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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
MISHNAH. IF A WOMAN CAME INTO THE POSSESSION1 OF PROPERTY BEFORE SHE WAS BETROTHED, BETH SHAMMAI AND BETH HILLEL AGREE THAT SHE MAY2 SELL IT OR GIVE IT AWAY AND HER ACT IS LEGALLY VALID. IF SHE CAME INTO THE POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY AFTER SHE WAS BETROTHED, BETH SHAMMAI SAID: SHE MAY SELL IT,2 AND BETH HILLEL SAID: SHE MAY NOT SELL IT;2 BUT BOTH AGREE THAT IF SHE HAD SOLD IT OR GIVEN IT AWAY HER ACT IS LEGALLY VALID. R. JUDAH STATED: THE SAGES ARGUED BEFORE R. GAMALIEL, 'SINCE THE MAN3 GAINS POSSESSION OF THE WOMAN DOES HE NOT ALSO GAIN POSSESSION OF HER PROPERTY?'4 HE REPLIED, 'WE ARE EMBARRASSED5 WITH REGARD TO [THE PROBLEM OF] HER NEW POSSESSIONS6 AND DO YOU WISH TO INVOLVE US [IN THE PROBLEM OF] HER OLD ONES7 ALSO?' IF SHE CAME INTO THE POSSESSION OF PROPERTY AFTER SHE WAS MARRIED, BOTH8 AGREE THAT, EVEN IF SHE HAD SOLD IT OR GIVEN IT AWAY, THE HUSBAND MAY SEIZE IT FROM THE BUYERS. [IF SHE CAME INTO POSSESSION] BEFORE SHE MARRIED.9 AND SUBSEQUENTLY MARRIED, R. GAMALIEL SAID: IF SHE10 HAD SOLD IT OR GIVEN IT AWAY HER ACT IS LEGALLY VALID. R. HANINA B. AKABIA STATED: THEY ARGUED BEFORE R. GAMALIEL, SINCE THE MAN11 GAINED POSSESSION OF THE WOMAN SHOULD HE NOT ALSO GAIN POSSESSION OF HER PROPERTY?' HE REPLIED, 'WE ARE EMBARRASSED WITH REGARD TO [THE PROBLEM OF] HER NEW POSSESSIONS AND DO YOU WISH TO INVOLVE US [IN THE PROBLEM OF] HER OLD ONES ALSO?12 R. SIMEON DRAWS A DISTINCTION BETWEEN ONE KIND OF PROPERTY AND ANOTHER: PROPERTY THAT IS KNOWN13 TO THE HUSBAND [THE WIFE] MAY NOT SELL, AND IF SHE HAS SOLD IT OR GIVEN IT AWAY HER ACT IS VOID; [PROPERTY, HOWEVER,] WHICH IS UNKNOWN TO THE HUSBAND SHE MAY NOT SELL, BUT IF SHE HAS SOLD IT OR GIVEN IT AWAY HER ACT IS LEGALLY VALID.
GEMARA. What is the essential difference between the first clause14 in which they15 do not differ and the succeeding clause16 in which they differ?17 — The school of R. Jannai replied: In the first clause it was into her possession that the property had come;18 in the succeeding clause16 the property came into his possession.19 If, however, [it is maintained] that the property 'came into his possession' why is HER ACT LEGALLY VALID when SHE HAD SOLD [THE PROPERTY] OR GIVEN IT AWAY? — This then [is the explanation:] In the first clause the property has beyond all doubt come into her possession.18 In the succeeding clause, [however, the property] might be said [to have come either] into her, or into his possession;20 [hence,]21 she may not properly sell [the property, but] IF SHE HAD SOLD IT OR GIVEN IT AWAY HER ACT IS LEGALLY VALID.
Come and hear what was taught in the following. R. Judah stated: They argued before R. Gamaliel, 'Since the one woman1 is his wife and the other2 is his wife, just as a sale by the former3 is invalid so also should a sale by the latter4 be invalid'. He replied, 'We are in an embarrassed condition with regard to [the problem of] her new possessions and you wish to involve us [in the problem of] her old ones also?'5 Thus6 it may be inferred that he referred to a case of ex post facto also. This is conclusive.7
It was taught: R. Hanina b. Akabia said, It was not such a reply8 that R. Gamaliel gave to the Sages,9 but it was this that he replied, '[There is] no [comparison]; if you say [the ruling]10 is to apply to a married woman whose husband is entitled to her finds, to her handiwork and to the annulment of her vows, will you say it also applies to a betrothed woman whose husband is not entitled either to her finds or to her handiwork or to the annulment of her vows?'11 'Master', they said to him, '[this is quite feasible if] she effected a sale before she married;12 what, [however, will be your ruling where] she was married and effected the sale13 subsequently?' — 'This woman also', he replied, 'may sell or give away, and her act is valid'. 'Since, however', they argued, 'he14 gained possession of the woman15 should he not also gain possession of her property?'16 — 'We are quite embarrassed', he replied, 'about [the problem of] her new possessions and you wish to involve us [in the problem of] her old ones17 also!' But, surely, we learned, [IF SHE CAME INTO POSSESSION] BEFORE SHE MARRIED, AND SUBSEQUENTLY MARRIED, R. GAMALIEL SAID: IF SHE HAD SOLD IT OR GAVE IT AWAY18 HER ACT IS LEGALLY VALID!19 — R. Zebid replied, Read: She may sell or give away, and her act is valid.20 R. Papa replied: There is no difficulty,21 for one22 is the view of R. Judah on R. Gamaliel's opinion23 whilst the other24 is the view of R. Hanina b. Akabia on R. Gamaliel's opinion.25
Both Rab and Samuel stated: Whether a woman came into the possession of property before she was betrothed or whether she came into possession after she was betrothed her husband may, [if she sold it] after she married, take it away from the buyers. In agreement with whose view [is this ruling], which is neither in agreement with that of R. Judah nor with that of R. Hanina b. Akabia? — They adopted the ruling of our Masters; for it was taught: Our Masters took a recount [of votes, and decided that] whether a woman came into the possession [of property] before she was betrothed or whether she came into its possession after she was betrothed, her husband may, [if she sold it] after she married, take it away from the buyers.28
AFTER SHE WAS MARRIED, BOTH AGREE. May it be suggested that here we are learning Of the enactment of Usha,29 for R. Jose the son of R. Hanina stated: It was enacted at Usha that if a woman sold during the lifetime of her husband melog30 property,31 and died, the husband32 may seize it from the buyers!33 — Our Mishnah [deals with the seizure] during the woman's lifetime for the purposes of usufruct [only];34 the enactment of Usha [refers to the seizure] of the capital after her death.35
R. SIMEON DRAWS A DISTINCTION BETWEEN ONE KIND OF PROPERTY [etc.]. Which kind is regarded as KNOWN, and which as UNKNOWN? — R. Jose the son of R. Hanina replied: KNOWN means landed property;36 UNKNOWN, movable property. But R. Johanan said: Both are regarded as KNOWN, but the following is classed as UNKNOWN. Whenever a woman lives in a certain place and comes into the possession of property in a country beyond the sea. So it was also taught elsewhere: The following is classed as unknown. Wherever a woman lives in a certain place and comes into the possession of property in a country beyond the sea.
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