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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth

Folio 27a

'when she was pledged' but not 'when she was imprisoned'?1  — [No] the same applies also to [the case if] she had been imprisoned. only it happened so.2

Some say. Raba said: We have also learned [in a Mishnah] to the same effect: R. Jose the priest and R. Zechariah b. ha-Kazzab testified regarding an Israelitish woman. who was pledged in Ashkelon and her family put her away and her witnesses testified concerning her that she did not hide herself [with a man] and that she was not defiled [by a man]. [that] the Sages said: If you believe [the witnesses] that she was pledged believe [them also] that she did not hide herself and that she was not defiled, and if you do not believe [them] that she did not hide herself and was not defiled, do not believe [them] that she was pledged. In Ashkelon [it happened] for the sake of money, and [yet] the reason [why the Sages permitted her to her husband was] because witnesses testified concerning her, but if witnesses did not testify concerning her [she would] not [have been permitted]; and is it not [also to be supposed] that there is no difference whether she was pledged or imprisoned?3  — No, when she was pledged it is different.4 

Some put [this argument] in the form of a contradiction. We have learned: IF FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY SHE IS PERMITTED TO HER HUSBAND. But here is a contradiction: 'R. Jose testified etc.' [Now] in Ashkelon [it happened] for the sake of money and [yet] the reason [why she is permitted to her husband] is because witnesses testify concerning her, but if no witnesses testify concerning her, [she would] not [have been permitted]. And it is answered: R. Samuel b. Isaac said: It is no contradiction; here5  [it speaks] when the hand of Israel is strong over the heathens, [and] there6  when the hand of the heathens is strong over themselves.

IF FOR THE PURPOSE OF [TAKING HER] LIFE SHE IS FORBIDDEN [TO HER HUSBAND]. Rab said: As, for instance, the wives of thieves.7  Levi said: As, for instance, the wife of Ben Dunai.8  Hezekiah said: This is only9  when they have [already] been sentenced to death — R. Johanan says: Even if they have not yet been sentenced to death.


GEMARA. There is a contradiction against this: If a reconnoitering troop comes to a town in time of peace the open casks [of wine] are forbidden15  and the closed ones are permitted.16  In times of war both are permitted, because they have no time to offer libations.17  — R. Mari answered: To have intercourse they have time.18  To offer libations they have no time. R. Isaac b. Eleazar said in the name of Hezekiah: There19  [it speaks] of a besieging troop of the same kingdom.20  here21  [it speaks] of a besieging troop of another kingdom.22  [Even in the case of a besieging troop] of the same kingdom it is not possible that one of them does not run away23  [from the rest of the troop]!24  — Rab. Judah answered in the name of Samuel: When the guards25  see one another.26  [But] it is not possible that one does not sleep a little!27  — R. Levi answered: When they placed round the town chains. dogs. trunks of trees and geese.28  R. Abba, b. Zabda said: With regard to this R. Judah Nesi'ah29  and the Rabbis differ: one said [that] there30  [it speaks] of a besieging troop of the same kingdom. and here31  of a beseiging troop of another kingdom, and he found no difficulties, whereas one32  raised all those questions33  and answered [them by saying] when they placed round the town chains, dogs. trunks of trees, and geese.

R. Idi b. Abin said in the name of R. Isaac b. Ashian: If there is there one hiding place. it protects all priests' wives.34  R. Jeremiah asked [a question]: What is [the law] if it holds only one? Do we say of each one:35  This is the one36  or not? — But why should it be different from [the following case]? There were two paths, one was clean37  and one was unclean, and someone walked in one of them and [then] prepared clean things.38  and another person came and walked in the second path and [then] prepared clean things. R. Judah says: If each one comes to ask39  separately,40  they are [declared] clean;41  [but] if they both come together, they are [declared] unclean;42  R. Jose Says: In either case43  they are [declared] unclean.44  [Whereon] Raba, and some say R. Johanan said: [if they come to ask] at the same time, all agree that they are [declared] unclean, if they come one after another, all agree that they are [declared] clean; they differ only when one comes to ask for himself and for the other one; one45  regards this as46  [if it were] at the same time, and the other47  regards this as [if it were] one after another. Now here48  also, since all [women] [are declared] is like [the case where they came] at the same time?49  — How is this so?50  There51  there is certainly an impurity,52  [but] here53  who says that any one54  has been defiled?55

R. Ashi asked: If she56  says. 'I have not hidden myself and I have not been defiled', what is [the law]? Do we say

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. The case of 'pledged' would be worse than that of 'imprisoned'. for once the tithe for redemption had expired. the pledge remains the absolute possession of the creditor (Rashi).
  2. That she had been pledged.
  3. This Supports R. Samuel b. R. Isaac.
  4. V. p. 144 n. 9.
  5. In our Mishnah.
  6. 'Ed. V. 2.
  7. Their property and their wives were apparently confiscated (Rashi).
  8. Or Dinai, a notorious bandit, v. Sot. (Sonc. ed.) p. 249. n. 2.
  9. Lit., 'and that is'.
  10. Priestesses.
  11. I.e., forbidden to their husbands, as they might have been defiled by the troops.
  12. That they have not been defiled.
  13. A male slave.
  14. A female slave.
  15. Because they may have offered libations to idols.
  16. It is assumed that the troops do not touch the closed casks since they have open casks of wine.
  17. V. A.Z. 70b. And in our Mishnah it is assumed that the troops have time to violate the women of the town.
  18. They are driven by their passion.
  19. In A.Z. 7ob.
  20. [Sent to suppress a rebellion. The troop is therefore self-restrained]
  21. In our Mishnah.
  22. An enemy troop behaves in a hostile manner, and the women of the town may have been violated.
  23. Var. lec. 'remove his foot'.
  24. And has violated a woman.
  25. Appointed for the protection of the population.
  26. And they can call to one another to arrest any wrongdoer. Fear of the guards would prevent assaults on women.
  27. I.e., the guards may fall asleep for a little while.
  28. So that any one who would attempt to run away (or slip away) would be caught.
  29. The Prince. R. Judah II
  30. In A.Z. 70b.
  31. In out Mishnah.
  32. The other disputing patty.
  33. Raised here in the Gemara.
  34. It is to be assumed of each one that she hid herself there.
  35. Of the priests' wives.
  36. Who hid herself there.
  37. Ritually. In one of the two paths were dead bodies buried, but it is not known in which.
  38. Lit., 'did purities'. I.e., touched things which were ritually pure (Rashi). If he is ritually impure he makes them ritually impure.
  39. They come to ask a scholar for a decision as to the things which they touched.
  40. Lit., 'this one for himself and this one for himself'.
  41. I.e., the things are pure, because the two men ate regarded as pure. Since they came to ask separately I say of each of them that he walked in the clean path.
  42. The things are unclean, because the decision given to the men cannot be: 'you are clean', since one of the two present must have walked in the unclean path. As it is not known which it was they ate both regarded as unclean and the things which they touched are unclean.
  43. Lit., 'Whether So-and-so'. Whether they come separately or together.
  44. V. Toh. V, 5.
  45. R. Jose.
  46. Lit., 'compares it to'.
  47. R. Judah.
  48. In the case of the priests' wives.
  49. And therefore all of them should be forbidden on the view of R. Jose to their husbands, if there is a hiding place in which only one can hide herself, Since, when R. Judah and R. Jose differ, the law is according to R. Jose (Rashi) and since it is ruled that all the women are permitted, it is as if they all had come at one and the same time to ask for a decision.
  50. I.e., is this analogy correct? How can you compare these two cases?
  51. In the case of the two paths.
  52. One path was unclean.
  53. In the case of the priests' wives.
  54. Of the priests' wives.
  55. It may be that there was no defilement at all.
  56. One of the priests' wives.

Kethuboth 27b

'why should she lie,'1  or do we not say it? But why should this be different from the following case? Once someone hired out an ass to a person, and he said to him, 'Do not go the way of Nehar Pekod. where there is water,2  go the way of Naresh, where there is no water. But he3  went the way of Nehar Pekod and the ass died.4  He3  [then] came before Raba5  and said to him. 'Indeed, I went the way of Nehar Pekod, but there was no water. Said Raba: 'Why should he lie?' If he wished he could say 'l went the way of Naresh.' And Abaye said to him: we do not say 'Why should he lie?' where there are witnesses.6  — Now is this so? There there were witnesses that there certainly was water on the way of Nehar Pekod. but here has she certainly been defiled? It is [only] a fear,7  and in the case of a fear we say ['why should he lie?']

IF THERE ARE WITNESSES, EVEN A SLAVE, EVEN A HAND' MAID, THEY ARE BELIEVED. And even her own handmaid is believed. But there is a contradiction against this:8  She9  must not be alone with him10  unless there are witnesses, even a slave, even a handmaid11  except her own handmaid,12  because she13  is familiar with her own handmaid!14  — R. Papi said: In [the case of] a woman captive15  they16  have made it lenient. R. Papa said: In the one case17  [it speaks of] her handmaid, in the other case18  [it speaks of] his handmaid. But her handmaid is not believed? Does he not teach [that] no one may testify as to himself? [This would imply that] her handmaid is believed!19  Her handmaid is like herself.20  R. Ashi said: In both cases [it speaks of] her handmaid, but [what we maintain is that] the handmaid sees and is silent.21  [Consequently] there,22  where her silence makes her permitted.23  she is not believed, but here,24  where her silence makes her forbidden.25  she is believed. Now also, she may come and tell a falsehood?26  Two [things] she would not do27  as in the case of Mari b. Isak [or as some say of Hana b. Isak]: To him there came a brother from Be-Hozae and said to him: Give me a share in the property of our father. He answered him: I do not know you. He28  [then] came to R. Hisda, and he29  said to him: I he30  answered you well, for it is written:31  'And Joseph knew his brethren, and they knew not him.' This teaches that he went away before he had grown a beard and he came back after growing a beard.32  [Then] he29  said to him: I Go and bring witnesses that you are his brother. He28  answered him:29  I have witnesses, but they are afraid of him,33  because he is a powerful man. He29  [then] said to the other man: Go you and bring witnesses that he28  is not thy brother. He30  answered him:29  Is this the law? [Surely] he who claims must produce evidence!34  He29  said to him.30  So I rule for you and all who are powerful like you!35  But they36  may also come and lie?37  Two things they36  will not do.38 

May we say that this difference39  is like that between [these] Tannaim? [For it was taught in a Baraitha:] This testimony40  a man and a woman, a boy and a girl, her father and her mother, her brother and her sister [may give], but not her son and her daughter, nor her slave and her handmaid. And [in] another [Baraitha] it was taught. All are believed to testify [for her] except herself and her husband.41  Now the views of R. Papa and R. Ashi are [certainly] according to the difference of the Tannaim.42  But is the view of R. Papa according to the Tannaim?43  R. Papa can answer you: That Baraitha44  [speaks of a case] when she45  talked in her simplicity.46  As that which R. Dimi said when he came: R. Hanan of Carthagene told a story: A case came before R. Joshua b. Levi (or as some say R. Joshua b. Levi told a Story: A case came before Rabbi): Someone was talking in his simplicity and said: I and my mother were taken captives among heathens. When I went out to draw my water, my mind was on my mother.47  [When I was out] to gather wood, my mind was on my mother. And Rabbi allowed her to marry48  a priest49  by [the words of] his mouth.50


GEMARA. It has been taught: And notwithstanding this57  he appointed for her a dwelling place58  in his court-yard. and when she was out, she went out at the head of her children,59  and when she came in, she came in at the head other children.60  Abaye asked: May one do so with regard to one's' divorced wife?61  [Do I say:] There62  it was allowed because in [the case of] a captive woman63  they64  made it lenient, but not here.65  or is there no difference? — Come and hear: It has been taught: If someone has divorced his wife, she shall not get married [and live] in his neighbourhood.66

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Lit.. 'Why should I lie?' Do we apply here the principle of 'Why should I lie?' If she had wished to tell a falsehood she could have said that she hid herself. She does not gain any advantage by her present statement. Therefore we should believe her entire statement.
  2. Which, apparently. the ass-driver would have to cross.
  3. The man who hired the ass.
  4. Apparently through the fatigue of crossing the water.
  5. Before whom the parties, the owner and hirer of the ass, brought their dispute.
  6. It is common knowledge that there is water on the way to Nehar, Pekod, v. however, B.M. (Sonc. ed.) p. 468 and notes.
  7. One is merely afraid that she may have been defiled.
  8. V. Git. 73a.
  9. The wife of a husband who gave her a divorce on condition that he dies, v. Git. 73a.
  10. With her husband between the delivery of the divorce and his death.
  11. Even if a slave or a handmaid is present when husband and wife are in one room.
  12. The wife's own handmaid.
  13. The wife.
  14. We thus see that her own handmaid cannot be a witness. This is the contradiction. For further notes v. Git. (Sonc. ed.) p. 348.
  15. E.g., the priests' wives in the Mishnah.
  16. The Rabbis.
  17. In Git. 73a.
  18. In our Mishnah.
  19. Anyone but herself.
  20. Therefore her own handmaid cannot be a witness.
  21. I.e., all the handmaid does is: She sees what her mistress does and keeps quiet.
  22. In Git. 73a.
  23. There (in Git. 73a), if the handmaid says nothing as to any intimacy between husband and wife after the conditional divorce, she is in her permitted state. And as her handmaid is suspected of Seeing a wrong done and saying nothing her silent testimony is not accepted.
  24. In our Mishnah.
  25. A captive woman is presumed to have been violated unless there is evidence to the contrary. consequently in order to make her mistress permitted to her husband the handmaid would have to speak. She would have to say that her mistress was not defiled. And we do not assume that she would say an untruth. She may be guilty of a silent falsehood, but not of a spoken falsehood. Therefore when she says that her mistress has remained pure she is believed.
  26. In spite of what has just been said by R. Ashi, it is possible that out of attachment to her mistress, or for fear of her, the handmaid may come and actually tell a falsehood. Why should she then be believed?
  27. To be silent about her mistress's defilement and to say that she was not defiled, that she would do both these things we do not assume.
  28. The claimant.
  29. R. Hisda.
  30. Mari, or Hana.
  31. Gen. XLII, 8.
  32. It is therefore possible and even natural that your brother does not recognize you.
  33. Of his brother.
  34. This is the accepted rule!
  35. I.e., I am the interpreter and exponent of the law. I apply the rules according to circumstances. Now that I have to deal with a man like you, Mari, I modify the rule! And he bowed to the ruling of R. Hisda; v. B.M. 39b. where the story is told more fully.
  36. The witnesses.
  37. Cf. B.M. 39b.
  38. To be silent as to the truth and to tell a falsehood
  39. Whether her handmaid is believed or not.
  40. Regarding a captive woman.
  41. Her handmaid is therefore believed.
  42. R. Papa and R. Ashi would hold like the second Baraitha.
  43. The view of R. Papa does not seem to agree with either Baraitha, since he makes a distinction between his handmaid and her handmaid. According to the first Baraitha no handmaid is believed, whether his or hers, and according to the second Baraitha either handmaid is believed, even hers.
  44. The second Baraitha.
  45. The handmaid.
  46. She related her story quite innocently, without intending to give evidence. In such a case R. Papa would also hold that her handmaid is believed. Therefore R. Papa's view would also be according to the second Baraitha.
  47. Apparently he had his eyes on her so that no one assaulted her.
  48. She was a widow.
  49. Lit., 'into priesthood'.
  50. Relying upon the story told innocently by the Son.
  51. 'The Butcher'. He was a priest in Jerusalem at the time of the Roman conquest.
  52. He swore by the Temple.
  53. The hand of his wife.
  54. I.e., she was always with him, and he knew that she remained pure.
  55. The Sages.
  56. As it concerns himself his testimony cannot be accepted.
  57. That they did not accept this testimony. and consequently she was forbidden to him (Rashi).
  58. Lit., 'a house'.
  59. So that she should not be alone with her husband.
  60. So that she should not be alone with her husband, v. Tosef. Keth. V. for variants.
  61. May she live in the same court-yard in which her former husband lives?
  62. In the case of R. Zechariah.
  63. During the siege she was regarded as a captive woman.
  64. The scholars.
  65. In the case about which Abaye asks.
  66. [H] 'a group of three houses', v. A.Z. 21a. Former friendship may lead to renewed intimacy.