Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's Worth a Perutah to her

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Rav said (Kiddushin 52) : We see four lessons from our Mishna, three of which Rav held of clearly. One is that a person who betroths a woman with shemitah fruit has done a valid kiddushin.

Rashi explains that the novelty is that even though the produce is ownerless because of shemitah, nevertheless, once he picks it up and takes it for himself, he acquires it, and he can use it for kiddushin.

The Mishnah Lamelech poses the following question: Can a man betroth a woman with something that to him is not valued at a perutah, but to the woman, it is worth a perutah? He resolves this from a Rashi in Avodah Zarah which seems to indicate that she would be mekudeshes.

However, from Rashi in our Gemora, it would seem otherwise. What compelled Rashi to say that the man had acquired the shemitah produce before he gives it to the woman? Even if he does not acquire it first, she should be mekudeshes, for she acquires it!?

The Chedvas Yaakov explains that with respect to the produce of shemitah, if it is not regarded as being in his possession, it will not be hers either, for we would say that it is regarded as Divine property (and it belongs to nobody). However, something that belongs to the man, but it is not worth a perutah, may be used to effect kiddushin, if to the woman, it is worth a perutah.