Ketubot, Chapter Eight, Mishnah Eight

 

Introduction

This mishnah is a continuation of yesterday’s mishnah, in which we learned that the widow has a lien on the dead brother’s property.  The yavam cannot even pay off her ketubah and then use this property.  

 

Mishnah Eight

1)                     He cannot say to her, “Behold your ketubah lies on the table’, rather all of his property has on it a lien from her kethubah.  

2)                     So too, a man may not say to his wife, behold your ketubah lies on the table, but all of his property has on it a lien from her ketubah.

a)                                 If he divorced her she is entitled only to her ketubah.  

b)                                 If he remarried her she is like all other wives, and is entitled only to her ketubah.

 

Explanation

Section one:  The yavam cannot say to his yevamah that he has designated for her a specific piece of property for her ketubah and that he therefore can do what he pleases with the remainder of his brother’s property.  Rather he cannot sell any of his brother’s property.

Section two:  Similarly a man may not set aside a certain piece of property and designate it for his wife’s ketubah.  When Shimon ben Shetach established the rabbinic ketubah, part or perhaps all of his legal innovation, was that all of a man’s property is subject to his wife’s ketubah.  This is not to say that a man cannot sell his own property.  However, if he does, and then when the wife comes to collect her ketubah her husband or his estate cannot pay it off, she can reclaim the previously sold property from its purchasers. 

Section three:  If the yavam divorces his yevamah, he can now pay off her ketubah and then sell the rest of the brother’s property.  If he remarries her, she no longer has the status of a yevamah, but rather she is like all other wives, who cannot prevent their husband’s from selling their property.   

 

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