Monday, December 22, 2008

Discretion of the Judges - Kiddushin 74

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The braisa continues: A judge is believed to say the following: “I found in favor of this person, and I found against this person.” This is only true if the litigants are still standing before him (for then, he is still responsible to remember how he ruled); otherwise, he is not believed.

The Gemora asks: But let us check to see who is holding the document in which it is written that the verdict was in his favor?

The Gemora answers: The braisa is referring to a case where the document was ripped up.

The Gemora asks: Why don’t we just rejudge the case?

The Gemora answers: The braisa is referring to a case where it was decided based upon “the choice of the judges” (and we therefore are concerned that he will not reach the same verdict the second time).

The Gemora in Kesuvos (85a) cites the following dispute: If a person sold the same field to two people on the same day, Rav says they should split the field, and Shmuel says the law is the choice of the judges (they should decide who to give it to).

The Rishonim disagree as to the method that the judges should use to give one of the claimants the entire field. Rashi explains that “the choice of the judges” means that the judges choose to whom the property in question should be given by attempting to determine, based on logical considerations, to whom the seller would have preferred to give the field.

Tosfos argues with Rashi and maintains that “the choice of the judges” means that the judges give the field to whomever they please. They need not base their decision on whom they think the seller preferred, but rather, they base their decision on whatever considerations they deem appropriate, such as which of the two claimants needs the property more, or which one is a Torah scholar.

The Gemora maintains, at this point, that in general, it is preferable to resolve the case with “the choice of the judges” rather than to split the property, because by using this method, there is at least a possibility that the correct person will receive the entire field. Therefore, according to Shmuel, the judges give the entire field to one of the two claimants.

Kollel Iyun HaDaf discusses why Rav would disagree and hold that the property is divided because of the witnesses’ signatures.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Righteous Person Born on that Day

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The Gemora (Kiddushin 72) relates: When Rebbe was about to die, he said, “There is a city Homanya in Bavel, and all of its residents are Ammonites. There is a city Misgarya in Bavel, and all of its residents are mamzeirim. There is a city Birka in Bavel, and there are two brothers who swap their wives with each other. There is a city Birsa Disatya in Bavel, and today its residents have strayed from Hashem. One Shabbos there was an abundance of fish in the pond and they all came to catch the fish. Rabbi Achai the son of Rabbi Yoshiyah excommunicated them, and then they became apostates. There is a city Akra D’Agma in Bavel, and a man named Adda bar Ahavah resides there, who today is sitting in the lap of Avraham (for he was being circumcised that day). Rav Yehudah was born today in Bavel.”

For master taught: When Rabbi Akiva died, Rebbe was born. When Rebbe died, Rav Yehudah was born. When Rav Yehudah died, Rava was born. When Rava died, Rav Ashi was born. This teaches you that a righteous person does not leave this world until a righteous person like him is created. This is as it says: And the sun rises and the sun sets. Before the sun of Eli was extinguished, the sun of Shmuel the Ramasi rose.

The commentators ask: Why is it necessary to be anguished when a righteous person departs from this world? Why, behold, another righteous person was born and will be capable of taking his place?

The Chidah offers several answers:

1) It is not definite that the new righteous person will find himself in the same location as the previous one; it is therefore incumbent on the residents of the city to mourn their loss.
2) Although there will be an eventual replacement for the deceased tzaddik, but it will take some time until he reaches the level of his predecessor. It is for this period of time, when there will be a void of a righteous person, that people are required to mourn for.

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Money Purifies a Mamzer

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Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said (Kiddushin 71) : Money will purify mamzeirim (if they are accepted into Klal Yisroel through their wealth, Hashem will not make their disqualifications known in the Messianic era).

The question is obvious: How can money purify mamzeirim? Is money the answer for all things?

The Ri”f, when he cites Rabbi Tarfon in the Mishna (Rabbi Tarfon said: There is a manner in which mamzeirim can be purified. How is this? If a mamzer marries a slavewoman, the child is classified as a slave (and not a mamzer). If the child is freed, he is regarded as a free man, and is permitted to marry into the congregation.), writes: and this is what Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said that money will purify mamzeirim.

The Ra”n explains the Ri”f as follows: He means that a mamzer can purify himself with money, by purchasing a slavewoman and marrying her. However, the Ra”n concludes that it does not appear that this is the simple explanation in the Gemora.

Reb Heshel from Cracow explained our Gemora based upon a Gemora in Bava Metzia (83b), which states that a person who acts with chutzpah is a sign that he is a mamzer. However, it is also known that rich people can also act with chutzpah. It emerges as follows: If one is seen acting with chutzpah, there is a strong possibility that he is a mamzer. However, money can purify a mamzer. For if he is wealthy, we will say that it is on account of his wealth that he is acting with chutzpah, and not because he is a mamzer.

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Converts are like Sapachas

Rabbi Chelbo said (Kiddushin 70) : Converts are as harmful to the Jewish people as sapachas (a type of tzara’as).

Rashi explains that this is because converts are not so meticulous in the performance of mitzvos, and those Jews who observe this behavior will become influenced by them.

Tosfos writes that each and every Jew is a guarantor for his fellow, and if converts do not perform mitzvos meticulously, they will be punished on account of them.

Tosfos rejects this explanation, for he proves that when the Jewish people accepted to be guarantors for each other, they did not accept to be guarantors for the converts as well.

Tosfos brings another explanation: They are harmful to the Jews, for it is impossible that someone will not bother them, and the punishment for this will be severe, for the Torah in twenty-four places warn the Jewish people not to bother the converts.

Tosfos brings another explanation: It is because of the converts that we are still in exile, for the Gemora says that Klal Yisroel are scattered all over the world much more so than other nations in order for there to be additional converts.

Rabbeinu Avraham the convert explains differently: It is because the converts are meticulous in their performance of the mitzvos. This shows the shortcomings of ordinary Jews.

The Rambam (Issurei Bi’ah 14:2) writes that we inform the prospective convert the essentials of the faith, which is the unity of God and the prohibition of idolatry, and they go on at great length about these matters.

The Machaneh Chaim (Y”D II, 45) asks: Why isn’t this forbidden on account of a gentile studying Torah? The Gemora in Sanhedrin (59a) states explicitly that a non-Jew who studies Torah is liable for death.

He answers by citing a Medrash Tanchuma in Parshas Vayelech: The numerical value of Torah is six hundred and eleven. The remaining two mitzvos which complete the six hundred and thirteen are the two mitzvos which were given by Hashem directly at Har Sinai. This is the explanation of the verse: The Torah that Moshe commanded us to observe. Moshe instructed us regarding six hundred and eleven mitzvos; the other two were from Hashem.

The prohibition against teaching an idolater Torah is only applicable to the six hundred and eleven mitzvos that Moshe taught us. The other two, I am Hashem your God and the Unity of God; one would be permitted to teach to them. This is where the Rambam derived his ruling from; we can go on with great length discussing the unity of God and the prohibition of idolatry.

The Maharsha (Shabbos 31a) writes that it is permitted to teach Torah to an idolater who wishes to convert. He proves this from the incident with Hillel and the convert.

Reb Akiva Eiger (41) disagrees and maintains that it is forbidden to teach Torah to an idolater even if he is planning on converting. Hillel taught the convert Torah only after he converted.

At that time, the plaintiff spoke up and said to Rav Yehudah, “Is it me that you call a slave, when, in fact, I descend from the Chasmonai family!” Rav Yehudah responded, “Shmuel has said that whoever says that he is from the Chashmonai family is in truth a slave (for Herod had killed them all out).

Rav Nachman said to Rav Yehudah, “Do you not hold of that which Rabbi Abba said in the name of Rav Huna, who said in the name of Rav: Wherever a scholar issues a halachic ruling (that was previously unknown) and such a point comes up for a practical decision, he is obeyed if he made the statement before the incident occurred, but if the statement was made only after the incident occurred, he is not obeyed (and therefore, we do not have to accept this ruling which you stated in the name of Shmuel)!?

Rav Yehudah replied, “But there is Rav Masnah who holds like me as well?” Rav Masnah was not seen in Nehardea for thirteen years, but just that day, he came before them. Rav Yehudah asked him, “Does the master remember that which Shmuel said while he had one foot on the bank of the river and the other foot was on a boat?” Rav Masnah replied, “Shmuel said, ‘whoever says that he is from the Chashmonai family is in truth a slave, for no one remained from their family except for one maiden who went up on the roof and called out with a loud voice, “whoever says that he is from the Chashmonai family is in truth a slave.” She then threw herself off the roof and died.’”

Rav Nachman declared that the man was indeed a slave. That day, they ripped up many kesuvos in Nehardea (all the married woman from that man’s family lost their kesuvos).

From Rashi’s commentary (Yevamos 77a), it would seem that the reason we do not accept the scholar’s statement is because we are concerned that he might deliberately falsify the halachah.

The Ritva forcefully disputes this. Heaven forbid that a Torah scholar would deliberately falsify the ruling. Rather, the reason why we don’t believe him in these situations is because he might make a mistake; in the excitement of the moment, it would appear to him that he remembers the tradition in one manner, when in fact, it is really the opposite.

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Waiter in a Non-Jewish Restaurant

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(From Meoros Daf HaYomi)

Our Gemara (Kiddushin 69) quotes the words of Nechemiya ben Chachalya, who is referred to in Ezra (2:63) as “Hatirshasa.” His job was to attend to King Nebuchadnezzar and to serve him his wine. Based on the Talmud Yerushalmi, Rashi (s.v. Hatirshasa) explains that part of Nechemiya’s task was to taste the wine before serving it as a security measure to prove that he was not trying to poison the king. As such, chachamim granted Nechemiya a special dispensation [heter] to drink [shasa] wine made by non-Jews, and therefore was given the name “Hatirshasa.”

Source of the prohibition against non-Jewish wine: Since Nebuchadnezzar was not an idol-worshipper, his wine was not considered libation wine, which is forbidden by the Torah (Avoda Zara 29b). Still, the Sages had to grant Nechemiya explicit permission to drink his wine because when Daniel was exiled to the Babylonian king’s palace, he pledged not to defile himself by drinking the king’s wine, even if it was not used for libation offerings (Daniel 1:8). This decree was enacted once again for Klal Yisrael by the talmidim of Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel (Shabbos 17b), who prohibited drinking non-Jews’ wine, even in a Jewish home (see Beis Yosef, Y.D. 123, Os 1; see also Encyclopedia Talmudis, “Yayin shel goyim” p. 335).

A man who made his living as a waiter asked the Radvaz (Part IV §22) whether he would be allowed to work in a non-Jewish restaurant and serve wine there. The Radvaz replied that although Nechemiya ben Chachalaya served wine to Nebuchadnezzar, this should not be used as an example, for he had no alternative. Had he tried to disobey the king’s standing orders, he would have placed his life in danger. But a Jew may not engage in this profession of his own volition, and he should be rebuked and, if possible, prevented from doing so. Furthermore, said the Radvaz, a Jew should not set foot at non-Jewish parties to prevent him from learning their ways.

The Kol Eliyahu (Responsa II §27) adds that if a waiter is involved in warming or preparing the food, he is liable to come to taste it and to transgress a Torah prohibition.

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Eretz Yisroel; Highest Place

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Does High and Low Apply to Spherical Objects?

(From Meoros Daf HaYomi)

In our sugya (Kiddushin 69) the Gemara cites a verse in Yirmyahu (23:7) “…Who brought Bnei Yisrael up from the land of Egypt” and a verse in Devarim (17:8) “…then you shall arise and go up unto the place which the Lord thy G-d shall choose” to demonstrate that Eretz Yisrael is higher than any other land, and that the Beis HaMikdash is the highest point in Eretz Yisrael. The wording of the Gemara seems to indicate that Eretz Yisrael is physically higher. In fact, the Yam Shel Shlomo (on our sugya, Kiddushin Chap. 4, 1) goes so far as to say that if someone standing in Eretz Yisrael says, “I vow to go up to Chutz La’aretz,” the vow is considered to be made in vain and is invalid. Leaving Yerushalayim or Eretz Yisrael is always referred to as “going down.”

Many commentators maintain that our Gemara should not be interpreted literally. The Chasam Sofer (Responsa, Part II, Y.D. §234) stresses this point, writing, “…in fact, those who are somewhat familiar with the world map can see otherwise…actually the world is round, and high and low do not apply to spherical objects; from any given point one sees the skies high overhead and low on the horizon, forming a dome. Someone who approaches from a point on the horizon appears as if he emerged from a deep pit, and high and low do not apply.”

Furthermore the Maharal of Prague (in his book on Talmudic Aggados and in Tiferes Yosef, Chagiga 3b, s.v. Eizehu) writes that the Gemara is referring to the spiritual loftiness of Eretz Yisrael, and not to its physical height.

It is interesting to note that the Chasam Sofer (ibid) writes that Eretz Yisrael is said to be “higher than all other lands” because Creation began from the even shesiya [foundation stone] located on Har HaBayis (see Rashi, Sanhedrin 26b, s.v. veshesiya). Thus all eyes are raised to Eretz Yisrael and Har HaBayis because mankind lifts its gaze to the spot where the ground beneath its feet was first created.

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Conceived First or Born first; Who is the Firstborn?

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The Gemora (Kiddushin 68) states: We have learned that kiddushin does take effect with women that are forbidden merely by a negative commandment. It is written [Devarim 21:15]: If a man has two wives, one beloved, and the other loathed. The Gemora asks: Is there a beloved or loathed wife before Hashem? Rather, the Torah is referring to their marriage. Beloved means that he is married to a permitted woman and loathed means that he is married to a prohibited woman and nevertheless, the Torah states regarding them “If a man has two wives.” We derive from here that if a man marries a woman that is forbidden to him merely by a negative commandment, the Torah recognizes and validates the marriage.

The verse mentioned above continues and states that if the loathed wife becomes the mother of the man’s firstborn son, the father is forbidden to deny that son the right to the double portion and give it instead to the son from the beloved wife.

How can the Torah refer to one of the wives as “a loathed one”? Why would it enter our mind that the father can deprive the son of the loathed one if he in fact is the firstborn? It would seem from the order of the words in the verse that the son of the beloved woman was actually born first.

The following explanation is written in the name of the Gr”a. The Torah is referring to a case where a man divorced a woman and that is why she is called “the loathed one.” He married another woman soon afterwards. His present wife gave birth to a son seven months after the marriage. The divorced woman gave birth to a son after nine months. One might think that the double portion designated for the firstborn should go to the son of the beloved woman because he was born first; the Torah teaches us that this is not the case. Since the son of the loathed woman was conceived first, by rights, he is deserving of the double portion. This is what the Torah means when it says “for he is the first-fruits of his strength.”

There are those (the Netziv) who question if the Gr”a ever said this. One of the questions that they ask is from Rashi in Bereishis (25:26), who writes from a Medrash: The interpretation is in accordance to its simple meaning: Yaakov held onto Esav’s heel lawfully, to restrain him. Yaakov was formed from the first drop and Esav from the second. We can learn from a tube that has a narrow opening. If one would insert two stones into it, one after the other, the one that entered first will emerge last, and the one that entered last will emerge first. The result is that Esav, who was formed last, emerged first, and Yaakov, who was formed first emerged last, and Yaakov came to restrain him so that he should be the first to be born as he was the first to be formed, and he would open her womb and take the birthright by law.

According to the Gr”a, this leaves us with a question: If Yaakov was the true firstborn, why was it necessary for him to purchase the birthright from Esav?

The Kli Chemda differentiates between the birthright for inheritance, which is related to the time of conception (since it is based on a relationship with the father) and between the rights to serve in the Beis Hamikdosh, which is dependent on the time of birth. This is what Yaakov wished to purchase from Esav.

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Kiddushin with a Slavewoman - Kiddushin 68

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Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak explains a braisa (Gittin 40a) to be dealing with the following case: The master told her, “Become free with this deed (of betrothal) and be betrothed to me with this.” [In this case, she was obviously not freed from beforehand.] Rabbi Meir holds that this expression (be betrothed) includes emancipation (for she cannot become betrothed to him unless he frees her first), and the Chachamim maintain that it does not include emancipation.

Tosfos in Yevamos (47b) asks: How can the kiddushin be effective if the slave did not immerse herself in a mikvah beforehand? The halachah is that after a slave becomes free, he is immersed in a mikvah to become a complete Jew. If so, this woman is still a slave, and kiddushin is not effective with a slave!?

Tosfos answers that we are dealing with a case where she immersed herself prior to the kiddushin.

The Nimukei Yosef states that the requirement for this immersion is only Rabbinical, and therefore, the kiddushin will be Biblically effective even if she did not immerse beforehand.

Reb Chaim Brisker asks that both of these answers will not resolve the issue according to the Rambam. He proves that the Rambam holds that this immersion is a Biblical requirement. This is because the Rambam maintains that this immersion is a completion of her conversion process. If so, asks Reb Chaim, it is obviously a Biblical requirement and it also cannot be done before she becomes free, for it is part of her conversion process and that can only be accomplished after she becomes free! How would the Rambam understand our Gemora? How can the kiddushin be effective with a slavewoman?

He answers as follows: A freed slave requires immersion in order to accept upon himself those halachos that he was lacking while he was still a slave, for at that time, he was not a complete Jew. This, however, has no bearing on the fact that kiddushin is not effective with a slave or a slavewoman. That, our Gemora in Kiddushin (68a) explains, is because a slave does not have any lineage (yuchasin). A slave, in this respect, is inferior to an idolater, for an idolater does have lineage. As soon as the slave is freed and he is no longer a slave, he does have lineage, even though his conversion was not completed, for even an idolater has lineage. It is for this reason that kiddushin can be effective in this case even though she did not immerse in the mikvah yet. For in order for the kiddushin to be effective, it is not necessary for her to have a completed conversion; as long as she is not a slave is sufficient, and since at the moment she becomes free, she is no longer a slave, kiddushin may take effect.

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Follow the Father - Kiddushin 67

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The braisa states: How do we know that if a male from any nation (other than the seven nations of Canaan, where by the other nations, the prohibition of “you shall not spare the life of any soul” does not apply) cohabited with a Canaanite woman (where the prohibition of “you shall not spare the life of any soul” does apply) and had a child; one is permitted to purchase that child as a slave (for he follows the father’s nationality and we are not obligated to kill him)? The braisa answers: It is written [Vayikra 25:44]: And also from among the children of the residents who live with you, from among them you may purchase slaves. One might have thought that even if a Canaanite male cohabited with a woman from any of the other nations and had a child; one would be permitted to purchase that child as a slave. It is therefore written [ibid.]: ….whom they begot in your land. The Torah teaches us that one may purchase slaves only from those who were born in your land to Canaanite mothers from non-Canaanite fathers, but not from among those children who were born abroad to non-Canaanite mothers from Canaanite fathers, and who later returned to reside in your land with their fathers.

The Minchas Chinuch writes that the halachah of following the male by the other nations is only if the child was born from an idolater woman; however, if she converted while she was pregnant, the child is legitimate and he does not follow the father, provided that the mother is permitted to join the congregation. He adds that even according to those who hold that the fetus is not regarded as the “thigh of the mother,” nevertheless, the lineage of idolaters is determined only after their birth, but as a fetus, they are not accorded the status of the father. And therefore, in this case, the child was born as a Jew, and therefore he follows the mother.

This halachah is applicable even in a case which causes us to rule stringently. If the father would be from a nationality which is permitted to join the congregation and the mother was an Egyptian woman, and she converted while she was pregnant, the child will be accorded the status of its mother and would therefore be ruled to be a second-generation Egyptian.

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Wearing the Tzitz - Kiddushin 66

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The braisa states: King Yannai once went to Kuchlis, which is located in the desert, and captured sixty of its villages. When he came back, he was very happy, and called together all of the Torah scholars. He said: Our fathers ate salty vegetables when they were building the Beis Hamikdash, we should also eat these now to remember our fathers. He then had salty vegetables placed on tables of gold, and the people (at the gathering) ate. There was a scorning, bad hearted, godless person named Elozar ben Po’irah present. He said to Yannai: King Yannai, the heart of the Perushim (Torah faithful) is set against you! King Yannai replied: What should I do about this (to see if you are correct)? Elozar replied: Put the tzitz (an adornment only allowed to be worn by the “Kohen Gadol” -- “High Priest”) between you eyes. He did this. There was an elder named Yehudah ben Gedidyah present. He said to Yannai: King Yannai, it is enough that you have the crown of the throne! Leave the crown of Kehunah for the sons of Aharon! This is because they said regarding him that his mother had been captured by idolaters in Modi’in, but they searched to see if it was true and it (proof) was not found. [According to Rashi, his father was indeed a Kohen, but according to this rumor he should not have married his wife, as she was unfit to marry a Kohen. If the rumor was true (see below for the exact case), this would mean Yannai was a chalal, and was not fit to serve as a Kohen.]

Yannai angrily removed the scholars from the meal. Elozar ben Po’irah again spoke to King Yannai. He said: King Yannai, it is understandable that a regular Jew should swallow insults. However, you are a king and the Kohen Gadol, is it fitting that you should do the same? King Yannai asked: What should I do? Elozar replied: If you listen to my advice, you will kill them all. King Yannai asked: What will become of the Torah? Elozar replied: The Torah will be wrapped and placed in a corner, and whoever wants will go and study it.

Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak says: Immediately, a wind of heretical behavior entered Yannai’s mind. This is evident from the fact that he did not reply, “This maybe true about the written Torah, but what about the Oral Torah (which was not yet written down at all)?” Immediately, the spark of evil was started by Elozar ben Po’irah, and Yannai killed all the scholars. The world was lacking Torah knowledge until Shimon ben Shetach (Yannai’s wife’s brother; she hid him) came and returned the Torah back to its original state.

Rashi asks: How can he put the tzitz on at this time when he is not engaged in performing the Temple service?

He answers: The Kohanim were permitted to derive benefit from the Holy vestments, for the Torah was not given to the ministering angels, and they were not expected to remove these garments at the moment that they concluded the service.

Tosfos asks: On the contrary! They were obligated to remove them as soon as they had a chance!

Furthermore, asks the Rashba, the permission was only inside of the Beis HaMikdash, not outside!?

The Beis Halevi explains Rashi: Since they were not expected to remove these garments at the moment that they concluded the service, this proves that there was no prohibition whatsoever against deriving benefit from the Holy vestments, and they were permitted l’chatchilah to wear these garments even when they were not performing the Temple service, and even when they were not inside the Beis HaMikdash.

Rabbeinu Tam answers based on a Scriptural verse that the tzitz was different than the other garments, and they were allowed to wear it even when they were not performing the Temple service.

The Ritva writes that Yannai was not correct by wearing the tzitz at this time.

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Shavyah A'nafshei - Kiddushin 65

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The Mishna stated: If a man said to a woman, “I betrothed you,” and she said, “You did not betroth me,” he is forbidden to marry her relatives, but she is permitted to marry his relatives.

Rashi explains the man is forbidden to marry her relatives because of the principle of “shavya anafshei chaticha d’issura” i.e. she has made for herself a forbidden piece; she is compelled to abide by her declaration.

There are several explanations to this: The Ketzos Hachoshen explains that this is based upon “believability.” A person is believed with regards to himself, when it is disadvantageous to him. He cites a Rashi on our Daf that this is comparable to the halachah of “the admission of the litigant is like the testimony of a hundred witnesses.”

The Terumas Hakeri says that this is not because he is believed, but rather, it is based upon the following logic: Since he knows that something is forbidden to him, it is incumbent upon him to distance himself from this. Accordingly, Beis Din is obligated to ensure that he does not violate any prohibition that according to his words he knows to be forbidden, for Beis Din acts with him in the same manner that he acts with himself.

The Shaar Hamelech quotes the Mahari Assad that the reason why one can render the object forbidden with the principle of “shavya a’nafshei” is not because he is believed in respect to himself; rather, it is because it is regarded as an oath. The witness is taking a vow forbidding himself from this particular object.

The Maharit writes that this cannot be the reason, for if so, he should be able to annul this prohibition in the same manner that one can have his oath annulled!

The Noda Beyehudah writes that “shavya a’nafshei” cannot function like an oath because it is obvious that if one says on a Monday that “today is Shabbos,” it will not be forbidden for him to perform any labor. This is because there is no believability in this case. But, if it would be like an oath, it should be forbidden for him like any other oath!

The Chasam Sofer writes that there would be the following difference in halachah based upon the different reasons: If someone would tell Beis Din something that he knows to be false. If “shavya a’nafshei” is because he is believed in respect to himself, here, where he knows it to be false, he would be able to “transgress” his words in private. However, if it is based upon an oath, it will still be forbidden to him.

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Born into a Mixture - Kiddushin 64

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The Mishna states: If a man has two sets of daughters by two wives, and he declares, “I have given my elder daughter in betrothal, but I do not know whether it was the eldest of the elder group (the first marriage) or the eldest of the younger group (the second marriage), or the youngest of the elder group, who is older than the eldest of the younger group,” they are all forbidden, except for the youngest of the younger group. This is Rabbi Meir’s opinion.

The Makneh asks: Why are they all forbidden? Let us apply the principle of “following the majority”! We should say that each one of these women came from the majority of women that are permitted!?

He answers based upon the following opinion of the Mordechai: We say that something becomes nullified in a majority only when it was once recognized, and afterwards it became intermingled with others. However, something which was created in a state of mixture, it is not possible for it to be nullified by the majority. In our case, we never knew which daughter he was referring to and therefore they will all be forbidden.

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Witness to Disqualify from Kehunah - Kiddushin 63

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The Mishna stated: If a man said, “My daughter was in captivity and I ransomed her,” whether she is now a minor or whether she is an adult, he is not believed (and she will not be disqualified from the Kehunah).

The Tosfos Rid holds that in order to testify that a woman is a divorcee (and therefore she is disqualified for Kehunah), two witnesses are required, for there cannot be testimony regarding a davar she’b’ervah with less than two witnesses. The Rambam, however, maintains that one witness is believed to testify that a woman is a divorcee, or a chalalah, and based upon this testimony, she will be disqualified from the Kehunah.

The Shaar Hamelech asks on the Rambam from our Mishna. Why isn’t the father believed that his daughter was taken into captivity? Is the father any worse that an ordinary witness?

He answers that our Mishna is discussing a case where the daughter asserts that she was taken as a captive. Even in cases where we believe one witness, that is only if there isn’t any contradicting witness.

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