Today’s sugya discusses how we know that a woman can be betrothed through a document.
The law that betrothal can be done through deed is derived from a kal vehomer from divorce. If a document works to divorce but money does not, then since money works for betrothal, all the more so a document should as well.
The Talmud now refutes the argument. Money can be used for betrothal because it can also be used to redeem sacred property and second tithe (the money becomes holy and the things become not-holy). But documents cannot be used to redeem sacred things and therefore there is no reason to assume that documents may be used to betroth a woman.
Having rejected logic as a source, the Talmud now brings in a verse to prove that she can be betrothed through a document. The verse compares being married with being divorced—just as she is divorced through a document, so too she is betrothed through a document.
If we’re going to compare means of divorce with means of betrothal, then why not say that just as she can be betrothed through money, so too she can be divorced through money. Abaye responds that were this to be so, then the “defender”—money used for betrothal—would become the “prosecutor”—money used for divorce.
The next difficulty is obvious—if the defender cannot become the prosecutor then how can the prosecutor (document) also become the defender—a document used for betrothal.
The resolution is that the documents are different, whereas all coins are the same. So the fact that a document can be used for both betrothal and divorce is not a problem of the prosecutor becoming the defender. But money is all the same, so it would be a problem.
Rava cites a midrash to prove that she cannot be divorced through money—the Torah says that the husband writes her a divorce. He does not give her money.
Why not read the verse another way—as if it says that she is divorced through money but not betrothed.
The resolution is the same comparison—just as she can be divorced through a document, so too she can be betrothed.
We could have read the verses in another way. The verse that juxtaposes divorce and marriage would teach that just as she can be betrothed through money so too she can be divorced. Then the verse about divorce would teach that she cannot be betrothed by document.
The Talmud resolves this by saying that a verse that is talking about divorce must be excluding a means of divorce, not a means of marriage. So that verse must mean that she can be divorced by document and not by money. And then the comparison verse must teach that just as she can be divorced through money so too she can be betrothed through money.
In yesterday’s sugya we encountered a midrash that reads the verse “Then he shall write for her a bill of divorce” as meaning that she can be divorced by a document but not by another means such as money. But R. Yose Hagalili uses the verse for another midrash. So from where does he derive the halakhah that a woman cannot be divorced by money.
R. Yose Hagalili uses the next few words of the verse as the basis for the fact that she is divorced through writing but not through any other means.
The rabbis use the word “divorce” which can also be translated as “severing” as teaching that the husband cannot try to maintain control over her by offering a conditional divorce which limits her future behavior. Note, even if she agrees to the condition, this is not divorce. However, if there is a time limit, then the divorce is effective. She can disagree with the condition and simply not be divorced. But it is a possible means of divorce.
The Talmud now asks, as it usually does, how does R. Yose Hagalili derive this last halakhah—that divorce must sever the relationship. After all, he has already used that word to teach that she must be divorced with a document.
He can get two laws out of this verse because it is in the plural “keritut” instead of “karet.” The rabbis, however, do not make anything out of the use of the plural. This is also how the discussion can be completed.
Having failed to derive betrothal in one of the three ways from one of the other ways, the Talmud now asks if betrothal in one way can be derived from the other two ways. Note that the Talmud is consistently bothered by superfluity—we need to prove that every verse, every midrash was needed, and that no laws could be learned through the existence of the others.
The first suggestion as to which means of betrothal could be derived from the others is that betrothal through a document could be derived from money and intercourse. For this to work, we would need there to be nothing common to money and intercourse that is not common to the document. But there is—there is pleasure in receiving money and engaging in intercourse. But there is no pleasure in receiving a document. Thus betrothal through a document could not be derived from betrothal through money and intercourse.
We could not have derived betrothal through intercourse from betrothal through money and document because money and documents are normal ways of acquiring. Intercourse works as a means of acquisition only in marriage.
Money cannot be derived from the other two because money never works in marriage against the woman’s will, whereas intercourse does in the case of a yevamah and a document divorces a woman against her will.
If one were to push back and say that money does work, for a Jewish girl can be sold into slavery against her will, the answer is that money does not work against her will in the case of marriage.
Today’s long sugya discusses whether “huppah”—the entrance of the bride into the domain of the husband, can effect betrothal. Usually “huppah” is performed as marriage, not as betrothal.
We should note that huppah was more literal in Talmudic times than it is today. Today huppah is a symbolic entrance into the husband’s domain (or in more egalitarian terms—their beginning to live together). But back then it probably literally meant moving into his home.
R. Huna argues that if money can acquire a wife in betrothal but still does not allow her to eat terumah (if she is betrothed to a priest) then all the more so huppah, which does allow her to eat terumah (when marrying a priest) should also acquire her in betrothal.
Ulla stated that according to the Torah, a woman betrothed to a priest should be able to eat terumah immediately after betrothal through money. She is fully connected to him and is part of the priest’s family. Halakhah does not allow this lest she come to give terumah to the members of her childhood family who are not priests.
The Talmud tweaks the argument. Money cannot be used for “marriage” and yet it acquires in betrothal. Therefore huppah which is the way that marriage is completed should also acquire in betrothal.