כ׳ באדר ב׳ ה׳תשע״ו (March 30, 2016)

Kiddushin 19a-b: The Details of Designation

As we learned on yesterday’s daf, the point of allowing a father to “sell” his daughter as an is to promote the possibility of an arranged marriage between the girl and the “master” or his son through a process known as yi’ud. Our discusses a number of laws connected with yi’ud. According to our Gemara, yi’ud takes place when the “master” says to the amah ivriyah, “Harei at mekudeshet li,” or “Harei at me’oreset li,” – which are normal expressions of marriage – before two witnesses, and begins to treat her like a wife rather than like a servant girl. The Shiṭṭah Meḳubbeẓet points out that the Torah has already obligated the new husband to treat the amah ivriyah as he would a regular wife once they are married. Nevertheless there are some immediate changes that take place that distinguish the newly married woman from her previous position as an amah ivriyah. One example is that as an amah ivriyah the girl was obligated to accept any work, and perform to the best of her ability. The husband-wife relationship requires only certain specific jobs to be done by the wife.

Given the fact that yi’ud is the ultimate goal of “selling” a girl as an amah ivriyah, would a father be permitted to include a condition in the “sale” that yi’ud should not take place? In a baraita quoted on our daf, Rabbi Meir allows such a condition to be attached to the sale, while the rule that such a condition carries no weight, and that the master can choose to do yi’ud anyway. The position of the Hakhamim is based on the fact that they see yi’ud as being essential to the whole concept of an amah ivriyah, and by making this condition the father is matneh al mah she-katuv ba-Torah, ve-khol ha-matneh al mah shekatuv ba-Torah tena’o batel – he is making a condition that negates a Torah law, and such a condition has no effect.

The Talmud Yerushalmi points out that Rabbi Meir agrees to the idea that ha-matneh al mah shekatuv ba-Torah tena’o batel, but only in cases where the condition would negate a Torah obligation. Yi’ud, while recommended, may not take place, since it is left to the discretion of the master.

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