Thursday, November 27, 2008

Accepting less than a Perutah - Kiddushin 46

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The Mishna had stated: If she was eating them one by one (as soon as one was given to her, she ate it), she is not mekudeshes unless one of the dates was valued at a perutah.

The Gemora asks: On which case of the Mishna is this ruling referring to?

Rav and Shmuel both answer: It is referring to the first case of the Mishna, and it is written in a “it was not necessary to state” format. Certainly, if she leaves the dates as is, the halachah is as follows: If one of them is valued at a perutah, the kiddushin is valid; otherwise, it is not. However, if she eats them one by one, perhaps she will be mekudeshes even if there is not one of them which is valued at a perutah. This would be because she derives the benefit from them immediately, and perhaps she decides to give herself to him even though it is less than a perutah. The Mishna teaches us that this is not so.

Tosfos Yeshanim writes that although the halachah is clear that kiddushin cannot take effect with an object valued at less than a perutah even if the woman consents to it; nevertheless, it is sufficient enough of a reason to explain why it was necessary for the Mishna to state such a case.

Poras Yosef explains based on a Gemora above (8a), which states: Rav Kahana indeed used to accept a (special male) head covering for the firstborn redemption, and he would say, “For me this is worth five sela’im.” The Ra”n there was uncertain if that logic could work for something that is not worth a perutah, and the person says, “To me, it is worth a perutah.” He specifically mentions kiddushin as a practical application for this. The reason to distinguish between the two is that perhaps something that is not “money” (if it less than a perutah), cannot be made into “money” by the fact that someone accepts it to be worth more than it actually is. Accordingly, it can be said that this is the novelty that our Mishna is teaching us. Although the woman accepts the date to be worth more than a perutah to her, the kiddushin is not valid, for the date (being valued at less than a perutah) is not regarded as “money” at all.