R. Huna calls R. Hiyya b. Abin “hutza’ah” and the latter thinks this is an insult. But then R. Huna reassures him it is not. He only meant to say that someone from Huzal agreed with him.
The Talmud continues to talk about whether benefit of discretion counts as money.
Tevel is untithed produce. If one steals tevel from another, he clearly must pay back the value of the hullin, non-sacred portions. But does he have to pay back the terumah, which would have had to have gone to the priests anyways? Rabbi says he must pay back the terumah value. This could be because he holds that the one from whom the terumah was stolen has now lost the rights to give it to whom he wants. And this benefit counts as money.
The tevel stolen here was not from the produce of the person from whom it was stolen, meaning it was not grown on his land. Rather, he inherited it from his maternal grandfather who was a priest. The terumah is part of the inheritance, but the person who inherited can sell it. The question is do we consider this terumah as being stolen? If we consider the terumah to have already been separated, then the grandson inherited the terumah and the thief must pay it back. If we consider the terumah not to have been separated, then the grandson must separate the terumah and give it to a priest. So the thief only stole from him the benefit of discretion which does not count as money.
The Talmud now goes back to interpreting the dispute to be about regular tevel, not inherited tevel. They disagree about Shmuel’s rule that giving one grain of wheat as terumah makes the rest of the stack permitted. Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi says that it does, therefore, the thief has to pay back the entire value of what he stole because he could have given only one grain as terumah. R. Yose b. R. Yehudah holds that the person must give the real amount of terumah. Therefore, the thief pays back hullin. The right to give the terumah to whomever he wants is not considered money.
The next explanation is that Rabbi Yehudah Hanasi simply penalizes the priest by making him have to pay back the full value of what he stole. Why should he luck out just because what he stole was tevel?
Alternatively we can explain that the rabbis do not make the thief pay back the value of the terumah because they are penalizing the owner for holding on to tevel and not separating the terumah before it was stolen. One should always strive to separate terumah as soon as possible so that people do not accidentally eat untithed produce.
Today’s sugya, the last in this chapter, deals with the continuation of the mishnah, which allows a man to use the water of purification and the ashes of purification to betroth a woman.
The Talmud contrasts between the mishnah and a baraita. According to the mishnah, one can use the waters of purification and the ashes from burning the red heifer to betroth a woman. But according to a baraita, one may not derive monetary value from these things.
Abaye resolves that one may receive payment for bringing the water and drawing the water. One can perform this act for a woman and betroth her in this way because it saves her from having to do so herself (should she need some red heifer water sprinkling). But the baraita refers to the mixing of the ashes with the water and the sprinkling. The priest must do this himself and may not receive payment for it.
As an aside, while this sugya does not deal with paying clergy, it is interesting to relate it to that context. The priest can get paid but only for things someone else can do, like bringing the water and drawing it. But he cannot get paid for things that only he can do. Judges and witnesses also may not be paid. This is certainly a fascinating topic, but keep in mind, this passage is not the main source for the issue.
Congratulations, you’ve now finished two chapters of Kiddushin. The last part of this chapter was indeed quite difficult. A lot of material about laws that are not really observed much anymore or are observed only in Israel. And very theoretical, to say the least. So kol hakavod for making it through this material. We’re more than half way through the tractate, and I hope you’re all still enjoying the practice of learning one daf of Talmud a week.
The chapter, as all chapters do, begins with a mishnah. My commentary is from Mishnah Yomit.
The first section deals with a person who sends an agent out to betroth a woman on his behalf and then the agent betroths the woman to himself.
The second section deals with a man who betroths a woman but sets the betrothal date to occur in thirty days. The question is, if someone else betroths her within those thirty days, is she betrothed to the first man or to the second?
Reuven sends Shimon out to betroth Rachel on his behalf. Upon seeing Rachel, Shimon decides that he himself wants to betroth her, and when he proposes betrothal, Rachel agrees. She is now betrothed to Shimon and the fact that Shimon was supposed to act as Reuven’s agent is irrelevant. Of course, we can be sure that Reuven will not be happy with Shimon and Shimon has acted shamefully with his friend (sounds like a movie plot). Nevertheless, this fact is not of legal significance.
The connection between this section and the previous one is that in both the woman under discussion is betrothed to the second man. In this case, Reuven betroths the woman but sets the betrothal to begin in thirty days. When Shimon betroths her within thirty days, she is betrothed to Shimon, because Reuven’s betrothal has not yet begun. When the thirty days are up, Reuven’s betrothal does not “kick-in”, because she is already fully betrothed to Shimon. The mishnah expresses the fact that she is fully betrothed to Shimon by stating that if she is an Israelite’s daughter and therefore prohibited to eat terumah, she is now fully betrothed to Shimon and if he is a priest she may eat terumah. Were she not fully betrothed, the mishnah would not say that she can eat terumah.
In this case, Reuven makes an ambiguous statement, “Be betrothed to me from now and after thirty days.” It is unclear whether his betrothal begins now, or after thirty days. Alternatively, she may begin to be betrothed now but not fully betrothed until thirty days. In any case, if Shimon comes along and betroths her within the thirty days, his kiddushin are also doubtfully valid. If Reuven’s betrothal has begun, then she is betrothed to Reuven and Shimon’s act is irrelevant; but if Reuven’s betrothal has not begun, then she would be betrothed to Shimon. Alternatively, if Reuven’s betrothal has begun but not been completed, she may be betrothed to both of them at the same time. In such a situation she would be forbidden to both and require a get from both (see Gittin 7:3). If she was the daughter of a priest and one of them was an Israelite, she would no longer eat terumah lest her marriage to that man was valid. Similarly, if she is the daughter of an Israelite and one of the men was a priest she would not eat terumah lest her marriage to that man was not valid. In other words, we act stringently and she doesn’t get to eat terumah no matter what the case. Again, this is the mishnah’s way of saying that she is doubtfully married to both men and not fully married to either.
The Talmud begins to react to the first clause of the mishnah in which an agent betroths to himself the woman he is sent to betroth on behalf of another.
The agent’s act is valid and the woman is betrothed to him, but he has not done the honorable thing. Indeed he has been deceptive. One might say that from this mishnah one learns a lesson—when something is really important to you, try to get it done yourself.
The Talmud asks why our chapter calls the one sent to betroth, “his neighbor” while the other chapter calls him “his agent.” It suggests that in both cases the mishnah uses a word that is “new” meaning it teaches us something that we would not have otherwise thought.
Here it teaches “neighbor” to let us know that even though one does not generally rely on neighbors for such types of favors, even so, the neighbor who betroths the woman to himself is still considered deceptive.