gemora to be referring to the man’s intention, and not in respect to the language.

The Avnei Miluim maintains that kiddushin cannot take effect without the man’s declaration of betrothal. Reb Boruch Ber states that the husband’s declaration is an integral part of the kiddushin acquisition. The witnesses are required to hear his declaration. It is insufficient for the witnesses to merely recognize his intent for kiddushin and observe as the man presents the woman with an object worth at least a perutah.

The Steipler Gaon, however, disagrees and holds that the husband’s declaration of betrothal is not necessary to effect a kiddushin. His declaration is only needed for the sake of revealing to us his intent for kiddushin. Accordingly, the Steipler is greatly troubled by our Gemora. What difference would it make if there is a yad for kiddushin or not; it is only their intentions that are the necessary component to effect a kiddushin? If they say that they were intending for kiddushin, what is lacking?

He answers that although it is not necessary to hear the husband’s declaration, it is necessary to hear from him that he intends to perform a kiddushin. Kiddushin will not take effect because he intended to perform a kiddushin, if that intent remained in his heart and it was not verbalized. However, if we can gauge from his words that he undoubtedly intended for kiddushin, the kiddushin will be valid. Rav Papa inquired: Are there yados by kiddushin? If there are yados, then his partial declaration is regarded as a full one; we could then determine that he certainly intended for kiddushin. However, if there are no yados by kiddushin, his declaration remains a partial one; we then, cannot ascertain with any degree of certainty that he intended for kiddushin. The Gemora leaves this matter unresolved.


Anonymous said...

Without entering into the entire lamdus here, I was just wondering if there is another instance where we see Kiddushin is dependent on intent. It comes to mind the Gemara in Kiddushin by one who declares that that he will be mekadeish a woman if he is a tzaddik gamur, and the Gemara states that the kiddushin is good because maybe he had thoughts of teshuvah.

Avromi said...

By the sugya of asukim b'oso inyan.

Anonymous said...

I realized that there is different because his intention is for kiddushin, just the fact that he is not yet a tzaddik is possibly meakeiv.