Friday, January 29, 2010

Bava Basra 145

Why the Kiddushin Money is Irretrievable

The Gemora cites a dispute whether kiddushin money is irretrievable or not (does a man, when giving money to betroth a woman, resolve in his mind that he is prepared to forfeit the money if this will not result in a nisuin). Rabbi Nassan holds that the kiddushin money is not irretrievable (and it must be returned), and Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi holds that the kiddushin money is irretrievable (and it does not need to be returned).

What is the explanation of the Tanna that holds that the kiddushin money is irretrievable?

The Ritva writes that the man gives the money to the woman on the condition that it should be returned to him if she would die before the nisuin. He adds that this stipulation is only with respect to the kiddushin money more than the value of a perutah, for if the entire kiddushin money was included in this condition (and everything must be returned), it would emerge that they were retroactively never married, and why would it be necessary to give a get (in a case where she retracted prior to the nisuin)! If she would commit adultery, why would she be put to death? It would be a case of a hasra’as safek -- “an uncertain warning,” for if the kiddushin does not result in a nisuin, it would emerge that the man never gave her any money, there was never any kiddushin!

The Rashba disagrees and proves from a Gemora later that all the kiddushin money is returned. And although all the money is returned, the kiddushin is nevertheless valid through the benefit that she received by being able to use the money until she would be required to return it.


What should I Learn?

By: Reb Avraham Klein

The Gemora discusses different types of Torah scholars. There are those that excel in Mishna, some in Aggadah, others in Pilpul, some in Halachah, while there are yet others whose field of expertise is Gemora. They are all part of Torah, and each contributes its part to Torah learning. Although there is a mitzvah of Yedias Hatorah (to know as much Torah as possible), there are halachos in what is imperative to learn.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah Siman 246 Seif 1) writes that every single Jew is obligated to learn Torah; it makes no difference if he’s rich or poor, healthy or ill, young or old, even if he’s preoccupied with earning a living and taking care of his family, everyone is obligated to set aside time to learn - by day and by night. If it is absolutely impossible for him to learn, either due to the fact that he has no idea how to learn anything, or he is simply extremely busy without even a moment to learn, then he should pay others to learn.

There is an opinion in halachah (ibid Seif 4) that when one is starting to learn Torah (i.e. in his younger years) he should split his learning time into thirds: the first third he should study Tanach, the second - Mishna, and the third - Gemora, and when he gets older, he should just learn Gemora while routinely reviewing Tanach and Mishna. However the Rema rules that Talmud Bavli is considered a mixture of all three, and therefore, if one focused all his energies in Gemora, he has fulfilled his obligation to study Tanach and Mishna as well. The Rema continues that “all one needs to learn is Tanach, Mishna, Gemora and the Halachos that are derived from them, and through this, he will acquire this world and the next.”

The Shach and Taz quote Drishah that notes that there are baalei batim (laymen - people who work and have less time to study Torah) who learn Gemora without halachah. He rules that they must also learn halachah. He bases his ruling from the famous Gemora which states: Whoever learns two halachos a day is guaranteed a portion in the World to Come. Rashi explains that to halachah means halachah lima’aseh (practical rulings; there are instances when the Gemora uses the word halachah, and it translates as Gemora). So although the Rema says that it is sufficient to learn Gemora, that is only for those who learn most of the day, but baalei batim that learn considerably less, must also learn halachah.

In regard to Kabbalah and other esoteric studies, the Shach rules that one should not start learning them before he is 40, since it requires a high level of holiness and purity. Pischei Tshuvah argues and cites Chavos Yair who recommends that one should altogether distance himself from learning these areas of Torah.

Mishna Berurah (Siman 290 Seif Katan 3) writes that it is written in the Zohar that a person should come up with a novel interpretation in Torah on Shabbos, and for those that can’t, they should learn an area of Torah that they never learned before.