R. Eliezer holds that the text as it is written is authoritative. Thus we can read it without the vocalization, as if it says “bevagdo.” This refers to his betrayal of her. R. Eliezer would hold that once the father has sold her, he can never sell her again. R. Akiva says that the way that the text is read is authoritative. It is read as “bevigdo”—which he reads as “his clothing was upon her.” Once she has been married, she cannot be resold.
R. Shimon says both ways of reading the text are authoritative. Thus she cannot be sold neither after she was married once, nor after she was sold once.
Today’s section discusses an institution referred to in Exodus 21:8-9, “If she proves to be displeasing to her master, who designated her for himself, he must let her be redeemed; he shall not have the right to sell her to outsiders, since he broke faith with her.
And if he designated her for his son, he shall deal with her as is the practice with free maidens.” The rabbis read “designate” as a formal arrangement and in this sugya ask whether designation creates marriage or betrothal?
The sugya lists three different ramifications between being betrothed and being married: A husband inherits his married wife, not his betrothed one. If he is a priest, he must defile himself to bury his married wife, but not his betrothed wife. And he alone may annul the vows of his married wife, but not his betrothed one.
The rabbis read the words “bevigdo bah” as referring to the master designating her for himself. Once the master has married her, her father may not sell her to anyone else. But he may, by inference, designate her for another man if the master dies or divorces her. In other words, he can marry her off again. However, in general a father cannot give her daughter away in marriage once she has already been married. Therefore, this must mean that when the master designated her to become a wife for himself, he caused her to be betrothed, not married.
R. Nahman b. Yitzchak interprets the verse such that it does not refer to the father selling her daughter, but rather regular betrothal. Once a father betroths his daughter, he may no longer sell her. This leaves us without any answer as to whether designation effects betrothal or marriage.
The sugya continues to discuss whether designation creates betrothal or marriage.
The baraita discusses whether a father can sell his daughter to someone she may not marry. According to the first opinion, if the marriage would be a high level prohibition, punishable by karet or death, then he may not sell her to this man. But if it is a lower level prohibition, such as a divorcee to a Kohen, then he may. R. Eliezer says he always may sell her to a man whom she may not marry.
The Talmud now tries to figure out what this case of the widow is. She could not have betrothed herself because she is a minor (otherwise the father could not be selling her).
It also cannot be a case where the father betrothed her, because once he betroths her, he cannot sell her.
R. Amram explains that this girl became a widow through designation. I.e. she was sold and then designated to be the wife, and then the master or his son died. The Talmud adds that the original money, the sale, was not given as kiddushin, and therefore, new kiddushin money would have to be given when he designates her. Thus the sale was not “kiddushin” and therefore the father can betroth her again should she be widowed.
[The Talmud will return to discussing the issue of whether the original money counts as kiddushin later on daf 19]
It cannot be that the designation effects marriage, because once a girl is married her father can no longer sell her off.
The problem is that if designation counts as kiddushin, then we still need to ask how could her father again sell her. Once a girl has been betrothed, she may no longer be sold.
We could try to get out of the problem by saying that while her father cannot sell her after he accepts her betrothal, he can sell her after she accepts her own betrothal from her master (designation). But then we could say the same thing if designation effected marriage—he can’t resell her after he marries her off, but he can after she marries herself off. So this again leaves us with no answer to our question.
The different forms of betrothal can be different from one another—in one case the father betroths her to someone else, and in another the master betroths her without the father’s participation. But why should there be different forms of marriage? Marriage is simply the coming together of the couple (intercourse).