Thursday, November 27, 2008

Opportunity to Repent - Kiddushin 49

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If he says, “Become betrothed to me on condition that I am a righteous person,” she is mekudeshes even if he is completely wicked, because perhaps he intends to repent.

The Beis Yosef writes in the name of Rabbeinu Yeruchem that if he is a rasha due to sins committed between his fellow man, such as a thief, he cannot be considered righteous until he returns the stolen object. And so it would be by all such sins; if he wounded his fellow man, he cannot be regarded as a Tzadik until he compensates the injured party.

However, some say that as long as he has resolved to make amends, he is considered a righteous person.

The sefer Shai Lemoreh asks: The Gemora in Bava Kamma states that if a person stole money and he decided that he will return it, but before he had the opportunity to return it, he died, he is not regarded as a wicked person. Yet we find that Yom Kippur does not atone for sins between a man and his fellow until one asks forgiveness from the one that he offended. It emerges that even though he already repented, Yom Kippur will not atone for those sins!?

He answers that by Yom Kippur, it is different. Since the injured party is still alive, he still has the opportunity to ask him for forgiveness. So long as he does not take advantage of that opportunity, he will not be forgiven. However, one who steals and later intended to return that which he stole, but he died beforehand, he is not regarded as a rasha, for now, he does have the availability to make amends.

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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.

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Everybody Knows - Kiddushin 45

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The Gemora had stated: Everyone knows that the sister of one’s chalutzah is only prohibited to that person according to Rabbinic law! Therefore, if the yavam, the one who performed chalitzah, gives kiddushin to her sister, the kiddushin would clearly be valid.

Rav Yehudah Assad in teshuvos Yehudah Yaaleh asks the following question: Why do we assume that everyone knows that the chalutzah’s sister is only a Rabbinical prohibition? Tosfos in Bava Metzia (15b) writes: Shmuel maintains that if someone sells a field during Yovel, the money is returned. Shmuel does not say that since everyone knows that a field cannot be sold during Yovel, the money was definitely given as a gift. This is because there is a dispute on this matter, as Rav holds that a field can be sold during Yovel. Something that is a topic of dispute is not well-known. If so, perhaps everyone does not know that a chalutzah’s sister is only a Rabbinical prohibition, for Rabbi Akiva, in fact, holds that she is Biblically forbidden!?

He answers that it is quite possible that Rabbi Akiva holds that the chalutzah’s sister is Biblically forbidden to the yavam only if she was a nesuah to her first husband. However, if she was only an arusah, like in our case, everyone agrees that she is only Rabbinically forbidden.

Reb Ezriel Hildesheimer answers that Tosfos’ logic applied to Shmuel himself, for although the halachah is according to Shmuel, Shmuel himself could not say that everyone knows that a field cannot be sold during Yovel, because he knew that Rav disagrees with this. However, here, everyone knows that the halachah follows Rebbe that the chalutzah’s sister is only Rabbinically forbidden.

In the gloss to the sefer Yehudah Yaaleh, another distinction between the two cases is pointed out. Firstly, by Yovel, we are concerned about one person; namely, the buyer. Perhaps he does not know that a field cannot be sold during Yovel. Here, we are worried about the onlookers. We can safely assume that many people will not make a mistake even though there is an argument on the matter.

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Transposing the Opinions - Kiddushin Daf 44

It was stated: If a minor accepted kiddushin without the knowledge of her father, Shmuel said: She requires a get and mi’un (A girl whose father had died could be given in marriage while still a minor (under the age of twelve) by her mother or older brother. This marriage is only valid Rabbinically. As long as she has not attained the age of twelve, she may nullify the marriage by refusing to live with her husband. This act of refusal, referred to as mi’un nullifies the marriage retroactively.). Karna asked: If she needs a get, why is mi’un necessary? And if mi’un is needed, why do we require a get?

Other Amoraim replied to him: Mar Ukva and his Beis Din are in Kafri (let’s ask him). They switched the opinions of Shmuel and Karna and sent it to Rav (they did this on purpose, for Rav was a close friend of Shmuel and they wished to see if Rav would agree to Karna’s ruling if it was said in the name of Shmuel). Rav said to them: Hashem! She requires a get and mi’un and Heaven forbid that the son of Abba bar Abba (Shmuel) should say such a thing!

The Reshash asks: How can it be that they would think that Rav would be influenced to rule according to Shmuel, for he was his friend? And besides, Rav and Shmuel argue throughout Shas!? He shows that Rashi elsewhere understands the word “switched” to mean “by mistake.”

Some say that Rashi did not write this, but rather, one of his students mistakenly inserted this explanation into his commentary.

The Reshash also asks: Why doesn’t the Gemora mention what Mar Ukva answered?

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The Snake's Claim - Kiddushin 43

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It is written [Breishis 3:14]: And Hashem said to the snake, “Because you have done this, cursed be you more than all the cattle and more than all the beasts of the field; you shall walk on your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.”

Rashi cites a Gemora in Sanhedrin (29a): From here we can derive that we may not intercede in favor of one who persuades people to commit idolatry, for had Hashem asked him, “Why did you do this?” the snake could have answered, “The words of the teacher and the words of the student; whose words do we listen to?” [Adam and Chavah should have obeyed Hashem rather than the snake!]

The Perashas Derachim cites a Medrash: Rabbi Chanina says: Under the Nohadite laws a murderer will be sentenced to death even if there is only one witness, even with only one judge, even without a proper warning and even if he killed via an agent. Evidently, the logic of “the words of the teacher and the words of the student; whose words do we listen to?” does not apply under Nohadite law! If so, what would it have benefited the snake by claiming that Adam and Chavah should not have listened to him? Under Nohadite laws, this would not have been a valid excuse!?

He answers based upon our Gemora, which states: Even if Shamai holds that agency applies by transgressions, he would admit that the agent is liable and the sender is exempt in the following case: If one tells his agent, “Go and cohabit with a forbidden relative,” or “Go and eat this forbidden fat.” The reason is because we do not find in the Torah that one person will benefit from the sin and a different person should be liable for that act. Accordingly, by the sin of the Tree of Wisdom, where the sin was the eating, the snake’s claim would have been valid, for we do not find that one person will benefit from the sin and a different person should be liable for that act.

The Shach asks that although we hold that there is no agency by transgressions, but the sender is nevertheless liable under the laws of Heaven. If so, what would it have benefitted the snake by this claim? He would anyways be liable under the laws off Heaven!?

The Mishnah Lamelech answers that since in this case the sin involved eating, the sender would not be liable even under the laws of Heaven. This is because we do not find in the Torah that one person will benefit from the sin and a different person should be liable for that act.

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