Kiddushin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Eight

 

Introduction

This mishnah deals with attempts to betroth using various different types of sanctified property.  The real question is, does the property belong to the one using it such that his betrothal is effective?

 

Mishnah Eight

1)      If he [a priest] betroths [a woman] with his portion, whether it is of higher holiness or of lower holiness, she is not betrothed.   

2)      [If one betroths] with second tithe, whether unwittingly or deliberately, he has not betrothed [her]: the words of Rabbi Meir.   

a)      Rabbi Judah says: if unwittingly, he has not betrothed [her]; if deliberately, he has betrothed [her].

3)      [If] with sanctified property, if deliberately, he has betrothed her; if unwittingly, he has not betrothed [her], the words of Rabbi Meir.

a)      Rabbi Judah says: if unwittingly, he has betrothed her; if deliberately, he has not betrothed her.

 

Explanation

Section one:  Portions of many sacrifices go to the priests who eat them.  However, a priest cannot use them as his betrothal money because these portions are not considered to be his possessions.  Rather, the priest’s right to them is limited to his or other priests eating.  Since for kiddushin to be effective the man must own that which he gives to the woman, the priest’s portion in sacrifices may not be used.

Section two:  Second tithe must be taken to Jerusalem and there it may be eaten by its owner.  According to Rabbi Meir, second tithe does not belong to its owners.  It is sanctified property—“kadosh” and just as portions of sacrifices cannot be used for kiddushin, so too second tithe cannot be used.  Rabbi Judah says that second tithe does belong to its owner.  Therefore if he deliberately did kiddushin with it, she is betrothed.  However, if he unwittingly uses the second tithe for kiddushin then she is not betrothed for this was a mistaken act of kiddushin.

Section three:  Sanctified property can become non-sanctified property if it is redeemed.  However, if it is not redeemed then it remains sanctified and cannot be used for betrothal.  According to Rabbi Meir, if the man intentionally uses sanctified property as his betrothal money, he is in essence redeeming it.  The betrothal is valid and the man will owe to the Temple the value of that which he gave to the woman.  However, if he does so unwittingly, then the sanctified property is not redeemed and therefore the betrothal is invalid.

Rabbi Judah disagrees on both counts.  He holds that one who intentionally uses the sanctified property for betrothal does not thereby redeem it, therefore the betrothal is invalid. However, if he unwittingly uses the sanctified property this is considered “me’ilah”—improper use of sacred property.  In such cases the object which was misappropriated loses its sacred status and the person who misappropriated the property owes the Temple the value of the object plus one-fifth and must bring a guilt offering.  The key for our purposes is that the object is no longer sacred, and therefore the betrothal is valid.      

 

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