At the end of last week’s daf R. Joseph said that when a woman is betrothed with the equivalent of money, i.e. goods, the goods must have a clearly defined value. In our sugya, R. Joseph offers a source for this ruling. The source is then rejected by Rabbah.
R. Joseph takes a source about a Hebrew slave who buys his freedom. The verse implies he was acquired with money, which the rabbis understand as excluding produce or utensils.
The baraita cannot possibly mean that a slave cannot be acquired by “produce or utensils” for we have an explicit source that says that he can. When he pays back his purchase price, he can pay back the equivalent of money. Thus he must have been acquired through goods as well.
The produce and utensils would not be valid to acquire the slave if they were less than a perutah, but this is true also of money. So why specify produce and utensils.
This is the conclusion of R. Joseph’s proof. The problem with acquiring a slave with produce or utensils is that they do not have definite value. Thus the same, according to R. Joseph, applies to kiddushin—the goods used for kiddushin must have a definite value.
Rabbah argued earlier that the goods being used for kiddushin do not need to be of definite value. So how does he read this baraita, such that it does not prove R. Joseph’s rule? He reads it as excluding “exchange” as a means to acquire a slave (or to betroth). “Exchange” is the symbolic act whereby one person symbolically acquires something of insignificant value and thereby gives the other person something of significant value. This was often done with a handkerchief. Sometimes today it is done with a pen. The two most common occasions on which one would see this is with the signing of the ketubah and with selling chametz.
There is a debate in Bava Metzia whether produce can be used in “exchanges.” R. Nahman says it cannot and thus there is no need to exclude produce.
The Talmud now retracts and says that “produce and utensils” are invalid only if they are not worth a perutah. Above, we rejected this interpretation because the same is true of money—it too must be worth a perutah. So why specify “produce and utensils”? The answer is that we might actually have thought that goods worth less than a perutah can be used for kiddushin because they can be used immediately. For instance, if you need an eraser, it might be worth more to you than a perutah, even if you would not pay a perutah for an eraser at the store. Therefore, the baraita needs to teach us that a slave cannot be bought for less than a perutah. But according to Rabbah, the goods need not have a definite value.
In today’s sugya R. Joseph again tries to bring proof that goods used for betrothal need to have definite value. If he uses silk, for instance, it must be evaluated prior to the act of betrothal. But again, the Talmud will reject this proof.
The baraita here is about redemption of the first born son which must be done with five selas. A father can use the equivalent of money, but he must state that it is worth five selas.
Now, R. Joseph asks, what’s the purpose of stating the amount? If the object is not worth five selas, then saying it is worth that much does not change reality. Rather, it must actually be worth that amount. The point of saying “five selas” is that the price needs to be determined. So too, R. Joseph would argue, does the money used for betrothal.
The Talmud rejects R. Joseph’s proof. It could be that the animal was not actually worth five selas. As long as it is worth five selas to the Kohen accepting the animal, the redemption is valid.
R. Ashi says that the story about R. Kahana accepting a scarf worth less than five shekels for the redemption of a son works only for a great man like R. Kahana. Evidently, in R. Ashi’s times, great men would pay large amounts to cover their heads. But most people would not, and therefore the object used for redemption must actually be worth five shekels.
Today’s section discusses cases where the man tells the woman he is betrothing her with a large sum but then gives her only part thereof. Is the kiddushin valid and he just owes her the money? Or is the kiddushin not valid until he gives her all of the money.
The man here says that he is betrothing her with a maneh (100 dinars) but then only gives her one dinar. The question is—is the betrothal valid, and he simply must give her the rest later? Or is the betrothal invalid until he actually gives her 100 dinars?
The answer is that since he says “on condition” the betrothal takes place immediately. She is betrothed to him and he must pay the rest. The ramification of this is that should she wish try to be betrothed to someone else, the betrothal would not be valid.
The Talmud raises a difficulty. A man says to a woman “be betrothed to me with a maneh” and begins to count out the money. The betrothal is not final until he gives her the entire maneh. This opposes R. Elazar who says the betrothal is final after the first dinar and that he simply owes her the rest.
The resolution is that in this case he said, “with this maneh.” Since he said the formula in this way, he must have meant that he needs to give her this maneh right now.
The Talmud points out that in the second clause the man says, “this maneh.” The assumption then is that in the first clause he said “a maneh” and not “this maneh.” This would then be again a difficulty against R. Elazar.
The Talmud resolves it by saying that in both cases he said “this maneh.” The second half of the baraita clarifies that the first half referred to a case where he said “this maneh.” Had he said “a maneh” she would be betrothed immediately and he would be obligated to give her the rest of the maneh.
This reading of the baraita is also logical, so the Talmud argues. For if the first case was “a maneh” and still she is not betrothed until he gives her the complete maneh, then obviously if he says “this maneh” she is not betrothed until he gives her the complete maneh.
The last piece of logic from above does not prove that the first clause must deal with “this maneh.” For it could be that the first clause refers to “a maneh” and yet the second clause still teaches “this maneh” to make sure that you interpret the first clause in the opposite way. In other words, do not say that the second clause is obvious. Say that the second clause teaches you how to interpret the first clause.
The conclusion here is that the resolution of the difficulty on R. Elazar stands but is not proven through logic. R. Elazar can interpret the baraita so that it does not contradict him, but the baraita does not need to be interpreted in that way.
R. Ashi offers a different resolution of the difficulty. If the man is counting, then clearly he intends to give her the whole sum right now and she is not betrothed until he does so. But if he just says “a maneh” and gives her a dinar, his intention is to owe her the rest and she is betrothed immediately.
The baraita had ruled that the copper dinar is invalid. But if she saw it and accepted it, why should this be a problem? A woman has the right to accept what she wants for her betrothal as long as it is worth a perutah.
The answer is that he gave it to her without knowing, for instance at night, or buried among the other dinarim. But if she willingly accepted the lesser coin, she is betrothed.
If the “bad dinar” referred to in the baraita is also not usable, then how is it different from the “copper dinar.” Why teach essentially the same thing twice? The answer is that it is usable, but with difficulty. Again, we can assume that if she accepted it, then the betrothal is valid. It is invalid only if she does not know what she is accepting.
Today’s sugya is about betrothing with a pledge, an item given to be reclaimed when money is paid.
The man betroths a woman and promises to give a maneh. But instead of giving her the money itself, he gives her a pledge, an object for her to keep until he gives her the maneh.
R. Nahman rules that the betrothal is not valid. She has not received the maneh and the pledge is not hers. So in essence he has not given her anything.