Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Ishut - Chapter Two, Ishut - Chapter Three, Ishut - Chapter Four

Video & Audio Classes
Show content in:

Ishut - Chapter Two

1

From the day of a girl's birth until she becomes twelve years old, she is called a k'tanah (minor) and/or a tinoket (baby). Even if several [pubic] hairs grow [on her body] during this time, they are [not significant according to Jewish law and are] considered to be merely hairs growing from a mole. If, however, two hairs grow in the pubic area after she becomes twelve years old [her status changes, and] she is considered a na'arah (maiden).

א

הבת מיום לידתה עד שתהיה בת י"ב שנה גמורות היא הנקראת קטנה ונקראת תינוקת. ואפילו הביאה כמה שערות בתוך הזמן הזה אינם אלא כשומא. אבל אם הביאה שתי שערות למטה בגוף במקומות הידועות להבאת שער והיא מבת י"ב שנה ויום אחד ומעלה נקראת נערה:

2

Growing two pubic hairs at this age is referred to as the lower sign [of physical maturity]. Once a girl manifests this sign [of physical maturity], she is referred to as a maiden for six months. From the last day of these six months and onward, she is referred to as a bogeret (mature woman). The difference between the stages of maidenhood and maturity is only six months.

ב

והבאת שתי שערות בזמן הזה נקרא סימן התחתון. ומאחר שתביא סימן התחתון תקרא נערה עד ו' חדשים גמורים. ומתחלת יום תשלום הששה חדשים ומעלה תקרא בוגרת. ואין בין נערות לבגרות אלא ו' חדשים בלבד:

3

From the time a girl reaches the age of twelve years and one day1 until the age of twenty, if she does not grow two pubic hairs, she is still considered to be a child, even if she manifests the physical signs of barrenness.

If [during this period], she grows two pubic hairs, even if [this occurs] in her twentieth year, she is considered to be a maiden for six months. Only afterwards is she considered to be a mature woman.

ג

הגיעה לי"ב שנה ויום אחד ולא הביאה שתי שערות אף ע"פ שנראו בה סימני אילונית עדיין קטנה היא עד כ' שנה. וכשתביא שתי שערות אפילו בשנת כ' תהיה נערה ששה חדשים ואח"כ תקרא בוגרת:

4

Should a woman be less than thirty days below the age of twenty, not have grown two pubic hairs, and have manifested [all] the physical signs of barrenness,2 she is deemed an aylonit (a barren woman).

If she does not manifest all the sign of barrenness, she is still considered to be a child until she grows two pubic hairs or until she reaches the age of 35 years and one day.

ד

היתה בת עשרים שנה *פחות שלשים יום ולא הביאה שתי שערות ונראו בה (כל) סימני אילונית הרי היא אילונית. ואם לא נראו בה (כל) סימני אילונית עדיין קטנה היא עד שתביא שתי שערות או עד שתהיה בת ל"ה שנה ויום אחד:

5

Should a woman reach this age without growing two pubic hairs, she is deemed barren even though she does not manifest physical signs of barrenness. A barren woman does not [go through the six-month] period of maidenhood. Instead, directly after having been considered a child, she is considered to be a mature woman.

ה

הגיעה לזמן הזה ולא הביאה שתי שערות הרי זו נקראת אילונית אע"פ שלא נראה בה סימן מסימני אילונית. נמצאת אתה למד שהאילונית אין לה ימי נערות אלא מקטנותה תצא לבגרות:

6

The following are the physical signs of barrenness: a) she lacks [protruding] breasts; b) she stiffens during sexual relations; c) her lower abdomen does not resemble a woman's, d) her voice is deep and cannot be differentiated from that of a man.

All three, a maiden, a mature woman and a barren woman, are referred to by the term gedolah [adult woman]. [Unlike children, they are held responsible for their conduct.]

ו

ואלו הן סימני אילונית. כל שאין לה דדין. ומתקשה בשעת תשמיש. ואין לה שיפולי מעיים כנשים. וקולה עבה ואינה ניכרת בין איש לאשה. והנערה והבוגרת והאילונית כל אחת משלשתן נקראת גדולה:

7

[In addition to growing pubic hairs,] a woman has signs of physical maturity that are manifest in her upper body. They are referred to as "upper signs." Among them are:

a) when the woman stretches her hand backward, a crease forms in the place of her breast; b) the color of the tip of the breast becomes darker; c) when a person places his hand on the end of the breast and it remains depressed slightly before rising; d) creases form at the end of the breast, and a nipple takes shape; my teachers taught that the formation of creases is sufficient; e) the breasts protrude; f) they become erect; g) the mound of Venus forms above the woman's genitals, below her stomach; h) the flesh of this mound becomes soft and not hard. These are eight signs.

ז

ויש בבת סימנין מלמעלה והן הנקראין סימן העליון. ואלו הן. משתחזיר ידיה לאחורה ויעשה קמט (במקום) הדדין. ומשישחיר ראש הדד. ומשיתן אדם ידו על עוקץ הדד והוא שוקע ושוהה לחזור. ומשיפצל ראש חוטם הדד ויעשה בראשו כדור קטן. ורבותי פירשו משיפצל החוטם עצמו. וכן משיטו הדדין. ומשיתקשקשו הדדין ומשתקיף העטרה שהוא מקום הבשר התפוח שלמעלה מן הערוה לעומת הבטן. ומשיתמעך הבשר הזה ולא יהיה קשה:

8

If one or even all of these signs of maturity appear in a woman before she becomes twelve years of age, no attention is paid to it. When she becomes twelve years old and one day, and she manifests the lower sign of physical maturity, no attention is paid to [the presence or lack of] these [upper] signs of physical maturity [and she is considered to be a maiden].

If she does not manifest the lower sign of physical maturity, but she does manifest one of these [upper] signs, there is doubt whether she should be considered a child or a maiden, and the more stringent perspective is followed [with regard to all halachic questions] concerning her. If she manifests all these [upper] signs, she is definitely considered to be an adult. For it is impossible for her to manifest all these signs [and yet not have had two pubic hairs grow]. We assume these hairs have grown, but they have dropped off.

ח

כל אלו הסימנין ח'. נראה בבת סימן אחד מכל אלו או כולן והיא בת י"ב שנה או פחות אין משגיחין בו והרי היא קטנה. נעשית בת י"ב שנה ויום אחד ונראה בה סימן התחתון אין משגיחין באחד מכל אלו. ואם לא נראה התחתון ונראה בה אחד מכל אלו הרי היא ספק בין נערה לקטנה ודנים בה להחמיר. ואם נראו כולן* [ולא נראה סימן התחתון] הרי זו גדולה ודאית. שא"א שיבואו כולן אלא כבר בא סימן התחתון ונשר:

9

When a woman gives birth after reaching the age of twelve years, she is deemed an adult, even though she did not manifest either upper or lower signs of maturity. [Giving birth to] children is a sign of maturity.

ט

הבת שילדה אחר י"ב שנה אע"פ שלא הביאה סימנים לא תחתון ולא עליון הרי זו גדולה. בנים הרי הם כסימנין:

10

A male, from birth until the age of thirteen, is called a katan (minor) and/or a tinok (baby). Even if several [pubic] hairs grow [on his body] during this time, they are [not significant according to Jewish law] and are considered to be merely hairs growing from a mole. If, however, two hairs grow in the pubic area after he attains the age of thirteen years and one day, [his status changes, and] he is considered a gadol (adult male) and/or an ish (man).

י

הבן משיולד עד שיהיה בן י"ג שנה נקרא קטן ונקרא תינוק ואפילו הביא כמה שערות בתוך הזמן הזה אינו סימן אלא שומא. הביא שתי שערות למטה במקומות הידועות לשער. והוא מבן י"ג שנה ויום אחד ומעלה נקרא גדול ונקרא איש:

11

Should a child reach this age without growing two pubic hairs, he is still considered a minor until he reaches the age of twenty years less thirty days, even though he manifests signs of impotency. Should he reach the age [of twenty years less thirty days] and not have grown either pubic hairs or hairs of the beard [the following rules apply]. If he manifests one of the physical signs of impotency, he is considered impotent (a saris), and he is considered to be an adult with regard to all matters.

If he does not manifest any of the signs of impotency, he is still considered to be a minor until he grows two pubic hairs or until he reaches the age of thirty five years and one day.

יא

הגיע לזמן הזה ולא הביא שתי שערות אע"פ שנראו בו סימני סריס הרי הוא קטן עד שיהיה בן כ' שנה פחות ל' יום. הגיע לזמן הזה ולא הביא שתי שערות למטה ולא הביא שתי שערות בזקן. אם נראה בו אחד מסימני סריס הרי הוא סריס ודינו דין הגדול לכל דבר. ואם לא נראה בו סימן מסימני סריס עדיין קטן הוא עד שיביא שתי שערות למטה במקום הראוי להן או עד שיהיה בן ל"ה שנה ויום אחד:

12

If he reaches this age, he is considered impotent, although he did not manifest any of the signs of impotency. If he reached the age of twenty years less thirty days without growing two pubic hairs, but did grow two hairs on his beard, he is not considered to be impotent, even if he manifests one sign of impotency, until he either manifests all the signs of impotency or reaches the age of thirty five years and one day.

יב

הגיע לזמן הזה ולא הביא ה"ז סריס אף על פי שלא נראה בו אחד מסימני סריס. הגיע לשנת כ' פחות ל' יום ולא הביא שתי שערות למטה והביא שתי שערות בזקן אע"פ שנולד לו אחד מסימני סריס אינו סריס. אלא הרי הוא בקטנותו עד שיולדו לו כל סימני סריס או עד שיהיה בן ל"ה שנה ויום אחד:

13

These are the signs of impotency: a) One lacks a beard, b) his hair grows inadequately, c) his flesh is hairless, d) his urine does not produce vapor, e) his urine does not flow in an arc, f) his semen is off color, g) his urine does not ferment, h) when he washes in the winter, his flesh does not produce steam, and i) his voice is high pitched and cannot be differentiated from that of a woman.

יג

ואלו הן סימני סריס כל שאין לו זקן. ושערו לקוי. ובשרו מחליק. ואין מימי רגליו מעלים רתיחה. וכשמטיל מים אינו עושה כיפה. ושכבת זרעו דיהה. ואין מימי רגליו מחמיצין. ורוחץ בימות הגשמים ואינו מעלה בשרו הבל. וקולו לקוי ואינו ניכר בין איש לאשה:

14

An impotent person of this type is referred to as a s'ris chamah [one who became impotent because of fever].3 When, however, the genitals of a male have been cut, severed or crushed, as the gentiles do, the person is called a s'ris adam [one who became impotent as a result of human activity]. When such a person reaches the age of thirteen and one day, he is considered to be an adult, for he will never manifest signs of maturity.

יד

וסריס זה הוא הנקרא סריס חמה בכל מקום. אבל הבן שחתכו או נתקו או מיעכו גידיו או ביציו כמו שהעכו"ם עושין הוא הנקרא סריס אדם. וכשיהיה בן י"ג שנה ויום אחד נקרא גדול שאין זה מביא סימן לעולם:

15

When a male reaches the age of thirteen and one day and does not grow any pubic hairs, but manifests the upper signs of physical maturity,4 doubt exists whether he is considered to be an adult or a minor. If, however, his pubic area was not inspected, but he manifests signs of physical maturity in his upper body, he is presumed to be an adult.

טו

בן י"ג שנה ויום אחד שלא הביא סימן שלמטה ונראו בו כל הסימנין של מעלה ה"ז ספק בין גדול לקטן. ואם לא נבדק מלמטה כיון שנראה בו סימני בגרות מלמעלה ה"ז בחזקת גדול:

16

Whenever the term "two pubic hairs" is mentioned with regard to a male or a female, the intent is that the hairs are long enough to be bent in half, with their point touching their base. If they grow to the extent that they can be cut by scissors, but are not [long enough] that they can be bent in half with their point touching their base, [there is doubt regarding the decision], and the more stringent ruling is always followed.

Therefore, when a boy's or girl's pubic hairs have grown to the point that they can be cut by scissors, the individual is considered to be an adult with regard to those matters concerning which the ruling would be more stringent if he or she were so classified. And with regard to those matters concerning which the ruling would be more stringent if he [or she] were classified as a minor, the individual is so classified because the pubic hairs are not long enough to be bent in half with their point touching their base.

טז

שתי שערות האמורות בבן ובבת בכל מקום שיעורן כדי לכוף ראשן לעיקרן. ומשיצמחו ויהיו יכולות להנטל בפי הזוג עד שיגיעו לכוף ראשן לעיקרן דנין בהן להחמיר בכל מקום. לפיכך בבן ובבת נחשוב אותם גדולים להחמיר הואיל וצמחו כדי להנטל בפי הזוג. ונחשוב אותם קטנים להחמיר הואיל ולא הגיעו לכוף ראשן לעיקרן:

17

These two hairs must be located in the pubic area. The entire pubic area is appropriate for the signs to be located. There is no difference whether they are located in the upper area, the lower area or on the sexual organ itself.

The two hairs must be located in a single place, and there must be a follicle at their base. If both of them stem from the same follicle, it is acceptable. If two follicles are located next to each other without hairs growing from them, they are, nevertheless, considered a sign. We follow the presumption that a follicle will not exist without hair. [Surely,] there were hairs [that grew from the follicle], and they fell.

יז

שתי שערות אלו צריכות שיהיו במקום הערוה. ובית הערוה כולו מקום סימנין בין למעלה בין למטה בין על איברי הזרע עצמן. וצריכות להיות במקום אחד. ושיהיה בעיקרן גומות. ואפילו שתיהן בגומא אחת הרי אלו סימן. נמצאו שתי גומות זו בצד זו ואין בהן שיער הרי אלו סימן. חזקה אין גומא בלא שיער ושערות היו בהן ונשרו:

18

As we have explained, when a girl grows two pubic hairs before she is twelve, or a boy grows two pubic hairs before he is thirteen, they are considered to be merely hairs growing from a mole. Even if these hairs remain in their place after the boy reaches the age of thirteen, or the girl reaches the age of twelve, they are not considered signs of physical maturity.

יח

הבת שהביאה שתי שערות בתוך שתים עשרה שנה והבן שהביא בתוך י"ג שניהם שומא כמו שביארנו. אע"פ שאותן שערות במקומן הם עומדות אחר י"ג לזכר ואחר י"ב לנקבה אינן סימן:

19

When does the above apply? When the child was inspected [before attaining the age of majority], and the hairs were deemed to be hairs growing from a mole. If, however, no such inspection was made until they reached the age of majority, and afterwards an inspection was made and two hairs were discovered, they are considered acceptable signs of physical maturity. We do not say that perhaps the hairs grew before the child reached majority, and they are merely hairs growing from a mole.

יט

בד"א כשנבדקו בתוך הזמן ונודע שהן שומא. אבל אם לא נבדקו אלא אחר זמן ונמצאו שם שתי שערות הרי הן בחזקת סימנין. ואין אומרין שמא קודם זמן צמחו כדי שיהיו שומא:

20

Whenever a girl is inspected for [signs of physical maturity] - whether during her twelfth year, after she became twelve or when she is older - the inspection is carried out by trustworthy, ethical women. Even when an inspection has been conducted by one woman, her word is accepted with regard to whether or not [the girl has manifested signs of physical maturity].5

כ

כשבודקין הבת בין בתוך הזמן שהוא כל שנת י"ב בין קודם זמן זה בין לאחר הזמן בודקין על פי נשים כשרות ונאמנות. ואפילו אשה אחת בודקת ושומעין לה אם הביאה ואם לא הביאה:

21

Whenever the term "years" is mentioned with regard to [the age of] a male or a female, endowment evaluations,6 or any other matter, the intent is not lunar years, nor solar years, but rather the years as reckoned by the Jewish court to [juxtapose the solar and lunar calendars], whether ordinary years or leap years, as established by the [Jewish] court, as explained in Hilchot Kiddush HaChodesh. This is the intent whenever the subject of years is mentioned with regard to religious matters.

כא

כל השנים האמורות בבן ובבת ובערכין ובכל מקום אינן לא שני הלבנה ולא שני החמה אלא שנים של סדר העיבור שהן פשוטות ומעוברות ע"פ ב"ד כמו שהם קובעין אותן כמו שביארנו בהלכות קידוש החדש. ובאותן השנים מונין לכל דברי הדת:

22

We do not rely on the testimony of women regarding a child's age, nor on that of relatives. Instead, the matter is determined by the testimony of two men who are fit to testify in court.

כב

אין סומכין על הנשים במנין השנים ולא על הקרובים אלא על פי שנים אנשים כשרים להעיד:

23

When a father says, "My son is nine years and one day old," or "My daughter is three years and one day old,"7 his word is accepted with regard to the obligation of bringing a sacrifice [if sexual relations were carried out without knowledge of the sin involved], but not with regard to administering stripes [for rebellion] or other punishments.

If the father says, "My son is thirteen years and one day old," or "My daughter is twelve years and one day old," his word is accepted with regard to vows, endowment evaluations, property forsworn [and transferred to the priests],8 or the consecration of property, but not with regard to administering lashes or other punishments.

כג

האב שאמר בני זה בן תשע שנים ויום אחד. בתי זו בת שלש שנים ויום אחד נאמן לקרבן אבל לא למכות ולא לעונשים. בני זה בן י"ג שנה ויום אחד בתי זו בת י"ב שנה ויום אחד נאמן לנדרים ולערכין ולחרמות ולהקדשות אבל לא למכות ולא לעונשים:

24

A person who possesses both a male sexual organ and a female sexual organ is called an androgynous. There is doubt whether such a person should be classified as a male or as a female; there is no physical sign that can ever enable such a distinction to be made.

כד

מי שיש לו אבר זכרות ואבר נקבות הוא הנקרא אנדרוגינוס והוא ספק אם זכר ספק אם נקבה. ואין לו סימן שיודע בו אם הוא זכר ודאי אם היא נקבה ודאית לעולם:

25

A person who possesses neither a male sexual organ nor a female sexual organ, but instead, his genital area is a solid mass, is called a tumtum. There is also doubt with regard [to this person's status]. If an operation is carried out and a male [organ is revealed], he is definitely considered to be a male. If a female [organ is revealed], she is definitely considered to be a female.

When a tumtum or an androgynous reaches the age of twelve years and one day, they are assumed to be adults.9 Whenever these terms are mentioned, the intent is individuals of this age.

כה

וכל מי שאין לו לא זכרות ולא נקבות אלא אטום הוא הנקרא טומטום וגם הוא ספק. ואם נקרע הטומטום ונמצא זכר הרי הוא כזכר ודאי. ואם נמצא נקבה הרי הוא נקבה וטומטום ואנדרוגינוס שהיו בן שתים עשרה שנה ויום אחד הרי הן בחזקת גדולים והם שנדבר בהן בכל מקום:

26

Whenever the terms cheresh and chereshet are used, they refer to a male or female deaf mute, respectively. If, however, a person can speak but cannot hear, or can hear but cannot speak, he is considered to be an ordinary person.10 A male or a female who is intellectually competent, being neither a deaf mute nor emotionally disturbed, is referred to as a pike'ach or a pikachat, respectively.

כו

חרש וחרשת האמורים בכל מקום הן האילמים שאין שומעין ולא מדברים. אבל מי שמדבר ואינו שומע או שומע ואינו מדבר הרי הוא ככל אדם. ואיש ואשה שהן שלמים בדעתן ואינן לא חרשים ולא שוטים נקראין פקח ופקחת:

27

We have thus defined twenty terms in these two chapters: kiddushin, ervah, sh'niyah, issurei lavin, issurei aseh, k'tanah, na'arah, bogeret, aylonit, gedolah, lower sign of maturity, upper sign of maturity, katan, s'ris chamah, s'ris adam, gadol, androgynous, tumtum, chershim, pik'chim. Keep these terms in mind at all times; do not forget their meaning, so that their intent will not have to be explained whenever they are mentioned.

כז

נמצאו כל השמות שביארנו ענינם בשני פרקים אלו עשרים שמות. ואלו הן. קידושין. ערוה. שנייה. איסורי לאוין. איסורי עשה. קטנה. נערה. בוגרת. אילונית. גדולה. סימן התחתון. סימן העליון. קטן. סריס חמה. סריס אדם. גדול. אנדרוגינוס. טומטום. חרשים. פקחים. שים כל השמות האלו לעומתך תמיד ואל ילוזו מעיניך כל ענייניהם כדי שלא נהיה צריכין לבאר כל שם מהן בכל מקום שנזכיר אותו:

Footnotes
1.

The intent in this halachah, and similarly, whenever the term "...years old and one day" is mentioned, is not that an additional day must pass after the woman's twelfth birthday. Rather, the intent is that she has completed twelve complete years of life and begun the following day.

2.

The Tur (Even HaEzer) differs with the Rambam on two points: a) the girl need only be 19 and one month, not 19 and eleven months (Chapter 155) and b) that she need manifest only one, but not all signs of barrenness (Chapter 44, 172).

With regard to the first issue, the Shulchan Aruch appears to favor the Tur's view, although that of the Rambam is also mentioned. With regard to the second issue, the Shulchan Aruch appears to follow the Rambam's view, while the Ramah cites that of the Tur.

3.

Our translation follows the interpretation of the Shulchan Aruch. Yevamot 80a interprets this as meaning, "one who never saw the light of the sun while fit."

4.

I.e., he grows hairs of the beard and in his underarms; his voice changes; his hair grows adequately; and his flesh is not silky (Ma'aseh Rokeach).

5.

Although the testimony of women is not generally accepted in court, an exception is made in this instance because of modesty. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 155:15) quotes the Rambam's wording. Nevertheless, the Beit Shmuel 155:23 states that a woman's testimony can be accepted only with regard to making a more stringent ruling, but not a more lenient one.

6.

See Leviticus, Chapter 27.

7.

If a male is less than nine years old, or a female is less than three years old, they are not fit to engage in sexual relations. Even if they do, in fact, engage in relations, these are of no halachic significance. Hence, if a boy above the age of nine engages in sexual relations with a married woman, the woman is liable. Similarly, if a man engaged in relations with a three-year old girl who was married, the man is liable.

8.

See Leviticus, Chapter 27; Hilchot Arachin 6:1.

9.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, stating that it is necessary for these individuals to manifest physical signs of maturity before they are classified as adults. The Maggid Mishneh states that it appears that the Rambam is saying that there is no need for these individuals to manifest such signs. Needless to say, at the age of twelve these individuals are not considered to be adults with regard to the mitzvot incumbent upon males.

10.

Because a deaf mute's ability to communicate and respond is so limited, such a person is considered to be mentally incompetent and is not held responsible for his conduct, nor is he able to enter into a marriage contract, according to Scriptural law.

Ishut - Chapter Three

1

How is the bond of kiddushin established with a woman? If the man [desires to establish] the kiddushin by [the transfer of] money, [he must give] a p'rutah, either in coin or its worth.

[Before giving it], he tells her, "You are consecrated unto me...," "You are betrothed to me...," or "You become my wife through this." He must give her [the money or the item] in the presence of witnesses.

It is the man who makes the statement that implies that he acquires the woman as his wife, and it is he who gives her the money.

א

כיצד האשה מתקדשת. אם בכסף הוא מקדש אין פחות מפרוטה כסף או שוה פרוטה. אומר לה הרי את מקודשת לי. או הרי את מאורסת לי. או הרי את לי לאשה בזה. ונותן לה בפני עדים. והאיש הוא שאומר דברים שמשמען שקונה אותה לו לאשה והוא שיתן לה הכסף:

2

If she gave him [money] and told him: "Behold, I am consecrated to you," "Behold, I am betrothed to you," "I am your wife," or [she used] any other expression that implied acquisition, the marriage bond is not established. Similarly, if she gave [him money] and he made the statement, the marriage bond is not established.1 If he gave [her money] and she made the statement [the matter is unresolved,]2 and the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.3

ב

נתנה היא ואמרה לו הרי אני מקודשת לך. הריני מאורסת לך הריני לך לאינתו או בכל לשון הקנאה אינה מקודשת. וכן אם נתנה היא לו ואמר הוא אינה מקודשת. ואם נתן הוא ואמרה היא הרי זו מקודשת מספק:

3

If the man establishes the marriage bond with [the transfer of] a legal document, [the following rules apply:] He should write on paper, on a shard, on a leaf or on any other article4 he desires: "You are consecrated unto me...," "You are betrothed to me...," or any similar expression. He must then give her the document in the presence of witnesses.5

ג

ואם קידש בשטר כותב על הנייר או על החרס או על העלה או על כל דבר שירצה. הרי את מקודשת לי או הרי את מאורסת לי וכל כיוצא בדברים אלו ונותנו לה בפני עדים:

4

The document must be written for the sake of the woman who is being married, as must a bill of divorce,6 and it must be written with her consent.7 If it was not written for her sake, or if it was written for her sake, but was written without her consent, the marriage bond is not established. [This applies] even when he gives her [the document] with her consent in the presence of witnesses.

ד

וצריך שיכתוב אותו לשם האשה המתקדשת כגט. ואינו כותבו אלא מדעתה. כתבו שלא לשמה או לשמה שלא מדעתה אף ע"פ שנתנו לה לדעתה בפני עדים אינה מקודשת:

5

If the man establishes the marriage bond through sexual relations, he should tell the woman, "You are consecrated unto me...," "You are betrothed to me...," or "You become my wife through these relations," or choose a similar statement. He must enter into privacy with her in the presence of witnesses and engage in relations.8

When a person establishes a marriage bond through sexual relations, one may assume that his intent is on the conclusion of the relations;9 when the relations are concluded, the marriage bond is established. Regardless of whether the couple engage in vaginal or anal intercourse, the marriage bond is established.

ה

ואם קידש בביאה אומר לה הרי את מקודשת לי או הרי את מאורסת לי או הרי את לי לאשה בבעילה זו וכל כיוצא בזה. ומתייחד עמה בפני שני עדים ובועלה. והמקדש בביאה (מסתמא) דעתו על גמר ביאה. וכשיגמור ביאתו תהיה מקודשת.** (ובין שבא עליה כדרכה ובין שבא עליה שלא כדרכה הרי זו מקודשת):

6

The statements that the man makes when he consecrates [his wife] must imply that he acquires her as a wife, and not that he gives himself to her. What is implied?

Should he tell her, or write in the document he gives her: "I am your husband," "I am your betrothed," "I am your man," or the like, the marriage bond is not established at all. If he tells her or writes to her: "Behold, you are my wife," "Behold, you are my betrothed," "Behold, you are acquired by me," "Behold, you are mine," "Behold, you are my possession," "Behold, you are my designated one,"10 "Behold, you are within my property," "Behold, you are bound to me," or the like, the marriage bond is established.

ו

הדברים שיאמר האיש כשיקדש צריך שיהיה משמעם שהוא קונה האשה ולא שיהא משמע שהקנה עצמו לה. כיצד הרי שאמר לה או שכתב בשטר שנתנו לה. הריני בעליך. הריני ארוסיך. הריני אישיך וכל כיוצא בזה. אין כאן קידושין כלל. אמר לה או כתב לה. הרי את אשתי. הרי את ארוסתי. או הרי את קנויה לי. הרי את שלי. הרי את לקוחתי. הרי את חרופתי. הרי את ברשותי. הרי את זקוקה לי וכל כיוצא בהן הרי זו מקודשת:

7

Should he tell her, or write to her: "You are set aside for me," "You are earmarked for me," "You are my helper," "You are my counterpart," "You are my rib," "You are closed off for me," "You are below me," "You are my captive," "You have been taken by me," [the matter is unresolved, and] the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.

The above applies only when the man was [previously] speaking to the woman about establishing a marriage bond. If he was not speaking to the woman about such a matter, these words are of no consequence.

ז

אמר לה או כתב לה הרי את מיוחדת לי. הרי את מיועדת לי. הרי את עזרתי. הרי את נגדתי. הרי את צלעתי. הרי את סגורתי. הרי את תחתי. הרי את *עצורתי. הרי את תפוסתי. הרי זו מקודשת בספק. והוא שיהיה מדבר עמה תחלה על עסקי קידושין. אבל אם אינו מדבר עמה תחלה על עסקי קידושין אין חוששין למלות אלו:

8

A man may consecrate a woman by making statements in any language that she understands, provided that, in that language, his statements mean that he is acquiring her, as explained.

If a man was speaking to a woman about consecrating her and she consented, and he immediately gave her [something] in her hand to consecrate her or engaged in sexual relations [with that intent], without [making a statement] clarifying [his purpose], it is sufficient. Since they were speaking about this matter, it is not necessary for him to be explicit.

Similarly, a man need not tell witnesses who observe kiddushin or divorce, "You are my witnesses."11 As long as he has divorced or consecrated a woman in their presence, she is consecrated or divorced.

ח

ויש לאיש לקדש האשה בכל לשון שהיא מכרת בו. ויהיה משמע הדברים באותה הלשון שקנאה כמו שביארנו. היה מדבר עם האשה על עסקי הקידושין ורצתה ועמד וקידש ולא פירש ולא אמר לה כלום אלא נתן בידה או בעל הואיל והן עסוקין בענין דיו ואינו צריך לפרש. וכן עדי הקידושין והגירושין אינו צריך לומר להם אתם עדי. אלא כיון שגירש או קידש בפניהם הרי זו מקודשת או מגורשת:

9

When a man tells a woman, "Become consecrated to my half," she is consecrated. To what can this be compared? To his saying, "May you become my wife, and also another woman." And so, she has only half a man.

If, however, he said: "Half of you is consecrated to me," she is not consecrated. For a woman cannot be consecrated to two men. Similarly, if he says, "Behold, you are consecrated to me and to him," the woman is not consecrated.

ט

האומר לאשה התקדשי לחציי הרי זו מקודשת. הא למה זה דומה לאומר לה תהי אשתי את ואחרת שנמצא שאין לה אלא חצי איש. אבל אם אמר חצייך מקודשת לי אינה מקודשת שאין אשה אחת ראויה לשנים. וכן אם אומר הרי את מקודשת לי ולזה אינה מקודשת:

10

If he told her: "Behold, half of you is consecrated to me with a p'rutah, and half of you [is consecrated to me with another] p'rutah," or if he told her: "Behold, half of you is consecrated to me with half a p'rutah, and your other half [is consecrated to me with another] half a p'rutah," she is consecrated.12

If he told her: "Behold, half of you is consecrated to me with a p'rutah today, and half of you [is consecrated to me with another] p'rutah tomorrow," or if he told her: "Your two halves are consecrated to me with a p'rutah,"13 "Your two daughters are consecrated to my two sons with this p'rutah," "Your daughter is consecrated to me, and your cow is sold to me with this p'rutah," or "Your daughter... and your land... with a p'rutah" - in all of these circumstances, [the matter is unresolved, and] the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.

י

אמר לה הרי חצייך מקודש לי בפרוטה וחצייך בפרוטה. או שאמר לה חצייך מקודשת לי בחצי פרוטה וחצייך האחרת מקודשת בחצי פרוטה הרי זו מקודשת. אמר לה חצייך מקודשת לי בפרוטה היום וחצייך בפרוטה למחר. שתי חצייך בפרוטה. שתי בנותיך לשני בני בפרוטה. בתך מקודשת לי ופרתך מכורה לי בפרוטה. או בתך וקרקעתך לי בפרוטה בכל אלו מקודשת בספק:

11

A father may consecrate his daughter without her knowledge while she is a minor. Even when she is a na'arah,14 he still possesses this right, as [implied by Deuteronomy 22:16]: "I gave my daughter to this man."

[The money received as] kiddushin belongs to her father. Similarly, he has the right to [any ownerless property] she finds, [the wages she receives for] her labor, and [the money she receives as stipulated in] her ketubah if she is divorced or widowed before the marriage bond is consummated. He is entitled to all these until she becomes a bogeret.

Therefore, a father is entitled to receive kiddushin on behalf of his daughter from the day she was born until she becomes a bogeret. Even if she is a deaf mute or intellectually incompetent, if her father consecrates her [to another man], she is his wife.

If a girl is older than three years and one day, she can be consecrated through sexual relations with her father's consent. Should she be below this age, if her father has her consecrated through sexual relations, the marriage bond is not established.15

יא

האב מקדש את בתו שלא לדעתה כל זמן שהיא קטנה. וכן כשהיא נערה רשותה בידו שנאמר את בתי נתתי לאיש הזה לאשה. וקידושיה לאביה. וכן הוא זכאי במציאתה ובמעשה ידיה ובכתובתה אם נתגרשה או נתאלמנה מן האירוסין הוא זכאי בכל עד שתבגר. לפיכך מקבל האב קידושי בתו מיום שתולד עד שתבגר. ואפילו היתה חרשת או שוטה וקידשה האב הרי היא אשת איש גמורה. ואם היתה בת שלש שנים ויום אחד מתקדשת בביאה מדעת אביה. פחות מכן אם קדשה אביה בביאה אינה מקודשת:

12

After a daughter becomes a bogeret, her father has no rights over her; she is like all other women, and she can be consecrated only with her own consent.

Similarly, if her father had her married, the marriage bond was consummated [nisu'in],16 and then she was widowed or divorced, [even] in her father's lifetime, she is considered to be independent, despite the fact that she is still a minor. Once a woman enters nisu'in, her father no longer has any authority over her.

יב

בגרה הבת אין לאביה בה רשות והרי היא כשאר כל הנשים שאינם מתקדשות אלא לדעתן. וכן אם השיאה אביה ונתאלמנה או נתגרשה בחיי אביה הרי היא ברשות עצמה ואע"פ שעדיין היא קטנה. כיון שנישאת אין לאביה בה רשות לעולם:

13

When a girl receives kiddushin without her father's knowledge before she reaches the age of majority, the marriage bond is not established.17 [This applies] even when the father consents subsequently.18 Moreover, if she is widowed or divorced after these kiddushin, she is not forbidden [to marry] a priest.19

Both she and her father can prevent [the marriage bonds from taking effect].20 Regardless of whether she was consecrated in the presence of her father or not, she is not consecrated.

יג

נתקדשה קודם שתבגור שלא לדעת אביה אינה מקודשת *ואפילו אם נתרצה האב אחר שנתקדשה. ואפילו אם נתאלמנה או נתגרשה מן אותן הקידושין אינה אסורה לכהן. ובין היא ובין אביה יכולין לעכב. בין אם נתקדשה בפניו בין שנתקדשה שלא בפניו אינה מקודשת:

14

[The following rules apply when] there is doubt whether or not the girl is a bogeret: Whether her father consecrated her without her consent, or she consecrated herself without her father's consent, the status of the kiddushin is in doubt. Therefore, [to marry another man,] she must receive a get given because of the doubt.

A man may appoint an agent to consecrate a wife for him. [This applies] if he specifies a particular woman, or gives the agent the authority to consecrate any woman. Similarly, a woman past the age of majority21 may appoint an agent to receive kiddushin for her. [This applies] if she specifies [that they be given by] a particular man, or gives the agent the authority to receive them from any man. Similarly, a father may appoint an agent to accept the kiddushin of his daughter as long as she is under his authority.

A man may tell his daughter who is below the age of majority, "Go out and receive your kiddushin."22

יד

היתה הבת ספק בוגרת. בין שקידשה אביה שלא לדעתה בין שקידשה היא עצמה שלא לדעת אביה הרי זו מקודשת בספק לפיכך צריכה גט מספק. יש לאיש לעשות שליח לקדש לו אשה בין אשה פלונית בין אשה משאר הנשים. וכן האשה הגדולה עושה שליח לקבל קידושיה בין מאיש פלוני בין מאיש משאר אנשים. וכן האב עושה שליח לקבל קידושי בתו כשהיא ברשותו. ואומר האב לבתו הקטנה צאי וקבלי קידושיך:

15

When an agent is appointed to receive kiddushin, he must be appointed in the presence of two witnesses.23 When, by contrast, a man appoints an agent to consecrate a woman, there is no need for the appointment to be made in the presence of witnesses. For the only purpose witnesses would serve with regard to the agency of the man is to make known the truth of the matter.24 Therefore, if the agent and the principal acknowledge the appointment, there is no need for witnesses, [as in parallel cases, such as] an agent appointed to bring a get25 or an agent appointed to separate terumah.26

In all matters, a principal's agent is regarded as the principal himself, and there is no need to appoint witnesses.

טו

כל העושה שליח לקבל הקידושין צריך לעשותו בפני עדים. אבל האיש שעשה שליח לקדש לו אשה אינו צריך לעשותו בעדים שאין מקום לעדים בשליחות האיש אלא להודיע אמתת הדבר. לפיכך אם הודו השליח והמשלח אינן צריכין עדים כמו שליח הגט וכמו שליח שהרשהו להפריש לו תרומה וכיוצא בהן בכל מקום ששלוחו של אדם כמותו ואינו צריך עדים:

16

An agent may serve as a witness. Therefore, if a person appointed two men as agents to consecrate a woman, and they did so, they serve both as agents and as witnesses. Hence, there is no need for them to consecrate her in the presence of two other witnesses.27

טז

השליח נעשה עד לפיכך אם עשה שני שלוחין לקדש לו אשה והלכו וקידשו אותה הן הן שלוחיו והן הן עידי הקידושין ואינן צריכין לקדשה לו בפני שנים אחרים:

17

All are fit to serve as agents [in this capacity] except a deaf mute, a mentally incompetent individual and a minor - for they are not responsible - and a gentile, because he is not a member of the covenant. [The latter exclusion is based on Numbers 18:28, which] states: "And so shall you set aside, and you...." [This is interpreted as] including an agent. [Our Sages commented:] Just as you are members of the covenant, your agents must be members of the covenant, thus excluding a gentile.

A [Canaanite] servant, although he is acceptable as an agent with regard to financial matters, is not acceptable as an agent with regard to kiddushin and gittin, because the laws of marriage and divorce do not apply to him.

יז

הכל כשרין לשליחות חוץ מחרש שוטה וקטן לפי שאינן בני דעת והעכו"ם לפי שאינו בן ברית ונאמר כן תרימו גם אתם לרבות השליח ומה אתם בני ברית אף שלוחכם בני ברית להוציא את העכו"ם. אבל העבד אע"פ שהוא נעשה שליח לדבר שבממון הרי הוא פסול לשליחות הקידושין והגיטין לפי שאינו בתורת גיטין וקידושין:

18

An agent appointed by a man to consecrate a woman should tell her: "Behold, you are consecrated to so and so by virtue of this money" or "...by virtue of this legal document."

If an agent of the woman receives the kiddushin, the [man consecrating her] should tell [the agent]: "So and so who appointed you is consecrated to me," and the agent should reply, "I have consecrated her to you," "I have betrothed her to you," "I have given her to you as a wife," or the like.

Similarly, when a man consecrates a girl by [giving kiddushin to] her father, he should tell him, "Behold, your daughter so and so is consecrated to me," and the father should reply: "I have consecrated her to you." If the father or the agent says "yes," or even if he remains silent, it is sufficient. If they were discussing the matter, and the man gave the kiddushin to the father or to the agent without making any statement, it is sufficient, and the kiddushin are effective.

If the kiddushin are established by virtue of [the transfer of] a legal document, he must have the document written with the consent of the father or of the agent. In all matters pertaining to kiddushin, the same laws that apply to the man and the woman, apply when [the kiddushin are established by] the [man's] agent and [the woman's] agent or [her] father.

יח

שליח האיש שמקדש אומר לה הרי את מקודשת לפלוני בכסף זה או בשטר זה. אם שליח האשה הוא שמקבל הקידושין אומר לו הרי פלונית ששלחה אותך מקודשת לי והוא אומר לו קידשתיה לך או ארסתיה לך או נתתיה לך לאשה וכל כיוצא בזה. וכן המקדש על ידי האב אומר לו הרי בתך פלונית מקודשת לי והוא אומר לו קדשתיה לך. אם אמר האב או השליח הן דיו ואפילו שתק. ואם היו עסוקין באותו ענין ונתן לאב או לשליח ולא פירש ולא אמר דבר דיו והיא מקודשת. ואם קידש בשטר אינו כותבו אלא מדעת האב או מדעת השליח. וכן בכל הדברים כולן של קידושין דין האיש עם האשה כדין שליח עם שליח או עם האב:

19

It is a mitzvah for a man to consecrate his wife by himself, rather than to charge an agent [with this matter]. Similarly, it is a mitzvah for a woman to [receive] kiddushin herself rather than to charge an agent with receiving them for her.

Although a father has the option of consecrating his daughter to anyone he desires while she is a minor or while she is a maiden, it is not proper for him to act in this manner. Instead, our Sages enjoined that a person should not consecrate his daughter while she is a minor until she matures and says, "I would like [to marry] so and so."

Similarly, it is not proper for a man to consecrate a girl below the age of majority. Nor should one consecrate a woman until one sees her and deems her fitting, lest she not find favor in his eyes, and he divorce her, or sleep with her while hating her.

יט

מצוה שיקדש אדם את אשתו בעצמו יותר מעל ידי שלוחו. וכן מצוה לאשה שתקדש עצמה בידה יותר מעל ידי שלוחה. ואע"פ שיש רשות לאב לקדש בתו כשהיא קטנה וכשהיא נערה לכל מי שירצה אין ראוי לעשות כן אלא מצות חכמים שלא יקדש אדם בתו כשהיא קטנה עד שתגדיל ותאמר לפלוני אני רוצה. וכן האיש אין ראוי לקדש קטנה ולא יקדש אשה עד שיראנה ותהיה כשרה בעיניו שמא לא תמצא חן בעיניו ונמצא מגרשה או שוכב עמה והוא שונאה:

20

Kiddushin established by virtue of sexual relations are effective according to Scriptural law. Similarly, kiddushin established by virtue [of the transfer] of a legal document are effective according to Scriptural law. Just as [the transfer of a legal document] concludes a divorce, as [Deuteronomy 24;1] states: "And he shall write her a scroll of divorce," so too, [the transfer of a legal document] concludes [the establishment of the marriage bond].

[The effectiveness of the transfer of] money stems from Scriptural law,28 but its interpretation is based on Rabbinic law. [Deuteronomy, ibid.,] states "When a man takes a wife," and our Sages29 explained: This [process of] acquisition involves [the transfer of] money, as implied by [Genesis 23:13]: "I have given the money for the field; take it from me."

כ

המקדש בביאה הרי אלו קידושי תורה. וכן מתקדשת בשטר מן התורה. כשם שגומר ומגרש שנאמר וכתב לה ספר כריתות כך גומר ומכניס. אבל הכסף מדברי סופרים (*וכן דין הכסף דין תורה ופירושו מדברי סופרים) שנאמר כי יקח איש אשה ואמרו חכמים לקוחים אלו יהיו בכסף שנאמר נתתי כסף השדה קח ממני:

21

Although this is the essence of the principle, it has already become universal Jewish custom to consecrate [a marriage bond] through [the transfer of] money or objects that are worth money. If one desires to consecrate [a woman] by [giving her] a legal document, one may, but at the outset one should not consecrate [a woman] through sexual relations.

If a man consecrates [a woman] through sexual relations, he is given stripes for rebelliousness,30 so that the Jewish people will not extend beyond the limits of modesty in this manner. Nevertheless, the kiddushin are binding.

כא

אף ע"פ שעיקר הדבר כך הוא כבר נהגו כל ישראל לקדש בכסף או בשוה כסף. וכן אם רצה לקדש בשטר מקדש. אבל אין מקדשין בביאה לכתחלה ואם קידש בביאה מכין אותו מכת מרדות כדי שלא יהיו ישראל פרוצים בדבר זה אע"פ שקידושיו קידושין גמורין:

22

Similarly, a man who consecrates a woman without establishing an engagement previously, or a man who consecrates a woman in the marketplace, is given stripes for rebelliousness, although his kiddushin are binding. [This was instituted] lest such a practice accustom people to licentious conduct and invite a comparison to a harlot, as existed before the giving of the Torah.

כב

וכן המקדש בלא שידוכין או המקדש בשוק אע"פ שקידושיו קידושין גמורין מכין אותו מכת מרדות כדי שלא יהא דבר זה הרגל לזנות וידמה לקדשה שהיתה קודם מתן תורה:

23

Whenever a man consecrates a woman,31 whether by himself or via an agent, either he32 or his agent should recite a blessing before the consecration, as one recites a blessing before performing any of the mitzvot. [After reciting the blessing,] he should consecrate [the woman].

If he consecrates a woman without reciting a blessing, he should not recite the blessing afterwards. It would be a blessing in vain, for the activity has already been performed.33

כג

כל המקדש אשה בין ע"י עצמו בין ע"י שליח צריך לברך קודם הקידושין או הוא או שלוחו כדרך שמברכין על כל המצות ואח"כ מקדש ואם קידש ולא בירך לא יברך אחר הקידושין שזו ברכה לבטלה מה שנעשה כבר נעשה:

24

Which blessing is recited?

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His mitzvot and separated34 us from illicit relationships, who has forbidden the arusot to us, and permitted to us those who are married35 by [the rites of] chuppah and kiddushin. Blessed are You, God, who sanctifies Israel.

This is the blessing of erusin. The people have established the custom of reciting this blessing over wine or beer. If there is wine available, one should recite the blessing over the wine, recite the blessing of consecration afterwards, and then consecrate the woman.36 If there is no wine or beer available, one should recite [the blessing of consecration] by itself.

כד

כיצד מברך בא"י אמ"ה אשר קדשנו במצותיו והבדילנו מן העריות ואסר לנו את הארוסות והתיר לנו את הנשואות על ידי חופה וקידושין בא"י מקדש ישראל. זו היא ברכת אירוסין. ונהגו העם להסדיר ברכה זו על כוס של יין או של שכר. ואם יש שם יין מברך על היין תחלה ואח"כ מברך ברכת אירוסין ואח"כ מקדשה ואם אין לו יין או שכר מברך אותה בפני עצמה:

Footnotes
1.

For it is the man's actions that must precipitate the inception of the marriage bond, as implied by Deuteronomy 24:1: "When a man takes a wife." Note, however, Chapter 5, Halachah 22, which mentions an exception to this principle.

2.

Mishneh LaMelech offers two explanations of the doubt involved: a) We are unsure of his intent. Since he did not specify that he was giving the woman the money for the sake of kiddushin, it is possible that he gave her the money for another reason. This interpretation appears to be supported by the rulings of the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 27:8) that in such a circumstance, the marriage bond is established if previously the man and the woman were speaking about getting married, or if the man confirmed the woman's statements. Halachah 8 appears to support this explanation.

b) The second view is that the doubt is one of principle: The Sages did not define whether the obligation that a man precipitate the marriage bond requires merely his giving money, or also making the statement. According to this conception, the doubt would remain even in the two situations mentioned by the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch.

3.

I.e., the woman cannot marry another man until she receives a bill of divorce. Nevertheless, if another man engages in relations with her, he is not executed for adultery.

4.

The man may not, however, write the document on a leaf attached to a tree, or any other item that must be severed, for this is unacceptable when writing a bill of divorce. (See the following halachah and notes.)

5.

There is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis if it is necessary for the man to make a verbal statement of intent as well. (See Beit Shmuel 32:3.) The Or Sameach points to Halachah 18 as proof that a statement is required, but Kin'at Eliyahu notes that Halachah 7 appears to indicate that a verbal statement is unnecessary.

6.

The acceptability of a legal document for the establishment of kiddushin from the association between marriage and divorce created by Deuteronomy 24:2: "When she leaves his household, she may go and become [married] to another man." Kiddushin 5a states that this verse indicates that just as she "leaves" through a bill of divorce, she can "become" through a bill of kiddushin. Hence, all the particulars that apply to a get (a bill of divorce) apply to a bill of kiddushin.

7.

This requirement does not apply with regard to a bill of divorce and is a point of debate in Kiddushin 9b. The opinion the Rambam cites maintains that since the woman is being acquired through this document, she must consent to its being written. Because of the debate in the Talmud, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 32:1) differs with the Rambam and maintains that the matter is unresolved, the status of the kiddushin is in doubt, and [the stringencies required had] the marriage bond been established [must be followed].

8.

Although the man must enter into privacy with the woman in the presence of witnesses, and must make the statement of intent in the presence of witnesses, the relations themselves should be private, as stated in Chapter 14, Halachah 16, and Hilchot Gerushin 10:18. It must be noted that this represents a change in the Rambam's thinking. In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Kiddushin 1:1), he originally stated that the relations must also be observed by witnesses for the marriage bond to be established. Nevertheless, in the later texts of the Commentary on the Mishnah the Rambam amended the text according to the above conception.

9.

The term "the conclusion of sexual relations" (g'mar bi'ah) in Hebrew is somewhat of a misnomer. It refers not to the man's withdrawal from the woman, nor to ejaculation, but to a far earlier stage: the insertion of the penis in its entirety into the vagina (Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 1:10).

10.

Leviticus 19:20 associates this term with establishing relations with a maid-servant, as explained in Chapter 4, Halachah 17. Therefore, there is doubt among the Rabbis if it can be used in establishing the marriage bond with an ordinary woman. Thus, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 27:3) states that if this expression is used the matter is unresolved, and the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.

11.

With regard to the acknowledgement of a debt, such a statement is necessary. (See Hilchot To'en V'Nit'an 6:6-8, 7:1-2.)

12.

The Ra'avad and similarly, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 31:7) differ and maintain that the status of the kiddushin is in doubt. It is only with regard to stringencies that the kiddushin are considered to be valid.

13.

This clause serves as the basis for the Ra'avad's objection to the Rambam's decisions above.

14.

At which time, the girl has the right to accept kiddushin from a man herself.

15.

For until the age of three, the relations are not considered sexual in nature (this by no means insinuates that they are insignificant or potentially harmful, only that they are not sexual).

16.

This refers to the second stage of the marriage relationship, as explained in Chapter 11 onward.

17.

This and the other laws in this halachah apply when a girl is either a k'tanah or a na'arah (has reached the age of twelve), but not a bogeret (twelve and a half).

18.

Since the kiddushin were not effective at the time they were given, the father's subsequent consent is of no significance. This point is, however, disputed by some of the later authorities. (See Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 37:11.)

19.

No priest may marry a divorcee, nor may a High Priest marry a widow. Nevertheless, because these kiddushin are not effective, these prohibitions do not apply.

20.

According to the Maharik (Responsum 30[32]), this applies when the kiddushin were given in her father's presence, but he remained silent. In both the Kessef Mishneh and the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.), Rav Yosef Karo differs and explains that according to the Rambam, the father must consent at the time of (or before) the kiddushin. If he desires to prevent the kiddushin at that time, he may. If he consents, the girl getting married can still prevent the kiddushin from taking place. For since her father charged her with this matter, even if he consented to the match it is dependent on her. (See also Chapter 22, Halachah 5, and Hilchot Terumot 8:16.)

21.

A woman below the age of majority does not have the authority to appoint an agent.

22.

Among the explanations that are given for why this is acceptable: a) If the father had said, "Give an animal food, and my daughter will be consecrated to you," the kiddushin would be binding. When he tells the daughter to receive kiddushin, it is as if he makes a statement that it is acceptable to him that the man who consecrates her gives her the money (Ra'avad, Ramban).

b) Although a minor may not normally serve as an agent, this instance is an exception. Since the kiddushin are being given for her benefit, the girl is entitled to act in this capacity (Rabbenu Asher). The Beit Shmuel 37:7 states that the Rambam subscribes to this view.

23.

The rationale is that since the marriage bonds are established through the acceptance of the kiddushin, witnesses must be present to acknowledge the agent's appointment, for "no matters involving forbidden sexual relations [are established if] fewer than two witnesses are present (Yevamot 88a)."

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 35:3) quotes the opinion of Rabbenu Asher, who states that if all concerned acknowledge the appointment of the agent, the kiddushin are effective. He therefore rules that in such a situation, the woman needs to receive a get before she can marry another man.

24.

The Rambam's statements are based on the comparison to an agent appointed to bring a woman a get. The Ra'avad objects to the comparison, because a get is a formal legal document, and possession of it serves to verify the person's agency. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) quotes both opinions, but appears to favor that of the Rambam.

25.

Hilchot Gittin 6:4. This ruling itself is not accepted by all authorities, as noted in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 141:13).

26.

Hilchot Terumah 4:1.

27.

As clarified by the Maggid Mishneh and the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 35:2), this ruling applies only when: a) the kiddushin are established by the transfer of a legal document worth less than a p'rutah, or b) the kiddushin are established by the transfer of money, and the woman admits receiving the money.

28.

Our translation follows the Rambam's later emendations to the Mishneh Torah. The earlier version of the text states: "The effectiveness of [the transfer of] money stems from Rabbinic law." See the discussion of this concept in the notes on Chapter 1, Halachah 2.

29.

Kiddushin 4b.

30.

The punishment given for transgressing a Rabbinic decree.

31.

Today, it is customary for the consecration to be made under the wedding canopy (chuppah), and the blessing is recited at this time.

32.

The Rambam's wording implies that the blessing should be recited by the groom himself. At present, the current custom in both the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities is to have the Rabbi conducting the marriage ceremony recite the blessing, lest a groom who does not know how to recite the blessing be embarrassed by his lack of knowledge. (See Hagahot Maimoniot.)

33.

In Darchei Moshe (Even HaEzer 34), the Ramah states that one may recite the blessing afterwards as well. Nevertheless, in his gloss on the Shulchan Aruch, he does not make such a statement. The current custom in both the Sephardic and Ashkenazic communities is to recite the blessing before the kiddushin.

34.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 34:1) states that the blessing should read: "and commanded us concerning," rather than "and separated us from." This is the common practice today.

35.

The Beit Shmuel 34:3 and others state that the blessing should read "those who are married to us." This is the custom in many communities.

36.

At present, the custom is for the officiating Rabbi to recite the blessing over the wine and then the blessing of consecration. He then has the groom and bride drink from the wine, and afterwards the groom consecrates the bride.

Ishut - Chapter Four

1

A woman may be consecrated only voluntarily. If one forces a woman to be consecrated, she is not consecrated. When a man, by contrast, is forced to consecrate [a woman], she is consecrated.1

A man may consecrate many women at one time, provided that he does so by [transferring] money, and there is enough money to give each one a p'rutah. One of these [women] or another person may accept the money on behalf of them all, [provided] they consent.

א

אין האשה מתקדשת אלא לרצונה והמקדש אשה בעל כרחה אינה מקודשת. אבל האיש שאנסוהו עד שקידש בעל כרחו הרי זו מקודשת. ויש לאיש לקדש נשים רבות כאחת והוא שיהיה בכסף אם קידש בכסף פרוטה לכל אחת ואחת. ויש לאחת מהן או לאחר לקבל הקידושין ע"י כולן מדעתן:

2

When a person [desires to] consecrate a woman, and with her consent gives the kiddushin to another woman, and tells the latter "And you as well," or uses another similar expression, they are both consecrated.2

When, however, the man places [the kiddushin] in the hand [of the second woman] and says, "And you," there is doubt whether or not the kiddushin are valid. Perhaps his intent was only to clarify her feelings. It was as if he asked her, "What would you say about this?" Therefore, she accepted the kiddushin, for she thought he was still asking her about her intent. For this reason, [the question is unresolved,] and the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.

ב

המקדש את האשה ונתן הקידושין מדעתה ביד חבירתה ואמר לחבירתה כשנתן הקידושין בידה ואת נמי. או וכן גם את וכיוצא בזה. הרי שתיהן מקודשות. אבל אם נתן בידה וא"ל ואת. הרי זו שקבלה הקידושין מקודשת בספק. שמא לא נתכוון אלא לראות מה בלבה וכאילו אמר לה ואת מה תאמרי בדבר זה. ולפיכך קיבלה הקידושין היא שהרי זה עדיין שואלה לראות מה בלבה ומפני זה היא ספק מקודשת:

3

If he told her, "Become consecrated to me with this dinar," and she took it and threw it in front of him or to the sea, into a fire or into anything that will cause it to be destroyed, she is not consecrated.3

If she told him, "Give it to my father," "...to your father" or "...to so and so," she is not consecrated.4 If she told him, "Give it to him, so that he will accept it on my behalf,"5 she is consecrated.

ג

א"ל התקדשי לי בדינר זה נטלתו וזרקתו לפניו או לים או לאור או לדבר האבד אינה מקודשת. אמרה לו תנהו לאבא או לאביך או לאיש פלוני ונתן אינה מקודשת. ואם אמרה לו תנהו לו שיקבלהו לי ונתן הרי זו מקודשת:

4

[In the above instance, if] the woman told the man, "Place [the kiddushin] on [this] rock," she is not consecrated. If the rock belonged to her, she is consecrated. If the rock belonged to both of them, [the question is unresolved, and] the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.

If he told her, "Be consecrated to me with this loaf of bread," and she told him, "Give it to a poor person," she is not consecrated. [This applies] even if she supports the poor person in question.

[If she told him,] "Give it to a dog," she is not consecrated.6 If the dog belonged to her, she is consecrated. If [the dog] was chasing after her and she told him, "Give it to this dog," [the question is unresolved, and] the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.

ד

אמרה הניחהו על הסלע אינה מקודשת ואם היה סלע שלה מקודשת. היה סלע של שניהם הרי זו מקודשת בספק. אמר לה התקדשי לי בככר זה אמרה לו תנהו לעני אפילו היה עני הסמוך עליה אינה מקודשת. תנהו לכלב הרי זו אינה מקודשת ואם היה הכלב שלה מקודשת. ואם היה רץ אחריה לנשכה ואמרה לו תנהו לכלב זה הרי זו ספק מקודשת:

5

[The following laws apply when a man] was selling produce, utensils or the like, and a woman came and asked him: "Give me some of these." If he asked her, "If I give them to you, will you be consecrated to me?" and she said, "Yes," she is consecrated when he gives [the items] to her. If, however, she replied to him: "[Just] give them to me," "Heave them over," or another reply that means "Don't fool around with me regarding such matters, just give me [what I asked for]," she is not consecrated although he gave her [what she asked for].

A similar [decision is rendered] if [a man] was drinking wine and [a woman] asked him, "Give me a cup," and he asks her, "If I do, will you be consecrated to me with it?" If she replies, "[Just] let me drink," "Give me," "Serve me drink," or "Dish it out," she is not consecrated. Her words imply: "Just give me a drink, and don't fool around with me regarding such matters."

ה

היה מוכר פירות או כלים וכיוצא בהן באה אשה ואמרה לו תן לי מעט מאלו וא"ל אם אתן לך תהי מקודשת לי. אם אמרה הן ונתן לה הרי זו מקודשת אבל אם אמרה לו תן לי מהן או השלך לי או דברים שעניינם לא תשחק עמי בדברים אלו אלא תן לי בלבד ונתן אינה מקודשת. וכן אם היה שותה יין ואמרה לו תן לי כוס אחד ואמר לה אם אתן לך הרי את מקודשת לי בו ואמרה השקיני השקות או תן השקה השלך אינה מקודשת שאין הדברים נראין אלא השקיני בלבד ולא תשחק עמי בדבר אחר:

6

When [a man] consecrates [a woman] in the presence of a single witness, his kiddushin] are of no consequence. [This applies] even when both [the man and the woman] acknowledge [that the kiddushin were given].7 Surely this applies when [a man] consecrates [a woman] without any witnesses at all [observing the act].

When [a man] consecrates [a woman] in the presence of individuals who are disqualified from serving as witnesses by Scriptural law, she is not consecrated. [When he consecrates her in the presence of] individuals who are disqualified from serving as witnesses by Rabbinic law,8 or in the presence of witnesses regarding whom there is doubt whether or not they are acceptable according to Scriptural law, [the following rules apply:] If he desires to consummate the marriage, he should consecrate the woman again in the presence of acceptable witnesses. If he does not desire to consummate the marriage, the woman must receive a get from him [to enable her to marry others], because of the doubt.9 [This ruling applies] even when the woman denies [the matter], contradicting the witnesses and saying that she was never consecrated.

This ruling applies with regard to all situations in which the status of the kiddushin is in doubt. If [the man] desires to consummate the marriage, he should consecrate the woman again in a manner that is unequivocally acceptable. If he does not desire to consummate the marriage, the woman must receive a get from him, because of the doubt.

ו

המקדש בעד אחד אין חוששין לקידושיו ואע"פ ששניהם מודין ק"ו למקדש בלא עדים. המקדש בפסולי עדות של תורה אינה מקודשת. בפסולי עדות של דברי סופרים או בעדים שהן ספק פסולי תורה אם רצה לכנוס חוזר ומקדש בכשרים ואם לא רצה לכנוס צריכה גט ממנו מספק. ואפילו כפרה האשה והכחישה את העדים ואמרה לא קדשתני כופין אותה ליקח גט. וכן דין כל קידושי ספק אם רצה לכנוס חוזר ומקדש ודאי ואם לא רצה לכנוס צריכה גט ממנו מספק:

7

When a minor consecrates [a woman], his kiddushin are of no consequence. When, by contrast, a male past the age of majority consecrates a girl below the age of majority who is an orphan,10 or who has left her father's authority,11 [different rules apply]: If she is below the age of six, even if she is one who shows deep understanding of secret matters,12 and can differentiate and discern, she is not married, and there is no need for mi'un.13

If she is more than ten years old, even when she is very foolish, since she willingly accepted the kiddushin, she is consecrated [according to Rabbinic law] and [must perform] mi'un [should she desire to nullify the marriage]. If she is between the ages of six and ten, [the rabbis] must evaluate her ability to discern. If she is able to differentiate and discern with regard to matters of marriage and kiddushin, [the marriage is binding according to Rabbinic law] and mi'un is necessary. If she lacks [this degree of discernment], she is not consecrated [at all], and need not perform mi'un [to nullify the marriage].

ז

קטן שקידש אין קידושיו קידושין. אבל גדול שקידש את הקטנה היתומה. או קטנה שיצאה מרשות אביה אם היתה פחותה מבת שש אע"פ שהיא נבונת לחש ביותר ומכרת ומבחנת אין כאן שם קידושין ואינה צריכה למאן. ואם היתה מבת עשר שנים ולמעלה אע"פ שהיא סכלה ביותר הואיל ונתקדשה לדעתה הרי זו מקודשת למיאון. היתה מבת שש ועד סוף עשר בודקין את יופי דעתה אם מכרת ומבחנת עסקי הנישואין והקידושין צריכה למאן. ואם לאו אינה מקודשת למיאון ואינה צריכה למאן:

8

What is meant by the statement that she is consecrated [according to Rabbinic law], and [must perform] mi'un [should she desire to nullify the marriage]? If she was consecrated but no longer desires to remain with her husband, she must perform mi'un in the presence of two witnesses. She should say: "I no longer desire him." Afterwards, she leaves [the relationship] without a divorce, as will be explained in Hilchot Gerushin.14

Why does she leave [the relationship] without a divorce? Because the consecration is not absolutely binding according to Scriptural law; it is merely a Rabbinic institution. [According to Scriptural law, the outcome] is tentative. If she continues living with her husband until she reaches the age of majority, the kiddushin are finalized, and she becomes a married woman in the complete sense of the term.15 There is no need for [her husband] to consecrate her again after she attains majority. If she does not want [to continue] living with him, she must perform mi'un; she then leaves [the relationship] without a divorce.

ח

כיצד מקודשת למיאון שאם נתקדשה ולא רצתה לישב עם בעלה צריכה למאן בפני שנים ולומר איני רוצה בו ויוצאה בלא גט כמו שיתבאר בהלכות גירושין. וזו היא הנקראת ממאנת. ולמה יוצאה בלא גט מפני שאין קידושיה קידושין גמורין מן התורה אלא מדברי סופרים והן תלויין שאם ישבה עם בעלה עד שגדלה גמרו קידושיה ונעשית אשת איש גמורה ואינו צריך לחזור לקדשה אחר שגדלה. ואם לא רצתה לישב צריכה למאן ותצא בלא גט:

9

When a male deaf mute marries a mentally competent woman, or a female deaf mute marries a mentally competent man, the marriage bond is not absolutely binding according to Scriptural law; it is merely a Rabbinic institution. Therefore, if a mentally competent man consecrates the wife of a deaf mute man who is herself mentally competent, she is considered to be consecrated to the mentally competent man. He must give her a get, and she is permitted to remain married to her deaf mute husband.16

When, by contrast, a mentally incompetent man consecrates a mentally competent woman, or a mentally competent man consecrates a mentally incompetent woman, the marriage bond is not at all binding - neither according to Scriptural law nor according to Rabbinic law.17

ט

חרש שנשא פקחת וכן חרשת שנשאת לפקח אין קידושיהן גמורין מן התורה אלא מדברי סופרים לפיכך אם בא פקח וקידש אשת חרש הפקחת הרי זו מקודשת לשני קידושין גמורין ונותן גט והיא מותרת לבעלה החרש. אבל השוטה שקידש פקחת או פקח שקידש שוטה אין כאן קידושין כלל לא מדברי תורה ולא מדברי סופרים:

10

When a sexually impotent male - whether a s'ris chamah or a s'ris adam - consecrates [a woman], and similarly, when [a man] consecrates an aylonit, the kiddushin are absolutely binding.18

י

סריס שקידש בין סריס חמה בין סריס אדם וכן איילונית שנתקדשה הרי אלו קידושין גמורין:

11

When a tumtum or an androgynous consecrates a woman, or when either of these individuals has been consecrated by a man, there is doubt whether these kiddushin are binding, and because of the doubt, a get is required.19

יא

טומטום ואנדרוגינוס שקידשו אשה או שקדשן איש הרי אלו קידושי ספק וצריכין גט מספק:

12

When a person consecrates one of the women forbidden as arayot, his act is of no consequence. For kiddushin are not binding with regard to these forbidden relationships, with the exception of [kiddushin given] a niddah. When a man consecrates a niddah, the kiddushin are binding absolutely. It is, nevertheless, improper to do so.20

יב

המקדש אחת מן העריות לא עשה כלום שאין קידושין תופסין לערוה חוץ מן הנדה שהמקדש את הנדה הרי זו מקודשת קידושין גמורין ואין ראוי לעשות כן:

13

When a married woman accepts kiddushin from another man in the presence of her husband, she is considered to be consecrated to the second man. For a woman's word is accepted when she tells her husband to his face that he had divorced her. We assume it axiomatically that a woman would not act so brazenly in her husband's presence [unless it were true].21

If, however, the other person consecrates her outside her husband's presence, these kiddushin are not considered to be binding unless she brings proof that she was divorced before she was consecrated. As long as she is outside her husband's presence, it is possible that she will act brazenly.

יג

אשת איש שפשטה ידה וקבלה קידושין מאחר בפני בעלה הרי זו מקודשת לשני. שהאשה שאמרה לבעלה בפניו גירשתני נאמנת חזקה אין אשה מעיזה פניה בפני בעלה. אבל אם קידשה אחר שלא בפני בעלה אין קידושין תופסין בה עד שתביא ראיה שנתגרשה קודם שתקבל הקידושין כל שלא בפניו מעיזה:

14

When a man consecrates one of the shniyot or a woman forbidden because of a negative commandment [not associated with karet] or because of a positive commandment, the kiddushin are binding absolutely. [The same ruling applies when] a yavam consecrates a woman who was married to the same man as his yevamah.22

There is one exception to the above principle: when a person other than [the yavam] consecrates a yevamah, [the question is unresolved, and] the status of the kiddushin is in doubt. For our Sages were unsure whether the kiddushin of a yevamah are valid, like those of others in which the relationship is forbidden by merely a negative commandment, or whether the kiddushin are of no consequence, as in the case of an incestuous relationship.

In all the situations mentioned above, although the man who gave the kiddushin is forbidden to consummate the marriage, he must terminate it by giving a get.

יד

המקדש אחת מן השניות או מאיסורי לאוין או מאיסורי עשה. וכן יבם שקידש צרת יבמה. הרי זו מקודשת קידושין גמורין חוץ מיבמה שנתקדשה לזר שהיא מקודשת בספק. נסתפק לחכמים אם הקידושין תופסין ביבמה כשאר חיובי לאוין או אין קידושין תופסין בה כערוה. ואף ע"פ שאסור לו לכנוס אחת מכל אלו הרי זה מגרש בגט:

15

[When] a man consecrates a gentile woman or a [Canaanite] maidservant, the kiddushin are of no consequence; the woman's status is the same after receiving the kiddushin as beforehand. Similarly, when a gentile or a [Canaanite] servant consecrates a Jewish woman, the kiddushin are of no consequence.

When an apostate Jew consecrates [a woman], his kiddushin are absolutely valid, despite the fact that he willingly worships a false deity. The woman must receive a get from him.23

טו

המקדש כותית או שפחה אינן קידושין אלא הרי היא אחר הקידושין כמו שהיתה קודם הקידושין. וכן עכו"ם ועבד שקדשו בת ישראל אין קידושיהן קידושין. ישראל מומר שקידש אף ע"פ שהוא עובד עכו"ם ברצונו הרי אלו קידושין גמורים וצריכה גט ממנו:

16

When a man consecrates a woman who is half a maidservant and half a free woman,24 she is not completely consecrated until she becomes [totally] free. Once she becomes free, the kiddushin are [automatically] completed, like the kiddushin of a minor who comes of age. There is no need for her to be consecrated again.

If another man consecrates such a woman after she was granted her freedom [before the person who consecrated her originally consummates their marriage], there is doubt regarding the matter,25 and the status of both their kiddushin is in doubt.

טז

המקדש אשה שחצייה שפחה וחצייה בת חורין אינה מקודשת קידושין גמורין עד שתשתחרר וכיון שנשתחררה גמרו קידושיה כקידושי קטנה שגדלה ואינו צריך לקדשה קידושין אחרים. בא אחר וקידשה אחר שנשתחררה הרי זו ספק קידושין לשניהם:

17

What then is a shifchah charufah [a betrothed maidservant] as described by the Torah [Leviticus 19:20]? A woman who is half a maidservant and half a free woman, who was consecrated by a Hebrew servant.

When a male who is half a servant and half a free man consecrates a woman, [the matter is unresolved, and] the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.

יז

ואי זו היא שפחה חרופה האמורה בתורה זו מי שחצייה שפחה וחצייה בת חורין שקידשה עבד עברי ומי שחציו עבד וחציו בן חורין שקידש בת חורין הרי זו ספק קידושין:

18

When a drunk gives [a woman] kiddushin, they are valid, even if he is very drunk. If he reaches a state of drunkenness comparable to that of Lot,26 the kiddushin are of no consequence. This matter requires ample deliberation.

יח

שכור שקידש קידושיו קידושין ואע"פ שנשתכר הרבה. ואם הגיע לשכרותו של לוט אין קידושיו קידושין ומתיישבין בדבר זה:

19

When a man gives money worth less than a p'rutah as kiddushin, the kiddushin are not valid. When a man consecrates a woman with food or with a utensil worth less than a p'rutah, the status of the kiddushin is in doubt; perhaps the kiddushin are worth a p'rutah in another place.

From this one can deduce that whenever a person consecrates a woman with an article worth money, if it is worth a p'rutah in that country the kiddushin are definitely binding. If it is not worth a p'rutah [there], the status of the kiddushin is in doubt [as above].27

It appears to me that if [a man] consecrated [a woman] with cooked food, a vegetable that will not be preserved or the like, and the item is not worth a p'rutah in that place, the kiddushin are not binding at all. For by the time this item reaches another place, it will spoil and be worthless. This is a reasonable inference; one may rely on it.

יט

המקדש בפחות מפרוטה אינה מקודשת. קידשה באוכל או בכלי וכיוצא בו ששוה פחות מפרוטה הרי זו מקודשת בספק וצריכה גט מספק שמא דבר זה שוה פרוטה במקום אחר. הא למדת שכל המקדש בשוה כסף אם היה באותה המדינה שוה פרוטה הרי אלו קידושי ודאי ואם אינו שוה פרוטה הרי אלו קידושי ספק. *יראה לי שאם קידש בתבשיל או בירק שאינו מתקיים וכיוצא בהם אם לא היו שוה פרוטה באותו המקום אינה מקודשת כלל שהרי דבר זה אינו מגיע למקום אחר עד שיפסד ויאבד ולא יהא שוה פרוטה ודבר של טעם הוא זה וראוי לסמוך עליו:

20

When [a man] consecrates a woman with less than a p'rutah's worth, or he consecrates two women with a p'rutah, the women are not consecrated. [This applies] even when he sends wedding presents [worth more than a p'rutah] afterwards. Similarly, when a minor consecrates a woman, the kiddushin are not valid, despite the fact that he sent marriage presents after he had attained majority. [This ruling was delivered because the presents] were sent because of the original kiddushin, which were invalid [and therefore are not considered to be significant in their own right].

כ

המקדש (אשה) בפחות מפרוטה או שקידש שתי נשים בפרוטה אע"פ ששלח סבלונות לאחר מכן אינה מקודשת. וכן קטן שקידש אע"פ ששלח סבלונות לאחר שהגדיל אינה מקודשת שמחמת קידושין הראשונים שלחן שהיו קידושין פסולין:

21

When [a man] consecrates a woman by [giving her] money or a legal document, he does not have to place the kiddushin in her hand. Instead, if she consents that he throw them to her and he does so, she is consecrated, whether he throws them into her hand, her bosom, her courtyard or her field.28

If she is standing in a domain belonging to her [prospective] husband, he must place them in her hand or in her bosom. If she is standing in a domain that belongs to both of them, and he threw kiddushin to her with her consent, but they did not reach her hand or her bosom, the status of the kiddushin is in doubt. Even when she tells him, "Put the kiddushin down in this place," if the place belongs to both of them the status of the kiddushin is in doubt.29

כא

המקדש את האשה בכסף או בשטר אינו צריך שיתן הקידושין לתוך ידה אלא כיון שרצתה לזרוק לה קידושיה וזרקן בין לתוך ידה בין לתוך חיקה או לתוך חצירה או לתוך שדה שלה הרי זו מקודשת. היתה עומדת ברשות הבעל צריך שיתן לתוך ידה או לתוך חיקה. היתה עומדת ברשות שהיא של שניהן וזרק לה קידושיה מדעתה ולא הגיעו לידה או לחיקה הרי זו מקודשת קידושי ספק. ואפילו אמרה לו הנח קידושין על מקום זה ואותו המקום של שניהם הרי אלו קידושי ספק:

22

[The following rules apply when the two] are standing in the public domain or in a domain that does not belong to either of them, and he throws kiddushin to her: If they are closer to him, she is not consecrated. If they are closer to her, she is consecrated. If they are halfway between the two of them, or if there is doubt whether they were closer to him or to her,30 and they were lost before they reached her hand, there is doubt regarding the status of the kiddushin.

What is meant by "closer to him," or "closer to her"? A situation in which he can guard [the kiddushin] and she cannot is considered as "closer to him." One in which she can guard them and he cannot is considered to be "closer to her."31 One in which they can both guard them or neither can guard them is considered to be "halfway between the two of them."

כב

היו עומדים ברה"ר או ברשות שאינו של שניהם וזרק לה קידושיה. קרוב לו אינה מקודשת קרוב לה הרי זו מקודשת. מחצה על מחצה או שהיו ספק קרוב לו ספק קרוב לה ואבדו קודם שיגיעו לידה הרי זו ספק מקודשת כיצד הוא קרוב לו וקרוב לה כל שהוא יכול לשמור אותן והיא אינה יכולה זה הוא קרוב לו היא יכולה לשמור אותן והוא אינו יכול זהו קרוב לה. שניהן יכולין לשמור אותן או שניהן אין יכולים לשמור אותן זה הוא מחצה על מחצה:

Footnotes
1.

Bava Batra 48b states that since it was possible for a man to divorce his wife without her consent (in Talmudic times), there was no need for the Sages to abrogate the man's kiddushin. Even if he was forced into consecrating the woman, he could end their relationship at will. With regard to the woman, by contrast, since she cannot initiate a divorce, our Sages abrogated the marriage bond when she was compelled to establish it against her will.

2.

The first woman is consecrated based on the principle stated in the following halachah, that a woman may tell a person to give the kiddushin to an agent acting on her behalf. The second woman is consecrated, because she accepted the kiddushin in silence, which is interpreted as acquiescence.

3.

The fact that she discarded the kiddushin is a clear indication of her rejection of his proposal.

4.

Telling the person to give the kiddushin to someone else also indicates that she does not desire them, nor the consequences of accepting them (Tosafot, Kiddushin 8b).

5.

I.e., that the recipient should act as her agent.

6.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 30:11) quotes the opinion of the Tur, who maintains that if at the outset the woman says, "Put money down in this place and I will be consecrated to you," or "Give food to this dog and I will be consecrated to you," the status of the kiddushin is doubtful. Since the man spent money because of her wishes, one might presume that this can be compared to the law stated in the previous halachah. Nevertheless, since the kiddushin were not given to a person, it is possible that the comparison is not in place, and the kiddushin are not definitely binding. (See also Chapter 5, Halachah 21.)

7.

The Ramah (Orach Chayim 42:2) quotes an opinion that requires stringency in such an instance, but states that leniency should be granted if following the stringent view will cause a woman great difficulty in getting married.

Although the need for witnesses with regard to marriage and divorce is derived from an analogy (gezerah shavah) to claims of monetary law, a difference exists between the two. With regard to a financial claim, no witnesses are necessary if both litigants agree regarding a matter.

As stated in this halachah, this concept does not apply with regard to the laws of marriage and divorce. Two rationales are given for this matter:

a) When the man and woman agree with regard to the establishment of a marriage bond, they are limiting the privileges of others, for they are unable to consecrate the woman. With regard to financial matters, by contrast, the rights of others are not restricted (Rashba).

b) There is a fundamental difference between the function of witnesses in cases involving financial matters and their function with regard to wedding and divorce. With regard to financial matters, the function of witnesses is to clarify the truth (eidei berur). With regard to marriage and divorce, by contrast, the witnesses' function is to notarize the event (eidei kiyyum). For a marriage bond to be established - or broken - even when the husband and wife agree that the event took place, witnesses must observe the proceedings (Tumim 90:14, Tzaphnat Paneach, Kallei HaTorah).

8.

This ruling sheds light on a theme of larger scope: the interrelation between Rabbinic law and Scriptural law. For the fact that a woman needs a get to marry another person appears to indicate that according to Scriptural law, the kiddushin are effective.

9.

Many of the manuscript copies and early printings of the Mishneh Torah state that the obligation to give a get is of Rabbinic origin. This view would appear to be supported by the Rambam's ruling in Chapter 5, Halachah 1.

10.

If she is not an orphan and has never been married, the right to consecrate her belongs to her father, not to her.

11.

I.e., she was married, the marriage was consummated, and then she was either divorced or widowed. In this and the above instance, the girl does not have sufficient authority to create a marriage bond that is binding according to Scriptural law. Nevertheless, a bond that is binding according to Rabbinic law may be established, as the halachah continues to explain.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 155:2) quotes opinions that maintain that the above applies only when the girl's marriage was arranged by her brother or her mother. If she arranged the marriage herself, it is not binding, even according to Rabbinic law. The Ra'avad mentions a third opinion, which states that for a girl between the ages of six and ten, the marriage must be arranged by her family to be binding. After the age of ten, it is binding even if she arranged it herself.

12.

Our translation is based on the commentary of Metzudot on Isaiah 3:3.

13.

The annulment of a marriage that a girl below the age of majority initiates, as explained in the following halachah.

When a girl is below the age of six, we assume that she does not have sufficient understanding of the nature of marriage to make a commitment that is binding in any way.

14.

Chapter 11, Halachah 8.

15.

As the Rambam states in Hilchot Gerushin 11:6, if the girl reaches majority before she states that she desires to nullify the marriage bond, Rabbinic law requires her to receive a get before she marries another person. If she continues living with her husband and they engage in sexual relations after she attains majority, the marriage bond is binding according to Scriptural law.

16.

The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's decision, stating that the woman should not be allowed to remain married to her deaf mute husband. The Maggid Mishneh justifies the Rambam's decision, explaining that since the marriage of a deaf mute is a Rabbinic institution, our Sages did not impose the same restrictions that would apply had the marriage been effective according to Scriptural law.

Others state that the Rambam's ruling applies only when the mentally competent man merely consecrated the deaf mute's wife. If he consummated the marriage (nisu'in), the deaf mute is forbidden to continue living with her after her divorce.

17.

Our Sages differentiated between the marriage of a deaf mute and that of a mentally incompetent person as follows: the marriage of a deaf mute may be harmonious and has the possibility of enduring. The marriage of a mentally incompetent person, by contrast, will surely be plagued by friction and will not endure. For a mentally competent will never be comfortable living with a mentally incompetent person. (See Chapter 11, Halachah 6 and Yevamot 112b.)

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 44:2) states that this is a sensitive matter, for it is difficult to determine when a person is completely incompetent or not.

18.

All the terms mentioned in this halachah are explained in Chapter 2. Although s'ris adam (a person who has been castrated) is forbidden to marry, if he violates this prohibition, the marriage bond is binding and a get is required for severing the relationship. With regard to an aylonit, see Chapter 24, Halachot 1-2, and the accompanying notes.

19.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 44:5) quotes the Tur as stating that an androgynous is considered to be a male, and the kiddushin that he gives are binding.

20.

This ruling is relevant in the present age, for it is frequent that a woman is a niddah at the time of a marriage. A wedding should never be planned to coincide with the woman's niddah state. Nevertheless, since weddings are often planned well in advance, and women's menstrual cycles are flexible, it is possible that the calculations will be in error, and the wedding will be scheduled for the time when the woman is a niddah. In such a situation, the commonly accepted ruling is to hold the wedding. Nevertheless, restrictions are placed on the couple's being in private until the woman purifies herself. Needless to say, sexual relations are forbidden.

21.

The Ra'avad states that the woman's word should be accepted only insofar as to require her to receive a get from the second person. She is not allowed to marry him, nor may she collect her ketubah from her first husband unless she proves that she has been divorced. The Ramah (Even HaEzer 17:2) states that in the present age, since brazen behavior is more common, the presumption upon which the Rambam's ruling rests is no longer a viable support.

22.

The situation is as follows: A man who was married to two women died while childless. As required by Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, one of his brothers (the yavam) marries one of his widows (the yevamah). Afterwards, neither the yavam nor any other of the deceased's brothers is allowed to marry the deceased's second wife. (See Hilchot Yibbum 1:12.)

23.

Rav David Cohen (Section 9, Responsum 1) states that the intent is that we are obligated to force the apostate to divorce his wife, lest he cause her to violate Torah law.

24.

E.g., a Canaanite maidservant who was owned in partnership by two masters. One granted the woman her freedom, but the other did not.

25.

Our translation follows the commentary of the Maggid Mishneh, who explains that there is a question whether or not the kiddushin of the first person are valid. Nevertheless, if the couple marry and consummate their relationship, this establishes their wedding bond.

26.

Who was totally unaware of what he was doing (Genesis, Chapter 19).

27.

The commentaries (see Beit Shmuel 31:6) debate the status of the kiddushin when one knows for a fact that they are worth a p'rutah in another place. Some maintain that they are absolutely binding, and others maintain that their status remains doubtful.

28.

The Tur (Even HaEzer 30) states that the woman's field or courtyard must be protected. It is possible to state that this is the Rambam's opinion as well, and he relies on the statements he makes in Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 4:9 regarding giving a present (Kessef Mishneh). Nevertheless, it is possible to differentiate between the two and explain that the laws governing kiddushin are more lenient. The Beit Shmuel 30:3 maintains that this is the view of the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 30:1). See Chelkat Mechokeik 30:2.

29.

Although this would not be acceptable with regard to a business transaction (Hilchot Mechirah, Chapter 4), an exception is made here, because of the possibility that the man lent the woman rights to his share of the property.

30.

See the Beit Shmuel 29:9, which interprets this as meaning that two pairs of witnesses observed the throwing of the kiddushin, one maintained that the kiddushin were able to be guarded by the man, and one that they were able to be guarded by the woman. If, however, there was only one pair of witnesses, and they were unsure whether the woman could guard them, the kiddushin are not effective, because it is as if they were given without being observed by witnesses.

31.

The Makneh states that the Rambam relies on his statements in Hilchot Gerushin 5:13, which state that the woman must be able to bend over and take the object. Others do not make such a stipulation.

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah