The reason why the claim must be for two pieces of silver and not just one is a midrash comparing money and utensils, which appears in the plural. Just as the claim must be for “utensils,” i.e. a minimum of two, so too must the claim of money be for at least two coins. These coins must have value, like utensils. So it cannot be for two perutot, which have minimal value.
Thus this source does not disprove the rule that any money mentioned in the Torah must be Tyrian coins.
The Talmud continues to search for exceptions to the rule that any money mentioned in the Torah must be a minimum of a silver dinar.
Second tithe is produce which is then redeemed for money and the money is brought to Jerusalem where it is used to buy food. The fact that second tithe is mentioned in the Torah implies that the minimum amount should be a dinar. And nevertheless, there is a mishnah that refers to a sela of copper coins, which is a lesser amount.
The Talmud resolves that this is a special case—the Torah states “the money” and not just “money” to teach that even a lesser amount would be valid as second tithe.
When one dedicates something to the Temple he may redeem it with money and according to Shmuel, even a copper perutah. But again, we have a verse which means that the minimum amount should be a silver dinar. Yet the halakhah allows less than a silver dinar.
The Talmud resolves that this is compared with tithes due to the use of the word “the money.” Just as “the money” with regard to tithes meant that the amount could be less than a dinar, so too with dedicated property.
Today’s sugya contains yet another difficulty raised against R. Assi’s rule that any money mentioned in the Torah is in Tyrian coins, which implies a minimum of a silver dinar.
The idea of kiddushin with money is derived from a verse in the Torah. Nevertheless, Bet Hillel says that kiddushin can be performed with less than a silver dinar. Is it possible that R. Assi would rule according to Bet Shammai who mandates a dinar? This seems to the Talmud to be an impossible supposition.
To solve the difficulty, the Talmud makes a small tweak in the statement attributed to R. Assi. R. Assi was only referring to numbers whose penalty or amount is fixed in the Torah. These include the penalty for accidentally killing a slave, the penalty for rape, seduction and defamation of a virgin, and the redemption of a first born. These amounts must be paid in the higher Tyrian coinage. But just because something is derived from the Torah does not mean that the payment must be in Tyrian coinage. Finally, other amounts mandated by rabbinic law can be paid in the lesser coinage.
Today’s daf asks why R. Assi needed to even tell us that any amount fixed by the Torah is reckoned in Tyrian currency.
There is a baraita that basically teaches exactly what R. Assi had stated. So why the repetition?
R. Assi needed to teach us the second half of his statement, that if the amount is not set by the Torah, it is reckoned in provincial currency, which in rabbinic literature means is considered 1/8 the value of Tyrian currency.
We might have not known this because of a baraita with regard to personal injury. The baraita refers to the payment for embarrassing another person. One who boxes another person’s ears must pay a sela. Now normally a sela is worth four zuz (dinar). This would be according to a Tyrian standard and would seem to indicate that the Tyrian standard was used even if the amount is not set in the Torah. However, in light of R. Assi we can interpret this as a lower value, only half a zuz, 1/8 the value of a Tyrian sela. To back this up, the Talmud claims that people do call half a zuz an “istira” an Aramaic word which here seems to be equivalent to the Hebrew word “sela.”
The sugya continues to try to understand why Bet Shammai rules that a woman cannot be betrothed for less than a dinar.
R. Shimon b. Lakish says that Bet Shammai derives the rule that a woman is betrothed for a minimum of a dinar from a rule that Hizkiyah stated with regard to the redemption of a slave girl. The Torah says that the girl (or someone else on her behalf) can continue to reduce from the money through which she was purchased. If she was acquired for a dinar, then this could be reduced to a perutah, essentially buying her back. But if she was acquired through a perutah, there is no more money that could be reduced.
Perhaps the notion of deducting is not mandated. He could buy her for whatever amount her father would agree to. She only deducts if there is enough to deduct from.