Ketubot, Chapter Four, Mishnah Nine



This mishnah continues to teach that a husband is obligated to pay for the ransom of his wife.  In addition, it teaches that a husband is responsible to pay for his wife’s medical costs, should she be injured or become ill.  However, there is a difference between the responsibility to pay the ransom and the responsibility to pay for treatment. 


Mishnah Nine

1)                     If she was taken captive he is obligated to ransom her;

a)                                 And if he said, “Here is her get and her ketubah, let her ransom herself”, he is not allowed [to act accordingly].  

2)                     If she was injured it is his duty to provide for her medical treatment;

a)                                 And if he said, “Here is her get and her ketubah, let her heal herself”, he is allowed [to act accordingly].



Section one:  As we learned in yesterday’s mishnah, a husband is obligated by law to pay for his wife’s ransom.  In this mishnah a husband tries to divorce his wife upon hearing that she has been taken captive (we are obviously not dealing with an ideal marriage).  He says he will give her her get and pay her the amount guaranteed in the ketubah and then she can ransom herself.  The mishnah rules that this is forbidden.  This is because as soon as she was taken captive he became liable to pay for her ransom, whether she is his wife or not.  Therefore, he must first pay for her ransom and then if he wishes to divorce her and pay the ketubah he may do as he pleases.

Section two: If a woman becomes sick or is injured, her husband is liable to pay for the costs of her treatment.  These costs are part of the costs of her maintenance (food, shelter and clothing).  In contrast to the previous clause, if the husband wishes to he may divorce her, pay the ketubah and not have to continue to pay for the cost of treatment.  This is because a husband does not have to pay the costs of maintaining his wife after having divorced her.  Although this may be a cruel, dastardly thing to do, a husband is allowed to divorce his sick wife.