Monday, October 29, 2007

Food for Thought - Kesuvos 58

*** There are several different opinions as to the amount of terumah a groom should provide to his bride prior to the nisuin.

Rabbi Yehudah ben Beseira said: We give her two thirds terumah and one third chulin (unconsecrated produce).

Maharshal comments: An average time for a woman to menstruate (consequently, she is tamei and forbidden from eating terumah) is once every thirty days. The normal flow of blood is for three days. In addition, she must observe seven days of cleanliness prior to becoming tahor and only then will she be permitted to eat terumah again.

Rav Elyashiv Shlita asks: Where did the Maharshal find that an ordinary woman menstruates for three days? It is our custom to wait five days!?

*** The Mishna had stated: The yavam does not entitle his yevamah to eat terumah.

The Gemora explains the reason for this: It is written [Vayikra 22:11]: The acquisition of his money, he may eat of it. Only a Kohen’s own acquisition may eat terumah; however, a yevamah is the acquisition of his brother, not his own.

Rashi maintains that even if the yevamah began eating terumah while her husband was alive, she will be required to cease eating terumah once he dies.

Rabbeinu Tam disagrees and holds that Biblically, once a yevamah obtained the right to eat terumah, she preserves that right even after the husband dies. It is merely a Rabbinical prohibition; the verse cited in the Gemora is only an asmachta (used as support for the Rabbi’s decree).

Reb Elchonon Wasserman in Koveitz Shiurim (183) asks: Why does Rabbeinu Tam hold that the yevamah is Biblically permitted to eat terumah even after her husband died? She is not the wife of a Kohen any longer; she doesn’t have any offspring from the Kohen (which would have allowed her to continue eating terumah) and she is not yet the acquisition of the yavam!?

[Perhaps, this challenge can be answered by examining the concept of the zikah-attachment between the yavam and the yevamah.]