Sunday, December 21, 2008

Born into a Mixture - Kiddushin 64

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The Mishna states: If a man has two sets of daughters by two wives, and he declares, “I have given my elder daughter in betrothal, but I do not know whether it was the eldest of the elder group (the first marriage) or the eldest of the younger group (the second marriage), or the youngest of the elder group, who is older than the eldest of the younger group,” they are all forbidden, except for the youngest of the younger group. This is Rabbi Meir’s opinion.

The Makneh asks: Why are they all forbidden? Let us apply the principle of “following the majority”! We should say that each one of these women came from the majority of women that are permitted!?

He answers based upon the following opinion of the Mordechai: We say that something becomes nullified in a majority only when it was once recognized, and afterwards it became intermingled with others. However, something which was created in a state of mixture, it is not possible for it to be nullified by the majority. In our case, we never knew which daughter he was referring to and therefore they will all be forbidden.