ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Ishut - Chapter Twenty Four

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Ishut - Chapter Twenty Four

1

When a man who marries an aylonit1 is childless and does not have another wife with whom he will father children, he is compelled to divorce her.2 Nevertheless, [during and after the marriage], the financial arrangements that [govern] other women [govern] her. She is entitled to the fundamental requirement of the ketubah and [all] the provisions of the ketubah. Similarly, her husband acquires the same financial privileges with regard to her as he would with regard to another woman.

א

הַנּוֹשֵׂא אֶת הָאַיְלוֹנִית וְלֹא הָיוּ לוֹ בָּנִים וְלֹא אִשָּׁה אַחֶרֶת לִפְרוֹת וְלִרְבּוֹת מִמֶּנָּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ וּמוֹצִיא הֲרֵי הִיא כְּכָל הַנָּשִׁים וְיֵשׁ לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה וּשְׁאָר תְּנָאֵי כְּתֻבָּה. וְכֵן זוֹכֶה הַבַּעַל בְּמַה שֶּׁזָּכָה בִּשְׁאָר הַנָּשִׁים:

2

If, however, a man married a woman without recognizing her condition, and later it was discovered that she was an aylonit, or forbidden to him by virtue of a negative commandment [for which he is not liable to death - neither by the hand of God nor by an earthly court] she is not entitled to the fundamental requirement of the ketubah, nor to any of the provisions of the ketubah. She is, however, entitled to the extra amount that the husband added to the fundamental requirement of the ketubah. She is not entitled to receive her sustenance, [neither during her husband's lifetime,] nor even after his death.3

The couple [should be] forced to separate.4 When that is done, the value of the produce of which the husband partook is not expropriated from him.5

The same laws apply when a man marries a sh'niyah,6 regardless of whether or not [the husband] was aware of the prohibition.

ב

אֲבָל הַנּוֹשֵׂא אִשָּׁה וְלֹא הִכִּיר בָּהּ וְנִמְצֵאת אַיְלוֹנִית אוֹ מֵחַיָּבֵי לָאוִין. וְכֵן הַנּוֹשֵׂא שְׁנִיָּה בֵּין הִכִּיר בָּהּ בֵּין לֹא הִכִּיר בָּהּ. אֵין לָהּ עִקַּר כְּתֻבָּה וְלֹא תְּנַאי מִתְּנָאֵי כְּתֻבָּה. אֲבָל תּוֹסֶפֶת יֵשׁ לָהּ. וְאֵין לָהּ מְזוֹנוֹת וַאֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר מוֹתוֹ. וּכְשֶׁכּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ וּמַפְרִישִׁין בֵּינֵיהֶם אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִן הַבַּעַל פֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל:

3

Why are these women not granted the essential requirement of the ketubah, when they are granted the extra sum added [by the husband]? The fundamental requirement of the ketubah was instituted by our Sages so that [a man] should not think that the divorce [of his wife] is a light matter. Since he was not aware [of the prohibition or of his wife's condition], she is not granted the essential requirement of the ketubah.7

With regard to the extra amount for which he obligated himself: as long as she desired to maintain their relationship, she kept her part of the agreement. She granted him [marital] satisfaction,8 and is willing to continue their relationship; it is the Torah that deems her to be forbidden. What then can she do? Therefore, she is granted this extra amount, for it is not her deeds that cause her to be forbidden after marriage;9 she was forbidden beforehand.

ג

וְלָמָּה אֵין לָהֶן עִקָּר וְיֵשׁ לָהֶן תּוֹסֶפֶת. הָעִקָּר שֶׁהוּא תַּקָּנַת חֲכָמִים כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּהְיֶה קַלָּה בְּעֵינָיו לְהוֹצִיאָהּ הוֹאִיל וְלֹא הִכִּיר בָּהּ אֵין לָהּ עִקָּר. אֲבָל תּוֹסֶפֶת שֶׁהוּא חִיֵּב עַצְמוֹ בָּהּ כָּל זְמַן שֶׁתִּרְצֶה וְתַעֲמֹד לְפָנָיו הֲרֵי עָמְדָה בַּתְּנַאי שֶׁלָּהּ וַהֲרֵי הִקְנֵית לוֹ הֲנָאָתָהּ וַהֲרֵי הִיא עוֹמֶדֶת [לְפָנָיו] אֲבָל הַתּוֹרָה אָסְרָה אוֹתָהּ עָלָיו וּמַה הִיא יְכוֹלָה לַעֲשׂוֹת. לְפִיכָךְ יֵשׁ לָהּ תּוֹסֶפֶת שֶׁאֵין מַעֲשֶׂיהָ הֵן הַגּוֹרְמִין לָהּ לְהֵאָסֵר אַחַר הַנִּשּׂוּאִין אֶלָּא אֲסוּרָה הָיְתָה מִקֹּדֶם:

4

Why did [our Sages] not distinguish between a sh'niyah [whom her husband] recognized, and one that he did not recognize, but rather said that in all instances she is not entitled to the fundamental requirement of the ketubah? Because [the prohibition involving these relations] is Rabbinic [in origin], they reinforced it.

If, by contrast, a man married a woman [whom he was forbidden to marry because of] a negative prohibition of the Torah [that was not punishable by death, neither by the hand of God nor by an earthly court] and he was aware of the prohibition, [his wife] is entitled to [the money due her by virtue of her] ketubah.[Similarly, if he marries] a woman whom he was forbidden to marry because of a positive commandment, whether he was aware of the prohibition or not, [his wife is entitled to a ketubah].

[The rationale is] that if he recognized that a woman was forbidden by a negative prohibition, he willingly undertook to damage his resources. And with regard to [relations which are forbidden] because of a positive commandment, the prohibition is light.

In both these instances, the women are entitled to support [from their husband's estate] after his death.10 Similarly, if [during his absence,] they borrowed money for their sustenance, [the husband] is liable to pay.11 And when the husband is forced to divorce [a woman in either of these situations], he is forced to reimburse her for all the benefit that he received from her property.12

ד

וְלָמָּה לֹא חִלְּקוּ בַּשְּׁנִיָּה בֵּין שֶׁהִכִּיר בָּהּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא הִכִּיר בָּהּ אֶלָּא אָמְרוּ אֵין לָהּ עִקַּר כְּתֻבָּה בְּכָל מָקוֹם. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים עָשׂוּ בָּהּ חִזּוּק. אֲבָל אִם נָשָׂא אַחַת מֵחַיָּבֵי לָאוִין; וְהִכִּיר בָּהּ. אוֹ אַחַת מֵחַיָּבֵי עֲשֵׂה בֵּין הִכִּיר בָּהּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא הִכִּיר בָּהּ יֵשׁ לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה. שֶׁחַיָּבֵי לָאוִין שֶׁהִכִּיר בָּהּ רָצָה לְהַזִּיק בִּנְכָסָיו וְחַיָּבֵי עֲשֵׂה אִסּוּרָן קַל. וְיֵשׁ לִשְׁתֵּיהֶן מְזוֹנוֹת לְאַחַר מוֹתוֹ. וְכֵן אִם לָוְתָה וְאָכְלָה חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. וּכְשֶׁכּוֹפִין אוֹתָן לְהוֹצִיא מוֹצִיאִין מִן הַבַּעַל כָּל פֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל מִכָּל נְכָסֶיהָ:

5

A woman who dissolves a marriage through the rite of mi'un is not entitled to a ketubah.13 She is, however, entitled to the extra amount [added by the husband to the ketubah].14 The husband is not required to reimburse her for the benefit that he received from her property.15 If she borrowed money for her sustenance while she was still his wife, and afterwards terminated the marriage through the rite of mi'un, that money is not expropriated from the husband.

ה

הַמְמָאֶנֶת אֵין לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה אֲבָל תּוֹסֶפֶת יֵשׁ לָהּ. וְאֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִן הַבַּעַל פֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכַל. וְאִם לָוְתָה כְּשֶׁהָיְתָה תַּחְתָּיו וְאָכְלָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵאֲנָה אֵין מוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָן מְזוֹנוֹת מִן הַבַּעַל:

6

When a woman commits adultery [her husband is obligated to divorce her]. She is not entitled to a ketubah - neither the fundamental requirement nor the additional amount. Nor is she entitled to any of the conditions of the ketubah. [The rationale is that] it is her own deeds that cause her to become forbidden to her husband.

ו

מִי שֶׁזִּנְּתָה תַּחַת בַּעְלָהּ אֵין לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה לֹא עִקָּר וְלֹא תּוֹסֶפֶת וְלֹא אֶחָד מִתְּנָאֵי כְּתֻבָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי מַעֲשֶׂיהָ גָּרְמוּ לָהּ לְהֵאָסֵר עַל בַּעְלָהּ:

7

What is the law with regard to the rights these women have to their dowries? Whenever a woman's dowry endures, she is entitled to take her property when she leaves [her husband's household after divorce].16 This applies even when she commits adultery.

[If the property is not intact, the following laws apply.] If the woman was a sh'niyah or forbidden as a result of a positive commandment - whether or not her husband was aware of the prohibition - the same laws that apply to other women with regard to their dowries apply to her. Similarly, if the woman was an aylonit or was forbidden because of a negative prohibition of the Torah [that was not punishable by death - neither by the hand of God nor by an earthly court], the same laws that apply to other women with regard to their dowries apply to her.17

[What are those laws?] The husband is liable for nichsei tzon barzel. With regard to nichsei m'log, if anything was lost or stolen, she suffers the loss. [The husband] is not liable to pay.

ז

וְהֵיאַךְ דִּין נָשִׁים אֵלּוּ בִּנְדוּנְיָא שֶׁלָּהֶם. כָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁנְּדֻנְיָתָהּ קַיֶּמֶת אֲפִלּוּ זִנְּתָה נוֹטֶלֶת שֶׁלָּהּ וְהוֹלֶכֶת. וְאִם הָיְתָה שְׁנִיָּה אוֹ אֶחָד מֵחַיָּבֵי עֲשֵׂה בֵּין הִכִּיר בָּהּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא הִכִּיר בָּהּ אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה אַיְלוֹנִית אוֹ מֵחַיָּבֵי לָאוִין וְהִכִּיר בָּהּ הֲרֵי הִיא בִּנְדֻנְיָתָהּ כְּכָל הַנָּשִׁים:

8

[Different rules apply when] a woman is either an aylonit or prohibited because of a negative commandment, and [the husband] did not recognize her status. Whatever was lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged from nichsei tzon barzel, her husband is not liable to pay. For she gave him permission to use them.18

With regard to nichsei m'log, by contrast, whatever was lost or stolen, he is liable to pay. This is the opposite of all other women. Since the marriage bond is not of a binding nature, he did not acquire [rights to use] the nichsei m'log.19

ח

נִכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל חַיָּב בְּאַחְרָיוּתָן. וְנִכְסֵי מְלוֹג מַה שֶּׁנִּגְנַב אוֹ שֶׁאָבַד אָבַד לָהּ וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. הָיְתָה אַיְלוֹנִית אוֹ מֵחַיָּבֵי לָאוִין וְלֹא הִכִּיר בָּהּ כָּל מַה שֶּׁאָבַד אוֹ נִגְנַב אוֹ בָּלָה אוֹ שֶׁנִּשְׁחַק מִנִּכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל אֵין הַבַּעַל חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא נָתְנָה לוֹ רְשׁוּת לִהְיוֹתָן אֶצְלוֹ. וְכָל מַה שֶּׁאָבַד אוֹ נִגְנַב מִנִּכְסֵי מְלוֹג חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם. הֵפֶךְ מִכָּל הַנָּשִׁים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם אִישׁוּת גְּמוּרָה לֹא זָכָה בְּנִכְסֵי מְלוֹג:

9

A woman who dissolves a marriage through the rite of mi'un is not entitled to any compensation at all for property that was destroyed. Nothing is expropriated from her husband in payment for what was lost or stolen, with regard to both nichsei m'log and nichsei tzon barzel.20 Instead, she takes whatever property is intact and departs.

ט

וְהַמְמָאֶנֶת אֵין לָהּ בְּלָיוֹת כְּלָל שֶׁאֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִן הַבַּעַל דָּבָר מִמַּה שֶּׁאָבַד אוֹ נִגְנַב מִנְּכָסֶיהָ בֵּין מִנִּכְסֵי מְלוֹג בֵּין מִנִּכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל אֶלָּא נוֹטֶלֶת הַנִּמְצָא לָהּ וְיוֹצְאָה:

10

A woman who committed adultery is not entitled to a ketubah - neither the fundamental requirement nor the extra amount. Nor is the husband held responsible for any of her nichsei tzon barzel that were lost or stolen.21 Needless to say, this ruling also applies with regard to her nichsei m'log.

[The above does not apply] only to an adulteress, but also to a woman who violates the faith of Moses,22 one who violates the Jewish faith,23 or one who is divorced because of a scandalous report.24 These women are not entitled to a ketubah - neither the fundamental requirement nor the extra amount - nor are they granted any of the conditions of the ketubah.

When these [women are divorced], each one should take what remains from her dowry and depart. Her husband is not liable to pay anything, neither what was reduced in value nor what was lost.

י

מִי שֶׁזִּנְּתָה תַּחַת בַּעְלָהּ אֵין לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה לֹא עִקָּר וְלֹא תּוֹסֶפֶת. וְאֵין מוֹצִיאִין מֵהַבַּעַל דָּבָר מִמַּה שֶּׁאָבַד אוֹ נִגְנַב מִנִּכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל שֶׁלָּהּ. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר נִכְסֵי מְלוֹג. וְלֹא הַמְזַנָּה בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא אַף הָעוֹבֶרֶת עַל דַּת משֶׁה אוֹ עַל דַּת יְהוּדִית אוֹ הַיּוֹצֵאת מִשּׁוּם שֵׁם רַע אֵין לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה לֹא עִקָּר וְלֹא תּוֹסֶפֶת וְלֹא תְּנַאי מִתְּנָאֵי כְּתֻבָּה. וְכָל אַחַת מֵהֶן נוֹטֶלֶת הַנִּמְצָא לָהּ מִנְּדֻנְיָתָהּ וְיוֹצְאָה וְאֵין הַבַּעַל חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם כְּלוּם לֹא מַה שֶּׁפִּחֵת וְלֹא מַה שֶּׁאָבַד:

11

The following are the actions for which a woman is considered to have "violated the faith of Moses":

a) going out to the marketplace with her hair uncovered;25

b) taking vows or oaths that she does not keep;

c) engaging in sexual relations [with her husband] while in the niddah state;

d) failing to separate challah or feeding her husband food that is forbidden to eat - needless to say, this applies to forbidden crawling animals and animals that were not ritually slaughtered; it applies even to produce that was not tithed.26

How can the latter [two] matters be known? For example, she said: "So and so, the priest, [separated tithes] from this produce for me," "So and so separated challah [from this dough]," "So and so, the Sage, said this stain does not render me a niddah" - and after eating the food or engaging in sexual relations with her, the husband asked the person whose name was mentioned and he denied the occurrence of the incident. Another example: a woman's [conduct caused] it to be established in her neighborhood that she was in the niddah state,27 but she told her husband that she was ritually pure. He engaged in relations with her [and afterwards discovered the truth].

יא

וְאֵלּוּ הֵן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁאִם עָשְׂתָה אַחַת מֵהֶן עָבְרָה עַל דַּת משֶׁה. יוֹצְאָה בַּשּׁוּק וּשְׂעַר רֹאשָׁהּ גָּלוּי. אוֹ שֶׁנּוֹדֶרֶת אוֹ שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּעַת וְאֵינָהּ מְקַיֶּמֶת. אוֹ שֶׁשִּׁמְּשָׁה מִטָּתָהּ וְהִיא נִדָּה. אוֹ שֶׁאֵינָהּ קוֹצָה לָהּ חַלָּה. אוֹ שֶׁהֶאֱכִילָה אֶת בַּעְלָהּ דְּבָרִים אֲסוּרִים, אֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שְׁקָצִים וּרְמָשִׂים וּנְבֵלוֹת, אֶלָּא דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינָן מְעֻשָּׂרִין. וְהֵיאַךְ יוֹדֵעַ דָּבָר זֶה כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָמְרָה לוֹ פֵּרוֹת אֵלּוּ פְּלוֹנִי כֹּהֵן תִּקְּנָם לִי וְעִסָּה זוֹ פְּלוֹנִית הִפְרִישָׁה לִי חַלָּתָהּ וּפְלוֹנִי הֶחָכָם טִהֵר לִי אֶת הַכֶּתֶם וְאַחַר שֶׁאָכַל אוֹ בָּא עָלֶיהָ שָׁאַל אוֹתוֹ פְּלוֹנִי וְאָמַר לֹא הָיוּ דְּבָרִים מֵעוֹלָם. וְכֵן אִם הֻחְזְקָה נִדָּה בִּשְׁכֵנוֹתֶיהָ וְאָמְרָה לְבַעְלָהּ טְהוֹרָה אֲנִי וּבָא עָלֶיהָ:

12

What is meant by "the Jewish faith"? The customs of modesty that Jewish women practice. When a woman performs any of the following acts, she is considered to have violated the Jewish faith:

a) she goes to the marketplace or a lane with openings at both ends without having her head [fully] covered - i.e., her hair is covered by a handkerchief, but not with a veil like all other women,28

b) she spins [flax or wool] with a rose on her face29 - on her forehead or on her cheek - like immodest gentile women,

c) she spins in the marketplace and shows her forearms to men;30

d) she plays frivolously with young lads,

e) she demands sexual intimacy from her husband in a loud voice until her neighbors hear her talking about their intimate affairs, or

f) she curses her husband's father in her husband's presence.31

יב

וְאֵי זוֹ הִיא דָּת יְהוּדִית הוּא מִנְהַג הַצְּנִיעוּת שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁאִם עָשְׂתָה אַחַת מֵהֶן עָבְרָה עַל דָּת יְהוּדִית. יוֹצְאָה לַשּׁוּק אוֹ לְמָבוֹי מְפֻלָּשׁ וְרֹאשָׁהּ פָּרוּעַ וְאֵין עָלֶיהָ רְדִיד כְּכָל הַנָּשִׁים. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשְּׂעָרָהּ מְכֻסֶּה בְּמִטְפַּחַת. אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה טוֹוָה בַּשּׁוּק וּוֶרֶד וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ כְּנֶגֶד פָּנֶיהָ עַל פַּדַּחְתָּהּ אוֹ עַל לְחָיֶיהָ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁעוֹשׂוֹת הָעַכּוּ''ם הַפְּרוּצוֹת. אוֹ שֶׁטּוֹוָה בַּשּׁוּק וּמַרְאֵית זְרוֹעוֹתֶיהָ לִבְנֵי אָדָם. אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה מְשַׂחֶקֶת עִם הַבַּחוּרִים. אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה תּוֹבַעַת הַתַּשְׁמִישׁ בְּקוֹל רָם מִבַּעְלָהּ עַד שֶׁשְּׁכֵנוֹתֶיהָ שׁוֹמְעוֹת אוֹתָהּ מְדַבֶּרֶת עַל עִסְקֵי תַּשְׁמִישׁ. אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה מְקַלֶּלֶת אֲבִי בַּעְלָהּ בִּפְנֵי בַּעְלָהּ:

13

Ezra ordained that a woman should wear a belt32 in her home at all times, as an expression of modesty. If a woman does not wear [such a belt], however, she is not considered to have violated the faith of Moses, nor does she forfeit her ketubah.

Similarly, if she goes from courtyard to courtyard without having her hair [fully] covered - as long as it is covered with a handkerchief, she is not considered to have violated the [Jewish] faith.

יג

עֶזְרָא תִּקֵּן שֶׁתִּהְיֶה אִשָּׁה חוֹגֶרֶת בְּסִנָּר תָּמִיד בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתָהּ מִשּׁוּם צְנִיעוּת. וְאִם לֹא חָגְרָה אֵינָהּ עוֹבֶרֶת עַל דַּת משֶׁה וְלֹא הִפְסִידָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. וְכֵן אִם יָצְתָה בְּרֹאשָׁהּ פָּרוּעַ מֵחָצֵר לְחָצֵר בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּבוֹי הוֹאִיל וּשְׂעָרָהּ מְכֻסֶּה בְּמִטְפַּחַת אֵינָהּ עוֹבֶרֶת עַל דָּת:

14

A woman who violates the faith must have had a warning issued to her [prior to her having performed the act] and [the warning and her improper conduct must be observed by] witnesses before she forfeits her ketubah.

[The following rule applies when a woman] transgresses privately, her husband knows that she violated the faith and [therefore] gives her a warning, [but the warning] was not observed by witnesses, and then she transgresses again. Should the husband claim that she violated [the faith] after receiving a warning,33 and the woman claims not to have transgressed, or not to have received a warning, the husband must pay her [the money due her by virtue of her] ketubah if he desires34 to divorce her, after she takes an oath that she has not transgressed. [This oath is required because] she would not be entitled to any payment if she admitted to having transgressed after having received this warning.

יד

הָעוֹבֶרֶת עַל דָּת צְרִיכָה הַתְרָאָה וְעֵדִים וְאַחַר כָּךְ תַּפְסִיד כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. עָבְרָה בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ וְיָדַע שֶׁהִיא עוֹבֶרֶת עַל דָּת וְהִתְרָה בָּהּ בְּלֹא עֵדִים וְחָזְרָה וְעָבְרָה הוּא טוֹעֵן וְאוֹמֵר אַחַר הַתְרָאָה עָבְרָה וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא עָבַרְתִּי כְּלָל אוֹ לֹא הִתְרָה בִּי. אִם רָצָה לְהוֹצִיא הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹתֵן כְּתֻבָּה אַחַר שֶׁתִּשָּׁבַע שֶׁלֹּא עָבְרָה. שֶׁאִם תּוֹדֶה שֶׁעָבְרָה אַחַר הַתְרָאָה זוֹ אֵין לָהּ כְּלוּם:

15

What is meant by "a woman who is divorced because of a scandalous report"? For example, there were witnesses that she performed a very indecent act that indicates that a sin was committed, but there is no definitive testimony [that she committed adultery].

What is implied? She was alone in her courtyard, and they saw a perfume salesman leaving. They entered immediately afterwards and saw her getting up from bed and putting on her underwear or tying her belt, or they found wet spittle on the canopy above the bed.35 Alternatively, they saw them coming out of a dark place [together], or one helping the other up from a trench or the like, or they saw him kissing the opening of her cloak, or saw them kissing each other, or embracing each other, or they entered a room one after the other and locked the doors,36 or any similar act [that would arouse suspicion].

[In all these instances,] if her husband desires to divorce her, she is not entitled to receive [the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah. There is no necessity for a warning [in this instance].37

טו

כֵּיצַד הִיא יוֹצְאָה מִשּׁוּם שֵׁם רַע. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיוּ שָׁם עֵדִים שֶׁעָשְׂתָה דָּבָר מְכֹעָר בְּיוֹתֵר שֶׁהַדְּבָרִים מַרְאִין שֶׁהָיְתָה שָׁם עֲבֵרָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם עֵדוּת בְּרוּרָה בִּזְנוּת. כֵּיצַד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁהָיְתָה בֶּחָצֵר לְבַדָּהּ וְרָאוּ רוֹכֵל יוֹצֵא וְנִכְנְסוּ מִיָּד בִּשְׁעַת יְצִיאָתוֹ וּמָצְאוּ אוֹתָהּ עוֹמֶדֶת מֵעַל הַמִּטָּה וְהִיא לוֹבֶשֶׁת הַמִּכְנָסַיִם אוֹ חוֹגֶרֶת אֲזוֹרָהּ. אוֹ שֶׁמָּצְאוּ רֹק לַח לְמַעְלָה מִן הַכִּילָה. אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ יוֹצְאִים מִמָּקוֹם אָפֵל. אוֹ מַעֲלִין זֶה אֶת זֶה מִן הַבּוֹר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁרָאוּהוּ מְנַשֵּׁק עַל פִּי חֲלוּקָהּ אוֹ שֶׁרָאוּ אוֹתָן מְנַשְּׁקִין זֶה אֶת זֶה אוֹ מְגַפְּפִין זֶה אֶת זֶה אוֹ שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ זֶה אַחַר זֶה וְהֵגִיפוּ דְּלָתוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ. אִם רָצָה הַבַּעַל לְהוֹצִיאָהּ תֵּצֵא בְּלֹא כְּתֻבָּה. וְאֵין זוֹ צְרִיכָה הַתְרָאָה:

16

[When a woman] violates the faith of Moses or the Jewish faith, and similarly, one about whom is issued a scandalous report, her husband is not compelled to divorce her. If he desires [to remain married], he need not divorce her.38

Nevertheless, even when her husband does not divorce her, she is not entitled to a ketubah.39 [The rationale is that] a ketubah was ordained by our Sages so that a husband should not consider the divorce [of his wife as] a light matter. Our Sages were concerned only with modest Jewish women. This institution was not enacted for women [who act] wantonly. On the contrary, let their husbands think that divorcing them is a light matter.

טז

עוֹבֶרֶת עַל דַּת משֶׁה אוֹ עַל דָּת יְהוּדִית וְכֵן זֹאת שֶׁעָשְׂתָה דָּבָר מְכֹעָר אֵין כּוֹפִין אֶת הַבַּעַל לְהוֹצִיא אֶלָּא אִם רָצָה לֹא יוֹצִיא. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הוֹצִיא אֵין לָהֶן כְּתֻבָּה שֶׁהַכְּתֻבָּה תַּקָּנַת חֲכָמִים הִיא כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תְּהֵא קַלָּה בְּעֵינָיו לְהוֹצִיאָהּ. וְלֹא הִקְפִּידוּ אֶלָּא עַל בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל הַצְּנוּעוֹת אֲבָל אֵלּוּ הַפְּרוּצוֹת אֵין לָהֶן תַּקָּנָה [זוֹ] אֶלָּא תְּהֵא קַלָּה בְּעֵינָיו לְהוֹצִיאָהּ:

17

When a man sees his wife commit adultery, or he was informed of this by one of his relatives or her relatives - whether male or female - whom he trusts and whose statements he believes, he is obligated to divorce her and is forbidden to engage in relations with her,40 for he relies on their word as true.

He must [however] pay her [the money due her by virtue of her] ketubah,41 [unless] she admits that she has committed adultery, in which case she should be divorced without receiving her ketubah. Therefore, if [her husband saw her commit adultery himself], he can require her to take an oath, while she holds a sacred object, that she did not commit adultery while married to him.42 [Only afterwards] can she collect the money [due her by virtue of] her ketubah. With regard to other matters,43 he cannot require her to take an oath, except through the convention of gilgul [sh'vuah].44

יז

מִי שֶׁרָאָה אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁזִּנְּתָה אוֹ שֶׁאָמְרָה לוֹ אַחַת מִקְּרוֹבוֹתָיו אוֹ מִקְּרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁהוּא מַאֲמִינָם וְסוֹמֶכֶת דַּעְתּוֹ עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁזִּנְּתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ. בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה הָאוֹמֵר אִישׁ בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה אִשָּׁה הוֹאִיל וְסָמְכָה דַּעְתּוֹ לְדָבָר זֶה שֶׁהוּא אֱמֶת הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב לְהוֹצִיא וְאָסוּר לוֹ לָבוֹא עָלֶיהָ וְיִתֵּן כְּתֻבָּה. וְאִם הוֹדֵית לוֹ שֶׁזִּנְּתָה תֵּצֵא בְּלֹא כְּתֻבָּה. לְפִיכָךְ מַשְׁבִּיעָהּ בִּנְקִיטַת חֵפֶץ שֶׁלֹּא זִנְּתָה תַּחְתָּיו אִם רָאָה אוֹתָהּ בְּעַצְמוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ תִּגְבֶּה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. אֲבָל בְּדָבָר אַחֵר אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַשְׁבִּיעָהּ אֶלָּא עַל יְדֵי גִּלְגּוּל:

18

When a woman tells her husband that she willingly committed adultery, no attention is paid to her words. [We suspect] that she is attracted to another man [and wants to be released from marriage to her husband so that she can marry him].45 She does, however, lose the rights to her ketubah - both the fundamental requirement and any extra amount - and [her right to any of her property] that was destroyed, for she admitted that she has committed adultery.46 If he believes her and considers her word to be true, he is obligated to divorce her.

A court, however, does not obligate a man to divorce his wife through any means, unless two witnesses come forth and testify that the person's wife willingly committed adultery in their presence. [In such a situation,] he is compelled to divorce her.

יח

אָמְרָה לוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁזִּנְּתָה תַּחְתָּיו בִּרְצוֹנָהּ אֵין מַשְׁגִּיחִין לִדְבָרֶיהָ שֶׁמָּא עֵינֶיהָ נָתְנָה בְּאַחֵר. אֲבָל אִבְּדָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ עִקָּר וְתוֹסֶפֶת וְאִבְּדָה הַבְּלָאוֹת שֶׁהֲרֵי הוֹדֵית בִּזְנוּת. וְאִם הָיָה מַאֲמִינָהּ וְסוֹמֵךְ דַּעְתּוֹ עַל דְּבָרֶיהָ הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב לְהוֹצִיאָהּ. וְאֵין בֵּית דִּין כּוֹפִין אֶת הָאִישׁ לְגָרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ בְּדָבָר מִדְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים וְיָעִידוּ שֶׁזִּנְּתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ זֹאת בִּפְנֵיהֶם בִּרְצוֹנָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לְהוֹצִיא:

19

A woman who committed adultery unknowingly47 or who was raped is permitted to [continue marital relations with] her husband, as [implied the Numbers 5:13, which describes adultery:] "and she was not raped," indicating that if she was raped, she is permitted. [This applies whether] she was raped by a gentile or by a Jew.

Whenever [a woman] was forced into relations at the outset, she is permitted [to her husband], even if she ultimately consented - even if she says: "Let him continue, if he had not raped me, I would have hired him." For [her] natural inclination has overcome her; originally, she was forced against her will.

יט

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁזִּנְּתָה תַּחַת בַּעְלָהּ בִּשְׁגָגָה אוֹ בְּאֹנֶס הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת לְבַעְלָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ה יג) "וְהִיא לֹא נִתְפָּשָׂה" הָא נִתְפָּשָׂה מֻתֶּרֶת. בֵּין שֶׁאֲנָסָהּ עַכּוּ''ם בֵּין שֶׁאֲנָסָהּ יִשְׂרָאֵל. וְכָל שֶׁתְּחִלַּת בִּיאָתָהּ בְּאֹנֶס אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁסּוֹפָהּ בְּרָצוֹן וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמְרָה הָנִיחוּ לוֹ שֶׁאִלְמָלֵי לֹא אָנַס אוֹתִי הָיִיתִי שׂוֹכַרְתּוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת. שֶׁהַיֵּצֶר לְבָשָׁהּ וּמִתְּחִלָּה [הָיְתָה] בְּאֹנֶס:

20

When women have been abducted by robbers, they are considered as though they have been taken captive and were raped; they are permitted to their husbands.48 If, however, they were left alone and they went to the robbers on their own initiative, they are considered to have acted willingly and they are forbidden to their husbands.

The laws applying to a woman who acted unwittingly and to one who was raped are the same. For acting unwittingly is comparable to a deed committed under coercion.

כ

נָשִׁים שֶׁגָּנְבוּ אוֹתָן לִסְטִים הֲרֵי הֵן כִּשְׁבֻיּוֹת שֶׁהֵן אֲנוּסוֹת וּמֻתָּרוֹת לְבַעְלֵיהֶן. וְאִם הֱנִיחוּם וְהָלְכוּ לַלִּסְטִים מֵעַצְמָן הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ בְּרָצוֹן וַאֲסוּרוֹת לְבַעְלֵיהֶן. וְדִין הַשּׁוֹגֶגֶת וְדִין הַנֶּאֱנֶסֶת אֶחָד הוּא שֶׁהַשְּׁגָגָה צַד אֹנֶס יֵשׁ בָּהּ:

21

When does the above apply? When the woman's husband was an Israelite. If, however, a priest's wife [committed adultery] unwittingly or under duress, she is forbidden to her husband. For these relations cause her to be deemed a zonah at all times, and he is forbidden to have relations with a zonah, as will be explained in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah.49

כא

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהָיָה בַּעְלָהּ יִשְׂרָאֵל. אֲבָל אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁשָּׁגְגָה אוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֶנְסָה אֲסוּרָה לְבַעְלָהּ שֶׁהֲרֵי נַעֲשֵׂית זוֹנָה מִכָּל מָקוֹם וְהוּא אָסוּר בְּזוֹנָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת אִסּוּרֵי בִּיאָה:

22

With regard to both an Israelite's wife and a priest's wife who have been raped, they are entitled to their ketubah - both the fundamental requirement and the additional amount. She does not lose anything in this regard. We compel50 the priest to pay [her the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah and then to divorce her.

כב

אֶחָד אֵשֶׁת יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹ אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁנֶּאֶנְסָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ קַיֶּמֶת הָעִקָּר וְהַתּוֹסֶפֶת וְלֹא הִפְסִידָה מִכְּתֻבָּתָהּ כְּלוּם. וְכוֹפִין אֶת הַכֹּהֵן לִתֵּן לָהּ כְּתֻבָּתָהּ וּלְגָרְשָׁהּ:

23

When a priest's wife tells her husband: "I was raped," or "I unwittingly had relations with another man," he should not pay any attention to her words. [We suspect that perhaps] she was attracted to another man.

If he believes her, or he was told about it by a person upon whose word he relies, he should divorce her and pay her [the money due her by virtue of her] ketubah.51

כג

אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁאָמְרָה לְבַעְלָהּ נֶאֱנַסְתִּי אוֹ שָׁגַגְתִּי וְנִבְעַלְתִּי לְאַחֵר אֵינוֹ חוֹשֵׁשׁ לִדְבָרֶיהָ שֶׁמָּא עֵינֶיהָ נָתְנָה בְּאַחֵר. וְאִם הָיְתָה נֶאֱמֶנֶת לוֹ אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ אָדָם שֶׁהוּא סוֹמֵךְ עַל דְּבָרָיו יוֹצִיא וְיִתֵּן כְּתֻבָּה:

24

[The following rules apply when] a man tells his wife in the presence of witnesses: "Do not enter into privacy with so and so." If two witnesses observed her entering into privacy with the said person, and she and he remained there sufficient time for relations to have taken place,52 she is forbidden to engage in relations with her husband until he causes her to drink "the bitter waters",53 as will be explained in Hilchot Sotah.54

If he dies before he has caused her to drink [these waters], she is not entitled to her ketubah. Although witnesses did not see any [blatant] wanton act, there is no more wanton behavior than [disobeying her husband's words in] this [manner].

In the present age, when the waters [to test a] sotah are not available to us, the woman becomes forbidden to her husband forever. She must be divorced without receiving [the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah, neither the fundamental requirement nor the additional amount, for it is her evil deeds that caused her to become forbidden.55

כד

הָאוֹמֵר לְאִשְׁתּוֹ בִּפְנֵי שְׁנַיִם אַל תִּסָּתְרִי עִם אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי וְנִכְנְסָה עִמּוֹ לְסֵתֶר בִּפְנֵי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים וְשָׁהֲתָה כְּדֵי טֻמְאָה הֲרֵי זוֹ אֲסוּרָה עַל בַּעְלָהּ עַד שֶׁיַּשְׁקֶנָּה מֵי הַמָּרִים כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת סוֹטָה. וְאִם מֵת קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּשְׁקֶנָּה אֵין לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא מָצְאוּ דָּבָר מְכֹעָר. שֶׁאֵין לְךָ דָּבָר יוֹתֵר מְכֹעָר מִזֶּה. וְהַיּוֹם שֶׁאֵין שָׁם מֵי סוֹטָה נֶאֶסְרָה עָלָיו אִסּוּר עוֹלָם וְתֵצֵא בְּלֹא כְּתֻבָּה לֹא עִקָּר וְלֹא תּוֹסֶפֶת שֶׁהֲרֵי מַעֲשֶׂיהָ הָרָעִים גָּרְמוּ לָהּ לְהֵאָסֵר:

25

[The following laws apply when a husband] tells [his wife] in private: "Do not enter into seclusion with so and so." If he observed her enter into seclusion with the said person, and she and he remained there sufficient time for relations to have taken place - in the present age,56 when the waters [to test a] sotah are not available to us - the woman becomes forbidden to her husband. He is obligated to divorce her and pay [her the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah.

If she admits entering into seclusion with the said person after having received the warning, she must be divorced without receiving [the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah. Therefore, she is required to take an oath in this regard.57 Only afterwards must he pay [her the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah.

כה

אָמַר לָהּ בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ אַל תִּסָּתְרִי עִם אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי וְרָאָה אוֹתָהּ שֶׁנִּסְתְּרָה עִמּוֹ וְשָׁהֲתָה כְּדֵי טֻמְאָה הֲרֵי זוֹ אֲסוּרָה עָלָיו בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁאֵין שָׁם מֵי סוֹטָה. וְחַיָּב לְהוֹצִיא וְיִתֵּן כְּתֻבָּה. וְאִם הוֹדֵית שֶׁנִּסְתְּרָה אַחַר שֶׁהִתְרָה בָּהּ תֵּצֵא בְּלֹא כְּתֻבָּה וּלְפִיכָךְ מַשְׁבִּיעָהּ עַל זֶה וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִתֵּן כְּתֻבָּה:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

A woman who does not have female physical characteristics and cannot conceive children, as mentioned in Chapter 2, Halachah 6. This halachah is speaking about an instance in which the husband was aware of his wife's condition.

2.

See Chapter 15, Halachah 7.

3.

The Rambam does not explicitly mention that the woman is not entitled to receive her sustenance during her husband's lifetime. This is taken for granted. Since their marriage is forbidden, our Sages did not bind their relationship by any of the guidelines they instituted to preserve harmony and peace in marriage. Even after his lifetime, she is not entitled to receive her sustenance.

4.

In contrast to the previous and subsequent halachot, the Rambam does not mention divorce in this instance. The Noda BiY'hudah (Even HaEzer, Vol. II, Responsum 80) explains that the Rambam's wording leads to the following hypothesis: Since the husband was not aware of the woman's physical condition (if she was an aylonit), or the prohibition forbidding relations (if she was forbidden to him), he entered the marriage under mistaken premises. Hence, the marriage is not binding at all and no divorce is necessary. The couple must, however, be forced to separate.

The Noda BiY'hudah, however, rejects this hypothesis and maintains that the kiddushin are binding in such instances and a divorce is required.

5.

Even though her husband is not obligated to redeem her from captivity - and the right to benefit from the produce is associated with that obligation - he is not required to return the produce. This is a penalty that our Sages imposed upon the woman (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 115:1).

6.

A woman with whom he is forbidden to engage in relations because of Rabbinic decree. (See Chapter 1, Halachah 6.)

7.

For the relationship is undesirable, and our Sages wish that it be terminated.

8.

This extra amount is granted by the husband on his own volition because of the satisfaction generated by physical intimacy. It is not a requirement of the Sages (Rashi, Ketubot 101a).

9.

Note the contrast to Halachah 6.

10.

During the husband's lifetime, however, they are not entitled to support, for the court desires that the relationship be terminated (Maggid Mishneh).

11.

The Rambam's rationale is that although the husband is not liable for his wife's support while the couple are living together, this is only because the Sages desired to rend apart the couple's relationship. In principle, he should be liable, for she is entitled to a ketubah and the conditions of the ketubah. Therefore, in an instance where the couple are separating, and the woman demands payment for her support while her husband was abroad, he should be held liable.

Other authorities differ and free the husband from liability in this instance. It is their opinion that is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 116:1).

12.

This point is also the subject of a difference of opinion among the Rabbis, and the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) follows the view of the authorities who differ with the Rambam and do not hold the husband liable.

13.

Our Sages instituted the marriage of a minor for her own benefit. If she does not desire to continue the marriage, it is she who suffers the consequences.

14.

This additional amount was granted to the woman in consideration of the physical pleasure she gives her husband. Since he received that pleasure and knew that the woman had the right to terminate the relationship, he is liable for this amount.

15.

For at the time, he had permission to use her property and benefit from it.

16.

Even if the entire dowry is not intact, the woman takes the part that is intact. The remaining laws apply only to that portion of the dowry that no longer exists or that is unfit for use.

17.

As the Rambam explains in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Yevamot 9:3), the rationale for this ruling is that, with the exception of the sh'niyot, the women mentioned in this halachah are all entitled to a ketubah. As a result, the same laws that apply to other women with regard to their dowries apply to them as well. With regard to a sh'niyah, even though she is not entitled to a ketubah, our Sages imposed penalties on both her and her husband and required them to suffer a loss.

With the exception of the case of a sh'niyah, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 116:1-4) does not accept the distinction made by the Rambam and applies the laws mentioned in the following halachah to all these instances.

18.

Although he accepted responsibility for them, his acceptance was made under false premises. Hence, just as the marriage contract is not binding, so too, his acceptance of responsibility is not binding.

19.

Therefore, he is held responsible for any loss that took place.

20.

The rationale is that the court gave him the right to use this property, and according to the conditions they established, he is liable only if he divorces her.

21.

Even if an object was lost because of the husband's negligence, he is not held liable (Chelkat Mechokek 115:20).

22.

See the following halachah for a definition of this term.

23.

See Halachah 12 for a definition of this term.

24.

See Halachah 15 for a definition of this term.

25.

Numbers 5:18 states that as part of the process of causing a sotah distress, her hair is uncovered. From this, Ketubot 72a derives the concept that a married Jewish woman's hair should always be covered. Similarly, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 21:2) prohibits a married woman from walking in the public domain with uncovered hair.

Although this custom was not practiced conscientiously in many European communities even within the religious population, our Torah authorities have always called for its observance. The failure of a woman to cover her hair is considered adequate grounds for divorce. It must, however, be emphasized that a husband who married a woman who he knew would not cover her hair cannot later divorce her on the grounds that she fails to do so, without making full settlement of his obligations according to the marriage contract.

26.

I.e., prohibitions of Rabbinic origin as well as those explicit in the Torah.

27.

E.g., she wore clothes customarily worn when she was a niddah. In the present age, it is not customary for women to wear special clothes while they are in the niddah state.

28.

The previous halachah spoke of her going out to a public place with her hair totally uncovered. This halachah mentioned the covering of her hair, but not according to the accepted norms of modesty.

29.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Ketubot 7:4), the Rambam mentions wearing a rose or perfume in the same manner as worn by wanton gentile women.

30.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 115:4) states that this applies when she does so frequently, implying that if she did so on one particular occasion, she is not placed in this category. (See Beit Shmuel 115:11.)

31.

The Ramah (loc. cit.) follows more stringent opinions that state that even if she curses his father outside her husband's presence, or if she curses her husband himself to his face, she is placed in this category.

32.

Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Shabbat 10:4). Rashi (Bava Kama 72b) interprets this term as referring to underwear. Based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Megillah 4:1), which explains that this practice was instituted after a woman was raped by a monkey, it would appear that the intent is a chastity belt.

33.

And he is therefore not required to pay her ketubah.

34.

See Halachah 16.

35.

Why would wet spittle be found on the canopy? Obviously, someone was lying face up on the bed and could not turn to either side. This indicates that the woman had just been involved in sexual relations (Rashi, Yevamot 24b).

36.

Our translation is based on the additions of the Ramah (Even HaEzer 11:1).

37.

A woman who acts in this manner is considered to have committed adultery, and there is no need for a warning in such an instance.

38.

As mentioned in Halachah 18, the court does not compel a man to divorce his wife unless two witnesses testify that she willingly committed adultery. Nevertheless, in the situations mentioned above, it is clear that our Sages desired that the woman be divorced. Moreover, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 115:4) states that it is a mitzvah to divorce such a woman.

The Ramah adds that even though in most cases we follow the enactment of Rabbenu Gershom, who forbade divorcing a woman against her will, in this instance an exception is made. Even if the woman does not consent to the divorce, her husband may divorce her.

39.

Nor is she entitled to any of the provisions of the ketubah while they remain married, as stated above (Halachah 10). Note, however, the Chelkat Mechokek 115:18, who states that if the couple remain married, and afterwards the woman repents and begins conducting herself modestly, her husband is obligated to write a new ketubah for her.

40.

When a married woman has committed adultery, she is forbidden to engage in sexual relations with her husband in the future. (Similarly, she is forbidden to engage in relations with the adulterer.) Since her husband either saw the matter himself or heard it from a person upon whom he relies, he is bound by this prohibition.

41.

Since he has no binding evidence that she committed adultery that will be accepted by a court, she cannot be forced to forgo her claim for the money he is obligated to pay her.

42.

The Rambam compares this to a situation in which a creditor desires to collect a debt supported by a promissory note, and the debtor states: "I have paid the note." Although the creditor is allowed to collect the debt, he must take an oath first.

43.

Our translation follows the standard published text of the Mishneh Torah. According to this version, the intent is difficult to comprehend, as reflected in the questions raised by the Maggid Mishneh.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that the proper version is בדברי אחר. The intent is that if the husband saw his wife commit adultery himself, he may require her to take an oath, because his claim is definite. If, by contrast, his claim is based on the statements of another person, his claim is not definite and he does not have the right to require her to take an oath.

44.

I.e., if she is obligated to take another oath before collecting the money due her by virtue of her ketubah, her husband may also require her to take the oath concerning adultery.

45.

The husband need not divorce her, and he may continue engaging in marital relations with her without worrying that he is transgressing the prohibition mentioned in the previous halachah.

46.

In cases of monetary law, we follow the principle that the statements of the principal himself are equal to those of 100 witnesses. Since she admitted committing adultery, she must suffer the financial consequences.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Nedarim 11:12), the Rambam explains that when the husband says, "I do not believe her," he is still permitted to engage in relations with her. We do not, however, say: "If you believe her, pay her the money due her by virtue of her ketubah," for we divide his statements (palg'nin dibburo), and apply them in one context, but not in another. This explanation has, however, aroused questions in certain commentaries.

47.

E.g., two couples were married at the same time and the women unwittingly went into the wrong marriage chambers, and each thought that she was with her own spouse (Yevamot 33b). When, however, a woman commits adultery under the impression that she is allowed to do so, she is considered to have acted willfully, and she is forbidden to enter into relations with her husband (Ramah, Even HaEzer 178:3).

48.

Ketubot 51b relates that in Babylonia there was a time when robber bands would frequently abduct women from their homes.

49.

Chapter 17, Halachot 1 and 7; Chapter 18, Halachah 1. This prohibition is a result of the extra dimension of sanctity conveyed upon a priest and is not a reflection of the woman's lack of virtue.

50.

With regard to the priest's prohibition against relations with these women, Leviticus 21:8 states: "And you shall make him holy." Yevamot 88b implies that the intent is that he should be forced to make himself holy, even if that involves compelling him against his will.

51.

See the explanation in Halachah 18. The reason this woman is entitled to the money due her by virtue of her ketubah is that she did not commit adultery willingly.

52.

Hilchot Sotah 1:2 explains this as the amount of time it takes to roast an egg and swallow it. In quantitative terms, the more stringent of the contemporary authorities have estimated this as 35 seconds.

53.

This phrase is borrowed from Numbers 5:18. Hilchot Sotah 3:10 explains that the term is used because a bitter-flavored substance was added to the water.

54.

Chapter 1, Halachah 2. Although there is no evidence that the woman actually committed adultery, since she was warned by her husband and violated his warning, the burden of proof is upon her. It is only through drinking the waters given a sotah that she can vindicate herself.

55.

The Rambam is explaining why the woman is forced to forfeit her ketubah, although there is no conclusive proof of adultery. She knew about the prohibition against entering into privacy with the said individual and violated it willingly. Hence, she is required to suffer the consequences.

56.

The Kessef Mishneh questions why the Rambam mentions "the present age." Seemingly, in the time of the Temple as well, a similar problem would arise - if the warning was not given in the presence of witnesses, the waters given a sotah could not be used to test the woman's faithfulness.

57.

See Halachah 17 and notes.

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 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.
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