July 20, 2022

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 in terms of usage in the IDF length in my talk titled ‘IDF Agunot and the Battle over the War Get’ (see https://bit.ly/3P4fWOH for the transcript, https://bit.ly/3yGL4gK for the sourcesheet, as well as https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/shabbat-56/).
However, what I’d like to discuss here is the biblical source (Shmuel I 17:18) which is cited by our Gemara to promote the use of the war get where we are taught in the context of David being sent by King Saul as a messenger to the soldiers fighting the Philistines: וְאֶת אַחֶיךָ תִּפְקֹד לְשָׁלוֹם וְאֶת עֲרֻבָּתָם תִּקָּח – ‘take note of your brothers’ welfare and take their ‘aruba’’.
Though the word ‘aruba’ is generally understood to mean ‘pledge’ (as soldiers often had to pawn off some of their belongings in order to purchase necessary provisions), Rav Yosef offers a further explanation based on the fact that the word ערב (erev) means ‘mixed together’ (nb. this is why the bible calls the evening ‘erev’ since this is when day and night are ‘mixed together’), and he therefore notes that this word refers to דברים המעורבין בינו לבינה – ‘things that relate to the sharing/mixing of him and her’ (i.e. the future of their marriage when the husband goes out to war).
In terms of today’s application of this teaching, and in addition to clearly supporting the use of a ‘war get’ for Jewish soldiers, I believe that what Rav Yosef is also endorsing is all other ways for a couple to plan for דברים המעורבין בינו לבינה – which would include the signing of a pre-nup before a wedding. And why should a couple do so? Because when you choose to share a life together you need to think about all things that relate to the welfare of each other, because that is what it means to love and care for one another.
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