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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth

Folio 67a

spread beneath his feet and the poor followed behind him and rolled them up!1  — If you wish I might reply: He did it for his own glorification — 2 And if you prefer I might reply: He did not act as he should have done,3  as people say, 'In accordance with the camel is the burden'.4

It was taught: R. Eleazar the son of R. Zadok said, 'May I [not] behold the consolation [of Zion] if I have not seen her5  picking barley grains among the horses' hoofs at Acco. [On seeing her plight] I applied to her this Scriptural text: If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock and feed thy kids;6  read not thy kids7  but thy 'bodies'.8

R. Shaman b. Abba stated in the name of R. Johanan: If a wife brought to her husband9  [a bar of] gold, it is to be assessed and [entered in her kethubah] according to its actual value.10

An objection was raised: '[Broken pieces of] gold are like vessels'.11  Does not this imply12  'like silver vessels' which wear out?13  — No, 'like gold vessels' which do not wear out. If so, [the expression] should have been 'like vessels [made] thereof'! And, furthermore, it was taught: [A bar of] gold is like vessels; gold denarii are like ready money.14  R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: Where the usage is not to change them15  they are valued and are [to be entered in the kethubah] at the rate of their actual value.16  Now, to what is R. Simeon b. Gamaliel referring? If it be suggested [that he refers] to the final clause,17  the inference [it may be pointed out would be] that the first Tanna maintains his opinion18  even when the usage is not to change them, but, surely, [it may be objected] they can not be used as currency!19  It must consequently be assumed20  [that he21  referred] to the first clause and that it is this that was meant: [A bar of] gold is like vessels; and what [is meant by] vessels? silver vessels;22  and R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said: It is like gold denarii where the usage is not to change them!23  — No;24  he21  may still refer to the final clause but [it is a case where] with difficulty they can be used as currency; and the principles on which they differ is this: One Master25  holds the view that since they can be used as currency we allow her the increase26  and the other Master21  is of the opinion that since they can be used as currency only with difficulty, she is not to have the increase.27

If you prefer I might reply: All the statement28  is that of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel, but a clause therein is missing, and the proper reading is as follows: [A bar of] gold is like vessels,29  gold denarii are like ready money. This is the case only where it is the usage to change them,30  but where it is the usage not to change them31  they are to be valued and entered in the kethubah at the rate of their actual value; so R. Simeon b. Gamaliel for R. Simeon b. Gamaliel holds the view that where it is the usage not to change them they are to be valued and [entered in the kethubah] at the rate of their actual value. But [the difficulty] nevertheless [remains that the expression] should have been, 'like vessels [made] thereof'! — This is indeed a difficulty. And if you prefer I might reply: We are here28  dealing with a case of broken pieces of gold.32  R. Ashi said: [We deal here28  with] gold leaf.33  R. Jannai stated: The spices of Antioch34  are35  like ready money.36  R. Samuel b. Nahmani stated in the name of R. Johanan:37  A woman38  is entitled to seize Arabian camels in settlement of her kethubah.39

R. Papi stated: A woman38  may seize clothes40  manufactured at Be Mikse41  for her kethubah.42

R. Papi further stated: A woman38  may seize sacks made at Rodya43  and the ropes of Kamhunya44  for her kethubah.

Raba stated: At first I said: A woman38  is entitled to seize money bags45  of Mahuza46  for her kethubah.42  What was [my] reason? Because [women] relied upon them.42  When I observed, however, that they47  took them and went out with them into the market48  and as soon as a plot of land came their way they purchased it with this money I formed the opinion that they rely49  only upon land.50


GEMARA. Abaye stated: By FIFTY ZUZ small coins54  [were meant]. Whence is this statement inferred? — From the statement in the final clause: IF [CHARITY] FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE SHE IS FITTED OUT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DIGNITY OF HER POSITION [concerning which], when it was asked, 'What was meant by FUNDS'.55  Rehaba explained: Charity funds.56  Now if we should imagine that by FIFTY ZUZ the actual57  [coins were meant], how much [it may be asked] ought we to give her even IF CHARITY FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE! Consequently it must be inferred that by FIFTY ZUZ small coins [were meant].

Our Rabbis taught: If an orphan boy and an orphan girl applied for maintenance,58  the girl orphan is to be maintained first and the boy orphan afterwards,59  because it is not unusual for a man to go begging60  but it is unusual for a woman to do so.61  If an orphan boy and an orphan girl

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. I.e., taking the stuff away with them.
  2. Such gifts are not regarded as proper charity.
  3. He did not give in accordance with his means.
  4. The richer and the greater the man the more is expected of him.
  5. The daughter of Nakdimon b. Gorion.
  6. Cant. I., 8.
  7. [H].
  8. [H], involving the change of [H] for [H].
  9. On marriage.
  10. No addition of fifty per cent (as in the case of ready money) and no subtraction of a fifth (as in the case of goods) are made
  11. [H], the term is explained anon.
  12. Lit., 'what, not?'
  13. And consequently deteriorate in value. How then could R. johanan maintain that a bar of gold is to be entered in the kethubah for its full value without reducing the fifth prescribed for goods?
  14. Since they can be used as currency. An addition of fifty percent in their case must, therefore, be entered in the kethubah.
  15. In the ordinary course of trade, i.e., where they are not taken as currency.
  16. And no addition (as in the case of cash) is made. Tosef. Keth. VI.
  17. Gold denarii etc.
  18. That an addition of fifty percent is to be made (v.supra n. 12).
  19. Lit., 'do not go out'. Why then should they be treated as ready money?
  20. Lit., 'but not'.
  21. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel.
  22. And a reduction of a fifth is therefore to be made.
  23. Cf. supra p. 406, n. 13. Would then R. Johanan accept the opinion of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel against that of the anonymous first Tanna?
  24. R. Simeon b. Gamaliel does not refer to the first clause.
  25. The first Tanna.
  26. Of fifty percent, as in the case of regular currency.
  27. In the case of bar gold, however, it is generally agreed, as R. Johanan ruled, that it is to be entered into the kethubah at the rate of its actual value.
  28. The Baraitha cited.
  29. I.e., gold wares.
  30. Cf. supra p. 406, n. 13 mutatis mutandis.
  31. V. supra p. 406, n. 13.
  32. Which wear away in use. Such are indeed to be treated in the same way as silver ware (as has been suggested supra), their price being entered in the kethubah after a deduction of one fifth had been made. R. Johanan. however, who rules the entry of their actual value deals with the case of large bars which do not perceptibly wear away, and whose full value must consequently appear in the kethubah.
  33. [H] var. [H] (v. Rashi). Tosaf., 'gold ore'; Golds., 'gold dust'. Cf. p. 407, n. 14 mutatis mutandis.
  34. Or Antiochene, the capital of Syria on the Orontes, founded by Seleucus Nicator. [Antioch was a trading centre for spices (v. Krauss, T.A., I, p. 690)].
  35. In respect of the amount to be entered in a kethubah.
  36. Fifty percent is to be added to the amount the wife brings in on marriage. These spices were so famous that they could always be sold and thus easily turned into cash.
  37. Var. lec., 'Johanan'. (MS.M. and Rosh).
  38. A widow who advances the claim for her kethubah against her deceased husband's estate (v. Tosaf. s.v. [H]).
  39. Though these are movable objects, they are, owing to the ready sale they command, deemed to have been pledged for the kethubah. [H], 'settlement', 'endowment' (cf. Jast.). Rashi's interpretation, 'the profit of a third', is rejected by Tosaf. l.c. [Frankel MGWJ, 1861, p. 118 derives the term from the Gk. [G], the outfit which the bride has to bring with her].
  40. V. Rashi; 'sheets' (Jast.).
  41. [A frontier town between Babylon and Arabia (Obermeyer, p. 334)].
  42. Cf. supra n. 6 mutatis mutandis.
  43. Not identified.
  44. [In the neighbourhood of Supra, op. cit. p. 296].
  45. I.e., the sums of money which they contain (Rashi).
  46. A famous commercial town (v. supra p. 319, n. 9).
  47. Windows or divorced women who seized them for their kethubah.
  48. So MS.M. Cur. edd., omit the last three words.
  49. As a guarantee for their kethubah.
  50. Hence they should not be allowed to seize Mahuza bags.
  51. Lit., 'the husband'.
  52. By the guardians of the poor.
  53. Lit., 'there is in the purse'.
  54. V. supra 65b.
  55. Lit., 'bag'.
  56. Lit., 'bag of charity'.
  57. I.e., the Tyrian zuz (v. supra l.c.).
  58. Lit., 'who came to be maintained', Out of the poor funds.
  59. If the funds permit.
  60. Lit., 'his way is to go about the doors'.
  61. Lit., 'to go about'.

Kethuboth 67b

applied for a marriage grant1  the girl orphan is to be enabled to marry first and the boy orphan is married afterwards, because the shame of a woman is greater than that of a man.2

Our Rabbis taught: If an orphan applied for assistance to marry,3  a house must be rented for him, a bed must be prepared for him and [he must also be supplied with] all [household] objects [required for] his use, and then he is given a wife in marriage, for it is said in Scriptures, Sufficient for his need in that which he wanteth:4  'sufficient for his need', refers to the house; 'in that which wanteth', refers to a bed and a table; 'he'5  refers to a wife, for so it is said in Scripture, I will make him5  a help meet unto him.6

Our Rabbis taught: 'Sufficient for his need' [implies] you are commanded to maintain him, but you are not commanded to make him rich; 'in that which he wanteth' [includes] even a horse to ride upon and a slave to run before him. It was related about Hillel the Elder that he bought7  for a certain poor man who was of a good family a horse to ride upon and a slave to run before him. On one occasion he could not find a slave to run before him, so he himself ran before him for three miles.

Our Rabbis taught: It once happened that the people of Upper Galilee bought for a poor member of a good family of Sepphoris8  a pound of meat every day.9  'A pound of meat'! What is the greatness in this? — R. Huna replied: [It was] a pound of fowl's meat.10  And if you prefer I might say: [They purchased] ordinary meat for a pound11  [of money].12  R. Ashi replied: The place was13  a small village14  and everyday a beast had to be spoiled for his sake.15

A certain man once applied to16  R. Nehemiah [for maintenance]. 'What do your meals consist of', [the Rabbi] asked him. 'Of fat meat and old wine', the other replied — 'Will you consent [the Rabbi asked him] to live17  with me on lentils?' [The other consented,] lived with him on lentils and died. 'Alas', [the Rabbi] said, 'for this man whom Nehemiah has killed.' On the contrary, he should [have said] 'Alas for Nehemiah who killed this man'! — [The fact], however, [is that the man himself was to blame, for] he should not have cultivated his luxurious habits to such an extent.

A man once applied to18  Raba [for maintenance]. 'What do your meals consist of?' he asked him. 'Of fat chicken and old wine', the other replied. 'Did you not consider', [the Rabbi] asked him, 'the burden of the community?' 'Do I', the other replied, 'eat of theirs? I eat [the food] of the All-Merciful; for we learned: The eyes of all wait for Thee, and Thou givest them their food in due season,19  this, since it is not said, 'in their season' but 'in his20  season', teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, provides for every individual his food In accordance with his own habits'.21  Meanwhile there arrived Raba's sister, who had not seen him for thirteen years, and brought him a fat chicken and old wine. 'What a remarkable incident!'22  [Raba]23  exclaimed; [and then] he said to him, 'I apologize24  to you, come and eat'.

Our Rabbis taught: If a man has no means and does not wish to be maintained [out of the poor funds] he should be granted [the sum he requires] as a loan and then it can be presented to him as a gift; so R. Meir. The Sages, however, said: It is given to him as a gift and then it is granted to him as a loan. ('As a gift'? He, surely, refuses to25  take [gifts]! Raba replied: It is offered to him in the first instance26  as a gift.)

If he has the means but does not want to maintain himself, [at his own expense],27  he is given [what he needs] as a gift, and then he is made to repay it. (If 'he is made to repay it' he would, surely, not take again! — R. Papa replied: [Repayment is claimed] after his death.) R. Simeon said: If he has the means and does not want to maintain himself [at his own expense], no one need feel any concern about him. If he has no means and does not wish to be maintained [out of the poor funds] he is told, 'Bring a pledge and you will receive [a loan]' in order to raise thereby his [drooping] spirit.28

Our Rabbis taught: To lend29  refers to a man who has no means and is unwilling to receive his maintenance [from the poor funds] to whom [the allowance] must be given as a loan and then presented to him as a gift. Thou shalt lend him30  refers to a man who has the means and does not wish to maintain himself [at his own expense] to whom [the allowance] is given as a gift and repayment is claimed from his [estate] after his death, so R. Judah. The Sages, however, said: If he has the means and does not wish to maintain himself [at his own expense] no one need feel any concern about him. To what, however, is the text Thou shalt lend him31  to be applied? The Torah employs ordinary phraseology.32

Mar 'Ukba had a poor man in his neighbourhood into whose door-socket he used to throw four zuz every day. Once33  [the poor man] thought: 'I will go and see who does me this kindness'. On that day [it happened] that Mar 'Ukba was late at34  the house of study and his wife35  was coming home with him. As soon as [the poor man] saw them moving the door he went out after them, but they fled from him and ran into a furnace from which the fire had just been swept. Mar 'Ukba's feet were burning and his wife said to him: Raise your feet and put them on mine. As he was upset,36  she said to him, 'I am usually at home37  and my benefactions are direct'.38  And what [was the reason for] all that?39  — Because Mar Zutra b. Tobiah said in the name of Rab (others state: R. Huna40  b. Bizna said in the name of R. Simeon the Pious; and others again state: R. Johanan said in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai): Better had a man thrown himself into a fiery furnace than publicly put his neighbour to shame. Whence do we derive this? From [the action of] Tamar; for it is written in Scripture, When she was brought forth,41  [she sent to her father-in-law].42

Mar 'Ukba had a poor man in his neighbourhood to whom he regularly sent four hundred zuz on the Eve of every Day of Atonement. On one occasion43  he sent them through his son who came back and said to him, 'He does not need [your help]'. 'What have you seen?' [his father] asked. 'I saw [the son replied] that they were spraying old wine before him'.44  'Is he so delicate?' [the father] said, and, doubling the amount, he sent it back to him.

When he45  was about to die46  he requested, 'Bring me my charity accounts'. Finding that seven thousand of Sijan47  [gold] denarii were entered therein he exclaimed, 'The provisions are scanty and the road is long', and he forthwith48  distributed half of his wealth. But how could he do such a thing?49  Has not R. Elai stated: It was ordained at Usha that if a man wishes to spend liberally he should not spend more than a filth?50  — This applies only during a man's lifetime, since he might thereby be impoverished51  but after death52  this does not matter.

R. Abba used to bind money in his scarf,53  sling it on his back, and place himself at the disposal of the poor.54  He cast his eye, however, sideways [as a precaution] against rogues.55

R. Hanina had a poor man to whom he regularly sent four zuz on the Eve of every Sabbath. One day he sent that sum through his wile who came back and told him [that the man was in] no need of it. 'What [R. Hanina asked her] did you see?' [She replied:] I heard that he was asked, 'On what will you dine;

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Out of the charity funds. Lit., 'came to be married'.
  2. Tosef. Keth. VI.
  3. V. p. 409, n. 12.
  4. Deut. XV, 8.
  5. uk lit., 'unto him'.
  6. Gen. II, 18, referring to a wife. Tosef Keth. VI.
  7. Alfasi: he hired.
  8. A town on one of the Upper Galilean mountains. It was called Sepphoris [H] (v. Meg. 6a) 'because it was perched on the top of a mountain like a bird', [H]. At one time it was the capital of Galilee and is identified (l.c.) with Kitron (Judges I, 30). V. Klein, S. [H], 54ff
  9. Tosef. Pe'ah. IV.
  10. Which was very expensive.
  11. [H], [G], is both a weight, the Roman libra, and a measure of capacity.
  12. The meat was so expensive.
  13. Lit., 'there'.
  14. Where there are no buyers.
  15. All the meat that remained after his one pound had been taken off had to be thrown away for lack of buyers and consumers.
  16. Lit., 'came before'.
  17. [H] (rt. [H], Pilp.), lit., 'roll', i.e., 'to put up with the inconvenience'.
  18. Lit., 'came before'.
  19. Ps. CXLV, 15. [H] lit., 'in his season'.
  20. V. supra n. 3
  21. V. Rashi.
  22. [H], lit., 'what is that before me?'
  23. So Rashi. Ar. reads, [H] ( = [H], 'which I said') i.e., the applicant remarked, 'This is just what I have said'. (Cf. Jast.).
  24. Lit., 'I humble myself'. Rashi: 'I spoke too much'. The rt. [H], may bear either meaning.
  25. Lit., 'not'.
  26. Lit., 'to Open'.
  27. And thus leads a life of penury.
  28. Lit., 'that his mind shall be elated or cheered'. By this offer he is made to feel that he is not treated as a pauper and he consents, therefore, ultimately to take the sum as a loan without a pledge.
  29. [H], E.V., surely, Deut. XV, 8.
  30. [H], ibid.
  31. I.e., the repetition of the verb, in the Infinitive and Imperfect (v. supra nn. 2 and 3), from which R. Judah derived his ruling.
  32. Lit., 'spoke in the language of men', who are in the habit of repeating their words. Hence no inference may be drawn from the repetition in the text cited.
  33. Lit., 'one day'.
  34. So MS.M., [H] Cur. edd. [H].
  35. Who, owing to the late hour, went to meet him.
  36. Lit., 'his mind weakened'. He feared that he was not providentially protected from the heat of the furnace because he was not as worthy of divine protection as his wife.
  37. So that the poor had easy access to her.
  38. Lit., 'near'. She gave them gifts in kind and they could forthwith derive benefit from them. He, however, was not approachable at all times and the alms he gave to the poor were not in kind but in money which had first to be spent before the poor could derive any benefit from it. His benefits, therefore, were indirect.
  39. Why did they make such an effort to escape from the attention of the poor man?
  40. Var Hana (v. B.M. 59a).
  41. To be burned (Gen. XXXVIII, 24).
  42. Ibid., 25. She chose to be burned rather than publicly put her father-in-law to shame. it was only through Judah's own confession (ibid. 26) after he received her private message (ibid 25) that she was saved.
  43. Lit., 'day'.
  44. [H] MS.M. Cur. edd., 'to him'.
  45. Mar 'Ukba'.
  46. Lit., 'when his soul was (about to) come to its rest'.
  47. The name of a Persian town in the district of Shiraz, v. Fleischer to Levy's Worterbuch I, p. 560.
  48. Lit., 'he arose'.
  49. Distributing half his wealth.
  50. V. supra 50a.
  51. Lit., 'go down from his wealth'.
  52. I.e., when one is on the point of dying as was the case with Mar 'Ukba.
  53. [H] 'scarf' or 'turban', a cloth placed over, or wound round the head, hanging down loosely upon, the arms and shoulders.
  54. Who undid the binding and shared the money among themselves.
  55. He would nevertheless spare the poor the feelings of shame.