Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Kiddushin 11: The Value of a Thief, the Value of a Coin

Some interesting ideas shared in today's daf:

  • if one finds a blemish on a slave that was unknown when the slave was bought, and that blemish does not affect his/her labour, the sale is valid
  • if the slave is found to be a kuvyustus, a thief of a gambler, that is considered to be a blemish
  • the blemish of gambling would be known publicly before the slave was sold, and so such a sale is valid
  • comparing this with wives who have blemishes, the rabbis wonder about when they are still able to partake of teruma and share it with their families
  • women who value themselves will not agree to a betrothal for less than one dinar
  • Rabbi Yannai's daughters held themselves in high esteem

  • The rabbis argue about the value of money in different times and places
  • Money mentioned in the Torah refers to Tyrian coinage: silver coins worth at least one dinar
  • Money mentioned in rabbinical texts refers to the coinage of that place
  • A ma'a is said to be one twentieth of a shekel or a mishnaic seal; eventually it was established to be one twenty-fourth of a Biblical shekel.  The mishnaic shekel was worth 12 ma's.
  • The smallest amount of money used for payment was at least two coins, or two ma'a
  • In this context, one sela is a copper coin worth one eight of a dinar.  The larger, Tyrian sela is one half of a dinar.

  • Consecrated property not for use on the altars can be exchanged for an item of equal value, even if that is only one peruta
  • A firstborn son is redeemed for five sela (Tyrian, silver coins - equal to 102 me'a)
  • A slave's life, if ended by an animal attack, is worth (to his/her owner) thirty sela of pure silver regardless of his/her worth
  • One who raped/seduced a virgin pays fifty sela of pure silver as a fine
  • One who defames his wife pays her father one hundred sela of pure silver (if she has no father the money is hers)
  • One who strikes another person must pay one sela in the coinage of the land, equal to half of a silver dinar
  • The rabbis consider whether or not a Hebrew maidservant can redeem herself by deducting that money from her worth, thus ending her time in slavery early
Most intriguing to me is the notion of thievery or gambling as "blemishes".  It seems that behavioural or emotional shortcomings were judged and reflected in one's valuation.  I suppose that today's world is similar; if we have mental health or behavioural struggles, we are seen as 'blemished' or worth less than others.  I wonder if any systemic help was available for those who struggled with addiction, mental health or other behavioural issues.

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