TalmuDigest

For the week ending 20 December 2008 / 23 Kislev 5769

Kiddushin 76 - 82

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
  • Investigation of family status of potential wife
  • Eligibility of a convert for position of authority
  • Status of a daughter of a chalal or chalala (children of a marriage forbidden to a kohen)
  • The four types of women forbidden to a kohen gadol and the possibility of multiple lashes for relations with them
  • Status of a convert's daughter re marriage to kohen
  • Credibility of a father re status of son
  • When both the agent and his sender make kiddushin
  • Problems arising from doubts as to when change of a status took place
  • Credibility of a man returning from abroad and claiming that those with him are his wife and children
  • The prohibition of yichud – being alone with a woman
  • How some Sages went to extremes in avoiding yichud
  • Satanic temptations for saintly Sages
  • Yichud with mother, daughter or sister
  • The problem of singles as teachers of children
  • Occupations that increase contact with women
  • Teaching a son how to make a livelihood or to study Torah

Festival Aftermath

The final pages of our mesechta deal with the restrictions that the Torah and the Talmudic Sages instituted on contact between men and women.

There is a custom of fasting on the Monday, Thursday and Monday following the Festivals of Pesach and Succot. In many communities even those who do not fast add special slichot prayers to the morning services.

The source for this custom is traced to our gemara in which we learn that the most vulnerable times of the year regarding the danger of improper contact between men and women are the festivals. Both Rashi and Tosefot point out that since both men and women would come to hear the public Torah lectures given during the holidays they would inevitably look at each other or discuss what they had heard. Since this could lead to improper relations between the sexes, concludes Tosefot, there was a need to do something as an atonement following the festival. Thus was born the custom of BaHaB (2,5,2) - Monday, Thursday, Monday fasting and selichot prayers.

  • Kiddushin 81a

What the Sages Say

"Unlike any occupation which cannot provide for one in his old age, I will teach my son Torah which provides for him in his youth and offers him a future and hope in his old age."

  • Rabbi Nehorai - Kiddushin 82b

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