Ketubot, Chapter Twelve, Mishnah Two



This mishnah continues to discuss the girl whose mother’s husband or husbands promised to support her for five years.


Mishnah Two

1)                     If she married her husband must supply her with maintenance and they give her the cost of her maintenance.

2)                     If they die, their daughters are maintained out of their free assets only but she must be maintained even out of assigned property, because she is like a creditor.

3)                     Clever men used to write, “On condition that I shall maintain your daughter for five years while you are with me”.



Section one:  If the daughter, who is receiving maintenance from her mother’s husbands, should marry, her husband is obligated to pay for her maintenance, as are husbands in all cases.  Nevertheless, this does not relieve her mother’s husbands from their obligations.  Rather her own husband gives her the food and clothing and other things that she requires and her mother’s husbands each pay her the equivalent value of her maintenance. 

Section two:  If her mother’s husbands die, there may arise a situation where she is competing with his daughters for maintenance.  [If there are sons, daughters do not inherit but rather are maintained from their father’s estate.]  In such a situation, their own daughters receive maintenance only from free assets, property actually in possession of the estate.  This is the general rule for those maintained by an estate; they do not repossess property from those to whom the estate holder gave or sold property.  In contrast, the husbands actually have a debt to the other daughter, the one with whose mother they cut a deal.  Therefore, she may take her maintenance money even from assigned property, property which was sold or given away after the marriage or her mother.  Since she is a creditor, she collects from the estate in the same manner as do all creditors.

Section three:  By now we have seen that if a man cuts such a deal, he has an absolute debt to this daughter, one which is not mitigated by divorce or his wife’s death, his death or by the daughter’s marriage.  Therefore, clever husbands would limit the original stipulation, promising to feed the daughter only as long as the mother was with him.  If he wrote the stipulation in such a manner, if he died, or she died or he divorced her, he would no longer be liable.