Monday, October 20, 2008

Kiddushin at Night

The Mishna had stated: The monetary transaction, according to Beis Shamai, must be done with a dinar or the equivalent of a dinar.

The Gemora Daf Yomi Kiddushin 11a asks: What is Beis Shamai’s reasoning?

Rabbi Zeira answers: A woman is particular that she should not become betrothed for less than a dinar.

Abaye asks: If so, what about the daughters of Rabbi Yannai, who are generally particular not to accept kiddushin of less than three kav of gold dinars? Are you saying that if she would accept only a dinar from someone that it would not be a valid kiddushin?

Rabbi Zeira responds: If she would knowingly take this amount of kiddushin, indeed it would be valid. The case I am referring to is if she took the money at night (and was unable to see the value of the coin). Alternatively, the case is where she made a messenger to accept kiddushin for her, and did not specify how much she wants.

The Mizrachi maintains that a get given at night is Biblically invalid. Accordingly, the halachah should be that kiddushin given at night is also invalid, for kiddushin is juxtaposed to geirushin (divorce).

The Acharonim challenge this ruling from our Gemora which clearly states that a kiddushin given at night is valid!?

The Shaar HaMelech writes that our Gemora can be referring to a kiddushin where the man gave money to the woman at night, for kiddushin through money is not derived from geirushin. The Mizrachi, however, is referring to kiddushin through a document. That will not be valid if done at night, for that we derive from geirushin.

Reb Elchonon Wasserman disagrees and states that the Rishonim who assert that kiddushin through money is not learned out from geirushin only say that with respect to the act of kiddushin, and that is why kiddushin is valid with using something that is connected to the ground (even though a get of that type will be invalid). However, with respect to the validity of the kiddushin, all types of methods of kiddushin are derived from geirushin (and then the halachah of invalidating a kiddushin occurring at night can quite possible be derived from geirushin, even when it is done through money).