Thursday, November 01, 2007

Daf Yomi - Kesuvos 61 - Highlights

To Nurse or Not to Nurse

Rav Huna said: Rav Huna bar Chinana tested us with the following question: If the wife wants to nurse the child and the husband does not want her to, we listen to her, for it is painful for her (not to nurse). What would the halacha be if the husband wants the wife to nurse the child and she does not want to; who do we listen to? If it is not her family’s custom to nurse (they are wealthy and hire wet nurses), we certainly listen to her. But, if it is her family’s custom to nurse and his family does not nurse, what is the halacha? We resolved it for him by citing the following braisa: A woman rises to the husband’s standards, but does not descend to his standards (therefore, she may follow his family’s custom of not nursing).

The Gemora cites two opinions as to the Scriptural source for the braisa’s halacha. (61a)

Wife and the Maidservant

The Mishna had stated: If she brings a maid into the marriage, she is not required to grind, bake, or launder clothes.

The Gemora asks: It may be inferred from the Mishna that the wife is still obligated to perform the other chores (cooking, nursing, making his bed and working with wool) for the husband. But why should that be? Let the wife say that the maidservant should perform all the chores?

The Gemora answers: The husband can answer her, “The maidservant will work for me and for her, but who will work for you?” (There is an extra person in this household now.) (61a)

The Mishna had stated: If she brings two maids, she is not required to nurse or cook.

The Gemora asks: It may be inferred from the Mishna that the wife is still obligated to perform the other chores (making his bed and working with wool) for the husband. But why should that be? Let the wife say that one maidservant should work for herself and for her (the wife), and the other maidservant should work for herself and for you (the husband)? (If the wife can perform these chores for two people, it is reasonable to assume that two maidservants can perform these chores for four people.)

The Gemora answers: The husband can answer her, “Who will work for the guests who stay for a long time, and who will work for all the occasional visitors who come in?” (A house that has many household members attracts people to stop by.) (61a)

The Mishna had stated: If she brings three maids she is not required to make his bed or knit with wool.

The Gemora asks: It may be inferred that her other duties, however, she must perform; but why? Let her say to him, “I brought you a third maidservant to attend upon our guests and occasional visitors.”

The Gemora answers: It is because he might reply, “The more people that are in the household, the more number of guests and occasional visitors there will be.”

The Gemora asks: If so, the same claim could also be advanced even when there were four maidservants?

The Gemora answers: In the case of four maidservants, since their number is considerable they assist one another. (61a)

Rabbi Chana, or some say Rav Shmuel bar Nachmeini, stated: When the Mishna said that she brought in maidservants, it does not mean that she had actually brought them; but rather, the Mishna means that wherever she brings in a dowry from which she is in a position to bring in maidservants, she will be released from the obligation of performing those chores, even though she has not actually brought any maidservants.

The Gemora cites the following braisa which supports this opinion: A wife is entitled to the same privileges whether she brought a maidservant to him or whether she saved up for one out of her own income. (61a)

Mixing a Cup of Wine for her Husband

The Mishna had stated: If she brings four maids she can just sit in her special silk canopy (easy chair).

Rav Yitzchak bar Chananya said in the name of Rav Huna: Even though they said that she may sit in her easy chair, she should nevertheless mix a cup of wine for him, make his bed and wash his face, hands and feet.

Rav Yitzchak bar Chananya said in the name of Rav Huna: All kinds of work that a woman performs for her husband, a menstruant may perform for her husband, except the mixing of the cup (of wine to serve him), and the making of his bed and the washing of his face, his hands and his feet (because these actions may bring about temptation).

Rava notes: That which we stated that a menstruant shall not make her husband’s bed, that is only if her husband is present, but if he is not present, she is permitted to make his bed.

With regard to ‘the mixing of the cup,’ Shmuel’s wife made a change (during her ‘seven clean days’ after menstruation and prior to ritual immersion, when marital relations are still forbidden – Rashi) by serving him with her left hand. Abaye’s wife placed the cup on the edge of the wine cask. Rava's wife placed it on the pillow. Rav Papa's wife put it on his foot-stool. (61a)
The Danger of Craving for Food

Rav Yitzchak bar Chananya further stated: All foods may remain in the presence of the waiter (even though, he will not be eating until they finished) except meat and wine (which excite his appetite and any delay in satisfying it will cause him extreme pain).

Rav Chisda said: This applies only to fatty meat and old wine. Rava said: It applies to fatty meat throughout the year but old wine only in the Tammuz season.

Rav Anan bar Tachlifa related: I was once standing in the presence of Shmuel when they brought him a dish of mushrooms, and, had he not given me to eat from it, I would have been exposed to danger.

Rav Ashi said: I was once standing before Rav Kahana when they brought him slices of turnip heads in vinegar, and, had he not given me to eat from it, I would have been exposed to danger.

Rav Papa said: Even a fragrant date may expose one to danger.

This is the general rule: Any food that has a strong aroma or an sharp taste will expose a man to danger if he is not allowed to eat from it.

Both Avuha bar Ihi and Minyamin bar Ihi showed consideration for their waiter. One would give him a portion of every kind of dish served while the other gave him a portion of one kind only (at the beginning of the meal, and gave him from the other dishes upon the conclusion of the meal). With the former Eliyahu conversed, but with the latter, he did not.

It was related of two pious men, and others say that they were Rav Mari and Rav Pinchas the sons of Rav Chisda: One of them gave a share to his waiter first while the other gave him last. With the one who gave the waiter his share first, Eliyahu conversed; with the one, however, who gave his waiter last, Eliyahu did not converse. (By failing to give the waiter a share as soon as the various dishes were served, he caused him unnecessary pain of unsatisfied desire and hunger.)

The Gemora records a related incident: Ameimar, Mar Zutra and Rav Ashi were once sitting at the gate of King Izgur’s palace (a Persian king). The King’s table-steward passed them by (carrying food for the king). Rav Ashi, observing that Mar Zutra turned pale in the face, took some of the food with his finger and put it into his mouth. “You have ruined the king’s meal,” the table-steward exclaimed. “Why did you do such a thing?” he was asked by the king’s officers. Rav Ashi responded, “The man who prepared that dish has rendered the King's food objectionable.” “Why?” they asked him. “I noticed,” he replied, “leprous pig meat in it.” They examined the dish but did not find anything. Rav Ashi took hold of the chef’s finger and put it on one piece of meat, and he asked them, “Did you examine this part?” They examined it and miraculously found it to be as Rav Ashi had said. The Rabbis asked him, “Why did you rely upon a miracle?” Rav Ashi replied, “I saw the demon of leprosy hovering over him.”

The Gemora records another related incident: A Roman once said to a woman, “Will you marry me?” “No,” she replied. Thereupon, he brought some pomegranates, split them open and ate them in her presence. She kept on swallowing all the saliva that irritated her, but he did not give her any of the fruit until her body became swollen. Eventually, he said to her, “If I cure you, will you marry me?” “Yes,” she replied. He went and brought more pomegranates, split them open and ate them in her presence. He said to her, “All the saliva that irritates you, spit out at once, and again and again.” She continued doing so until something issued forth from her body in the shape of a green palm-leaf, and she recovered. (61a – 61b)

Rav Malkiyo or Malkiya?

The Mishna had stated: Rabbi Eliezer says: Even if she brings one hundred maids into the marriage, he can force her to knit, as her having nothing to do could lead to promiscuity.

Rav Malkiyo stated in the name of Rav Adda bar Ahavah: The halacha follows the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer.

Rav Chanina the son of Rav Ika said: The rulings concerning a spit (that has been used for the roasting of meat on a festival, although it is deemed to be muktza, may be placed in a corner in an unusual manner), maidservants and pores (that these, even without pubic hairs growing from them, are sufficient indication of puberty) were authored by Rav Malkiyo; but those concerning locks of hair (an Israelite trimming the hairs of an idolater must withdraw his hand at a distance of three finger’s breadth on every side of the forelock to avoid assisting them in servicing their idols), ashes (are forbidden to be spread on a wound in order to heal it because it gives the appearance of a tattoo), and cheese (made by idolaters are forbidden since they smear it with lard) were authored by Rav Malkiya.

Rav Papa, however, said: If the statement is made concerning a Mishna or a braisa, the author is Rav Malkiya, but if it is concerning an Amora’s statement, the author is Rav Malkiyo. And your mnemonic is: A Tannaic statement is a queen. (A statement issued by a Tanna is more authoritative than a statement from an Amora. Malkiya, whose name closely resembles queen, is to be associated with the Mishna and the braisa that are designated queen.)

The Gemora asks: What is the practical difference between them?

The Gemora answers: It is the statement concerning maidservants (which is recorded in our Mishna; according to Rav Papa, the statement concerning it must be that of R. Malkiya, while according to Rav Chanina, it is included among the statements attributed to R. Malkiyo. (61b)

The Mishna had stated: Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Even if someone vows that his wife is forbidden to do work, he should divorce her and give her a kesuvah, as having nothing to do can cause her to go crazy.

The Gemora asks: Isn’t this the same view as that of the Tanna Kamma?

The Gemora answers: The practical difference between them is the case of a woman who plays with puppies or who plays chess (a woman who spends her time in this manner may be exposed to the temptation of promiscuity, but is in no danger of falling into idiocy). (61b)


The Mishna states: If one vowed, prohibiting his wife to have conjugal relations with him, Beis Shamai say: Two weeks (if the vow is for longer than this period, it is the duty of the husband either to have his vow disallowed or to release his wife by divorce). Beis Hillel say: One week.

Students (who have an obligation to perform their conjugal duties once a week) may go out for Torah study without permission for thirty days. Laborers (who have an obligation to perform their conjugal duties twice a week) may leave for one week.

The conjugal rights of a wife stated in the Torah are as follows: Tayalin - every day; laborers - twice a week; donkey drivers - once a week; camel drivers - once in thirty days; sailors - once in six months; these are the words of Rabbi Eliezer. (61b)

The Gemora cites the Scriptural sources for Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel’s respective opinions. (61b)