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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth

Folio 47a

in order [to avert] ill feeling.1

TO HER HANDIWORK. Whence do we deduce this? — [From that] which R. Huna quoted in the name of Rab: Whence is it deduced that a daughter's handiwork belongs to her father? — [From Scripture] where it is stated, And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant,2  as the handiwork of a maidservant belongs to her master so does the handiwork of a daughter belong to her father.3  But may it not be suggested that this4  [applies only to] a minor whom he may sell, but the handiwork of a na'arah5  whom he cannot sell belongs to herself? — It is but logical to assume that it should belong to her father; for should it be imagined that her handiwork does not belong to him [the objection could well be advanced against] the right6  which the All-Merciful has conferred upon a father to consign his daughter to the bridal chamber: How could he consign her when he thereby7  prevents her from doing her work?8  R. Ahai demurred: Might it not be suggested that he9  pays her compensation [for the time] she is taken away [from her work] or else, that he consigns her during the night,10  or else that he might consign her on Sabbaths11  or festivals?11  — [The fact], however, [is that in the case of] a minor no Scriptural text was necessary.12  For since13  is he may even sell her was it at all necessary [to state that her handiwork belongs to him]?14  If a Scriptural text15  then was at all necessary [it must have been] in respect of a na'arah.

TO ANNUL HER VOWS. Whence do we [deduce this]? [From Scripture] where it is written,16  Being in her youth in her father's house.17

AND HE RECEIVES HER BILL OF DIVORCE. Whence is this deduced? — From Scripture where it is written, And she departeth and And becometh,18  'departure'19  being compared to 'becoming'.20

BUT HE HAS NO USUFRUCT DURING HER LIFETIME. Our Rabbis taught: A father has no usufruct21  during the lifetime of his daughter.22  R. Jose the son of R. Judah ruled: A father is entitled to usufruct21  in the lifetime of his daughter. On what principle do they differ? — The first Tanna is of the opinion that the Rabbis were well justified in allowing usufruct to a husband, since otherwise he might refrain from ransoming [his wife].23  What, however, can be said24  in respect of a father? That he would refrain from ransoming her? [It is certain that] he would ransom her in any case. R. Jose the son of R. Judah, however, is of the opinion that a father also might refrain from ransoming [his daughter], for he might think: She is carrying a purse25  about her, let her proceed to ransom herself.26

WHEN SHE MARRIES, THE HUSBAND SURPASSES HIM [IN HIS RIGHTS] IN THAT HE HAS USUFRUCT etc. Our Rabbis taught: If [a father] promised his daughter in writing27  fruit,28  clothes or other movable objects29  that she might take30  with her31  from her father's house to that of her husband, and she died,32  her husband does not acquire these objects. In the name of R. Nathan it was stated: The husband does acquire them. Must it be assumed that they33  differ on the same principles as those on which R. Eleazar b. Azariah and the Rabbis differed? For we learned: A woman who was widowed or divorced, either after betrothal or after marriage, is entitled to collect all34  [that is due to her]. R. Eleazar b. Azariah ruled: [Only a woman widowed or divorced] after her marriage recovers all [that is due to her], but if after a betrothal a virgin recovers only two hundred zuz35  and a widow only one maneh35

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Between father and daughter.
  2. Ex. XXI, 7.
  3. Cf. supra 40b, 46b, Kid. 3b.
  4. Lit., 'these words', a father's right to his daughter's handiwork.
  5. V. Glos.
  6. Lit., 'but that'.
  7. Lit., 'surely'.
  8. During her preparations for, and the performance of the bridal chamber ceremonial. Since, however, a father does enjoy the right it must be concluded that a daughter's handiwork does belong to her father.
  9. A father who consigns his daughter into the bridal chamber.
  10. When people usually rest from their work.
  11. On which days work is forbidden. The question thus arises again: Whence is it deduced that a daughter's handiwork belongs to her father?
  12. To confer upon her father the right to her handiwork.
  13. Lit., 'now'.
  14. Obviously not.
  15. Viz., the superfluous word vntk., to be a maidservant (Ex. XXI, 7), from which the analogy is drawn supra. The ordinary text deals, of course, with a minor.
  16. In the Section dealing with the invalidation of vows.
  17. Num. XXX. 17. 'Being in her youth' [H], sc. while she is yet a na'arah (v. Glos.).
  18. Deut. XXIV, 2.
  19. I.e., divorce.
  20. Sc. a wife (cf. Deut. XXIV, 2: Becometh … wife). As a father may contract his daughter's betrothal so may he accept her divorce.
  21. V. supra p. 266, n. 7.
  22. V. l.c. n. 8.
  23. Should she ever be taken captive.
  24. In justification of his claim to the usufruct of his daughter's property.
  25. The savings of the proceeds of her property.
  26. And should her savings be insufficient he would refuse to supplement them.
  27. Lit., 'wrote for her', as her dowry.
  28. Detached from the ground (v. infra).
  29. Lit., 'vessels', 'chattels'.
  30. Lit., 'which shall come'.
  31. On betrothal.
  32. During the period of her betrothal.
  33. R. Nathan and the first Tanna.
  34. I.e., her additional jointure as well as her statutory kethubah.
  35. V. Glos., sc. her statutory kethubah only.

Kethuboth 47b

for the man wrote [the additional jointure] for her with the sole object of marrying her.1  [Must it then be assumed] that he who ruled that 'her husband does not acquire' [upholds the same principle] as R. Eleazar b. Azariah2  while he3  who ruled that 'the husband does acquire' [upholds the same principle] as the Rabbis?4  — No; all5  [may, in fact, hold the same view] as R. Eleazar b. Azariah.6  [For] he who ruled, 'her husband does not acquire', [is obviously] in agreement with R. Eleazar b. Azariah.7  And as to him3  who ruled, 'the husband does acquire' [it may be explained that] only [in respect of undertakings] from him8  towards her9  did R. Eleazar b. Azariah maintain his view,10  [for the reason that] 'the man wrote [the additional jointure] for her with the sole object of marrying her',11  but [in respect of undertakings] from her12  towards him13  even R. Eleazar b. Azariah may admit [that betrothal has the same force as marriage] since [undertakings of such a nature]14  are due to [a desire for] matrimonial association, and such association, surely, had taken place.15

HE IS ALSO UNDER THE OBLIGATION OF MAINTAINING HER etc. Our Rabbis taught: Maintenance was provided for a wife in return for her handiwork, and her burial16  in return for her kethubah.17  A husband is, therefore, entitled to usufruct. 'Usufruct'! Who mentioned it?18  — A clause is missing, and this is the proper reading: Maintenance was provided for a wife in return for her handiwork, her ransom In return for usufruct,19  and her burial in return for her kethubah;20  a husband, therefore, is entitled to usufruct.19

What [was the need for] 'therefore'?21  — It might have been presumed [that a husband] must not consume the fruits19  but should rather leave them,22  since, otherwise,23  he might refrain from ransoming her, hence we were informed that that [course]24  was preferable, for sometimes [the proceeds of the fruit] might not suffice25  and he26  would have to ransom her at his own expense.

Might I not transpose [the sequence]?27  — Abaye replied: They28  ordained the common for the common29  and the uncommon for the uncommon.30

Said Raba: The following Tanna is of the opinion that maintenance31  is a Pentateuchal duty. For it was taught: She'erah32  refers to33  maintenance, for so it is said in Scripture, Who also eat the she'er34  of my peaple;35  Her raiment36  [is to be understood] according to its ordinary meaning; 'Onatha37  refers to the time for conjugal duty38  prescribed in the Torah,39  for so it is said in Scripture, If than shalt afflict40  my daughters.41  R. Eleazar said: 'She'erah' refers to the prescribed time for conjugal duty,39  for so it is said in Scripture, None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin42  to him to uncover their nakedness;43  'Her raiment' [is to be taken] according to its literal meaning; 'Onatha refers to maintenance, for so it is said in Scripture, And he afflicted thee,44  and suffered thee to hunger.45

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. And since he did not marry her she can have no claim to it. V. Infra 54b, 89b; B.M. 17b.
  2. As the latter makes the woman's right to her additional jointure dependent on marriage, so also does the former make the husband's right to the dowry his wife brings from her father's house dependent on marriage. In the opinion of both betrothal entitles one only to the prescribed statutory rights.
  3. R. Nathan.
  4. As they deem betrothal to he as valid as marriage in respect of conferring upon a woman the right to her additional jointure as well as to her statutory kethubah, so does R. Nathan deem betrothal to be conferring upon a husband the right to the dowry his wife has brought him. As the additional jointure which is included in the document of the kethubah is acquired on betrothal by the woman, so is the dowry which is also included in the same document acquired on betrothal by the man.
  5. R. Nathan and the first Tanna.
  6. Whose ruling is (as stated infra) the accepted law.
  7. Cf. supra note 6.
  8. A husband.
  9. A wife.
  10. That betrothal does not confer upon a woman the right of acquisition.
  11. V. supra p. 271. n. 5.
  12. A wife.
  13. A husband.
  14. The dowry e.g., which her father promises to her husband.
  15. By the betrothal. Hence the ruling that, in this respect, betrothal alone confers the same rights as marriage.
  16. Variant, 'ransom' (Sheiltoth).
  17. Here it means the dowry (v. supra n. 4) which, like the statutory kethubah and the additional jointure, is also entered in the kethubah document.
  18. Lit., 'their (sc. the fruits') name'; the first clauses of the Baraitha cited speak only of 'handiwork' and 'kethubah' and these, surely, provide no reason for a husband's right to usufruct.
  19. Of her melog (v. Glos.) property which was not entered in the kethubah.
  20. V. supra note 7.
  21. The ruling 'a husband therefore … usufruct' seems superfluous after the statement, 'her ransom in return for usufruct'.
  22. I. e., allow their proceeds to accumulate, and thus create a fund for his wife's ransom.
  23. Lit., 'if so'; were he to consume the fruit or to spend their proceeds.
  24. That the husband shall enjoy usufruct and that in return for this he shall assume the obligation of ransoming his wife.
  25. To cover the full amount of the ransom. Lit., 'that they he not full'.
  26. Since, in accordance with the ordinance, he enjoyed usufruct and undertook the obligation of ransom. (V. supra note 14).
  27. In the Baraitha, thus: Maintenance in return for usufruct and ransom in return for handiwork. A wife would consequently be prevented from retaining her handiwork even if she declined maintenance.
  28. The Rabbis.
  29. Maintenance and handiwork are both part of a person's daily routine.
  30. Usufruct for ransom. It is rare that a wife should own melog (v. Glos.) property or that she should be carried away as a captive. Both usufruct and ransom are consequently uncommon.
  31. Of a wife by her husband.
  32. E.V. Her food, [H] ([H] with pronom suffix; v. infra n. 8) Ex. XXI. 10.
  33. Lit., 'these'.
  34. [H] E. V. flesh.
  35. Micah III, 3.
  36. Ex. XXI. 10.
  37. [H], R.V., Her duty of marriage; A.J.V., Her conjugal rights, Ex. XXI, 10. [H] (rt. [H] in Piel, 'to afflict'; v. infra nn. 12 and 14).
  38. [H] (rt. [H] v. supra n. 11).
  39. Cf. infra 61b.
  40. [H], (rt. [H]).
  41. Gen. XXXI, 50.
  42. [H]
  43. Lev. XVIII, 6.
  44. [H] (rt. [H]).
  45. Deut. VIII, 3.