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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
is it not possible [it might be retorted] that the statement represents the view of R. Nathan, since it was taught: R. Nathan stated, 'Whence is it deduced that if a man claims a maneh1 from another, and this one [claims a similar sum] from a third, the sum is to be collected from the last [named] and handed over to the first? From Scripture, which stated,2 And give unto him against whom he hath trespassed'?3 [This], however, [is the reason:]4 We find nowhere a Tanna who imposes two restrictions5 in the matter of a kethuboth;6 we only find agreement either with R. Meir or with R. Nathan.7 Raba remarked: If so, I can well understand8 what Abaye meant when I heard him say, 'This is not an authentic teaching' and [at the time] I did not understand what [his reason] was.
A sister-in-law at Matha Mehasia9 once fell to the lot of a man10 whose [younger] brother wanted to cause her to be forbidden to marry him11 by [forcing upon her] a letter of divorce.12 'What is it', [the eldest brother] said to him, 'that you have in your mind? If it is on account of the property13 [that you are troubled]14 will share the estate with you'. 'I am afraid', the other replied, 'that you will treat me as the Pumbedithan rogue [has treated his brother]'.15 'If you wish', the first said to him, 'take your half at once'.16 Said Mar son of R. Ashi: Although when R. Dimi came17 he stated in the name of R. Johanan, If a man said to another, 'Go and pull18 this cow, but it shall pass into your legal possession only after thirty days', he legally acquires it after thirty days,19 even if it stands at the time in the meadow,20 [in this case the younger brother cannot acquire possession of the promised share]; for there21 it was in his power [to transfer possession at once]22 but here23 it is not in his power [to transfer immediate possession]. But, surely, when Rabin came24 be stated in the name of R. Johanan25 that 'he does not acquire possession'!26 — This is no difficulty: One27 refers to a case where the seller said, 'Acquire possession28 from now';29 the other, where he did not say, 'Acquire from now'.
'Ulla was asked: What is the ruling where levirate marriage was consummated first and the division of the property30 took place afterwards?31 — The act32 is null and void33 [he replied]. What is the ruling [he was asked] if the division30 took place first and the levirate marriage afterwards?31 — The act32 [he replied] is null and void.33 R. Shesheth demurred: Now [that it has been said that where] levirate marriage took place first and the division30 afterwards the act32 is null and void, was it at all necessary [to ask the question where] the division took place first and the levirate marriage afterwards?34 — [The respective enquiries related to] two independent incidents that occurred [at different times].35
When Rabin came24 he stated in the name of Resh Lakish: Whether levirate marriage was consummated first and the division took place afterwards, or whether the division took place first and the levirate marriage afterwards, the act is null and void. And [in fact] the law is that the act is null and void.
THE SAGES, HOWEVER, RULED: WHAT IS STILL ATTACHED TO THE GROUND BELONGS TO HIM. But why? Is not all his36 landed estate37 a pledge and a guarantee for her kethubah? — Resh Lakish replied: Read, 'Belongs to her'.38
IF [THE LEVIR] MARRIED HER SHE IS REGARDED AS HIS WIFE. In what respect? — R. Jose the son of R. Hanina replied: By this is meant that her separation from him is effected by a letter of divorce39 and that he may marry her again.40 [You say,] 'Her separation from him is effected By a letter of divorce'; [but] is not this obvious? — It might have been assumed that since the All-Merciful said, And perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her,41 she42 is still subject to the original levirate obligations43 and a letter of divorce should not be enough unless [the separation had been effected] by halizah, hence we were taught [that only a letter of divorce is required].
[You say,] 'He may marry her again'; [but] is not this obvious?
— It might have been assumed that since he has already performed the commandment that the All-Merciful has imposed upon him she shall again resume towards him the prohibition of [marrying] a brother's wife,1 hence we were informed [that he may remarry her]. But might it not be suggested that the law is so2 indeed?3 — Scripture stated, And take her to him to wife,4 as soon as he has taken her she becomes his wife [in all respects].
SAVE THAT HER KETHUBAH REMAINS A CHARGE ON HER FIRST HUSBAND'S ESTATE. What is the reason?5 — A wife has been given6 to him from heaven.7 If, however, she is unable to obtain her kethubah from her first husband [provision was made by the Rabbis that] she receives it from the second8 in order that It may not be easy for bin, to divorce her.9
HE CANNOT SAY TO HER, BEHOLD YOUR KETHUBAH [etc.]'. What [need was there for stating] SO, TOO?10 — It might have been suggested [that the restriction mentioned applies only] in the former case11 because the levir does not insert [in her kethubah the clause] 'That which I possess and that which I will acquire',12 but that in the latter case, where he does insert [the pledge clause,] 'That which I possess and that which I will acquire',13 she relies upon this guarantee,14 hence we were told [that the ruling applies in both cases].
IF HE DIVORCED HER SHE IS ENTITLED ONLY TO HER KETHUBAH. Only15 IF HE DIVORCED HER [may he sell the property],16 but if he did not divorce her he may not. Thus we were informed in agreement with the ruling of R. Abba.17
IF HE SUBSEQUENTLY REMARRIED HER SHE IS [TO ENJOY THE SAME RIGHTS AS] ALL OTHER WIVES, AND IS ENTITLED ONLY TO HER KETHUBAH. IF HE SUBSEQUENTLY REMARRIED HER'! What does he thereby18 teach us? Have we not learned: If a man divorced his wife and then remarried her, his second marriage is contracted on the terms of her first kethubah?19 — It might have been assumed that the law applied only to his wife since it was he himself who wrote the kethubah; in the case of his sister-in-law, however, since it was not he20 who wrote the kethubah for her, it might well have been assumed that where he divorced, and then remarried her the kethubah must come from himself, hence we were taught [that in this case also she is entitled only to the first kethubah].
Rab Judah stated: At first they used to give merely a written undertaking21 in respect of [the kethubah of] a virgin for two hundred zuz22 and in respect of that of a widow for a maneh,22 and consequently23 they grew old and could not take any wives, when Simeon b. Shetah took the initiative24 and ordained that all the property of a husband is pledged for the kethubah of his wife. So it was also taught elsewhere: At first they used to give merely a written undertaking25 in respect of [the kethubah of] a virgin for two hundred zuz22 and in respect of that of a widow for a maneh,22 and consequently23 they grew old and could not take any wives. It was then ordained that the amount of the kethubah26 was to be deposited in the wife's father's house. At any time, however, when the husband was angry with her he used to tell her, 'Go to your kethubah'.27 It was ordained, therefore, that the amount of the kethubah26 was to be deposited in the house of her father-in-law.28 Wealthy women29 converted it into silver, or gold baskets, while poor women converted it into brass30 tubs. Still, whenever the husband had occasion to be angry with his wife he would say to her, 'Take your kethubah and go'.31 It was then that32 Simeon b. Shetah ordained that the husband must insert the pledging clause, 'All my property is mortgaged to your kethubah'.33
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