י״ט בכסלו ה׳תשע״ה (December 11, 2014)

Yevamot 68a-b: In the First Stage of Marriage

In our study in this perek of women eating teruma thanks to their marriage to a kohen, we have not yet discussed what level of marriage will allow them to do so. We have already learned that a Jewish marriage takes place in two stages – kiddushin (bethrothal) and nissuin (marriage) – both of which are performed in a single ceremony today. In the time of the Mishna these two events were usually separated by a year of preparation for the wedding.

Once nissuin has taken place, the married woman can certainly begin eating teruma, for she is a member of the kohen’s household. What about after kiddushin?

The Mishna (67b) teaches that kiddushin will not give such a woman the right to eat teruma, even though it will cause the daughter of a kohen to lose the right to eat teruma, if she gets engaged to someone who is not a kohen. Our Gemara explains that this is because the kiddushin should really be enough, but there is a rabbinic ordinance here – mishum d’Ulla– because of what Ulla said.

Ulla’s rule is that we must be concerned that the young bride who – according to prevalent custom of the time – was still living at home might take the teruma and share it with other members of her family who do not have the right to be eating teruma. Even though this is the reason most often quoted, the Gemara in Massekhet Ketubot (57b) offers a second reason, as well – mishum simpon – that we fear that some undiscovered fault or blemish will be discovered in the bride that will cause the husband to have the marriage annulled. Were that to happen, we would find out retroactively that no betrothal had truly taken place, and that she had no right to have eaten the teruma.

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