The problem is that the story in the mishnah was a case where he stole an object from her and tried to use it to betroth her. Nevertheless she is not betrothed. This was the source Rav used to prove his halakhah. So how can we say that she is betrothed if the stolen item was hers.
The resolution is that the mishnah refers to a case where the marriage had not been arranged. In such a case, we don’t know if by accepting the article she is agreeing to marriage. She might just want her object back and this is the best way to do so. But if the marriage was already arranged, then we can assume that she wanted to get married. Only in such a case can we assume that by accepting it as kiddushin, she was forgiving him from having to pay her back.
Today’s sugya contains a couple of stories about men who try to betroth with stolen goods.
We’ve already learned that one cannot betroth with a stolen object as long as the owner’s have not despaired of recovery. Such despair would mean that the thief now owns the object. But Rava rules that unless we know that the owner despaired of recovery, we do not assume that he despaired. Title to the object is still his and therefore, the thief cannot use it for betrothal. Only R. Shimon would disagree but no one holds according to him.
The onions do not belong to the sharecropper—they are jointly owned by him and the owner of the field until they split them up. Therefore, the sharecropper cannot betroth a woman with a handful of onions.
However, if the sharecropper takes a standard amount, what is called here a bundle (maybe akin to a bushel today), then we can say that these onions are fully his. The owner will take a bundle in its place. In other words, the problem is not that the sharecropper took onions. The issue is taking onions but then not dividing the rest evenly. This would be considered robbery.
It is interesting to note how far we’ve come—they used to betroth with onions, now with diamond rings. Gotta admit, onions taste far better than diamonds!
A story about a brewer using beer to betroth a woman—a man after my own heart. Hope things go well for him.
The brewer used beer that does not belong to him to betroth the woman. When the owner saw what he had done, he asked why he used the weak beer and not the better, stronger, beer. The question is whether this is considered acquiescence to his use of the beer such that the woman is betrothed.
Rava essentially rules that the betrothal is not valid. The actions of the brewer remind him of the case of terumah. The baraita refers to a case where a person separates terumah on another person’s behalf. The separation of terumah is valid if we can ascertain that the owner was satisfied with the separation. If he says to the one who separated—why didn’t you separate from better produce, and there is better produce, then the separation is valid. But if there is no better produce, then he is being sarcastic and the separation is not valid.
If the owner adds more produce to that already separated, then again, the initial separation is valid.
This is the end of Rava’s ruling. In this case, the owner of the beer did not really want the brewer to use his beer to betroth a woman. He was simply embarrassed that poor quality beer was used. But the beer did not belong to the brewer and therefore he cannot betroth with it.
This mishnah deals with attempts to betroth using various different types of sanctified property. The real question is, does the property belong to the one using it such that his betrothal is effective?
Portions of many sacrifices go to the priests who eat them. However, a priest cannot use them as his betrothal money because these portions are not considered to be his possessions. Rather, the priest’s right to them is limited to his or other priests eating. Since for kiddushin to be effective the man must own that which he gives to the woman, the priest’s portion in sacrifices may not be used.
Second tithe must be taken to Jerusalem and there it may be eaten by its owner. According to Rabbi Meir, second tithe does not belong to its owners. It is sanctified property—“kadosh” and just as portions of sacrifices cannot be used for kiddushin, so too second tithe cannot be used. Rabbi Judah says that second tithe does belong to its owner.Therefore if he deliberately did kiddushin with it, she is betrothed. However, if he unwittingly uses the second tithe for kiddushin then she is not betrothed for this was a mistaken act of kiddushin.
Sanctified property can become non-sanctified property if it is redeemed. However, if it is not redeemed then it remains sanctified and cannot be used for betrothal. According to Rabbi Meir, if the man intentionally uses sanctified property as his betrothal money, he is in essence redeeming it. The betrothal is valid and the man will owe to the Temple the value of that which he gave to the woman. However, if he does so unwittingly, then the sanctified property is not redeemed and therefore the betrothal is invalid.
Rabbi Judah disagrees on both counts. He holds that one who intentionally uses the sanctified property for betrothal does not thereby redeem it, therefore the betrothal is invalid. However, if he unwittingly uses the sanctified property this is considered “me’ilah”—improper use of sacred property. In such cases the object which was misappropriated loses its sacred status and the person who misappropriated the property owes the Temple the value of the object plus one-fifth and must bring a guilt offering. The key for our purposes is that the object is no longer sacred, and therefore the betrothal is valid.
According to our mishnah, sacrifices of lower holiness do not belong to their owners. This does not agree with R. Yose Hagalili who says that lower holiness sacrifices belong to the person who brought them. A person who makes improper use of them has trespassed even though the animal belongs to him.
The Talmud resolves the mishnah even with R. Yose Hagalili. When he said that the animal belongs to the person who brings it, he was referring to a live animal, before it was slaughtered. Once slaughtered, portions of the animal go to the priest. But these portions are not the property of the priest, they belong to God. When the mishnah said that priests cannot betroth with their portions, it was referring to the portions allotted to the priest, and these portions refer to parts of slaughtered animals.
Today’s section provides a fascinating story of the tension between R. Yehudah and R. Meir’s students after the latter’s death.
R. Yehudah does not seem particularly fond of R. Meir, or at least not of his students, and wants to keep them out of his Bet Midrash after their master’s death. R. Yehudah’s complaint is that they posit halakhot that really cannot happen. They are halakhic nudniks if you will. R. Meir states that a priest cannot betroth a woman with his sacrificial portion. But how can this ever happen—this meat cannot leave the Temple Courtyard, and a woman cannot enter the Temple Courtyard! So why rule against an impossible situation?
R. Yossi finds a case where it would be possible for a woman to be betrothed with the priest’s portion—either by a man accepting betrothal for his daughter, or in a case where a woman appoints a man to accept her kiddushin in the Temple Court on her behalf. Finally, she could force herself in. Even though she should not do this, if she does, she is betrothed.
R. Yehudah and R. Yossi disagree whether a priest can betroth with his portion of sacrificial meat. The Torah says that this portion belongs to the priest. R. Yehudah argues that therefore he can do what he wants with it—even betroth a woman. R. Yossi holds that when the Torah compares this offering to “offerings by fire” it means to say that just as the portion burned on the fire is consumed, so too the portion eaten must be consumed. The priest cannot use it to betroth a woman.
This week’s daf continues to discuss a priest who betroths with his portion.
So now we have a dispute about whether there is a dispute. Those rabbis sure love their disputes!