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Ketubot, Daf Kuf Zayin, Part 4
Reading for Wednesday
, May 17
Ketubot 107-4



The Talmud continues to discuss the issue of a woman whose husband has gone abroad.


תא שמע: היבמה – ג’ חדשים הראשונים ניזונת משל בעלה, מיכן ואילך אינה ניזונת לא משל בעלה ולא משל יבם, עמד בדין וברח – ניזונת משל יבם!


Come and hear: A yevamah during the first three months is maintained out of the estate of her husband; henceforth, she is not to be maintained either out of the estate of her husband or out of that of the levir.

If [the levir] appeared in court and then fled she is maintained out of the estate of the levir!


The baraita here discusses a woman awaiting levirate marriage (yevamah). During the first three months after the death of her husband, she is still maintained from her husband’s estate. During this period she may not remarry, therefore she receives from her husband and not the levir. After that period, she is not legally entitled to maintenance from either her husband or the levir (the husband’s brother). We should note that usually a widow does receive maintenance from her husband’s estate because there is an assumption that she does not want to remarry because she wants to honor her husband. But here she has no choice—she requires yibbum or halitzah (levirate marriage or release therefrom). Once she is released from levirate marriage, she would be maintained from her husband’s estate.

If the levir is instructed by the court to either marry her or release her and he runs away, then she does receive maintenance from the levir’s property.

This last line seems to be a difficulty against Shmuel. The yavam ran away and nevertheless, she may sue for maintenance from his estate.


אמר לך שמואל: למאי ניחוש לה להאי? אי משום צררי – לא מיקרבא דעתיה לגבה, אי משום מעשה ידיה – לא משתעבדא ליה.


Shmuel could respond to you: What could we be concerned about here?  If that he gave her bundles, he is not yet close to her; and if we are concerned about her handiwork, she is not obligated to him.


Shmuel could respond that this case is different from the case of a husband who went abroad. Since the levir has not yet married her, there is no reason to be concerned that he gave her some of his possessions to sell from which she could draw provisions. And we are also not concerned that he told her that she can keep her earnings, because a yevamah, a woman awaiting levirate marriage, does not need to give her earnings to the yavam. Even if he provides for her, she keeps her earnings until they are married. Thus this particular case is not indicative of the rule in other cases.


תא שמע: האשה שהלכה היא ובעלה למדינת הים, ובאת ואמרה מת בעלי, רצתה – ניזונת, רצתה – גובה כתובתה; גירשני בעלי, מתפרנסת והולכת עד כדי כתובתה!


Come and hear: A woman who went with her husband to a country beyond the sea and then came back and stated, “My husband is dead:” If she wants she may be maintained and, if she wants she may claim her ketubah. [If she stated], “My husband has divorced me,” she may be maintained to the extent of her ketubah!


We can see in the second half of this baraita, that if the woman’s husband is abroad, and she claims that he divorced her, she may collect her maintenance. Again, this is a difficulty against Shmuel.


הכא נמי כששמעו בו שמת. ומאי שנא עד כדי כתובתה? דאיהי היא דאפסידה אנפשה.


Here too it is a case where they heard that he died.

Then why [is she maintained] only to the extent of her kethubah?

Because she herself has brought the loss upon herself.


Again, the Talmud resolves the difficulty by positing that she is maintained only in a case where there is a report that he died.

If so, the Talmud asks, then why is the maintenance limited to the amount of her ketubah?

The answer is that she has caused the loss to herself  by claiming that she is a divorcee Divorcees are not entitled to maintenance. Therefore, she cannot collect more than her ketubah. Should the husband return and affirm her statement, then she has received her ketubah. Should he say that he did not divorce her, then she is married and took her provisions legitimately.


תא שמע: כיצד אמרו ממאנת אין לה מזונות? אי אתה יכול לומר ביושבת תחת בעלה, שהרי בעלה חייב במזונות, אלא כגון שהלך בעלה למדינת הים, לותה ואכלה עמדה ומיאנה; טעמא דמיאנה, הא לא מיאנה יהבינן לה!


Come and hear: In what circumstances did they say that [a minor girl who] exercised her right of refusal is not entitled to maintenance? It cannot be said, in the case of one who lives with her husband, for her husband is obligated to maintain her, rather for instance, in a case where her husband went to a country beyond the sea, and she borrowed money and spent it and then exercised her right of refusal. Now, the reason [why she is not entitled to maintenance is] because she exercised her right of refusal; had she, however, not exercised her right of refusal, they would have given her maintenance?  


This baraita refers to a girl who was married off by her mother or brother as a minor. When she hits majority age she may annul the marriage by “refusal.” There is a saying quoted according to which a girl who refuses marriage does not receive maintenance. Obviously this cannot refer to a girl who has actually refused marriage—she’s not married so she clearly does not receive provisions from her husband. It also cannot refer to a girl still married to her husband, because he certainly owes her maintenance. Therefore, the baraita concludes, it can refer only to a girl whose husband has gone abroad. If she borrowed money for provisions, spent it and then refused the marriage, he need not pay her back. However, the clear implication is that if she did not refuse the marriage, he is obligated to pay her maintenance. Again, the baraita is a difficulty against Shmuel.


אמר לך שמואל: הכא למאי ניחוש לה? אי משום צררי – צררי לקטנה לא מתפיס, ואי משום מעשה ידיה – קטנה לא ספקה.


Shmuel could respond to you: What could we be concerned about here?  If that he gave her bundles, no one entrusts a minor with bundles; and if we are concerned about her handiwork, she is not obligated to him, the handiwork of a minor does not suffice [for her maintenance].


Again Shmuel could respond that this case is different from a normal case of a husband who went abroad. He assumedly did not give her bundles (i.e. valuables which she could sell) because people do not give bundles to minors, especially not valuable ones. Also, he cannot say to her to use her handiwork to provide for her maintenance because minors do not earn enough to provide for themselves. To reiterate, a wife is guaranteed provisions even if she does not earn enough to cover the costs. Therefore, again this is a special case not indicative of the rule governing a regular wife whose husband goes abroad.