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Weekly Roundup: Kiddushim 2-8

May the learning be a merit le’iluy nishmas Menachem Mendel ben Harav Yoel Dovid Balk a’h.


This week Daf Yomi began Messeches Kiddushin. We learned Daf 2-8. The following thoughts are highlights from the topics the Gemara covered.

Gittin and Then Kiddushin?

Tractate Kiddushin is the last Messechta in the order of Mishnah that teaches about laws of the family, Nashim. Its placement is surprising. First there is the Messeches Gittin, which teaches all about divorce. Then we have Messeches Kiddushin, which teaches about the first stage of marriage, Eirusin. Why this order? Why not first learn about marriage, and then learn about divorce?

Ma’ayanah shel Mishnah answered that Rebbe arranged the tractates of Mishanyos based on the number of chapters each tractate had. He would begin with the tractate with the most chapters and then progress to smaller tractates. Therefore, Nashim began with Yevamos, for it has 15 chapters, then Kessubos (13), Nedarim (11), Nazir (9), Sotah (9), Gittin (9) and lastly Kiddushin, for it has only four chapters.

Rambam answered that the mishnayos are in their order to remind us of the verses that were the sources for the lessons in the mishnah. In the Torah the verse states (Devarim 24:2) Veyatzah mibeiso vehalachah vehaysa le’ish acheir, And she will leave his home and go and become the wife of another man. Since the verse mentioned divorce before marriage, in the mishnayos, Rebbe sought to remind us of this verse and the other verses that are the sources for the laws, so he taught about divorce first and then marriage. In light of Rambam’s teaching, the Rebbe of Ostrovtza in his work Meir Einei Chachamim resolved a linguistic difficulty in the first Mishnah in Kiddushin. The Mishnah began with the phrase Ha’ishah nikneis, a woman may become engaged. Ishah implies a woman who was fully married. However, Kiddushin is merely the first stage of marriage. Why didn’t Rebbe write, Harusah nikneis, The betrothed woman becomes engaged? The answer is that Rebbe wanted to remind us of the verses in the Torah. In the section of the Torah dealing with marriage and divorce (Devarim 24:1-4), the Torah talks of a woman who was married, got divorced, married a second man, got divorced again, and may not return to her first husband. Therefore, it is “Ha’ishah nikneis” the married woman who became betrothed, for she had been fully married and then got divorced and is now entering marriage again through marrying a second husband (Daf al hadaf).

Kiddushin 2

Why Marry With a Ring?

Tractate Kiddushin begins by teaching that marriage can be created by the husband giving his wife an item of value. Technically all the husband must give is an item worth a perutah. However, the Rama (Even Ha’ezer Siman 27:1) rules that it is our practice to get married only with a ring. Sefer Hachinuch explains the reason for using a ring. When a woman is given a ring she will wear it on her finger regularly. Since the ring betrothed her, whenever she looks at it, she will be reminded that she is a married woman. Better to have a constant reminder of marriage than to get married with a different item, which might not always remind the woman that she is married. The Gr”a added that a ring is a closed circle. It is not open. This is a most suitable symbol for marriage. Marriage entails exclusivity. The Gemara explained that the second perek of Kiddushin begins with the words, ha’ish mekadesh, the husband can betroth, for marriage is called Kidushin to indicate that through the marriage the wife becomes prohibited to all like sacred property, hekdesh. The ring, closed from every direction, is a symbol that she is prohibited to all, except for her husband.

It is common practice to use a gold ring. Based on Kabbalistic sources some prefer to marry with a silver ring. Poskim point out that if the husband plans to use a silver ring he must tell his wife that the ring is silver before he gives it to her. If she thought she was going to receive a gold ring, as is the norm for most couples, and she later discovers that she only received a silver ring, the marriage would be invalidated as it was a mekach ta’us, mistaken agreement. Many rabbis under the chuppah make a point of soliciting from the bride a commitment to marry as long as the ring is worth a perutah, thus ensuring that the marriage would be valid even if the ring were not worth as much as she might have expected it to be worth (Meoros Daf Hayomi).

Kiddushin 3

Is Dikduk Torah?

The Gemara discussed topics of Hebrew grammar. It taught that the word derech, way, is sometimes masculine and at other times feminine. On the other hand, the word davar, matter, is always masculine. The Gemara asked, why was it that in some Tannaitic statements the word derech was used? Why did Tannaim not use the word davar? Ultimately, the Gemara taught that in those lessons in which a distinction was being drawn, such as the fact that in regards to some laws an Esrog is like a fruit but in regards to tithing it is like a vegetable, the word derech is used. Only when a Tanna intended to say that a matter was completely like another matter would the word davar be used. This entire discussion seems to indicate that correct Hebrew grammar, dikduk, is important. In a dirty place, such as a bathroom, Torah may not be studied. May one study Hebrew grammar, dikduk, in such a place?

Ya’avetz ruled that one may not read books of Hebrew grammar in a bathroom. He reasoned that we no longer have all the traditions and rules of dikduk. We derive the rules of dikduk from verses in the Torah. Study of dikduk will therefore inevitably lead a person to recall pesukim. Since one may not recall or think of verses while in the bathroom, one may not study dikduk in the bathroom.

In the Responsa of the Rama (Siman 6) there is a fascinating personal discussion. The Maharshal wrote a letter to the Rama, in which he apologized with a thousand apologies for his words, yet he pointed out that the Rama needed to review his dikduk, for his writings were filled with grammatical errors. The Maharshal called on the Rama to study dikduk and correct his writings. The Rama responded that it was true that he was not an expert on dikduk. In fact, he pointed out that many scholars invest their considerable intellectual abilities in determining the meaning of a concept. In their excitement to express their deep insights, they often will phrase their words in grammatically incorrect forms, as they are trying to express a deeply understood concept. The Rama pointed out that he did not have assistants to help him in rephrasing his sentences to ensure that all be written in beautiful and correct prose. He was toiling hard to write down all that he had studied and determined, and as a result mistakes in articulation were unavoidable (Mesivta).

Kiddushin 4

Kichah Kichah Mi’sdei Efron

A Baraisa taught that one source for items of value creating Kiddushin is the scriptural connection between Avraham purchasing a field, the cave and field of Machpelah, and the verse about marriage. Both verses have a form of the word kichah, to take. Through the mechanism of gezeira shava, the fact that if the same word exists in two different paragraphs, the word links the two topics to each other; how to marry is derived from how the Machpelah purchase took place.

Is there a deeper bond between these two topics?

Rav Veitzman, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Hesder Maalot, suggested that there is a deep connection between marriage and the field of Avraham. Marriage is a chance to gain immortality. Through children and grandchildren parents bond with eternity. A field is also a symbol of a long-lasting and eternal state. Fields last. They are transmitted to children as inheritance and therefore they represent the eternal. This is especially true about the Mearat Hamachpeilah and its field. The Hebrew name for the area is Chevron. Chevron is from the word Chibur, meaning connection. Chevron represents our connection to earlier generations and our eternal rights to the Land of Israel. Chevron and marriage are deeply attached. For each marriage is a chance to connect with generations past and offspring of the future. Perhaps to impress this thought upon us Hashem chose to teach the law of marriage by funds through linking marriage to the story of how Mearat Hamachpela became the property of the Jewish nation. Hashem wants us to approach marriage with reverence. It is an opportunity to reach immortality.

By Rabbi Zev Reichman

Rabbi Zev Reichman teaches Daf Yomi in his shul, East Hill Synagogue, 255 Walnut Street in Englewood, NJ, at 5:35 a.m. Monday and Thursday, at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday.

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