The Talmud continues to discuss what words can be used by the man to betroth the woman.
These are all valid betrothal formulas.
The Talmud notes that the baraita has two lists even though both lists have the same halakhah. This is unusual. Usually if there are two clauses in a baraita, they have opposite halakhot. But this is simply the way the baraita is. The tanna heard two different sets of halakhot and collated them into two lists.
The Talmud asks whether certain other formulae are also valid. Many of these words are taken from the stories of Adam and Eve or from elsewhere in the Bible. I will list the references here:
עזרתי, נגדתי—Genesis 2:18
עצורתי—Unclear, some say this is from I Samuel 21:6, but Rashi disagrees.
צלעתי, סגורתי—Genesis 2:21
The only of these that we know is valid is “taken by me” because the verse explicitly uses the language “takes a wife.”
Today’s sugya is based on a word from Leviticus 19:20, “If a man has carnal relations with a woman who is a slave and has been designated for another man.” The word for designate is נחרפת. Can this root be used for betrothal?
In the beginning, the Talmud thinks this word can be used anywhere as a betrothal formula because it works in Judea and because it is used in Scripture. But in the end, the Talmud rules that this formula works only in Judea because in Judea the word “harufah” simply means betrothed and seems to be used frequently.
The Talmud here is asking about all of the unclear betrothal formulae we have seen over the past few sections. What was the context in which he gave the money to her and said these things. If they were talking about getting married, then even if he says nothing and gives her the money, she is married, at least according to R. Yose, whom the halakhah follows.
And if they were not talking about getting married, how is she supposed to know what he is saying. The formulas listed above do not sound completely like betrothal formulas.
The Talmud answers that if he said nothing, and they were talking about betrothal, then they would be married. But since he used one of these confusing formulas, she might not have understood what she was saying yes to—maybe she was agreeing to work for him. Therefore, they are considered of doubtful validity. In such a case the couple would either need to redo to betrothal or get divorced.
Today’s sugya goes back to discussing betrothal or divorce without an explicit statement.
Several amoraim comment on R. Yose’s opinion in the baraita according to which the husband need not make any declaration. They clarify that he must at least be talking about “that topic” meaning her betrothal or divorce.
There is a tannaitic dispute as to whether they actually have to be talking about betrothal or divorce for the act to be valid without an explicit statement. But R. Elazar holds that they don’t even need to be talking about the betrothal or divorce. But this seems perplexing—how does she know what he’s doing? Abaye explains that the betrothal or divorce is valid only if they were at least talking somewhat about the matter.
R. Huna rules that the halakhah follows R. Yose—he need not make an explicit declaration about divorce or betrothal for the act to be valid.
R. Ashi then tells R. Yemar, his student, that Shmuel’s warning not to have any official dealings with a judge who does not know how to adjudicate the matters of betrothal and divorce applies even to this case. The consequences of a misjudgment in divorce or betrothal could be that a woman has a child who is a mamzer (offspring of a forbidden union). Therefore, a judge who wishes to take on responsibility in these areas must know all of the relevant halakhot, even that the halakhah follows R. Yose in this issue.
There are some similarities between divorce and slave manumission (even if, as I have insisted many times, and as this passage says twice, wives are not owned by their husbands). In both cases a man gives a person who lives in his household a document called a “get” and that person now is no longer a member of the household. Our sugya discusses whether there is any overlap in the formulae used to divorce or free a slave.
To slaves one says “behold you are free.” But this formula does not work for divorce because she was already free. Wives are not slaves and divorce is not manumission.
To a wife, one might say, “behold you are permitted to all men” because after divorce she may marry any other man she wants. But this does not work for slaves because she was not prohibited before manumission.