Ketubot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Seven

 

Introduction

This mishnah deals with three types of payment that the seducer must pay:  embarrassment, blemish and the fine.  These were listed above in mishnah four.

 

Mishnah Seven

1)                     How is [the compensation that is paid for] embarrassment [reckoned]?

a)                                 It all depends on the status of the offender and the offended.

2)                     How is [the compensation that is paid for] blemish [reckoned]?

a)                                 She is regarded as if she were a slave to be sold in the market place [and it is estimated] how much she was worth then and how much she is worth now.

3)                     The fine is the same for all.

a)                                 And any sum that is fixed in the Torah remains the same for all.

 

Explanation

Section one:  Embarrassment is relative to the social standing of the woman and the man.  The higher the social standing of the woman, the higher this payment will be, and the lower the social standing of the man, the higher the payment will be.  Others explain that a man of higher social standing will pay a greater payment because he embarrasses the woman more.

Section two:  The blemish of a woman raped is calculated the same way that blemishes caused by other types of injury are calculated.  An estimate is made how much she would have been worth as a slave sold on the market before she had relations (either by seduction or rape) and how much she was worth afterwards.  This is the same way that an estimate would be made for a payment for blemish if, for instance, someone cut off someone else’s hand.  What is somewhat puzzling is why a virgin slave would be worth more than a non-virgin slave.  The Talmud supposes that a master may want to purchase a female virgin slave on behalf of his trustworthy male slave, one whom he might want to “reward”.

Section three:  Any fine that is given a fixed sum in the Torah, is fixed and can never be raised or lowered.  Such is the case with the bride-price.  Therefore, a seducer will pay a fine of 50 shekels whether he has relations with a poor girl or with the daughter of a king.  Other examples of fixed sums in the Torah are an ox that kills a slave (Exodus 21:32) and a husband who makes a false virginity claim against his wife (Deut. 22:19).  

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