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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
And the children of Israel smote them not, because the princes of the congregation had sworn unto them.1 And what is considered 'many'? R. Nahman b. Isaac said: Three [men]; [for the expression of] 'days'2 implies two [days] and 'many'2 three. R. Isaac replied: Ten; [for the term] congregation3 was applied to them.)4 [Now] 'R. Meir ruled: In the case of a vow [the disallowance of which] necessitates the investigation of a Sage he may not remarry her' [and] 'R. Eleazar said: The prohibition [against remarriage where the disallowance of the vow] required [the investigation of a Sage] was ordained only on account [of a vow] which required [no such investigation]'.5 on what principles do they6 differ? — R. Meir holds the view that 'a man does not mind his wife's being exposed to the publicity of a court of law' and R. Eleazar holds the view that 'no man wants his wife to be exposed to the publicity of a court of law'.7
Raba replied:8 Here9 we are dealing with the case of a woman from a noted family in which case the man10 could say,11 'I have no wish to be forbidden to marry her relatives'.12 If so,13 [consider] the final clause where it is stated, 'But if he14 went15 to a Sage who disallowed his vow or to a physician who cured him, his betrothal of the woman is valid', [why, it may be asked, was it not] stated, 'the betrothal is invalid' and16 explained,17 'Here we are dealing with the case of a man from a noted family concerning whom the woman18 might plead. 'I have no wish to be forbidden to marry his relatives'?19 — A woman is satisfied with any sort [of husband] as Resh Lakish said. For Resh Lakish stated: 'It is preferable to live in grief20 than to dwell in widowhood'.21 Abaye said: With a husband [of the size of an] ant her seat is placed among the great.22 R. Papa said: Though her husband be a carder23 she calls him to the threshold and sits down [at his side].24 R. Ashi said: Even if her husband is only a cabbage-head25 she requires no lentils26 for her pot.27
ALL DEFECTS WHICH DISQUALIFY etc. A Tanna taught: To these30 were added31 [excessive] perspiration, a mole and offensive breath.32 Do these, then, not cause a disqualification in respect of priests? Surely we have learned,33 'The old, the sick and the filthy'34 and we have also learned, 'These defects whether permanent or transitory, render human beings35 unfit [for the Temple service]!36 — R. Jose b. Hanina replied: This is no contradiction. The former refers to perspiration that can be removed;37 the latter, to perspiration that cannot be removed.38
R. Ashi said [in reply]: You are pointing out a contradiction between 'perspiration' and 'one who is filthy' [which in fact are not alike, for] there, in the case of priests,39 it is possible to remove the perspiration40 by the aid of sour wine, and it is also possible [to remove] an offensive breath by holding pepper in one's mouth and thus performing the Temple service, but in the case of a wife41 [such devices are for all practical purposes] impossible.42
What kind of a mole is here meant? If one overgrown with hair, it would cause disqualification in both cases; if one with no hair, [then, again], if it is a large one it causes disqualification in both cases43 and if it is a small one it causes no disqualification in either; for it was taught: A mole which is overgrown with hair is regarded as a bodily defect; if with no hair it is only deemed to be a bodily defect when large but when small it is no defect; and what is meant by large? R. Simeon b. Gamaliel explained: The size of an Italian issar!44 — R. Jose the son of R. Hanina said: One which is situated on her forehead.45 [If it was on] her forehead he46 must have seen it and acquiesced!47 — R. Papa replied: It is one that was situated under her bonnet and is sometimes exposed and sometimes not.
R. Hisda said: I heard the following statement from a great man (And who is he? R. Shila). If a dog bit her48 and the spot of the bite turned into a scar [such a scar] is considered a bodily defect.
R. Hisda further stated: A harsh voice in a woman is a bodily defect; since it is said in Scripture, For sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.49
R. Nathan of Bira learnt: [The space] of one handbreadth between a woman's breasts.50 R. Aha the son of Raba intended to explain in the presence of R. Ashi [that this statement meant that '[the space of] a handbreadth' is to [a woman's] advantage,51 but R. Ashi said to him: This52 was taught in connection with bodily defects. And what space [is deemed normal]? Abaye replied: [A space of] three fingers.
It was taught: R. Nathan said, It is a bodily defect if a woman's breasts are bigger than those of others. By how much? — R. Meyasha the grandson of R. Joshua b. Levi replied in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: By one handbreadth. Is such a deformity, however, possible?53 — Yes; for Rabbah b. Bar Hana related, I saw an Arab woman who flung her breasts over her back and nursed her child.
But54 of Zion it shall be said: 'This man and that55 was born in her; and the Most High Himself doth establish her;56 R. Meyasha, grandson of R. Joshua b. Levi, explained: Both57 he who was born therein and he who looks forward to seeing it.58
Said Abaye: And one of them59 is as good as two of us.60 Said Raba: When one of us, however, goes up there61 he is as good as two of them. For [you have the case of] R. Jeremiah who, while here,62 did not understand what the Rabbis were saying, but when he went up there he was able to refer to us as 'The stupid Babylonians'.63
MISHNAH. IF SHE64 WAS AFFLICTED WITH BODILY DEFECTS WHILE SHE WAS STILL IN HER FATHER'S HOUSE,65 HER FATHER66 MUST PRODUCE PROOF THAT THESE DEFECTS AROSE AFTER SHE HAD BEEN BETROTHED AND [THAT, CONSEQUENTLY, IT WAS THE] HUSBAND'S FIELD THAT WAS INUNDATED.67 IF SHE CAME UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF HER HUSBAND,68 THE HUSBAND69 MUST PRODUCE PROOF THAT THESE DEFECTS WERE UPON HER BEFORE SHE HAD BEEN BETROTHED AND [THAT CONSEQUENTLY] HIS BARGAIN WAS MADE IN ERROR. THIS IS THE RULING OF R. MEIR. THE SAGES, HOWEVER, RULED: THIS70 APPLIES ONLY TO CONCEALED BODILY DEFECTS;
BUT IN RESPECT OF DEFECTS THAT ARE EXPOSED HE1 CANNOT ADVANCE ANY VALID PLEA.2 AND IF THERE WAS A BATH-HOUSE IN THE TOWN HE CANNOT ADVANCE ANY VALID PLEA2 EVEN AGAINST CONCEALED BODILY DEFECTS, BECAUSE HE [IS ASSUMED TO HAVE HAD HER] EXAMINED BY HIS WOMEN RELATIVES.3
GEMARA. The reason then4 is because the father produced proof, but if he produced no proof,5 the husband is believed.6 Whose [view consequently is here7 expressed]? [Obviously] that of R. Joshua who stated, 'Our life is not dependent on her statement'.8 Now read the final clause: IF SHE CAME UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE HUSBAND, THE HUSBAND MUST PRODUCE PROOF, the reason then9 is because the husband produced proof, but if he produced no proof,10 the father is believed,11 a ruling which expresses the view of R. Gamaliel who stated that the woman is believed!12 — R. Eleazar replied: The contradiction13 [is evident]; he who taught the one did not teach the other.14
Raba said: It must not be assumed that R. Joshua15 is never guided by the principle of the presumptive soundness of the body, for the fact is16 that R. Joshua is not guided by that principle only where it is opposed by the principle of possession.17 Where, however, the principle of possession is not applicable R. Joshua is guided by that of the soundness of the body; for it was taught: If the bright spot18 preceded the white hair, he19 is unclean; if the reverse, he is clean. [If the order is in] doubt, he is unclean; but R. Joshua said: It darkened.20 What is meant by 'It darkened'? Rabbah replied: [It is as though the spot] darkened21 [and, therefore,] he is clean.22
Raba explained:23 The first clause [is a case of] 'Here24 they25 were found and here they must have arisen'26 and so is the final clause: Here27 they28 were found and here they must have arisen.29 Abaye raised an objection against him:30 IF SHE CAME UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE HUSBAND, THE HUSBAND MUST PRODUCE PROOF THAT THESE DEFECTS WERE UPON HER BEFORE SHE HAD BEEN BETROTHED31 AND [THAT, CONSEQUENTLY,] HIS BARGAIN WAS MADE IN ERROR; [Thus only if she had the defects] BEFORE SHE HAD BEEN BETROTHED [is the husband's plea] accepted,32 [but if they were seen upon her] only after she had been betrothed33 [his plea would] not [be accepted]. But why? Let it be said,34 'Here they were found and here they must have arisen'!35 — The other30 replied: [The principle36 cannot be applied if the defects were discovered] after she had been betrothed because it may be taken for granted that no man drinks out of a cup37 unless he has first examined it; and this man38 must consequently have seen [the defects] and acquiesced.39 If so,40 [the same principle should apply] also to one [who had defects] prior to her betrothal. [Since,] however, [it is not applied], the presumption must be that no man is reconciled to bodily defects, [why then is it not presumed] here41 also that no man is reconciled to bodily defects? — This, however, is the explanation: [The principle36 cannot be applied to defects discovered] after she had been betrothed because two [principles] are [opposed to it:] The presumptive soundness of the woman's body42 and the presumption that no man drinks out of a cup unless he has first examined it and that this man must, consequently, have seen [the defects] and acquiesced. What possible objection can you raise?43 Is it the presumption that no man is reconciled to bodily defects? [But this] is only
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