Saturday, 28 March 2015

Ketubot 55: Details of Payment of the Ketuba

Today's daf is short but quite complex.  It continues the rabbi's conversation regarding how one's children might be involved in the payment of a ketubah.   Sometimes it seems as though the odds are very much against a woman whose husband wishes to deny her payment of her ketubah.  Particularly because women did not have access to the legal loopholes that are discussed in dapim like today's.

At the start of the daf, we learn a number of details regarding the ketubah:

  • unless the wife caused her husband's property value to increase and her ketubah is being paid through that property, she is not entitled to any more than what was stipulated in her ketubah
  • a woman may have to sign an oath promising that she did not take any extra payments from her husband
  • the Sabbatical Year does not affect payment of the ketubah
  • Ketubot can be paid in the form of land or movable property
  • payment of any debt should be made from the highest quality of land, even a small portion, rather than a larger, poorer quality of land.  
  • the rabbis argue whether a woman who moves to her father's home can collect her ketubah only for 25 years while one living in her deceased husband's home can collect indefinitely or vice versa
  • If the mother dies before the father, the male sons seem to be the ones who inherit their mother's dowry
The Sages of Pumbedita argue with the residents of Meta Mechasya regarding a number of issues:
  • whether or not sons can inherit their mother's property that was sold by their father because it was 'liened' property
  • whether or not women must take an oath regarding movable property that might have been 'paid' to her previously as part of her ketubah payment
  • whether or not women have to take an oath regarding land that was only marked on one side as her ketubah payment*
  • whether or not the recipient of a gift must be consulted again after the deed for the gift has been formally acquired
Rabbi Natan and Rav differ with Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya regarding whether or not women receive the main sum or the main sum and additional sums after betrothal/after marriage.  Rabbi Natan's opinion is also followed with regard to a decision on teruma and tithes.  This brings the rabbis to an entirely different set of descriptions and interpretations.  If teruma is doubtfully tithed, is it unusable?
Is the word of an am ha'aretz trustworthy enough when it comes to tithes and teruma?

Rav's opinions on assessment are now up for question.  Rav is said to have coined the phrase, "he came in on two horses."  This is thought to mean that a person has two different halachot that strengthen the validity of their position regarding transferring a gift.  Deathbed transfers are discussed again.  If a person intends to give away all of their possessions while on their deathbed, their word should hold.  This is because the dying person is thought to be sure that he (we are speaking about men here) will not live to use any of his goods, etc.  However, if he does not die, we are meant to annul his gifts, as the intention behind the gifts was erroneous.

A very challenging daf - because of the structure of the pages and because of the complicated legal concepts.  It is interesting to note that some of our legal battles today are the same as those of iniquity: When is a person deemed capable to make an important decision while they are ill? When is someone forced to take an oath regarding the truth of their claims?  And many more...

*both the Sages of Pumbedita and the residents of Mata Mechasya agreed that land that was defined on all four sides does not require the woman to take an oath.

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