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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth

Folio 6a

or is the law according to R. Simeon?1  In the


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    school of Rab2  they said: Rab allowed3  and Samuel forbade.3   In Nehardea4  they said: Rab forbade and Samuel allowed. Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: And your [mnemotechnical] sign [is]: These make it lenient for themselves, and these make it lenient for themselves.5   But does Rab allow it? Surely R. Shimi b. Hezekiah said in the name of Rab: [As regards] that stopper of the brewing boiler, it is forbidden to squeeze it in6  on a festival day!7  — In that [case]8  even R. Simeon admits [that it is forbidden], for Abaye and Raba, both of them say: R. Simeon admits [that it is forbidden] in [a case of] 'Let his head be cut off, and let him not die!'9   [But] R. Hiyya the son of Ashi said [that] Rab said: The halachah is according to R. Judah,10  and R. Hanan the son of Ammi [said that] Samuel said: The halachah is according to R. Simeon.11  And R. Hiyya the son of Abin taught it without [naming the] men:12  Rab said [that] the halachah is according to R. Judah. and Samuel said [that] the halachah is according to R. Simeon? — Still, Rab holds like R. Judah, [but] according to that version that says, 'the blood is stored up [in the womb],' he does damage in regard to the opening,13  [and] according to that version that says, 'the blood is the result of a wound,' he does damage in [making] the wound.13

R. Hisda objected: If a girl, whose period14  to see [blood] had not arrived yet, got married, Beth Shammai15  say: One gives her four nights,16  and the disciples of Hillel say: Until the wound is


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    healed up.17  If her period to see [blood] had arrived18  and she married, Beth Shammai say: One gives her the first night,19  and Beth Hillel say: Until the night following the Sabbath [one gives her] four nights.20 

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. According to R. Simeon he who does damage by making a wound had to bring a sin-offering; v. Shab. 106a.
  2. In Sura. Before the words 'in the school of Rab', some texts have the word 'it has been said (that)'.
  3. To have the first intercourse on Sabbath.
  4. The place of Samuel.
  5. In Sura they said that Rab allowed it, and in Nehardea they said that Samuel allowed it.
  6. Into the bottle. The stopper is made of soft material, and, if it is squeezed, the liquid absorbed in the material would come out.
  7. This shows that Rab, like R. Judah, holds that a permitted action which results in a prohibited action, though the latter was not intended, is forbidden; v. p. 19, on. 4 and 5.
  8. Of the stopper in the brewing bottle.
  9. 'Let his head be cut off, and let him not die!' is a dialectic term for an absolutely unavoidable result of an act. V. Jast., s.v. [H]. In such a case R. Simeon admits that the act leading to the forbidden act is prohibited. This applies to the stopper. Intercourse, however, is different; v. infra 6b.
  10. V. p. 19. n. 5.
  11. V. p. 19. n. 4.
  12. I.e., without naming the authorities.
  13. V. supra p. 19, n. 6.
  14. Lit., 'time'.
  15. Lit., 'the house', i.e., the school, of Shammai.
  16. In which she can have intercourse with her husband.
  17. The blood that comes out is attributed to the wound and not to menstruation. Ordinarily, after the first intercourse further intercourse is forbidden until the coming out of blood, i.e., menstruation, is over. But in this case, in which the young bride had never yet had any menstruation, it is assumed that the blood is not due to menstruation but to the wound caused by the intercourse. According to Beth Shammai this assumption holds good for four nights, and according to Beth Hillel it holds good 'until the wound is healed up.' As to the definition of this phrase, v. Nid. 64b. V. also Nid. 65b, where it is finally decided that after the first coition no further intercourse must take place until the flowing of blood has stopped, even in the case of a young bride who had not yet had any menstruation. V. also Eben ha-'Ezer, 63, and Yoreh De'ah, 193.
  18. But she had in fact not yet seen blood; that is, she had the maturity for it, but the maturity had not yet manifested itself. A girl has reached the period of maidenhood (puberty) when she is twelve years and one day old. When she is twelve and a half years old she has reached the state of bogereth, (v. Glos.), full maturity, womanhood. V. infra 39a.
  19. He may repeat the intercourse during the first night.
  20. Mishnah in Nid. 64b.

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Kethuboth 6b

[Now] does it not1  mean that if he had [yet] no intercourse [with his wife] he may have intercourse [with her] even on Sabbath?2   — Said Raba: No, except Sabbath. Said Abaye to him: But it says, 'until the night following the Sabbath [one gives her] four nights'?3   — Only, said Raba, when he already had intercourse [with her].4  If [it were, as you say,] after he already had intercourse, what does he let us hear?5  — He lets us hear that it is allowed to have intercourse on Sabbath, as that [statement] of Samuel [teaches], for Samuel said: One may enter into a narrow opening on Sabbath,6  although7  he causes pebbles to break loose.8


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    R. Joseph objected: A bridegroom is free from the reading of Shema'9  in the first night10  until the night following the Sabbath, if he has not performed [yet] an act.11  Is it not12  because he is anxious to perform the marital act?13  — Said Abaye to him: No; he is anxious because he has not had intercourse.14  Said Raba to him: And on account of anxiety [only]15  he is free [from reading Shema']? If this were so, then [if] his ship sank in the sea, he would also be free [from the reading of Shema']! And should you say [that] it is really so, surely, R. Abba b. Zabda said [that] Rab said: A mourner is bound to observe all the precepts that are stated in the Torah except [that] of the Tefillin16  because it is said with regard to them an ornament'?17  — But, said Raba, this18  is a dispute of Tannaim,19  for one [Baraitha] teaches: If he20  did not do an act [of coition] in the first [night],21  he is free [from reading Shema'] also in the second [night]; in the second [night],22  he is free [from reading Shema'] also in the third [night].23  And another [Baraitha] teaches: [In] the first and second [night] he is free, [but in] the third [night] he is obliged [to read Shema'].24  And Abaye [holds that] there25  also      

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    [they]26  differ with regard to anxiety.27  And these Tannaim [are] like those Tannaim,28  for it has been taught [in a Baraitha]: He who marries a maiden shall not perform the first intercourse29  on Sabbath, and the Sages allow [it]. Who are the Sages? Said Rabbah: It is R. Simeon, who says: A thing which is not intended is allowed.30  Said Abaye to him: But R. Simeon admits (that it is forbidden] in [a case of] 'Let his head be cut off and let him not die!'31  Said he to him: Not like those Babylonians who are not skilled in moving aside,32  but there are some who are skilled in moving aside.33  If so,34  why [give the reason of] 'anxious'?35  — For one who is not skilled. [Then] let them say: One who is skilled is allowed [to perform the first intercourse on Sabbath], one who is not skilled is forbidden? — Most [people] are skilled.36  Said Raba the son of R. Hanan to Abaye: If this were so, then why [have] groomsmen,37  why [have] a sheet?38  — He [Abaye] said to him: There [the groomsmen and the sheet are necessary] perhaps he will see and destroy [the tokens of her virginity].39


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    R. Ammi objected:40  He who pierces41  an abscess on Sabbath, if [in order] to make an opening42  to it, he is guilty,43  but if [in order] to cause pus to come out of it

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Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Lit., 'is it not?' Having quoted the Mishnah from Nid. 64b, R. Hisda proceeds to ask his question, which is based on the last statement of Beth Hillel.
  2. The question presumes that 'until the night following the Sabbath (one gives her) four nights' may also mean any one of the four nights, and thus the intercourse may be first consummated on the night of Sabbath, (v. Rashi). This shews that one may have the first intercourse on Sabbath.
  3. Sabbath must, therefore, be included!
  4. One night before Sabbath. The intercourse on Sabbath was thus not the first.
  5. What new law does the Tanna teach us? Why should he (the husband) not be allowed to have intercourse on Sabbath?
  6. Lit., 'a narrow opening (or breach). one may enter into it on Sabbath.'
  7. Lit., 'and although.'
  8. He may have, say the second intercourse on Sabbath, v. Rashi, ad loc.
  9. The verses, Deut. VI, 4-9, XI, 13-21; Num. XV, 37-41 which are recited daily, morning and evening.
  10. Following the marriage.
  11. I.e., the first intercourse. Mishnah Ber. 16.
  12. That he is free from the reading of Shema', even on Sabbath night.
  13. Lit., 'because he is anxious, because he wants to have intercourse.' Being preoccupied with a duty (mizwah) he is free from another duty (mizwah).
  14. [Before Sabbath, and forbidden to have it on Sabbath.]
  15. Mental agitation, worry.
  16. Phylacteries, v. Glos.
  17. Cf. Ezek. XXIV, 17. [The reference being there to the Tefillin which Ezekiel was charged not to lay aside despite his mourning for his wife. V. M.K. 15a.] A mourner, though very much troubled, is nevertheless not free from observing the precepts. We thus see that anxiety does not exempt one from fulfilling the various religious commandments. And so in the case of the Mishnah quoted by R. Joseph it cannot be that the bridegroom is free from the reading of Shema' only because of his anxiety.
  18. With regard to the first intercourse on Sabbath.
  19. Lit., 'this is (of) Tannaim.
  20. The bridegroom.
  21. After the marriage.
  22. If he did not do an act in the second night either.
  23. The third night (after the fourth day in the week) is Sabbath, and he is free from reading Shema' as he is allowed to perform the marital act for the first time.
  24. The teacher of this Baraitha holds that he is not allowed to perform it first on Sabbath, and therefore he is obliged to read Shema'.
  25. In the Baraithas just quoted.
  26. The Tannaim.
  27. According to the first Baraitha his anxiety caused by the fact that he is not allowed to perform the act on Sabbath frees him from reading Shema'. And according to the second Baraitha this anxiety does not free him from reading Shema'. According to the first Baraitha the case of the mourner would be different. Since anxiety is no part of the mourning observances (Rashi. a.l.).
  28. I.e., the dispute of the Tannaim just quoted by Raba is the same as the dispute of the Tannaim of the Baraitha to be quoted now.
  29. Lit., 'shall not have intercourse at the beginning.'
  30. V. supra p. 19, n. 4.
  31. V. supra p. 20, n. 8.
  32. I.e., having intercourse with a virgin without causing a bleeding.
  33. Thus no blood need come out, and 'Let his head be cut off and let him not die!' does not apply.
  34. If the bridegroom is skilled in 'moving sideways'.
  35. He need not be anxious about the intercourse and should not be free from reading Shema' on account of such anxiety.
  36. Therefore the principle regarding 'Let his head be cut off and let him not die!' does not, as a rule, apply.
  37. The groomsmen testify in case of need to the virginity of the bride. V. infra 12a. If the bridegroom will act in a manner that will cause no bleeding, the groomsmen will not be able to testify on the question of virginity.
  38. To provide evidence of the virginity of the bride. Cf. Deut. XXII, 17.
  39. It may happen that he will act in the normal manner and cause bleeding but he will destroy the tokens and maintain that the bride was not a virgin; for this reason the above mentioned provisions are necessary. Where however he moved aside and made a false charge as to her virginity, the bride can plead that she is still a virgin (Rashi).
  40. V. 'Ed. (Sonc. ed.) p. 12 nn. 5-6.
  41. Lit., 'loosens.' Jast.: 'manipulates.'
  42. Lit., 'mouth'.
  43. Of Sabbath-breaking.
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