Monday, October 20, 2008

A Widow's Permission

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It is written in the sefer Siach Sarfei Kodesh: The Rebbe Reb Bunim was learning with his students. Amongst them was Reb Hersh Temishvar. He was one who would listen intently, but never once did he ask or answer anything.

One day, the other students came over to Reb Hersh and informed him of the new policy: If he wouldn’t contribute anything to the class, he would be asked to leave.

They were learning that day the portion in Gemora Kiddushin (Daf Yomi: 13a)dealing with the question of where is the source that teaches us that the husband’s death completely permits the wife to remarry.

The Kotzker Rebbe asked his students: Why can this not be derived from the fact that Dovid HaMelech married the wife of Naval after he died? If the husband’s death does not allow the wife to remarry, how could Dovid have married her?

Reb Hersh spoke up and answered as follows: It would not be a proof from that incident, for Naval was considered a rebel against Dovid’s Kingdom, and therefore all of his possessions legally belong to Dovid. Accordingly, even if we would say that a husband’s death would not permit the wife to remarry, Dovid would still be permitted to marry his wife, for he is the owner of all of Naval’s possessions. We would have thought that Naval’s wife would have been included in his possessions, and that would have allowed Dovid to marry her.

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Kiddushin Daf 12


Shmuel Daf yomi Kiddushin 12a said: If someone betroths a woman with a date, even if a kur of dates is only worth a dinar, we say that she is betrothed, as a single date might be worth a perutah in (the country of) Media (where dates are not so common).

The Ra”n explains that this is because she can say that to her, the date is worth a perutah.

This explanation is challenged by the Acharonim, for if so, the kiddushin should be valid even if it is not worth a perutah in Media (similar to the incident involving Rav Kahana and the kerchief cited above)?

The Pardes Yosef answers: In order for someone to say, “It is worth a perutah to me,” it has to be regarded as “money,” and not mere earth. It is considered “money” if it valued as a perutah somewhere in the world. If the date is worth a perutah in Media, the woman can say here, “It is worth a perutah to me.”


Today, the custom, based upon the Ram”a is as follows: Under the chupah, prior to the man giving the ring to the woman, the Rabbi asks the witnesses in the presence of the bride whether, in their opinion, the ring is worth a perutah, the minimum amount necessary for the marriage to be effective. This is done in order that the woman should know that her husband is only marrying her with one perutah of the value of the ring, and the remaining value is a present. It follows, therefore, that if the ring were to be found fake, it should not affect the marriage. As long as the ring was worth a perutah, she cannot claim that she consented to the marriage under an erroneous assumption. Although she thought that her present (the ring) was worth more than it actually did, it cannot affect the marriage.

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Kiddushin at Night

The Mishna had stated: The monetary transaction, according to Beis Shamai, must be done with a dinar or the equivalent of a dinar.

The Gemora Daf Yomi Kiddushin 11a asks: What is Beis Shamai’s reasoning?

Rabbi Zeira answers: A woman is particular that she should not become betrothed for less than a dinar.

Abaye asks: If so, what about the daughters of Rabbi Yannai, who are generally particular not to accept kiddushin of less than three kav of gold dinars? Are you saying that if she would accept only a dinar from someone that it would not be a valid kiddushin?

Rabbi Zeira responds: If she would knowingly take this amount of kiddushin, indeed it would be valid. The case I am referring to is if she took the money at night (and was unable to see the value of the coin). Alternatively, the case is where she made a messenger to accept kiddushin for her, and did not specify how much she wants.

The Mizrachi maintains that a get given at night is Biblically invalid. Accordingly, the halachah should be that kiddushin given at night is also invalid, for kiddushin is juxtaposed to geirushin (divorce).

The Acharonim challenge this ruling from our Gemora which clearly states that a kiddushin given at night is valid!?

The Shaar HaMelech writes that our Gemora can be referring to a kiddushin where the man gave money to the woman at night, for kiddushin through money is not derived from geirushin. The Mizrachi, however, is referring to kiddushin through a document. That will not be valid if done at night, for that we derive from geirushin.

Reb Elchonon Wasserman disagrees and states that the Rishonim who assert that kiddushin through money is not learned out from geirushin only say that with respect to the act of kiddushin, and that is why kiddushin is valid with using something that is connected to the ground (even though a get of that type will be invalid). However, with respect to the validity of the kiddushin, all types of methods of kiddushin are derived from geirushin (and then the halachah of invalidating a kiddushin occurring at night can quite possible be derived from geirushin, even when it is done through money).

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Expert in all Areas

Rabbi Yehudah ben Beseira Daf Yomi Kiddushin 10a sent back to Ben Bag Bag: You do not hold this way? I understand that you are an expert in many areas of the Torah. Don’t you know how to derive a kal vachomer?

Why must he be an expert in many areas of the Torah in order to expound a kal vachomer? Isn’t a kal vachomer based upon logic?

Reb Elchonon Wasserman cites from Reb Chaim Brisker who explained as follows: One need not be an expert to expound a kal vachomer; however, the kal vachomer might be refuted from another area of Torah. In order for one to expound a kal vachomer that will not be refuted from anywhere else in the Torah, he must be an expert in all areas of Torah.

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Diamond Ring

The Gemora Daf Yomi Kiddushin 9aconcludes that silk (or things of unknown value that are clearly worth a perutah or more) do not require an evaluation before kiddushin.

Tosfos writes that this is only regarding items that their value is somewhat known and it is uncommon for people to make mistakes about it. However, items such as gems and pearls, where there are some that have very little value, people are apt to think that they are worth a lot, when in truth, they are worth very little; these require appraisal before they are used for kiddushin. This is why it has become the custom not to give diamond rings for kiddushin.

[Why has it become the custom to use a ring for kiddushin?]

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