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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
Raba in the name of R. Nahman replied: An agent [has the same status] as judges,1 but R. Samuel b. Bisna replied in the name of R. Nahman: As a widow.2 'Raba in the name of R. Nahman replied: An agent [has the same status] as judges', for as judges do not act in their [personal interests] so does an agent not act in his [personal interests], thus excluding a widow who acts in her [own personal interests]. 'R. Samuel b. Bisna replied in the name of R. Nahman: As a widow', for as the widow is a single individual so is an agent a single individual; thus excluding members of a court, who are many. — And the law is that an agent [has the same legal status] as a widow. But why [should this case be] different from that concerning which we learned: If a man tells his agent, 'Go and give terumah' the latter must give the terumah in accordance with the disposition of the owner, and if he does not know the owner's disposition, he should separate terumah in a moderate manner, viz. one fiftieth. If he reduced [the denominator by] ten or added ten to it his terumah is, nevertheless, valid?3 — There4 [the circumstances are different], for, since someone might give his terumah in a niggardly manner while some other might give it liberally, [the agent]5 might tell the owner, 'I deemed6 you to be of such [a disposition]';7 but here, since it was clearly an error, [the owner] might well say, 'You should have made no error'.8
R. Huna b. Hanina stated in the name of R. Nahman: The halachah is in agreement with the ruling of the Sages.9 [Can it be said,] however, that R. Nahman does not hold [that the act of a court is invariably valid since, otherwise,] of what advantage would the power of a court be,10 when R. Nahman, in fact, ruled in the name of Samuel:11 If orphans came to take their shares in their father's estate, the court must appoint for [each of] them a guardian and [these guardians] choose for [each of] them a proper share, and when [the orphans] grow up they may enter a protest [against the settlement]; but R. Nahman in his own name, laid down: Even when they grow up they may enter no protest since, otherwise, of what advantage would the power of a court be? — This is no difficulty, the former12 [referring to a case] where the guardians made a mistake while the latter13 [deals with one] where no error was made. If no error was made, on what grounds could [the orphans] enter their protest? — On that of the adjacent fields.14
When R. Dimi came15 he stated: It once happened that Rabbi16 acted in agreement with the ruling of the Sages9 when Perata, the son of R. Eleazar b. Perata, grandson of R. Perata the Great, asked him, 'If so, of what advantage would the power of a court be?'10 And [as a result] Rabbi reversed his decision. Thus it was taught by R. Dimi. R. Safra, however, taught as follows: It once happened that Rabbi16 desired to act in agreement with the ruling of the Sages,9 when Perata, the son of R. Eleazar b. Perata, grandson of R. Perata the Great, said to him, 'If so, of what advantage is the power of a court?' And17 [as a result] Rabbi did not act as he intended.18 Must it be assumed that they19 differ on this principle: One master20 holds the view that if [in giving a decision] a law cited in a Mishnah21 has been overlooked the decision must be reversed, and the other Master22 upholds the view23 that it cannot be reversed?24 — No; all19 agree that if [in giving a decision] a law cited in a Mishnah has been overlooked the decision must be reversed, but one Master holds that the incident occurred in one way25 while the other holds that it occurred in the other way.25
R. Joseph stated: If a widow sold [any of her deceased husband's estate]26 the responsibility for the indemnity falls upon the orphans,27 and if the court sold [any such property]28 the responsibility for the indemnity again falls upon the orphans.29 [Is not this ruling] obvious?30 — It was not necessary [indeed in respect of] the widow,30 but was required [in respect of] the court; for it might have been assumed
that whoever buys from the court does so in order that he may have the benefit of a public announcement,1 hence we were informed [that the responsibility for the indemnity still remains upon the orphans].
R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL RULED etc. To what limit [of error]?2 — R. Huna b. Judah replied in the name of R. Shesheth: To a half.3 So it was also taught: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel ruled, If the court sold for one maneh what was worth two hundred zuz, or for two hundred zuz what was worth one maneh, their sale is valid.
Amemar laid down in the name of R. Joseph: A court that sold [one's estate] without a [previous] public announcement are deemed4 to have overlooked a law cited in a Mishnah and [their decision]5 must be reversed. [You say] 'Are deemed'?4 Have they not in actual fact overlooked one,' we learned:6 The assessment [of the property] of the orphans7 [must be accompanied by a public announcement for a period of] thirty days, and the assessment of consecrated land8 [for a period of] sixty days; and the announcement must be made both in the morning and in the evening?9 — If [the ruling10 were to be derived] from that [Mishnah alone] it might be presumed that it applied only to an agent11 but not to a court; hence we were taught10 [that the law applied to a court also].
R. Ashi raised an objection against Amemar: IF AN ASSESSMENT OF JUDGES WAS BY ONE SIXTH LESS, OR ONE SIXTH MORE [THAN THE ACTUAL VALUE OF THE PROPERTY], THEIR SALE IS VOID, but [it follows] if it corresponded to the actual worth of the land12 their sale is valid. Does not this13 [apply even to a case] where no public announcement was made?14 — No; [it applies only to one] where an announcement was made. But since the final clause [refers to a case] where an announcement was made [must not] the first clause15 [refer to one] where no announcement was made; for in the final clause it was taught: IF A BILL FOR INSPECTION,16 HOWEVER, HAS BEEN DRAWN UP, THEIR SALE IS VALID EVEN IF THEY SOLD FOR TWO HUNDRED ZUZ WHAT WAS WORTH ONE MANEH, OR FOR ONE MANEH WHAT WAS WORTH TWO HUNDRED ZUZ?17 — The fact indeed is [that the first clause refers to a case] where no announcement was made, and [yet18 there is] no difficulty, for one ruling19 refers to objects concerning which public announcements must be made, while the other20 refers to objects concerning which no public announcements are made, such as21 slaves, movables and deeds. (What is the reason [why no announcement is made in the case of] slaves? — [Because if one were made] they might hear It and escape. Movables and deeds? — Because they might be stolen.) If you wish I might reply:22 One ruling23 refers to a time when an announcement is made while the others refers to a time when no announcement is made, the Nehardeans having laid down that for poll-tax,24 maintenance25 and funeral expenses [an estate]26 is sold without a public announcement.27 And if you prefer I might reply:22 One ruling23 applies to a place where announcements are made while the other20 applies to one where no announcements are made, R. Nahman having stated: Never was a bill for inspection28 drawn up at Nehardea.29 From this [statement]30 one implied that [the reason31 was] because they32 were experts in assessments; but R. Joseph b. Minyomi stated: It was explained to me by R. Nahman [that the reason is] because they33 were nicknamed 'consumers of publicly auctioned estates',34
Rab Judah ruled in the name of Samuel: Orphans' movables must be assessed35 and sold forthwith.36 R. Hisda ruled in the name of Abimi: They are to be sold37 in the markets.38 There is, however, no difference of opinion between them.39 One speaks of a place40 in the proximity of a market,41 while the other deals with one40 from which the market is far.42
Rabina had In his possession some wine belonging to the orphan Rabina the Little, his sister's son, and he had also some wine of his own which he was about to take up to Sikara.46 When he came to R. Ashi and asked him, 'May I carry [the orphan's wine] with my own'47 the other told him, 'You may go; it is not superior to your own.
MISHNAH. [A MINOR] WHO EXERCISED THE RIGHT OF MI'UN,48 A FORBIDDEN RELATIVE OF THE SECOND DEGREE,49 OR A WOMAN WHO IS INCAPABLE OF PROCREATION IS NOT ENTITLED EITHER TO A KETHUBAH50 OR TO THE BENEFITS51 [OF HER MELOG48 PROPERTY]52 OR TO MAINTENANCE,53 OR TO HER WORN OUT ARTICLES.54 IF THE MAN, HOWEVER, HAD MARRIED HER AT THE OUTSET ON THE UNDERSTANDING THAT SHE WAS INCAPABLE OF PROCREATION SHE IS ENTITLED TO A KETHUBAH. A WIDOW WHO WAS MARRIED TO A HIGH PRIEST,55 A DIVORCED WOMAN OR A HALUZAH48 WHO WAS MARRIED TO A COMMON PRIEST,56 A BASTARD OR A NETHINAH48 WHO WAS MARRIED TO AN ISRAELITE. OR THE DAUGHTER OF AN ISRAELITE WHO WAS MARRIED TO A NATHIN,48 OR A BASTARD IS ENTITLED TO A KETHUBAH.57
GEMARA. Rab taught: A minor who is released by means of a letter of divorce is not entitled to a kethubah58 and, much less so, [a minor] who exercises the right of mi'un48 Samuel taught: [A minor] who exercises the right of mi'un48 is not entitled to a kethubah,59 but a minor who is released by a letter of divorce is entitled to her kethubah.60 Samuel61 follows his [previously expressed] principle; for he laid down: [A minor] who exercises the right of mi'un62 is not entitled to a kethubah63 but a minor who is released by a letter of divorce is entitled to her kethubah,'64 [a minor] who exercises the right of mi'un62 is not [through this act] disqualified from marrying the brothers [of her husband],65 nor is she thereby disqualified from marrying a priest,66 but [a minor who] is released by a letter of divorce is [through this act] disqualified from marrying the brothers [of her husband]67 and also from marrying a priest;68 [a minor] who exercises the right of mi'un need not wait three months69
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