Although they said as a principle that a virgin collects two hundred dinars as payment for her marriage contract and that a widow collects one hundred dinars, if the husband wishes to add even an additional ten thousand dinars, he may add it. If she is then widowed or divorced, whether from betrothal or whether from marriage, she collects the entire amount, including the additional sum. Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya says: If she is widowed or divorced from marriage, she collects the total amount, but if she is widowed or divorced from betrothal, a virgin collects two hundred dinars and a widow one hundred dinars. This is because he wrote the additional amount for her in the marriage contract only in order to marry her. Rabbi Yehuda says a related halakha with regard to the marriage contract: If he wishes, he may write for a virgin a document for two hundred dinars as is fitting for her, and she may then write a receipt stating: I received one hundred dinars from you. Even though she has not actually received the money, the receipt serves as a means for her to waive half of the amount due to her for her marriage contract. According to Rabbi Yehuda, the financial commitment in the marriage contract is a right due to the wife, which she may waive if she chooses to do so. And similarly, for a widow he may write one hundred dinars in the contract and she may write a receipt stating: I received from you fifty dinars. However, Rabbi Meir says: It is prohibited to do this, as anyone who reduces the amount of the marriage contract to less than than two hundred dinars for a virgin or one hundred dinars for a widow, this marital relationship amounts to licentious sexual relations because it is as if he did not write any marriage contract at all.
One gives a virgin twelve months from the time the husband asked to marry her after having betrothed her, in order to prepare herself with clothes and jewelry for the marriage. And just as one gives a woman this amount of time, so too does one give a man an equivalent period of time to prepare himself, as he too needs time to prepare for the marriage. However, in the case of a widow, who already has items available from her previous marriage, she is given only thirty days to prepare. If the appointed time for the wedding arrived and they did not get married due to some delay on the part of the husband, then the woman may partake of his food. And if her husband is a priest, she may partake of teruma, even if she is an Israelite woman. The tanna’im disagree about the permission granted to a priest to sustain his betrothed with teruma before she is married to him. Rabbi Tarfon says: He may give her all of her required sustenance from teruma. During her periods of impurity, e.g., menstruation, when she cannot partake of teruma, she may sell the teruma to a priest and use the proceeds to buy non-sacred food. Rabbi Akiva says: He must give her half of her needs from non-sacred food and half may be from teruma, so that she can eat from the non-sacred food when she is ritually impure.
The mishna continues: A priest who is a yavam, i.e., his brother died childless after betrothing a woman, does not enable his yevama to partake of teruma by virtue of her relationship with him. If she had completed six months of the twelve-month wait for marriage under the aegis of the husband, and then he died, and she waited six more months under the aegis of the yavam; or even if she completed all of the necessary time under the aegis of the husband except for one day that she was under the aegis of the yavam; or if she completed all of the necessary time under the aegis of the yavam except for one day that she was under the aegis of the husband, she still may not partake of teruma. This set of rulings, concerning the permission granted a betrothed woman whose wedding date has arrived to partake of teruma, is in accordance with the initial version of the mishna. However, a court that convened after them, in a later generation, said: A woman may not partake of teruma until she has actually entered the wedding canopy.
If one consecrates his wife’s earnings, meaning anything she produces, such as thread that she spins from wool, which, according to the Sages’ ordinance, belongs to her husband, she may work and sustain herself from her earnings, as the consecration is ineffective. However, there is a dispute with regard to the surplus, meaning any earnings she produces in excess of the amount she is required to produce for her husband. Rabbi Meir says: The surplus is consecrated property, and Rabbi Yoḥanan the Cobbler says: The surplus is also non-sacred.
And these are tasks that a wife must perform for her husband: She grinds wheat into flour, and bakes, and washes clothes, cooks, and nurses her child, makes her husband’s bed, and makes thread from wool by spinning it. If she brought him one maidservant, i.e., brought the maidservant with her into the marriage, the maidservant will perform some of these tasks. Consequently, the wife does not need to grind, and does not need to bake, and does not need to wash clothes. If she brought him two maidservants, she does not need to cook and does not need to nurse her child if she does not want to, but instead may give the child to a wet nurse. If she brought him three maidservants, she does not need to make his bed and does not need to make thread from wool. If she brought him four maidservants, she may sit in a chair [katedra] like a queen and not do anything, as her maidservants do all of her work for her. Rabbi Eliezer says: Even if she brought him a hundred maidservants, he can compel her to make thread from wool, since idleness leads to licentiousness. Consequently, it is better for a woman to be doing some kind of work. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Even one who vows that his wife is prohibited from doing any work must divorce her and give her the payment for her marriage contract, since idleness leads to idiocy.
With regard to one who vows that his wife may not derive benefit from marital relations with him, Beit Shammai say: He may maintain this situation for up to two weeks, but beyond that he must divorce her and give her the payment for her marriage contract. Beit Hillel say: He must divorce her if it continues beyond one week. Apropos the husband’s obligation to his wife regarding marital relations, the Gemara mentions other aspects of this issue: Students may leave their homes and travel in order to learn Torah without their wives’ permission for up to thirty days, and laborers may leave their homes without their wives’ permission for up to one week. The set interval defining the frequency of a husband’s conjugal obligation to his wife stated in the Torah (see Exodus 21:10), unless the couple stipulated otherwise, varies according to the man’s occupation and proximity to his home: Men of leisure, who do not work, must engage in marital relations every day, laborers must do so twice a week, donkey drivers once a week, camel drivers once every thirty days, and sailors once every six months. This is the statement of Rabbi Eliezer.
A woman who rebels against her husband is fined; her marriage contract is reduced by seven dinars each week. Rabbi Yehuda says: Seven half-dinars [terapa’ikin] each week. Until when does he reduce her marriage contract? Until the reductions are equivalent to her marriage contract, i.e., until he no longer owes her any money, at which point he divorces her without any payment. Rabbi Yosei says: He can always continue to deduct from the sum, even beyond that which is owed to her due to her marriage contract, so that if she will receive an inheritance from another source, he can collect the extra amount from her. And similarly, if a man rebels against his wife, he is fined and an extra three dinars a week are added to her marriage contract. Rabbi Yehuda says: Three terapa’ikin.
If someone feeds his wife by means of a third party serving as a trustee, while the husband himself is not living with her for some reason, he may not give her less than two kav of wheat or four kav of barley a week for her sustenance. Rabbi Yosei said: Only Rabbi Yishmael, who was near Edom, allotted her barley. And he must give her half a kav of legumes, and half a log of oil, and a kav of dried figs or the weight of a maneh of fig cakes. And if he does not have these fruits, he must apportion for her a corresponding amount of fruit from elsewhere. And he must give her a bed, a soft mat, and a hard mat. And he must give her a cap for her head, and a belt for her waist, and new shoes from Festival to Festival, i.e., he must buy her new shoes each Festival. And he must purchase garments for her with a value of fifty dinars from year to year. The mishna comments: And he may not give her new clothes, which tend to be thick and warm, in the summer, nor worn garments in the rainy season, as these are too thin and she will be cold. Rather, he should give her clothes at a value of fifty dinars in the rainy season, and she covers herself with these same worn garments in the summer as well. And the leftover, worn clothes belong to her.
In addition to the above, he must give her another silver ma’a coin for the rest of her needs. And she eats with him from Shabbat evening to Shabbat evening. Although he may provide for her sustenance via a third party throughout the week, on Shabbat evening she has the right to eat together with him. And if he does not give her a silver ma’a coin for her needs, her earnings belong to her. And what is the fixed amount that she must earn for him? She must spin wool in the weight of five sela of threads of the warp in Judea, which are equivalent to ten sela according to the measurements of the Galilee, or the weight of ten sela of the threads of the woof, which are easier to prepare, in Judea, which are equivalent to twenty sela according to the measurements used in the Galilee. And if she is nursing at the time, the required amount is reduced from her earnings and is added to the sum she receives for her sustenance. In what case is this statement, i.e., all these amounts and measurements, said? With regard to the poorest of Jews, i.e., these are the minimum requirements. However, in the case of a financially prominent man, all the amounts are increased according to his prominence.