The Talmud resolves the difficulty by stating that the rules with regard to purity are different for in this realm thoughts can count as action. This is borne out by R. Papa’s statement concerning liquids that make food susceptible to impurity. Food is not susceptible to impurity until it comes into contact with a liquid. The person does not have to put this liquid on the food because the verse is read “if it be put.” However, the verse is written as if it says, “If one put.” So the susceptibility to purity depends on whether the person would want the liquid on the food. If he would, then it is susceptible to impurity. Here we can see that in the realm of impurity, thoughts count like action.
R. Zevid teaches R. Yohanan and Resh Lakish’s dispute in a slightly different context. Instead of teaching it about a case where the woman changed her mind with regard to kiddushin that will not take effect for thirty days, he teaches it with regard to the case of a woman who authorized her agent to betroth her and then changed her mind before the agent did so. R. Yohanan says that she can retract—her words authorizing the agent to betroth her can be annulled by other words retracting his agency. Resh Lakish says she may not.
The case here is one who sends an agent to separate terumah but then annuls the agency. If he does so before the agent separates the terumah, the separation is not valid. But here is a case of speech annulling speech. This seems to support R. Yohanan.
Rava solves the difficulty on R. Yohanan by positing that the case in the baraita is one in which the owner didn’t really annul the agency, but gave terumah on his own, before the agent did. By doing so, he is effectively nullifying the agent’s agency.
This is the same difficulty we saw above.
This is the same resolution we saw above.
Today’s sugya is the exciting conclusion of the “speech nullifying speech” discussion.
A husband sends a get to his wife and then finds him and annuls his agency. This is a case of speech nullifying speech. This refutes Resh Lakish.
The halakhah follows R. Yohanan in all cases. Even though he gave the woman money (and said, “Be betrothed to me in 30 days”) and we might have thought that this is like an action, her speech can still annul her acceptance of the kiddushin.
R. Nahman holds that even after the husband nullifies the agency, the husband can still use the get. This seems to mean that speech does not nullify speech for the get is still valid. So how can we hold like R. Nahman and like R. Yohanan.
The resolution is that the husband was nullifying the agency, not nullifying the get. He can still use the get should he later on decide he wants to divorce his wife.
Today’s sugya begins addressing the next section of the mishnah which reads:
Similarly, if he says to a woman, “Be betrothed to me after thirty days,” and another comes and betroths her within the thirty days, she is betrothed to the second.
Rav says that once betrothed to the second, she is permanently betrothed to him. Shmuel says that the betrothal is only effective till the thirty days are over. At that point the first man’s kiddushin begin to take effect and she is now betrothed to him. The betrothal to the second ends. Yes, this is really weird!
R. Hisda does not understand how the betrothal of the second could just simply be removed. Poof! After all, the first person’s betrothal does not begin until after thirty days. The second person’s betrothal should be permanent.
To solve the problem, R. Joseph offers another context for Rav and Shmuel’s dispute. He also slightly modifies the words. The dispute between Rav and Shmuel is on the second clause of the mishnah, where the first man says, “From now and after thirty days” and then a second man betroths her during that thirty day period. The Talmud will now explain how their dispute maps out onto this clause.
Rav does not know whether the first betrother intended his statement as a stipulation, “If I do not change my mind within thirty days, you will be betrothed to me from now” or a retraction, i.e. “No you are not betrothed to me until after thirty days.” If it was a stipulation, then she would be married to the first man. If a retraction, then she is married to the second because the first kiddushin was never valid. Therefore, she is doubtfully betrothed to both men and will require a get from both.
Shmuel holds that the statement was a stipulation. She is doubtfully betrothed for the first thirty days but after that the second person’s betrothal is removed because the first person’s takes effect.
Rav and Shmuel have the same argument as Rabbi [Judah Hanasi] and the sages. The context here is divorce. Divorce cannot occur after death. The sages hold that when he says “from today and after my death” it might be a stipulation (in which case it is valid) and it might be a retraction (in which case it is not). Rabbi holds that it is a stipulation, and the get is valid, although it takes effect only after death. Rav holds like the sages and Shmuel holds like Rabbi.
If Rav agrees with the Sages who referred to the case of divorce, why not just say “the halakhah agrees with the Sages.” The Talmud explains that Rav needs to teach his statement in relation to betrothal for had he not we might have thought that when it comes to betrothal, the Sages would agree with Shmuel that it is a stipulation. Since betrothal is to draw her near, we might assume that he is not retracting his statement.
If Shmuel had said “the halakhah agrees with Rabbi” I might have thought that only in that case do we interpret his statement as a stipulation because he cannot be saying “Be divorced after my death.” People know that one cannot divorce after death. But when it comes to kiddushin, they can take place after thirty days. So maybe in that case the man was retracting his earlier statement.
According to Rav, if the man says “Be betrothed to me now and after thirty days” we do not know if he made a stipulation or a retraction. If another person comes and betroths her within the thirty days, then if it we consider it a stipulation she is married to the first man, but we consider it a retraction she is married to the second. This leaves her doubtfully married to both and requiring a get from both.
Abaye explains that if there are multiple betrothers, Rav would hold that she can only be betrothed to either the first (if the statement is taken as a stipulation) or the last (if it was a retraction). She could not be betrothed to any of the middle ones.