Ketubot, Chapter Seven, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

This mishnah discusses a husband who vows that his wife should not adorn herself.  According to the mishnah, a woman has a right to adorn herself and therefore a husband who takes such a vow must divorce her.

As in yesterday’s mishnah, the Talmud interprets the mishnah to refer to a situation where the wife vowed and the husband upheld the vow.  However, I will again explain the mishnah according to its words and not according to its Talmudic interpretation.

 

Mishnah Three

1)                     If a man forbade his wife by vow that she should not adorn herself with any type of adornment he must divorce her and give her the ketubah.

2)                     Rabbi Yose says: [this refers] to poor women if no time limit is given, and to rich women [if the time limit is] thirty days.

 

Explanation

Section one:  If the husband vows that his wife not adorn herself with jewelry or with perfume, he must divorce her immediately. 

Section two:  Rabbi Yose explains that there is a distinction between rich and poor wives in this matter.  If the wife was poor and he took an open-ended vow, he must divorce her immediately. However, if he set a time limit on the vow, he need not divorce her.  Because she is poor, she is accustomed to not adorning herself and a limited vow will not be so damaging.  According to the Talmud, the maximum time of the vow is 12 months.  However, were she rich, he could not take such a long vow, for she is accustomed to adorning herself frequently.  Therefore, the maximum time is thirty days; if he takes a vow of a longer duration, he must divorce her immediately. 

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