For the week ending 7 February 2015 / 18 Shevat 5775

Ketubot 9 - 15

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Suspicion of infidelity and its effect on the marriage
  • The ketubah of a virgin and that of a widow
  • The bloodless consummation and its causes
  • Some etymological explanations and medical advice of Rabbi Chana of Baghdad and other Sages
  • Conversion of a minor
  • Which women are entitled to which sum of ketubah
  • The ketubah of a daughter of a kohen
  • Monetary dispute between man and wife, lender and borrower
  • Status of child of woman suspected of illicit relations
  • If a woman taken captive can marry a kohen after being freed
  • When the identity of a girl's attacker is not know is she eligible to marry a kohen
  • When the rule of deciding the status of someone or something based on majority probability applies
  • Determining the status of a child found in a city populated by Jews and non-Jews

A Divorce in Time

  • Ketubot 9b

A woman who commits adultery is forbidden to both her husband and her partner in sin.

The question then arises as to how King David could marry Batsheva when the simple reading of the text (Shmuel II, 11:2-3) indicates that he had relations with her while she was till the wife of Uriah.

Rabbi Shmuel Nachmeni solves the problem by revealing that everyone who went to battle for King David wrote a get (divorce document) to his wife before leaving home.

Rashi's explanation is that since David's soldiers were afraid that they might not survive the war and thus compel the widow to face yibum, they divorced their wives on the condition that if they did not return from the battlefront the divorce would take effect retroactively to the day the get was given. Since Uriah did not survive the war his marriage had already been dissolved when David took her.

Tosefot challenges this approach and offers the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam that the get was not a conditional one but an outright dissolution of the marriage. The problem with this approach is that the gemara (Bava Metzia 59a) refers to David's action as relations with a "dubious married woman". If Batsheva had been properly divorced why should her status be in doubt? The answer given is that such divorces were given in secret so that no one should exploit the opportunity to marry the woman before her ex-husband returned to remarry her. Since the public was not aware of the divorce of Batsheva there was a suspicion that he was guilty of adultery even though this was not the case.

What the Sages Say

Why is a widow call an almanah?

"Because the man who marries her is only obligated to obligate himself to a manah in her ketubah (as opposed to double that amount for a virgin)."

  • Rabbi Chana of Baghdad - Ketubot 10b

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