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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
A boy orphan and girl orphan6 once came before Raba.7 'Grant a bigger [maintenance allowance] to the boy', said Raba, 'for the sake of the girl'.8 Said the Rabbis to Raba: Did not the Master himself lay down [that payment may be exacted] from landed property but not from movable property whether in respect of [a daughter's] maintenance, [a wife's] kethubah or [a daughter's] marriage outfit?9 — He answered them: Had he desired to have a handmaid to attend on him would we not have granted him [an Increased allowance for the purpose]?10 How much more then [should the allowance be increased] here11 where it serves12 two [purposes].13
Our Rabbis taught: Both landed property14 and movable property may be seized15 for the maintenance of a wife16 or daughters;16 so Rabbi.17 R. Simeon b. Eleazar ruled: Landed property may be seized for daughters18 from sons, for daughters from daughters,19 and for sons from Sons;19 for sons from daughters where the estate is large20 but not where it is small.21 Movable property22 may be seized for sons from sons,23 for daughters from daughters23 and for sons from daughters, but not for daughters from sons.24 Although we have an established rule that the halachah is in agreement with Rabbi [where he differs] from his colleague, the halachah here is in agreement with R. Simeon b. Eleazar; for Raba stated: The law is [that payment may be exacted] from landed property but not from movable property whether in respect of a kethubah, maintenance or marriage outfit.25
MISHNAH. [IF A HUSBAND] DID NOT WRITE A KETHUBAH FOR HIS WIFE26 SHE MAY RECOVER TWO HUNDRED ZUZ27 [IF AT MARRIAGE SHE WAS] A VIRGIN, AND ONE MANEH27 [IF SHE WAS THEN] A WIDOW, BECAUSE [THE STATUTORY KETHUBAH] IS A CONDITION LAID DOWN BY BETH DIN.
IF HE ASSIGNED TO HER IN WRITING A FIELD THAT WAS WORTH ONE MANEH INSTEAD OF THE TWO HUNDRED ZUZ,28 AND DID NOT WRITE IN HER FAVOUR,26 'ALL PROPERTY THAT I POSSESS IS SURETY FOR YOUR KETHUBAH',29 HE IS NEVERTHELESS LIABLE [FOR THE FULL AMOUNT]30 BECAUSE [THE CLAUSE MENTIONED] IS A CONDITION LAID DOWN BY BETH DIN. IF HE DID NOT WRITE IN HER FAVOUR31 [THE CLAUSE], IF YOU ARE TAKEN CAPTIVE I WILL RANSOM YOU AND TAKE YOU AGAIN AS MY WIFE,'29 OR, IN THE CASE OF A PRIEST'S WIFE,32 '29 WILL RESTORE YOU TO YOUR PARENTAL HOME',33 HE IS NEVERTHELESS LIABLE [TO CARRY OUT THESE OBLIGATIONS], BECAUSE [THE CLAUSE] IS A CONDITION LAID DOWN BY BETH DIN.
IF SHE IS TAKEN CAPTIVE IT IS HIS DUTY TO RANSOM HER; AND IF HE SAID, 'HERE34 IS HER LETTER OF DIVORCE AND HER KETHUBAH LET HER RANSOM HERSELF', HE IS NOT ALLOWED [TO ACT ACCORDLNGLY].35 IF SHE SUSTAINED AN INJURY IT IS HIS DUTY TO PROVIDE FOR HER MEDICAL TREATMENT,36 BUT IF HE SAID, HERE34 IS HER LETTER OF DIVORCE AND HER KETHUBAH, LET HER HEAL HERSELF', HE IS ALLOWED [TO ACT IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS DESIRE].
GEMARA. Whose [view is represented in our Mishnah]? It is [obviously that of] R. Meir who ruled [that the intercourse of] any man who undertakes to give a virgin less than two hundred zuz37 or a widow less than 'a Maneh37 is38 an act of prostitution;39 for if [it be suggested that it is the view of] R. Judah, he surely, [it can be objected] ruled, [that if a husband] wished he may write out for a virgin40 a deed for two hundred zuz and she writes [a quittance]41 'I have received from you a maneh,' and for a widow [he may write out a deed for] a maneh and she writes [a quittance], 'I received from you fifty zuz'.42 Read, however, the final clause: IF HE ASSIGNED TO HER IN WRITING A FIELD THAT WAS WORTH ONE MANEH INSTEAD OF THE TWO HUNDRED ZUZ, AND DID NOT WRITE IN HER FAVOUR, ALL PROPERTY THAT I POSSESS43 IS SURETY FOR YOUR KETHUBAH' HE IS NEVERTHELESS LIABLE [FOR THE FULL AMOUNT], BECAUSE [THE CLAUSE MENTIONED] IS A CONDITION LAID DOWN BY BETH DIN. Does not this obviously represent the view44 of R. Judah who laid down that [the omission from a bond of the clause] pledging property45 [is regarded as] the scribe's error?46 for if [It be suggested that it represents the view of] R. Meir, he, surely, [it can be objected] ruled that [the omission of the clause] pledging property is not [regarded as] the scribe's error. For we have learned: If a man found notes of indebtedness
he must not restore them1 if they contain a clause pledging property, because the court would exact payment from such property,2 but if they do not contain the clause pledging property, he must return them, because the court will not exact payment from the property;3 so R. Meir. The Sages,4 however, ruled: In either case he must not return them, because the court will exact payment from the property5 [in any case].6 Would then the first clause [represent the view of] R. Meir and the final clause that of R. Judah? And should you suggest that both clauses7 [represent the view of] R. Meir and that he draws a distinction between a kethubah and notes of indebtedness,8 [it could be retorted] does he, indeed, draw such a distinction? Has it not been taught: For five [classes of claims] may distraint be made only on free assets;9 they are as follows. [A claim for] produce,10 for amelioration shewing profits,11 for an undertaking12 to maintain the wife's son or the wife's daughter, for a note of indebtedness wherein no lien on property had been entered, and for a woman's kethubah from which the clause pledging security was omitted.13 Now what authority have you heard laying down that [the omission from a deed of a record of] a lien on property is not regarded as the scribe's error?14 [Obviously it is] R. Meir;15 and yet it was stated, was it not, 'a woman's kethubah'?16 — If you wish, I might reply: [Our Mishnah represents the view of] R. Meir; and if you prefer I might reply: [It represents the View of] R. Judah. 'If you prefer I might reply: [It represents the view of] R. Judah', for there17 she specifically
wrote in the man's favour18 [in a quittance]: 'I received'19 but here20 she did not write in his favour,18 'I received'.21 'If you wish I might reply: [Our Mishnah represents the view of] R. Meir', for by the expression22 'HE IS NEVERTHELESS LIABLE' [was meant liability to pay] out of his free assets.23
IF HE DID NOT WRITE IN HER FAVOUR etc. Samuel's father ruled: The wife of an Israelite who had been outraged is forbidden to her husband, since it may be apprehended that the act begun24 under compulsion may have terminated25 with her consent.26
Rab raised an objection against Samuel's father: [Have we not learned,] IF YOU ARE TAKEN CAPTIVE I WILL RANSOM YOU AND TAKE YOU AGAIN AS MY WIFE?27 The other remained silent. Rab thereupon applied to Samuel's father the Scriptural text, The princes refrained talking and laid their hand on their mouth.28 What, however, could he have replied?29 — [That the law]30 was relaxed in the case of a captive.31
According to Samuel's father's ruling how is it possible to conceive a case of outrage which the All-Merciful deemed to be genuine?32 — Where, for instance, witnesses testified that she cried from the commencement to the end.
compulsion, though it terminated with her consent, and even if she said, 'Leave him alone', and that if he had not made the attack upon her she would have hired him to do it, is permitted [to her husband]. What is the reason? — He plunged35 her into an uncontrollable passion.36
It was taught in agreement with Raba: And she be not seized37 [only then]38 is she forbidden,39 [from which it follows] that if she was seized40 she is permitted.39 But there is another class of woman who is permitted39 even if she was not seized.41 And who is that? Any woman who began42 under compulsion and ended43 with her consent.
Another Baraitha taught: 'And she be not seized' [only then] is she forbidden44 [from which it follows] that if she was seized45 she is permitted.44 But there is another class of woman who is forbidden44 even though she was seized. And who is that? The wife of a priest.46
Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel who had it from R. Ishmael: 'And she be not seized', [then only]47 is she forbidden,44 but if she was seized she is permitted. There is, however, another class of woman who is permitted even if she was not seized. And who is that? A woman whose betrothal was a mistaken one,48 and who may, even if her son sits riding on her shoulder, make a declaration of refusal49 [against her husband] and go away.
Rab Judah ruled: Women who are kidnapped50 are permitted to their husbands.51 'But', said the Rabbis to Rab Judah, 'do they52 not bring bread to them?'53 — [They do this] out of fear. 'Do they52 not, however, hand them53 their arrows?'54 — [They do this also] out of fear. It is certain, however, that they52 are forbidden if [the kidnappers] release then, and they go to them of their own free will.
Our Rabbis taught: Royal captives55 have the status of ordinary captives56 but those that are kidnapped by highwaymen are not regarded as ordinary captives. Was not, the reverse, however, taught? — There is no contradiction between the rulings concerning royal captives57 since the former refers58 [for example] to the kingdom of Ahasuerus59 while the latter refers60 to the kingdom of [one like] Ben Nezer.61 There is also no contradiction between the two rulings concerning captives of highwaymen62 since the former refers60 to [a highwayman like] Ben Nezer61 while the latter refers60 to an ordinary highwayman.63
OR, IN THE CASE OF A PRIEST'S WIFE, 'I WILL RESTORE YOU TO YOUR PARENTAL HOME' etc. Abaye ruled: If a widow was married to a High Priest66 it is the latter's duty to ransom67 her, since one may apply to her: OR IN THE CASE OF A PRIEST'S WIFE, I WILL RESTORE YOU TO YOUR PARENTAL HOME',68
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