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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth

Folio 65a

No allowance for wine is made for a woman.1  And should you point out the Scriptural text, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax. mine oil and my drink,2  [it may be replied that the reference is to] things which a woman desires.3  And what are they? Jewellery.

R. Judah of Kefar Nabirya4  (others say: of Kefar Napor5  Hayil) made the following exposition: Whence is it derived that no allowance for wines is made for a woman? — [From Scripture in] which it is said, So Hannah rose up after she had eaten6  in Shiloh, and after drinking.7  only 'he had drunk' but she did not drink. Now, then, would you also [interpret:] 'She had eaten'8  that he6  did not eat? — What we say is [that the deduction may be made] because the text has deliberately been changed. For consider: It was dealing with her, why did it change [the form]?9  Consequently it may be deduced that it was 'he who drank' and that she did not drink.

An objection was raised: If [a woman] is accustomed [to drink] she is given [an allowance of drink]! — Where she is accustomed to drink the case is different. For R. Hinena b. Kahana stated in the name of Samuel, 'If she was accustomed [to drink] she is given an allowance of one cup; if she was not accustomed [to it] she is given an allowance of two cups'. What does he mean? — Abaye replied: It is this that he means: If she was in the habit [of drinking] two cups in the presence of her husband she is given one cup in his absence; if she is used [to drink] in the presence of her husband only one cup, she is given none at all in his absence. And if you prefer I might say: If she is used [to drink] she is allowed some wine for her puddings10  only. For R. Abbahu stated in the name of R. Johanan: It happened that when the Sages granted the daughterin-law of Nakdimon11  b. Gorion a weekly12  allowance of two se'ahs of wine for her puddings she13  said to them, 'May you grant such allowances to your daughters'. A Tanna taught: She was a woman awaiting the decision of the levir.14  Hence they did not reply Amen after her.15

A Tanna taught: One cup16  is becoming to a woman; two are degrading. [and if she has] three she solicits publicly.17  [but if she has] four she solicits even an ass in the street and cares not. Raba said: This was taught only [in respect of a woman] whose husband is not with her; but if her husband is with her [the objection to her drinks] does not arise.18  But, Surely. [there is the case of] Hannah whose husband was with her!19  — With a guest20  it is different,21  for R. Huna stated Whence is it inferred that a guest is forbidden marital union? [From Scripture in] which it is said, And they rose up in the morning early and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah; and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her,22  only23  then24  but not before.

Homa, Abaye's wife, came to Raba25  and asked him, 'Grant me an allowance of board', and he granted her the allowance. 'Grant me [she again demanded] an allowance of wine'. 'I know', he said to her, 'that Nahmani26  did not drink wine'. 'By the life of the Master [I swear]'. she replied. 'that he gave me to drink27  from horns28  like this'.29  As she was showing it to him her arm was uncovered and a light shone30  upon the court. Raba rose, went home and solicited R. Hisda's daughter.31  'Who has been to-day at the court?' enquired R. Hisda's daughter. 'Homa the wife of Abaye'. he replied. Thereupon she followed her, striking her with the straps32  of a chest33  until she chased her out of all Mahuza.34  'You have', she said to her, 'already killed three [men].35  and now you come to kill another [man]!'

The wife of R. Joseph the son of Raba came before R. Nehemiah the son of R. Joseph and said to him, 'Grant me an allowance of board', and he granted her. 'Grant me also an allowance of wine' [she demanded], and he granted her. 'I know', he said to her, 'that the people of Mahuza drink wine'. The wife of R. Joseph the son of R. Menashya of Dewil36  came before R. Joseph and said to him, 'Grant me an allowance of board', and he granted her. 'Grant me', she said, 'an allowance of wine', and he granted her. 'Grant me', she said again. 'an allowance of silks'. 'Why silks?' he asked. 'For your sake', she replied. 'and for the sake of your friend and for the sake of your associates'.37

HE MUST ALSO PROVIDE HER WITH A BED, A MATTRESS etc. Why38  should he give her A MATTRESS AND A RUSH MAT?39  — R. Papa replied: [This is done only] in a place where it is the practice to girth the bed with ropes.40  which would hurt41  her.

Our Rabbis taught: She42  is not given43  a cushion and a bolster. In the name of R. Nathan it was stated: She is given a cushion and a bolster. How is this to be understood? If it is a case where she is used to it,44  what [it may be objected] is the reason of the first Tanna?45  And if it is a case where she is not used to it,44  what [it may be asked] is the reason of R. Nathan?46  — [The statement was] necessary only in the case where it47  was his habit but not her habit.48  The first Tanna49  is of the opinion that [her husband] may say to her, 'When I go away50  I take them and when I return I bring them back with me',51  while R. Nathan holds the opinion that she can tell him, 'It might sometimes happen [that you will return] at twilight52  when you will be unable to bring them53  and so you will take mine54  and make me sleep on the ground'.55 


Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Alcoholic drinks might lead her to unchastity (v. Rashi).
  2. Hos. II, 7. And my drink, [H], presumably including wine.
  3. [H] (cf. supra n. 9) being derived from the rt. [H] 'to long'. 'desire'.
  4. MS.M., [H]. [Neburja. identified with en-Nebraten in upper Galilee].
  5. [H] MS.M. [H]; marg., [H].
  6. [H]. This is taken as perfect 3rd pers. fem; according to the accentuation of M.T. it is the inf. estr. with fem.termination.
  7. I Sam. I, 9. E.V., They had drunk. M.T. [H], Inf. is taken as the equivalent of [H] (3rd masc. sing.), 'he (Elkanah) had drunk'.
  8. The word [H] (ibid.) instead of [H], [H] or [H]
  9. From the finite to the infinite.
  10. [H] (v. Jast.). Others, 'as an ingredient or seasoning of a dish' (v. Rashi and Golds.).
  11. Or 'Nicodemon', 'Nicodemus', one of the three wealthiest men in Jerusalem in the days of the siege by Vespasian and Titus (v. Git. 58a).
  12. Lit., 'from the eve of the Sabbath to the eve of the Sabbath'.
  13. In her annoyance at what she considered to be too small an allowance.
  14. Shomereth yabam. V. Glos.
  15. They did not wish their daughters ever to be placed in the position of a widow who is, moreover, subject to the decision of the levir.
  16. Of wine.
  17. Lit., 'with the mouth'.
  18. Lit., 'we have not (anything) against it'.
  19. And she nevertheless, as stated supra. abstained from drink.
  20. [H] (Cf. Gr. [G]). 'stranger', 'lodger', 'guest'.
  21. Hannah at the time was not in her own home but at Shiloh.
  22. I Sam. I, 19.
  23. Lit., 'yes'.
  24. When they had come to their own home.
  25. After Abaye's death (cf. Yeb. 64b).
  26. Lit., 'my comforter', a name by which Abaye was often referred to, v. Git. Sonc. ed. p. 140, n. 6.
  27. [H], MS.M. Cur. edd., [H] 'gave him to drink'.
  28. Plural of [H], 'a drinking horn' (v. Jast.) or 'deep cups' (cf. Rashi and Levy).
  29. Pointing to her arm.
  30. Lit., 'fell'.
  31. His own wife.
  32. Pl. of [H] (rt. [H], 'to peel') 'peeled or scrapped leather', 'a leather strap' (v. Jast.); 'a key' (Rashi).
  33. [H] Aruk, [H], 'silk'; [H] 'with a silken strap'. Rashi: 'With the key of a chest'.
  34. V. supra p. 319. n. 9.
  35. Homa had already thrice married and each of her husbands had died (v. Yeb. 64b).
  36. [Perhaps Debeile in the neighbourhood of Hille (near Sura). There is also a Dabil in Armenia, v. Funk, Monuments Talmudica, p. 291].
  37. To enable her to keep up her social standing in the company of her deceased husband's friends and associates.
  38. Since beds were usually furnished with a skin girth (v. Rashi).
  39. Which are much less comfortable for lying on than a skin girth. R. Tam (Tosaf. s.v. [H] a.l.) deletes MATTRESS since on account of its softness it is useful even where the bed is furnished with a skin spread.
  40. Instead of the skin girth.
  41. [H] (Af. of [H]) lit., 'which produce a roughness' (v. Jast.). According to Rashi [H] is to be taken in the sense of 'age'. The ropes cause her pain and 'age her' prematurely.
  42. The wife spoken of to Our Mishnah.
  43. By her husband.
  44. To sleep on a cushion and a bolster.
  45. Who ruled that she is not to be allowed these comforts.
  46. Why should her husband be expected to provide for her more comforts than she habitually requires.
  47. V. p. 394. n. 10.
  48. [Yet on the principle that 'she rises with him' supra 61a, she is entitled to them when she is with him (Rashi)].
  49. V. p. 394. n. 11.
  50. From you.
  51. Since she is not in the habit of using them she does not require them in his absence.
  52. On Sabbath eve.
  53. The carrying of objects is forbidden on the Sabbath, the prohibition beginning at twilight on the Friday evening.
  54. The other bed clothes that he had given her or that she herself had purchased. (V. however, next note).
  55. Hence R. Nathan's ruling that a husband must in all cases provide his wife with cushion and bolster. [Var. lec. (v. Tosaf.) omit 'so you will take mine'. On that reading the woman will argue that she would be made to sleep on the ground, even in his presence, when she is entitled to all the comfort to which he is accustomed, v. supra note 2].

Kethuboth 65b

This Tanna1  [expects a person to be] 'stripped naked and to wear shoes'!2  'The Tanna,' the other replied. 'was dealing3  with a mountainous region where one cannot possibly manage with less than three pairs of shoes [a year].4  and indirectly he informed us that these should be given to her on the occasion of a major festival so that she might derive joy from them.

AND CLOTHING [OF THE VALUE] OF FIFTY ZUZ. Abaye said: Fifty small zuz.5  Whence is this deduced? — From the statement:6  ALL THIS APPLIES TO THE POOREST IN ISRAEL, BUT IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER OF THE BETTER CLASSES ALL IS FIXED ACCORDING TO THE DIGNITY OF HIS POSITION. Now, should one imagine [that the reference is to] fifty real zuz,7  whence [it could be objected] would a poor man obtain fifty zuz? Consequently it must be concluded [that the meaning is] fifty small zuz.

SHE IS NOT TO BE GIVEN NEW etc. Our Rabbis taught: Any surplus of food8  belongs to the husband, while any Surplus of worn out clothes belongs to the woman. [You said:] 'Any surplus of worn out clothes belongs to the woman'; of what use are they to her? — Rehaba replied: For putting on during the days of her menstruation so that she may not [by the constant wearing9  of the same clothes] become repulsive to her husband. Abaye stated: We have a tradition that the surplus of the worn out clothes of a widow10  belongs to her husband's heirs. For the reason in the former case11  is that she shall not become repulsive to her husband12  but in this case13  let her be ever so repulsive.

HE MUST ALSO GIVE HER [EVERY WEEK] A SILVER MA'AH etc. What [is meant by] SHE IS TO EAT? — R. Nahman replied: Actual eating. R. Ashi replied: Intercourse. We have learned: SHE IS TO EAT WITH HIM ON THE NIGHT OF EVERY SABBATH. Now, according to him14  who said, '[actual] eating' it is quite correct to use the expression SHE IS TO EAT. According to him,15  however, who said, 'intercourse', why [it may be asked] was the expression SHE IS TO EAT used?16  — It is a euphemism.17  as it is written in Scripture. She18  eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith: 'I have done no wickedness'.19 

An objection was raised: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said, 'She is to eat with him on the night of the Sabbath and on the Sabbath [day]'. Now, according to him20  who said, '[actual] eating', it is correct to state, 'and on the Sabbath [day]'.21  According to him,22  however, who said, 'intercourse', is there any intercourse on the Sabbath day? Did not R. Huna state, The Israelites are holy and do not have intercourse in the day-time'?23  — But, Surely, Raba stated: It is permitted in a dark room.24

IF SHE WAS NURSING [HER CHILD]. R. 'Ulla the Great made at the Prince's25  door the following exposition: Although it was said:26  'A man is under no obligation to maintain his sons and daughters when they are minors', he must maintain them while they are very young.27  How long?28  — Until the age of six; in accordance [with the view of] R. Assi, for R. Assi stated: A child of the age of six is exempt29  by the 'erub30  of his mother. Whence [is this31  derived]? — From the Statement: IF SHE WAS NURSING [HER CHILD] HER HANDIWORK IS REDUCED AND HER MAINTENANCE IS INCREASED. What can be the reason?32  Surely because he33  must eat together with her. But is it not possible [that the reason32  is] because she34  ailing? — If that were the case it should have been stated, 'If she was ailing', why then [was it stated]. IF SHE WAS NURSING?35  But is it not possible that it was this that we were taught:36  That nursing mothers are commonly ailing?37 

It was stated: What is the addition38  that he makes for her?39  R. Joshua b. Levi said: She is given an additional allowance for wine, because wine is beneficial for lactation.



GEMARA. What does he47  teach us? This surely was already learnt: A father has authority over his daughter in respect of her betrothal [whether it was effected] by money, by deed or by intercourse; he is entitled to anything she finds and to her handiwork; [he has the right] of invalidating her vows, and he receives her letter of divorce; but he has no usufruct during her lifetime. When she marries, the husband surpasses him [in his rights] in that he has usufruct during her lifetime!48  — He49  regarded this50  as necessary [on account of the law relating to] INDIGNITY OR BLEMISH [THAT MAY HAVE BEEN INFLICTED UPON] HER, [which is the subject of] a dispute between R. Judah b. Bathyra and the Rabbis.51

A tanna recited in the presence of Raba: A wife's find belongs to herself; but R. Akiba ruled: [It belongs] to her husband. The other52  said to him: Now that [in respect of the] surplus53

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Who imposes upon a husband the duty of giving his wife shoes three times a year and clothing only once a year.
  2. Proverb. By the time the woman will receive her second or third pair of shoes her clothes will be worn to tatters and yet she would be wearing new shoes; a toilet more ludicrous than one uniformly shabby and worn out.
  3. Lit., 'stands'.
  4. Though clothes may conveniently last for the same period.
  5. Provincial zuz (Rashi). A provincial, or country zuz was equal in value to an eighth of the town, Or Tyrian zuz.
  6. Lit., 'since it was taught'.
  7. I.e., of the Tyrian standard (ef. p. 395, n. 14).
  8. I.e., if the woman did not consume all her allowance of food prescribed in our Mishnah.
  9. During her clean and unclean periods.
  10. Whose allowance for clothes is made by her deceased husband's heirs.
  11. Lit., 'there'.
  12. Lit., 'in his presence'.
  13. Lit., 'here'.
  14. R. Nahman.
  15. R. Ashi.
  16. Cf. BaH. a.l.
  17. [H], lit., 'a perfect or appropriate expression'. MS.M. adds, [H], 'he took up (used)'.
  18. The adulterous woman.
  19. Prov. XXX, 20.
  20. R. Nahman.
  21. Since one has to eat in the day time also.
  22. R. Ashi.
  23. Shab. 86a, Nid. 17a.
  24. V. Ibid.
  25. The Exlarch.
  26. Lit., 'that they (sc. the Rabbis) said'.
  27. Lit., 'the small of the small'.
  28. Must he maintain them.
  29. [H], i.e., he does not require one specially prepared for himself (v. Golds.). Rashi takes [H] in the literal sense, 'he goes out'. i.e., should his father place an 'erub in one direction and his mother to the opposite direction he would be allowed to move only in the direction his mother had chosen. In any case it follows that a child of the age of six is entirely attached to and dependent upon his mother and, consequently, just as a man must provide for his wife so must he provide for the child who is entirely dependent upon her.
  30. V. Glos.
  31. That a father is at all liable to maintain his young children,
  32. For the increase of the maintenance.
  33. The child.
  34. During lactation.
  35. The conclusion, therefore, must be that she was not ailing.
  36. By the use of the expression. NURSING, and not 'ailing'.
  37. As this is quite possible no positive proof is available that it is a father's legal duty to maintain his young children.
  38. For the Increase of the maintenance.
  39. So BaH. Cur. edd. omit.
  40. Which she inherited from a relative (Rashi's first interpretation supported by R. Tam., Tosaf. s.v. [H] a.l.).
  41. The capital, however, remains hers.
  42. I.e., if the indignity was imposed in the absence of onlookers or the blemish inflicted upon a concealed part of her body.
  43. Her husband.
  44. I.e., if people witnessed the indignity or if the blemish was inflicted on a part of the body that is exposed.
  45. Since he not only shares her indignity and degradation but, in addition, must also put up with a woman who has become disfigured. V. Rashi.
  46. As is the case with all property that comes into a wife's possession after her marriage. The capital remains hers and after his death or on divorce she recovers also the right of usufruct.
  47. The author of our Mishnah.
  48. V. supra 46b, notes, from which it follows that a husband is entitled to all his wife's possessions enumerated in our Mishnah. Why then were the same rulings repeated here?
  49. The author of our Mishnah.
  50. Our Mishnah.
  51. And could not have been inferred from the statement quoted.
  52. Raba.
  53. Of a woman's work above the amount required for her maintenance.