כ״ז בשבט ה׳תשע״ה (February 16, 2015)

Ketubot 14a-b: Identifying the Father, Part II

Yesterday’s daf discussed the case of an unmarried pregnant woman who claims that a specific man is the father of her unborn child. We saw that although Rabbi Yehoshua disagrees, Rabban Gamliel rules that we accept her testimony. Our Gemara discusses a case where a couple who had had kiddushin but not nissuin came before Rav Yosef. The woman – who was pregnant – stated that her betrothed was the father, a claim corroborated by the man. Rav Yosef ruled that they were to be believed – after all, the father admitted that he was the father, and in any case we accept the position of Rabban Gamliel that her testimony is accepted.

This discussion in our Gemara is connected with a parallel discussion in a Gemara in Yevamot where we find the possibility raised that a betrothed, pregnant woman may be suspected of having committed adultery. Two possibilities are offered by the Gemara there. According to one, this suspicion is raised only if there were rumors that the woman had been sleeping with other men; according to the second, this is a matter of concern even if such rumors did not exist. The Ramban and the Rashba argue that our Gemara accepts the first suggestion of the Gemara in Massekhet Yevamot, and that as long as there were no rumors circulating about her behavior, it is not a matter of concern and we accept her claim – supported by her betrothed – with regard to the identity of the father.

Tosafot suggest that in our case we are not dealing with a situation where the couple admits to having relations just once, rather they have been living together as husband and wife. In such a situation we can assume that the pregnancy was the product of their relationship, and do not need to be concerned with the possibility that she committed adultery. Other rishonim – the Ritva, for example – suggest that our case is when the husband can say with certainty that it is his child, e.g. where they never left each other’s sight until she became pregnant.

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