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Ketubot, Daf Kuf Gimmel, Part 2
Reading for Monday, April 17
Today’s sugya contains a legal story that is related to the mishnah about the case where two husbands end up simultaneously supporting a daughter.
לא יאמרו שניהם וכו’. ההוא גברא דאוגר ליה ריחיא לחבריה לטחינה, לסוף איעתר זבין ריחיא וחמרא, אמר ליה: עד האידנא הוה טחיננא גבך, השתא הב לי אגרא, א”ל: מיטחן טחיננא לך;
The two husbands cannot plead etc. A certain man once leased his mill to another in return for his grinding his grain. Eventually he grew wealthy and bought another mill and a donkey. He said to the other, “Until now I have had my grinding done at your place but now pay me rent.” He said back to him, “I will only grind for you.”
Reuven leases his mill to Shimon. In return Shimon will grind Reuven’s grain. Reuven then grows richer and buys another grain and donkey to do his own grinding. He now wants rent from Shimon. Shimon replies that he never agreed to pay rent.
סבר רבינא למימר, היינו מתניתין: לא יאמרו שניהם הרי אנו זנין אותה כאחד, אלא אחד זנה ואחד נותן לה דמי מזונות,
Ravina thought that it was the same principle that was in our Mishnah: the two husbands cannot plead, “We will maintain her jointly,” but one must maintain her and the other give her the cost of her maintenance.
Ravina thinks that he can adjudicate the case of the mills by comparing it to the mishnah. In that case while the husband promised to give food to his wife’s daughter, in the end he has to give money because the other husband is giving the provisions. So too here while Shimon originally promised to grind the grain instead of paying cash for rent, he can be obligated to give money.
א”ל רב עוירא: מי דמי? התם חד כריסא אית לה, תרתי כריסתא לית לה, הכא מצי א”ל טחון וזבין, טחון ואותיב.
Avira said to him: Are [the two cases] alike? There [the woman] has only one stomach, she does not have two stomachs; but here he might say to him, “Grind [in your own mill] and sell; grind [in mine] and keep.”
Avira says the two cases are not similar. In the case of the mishnah, the girl simply cannot eat two times the amount of food she would need. Furthermore, it does not really make a difference for the husband to pay her directly in cash instead of buying food. In contrast, Shimon could tell Reuven that he could grind in his mill and sell the ground grain, and then eat the grain ground in Shimon’s mill. Furthermore, Shimon may simply not have the cash to pay Reuven. Thus Shimon has the right to maintain the arrangement.
ולא אמרן אלא דלית ליה טחינא לריחיא, אבל אית ליה טחינא לריחיא, כגון זו כופין אותו על מדת סדום.
This however was said only in a case where had no [other orders for] grinding at his mill, but if he has [sufficient orders for] grinding at his mill, in such a case we do enforce [against behaving] in the manner of Sodom.
If Shimon can find other people who will want to grind their grain in the mill he is renting from Reuven, then he really should not have a problem paying Reuven rent. This would not cause him any loss—he could grind other people’s grain and give the proceeds to Reuven. So if it is possible for Shimon to act in a way that behooves Reuven without incurring a loss, we force him to do so. His refusal to pay rent even when this would not cause him a loss is acting in the “way of Sodom.” The people of Sodom would not act generously to others even if this did not cause them a loss. According to the Talmud, the court can legally prevent people from acting in this way.