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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth

Folio 63a

will you lead the life of a living widowhood?' 'If he would listen to me,' she replied. 'he would spend [in study] another twelve years'. Said [R. Akiba]: 'It is then with her consent that I am acting'. and he departed again and spent another twelve years at the academy. When he finally returned he brought with him twenty-four thousand disciples. His wife heard [of his arrival] and went out to meet him, when her neighbours said to her, 'Borrow some respectable clothes and put them on', but she replied: A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.1  On approaching him she fell upon her face and kissed his feet. His attendants were about to thrust her aside, when [R. Akiba] cried to them, 'Leave her alone, mine and yours are hers'.2  Her father, on hearing that a great man had come to the town, said, 'I shall go to him; perchance he will invalidate my vow',3  When he came to him [R. Akiba] asked, 'Would you have made your vow if you had known that he was a great man?' '[Had he known]' the other replied. 'even one chapter or even one Single halachah [I would not have made the vow]'. He then said to him, 'I am the man'.4  The other fell upon his face and kissed his feet and also gave him half of his wealth.5

The daughter of R. Akiba acted in a similar way6  towards Ben Azzai. This is indeed an illustration of the proverb:7  'Ewe follows ewe; a daughter's acts are like those of her mother.'

R. Joseph the son of Raba [was] sent [by] his father to the academy under8  R. Joseph. and they arranged for him [to stay there for] six years. Having been there three years and the eve of the Day of Atonement approaching. he said, 'I would go and see my family'. When his father heard [of his premature arrival] he took up a weapon and went out to meet him. 'You have remembered', he said to him, 'your mistress!'9  Another version: He said to him, 'You have remembered your dove!'10  They got involved in a quarrel and neither the one nor the other ate of the last meal before the fast.11


GEMARA. REBELS in what [respect]? — R. Huna replied: [In respect] of conjugal union. R. Jose the son of R. Hanina replied: [In respect] of work.

We learned, SIMILARLY, IF A HUSBAND REBELS AGAINST HIS WIFE. Now according to him who said, '[In respect] of conjugal union [this ruling] is quite logical and intelligible;19  but according to him who said, '[In respect] of work', is he20  [it may be objected] under any obligation [at all to work] for her?21  — Yes,22  [rebellion being possible] when he declares 'I will neither sustain nor support [my wife]' — But did not Rab state: If a man says. 'I will neither sustain nor support [my wife]', he must divorce her and give her the kethubah?23  — Is it not necessary to consult him [before ordering him to divorce her]?24 

An objection was raised: The same25  [law26  is applicable to a woman] betrothed27  or married, even to a menstruant, even to a sick woman and even to one who was awaiting the decision of the levir.28  Now,29  according to him who said, '[In respect] of conjugal union' it is quite correct to mention the sick,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. A quotation from Prov. XII, 10.
  2. I.e., it is thanks to her suggestion and encouragement that he and, through him, his disciples, were able to acquire their knowledge.
  3. Which a competent authority may under certain conditions do.
  4. Lit., 'he'.
  5. Lit., money'.
  6. As her mother had done towards R. Akiba
  7. Lit., 'and this it is that people say'.
  8. Lit., 'before'.
  9. [H] Lit., 'your harlot'. Var. lec. 'thy mate', 'thy beloved'.
  10. [H] This version is obtained by the slight interchange of a h for a z (cf. Supra n. 8).
  11. [H] (rt. [H], 'to separate', sever', 'cease') i.e., did not eat the [H], the 'meal which, so to speak. causes one to cease' the eating of food until the conclusion of the Day of Atonement after nightfall on the following day.
  12. The term is explained in the Gemara infra.
  13. V. Glos.
  14. Plural of denar. V. Glos.
  15. This is regarded as the equivalent of the value of the seven kinds of work (supra 59b) a woman is expected to perform for her husband. (Cf. M.R. Gen. LII).
  16. Half a denar.
  17. Then she may be divorced, and cannot claim her kethubah.
  18. Corresponding to the three obligations of a husband, prescribed in Ex. XXI, 10.
  19. Since a husband, like a wife, might sometimes decide to rebel in this respect.
  20. A husband.
  21. Surely not. How then, in this respect. is rebellion applicable to him?
  22. I.e., his duty to maintain and support his wife corresponds to her duty to work for him.
  23. Infra 77a. presumably at once, while according to Out Mishnah every week AN ADDITION … IS MADE TO HER KETHUBAH.
  24. Of course it is; since he may quite possibly be persuaded to resume his obligations. It is during this period of negotiation that the weekly additions are made to the kethuhah.
  25. Lit., '(it is) one to me'.
  26. Relating to the rebellion of a wife against her husband.
  27. When she declares that she will refuse to marry.
  28. Infra 64a. [H], the widow of a man who died childless, who must either be taken in marriage by her deceased husband's brother or submit to halizah (v. Glos.) from him.
  29. Cut. edd. insert in parentheses: 'This is correct according to him who said "(In respect) of work'; but according to him who said (In respect) of conjugal union", is a menstruant capable of conjugal union? — He can answer you: One who has bread in his basket is not like one who has none'. Others say, v, infra p. 382.

Kethuboth 63b

but according to him who said, '[In respect] of work', is a sick woman [it may be objected] fit to do work?1  — The fact, however, is that2  [in respect] of conjugal union all3  agree that [a wife who refuses] is regarded as a rebellious woman.4  They3  differ only in respect of work. One Master is of the opinion that [for a refusal] of work [a wife] is not to be regarded as rebellious and the other Master holds the opinion [that for a refusal] of work also [a wife] is regarded as rebellious.

[To turn to] the main text,5  If a wife rebels against her husband, her kethubah may be reduced by seven denarii a week. R. Judah said: Seven tropaics. Our Masters, however, took a second vote6  [and ordained] that an announcement regarding her shall be made on four consecutive Sabbaths and that then the court shall send her [the following warning]: 'Be it known to you that even if your kethubah is for a hundred maneh7  you have forfeited it'.8  The same [law is applicable to a woman] betrothed or married, even to a menstruant, even to a sick woman, and even to one who was awaiting the decision of the levir.9  Said R. Hiyya b. Joseph to Samuel: Is a menstruant capable of conjugal union?10  — The other replied: One who has bread in his basket is not like one who has no bread in his basket11

Rami b. Hama stated: The announcement concerning her12  is made only in the Synagogues and the houses of study. Said Raba: This may be proved by a deduction,13  it having been taught,'Four Sabbaths consecutively'.14  This is decisive.15

Rami b. Hania further stated: [The warning] is sent to her16  from the court twice, once before the announcement and once after the announcement.

R. Nahman b. R. Hisda stated in his discourse: The halachah is in agreement with our Masters.17  Raba remarked: This is senseless.18  Said R. Nahman b. Isaac to him, 'Wherein lies19  its senselessness? I, in fact, told it to him, and it was in the name of a great man that I told it to him. And who is it? R. Jose the son of R. Hanina!' Whose view then is he20  following? — The first of the undermentioned.21  For it was stated: Raba said in the name of R. Shesheth, 'The halachah is that she16  is to be consulted',22  while R. Huna b. Judah stated in the name of R. Shesheth, 'The halachah is that she is not to be consulted'.23

What is to be understood by 'a rebellious woman'?24  — Amemar said: [One] who says. 'I like him25  but wish to torment him'.26  If she said, however, 'He is repulsive to me', no pressure is to be brought to bear upon her.27  Mar Zutra ruled: Pressure is to be brought to bear upon her.28  Such a case once occurred, and Mar Zutra exercised pressure upon the woman and [as a result of the reconciliation that ensued] R. Hanina of Sura29  was born from the re-union. This, however,30  was not [the right thing to do]. [The successful] result] was due to the help of providence.31

R. Zebid's daughter-in-law rebelled [against her husband]32  and took possession of her silk [cloak].33  Amemar, Mar Zutra and R. Ashi were sitting together34  and R. Gamda sat beside them; and in the course of the session they laid down the law: [If a wife] rebels she forfeits her worn-out35  clothing that may still be in existence. Said R. Gamda to them, 'Is it because R. Zebid is a great man that you would flatter him? Surely R. Kahana stated that Raba had only raised this question36  but had not solved it'. Another version:37  In the course of their session they decided: [If a wife] rebels she does not forfeit her worn-out clothing38  that may still be in existence. Said R. Gamda to them,

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Naturally not. How then could she in this respect be guilty of rebellion?
  2. Lit., 'but'.
  3. R. Huna and R. Jose.
  4. And the Baraitha cited deals with conjugal union.
  5. Of the quotation, 'the same law etc.' cited supra 63a ad fin.
  6. Lit., 'they (i.e., their votes) were counted again'.
  7. V. Glos.
  8. At the end of the four weeks.
  9. Cf. Tosef. Keth. V., and supra notes 1 and 2.
  10. Obviously not; she being forbidden to her husband until the conclusion of the days of her Levitical uncleanness and the seven subsequent 'clean days'.
  11. Cf. supra p. 374. n. 9 The woman's declared rebellion and the man's knowledge that even during her cleanness she will remain forbidden. aggravate the pain of the deprivation and entitle him to immediate redress.
  12. A woman who rebelled against her husband
  13. From the very text of the ordinance.
  14. Emphasis on Sabbaths' days of test when everybody is free from work and able to attend Synagogue and the houses of study.
  15. Lit., 'Infer from this'.
  16. A woman who rebelled against her husband.
  17. Whose ruling is recorded in the Baraitha just cited (v. supra p. 381. n. 12 and text).
  18. [H] (cf. [H] 'empty'. uncultivated'). 'a hollow, senseless statement'. The addition of the [H] is on the analogy of words like [H] (Levy). Others derive if from [H] 'cave out' (v. Jast.)
  19. Lit., 'what'.
  20. Raba who regarded the statement as senseless.
  21. Lit., 'like that'
  22. With a view to inducing her to resume her duties, and during the negotiations. contrary to the view of our Masters, only the weekly sum mentioned is deducted from her kethubah. [On this interpretation which follows Rashi, Raba decides in accordance with our Mishnah against our Masters. Tosaf. explains differently R Nahman, In stating that the halachah is with our Masters, meant to exclude thereby the view of Rami B Hama regarding the two warnings. He maintained that the words of our masters had to be taken as they stand, with no mention of any warning before the proclamation. This is however rejected by Raba, who declares, on the authority of R. Shesheth, the halachah to be that a warning is given prior to the proclamation The warning will, In this case, be that she will lose the while of her kethubah should she still prove recalcitrant after the proclamation].
  23. [On Tosaf. interpretation. (Previous note) the meaning is she is not warned before but only after the proclamation, agreeing with R. Nahman b. R. Hisda].
  24. Heb. moredeth, whose divorce is to be delayed and deductions are in the meantime to be made from her Kethubah.
  25. Her husband.
  26. In this case divorce is delayed in the hope that the weekly reductions of her kethubah and the persuasions used by the court will induce her to change her attitude.
  27. [The husband can, if he wishes, divorce her forthwith without giving her kethubah; v. Rashi and Tosaf. s.v. [H].]
  28. V. Supsra note 4.
  29. Supra was the seat of the famous school of Rab, in the South of Babylonia.
  30. Though the pressure in this case resulted to the birth of a great man.
  31. Lit., 'assistance of heaven'
  32. [She said, 'He is repulsive to me' (Rashi) v. infra p. 384, n. 5].
  33. Which she had brought with her when she married, and which was assessed and entered to her Kethubah.
  34. Lit., 'sat'.
  35. V supra n. 11
  36. As to the forfeiture of worn-out clothes.
  37. Lit., 'there are who say'.
  38. V. supra p. 383, n. 21.