For the week ending 21 March 2015 / 1 Nisan 5775

Ketubot 51 - 57

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Become a Supporter Library Library
  • Man's obligations to his wife — ketubah and its guarantee, redemption from captivity and medical expenses
  • Woman married to a non-kohen who is violated
  • Redemption from captivity of a woman he cannot retain as a wife
  • Limitations on funds for redemption of any Jewish captive and on a wife
  • Propriety of advising a litigant how to plead his case in court
  • Other obligations to a wife and her children
  • Disowning an heir
  • When a woman loses her right to collect the ketubah or her support
  • Adding to or subtracting from the sum which the Sages set for a ketubah
  • Circumstantial evidence (umdanah) in determining financial litigation
  • When the Sages made their decrees stricter than Torah Law.
  • Time period allotted to a man and woman to prepare for marriage in days when kiddushin and marriage were separated in time

The Aristocracy of Silence

  • Ketubot 51b

"The aristocrats refrained from speaking and placed their hands on their mouths." (Iyov 29:9)

This is the passage that the Sage Rav applied to another distinguished Torah Sage, the father of the Sage Shmuel.

The background for this exchange was a ruling by Shmuel's father that was challenged by Rav. Although there was a possibility for refuting this challenge Shmuels' father chose to remain silent.

There is no indication in our gemara that this silence indicated a concession on the part of Shmuels' father that his position was indeed wrong. We are therefore left with a mystery as to why he refrained from defending his position. It is also difficult to understand what Rav meant in comparing his colleague's silence to the scriptural silence of aristocrats for it is unthinkable that he was gloating over having stumped such a respected colleague.

It appears that there is some subtle aristocracy in maintaining silence in particular situations that only such great Torah scholars as Shmuels' father and Rav were capable of appreciating.

What the Sages Say

"Do not disown an heir, even to disown an evil son in favor of a good one, because you do not know what the children of the disowned one will be like."

  • The Sage Shmuel advising his disciple Rabbi Yehuda - Ketubot 53a

© 1995-2024 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at ohr@ohr.edu and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions www.ohr.edu

« Back to TalmuDigest

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) EIN 13-3503155 and your donation is tax deductable.