Ketubot, Chapter Nine, Mishnah Nine

 

Introduction

This mishnah discusses various issues of a woman’s collecting her ketubah. 

 

Mishnah Nine

1)                     If she produced a get without a ketubah, she collects her kethubah. 

2)                     [If she produced her] ketubah without a get, and she says, “My get was lost”, and he says, “My receipt was lost”, and also a creditor who produced a debt document that was unaccompanied by a prosbul, these are not paid back.

3)                     Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel says: from the time of danger a woman collects her ketubah with out a get and a creditor collects [his debt] without a prosbul.

4)                     [A woman who produced] two letters of divorce and two Ketubot collects two kethuboth.  

5)                     Two kethuboth and one get or one kethubah and two gittin, or a kethubah, a get and [evidence of her husband’s] death, she collects one kethubah only, for a man who divorces his wife and then remarries her contracts his second marriage on the condition of the first kethubah. 

6)                     A minor whose his father had given him in marriage, the ketubah of his wife is valid,  since it is on this condition that he kept her as his wife.

7)                     A convert who converted with his wife, the kethubah remains valid, since it is on this condition that he kept her as his wife.

 

Explanation

Section one:  If she comes to the court and brings evidence that she has been divorced, she can collect her ketubah.  The court would then make a sign on the get, in order to prevent her from collecting again.

Section two:  If however, she brings a ketubah without a get, and the husband claims that he paid the ketubah but lost his receipt, the husband is believed and she cannot recover her ketubah payment.  Similarly, if a creditor comes to court with a debt document but has no prosbul, which is a document that allows debts to be collected even after the sabbatical year, and the creditor claims that he had a prosbul and lost it, he is not paid back.  The reason is that we suspect that he never wrote a prosbul in the first place. 

Section three:  Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel discusses “the time of danger” usually understood as referring to the Bar-Kochva revolt, which was crushed by the Romans in 135 C.E.  From that time and onward it was dangerous for Jews to travel while in possession of a get or a prosbul because the Roman authorities had decreed against the observance of the Jewish religion.  Therefore during that time period a woman could collect her ketubah without a get and a creditor could collect his debt without a prosbul.

Section four:  If she produces two Ketubot and two gittin (the plural of get), all from the same husband, she collects the value of both Ketubot.  This is a case where he divorced her and remarried her (this is permitted as long as she doesn’t remarry someone else in-between) and gave her a new ketubah for the second marriage.

Section five:  However, if she has two Ketubot and one get, or two gittin and one ketubah, or one of each and proof of her husband’s death, she does not receive two Ketubot.  This is because we assume that when he married her a second time, he married her on the condition that she receives only her first ketubah, which was as of yet unpaid.  In the case of “two Ketubot” she receives only one for there is an assumption that a husband who writes two Ketubot for his wife only intends on giving her one.  Perhaps the second ketubah was to hang as art on their wall!

Section six:  In this case when the ketubah was written the minor was incapable of obligating himself to incur a debt.  However, the ketubah is valid when he reaches majority age for when he continues living with his wife, he is doing so with the intention of paying the ketubah.  Although when the ketubah was first written he could not legally obligate himself to pay it, his remaining with his wife after he reaches majority age is interpretable as acceptance of such an obligation. 

Section seven:  Similarly, a gentile couple who convert, could not have taken on the legal obligation for a ketubah when they were not Jews.  However, his remaining with his wife after their conversion does effect his obligation.      

 

 

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