For the week ending 18 April 2015 / 29 Nisan 5775

Ketubot 79 - 85

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Preventing the husband's control of property owned by a woman he is about to marry
  • Money or property inherited by wife
  • Expense incurred by husband in caring for wife's property
  • The inheritance of a widow awaiting yibum: Who inherits her ketubah upon her death, and who is responsible for her burial?
  • The ketubah of the sotah whose husband died before her test
  • The guarantee which the husband must provide for ketubah payment
  • Competition between the yavam and the other brothers over property of the deceased
  • Status of the yavamah divorced by her yavam and subsequently remarried
  • The husband who waives his right to wife's property and the partner who waives his share of a jointly owned field
  • Conditions made in transactions which are counter to Torah law
  • When there are three claimants to limited funds left by the deceased
  • Degrees of credibility

Who Has the Prior Claim?

  • Ketubot 84a

A man dies, leaving behind money due to him that is in the possession of others, either as the result of a loan that is due or funds that he deposited for safekeeping. Claiming these limited funds are three people – the widow claiming payment of her ketubah; a creditor to whom he owes money; and his heirs who wish to inherit the money. Who has the prior claim?

The position of Rabbi Yochanan is that priority is awarded to the widow in order that a favorable attitude towards marriage will result. Rashi's explanation is that in order for women to have a favorable attitude towards marriage it is important for them to know that in the event of divorce or death, they will have a prior claim on the husband's resources for collection of their ketubah.

Tosefot cites the explanation of Rabbeinu Chananel that presents an entirely different angle. The widow is given priority so that she will acquire the funds that will make her a more favorable prospect for marriage.

These perspectives on priority relate to Rabbi Yochanan's explanation of Rabbi Tarfon's position. Rabbi Akiva, however, rejects the idea of introducing merciful considerations into the legal process and rules that the money goes to the heirs until the other claimants take an oath to verify their claim.

What the Sages Say

"If someone tells a buyer to pull towards him the cow he is purchasing but insists that this transaction be finalized only thirty days later, the buyer acquires ownership when that time comes even if the cow is out pasturing at the time."

  • Rabbi Dimi in the name of Rabbi Yochanan - Ketubot 82a

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