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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
men would abstain from marrying her.1
And why is there a difference between a minor [and a deaf woman] that the former should be permitted to eat terumah2 while a deaf woman3 may not? For we learned, 'R. Johanan b. Gudgada testified concerning a deaf girl whom her father gave in marriage4 that she may be dismissed by a letter of divorce,5 and concerning a minor, the daughter of an Israelite, who was married6 to a priest, that she may eat [Rabbinical]7 terumah',8 while the deaf woman may not eat'!9 This10 is a preventive measure against the possibility that a deaf man might feed a deaf woman [with such terumah]. Well, let him feed her, [since she is only in the same position] as a minor who eats nebelah!11 This12 is a preventive measure against the possibility that a deaf [husband] might feed a wife of sound senses [with it]. But even a deaf husband might well feed his wife who was of sound senses with Rabbinical terumah!13 — A preventive measure was made against the possibility of his feeding her with Pentateuchal terumah.
And why is the minor different [from the deaf woman] that the former should be entitled to her kethubah while the deaf woman is not entitled to her kethubah? — Because if [the latter also were] so [entitled] men would abstain from marrying her.14
Whence, however, is it inferred that a minor is entitled to a kethubah? — From what we learned: A minor who exercised the right of mi'un, a forbidden relative of the second degree,15 and a woman who is incapable of procreation, are not entitled to a kethubah;16 but [it follows17 that one] released by a letter of divorce,18 though a minor, is entitled to receive her kethubah.
And whence is it inferred that a deaf woman is not entitled to her kethubah? — From what was taught: If a man who was deaf or an imbecile married women of sound senses [the latter], even though the deaf man recovered his faculties or the imbecile regained his intelligence, have no claim whatsoever on [either of] them.19 But if [the men] wished to retain them [the latter] are entitled to a kethubah of the value of20 a maneh.21 If, however, a man of sound senses married a woman who was deaf or an imbecile, her kethubah is valid, even if he undertook in writing to give her a hundred maneh,22 since he himself had consented to suffer the loss.23 The reason, then,24 is because he himself consented; had he not consented, however, she would receive no kethubah,25 since otherwise26 men would abstain from marrying her.27
If so,28 a kethubah should have been provided for a woman of sound senses who married a deaf man, since otherwise29 [women] would abstain from marrying [deaf men]! — More than the man desires to marry does the woman desire to be taken in marriage.30
A deaf man once lived in the neighbourhood of R. Malkiu [and the latter] allowed him to take a wife to whom he had assigned in writing a sum of four hundred zuz out of his31 estate. Raba remarked: Who is so wise as R. Malkiu who is indeed a great man. He32 held the view: Had he wished to have a maid to wait upon him, would we not have allowed one to be bought for him?33 How much more, [then, should his desire be fulfilled] here where there are two [reasons for complying with his request]!34
It might be suggested that the following provides support to his37 view: There are five who may not set apart terumah, and if they did so their terumah is not valid. These are they: A deaf man, an imbecile, a minor, he who gives terumah38 from that which is not his own, and an idolater who gave terumah from that which belonged to an Israelite; and even [if the latter gave it] with the consent of the Israelite his terumah is invalid!39 — He40 holds41 the same view is R. Eleazar. For it was taught: R. Isaac stated in the name of R. Eleazar that the terumah of a deaf man must not be treated42 as profane, because its validity is a matter of doubt.43 If he40 is of the same opinion as R. Eleazar,44 an asham talui also should be incurred!45 — It is necessary46 [that the offence should be similar to that of eating] one of two available pieces [of meat].47 But does R. Eleazar require [a condition similar to that of eating] one of two pieces? Surely, it was taught: R. Eleazar stated: For [eating] the suet of a koy48 one incurs the obligation of an asham talui!49 — Samuel is of the same opinion as R. Eleazar in one case50 but differs from him in the other.51
Others read: R. Hiyya b. Ashi stated in the name of Samuel: For [unwitting intercourse with] the wife of a deaf man the obligation of an asham talui is incurred.52 An objection was raised: There are five who may not set apart terumah!53 — He54 holds the same view as R. Eleazar.55
R. Ashi asked: What is R. Eleazar's reason? Is he positive that the mind of a deaf man is feeble but in doubt whether that mind is clear56
or not clear,1 though [in either case] it Is always in the same condition,2 or is it possible that he has no doubt that the [deaf man's] mind is feeble and that it is not clear,1 but [his doubt] here is due to this reason: Because [the deaf man] may sometimes be in a normal state3 and sometimes in a state of imbecility? In what respect would this constitute any practical difference? — In respect of releasing his wife4 by a letter of divorce.5 If you grant that his mind is always in the same condition,6 his divorce [would have the same validity] as his betrothal.7 If, however, you contend that sometimes he is in a normal state3 and sometimes he is in a state of imbecility, he would indeed be capable of betrothal; in no way, however, would he be capable of giving divorce.8 What then is the decision? — This remains undecided.9
IF SHE BECAME AN IMBECILE etc. R. Isaac stated: According to the word of the Torah, an imbecile may be divorced,10 since her case is similar to that of a woman of sound senses [who may be divorced] without her consent. What then is the reason why it was stated that she may not be divorced? — In order that people should not treat her as a piece of ownerless property.11
What kind [of imbecile, however, is here] to be understood? If it be suggested [that it is one] who is capable of taking care of her letter of divorce and who is also capable of taking care of herself, would people [it may be asked] treat her as if she were ownerless property! If, however, [she is one] who is unable to take care either of her letter of divorce or of herself, [how could it be said that] in accordance with the word of the Torah she may be divorced? Surely, it was stated at the school of R. Jannai, And giveth it in her hand12 [only to her] who is capable of accepting her divorce,13 but this one14 is excluded since she is incapable of accepting her divorce; and, furthermore, it was taught at the school of R. Ishmael, And sendeth her out of his house,15 only one who, when he sends her out, does not return, but this one14 is excluded since she returns even if he sends her out! — This16 was necessary17 in respect of one who is capable of preserving her letter of divorce but is unable to take proper care of herself. Hence, in accordance with the word of the Torah, such an imbecile may well be divorced for, surely, she is capable of preserving her letter of divorce; the Rabbis, however, ruled that she shall not be dismissed in order that people might not treat her as a piece of ownerless property.
Abaye remarked: This18 may also be supported by deduction. For in respect of her14 it was stated, IF SHE BECAME AN IMBECILE HE MAY NOT DIVORCE HER, while in respect of him19 [the statement was]. HE MAY NEVER DIVORCE HER. In what respect [it may be asked] does he20 differ [from her] that the statement [concerning him] is NEVER while in respect of her 'NEVER' is not mentioned?21 The inference, then, must be that the one is Pentateuchal, the other Rabbinical.
R. JOHANAN B. NURI ASKED etc. The question was raised: Was R. Johanan b. Nuri certain [of the law concerning] the man22 and his question related to that of the woman, or is it possible that he was certain concerning that of the woman23 and his question related to that of the man? — Come and hear: Since they answered him: A MAN WHO GIVES A DIVORCE IS NOT LIKE A WOMAN WHO IS DIVORCED. FOR WHILE A WOMAN MAY BE DIVORCED WITH HER CONSENT AS WELL AS WITHOUT IT, A MAN CAN GIVE A DIVORCE ONLY WITH HIS FULL CONSENT, it may be inferred24 that his question related to the man.25 On the contrary; since they said to him: THE OTHER ALSO IS IN A SIMILAR POSITION,26 it may be inferred that his question related to the woman! — But [the fact is this]: R. Johanan b. Nuri was addressing [them27 in the light] of their own statement. 'According to my view', [he argued], 'as well as a man28 is incapable of giving a divorce, so also is a woman25 incapable of receiving a divorce;29 but according to your view,30 why should there be a difference between a man and a woman?'31 [To this] they replied: A MAN WHO GIVES A DIVORCE IS NOT LIKE A WOMAN WHO IS DIVORCED.
R. JOHANAN … TESTIFIED etc. Raba stated: From the testimony of R. Johanan b. Gudgada32 [it may be inferred that if a husband] said to witnesses, 'See this letter of divorce which I am giving [to my wife]', and to her he said,33 'Take this bill of indebtedness', she is nevertheless divorced. For did not R. Johanan b. Gudgada imply that [the woman's] consent was not required?34 Here also, then, her consent is not required. Is not this obvious!35 — It might have been assumed that since he said to her, 'Take this bill of indebtedness'36 he has thereby cancelled [the letter of divorce], hence we were taught [that it remains valid, for] had he in fact cancelled it, he would have made his statement to the witnesses. Since, however, he did not make the statement to the witnesses he did not cancel it at all; and the only reason why he made that statement to her was37 to conceal [his] shame.38
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