Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Marriage of a Minor

Rabbi Yehoshua says (Kesuvos 101a): The actions of a minor (girl regarding marriage) are significant. Her husband does acquire lost objects that she finds; he is entitled to her earnings; he can annul her vows; he inherits her and he can become impure to her (if she dies and he is a kohen).

*** Rashi in Yevamos (108a) explains that the husband is entitled to her earnings because the Rabbis enacted that her findings are regarded as ownerless in respect to the husband.

The Aruch Lener asks: Why didn’t Rashi explain differently; the findings of every wife belong to the husband, for otherwise, it would create animosity between the two of them?

He answers: Since Biblically, the findings of a minor belong to her father; the logic of “not creating animosity” would not suffice to take the findings away from her father and give it to her husband. It is only because the Rabbis made it ownerless that the husband is entitled to it.

*** Tosfos writes that even if the vows of someone close to adulthood are Biblically valid, the husband can nevertheless annul her vows even though they are only Rabbinically married. This is because when a wife pronounces a vow, she does so with the understanding of her husband, and therefore, he has the ability to annul her vows.

*** Tosfos also explains that the husband is allowed to contaminate himself to her even if he is a Kohen although their marriage is only Rabbinic in nature. This is because his wife is regarded as a meis mitzvah, a corpse that nobody is interested in burying. Since he inherits her, there is no one else who is willing to get involved in her burial.