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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
the reason, HE HAS CLOSED [PEOPLE'S DOORS] AGAINST HER, is applicable;1 what [point, however,] is there [in the reason,] HE HAS CLOSED [PEOPLE'S DOORS] AGAINST HER, in the case of A HOUSE OF MOURNING? — A Tanna taught: To-morrow she might die and no creature would mourn for her.2 Others read: And no creature would bury her.3
It was taught: R. Meir used to say: What is meant by the Scriptural text, it is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting. for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart,4 what, [I say, is meant by] And the living will lay it5 to his heart? The matters relating to death. [Let him realize] that if a man mourns for other people others will also mourn for him; if he buries other people others will also bury him; if he lifts up [his voice to lament] for others, others will [lift up their voices to lament] for him; if he escorts others [to the grave] others will also escort him; if he carries others [to their last resting place] others will also carry him.
IF, HOWEVER, HE PLEADS [THAT HIS ACTION] WAS DUE TO SOME OTHER CAUSE HE IS PERMITTED. What is meant by SOME OTHER CAUSE? — Rab Judah citing Samuel replied: On account of dissolute men who frequent that place. Said R. Ashi: This applies only where [the place] has gained such a reputation; where, however, it has not gained such reputation it is not within the power of the husband [to veto it].6
IF HE SAID TO HER: '[THERE SHALL BE NO VOW] PROVIDED THAT YOU TELL [etc.].' [Why indeed] should she [not] tell it? — Rab Judah citing Samuel replied: [This refers to] abusive language.7
OR 'THAT YOU SHALL FILL AND POUR OUT ON THE RUBBISH HEAP'. [Why indeed] should she [not] do it? — Rab Judah citing Samuel replied: [Because the meaning of his request is] that she shall allow herself to be filled and then scatter it.8 In a Baraitha it was taught: [The man's request is] that she shall fill ten jars of water and empty them on to the rubbish heap. Now according to [the explanation] of Samuel one can well see the reason why HE MUST DIVORCE HER AND GIVE HER ALSO HER KETHUBAH; according to the Baraitha, however, [the difficulty arises] what matters it to her if she does it?9 — Rabbah b. Bar Hana citing R. Johanan replied: [She cannot be expected to do it] because she would appear like an imbecile.
R. Kahana stated: If a man placed his wife under a vow that she shall neither borrow nor lend a winnow, a sieve, a mill or an oven, he must divorce her and give her also her kethubah, because [should she fulfil the vow] he would give her a bad name among her neighbours. So it was also taught in a Baraitha: If a man placed his wife under a vow that she shall neither borrow nor lend a winnow, a sieve, a mill or an oven, he must divorce her and give her also her kethubah, because [should she comply with his desire] he would give her a bad name among her neighbours. Similarly if she vowed that she shall neither borrow nor lend a winnow, a sieve, a mill or an oven, or that she shall not weave beautiful garments for his children, she may be divorced without a kethubah, because [by acting on her wishes] she gives him a bad name among his neighbours.
MISHNAH. THESE ARE TO BE DIVORCED WITHOUT RECEIVING THEIR KETHUBAH: A WIFE WHO TRANSGRESSES THE LAW OF MOSES OR [ONE WHO TRANSGRESSES] JEWISH PRACTICE. AND WHAT IS [REGARDED AS A WIFE'S TRANSGRESSION AGAINST] THE LAW OF MOSES? FEEDING HER HUSBAND WITH UNTITHED FOOD,10 HAVING INTERCOURSE WITH HIM DURING THE PERIOD OF HER MENSTRUATION,11 NOT SETTING APART HER DOUGH OFFERING,12 OR MAKING VOWS AND NOT FULFILLING THEM.13 AND WHAT [IS DEEMED TO BE A WIFE'S TRANSGRESSION AGAINST] JEWISH PRACTICE? GOING OUT WITH UNCOVERED HEAD,14 SPINNING IN THE STREET15 OR CONVERSING WITH EVERY MAN. ABBA SAUL SAID: [SUCH TRANSGRESSIONS INCLUDE] ALSO THAT OF A WIFE WHO CURSES HER HUSBAND'S PARENTS IN HIS PRESENCE. R. TARFON SAID: ALSO ONE WHO SCREAMS. AND WHO IS REGARDED A SCREAMER? A WOMAN WHOSE VOICE CAN BE HEARD BY HER NEIGHBOURS WHEN SHE SPEAKS INSIDE HER HOUSE.16
GEMARA. FEEDING HER HUSBAND WITH UNTITHED FOOD. How are we to understand this? If the husband knows [the fact],17 let him abstain; if he does not know [it],17 how did he discover it? — [This ruling was] required in the case only where she told him, 'So-and-so the priest has ritually prepared for me the pile of grain',18 and he went and asked him and her statement was found to be untrue.
HAVING INTERCOURSE WITH HIM DURING THE PERIOD OF HER MENSTRUATION. How are we to understand this? If he was aware of her [condition] he could have abstained, if he was not aware [of it]19 he should still rely upon her, for R. Hinena b. Kahana stated in the name of Samuel: Whence is it deduced that the menstruant herself may [be relied upon to] count [correctly]?20 From the Scriptural statement, Then she shall number to herself21 seven days,22 'Lah means to herself.'23 — It was required in the case only where she said to her husband, 'So-and-so the sage told me that the blood was clean',24 and when her husband went and asked him it was found that her statement was untrue. If you prefer I might reply on the lines of a ruling of Rab Judah who said: If a woman was known25 among her neighbours to be a menstruant her husband26 is flogged on her account for [having intercourse with] a menstruant.27
NOT SETTING APART THE DOUGH OFFERING. How is this to be understood? If the husband was aware [of the fact] he should have abstained [from the food]; if he was not aware [of it at the time] how does he know it now? — [The ruling is to be understood as] required in the case only where she said to him. 'So-and-so the baker28 has ritually prepared the dough29 for me' and when the husband went and asked him her statement was found to be untrue.
OR MAKING VOWS AND NOT FULFILLING THEM; for the Master stated: One's children die on account of the sin of making vows,30 as it is said in Scripture. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin etc. [wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands];31 and what is the work of a man's hands? You must say: His sons and his daughters. R. Nahman32 said, [It33 may be inferred] from the following: In vain have I smitten your children;'34 'In vain' implies, on account of vain utterances.35
It was taught: R. Meir said, Any man who knows that his wife makes vows and does not fulfil them should impose vows upon her again. [You say] 'Should impose vows upon her [again]'? Whereby would he reform her?36 — But [say] he should provoke her again in order that she should make her vow in his presence37 and he would [thus be able to] annul it.38 They, however, said to him: No one can live with a serpent in the same basket.39
It was taught: R. Judah said. Any husband who knows that his wife does not [properly] set apart for him the dough offering should set it apart again after her. They, however, said to him: No one can live with a serpent in the same basket.40 He who taught it41 in connection with this case42 [would apply it] with even greater force to the other case;43 he, however, who taught it in connection with the other case [applies it to that case only]44 but [not to this one,42 because]45 it might sometimes happen that he would eat.46
AND WHAT [IS DEEMED TO BE A WIFE'S TRANSGRESSION AGAINST] JEWISH PRACTICE? GOING OUT WITH UNCOVERED HEAD. [Is not the prohibition against going out with] an uncovered head Pentateuchal;47 for it is written, And he shall uncover the woman's head,48 and this, it was taught at the school of R. Ishmael, was a warning to the daughters of Israel that they should not go out with uncovered49 head?50 — Pentateuchally
it is quite satisfactory [if her head is covered by] her work-basket;1 according to traditional Jewish practice, however, she is forbidden [to go out uncovered] even with her basket [on her head].
R. Assi stated in the name of R. Johanan: With a basket [on her head a woman] is not guilty of2 [going about with] an uncovered head. In considering this statement, R. Zera pointed out this difficulty: Where [is the woman assumed to be]?3 If it be suggested, 'In the street', [it may be objected that this is already forbidden by] Jewish practice;4 but [if she is] in a court-yard3 [the objection may be made that] if that were so5 you will not leave our father Abraham a [single] daughter who could remain with her husband!6 — Abaye, or it might be said, R. Kahana, replied: [The statement refers to one who walks] from one courtyard into another by way of an alley.7
SPINNING IN THE STREET. Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel: [The prohibition applies only] where she exposed her arms to the public. R. Hisda stated in the name of Abimi: [This applies only] where she spins rose [coloured materials, and holds them up] to her face.8
CONVERSING WITH EVERY MAN. Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel: [This refers only to one] who jests with young men.
Rabbah b. Bar Hana related: I was once walking behind R. 'Ukba when I observed an Arab woman who was sitting, casting her spindle and spinning a rose [coloured material which she held up] to her face.9 When she saw us she detached the spindle [from the thread], threw it down and said to me, 'Young man, hand me my10 spindle'. Referring to her11 R. 'Ukba made a statement. What was that statement? — Rabina replied: He spoke of her as a woman SPINNING IN THE STREET. The Rabbis said: He spoke of her as one CONVERSING WITH EVERY MAN.
ABBA SAUL SAID: [SUCH TRANSGRESSIONS INCLUDE] ALSO THAT OF A WIFE WHO CURSES HER HUSBAND'S PARENTS IN HIS PRESENCE. Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: [This12 includes also] one who curses his parents in the presence of his offspring;13 and your mnemonic sign14 is, Ephraim and Manasseh,15 even as Reuben and Simeon,16 shall be mine.17 Rabbah18 explained:19 When she said20 in the presence of her husband's son, 'May a lion devour your grandfather'.21
R. TARFON SAID: ALSO ONE WHO SCREAMS. What is meant by a screamer? — Rab Judah replied in the name of Samuel: One who speaks aloud22 on marital matters. In a Baraitha it was taught: [By screams was meant a wife] whose voice23 during her intercourse in one court can be heard in another court. But should not this, then,24 have been taught in the Mishnah25 among defects?26 — Clearly we must revert to the original explanation.27
MISHNAH. IF A MAN BETROTHED A WOMAN ON CONDITION THAT SHE WAS NOT SUBJECT TO ANY VOWS AND SHE WAS FOUND TO BE UNDER A VOW,28 HER BETROTHAL IS INVALID. IF HE MARRIED HER29 WITHOUT MAKING ANY CONDITIONS AND SHE WAS FOUND TO BE UNDER A VOW,28 SHE MAY BE DIVORCED WITHOUT RECEIVING HER KETHUBAH.
[IF A WOMAN WAS BETROTHED] ON CONDITION THAT SHE HAS NO BODILY DEFECTS, AND SHE WAS FOUND TO HAVE SUCH DEFECTS, HER BETROTHAL IS INVALID. IF HE MARRIED HER WITHOUT MAKING ANY CONDITIONS AND SHE WAS FOUND TO HAVE BODILY DEFECTS, SHE MAY BE DIVORCED WITHOUT A KETHUBAH. ALL DEFECTS WHICH DISQUALIFY PRIESTS30 DISQUALIFY WOMEN ALSO.31
GEMARA. We have [in fact] learned [the same Mishnah] also in [the Tractate] Kiddushin.32 [But] here33 [the laws]34 were required [in respect of] kethuboth,35 and the laws concerning betrothal36 were stated on account of those of the kethubah; there37 the laws in respect of betrothal were required, and those concerning kethuboth34 were stated on account of those of betrothal.
R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Jehozadak: They38 spoke only of the following vows. That she would not eat meat, that she would not drink wine or that she would not adorn herself with coloured garments. So it was also taught elsewhere: They spoke of such vows as involve an affliction of the soul, [namely,] that she would not eat meat, that she would not drink wine or that she would not adorn herself with coloured garments.
In dealing with this subject R. Papa raised this difficulty: What does it39 refer to? If it be suggested [that it refers] to the first clause40 [it might be retorted that] since the husband objects [to vows] even other kinds of vows41 Should also be included! — [It refers] only to the final clause.42 R. Ashi said: It may in fact refer to the first clause,40 but in respect of the vows to which people usually take exception43 his objection is valid;44 respect of vows to which people do not as a rule take exception his objection has no validity.
It was stated: If a man betrothed a woman on condition [that she was under no vow] and married her without attaching any conditions, it is necessary, Rab ruled, that she45 shall obtain from him a letter of divorce; and Samuel ruled: It is not necessary for her to obtain a letter of divorce from him.46 Said Abaye:
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