Ketubot, Chapter Four, Mishnah One

 

Introduction

Our mishnah deals with the issue of who receives the payments if a girl is raped or seduced.

 

Mishnah One

1)                     If a young girl was seduced [the compensation for] her embarrassment and blemish and the fine belong to her father; [and the compensation for] pain in the case of one who was raped.

2)                     If the girl’s case was tried before her father died [all the forms of compensation] are her father’s.  

a)                                 If her father [subsequently] died they are her brothers’.  

b)                                 If her father died before her case was tried they are hers.  

3)                     If her case was tried before she became of majority age [all forms of compensation] are her father’s.

a)                                 If her father [subsequently] died they are her brothers’.  

b)                                 If she became of majority age before her case was tried they are hers.  

4)                     Rabbi Shimon says if her father died before she could collect [the payments] they belong to her. 

5)                     Her handiwork and anything she finds, even if she had not collected [the proceeds] belong to her brothers if her father died.

 

Explanation

Section one:  This section teaches that all of the payments that are incurred by one who rapes or seduces a young girl are given to the father. 

Section two:  The mishnah now begins to deal with various situations in which the father died.  The question is:  does the money go to the girl herself, or does it go to her brothers who inherit her father? 

If the case was tried before the father died and then her father died the payments go to her brothers.  This is because once the case was tried it is as if the father had already collected, even though he may not actually have collected.  In essence the rapist or seducer owes the father money.  Since this is so, when he dies, the seducer or rapist pays the money to the brothers, the father’s inheritors. 

However, if the father died before the case was tried, the money belongs to her.  This is because at the point that it was determined that the rapist or seducer owes the money, she was already an orphan.

Section three:   This section deals with a situation in which the money has not been collected and she became of majority age.  At this age her father no longer receives money that she earns. 

If the case was tried before she became of majority, and then the father died, the money goes to her brothers, for the same reasons outlined above.  Since the debt was owed to the father, the brothers inherit this debt.  However, if the case was not tried until after she became of majority age, the payments go directly to her, even if her father is still alive.

Section four:  According to the opinion in the above sections, the point at which the debt is determined is the trial.  Rabbi Shimon disagrees and says that if she didn’t collect before her father dies, even if they have already been to trial, the money goes to her.  According to Rabbi Shimon, the father does not bequeath money that is owed to him to his sons. 

Section five:  While a daughter is in the status of a “na’arah” or younger all of her earnings belong to her father.  Our mishnah teaches that any work she did or things that she found, even if they have not yet been collected (such as wages) already belong to her father.  If he dies they go to her brothers as part of their father’s inheritance.   

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