Today’s sugya continues trying to explain the dispute between R. Meir and the sages in yesterday’s baraita. For the purpose of clarification I am copying that baraita again here:
[If a woman says to a man,] “Make me a necklace, earrings and [finger] rings, and I will be betrothed to you,” as soon as he makes them, she is betrothed, the words of R. Meir. But the Sages say: She is not betrothed until the money reaches her hand.
The Talmud now suggests that R. Meir and the sages argue over whether the artisan making the vessel with material given to him acquires title to the vessel while working on it. If he does, acquire it, then he is selling it back when he gives it back to her. Instead of her paying him, she is betrothed through it. This is how R. Meir would hold. The other sages would say that the vessel is not his so he cannot be betrothing her by giving it to her.
According to this last interpretation of the dispute, the issue is whether a man can betroth a woman by forgiving her a debt and at the same time giving her a perutah. According to R. Meir, if the jeweler adds something of his own to that which she gave him, she is agreeing to betrothal by accepting the material that belonged to him, which must be worth a perutah. Therefore, this betrothal works. According to the sages, her mind is on the forgiving of the loan, and therefore, she is not betrothed by him giving her this perutah.
The Talmud now cites another dispute about whether one can betroth with owed wages or with wages that will be owed.
All tannaim hold that one cannot betroth by simply forgiving a debt. That is why all agree that with regard to back wages, one cannot use them for betrothal. But the first tanna holds that one may betroth with future wages. This tanna would hold that as soon he finishes the work, he becomes entitled to the wages and by forgiving them he betroths her. There is no debt incurred. R. Natan would hold that the wages are incurred incrementally and therefore this is betrothal with a debt.
R. Natan would hold that even if he adds something of his own and gives it to her, when a man betroths by forgiving a debt and with a perutah, her mind is on the debt. Therefore, adding something of his own does not help make this a valid form of kiddushin.
Today’s section opens with a new mishnah.
In each case in this mishnah, the husband makes an incorrect statement as part of the betrothal formula. For instance, he states that he is betrothing her with a cup of a certain liquid and it turns out to be a different liquid. Alternatively, he says that he is betrothing her with a certain type of coin and it turns out to be a different coin. Finally, he tells her that he is of a certain economic status and he is not. According to the first opinion, since the facts as he stated them are incorrect, the betrothal is ineffective. This is true even if he deceived her to her own advantage. For instance, he said that he was giving her a cup of wine and it turned out to be a cup of honey, which is more valuable than wine. According to the first opinion, we don’t reason that a woman who would agree to be betrothed to a certain man with a cup of wine would also agree to such a betrothal if done with a cup of honey, since she could always sell the honey to buy wine. Rather, the betrothal statement must be accurate.
Rabbi Shimon disagrees. He holds that if the deception is clearly to her advantage, the betrothal is valid. Therefore, if he says that the cup was honey and it turned out to be wine (cheaper) she is not betrothed. But if he told her that the cup was wine and it turned out to be honey, she is betrothed.
The statement “be betrothed to me with this cup” could be read in three different ways—with both the cup and its contents, with just the cup, or with the contents. The Talmud resolves the three baraitot by saying they refer to different contents. If there is water in the cup, he means to betroth her with the cup and not its contents. If there is wine, he is betrothing her with the contents and not the cup, because she could drink the wine and give the cup back. If there is brine in the cup, then she needs the cup, so he is betrothing her with both. [Another interpretation of this last word is oil].
Today’s sugya begins to deal with R. Shimon’s opinion, that if he deceived her and ended up giving her something of greater value, she is betrothed.
Why not say that even if he deceives her by giving her gold when he said he was giving her silver, she is not betrothed, because maybe she would have preferred silver. After all, evidently some people prefer vinegar over wine (like when you’re making a salad, or you’re a recovering alcoholic, although I don’t think they had salads or alcoholics back then).
Abaye completely changes the situation. The husband wanted to give her a silver denar, but his agent gave her a gold denar. The first tanna in the mishnah holds that the husband did not want to betroth her with a gold denar, so she is not betrothed. R. Shimon says that the husband did not really care what coin was used for betrothal, so she is betrothed.
The Talmud points out that the language of the mishnah simply does not accord with Abaye’s interpretation.
Rava and R. Hiyya b. Avin interpret the case to be one where the woman sent an agent, not the man. She told her agent that the man was going to betroth her with a silver denar, and he gave her a gold denar. The first tanna holds that the woman specified silver denar because that is what she was expecting. R. Shimon holds that the woman was only stating a coin and does not really care what he does betrothal with. As far as the language “it was found,” the Talmud explains that initially the coin was wrapped up in a cloth when given to her.
At the end of last week’s daf we learned of a notion called “merely indicating the place.” What this means is that when a person gives a detail to an agent of sorts, he does not really care about the performance of the detail, he is just giving an example or some extraneous information. In today’s sugya, Abaye notes that there are several tannaitic statements that could be interpreted using this rubric.
The first tanna who holds that one was merely indicating a place was R. Shimon from yesterday’s source about kiddushin.
The second source is about divorce documents, and it deals with the difference between plain gets, whose witnesses sign inside the document, and tied gets, whose witnesses sign on the outside of the document, after it has been tied. The tannaim dispute whether a get can be valid if signed in the wrong way. The Talmud will now discuss the various opinions in this source.