Category: Ketubot

Ketubot 112

The final daf of Massechet Ketubot (daf 112b) discusses two topics that are very dear to my heart: Torah study and the Land of Israel. And as I complete my study of Massechet Ketubot – which is the 15th Massechet since the beginning of the current cycle of Daf Yomi, and as I write this…

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Ketubot 111

There is a teaching of Rabbi Elazar in today’s daf (Ketubot 111b) which calls for further elucidation. Specifically, we are taught: כל המשתמש באור תורה – ‘whoever makes use of the light of the Torah’, then אור תורה מחייהו – ‘the light of the Torah will revive him’. And why does this call for further…

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Ketubot 110

 As we near the end of our study of Massechet Ketubot, today’s (Ketubot 110b) – along with the upcoming dapim – discusses the importance of living in Israel. In particular, a Beraita is quoted in today’s daf which, while referencing the common situation where a wife wishes to make Aliyah but the husband does not,…

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Ketubot 109

Oftentimes we keep upcoming significant personal, professional and financial transitions and decisions private to just us, our spouse (where relevant), and our very closest friends until they become public to avoid the spread of information and the jinxing of those decisions at the wrong time.These transitions or decisions may relate to an upcoming move overseas,…

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Ketubot 108

 There is a concept in the Gemara, itself based on a biblical verse (see Shemot 22:8), of מודה במקצת – literally, ‘one who admits something in part’ – which refers to a situation when someone admits owing part, though not all, of something or a group of things that another claims to have lent to…

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Ketubot 107

If you studied today’s daf (Ketubot 107a) with care, you will have noticed that on four separate occasions reference is made to the בני כהנים גדולים – literally, ‘the sons of the High Priests’, who engage in various rabbinic disputes relating to the financial support given to a wife when her husband is overseas or…

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Ketubot 106

A story – spanning the end of yesterday’s daf (Ketubot 105b) and the beginning of our daf (Ketubot 106a) – is told about Rav Anan who recused himself from judging a case for fear of not being impartial. However, through his imprecise use of words, and through the fact that his colleague Rav Nachman made…

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Ketubot 105

“A rabbi whose community does not disagree with him is no rabbi. A rabbi who fears his community is no man.” These words, which are said to have been uttered by Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, are often quoted to Rabbinical students in order to remind them of the need to speak truth and promote mitzvah observance…

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Ketubot 104

Today’s daf (Ketubot 104a) records the parting words of Rebbi from his deathbed who, with his ten fingers extended heavenward, proclaimed: “Master of the Universe, it is revealed and known before You that I toiled with my ten fingers in the study of Torah, but I did not benefit even with my little finger. May…

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Ketubot 103

Two days ago, I received a message from someone whose closest friend is unfortunately at the end stages of her life due to cancer who sought some Torah wisdom and chizuk as she braces herself for the days and weeks to come. We fixed a time to speak which worked out to be a few…

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Ketubot 102

Within the halachic codes and responsa literature we find an ongoing debate about whether כתיבה כדיבור דמי – ‘writing is like speech’ – meaning that if you write something down, is it considered as if you have said those words?For example, Rabbi Akiva Eiger discusses (see Responsa Rabbi Akiva Eiger No. 29) whether, if you…

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Ketubot 101

The Mishna (Ketubot 12:1) in today’s daf (Ketubot 101b) describes a situation where a man marries a woman with a daughter from a previous marriage and commits to financially sustain her.Significantly, as Rabbi Bleich explains in his essay titled ‘Support of Non-Biological Children in Jewish Law’ (see https://bit.ly/3D0eycB), ‘the Mishnah does not posit a requirement…

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Ketubot 100

Today’s daf (Ketubot 100a) discusses the situation when a Beit Din makes an error in terms of the amount of money or land that it awards an orphan from their parents’ estate. In such a case we are taught that יכולים למחות – they may protest and challenge this ruling which must then be re-evaluated.…

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Ketubot 99

As part of its discussion about the laws of agency (שליחות), reference was made in yesterday’s daf (Ketubot 98b) to the principle of מעילה (which primarily applies to the unlawful use of consecrated property). Specifically, the Gemara quoted from Mishna Meilah 6:1 which teaches us that if an agent (שליח) did not follow the instructions…

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Ketubot 98

Towards the end of yesterday’s daf (Ketubot 97b) we read the view of Rabbi Shimon who teaches that if a woman sold or pledged just part of the value of her ketubah then she forfeits her right to support. In contrast, the Sages rule that even if a woman sold or pledged just part of…

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Ketubot 97

We learn in today’s daf (Ketubot 97a) that if a person sold land because they needed money, and then circumstances changed leading to them not needing to have sold their land, then the sale can be revoked.Having made this point, we are then told that there was a time when there was a sudden food…

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Ketubot 96

Up until now, Gemara Ketubot has made it clear that while land (קרקע) can be taken from an estate, movable property (מטלטלין) cannot be taken as collateral for debts. Yet notwithstanding this principle, we are taught in today’s daf (Ketubot 96a) that ‘in the case of a widow who seized movable property for her support,…

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Ketubot 95

It has been said by Rav Chaim of Volozhin (see his Ruach Chaim commentary on Avot 5:22) that the study of Hilchot Sukkah (the Laws of Sukkah) can provide us with the necessary insight to solve the hardest of halachic problems. But what is so unique about Hilchot Sukkah that prompted R’ Chaim to make…

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Ketubot 94

Sometimes we can learn a story in the Gemara that has so many holes in it that it requires us to do some detective work; and while it may not be possible to answer all of our questions or reach conclusive outcomes, the evidence can certainly point us in a particular direction to help us…

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Ketubot 93

As the cases concerning ketubah law become more and more complex, with the Mishna (Ketubot 10:5) in today’s daf (Ketubot 93b) discussing how the estate of a man should be divided if he was married to four wives, it is noteworthy that our Mishna quotes ‘Ben Nanas’ – which is a name that we’ve encountered…

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Ketubot 92

Today is the day after Yom Kippur, and as I study today’s daf (Ketubot 92) – which speaks about the ability of creditors to take land that debtors have used as collateral – I wonder how, beyond the specific details being discussed, our daf speaks to me.However, I then noticed that our daf refers to…

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Ketubot 91

I hope you all had a meaningful Yom Kippur, and having made Havdalah, had something to eat, checked in with all those whom I advised before Yom Kippur, and spent some time building our sukkah, it is so wonderful to turn to Daf Yomi on a Motzei Yom Kippur as an expression of starting the…

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Ketubot 90

While I strive to learn the daf every day, I also strive to live with the daf every day. Consequently, I often find myself noticing making connections between the words in our daf and the events of the day including today – Erev Yom Kippur.In terms of today’s daf (Ketubot 90b), it describes a situation…

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Ketubot 89

The Mishna (Ketubot 9:9) in today’s daf (Ketubot 89a) quotes a ruling of Rabban Shimon Ben Gamliel who states that during a time of danger (סכנה), if a woman is divorced but does not have her ‘get’ (Jewish divorce bill) or any other documentation to prove this fact, she is nevertheless given the monies owed…

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Ketubot 88

Today’s daf (Ketubot 88a) informs us that debts can be collected even in a debtor’s absence due to the consideration שלא תנעול דלת בפני לווין – ‘that we do not lock the door in the face of borrows’. What this means is that were lenders to be unable to get their money back when a…

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Ketubot 87

There is a lovely phrase used in today’s daf (Ketubot 87b) describing a situation when a husband and wife have an oral agreement about a monetary matter which is later invoked in order for her to receive the monies he agreed to give her and where we read her declare: אמנה היתה לי ביני לבינו…

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Ketubot 86

I want to share something personal: my feet are both long and wide which therefore makes shoe shopping a challenge as most shoes that should fit me simply aren’t comfortable on me. Consequently, whenever I am in need of a pair of shoes, I enter shoes stores reluctantly; yes, I hope to find a pair…

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Ketubot 85

A question addressed in today’s daf (Ketubot 85b) concerns the way in which decisions are made when someone dies having instructed on their deathbed that ‘Toviah’ should be the beneficiary of their property – but not having specified which ‘Toviah’ they are referring to.In the specific case being discussed, this individual has a close friend…

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Ketubot 84

As we know, Rosh Hashanah is known as יום הדין, ‘the Day of Judgement’. Yet notwithstanding the awesomeness of Rosh Hashanah which is often likened to being in a courtroom before God as our judge and jury, we also approach Rosh Hashanah with a spirit of confidence because our judge is not just our king…

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Ketubot 82 & 83

Shana Tova & I hope you had an uplifting start of 5783!In terms of Daf Yomi, over Rosh Hashanah we studied Ketubot 82-83, with Ketubot 82a beginning by quoting a Beraita stating that if someone claims money from their friend (חבירו), while their friend has a claim on a further friend (חבירו בחבירו), then the…

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Ketubot 81

Three times in today’s daf (Ketubot 81a-b) we read how one scholar sent a halachic query to another – and in one instance, requiring a third scholar as an intermediary: Rava sends Abaye a query by the hand of Rav Shemayah bar Zeira. And later on, Abaye sends both Rav Chanina bar Pappi and Rav…

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Ketubot 80

A phrase that appears three times in today’s daf (Ketubot 80b) during its discussion about the usages of financial resources of a family is רווח ביתא, meaning ‘the gain to a house[hold]’, and – especially as we are less than 24 hours before Rosh Hashanah 5783 – this prompts me to consider what improvements and…

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Ketubot 79

Today’s daf (Ketubot 79a) teaches us that in a situation where a couple have money to invest, and one spouse proposes acquiring land and the other proposes buying houses, they it is obvious that they must buy land because it is a more secure purchase. If the decision is between houses and palm trees, they…

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Ketubot 78

There is a remarkable halacha discussed in today’s daf (Yevamot 78a) that if a pregnant woman immerses in a mikveh for the sake of conversion, then the child that she is carrying need not also, separately, immerse for the sake of conversion.Significantly, our Gemara discusses the various possible ways in which this spiritual transformation occurs…

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Ketubot 77

Towards the end of today’s daf (Ketubot 77b) is a line that sent shivers down my spine – especially given the fact that we are just a few days from Rosh Hashanah.The line comes amidst the story of Rabbi Chanina Bar Pappa who, at the end of his life, was taken by the מלאך המות…

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Ketubot 76

Some years ago I came across a stunning interpretation of an oft-cited halachic principle that is referenced in today’s daf (Ketubot 76b).In terms of the principle itself, it states that – המוציא מחבירו עליו הראיה’If someone wishes to claim an item or a sum of money from someone else (literally ‘someone who wishes to draw…

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Ketubot 75

Within today’s daf (Ketubot 75a) is a commentary of Rabbi Meyasha the grandson of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi on a verse from Tehillim 87:5 where we are taught: וּלֲצִיּוֹן יֵאָמַר אִישׁ וְאִישׁ יֻלַּד בָּהּ – ‘of Zion it is said, “one and all were born there”’ which Rabbi Meyasha interprets to mean that just as…

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Ketubot 74

One of the various well-known rules of a wedding is that the gift that the groom gives his bride – which nowadays is generally a ring – must be worth a ‘perutah’. Given this, the question addressed in today’s daf (Ketubot 74a) is what is the marital status of a couple who formally wedded through…

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Ketubot 73

Today’s daf (Ketubot 73a) makes reference to the Talmudic presumption of אין אדם עושה בעילתו בעילת זנות – which means that whenever someone has sexual relations with another, we do not presume that they do so casually.Before proceeding, it is important to note that this presumption reflects substantive Jewish values, and while there is much…

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Ketubot 72

Today’s daf (Ketubot 72b) is a key source for the laws of hair covering for married women, and a close reading of the daf is highly recommended for those who wish to know more about the subject.However, rather than reviewing this entire subject, I’d like to examine one particular point that is made by the…

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Ketubot 71

Imagine this situation: A woman vows not to have marital relations with her husband, and upon hearing her vow, her husband remains silent. Clearly, it is possible that his silence indicates that he is not interested in being intimate with her or in remaining married to her. And it is also possible that his silence…

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Ketubot 70

Much of today’s daf (Ketubot 70b) examines the question of agency and, in particular, the halachic question of when someone’s actions are considered to be an expression of the will of another, and when are they considered to be an exclusive expression of the will of the self – with the implication of this being…

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Ketubot 69

Towards the end of today’s daf (Ketubot 69b), and as part of a demonstration of his Torah knowledge, Ilfa proclaims that he can find a hint in a Mishna to any detail found in a Beraita.To explain what this is all about, ‘Beraita’ (singular) or ‘Beraitot’ (plural) are oral traditions from the Tannaitic period that…

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Ketubot 68

Today’s daf (Ketubot 68a) quotes a Beraita which teaches that someone who ‘[temporarily] blinds their eye, or bloats their stomach, or [temporarily] injures their leg [for the purpose of soliciting charity] will not depart from the world until these [self-created injuries] come upon them [as permanent injuries], and one who accepts charity but does not…

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Ketubot 67

Towards the end of today’s daf (Ketubot 67b) we are told a story that highlights the great lengths with which Mar Ukva and his wife would go to in order to give charity to the poor while endeavouring to maintain the dignity of the recipient.Then, we are told a further story demonstrating Mar Ukva’s commitment…

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Ketubot 66

Today’s daf (Ketubot 66b) relates two stories about Miriam who was the daughter of the incredibly rich Nakdimon ben Guryon and who lived in Jerusalem in the years prior to, and following, the destruction of the Second Beit HaMikdash.According to the account both found here and earlier on (see Ketubot 65a), it would appear that…

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Ketubot 65

Among the phrases of the Mishna (Ketubot 5:9) which are analysed in today’s daf (Ketubot 65b) includes ואוכלת עמו – literally meaning that a wife eats with her husband [on a Friday night].Admittedly, and as the Gemara proceeds to explain, this phrase may also convey a further meaning. Still, for the purpose of this piece…

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Ketubot 64

The Mishna (Ketubot 5:8) in today’s daf (Ketubot 64b) details what a husband must give his wife as part of fulfilling his biblical duty of כסות (providing clothing), and this includes ומנעל ממועד למועד – ‘[giving her] shoes from one festival to the other’.According to many of the commentaries, this means that a husband should…

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Ketubot 63

Sometimes a Talmudic story can be read in two radically different ways. Early on in today’s daf (Ketubot 63a) we are told a story involving a father and son, Rav Yosef and his father Rava, where Rava – who wanted his son to be fully immersed in Torah study for a 6-year stretch – disagreed…

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Ketubot 62

Earlier this week I started a conversation with someone and asked them how they were doing. Their response was just a groan – to which I remarked that Chazal teaches that we can learn much even just from a groan.In today’s daf (Ketubot 62a) we encounter two such teachings – where Rav states that אנחה…

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Ketubot 61

Today’s daf (Ketubot 61a) quotes a number of teachings from Rav Yitzchak bar Chananya, including one which states that if a waiter is serving you certain incredibly tasty foods whose aroma is so engaging that people can crave this food to the point of making themselves unwell simply by seeing and smelling it, then as…

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Ketubot 60

We live in a time where we fundamentally believe that each situation should be addressed and determined on its individual merits. However, Jewish law is lived both individually and collectively, which means that, in some instances, the unique circumstances of an individual can be overlooked for the sake of maintaining a consistent rule or decree…

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Ketubot 59

Among the various reasons for tension and strife in a marriage is ‘expectations’, and specifically, where the expectations of one is not fulfilled by the other. This is why one of the most important things for a couple to do is to be clear with each other about their respective expectations.Undoubtedly, one of the purposes…

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Ketubot 58

There is a debate in today’s daf (Ketubot 58b) about the principle of whether אדם מקדיש דבר שלא בא לעולם – ‘someone can consecrate something that has yet to come into existence’.In terms of our daf, this principle is invoked with reference to yet-to-be earnt earnings, while a beraita discussing the laws of conversion is…

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Ketubot 57

The Mishna (Ketubot 5:2) in today’s daf (Ketubot 57a) records the practice of a bride having a year of preparation between formally agreeing to marry her husband and beginning their married life together.Significantly, this lesson is derived by the Gemara (57b) from the story of Rivkah’s marriage to Yitzchak where her family requested that she…

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Ketubot 56

While speaking about a bride and groom’s wedding night, a beraita quoted in today’s daf (Ketubot 56a) uses the phrase חיבת לילה הראשון – ‘the affection of the first night’ – which seeks to describe the passion of a bride and groom as they physically discover each other for the first time on their wedding…

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Ketubot 55

Today’s daf (Ketubot 55b) raises an important question about the Talmudic principle of אומדנא, or what we may describe as ‘circumstantial evidence’. Specifically, if a situation arises when it seems as if we know the intention of someone in a given event, but we could be wrong and they may have had a different intention,…

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Ketubot 54

Knowing your prefixes is necessary – both when studying biblical Hebrew, and speaking modern Hebrew, and one of the most important differences that one should know is the difference between the prefix ל, ‘to/for’, and ב, ‘in’.To give some insight into why this is so important, Gemara Brachot 64a quotes a teaching of Rabbi Avin…

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Ketubot 53

Central to Massechet Ketubot are the personal and financial responsibilities that a husband accepts upon himself as delineated in the Ketubah for his wife, including his duty to arrange for her burial if she predeceases him. However, while the two halachic stages of marriage – known as Eirusin and Nissu’in – are nowadays performed together…

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Ketubot 52

The Mishna (Ketubot 4:12) in today’s daf (Ketubot 52b) relates how אנשי ירושלים, the men of Jerusalem, would include the following clause in their Ketubot: ‘you shall live in my house and be supported by my estate all the days of the duration of your widowhood in my house’ – and that the אנשי הגליל,…

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Ketubot 51

The opening words of the Mishna (Ketubot 4:7) in today’s daf (Ketubot 51a), which speak of a case of לא כתב לה כתובה – ‘where [a groom] does not write a Ketubah [for his bride]’, prompted me to consider the origins of the word ‘Ketubah’ along with broader questions such as who is the primary…

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Ketubot 50

In the instances when I have suggested a Torah interpretation and I have subsequently found the same interpretation in the writings of a great Torah teacher, I have felt a deep sense of gratefulness – leading me to say the words ברוך שכיונתי (‘Blessed [are you, God] who has guided me [in the right direction]’).…

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Ketubot 49

A major theme in today’s daf (Ketubot 49a-b) relates to a father’s duty to sustain his children both during his lifetime and after his death.Significantly, when the Mishna and Gemara use the word זן (sustain) in this discussion they are referring to material sustenance, and though the Gemara considers a range of possibilities concerning the…

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Ketubot 48

Twice in today’s daf (Ketubot 48a) reference is made to what Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (in his commentary to Shemot 21:10) refers to as the ‘great principle’ of marriage – namely: עולה עמו ואינה יורדת עמו – ‘[A married woman] rises to her husband’s station in life, but she does descend from hers.’ What this…

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Ketubot 47

Today’s daf (Ketubot 47b) cites Shemot 21:10 which emphasises how a husband is obligated to provide his wife with שְׁאֵרָהּ כְּסוּתָהּ וְעֹנָתָהּ – ‘her food, her clothing, and her conjugal rights’. Significantly, beyond these biblical duties, the Ketubah also includes seven further rabbinical obligations known as ‘tena’ei ketubah’ (the conditions of the ketubah) which are:…

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Ketubot 46

When we think of the word רע – which is often translated as ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ – we generally presume that we are talking about the actions and attitudes of another. For example, today’s daf (Ketubot 46a) quotes Rabbi Natan who asserts that the biblical prooftext teaching us about the punishment given to a defamer…

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Ketubot 45

Today’s daf (Ketubot 45b) discusses the punishment due to an adulteress and a defamer and it notes how זו מעשיה גרמו לה – ‘in terms of this one (i.e. the adulteress), her actions caused her [to be punished]’ while וזה עקימת שפתיו גרמו לו – ‘in terms of this one (i.e. the defamer), his curving…

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Ketubot 44

While discussing the punishment given to a Jewish woman who committed adultery having formally married her husband (kiddushin) but not yet having moved in with him (nissuin), the Mishna (Ketubot 4:3) in today’s daf (Ketubot 44a) addresses whether all the specific details of this punishment are equally applied to a Jewish woman who had previously…

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Ketubot 43

Today’s daf (Ketubot 43a) touches on an important topic which talks to me very personally. Specifically, what will happen to my wife and daughters if I were to suddenly die?This question emerges from the Gemara’s discussion whether a husband has the same financial concerns for his widow as he may have for his daughters. According…

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Ketubot 42

Having just started the fourth chapter of Massechet Ketubot titled נערה שנתפתתה meaning ‘a girl who was seduced’, and given the contrast in the Torah between the punishment of the seducer (see Shemot 22:15-16) and that of the rapist (see Devarim 22:28-29), and given the statement in today’s daf (Ketubot 42a) that the girl who…

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Ketubot 41

The Mishna (3:9) in today’s daf (Ketubot 41a) informs us that while those responsible for causing personal harm or for damaging the property of another must pay for the damages (נזק) that they have caused, if they confess to causing such harm or damage then they do not pay any additional fines (קנס) that would…

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Ketubot 40

  The Mishna (Ketubot 3:6) in today’s daf (Ketubot 40a) invokes the opinion of Rabbi Elazar about the fines that should be given to an orphan, with the subsequent Gemara then noting how Rabbi Elazar ruled in accordance with his teacher Rabbi Akiva. The Gemara then informs us that Rabbi Zeira said in the name…

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Ketubot 39

A beraita is cited in today’s daf (Ketubot 39a) which lists a number of at-risk situations (eg. a pregnant or nursing woman) where, according to Rabbi Meir, a woman is permitting/encouraged to use contraception. In contrast, the Sages rule that in such cases contraception should not be used and, instead, heaven will have mercy on…

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Ketubot 38

Sometimes, notwithstanding the subject of a daf being one topic, certain words or phrases leap out because they speak to us on a very different level – oftentimes about an altogether different topic. And the reason for me mentioning this – especially today – is because much of today’s daf (Ketubot 38a) focusses on the…

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Ketubot 37

Today’s daf (Ketubot 37b) dedicates much of its time to discuss various punishments that were meted out by the Sanhedrin. Yet embedded within our daf are two curious phrases which I would like to explore beyond their literal meaning. The first phrase, מיתה אריכתא – ‘a long death’, is used when discussing the possibility of…

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Ketubot 36

Whispers, gossip, and rumours. Nobody wants to be spoken about behind their back and especially if what is being said maligns their character. Today’s daf (Ketubot 36b) quotes a ruling of Rava that if rumours abound about an unmarried Jewish woman that she has been promiscuous – which would disqualify her from marrying a Kohen…

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Ketubot 35

There is one biblical word that has been the focus of attention in recent dapim (Ketubot 30a, 33a, 34b, 35a): אָסוֹן – literally translated as a ‘disaster’ or ‘calamity’, but understood by our Sages to mean ‘fatal injury’. And the reason why these dapim have focused on this word is because their main subject has…

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Ketubot 34

Today’s daf (Ketubot 34a) cites a beraita – quoted in at least six other places in the Talmud (eg. Shabbat 38a) – which raises the question of whether food cooked on Shabbat in a halakhically prohibited manner may be eaten. As I explained in my commentary on Shabbat 38a (see https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/shabbat-38/), according to Rabbi Meir, if…

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Ketubot 31-33

We were previously taught in Ketubot 31b about the punishment of lashes, while much of Ketubot 32b focuses its attention on the punishment of ‘eidim zomemim’ – conspiring witnesses – which the Torah (see Devarim 19:19) demands that they be given the same, or as close to the same, punishment that they maliciously intended that…

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Tisha B’Av

What daf am I to study today?Since today is Tisha B’Av, the study of today’s daf yomi (Ketubot 32) must be deferred until after the fast. Given this, perhaps the daf yomi that I should study on Tisha B’Av should be those sections of the Gemara – such as Gittin 56 – which discuss the…

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Ketubot 30

Today’s daf (Ketubot 30a) quotes a verse from Mishlei 22:5 which states: צִנִּים פַּחִים בְּדֶרֶךְ עִקֵּשׁ שׁוֹמֵר נַפְשׁוֹ יִרְחַק מֵהֶם – ‘there are thorns and snares upon the crooked path; he who protects himself keep far from them’. Understood in this literal fashion (see Malbim and others on this verse) we are being guided to…

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Ketubot 29

The primary focus of discussion in today’s daf (Ketubot 29) is the financial penalty for those who have committed the crime of seduction and rape.However, it is essential to note, as explained by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz (see https://steinsaltz.org/daf/ketubot29/), how ‘the Shitta Mekubbezet points out that aside from the kenas (fine) discussed in the Mishna, a…

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Ketubot 28

The Mishna (Ketubot 2:10) in today’s daf (Ketubot 28a) lists the realms of testimony where an adult is relied upon when speaking about things that they saw when they were a child while, at the same time, acknowledging that there are some things which demand further testimony than just what one adult remembers from what…

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Ketubot 27

Today’s daf (Ketubot 27b) recounts how the brother of Mari bar Isak, who had spent his early years with Mari but who was then taken by his father and raised in Beit Choza’ah (a district on the caravan road along the Tigris) while Mari remained in Babylon, reunited with Mari following the death of his…

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Ketubot 26

In the first few lines of today’s daf (Ketubot 26a), reference is made to a fascinating halachic principle called מסיח לפי תומו (mesiach lefi tumo) which describes a moment when someone shares halachically significant information during a casual conversation without being aware of the halachic significance of what they have shared.Central to this principle of…

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Ketubot 25

Today’s daf (Ketubot 25a) references the mitzvah of חלה (challah) – which is the portion of dough given to Kohanim as a ‘terumah’ (donation) to support them provide their spiritual leadership for the Jewish people (see Bemidbar 15:17-21).However, what is significant – as noted in our Gemara on the basis of the phrase בְּבֹאֲכֶם אֶל…

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Ketubot 24

Given that today’s daf (Ketubot 24a-b) discusses the reliability of someone who claims they are a Kohen in terms of whether they can receive priestly honours (eg. eat Terumah) and whether they can perform priestly duties (eg. recite the Birkat Kohanim), I decided to spend some of Shabbat reviewing this topic and other related issues…

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Ketubot 23

Do you know what is going on in the life of your close neighbour?There are some people who presume that they do because they talk with their neighbours on a regular basis.Then there are others who – though they aren’t aware of every day-to-day event in their neighbours’ life – presume that they’d be told…

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Ketubot 22

‘We cannot control what others say or do, but we should strive to do what we can so that others don’t have easy reasons to say less than complimentary things about us.’This, in short, is what our Sages in today’s daf (Ketubot 22b) derive from Mishlei 4:24 which states: הָסֵר מִמְּךָ עִקְּשׁוּת פֶּה וּלְזוּת שְׂפָתַיִם…

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Ketubot 21

Today’s daf (Ketubot 21b) relates how Rabbi Abba taught that a witness can become a judge. In response, Rav Safra challenged this ruling based on Mishna Rosh Hashanah 3:1. Rabbi Abba then replied to Rav Safra’s challenge saying אַף לְדִידִי קַשְׁיָא לִי, meaning “I also had this difficulty”. However, Rabbi Abba then informed Rav Safra…

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Ketubot 20

Amidst its wide-ranging discussion about evidence, testimony and memory, today’s daf (Ketubot 20a) draws a fascinating distinction between the concept of הזמה (hazama) and הכחשה (hakhasha). But to explain the difference between the two, we need to define what each of these are.If a pair of witnesses testify in a Beit Din that someone committed…

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Ketubot 19

Embedded in its discussion concerning the dangers of holding onto already paid-up notes of indebtedness, today’s daf (Ketubot 19b) quotes a teaching of Rabbi Ami that it is permitted to be in possession of a ספר (which is understood to directly refer to a Sefer Torah or any volume of Tanach, and which the later…

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Ketubot 18

Within today’s daf (Ketubot 18b), reference is made to the principle of אין אדם משים עצמו רשע – ‘a person may not make themselves into an evildoer’ which teaches that self-incrimination and confessing is inadmissible.On first glance, this rule simply appears to be a procedural principle that is a ‘scriptural decree’ derived from Devarim 17:6…

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Ketubot 17

Basing himself on today’s daf (Ketubot 17a), the Rambam (Hilchot Avel 14:8) rules that: ‘in a situation where someone is confronted with the opportunity to help bury the dead or participate in a bridal procession, they should put aside the opportunity to join the procession and involve themselves with the dead. At the same time,…

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Ketubot 16

In general, I am averse to making generalizations about any groups of people, and I am particularly averse to making generalizations when comparing the temperaments of men and women. At the same time, this does not negate the fact that some generalizations do contain kernels of truth.In this case, I’d like to share a creative…

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Ketubot 15

Given that today’s daf (Ketubot 15a-b) includes a substantive discussion about fundamental principles of halachic doubt – such that Moshe Halbertal (in his book ‘The Birth of Doubt: Confronting Uncertainty in Early Rabbinic Literature’ p. 34) rightly identifies this discussion as being ‘one of the most central developments of the doctrine of uncertainty in the…

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Ketubot 14

Early on in today’s daf (Ketubot 14a), reference is made to the position of Rabban Gamliel who – as I explained in my commentary to yesterday’s daf (https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/ketubot-13) – rules that if a pregnant unmarried woman says that the man with whom she has had sexual relations does not render her ineligible to marry a…

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Ketubot 13

A curious phrase is used in a Mishna (Ketubot 1:6) found in today’s daf (Ketubot 13a) – which is also invoked in the three subsequent Mishnayot (Ketubot 1:7-9) but is not used anywhere else in the Gemara.To give some context, the Mishna discusses a situation where an unmarried Jewish woman is suspected of having sexual…

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Ketubot 12

Today’s daf (Ketubot 12b) references the halachic principle of ברי ושמא ברי עדיף – which literally means ‘certain and possible, certain is preferred’ and which is invoked when two people make a statement where one claims that they are certain (ברי) about what happened, while the other is less than sure and says that it…

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Ketubot 11

Today is the (postponed) fast of the 17th of Tammuz which commemorates five tragic events that occurred on this date (as recorded in Mishna Ta’anit 4:6):1) The first set of luchot (tablets) were smashed by Moshe upon seeing the Egel Hazahav (the Golden Calf), 2) The offering of the Korban Tamid (the twice daily sacrifice)…

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Ketubot 10

Today’s daf (Ketubot 10b) tells a story where a halachic question is asked by a husband to Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi (Rebbi), and during the exchange between Rebbi and the couple it becomes clear that they are suffering from malnutrition due to a local famine.In terms of this particular case, Rebbi’s response includes feeding the couple.…

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Ketubot 9

Today’s daf (Ketubot 9b) references the ‘war get’ which married soldiers of the army of King David were required to give to their wives before going out to war. As you may recall, I recently made brief reference to the ‘war get’ in my commentary to Yevamot 121 (see https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/yevamot-121/), and I have discussed it…

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Ketubot 8

It is a well-known fact that wherever Jews live, they are meant to face Jerusalem in prayer (see Brachot 30a). As Rabbi Shubert Spero explains in his essay on ‘Turning to Jerusalem in Prayer’, “turning towards Jerusalem and the land of Israel from the “four corners of the earth” kept the Jew mindful of where…

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Ketubot 7

If you’ve been to what we often refer to as a ‘traditional Jewish wedding’, you will know that the ceremony begins with the ‘Birkat Eirusin’ – whose text is presented and discussed in today’s daf (Ketubot 7b); that it is immediately followed by the giving of a ring when the groom makes a declaration to…

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Ketubot 6

On three occasions, today’s daf (Ketubot 6a-b) draws a halachic comparison – twice when discussing the physiological consequences of a woman having sex for the first time, and once when discussing the psychological distraction of a groom who is soon to have sex for the first time.In terms of the first two cases, the reader…

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Ketubot 5

As part of its technical discussion about the possibility of someone getting so distracted in their preparations for a meal that they may come to transgress the Shabbat laws, today’s daf (Ketubot 5a) draws a distinction between preparations for an Erev Yom Kippur meal where there is no concern for Shabbat transgression, and preparations for…

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Ketubot 4

Today’s daf (Ketubot 4b) draws a distinction between the kinds of personal gestures that a woman may do for her husband (e. mix a cup of wine for him, make his bed etc.) while she is a mourner versus doing those same acts while he is a mourner.Explaining this Gemara, Rabbi Ephraim Oved writes in…

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Ketubot 3

A topic addressed both in yesterday (Ketubot 2b) and today’s daf (Ketubot 3a) is the status of a ‘get’ (Jewish divorce bill) which was given by a husband to his wife conditionally in a situation when the condition was met but only due to unforeseen circumstances.For example, if a husband gave his wife a ‘get’…

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Ketubot 2

Today we begin our study of Massechet Ketubot (1:1) which informs us in its opening Mishna that the marriage of a בתולה (virgin) traditionally occurred on a Wednesday. As the Gemara proceeds to explain (Ketubot 2a), this was established to provide a quick resolution to any טענת בתולים (claim made by the groom following the…

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