Daf Yomi

For the week ending 31 January 2015 / 11 Shevat 5775

Ketubot 2 - 8

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The severe penalty for indecent language

The Moabite Mystery

  • Ketubot 7b

"And he (Boaz) took ten men from the elders of the city, and said 'Sit down here' and they sat." (Ruth 4:2)

This passage from the Book of Ruth, which is read in the synagogue every Shavuot, does not indicate what the purpose was of convening ten elders. Rabbi Nachman sees this as a source for requiring a minyan of ten men for making the blessings for newlyweds, in this particular case Boaz and Ruth. Rabbi Aviahu cites another source for this rule and states that Boaz's convening of ten men was for the purpose of publicizing the ruling that although his bride-to-be was of Moabite descent she was eligible to him for marriage because the Torah's restrictions on Moabite converts in regard to marriage applied only to the males.

Maharsha raises the question as to how it was possible for the anonymous relative of Naomi and Ruth who was the prime redeemer to refuse to play this role because it meant marrying a forbidden Moabite. Did he then challenge the public ruling of Boaz who was the judge of Israel for many years? He raises the same question in regard to Doag (Yevamot 77a) who attempted to disqualify David as the descendant of the forbidden Moabite Ruth.

Maharsha there offers a solution to both problems by suggesting that both the anonymous redeemer and Doag believed that the marriage restriction on Moabites applied to women as well but that Boaz was permitted to marry Ruth because the mitzvah of yibum, which in those days was practiced by relatives of the deceased aside from his brother, overrode the ban on marrying a Moabite. As a source for this Maharsha cites the commentary of Ramban (Bereishet 38.8) who teaches that the marriage between Yehuda and his daughter-in-law Tamar was an extension of the concept of yibum to other relatives. The Maharsha's approach has been attacked by other commentaries because what Yehuda did was before the Torah was given and yibum as a mitzvah was limited to the deceased's brother.

What the Sages Say

"Everyone is aware of why a kallah enters a chupah; yet in regard to anyone who speaks indecently about this matter, even if he has been assigned by Heaven to seventy good years they will be turned into bad ones."

  • Rabbi Chanan bar Rav - Ketubot 8b

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