For the week ending 7 May 2016 / 29 Nisan 5776

Kiddushin 42 - 48

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • Appointed agents and self-appointed ones
  • When the court errs in its evaluation of property
  • No agency for committing a sin
  • Can an agent also serve as a witness
  • Power of a na'arah (girl aged 12-12 1/2) to effect marriage and divorce independent of her father
  • When a minor (girl under 12) accepts kiddushin without previous consent of her father
  • When a father accepts kiddushin for his adult son without his previous consent
  • The child bride promised to one and grabbed by another
  • Where kiddushin of a na'arah was with father's consent but not the chupah
  • Kiddushin made with a number of palm dates or other fruits
  • What happens with the money when one makes kiddushin with his sister
  • Kiddushin made with money owed by the woman or with a promissory note of money owed by another
  • Kiddushin with a shtar (document declaring kiddushin) which was written without proper intent or without her knowledge
  • Kiddushin made with wages due for work done
  • When there is deception either in regard to the item used for kiddushin or regarding the economic status of the man

The Father as Agent of Son

Two people were drinking wine under the shade of a willow tree in Babylon. One took his cup of wine, handed it to the other and declared that this was for the purpose of creating kiddsuhin between his son and the recipient's daughter. Since a father lacks the power to effect kiddushin for his adult son as he does for his daughter when she is a minor, it is the conclusion of the gemara that we have no reason to assume that the son acquiesced to the arrangement and it is therefore null and void.

When the Sage Ravina was challenged by his colleagues about the possibility that the son had appointed his father to act as his agent, his response was that "no one has the nerve to ask his father to serve as his agent".

In his commentary on this gemara Rabbi Yaakov Emden cites two historical precedents for a son asking his father to arrange a matrimonial match in his behalf. The first is found in Bereishet 34:4 with Shechem, the violator of Yaakov's daughter Dinah, asking his father Chamor to arrange a marriage with the young lady. This, he writes, is not a contradiction to the gemara's rule, for the special respect of son for father is limited to Jews.

The second precedent, however, concerns a Jew, Shimshon. After being attracted to a Philistine woman he asked his father to arrange a marriage with her after her conversion (Shoftim 14:2). This, too, is rejected by Rabbi Yaakov Emden as a contradiction. Shimshon's interest in marrying a woman from another nation despite the strong objections of his parents rules him out as someone from whom we can learn regarding the respect which normally inhibits a son from making his father an agent.

  • Kiddushin 45a

What the Sages Say

"Since the Prophet (Tzefaniah 3:13) describes the Jewish People as 'the remnant of Yisrael shall not commit injustice and shall not say lie', we can surely assume that a father who promised his daughter as a bride to one will not give her away to another."

  • The Sage Abaye - Kiddushin 45a

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