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Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Ishut - Chapter Seventeen

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Ishut - Chapter Seventeen

1

[The following laws apply when] a person dies after having been married to several wives. Whichever of his wives was married first has the right to collect [the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah [before the others]. None may collect [her due] without taking an oath.1

The [wives who married] last are entitled to [collect their due] only from what remains after [those who married previously collect theirs].2 Even the last wife [to collect] must take an oath [before] she collects what remains.3

Similarly, when there is [also] a promissory note [owed by the husband's estate], if the promissory note was dated before [the ketubot], the promissory note should be collected first. If the ketubot were each dated before [the promissory note], the woman should collect [her due] first, and the person owed the promissory note [should collect from] the remainder.

א

מִי שֶׁהָיָה נָשׂוּי נָשִׁים רַבּוֹת וּמֵת. כָּל שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת בַּתְּחִלָּה קוֹדֶמֶת לִטּל כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. וְאֵין אַחַת מֵהֶן נוֹטֶלֶת אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבוּעָה. וְאֵין לָאַחֲרוֹנָה אֶלָּא מַה שֶּׁשִּׁיְּרָה שֶׁלְּפָנֶיהָ וְגַם הִיא נִשְׁבַּעַת וְנוֹטֶלֶת הַשְּׁאָר. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה עָלָיו שְׁטַר חוֹב. אִם הָיָה הַחוֹב קוֹדֵם גּוֹבֶה בַּעַל חוֹב תְּחִלָּה. וְאִם הַכְּתֻבָּה קָדְמָה גּוֹבָה הָאִשָּׁה בַּתְּחִלָּה וְהַנִּשְׁאָר לַבַּעַל חוֹב:

2

When does the above apply? When the land from which [the wives and the creditor] desire to collect was owned by [the deceased] at the time he married the women and took the loan. For [in such a situation], the law is that whoever's document is dated first takes precedence.

If, however, a man married several women in succession, and borrowed money - whether before marrying the women or afterwards - and [then - i.e.,] after marrying and borrowing he purchased land - it should be divided among all of them equally, for all their liens took effect at the same time. At the time he purchased the land, each one established a lien on it. None has precedence over the others.4

ב

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהָיְתָה הַקַּרְקַע שֶׁבָּאוּ לִגְבּוֹת מִמֶּנָּה קְנוּיָה לוֹ בִּשְׁעַת נִשּׂוּאִים וּבְשָׁעָה שֶׁלָּוָה הוּא. שֶׁהַדִּין נוֹתֵן שֶׁכָּל הַקּוֹדֵם בִּשְׁטָר תְּחִלָּה זָכָה תְּחִלָּה. אֲבָל אִם נָשָׂא נָשִׁים זוֹ אַחַר זוֹ וְלָוָה בֵּין קֹדֶם נִשּׂוּאִין בֵּין אַחַר נִשּׂוּאִין וְאַחַר שֶׁנָּשָׂא וְלָוָה קָנָה קַרְקַע כֻּלָּן חוֹלְקִין כְּאֶחָד שֶׁשִּׁעְבּוּד כֻּלָּן כְּאֶחָד בָּא. שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁקָּנָה הָיָה מְשֻׁעְבָּד לַכּל וְאֵין כָּאן דִּין קְדִימָה:

3

Similarly, if all the ketubot and promissory notes were dated on one day - or at a specific time, in a place where it is customary to [include] the time [of a legal document] - it should be divided among all of them equally; none has precedence over the others.

Under all circumstances, [if one of the creditors or one of the wives] took possession of movable property [belonging to the estate as payment for] the loan or ketubah, the property that they took should not be expropriated from him or her. For no creditor has precedence over another with regard to movable property.5

ג

וְכֵן אִם הָיָה זְמַן הַכְּתֻבּוֹת וְהַשְּׁטָרוֹת כֻּלָּן יוֹם אֶחָד אוֹ שָׁעָה אַחַת בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁכּוֹתְבִים שָׁעוֹת חוֹלְקִין כְּאֶחָד שֶׁאֵין שָׁם קוֹדֵם. וּלְעוֹלָם כָּל שֶׁקָּדַם וְזָכָה בְּמִטַּלְטְלִין כְּדֵי חוֹבוֹ אוֹ כְּדֵי כְּתֻבָּתָהּ אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדוֹ שֶׁאֵין דִּין קְדִימָה בְּמִטַּלְטְלִין:

4

[The following rules apply when] a person divorces his wife at the time he has an outstanding promissory note, and his creditor and his divorcee come to collect [their due]. If the husband owns [enough] money and land to settle the debt and the obligations stemming from the ketubah, the creditor should be awarded the money,6 and his divorcee should collect [the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah from the landed property.7

If all [the husband] possesses is land that is not of sufficient value to settle both debts, and neither [his divorcee nor his creditor] has a prior claim to this land, it should be given [toward the payment of the debt owed to] the creditor. If any [land] remains [after the settlement of the debt], it should be given to the divorcee. If nothing remains, the divorcee must yield to the creditor. [The rationale is that] the creditor suffered a loss; he [lent] money [to the husband]. The woman, by contrast,did not lose anything. For more than a man desires to marry, a woman desires to be married.

ד

מִי שֶׁגֵּרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְעָלָיו שְׁטַר חוֹב וּבָא בַּעַל חוֹב וְהָאִשָּׁה לִגְבּוֹת וְהָיוּ לוֹ מָעוֹת וְקַרְקַע כְּדֵי הַחוֹב וְהַכְּתֻבָּה. בַּעַל חוֹב נוֹטֵל מָעוֹת וְהָאִשָּׁה נוֹטֶלֶת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ מִן הַקַּרְקַע. וְאִם אֵין לוֹ אֶלָּא קַרְקַע שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ כְּדֵי לִגְבּוֹת שְׁנֵיהֶם וְלֹא הָיָה בָּהּ דִּין קְדִימָה נוֹתְנִין אוֹתוֹ לְבַעַל חוֹב. וְאִם נִשְׁאַר לָאִשָּׁה כְּלוּם תִּטּל וְאִם לָאו תִּדָּחֶה מִפְּנֵי בַּעַל חוֹב. שֶׁהֲרֵי בַּעַל חוֹב הִפְסִיד וְהוֹצִיא מְעוֹתָיו וְהָאִשָּׁה לֹא חָסְרָה דָּבָר שֶׁיּוֹתֵר מִשֶּׁהָאִישׁ רוֹצֶה לִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה רוֹצֶה לְהִנָּשֵׂא:

5

Similarly, if a man dies leaving a widow and a creditor, and land to which neither of them has a prior claim, the widow must yield to the creditor, and he collects the debt owed him first.

ה

וְכֵן מִי שֶׁמֵּת וְהִנִּיחַ אִשָּׁה וּבַעַל חוֹב וְקַרְקַע שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ דִּין קְדִימָה הָאִשָּׁה נִדְחֵית מִפְּנֵי בַּעַל חוֹב וְהוּא גּוֹבֶה חוֹבוֹ תְּחִלָּה:

6

Since the geonim ordained8 that a woman and a creditor may collect their due from movable property, and as is well known, no creditors are given precedence with regard to movable property9 [the following rules apply]. If the husband did not leave enough movable property to settle both accounts, the creditor is allowed to collect the entire debt [owed him] first. If anything remains [after the settlement of the debt] for the wife to receive [by virtue of] her ketubah, it should be given to her. If nothing remains, the wife must yield.

ו

וְכֵיוָן שֶׁתִּקְּנוּ הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁתִּגְבֶּה הָאִשָּׁה וּבַעַל חוֹב מִן הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין וְהַדָּבָר יָדוּעַ שֶׁאֵין דִּין קְדִימָה בְּמִטַּלְטְלִין אִם לֹא הִנִּיחַ מִטַּלְטְלִין כְּדֵי לִתֵּן לִשְׁנֵיהֶם נוֹתְנִין לְבַעַל חוֹב כָּל חוֹבוֹ תְּחִלָּה. וְאִם נִשְׁאַר לָאִשָּׁה מַה שֶּׁתִּטּל בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ תִּטּל וְאִם לָאו תִּדָּחֶה:

7

[The following rule applies when] nichsei tzon barzel were recorded in a woman's ketubah and she claims that they were lost or taken by her husband. With regard to nichsei tzon barzel, a woman is regarded like any other creditor.10

Therefore, she is required to take an oath that she did not take possession of them, give them away or forego the obligation [to her husband]. Afterwards, she receives a share in the estate together with the other creditors.

ז

הָיוּ כְּתוּבִין בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ נִכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל וְטָעֲנָה שֶׁאָבְדוּ אוֹ שֶׁלְּקָחָם הַבַּעַל הֲרֵי הִיא בְּנִכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל שֶׁלָּהּ כִּשְׁאָר בַּעֲלֵי חוֹבוֹת וְנִשְׁבַּעַת שֶׁלֹּא לָקְחָה אוֹתָן וְלֹא נָתְנָה וְלֹא מָחֲלָה וְחוֹלֶקֶת עִם בַּעֲלֵי חוֹבוֹת:

8

When a person who has many wives and who dies or divorces them when none of them has a claim of higher priority to his property than the others, and his holdings are not of sufficient value to pay them each the money due them by virtue of their ketubot, how are his holdings divided? If his holdings are sufficiently valuable to provide only the wife with the ketubah of the least value, or if they are less valuable than that, all of his wives divide [his holdings] equally.

If his holdings are more valuable than that, they should be divided equally to provide the wife with [the money due her by virtue of] the ketubah of the least value. Afterwards, the remainder is divided among the remaining wives according to the same pattern.

What is implied? [To explain by example:] A man was married to four wives. The ketubah of the first was for 400 [zuz], that of the second for 300, that of the third for 200, and that of the forth for 100. The total sum is thus 1000 [zuz]. [The following rules apply] if he divorces all of them or dies. If his holdings are worth 400 [zuz] or less, they divide his holdings equally, and each receives 100 or less. If his holdings are worth 800 [it would be improper to divide them equally]. For if they were divided equally, the fourth wife would receive 200 [zuz], and [the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah is only 100.

What is done instead? 400 [zuz] are set aside and divided equally, each receiving 100. Thus, the fourth wife has received [the full amount due her by virtue of] her ketubah and she withdraws [from the suit]. Thus, 400 [zuz] are left for three wives, each of whom has already received 100 zuz]. If the 400 were divided equally among the three of them [it would be unfair]. For the third wife would receive 233 and [the amount due her by virtue of] her ketubah was only 200. Therefore, 300 [zuz] are separated from the 400, and these are divided equally among the three. Thus, the third wife receives her 200 and withdraws [from the suit]. There remain two wives and 100 [zuz]. This sum is divided equally between the first and second wife. Thus, the first and second wife each received 250 zuz; the third wife received 200; and the fourth wife, 100. This pattern of allocation is followed even when there are 100 [wives].11

ח

מִי שֶׁמֵּת אוֹ גֵּרֵשׁ וְיֵשׁ לוֹ נָשִׁים רַבּוֹת וְאֵין שָׁם דִּין קְדִימָה וְאֵין לוֹ כְּדֵי כָּל הַכְּתֻבּוֹת כֵּיצַד הֵן חוֹלְקוֹת. רוֹאִים אִם כְּשֶׁיֵחָלֵק הַמָּמוֹן עַל מִנְיַן הַנָּשִׁים יְגִיעַ לַפְּחוּתָה שֶׁבָּהֶן כְּדֵי כְּתֻבָּתָהּ אוֹ פָּחוֹת חוֹלְקוֹת בְּשָׁוֶה. וְאִם הָיָה הַמָּמוֹן יוֹתֵר עַל זֶה חוֹלְקִים מִמֶּנּוּ כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לַפְּחוּתָה שֶׁבָּהֶן כַּשִּׁעוּר כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. וְחוֹזְרוֹת וְחוֹלְקוֹת אֶת הַמּוֹתָר בֵּין הַנּוֹתָרוֹת עַל דֶּרֶךְ הָרִאשׁוֹן. כֵּיצַד. מִי שֶׁהָיָה נָשׂוּי אַרְבַּע נָשִׁים כְּתֻבָּתָהּ שֶׁל רִאשׁוֹנָה אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת וְשֶׁל שְׁנִיָּה שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת וְשֶׁל שְׁלִישִׁית מָאתַיִם וְשֶׁל רְבִיעִית מֵאָה נִמְצָא הַכּל אֶלֶף וְגֵרֵשׁ כֻּלָּן אוֹ מֵת. אִם הִנִּיחַ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת אוֹ פָּחוֹת חוֹלְקוֹת בְּשָׁוֶה וְכָל אַחַת נוֹטֶלֶת מֵאָה אוֹ פָּחוֹת. הִנִּיחַ שְׁמוֹנֶה מֵאוֹת אִם תֵּחָלֵק בֵּין כֻּלָּן בְּשָׁוֶה נִמְצֵאת הָרְבִיעִית נוֹטֶלֶת מָאתַיִם וַהֲרֵי אֵין בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ אֶלָּא מֵאָה אֶלָּא כֵּיצַד עוֹשִׂין. לוֹקְחִין אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז וְחוֹלְקִין אוֹתָן בֵּינֵיהֶן בְּשָׁוֶה מֵאָה מֵאָה נִמְצֵאת הָרְבִיעִית נָטְלָה כְּדֵי כְּתֻבָּתָהּ וְהָלְכָה לָהּ נִשְׁאַר כָּאן אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז וְשָׁלֹשׁ נָשִׁים שֶׁבְּיַד כָּל אַחַת מִשְּׁלָשְׁתָּן מֵאָה זוּז אִם תַּחֲלֹק הָאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת בֵּין שְׁלָשְׁתָּן בְּשָׁוֶה נִמְצָא הַשְּׁלִישִׁית נוֹטֶלֶת מָאתַיִם וּשְׁלֹשִׁים וְשָׁלֹשׁ וּשְׁלִישׁ וַהֲרֵי אֵין בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ אֶלָּא מָאתַיִם. לְפִיכָךְ לוֹקְחִין מֵאַרְבַּע הַמֵּאוֹת שְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת וְחוֹלְקִין בֵּין שְׁלָשְׁתָּן בְּשָׁוֶה שֶׁנִּמְצֵאת הַשְּׁלִישִׁית שֶׁנָּטְלָה מָאתַיִם שֶׁלָּהּ וְהָלְכָה לָהּ נִשְׁאַר כָּאן מֵאָה וּשְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים חוֹלְקִין אֶת הַמֵּאָה בְּשָׁוֶה בֵּין רִאשׁוֹנָה וּשְׁנִיָּה. נִמְצָא בְּיַד הָרִאשׁוֹנָה מָאתַיִם וַחֲמִשִּׁים וְכֵן בְּיַד הַשְּׁנִיָּה. וְנִמְצָא בְּיַד הַשְּׁלִישִׁית מָאתַיִם וּבְיַד הָרְבִיעִית מֵאָה וְעַל דֶּרֶךְ זוֹ חוֹלְקוֹת לְעוֹלָם אֲפִלּוּ הֵן מֵאָה:

9

A person who guarantees the value of a woman's ketubah is not obligated to pay [her the money due her in the event that her husband's holdings are not sufficient if he dies or divorces her]. [This applies] even when he affirmed his commitment with a contractual act.12 [The rationale is that] his [intent is to] perform a mitzvah,13 and he did not cause the woman to lose anything.14

If, however, a person guarantees the ketubah of his son and affirms his commitment with a contractual act,15 he is obligated to pay. For a father will make a binding commitment on behalf of his son and decide to obligate himself.

A person who underwrites a ketubah, by contrast, is obligated to pay, even though he did not affirm his commitment with a contractual act. What is meant by a person who underwrites a ketubah? One who tells a woman: "Marry this man. I will give [the money for] this ketubah." If, however, he says: "I will guarantee this ketubah," "I will pay this ketubah," "I am obligated for it" or the like, he is not liable unless he is the father [of the groom].

When a person divorces a wife [whose ketubah has been underwritten in the above fashion], he must first take a vow16 that she is forbidden to derive benefit from him. Only then may she collect her ketubah from the underwriter or the [husband's] father, if he guaranteed it. [This precaution was instituted,] lest the husband remarry her,17 and thus the two will [have acquired] the property of [the underwriter] through subterfuge.

ט

הֶעָרֵב לְאִשָּׁה בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּנוּ מִיָּדוֹ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם שֶׁמִּצְוָה עָשָׂה וַהֲרֵי לֹא חָסְרָה כְּלוּם. וְאִם עָרֵב שֶׁל כְּתֻבַּת בְּנוֹ הוּא וְקָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם שֶׁהָאָב בִּגְלַל בְּנוֹ מְשַׁעְבֵּד עַצְמוֹ וְגוֹמֵר וּמַקְנֶה. וְקַבְּלָן שֶׁל כְּתֻבָּה חַיָּב לְשַׁלֵּם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא קָנוּ מִיָּדוֹ. וְאֵי זֶה הוּא קַבְּלָן זֶה שֶׁאָמַר לְאִשָּׁה הִנָּשְׂאִי לְזֶה וַאֲנִי נוֹתֵן כְּתֻבָּה זוֹ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לָהּ הֲרֵינִי עָרֵב כְּתֻבָּה זוֹ. אֲנִי פּוֹרֵעַ כְּתֻבָּה זוֹ. אֲנִי חַיָּב בָּהּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה פָּטוּר אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיָה אָבִיו. הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ יַדִּירֶנָּה הֲנָאָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ תִּפָּרַע כְּתֻבָּתָהּ מִן הַקַּבְּלָן אוֹ מֵאָבִיו אִם הָיָה עָרֵב. שֶׁמָּא יַחֲזִירֶנָהּ וְנִמְצְאוּ עוֹשִׂין קְנוּנְיָא עַל נְכָסָיו שֶׁל זֶה:

10

Similarly, a person who consecrates his property and then divorces his wife must take a vow that she is forbidden to derive benefit from him. Only then may she collect [the money due her by virtue of her ketubah] from the person who redeems the property from the Temple treasury.18 [This precaution was instituted,] lest the two attempt to deceive the Temple treasury.19

When, however, a person divorces his wife, and she comes to collect [the money due her by virtue of her ketubah] from the [property that was sold to] purchasers, he is not required to take a vow that she is forbidden to derive benefit from him. Instead, she must take the oath required of her, and then she [is entitled to] collect [her due]. If afterwards she desires, she may return to her husband. For the purchasers know that the property was under lien to the ketubah of a woman, and they caused themselves the loss by taking property that was under such a lien.

י

וְכֵן הַמַּקְדִּישׁ נְכָסָיו וְגֵרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ יַדִּירֶנָּה הֲנָאָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ תִּפָּרַע מִן הַפּוֹדֶה מִיַּד הַהֶקְדֵּשׁ שֶׁמָּא יַעֲשׂוּ קְנוּנְיָא עַל הַהֶקְדֵּשׁ. אֲבָל הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וּבָאָה לִטְרֹף מִן הַלָּקוֹחוֹת אֵין מְחַיְּבִין אוֹתוֹ לְהַדִּירָהּ אֶלָּא נִשְׁבַּעַת וְטוֹרֶפֶת. וְאִם רָצְתָה תַּחֲזֹר לְבַעְלָהּ שֶׁכְּבָר יָדְעוּ הַלָּקוֹחוֹת שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלָיו כְּתֻבַּת אִשָּׁה וְהֵם הִפְסִידוּ עַל עַצְמָם שֶׁלָּקְחוּ נְכָסִים שֶׁתַּחַת שִׁעְבּוּדָהּ:

11

When a husband sold his property, and afterwards the woman agreed to [her husband's] act and wrote the purchaser: "I have no claim against you," she may, nevertheless, collect [the money due her by virtue of her ketubah by expropriating this property].20 [This applies] even when she affirmed [her commitment] with a contractual act.21 [The rationale is] that she wrote this [statement to the purchaser] only so that there will not be strife between her and her husband. She can [therefore excuse herself,] saying: "I was [merely intending] to please my husband."22

[A different rule applies, however, when the purchaser] enters into an agreement with the woman that she foregoes her lien on this property [before purchasing it from her husband]. If this agreement is affirmed with a contractual act, and afterwards the husband sells the property [to him], [the woman is not entitled to] expropriate this property.23

Similarly, [a woman is not entitled to expropriate property sold by her husband in the following circumstance]. Her husband sold a property [on a previous occasion, and at that time] asked his wife to write the purchaser, "I have no claim to this property," and the woman refused, causing the sale to be nullified.24 [If,] afterwards, the husband sells [property] - whether the same field he had sold previously or another field - to another person, and after the husband's sale the woman agreed, [made a commitment] that she has no claim to this field and affirmed it with a contractual act, she may not expropriate it. For she cannot say, "I did this [merely] to please my husband," since on the previous occasion, when she did not want [to waive her rights], she did not follow her husband's desires.

יא

הַבַּעַל שֶׁמָּכַר נְכָסָיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ כָּתְבָה אִשְׁתּוֹ לַלּוֹקֵחַ דִּין וּדְבָרִים אֵין לִי עִמְּךָ וְהִסְכִּימָה לְמַעֲשָׂיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקָּנוּ מִמֶּנָּה הֲרֵי זוֹ טוֹרֶפֶת. שֶׁלֹּא כָּתְבָה לוֹ אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹּא תִּהְיֶה בֵּינָהּ לְבֵין בַּעְלָהּ קְטָטָה וְיֵשׁ לָהּ לוֹמַר נַחַת רוּחַ עָשִׂיתִי לְבַעְלִי. אֲבָל אִם קָנוּ מִיַּד הָאִשָּׁה תְּחִלָּה שֶׁאֵין לָהּ שִׁעְבּוּד עַל מָקוֹם זֶה וְאַחַר כָּךְ מָכַר אוֹתוֹ הַבַּעַל אֵינָהּ טוֹרֶפֶת אוֹתוֹ. וְכֵן אִם מָכַר הַבַּעַל וְאָמַר לְאִשְׁתּוֹ לִכְתֹּב לַלּוֹקֵחַ דִּין וּדְבָרִים אֵין לִי עִמְּךָ וְלֹא כָּתְבָה וְלֹא הִסְכִּימָה לְמַעֲשָׂיו וְנִפְסַד הַמֶּכֶר וְחָזַר הַבַּעַל וּמָכַר לְאִישׁ אַחֵר בֵּין אוֹתָהּ שָׂדֶה בֵּין שָׂדֶה אַחֶרֶת וְאַחַר שֶׁמָּכַר הַבַּעַל הִסְכִּימָה לְמַעֲשָׂיו וְקָנוּ מִיָּדָהּ, שֶׁאֵין לָהּ שִׁעְבּוּד עַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ, אֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לִטְרֹף שֶׁאֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לוֹמַר נַחַת רוּחַ עָשִׂיתִי לְבַעְלִי שֶׁהֲרֵי בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה כְּשֶׁלֹּא רָצְתָה לֹא הָלְכָה בִּרְצוֹן בַּעְלָהּ:

12

[The above ruling is also relevant in the following situation.] A man had two wives. He sold a field, and the purchaser had entered into a contractual act with one of [the husband's] wives, waiving her lien to this field in a manner in which the agreement was effective and the woman no longer had the privilege of claiming, "I did this [merely] to please my husband." Afterwards, the husband died or divorced both his wives.

The second wife may expropriate the property from the purchaser, for she did not enter into any agreement with him. The first wife may then expropriate [the property] from the second wife, for she had a prior claim to it, and she waived her lien only with regard to the purchaser [and not with regard to anyone else]. When the property comes into the possession of the first [wife], the purchaser may expropriate it from her, since she made an agreement with him. [The second wife can then expropriate it from the purchaser,] and the cycle continues until they reach a compromise among themselves.25

יב

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים וּמָכַר אֶת שָׂדֵהוּ וְקָנוּ מִיַּד הָרִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁאֵין לָהּ שִׁעְבּוּד עַל שָׂדֶה זוֹ וְאֵינָהּ טוֹרֶפֶת אוֹתוֹ מִן הַלּוֹקֵחַ וְהָיָה הַקִּנְיָן מוֹעִיל שֶׁאֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לִטְעֹן בּוֹ נַחַת רוּחַ עָשִׂיתִי לְבַעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת הַבַּעַל אוֹ גֵּרֵשׁ שְׁתֵּיהֶן הַשְּׁנִיָּה מוֹצִיאָה מִיַּד הַלּוֹקֵחַ שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא קָנוּ מִיָּדָהּ לַלּוֹקֵחַ. וְהָרִאשׁוֹנָה מוֹצִיאָה מִיַּד הַשְּׁנִיָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא קָדְמָה וְלֹא הֵסִירָה שִׁעְבּוּדָהּ אֶלָּא מֵעַל הַלּוֹקֵחַ. וּכְשֶׁתַּחְזֹר הַשָּׂדֶה לָרִאשׁוֹנָה חוֹזֵר הַלּוֹקֵחַ וּמוֹצִיאָהּ מִיָּדָהּ שֶׁהֲרֵי קָנוּ לוֹ. וְחוֹזְרוֹת חֲלִילָה עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשׂוּ פְּשָׁרָה בֵּינֵיהֶן:

13

[In the event of her husband's death,] a widow - regardless of whether she was widowed from erusin or nisu'in - may take the oath [required of her], sell land belonging to her husband and collect [the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah. [The sale may be carried out] in a court of expert judges, or in a court whose judges are not expert,26 provided it consists of three trustworthy men who are knowledgeable with regard to the evaluation of land. The responsibility for the sale falls on the estate belonging to the heirs.27 A divorcee, by contrast, may sell [her ex-husband's property] only in a court of expert judges.28

Whenever a woman has property sold in court, she must have it sold after a public announcement has been made. In the laws of loans,29 the guidelines for the sale [of property] will be explained. When, by contrast, a woman sells property without the participation of the court,30 a public announcement [of the sale] need not be made. It is, nevertheless, necessary [to consult] with three trustworthy men who are knowledgeable with regard to the evaluation [of property].

יג

אַלְמָנָה בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִן הָאֵרוּסִין נִשְׁבַּעַת וּמוֹכֶרֶת מִקַּרְקַע בַּעְלָהּ וְנִפְרַעַת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ בֵּין בְּבֵית דִּין מֻמְחִין בֵּין בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁאֵינָן מֻמְחִין. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה הָאֲנָשִׁים נֶאֱמָנִין וְיוֹדְעִין בְּשׁוּמַת הַקַּרְקַע. וְאַחֲרָיוּת הַמֶּכֶר עַל נִכְסֵי יְתוֹמִים. אֲבָל הַגְּרוּשָׁה לֹא תִּמְכֹּר אֶלָּא בְּבֵית דִּין מֻמְחִין. וְכָל הַמּוֹכֶרֶת בְּבֵית דִּין לֹא תִּמְכֹּר אֶלָּא בְּהַכְרָזָה. וּבְהִלְכוֹת הַלְוָאָה יִתְבָּאֵר מִשְׁפַּט מְכִירַת בֵּית דִּין הֵיאַךְ הִיא. אֲבָל הַמּוֹכֶרֶת שֶׁלֹּא בְּבֵית דִּין אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה הַכְרָזָה וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן צָרִיךְ שְׁלֹשָׁה שֶׁהֵם נֶאֱמָנִים וְיוֹדְעִים בְּשׁוּמָא:

14

[The following rules apply when] a widow sells [her husband's] landed property privately in order to collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah:31 If she sold the property at its proper value, the sale is binding.32 [All that is necessary is for] her to take the oath required of widows after the sale.33

The above applies when she sells the property to another individual. If she takes it as her own after evaluating it, her act is of no significance.34 [This applies even when] she had announced the sale of the property [and received no better offer].

יד

אַלְמָנָה שֶׁמָּכְרָה קַרְקַע בִּכְתֻבָּתָהּ בֵּינָהּ לְבֵין עַצְמָהּ אִם מָכְרָה שָׁוֶה בְּשָׁוֶה מִכְרָהּ קַיָּם וְנִשְׁבַּעַת שְׁבוּעַת אַלְמָנָה אַחַר שֶׁמָּכְרָה. וְהוּא שֶׁמָּכְרָה לְאַחֵר אֲבָל אִם שָׁמָה לְעַצְמָהּ לֹא עָשְׂתָה כְּלוּם וַאֲפִלּוּ הִכְרִיזָה:

15

[In the above situation,] if the woman's ketubah was for 200 [zuz], and she sold [property] that was worth 100 [zuz] for 200,35 or property that was worth 200 for 100,36 she has received the value of her ketubah and is no longer owed anything. She must, however, take the oath required of a widow.

If her ketubah was for 100 [zuz] and she sold [property] worth 101 [zuz] for 100, the sale is nullified.37 [This applies] even if she says, "I will [accept the loss and] return the [outstanding] dinar to the heirs."

טו

הָיְתָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ מָאתַיִם וּמָכְרָה שְׁוֵה מֵאָה בְּמָאתַיִם אוֹ שְׁוֵה מָאתַיִם בְּמֵאָה נִתְקַבְּלָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ וְאֵין לָהּ כְּלוּם וּבִלְבַד שֶׁתִּשָּׁבַע שְׁבוּעַת אַלְמָנָה. הָיְתָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ מֵאָה וּמָכְרָה שְׁוֵה מֵאָה וְדִינָר בְּמֵאָה מִכְרָהּ בָּטֵל וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמְרָה אֲנִי אַחֲזִיר אֶת הַדִּינָר לַיּוֹרְשִׁים:

16

If her ketubah was for 400 zuz and she sold [four pieces of property], three that were each worth 100 [zuz] for 100 [zuz] each, and one that was worth 101 zuz for 100 [zuz - the final sale is nullified, but the [first three] are all binding.

טז

הָיְתָה כְּתֻבָּתָהּ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת זוּז וּמָכְרָה לָזֶה בְּמָנֶה וְלָזֶה בְּמָנֶה שָׁוֶה בְּשָׁוֶה וְלָאַחֲרוֹן שְׁוֵה מֵאָה וְדִינָר בְּמֵאָה שֶׁל אַחֲרוֹן בָּטֵל וְשֶׁל כֻּלָּם קַיָּם:

17

A woman has the privilege of selling [the rights to] her ketubah or giving [them] as a present.38 If her husband dies or divorces her, [the purchaser or the recipient] is entitled to come and collect [the money due her by virtue of her ketubah].39 If she dies in the lifetime of her husband or [after his death, but] before she takes the oath [required of widows], he is not entitled to anything.

יז

יֵשׁ לָאִשָּׁה לִמְכֹּר כְּתֻבָּתָהּ אוֹ לִתְּנָהּ בְּמַתָּנָה אִם מֵת הַבַּעַל אוֹ גֵּרְשָׁהּ יָבֹא הַלָּה וְיִטּל וְאִם מֵתָה הִיא בְּחַיֵּי בַּעְלָהּ אוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁנִּשְׁבְּעָה אֵין לוֹ כְּלוּם:

18

Although a woman sold [the rights to] a portion of her ketubah, used them as security [for a loan] or gave them as a present, she may sell landed property belonging to her husband and collect the remainder of [the money due her by virtue of] her ketubah. [This sale may be carried out] in a court of three expert judges or through three trustworthy men.

[A woman] may sell [portions of her husband's property] many times. [These sales may be carried out] in a court of three expert judges or through three trustworthy men who are knowledgeable with regard to the evaluation of property.

יח

הֲרֵי שֶׁמָּכְרָה מִקְצָת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ אוֹ מִשְׁכְּנָה מִקְצָת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ אוֹ נָתְנָה לְאַחֵר מִקְצָת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ מוֹכֶרֶת מִקַּרְקַע בַּעְלָהּ וְתִגְבֶּה הַשְּׁאָר בֵּין בְּבֵית דִּין מֻמְחִין בֵּין בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה נֶאֱמָנִים. וּמוֹכֶרֶת לִכְתֻבָּתָהּ אֲפִלּוּ פְּעָמִים רַבּוֹת בֵּין בְּבֵית דִּין בֵּין בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה נֶאֱמָנִים וְיוֹדְעִים שׁוּמַת הַקַּרְקַע:

19

When a woman sells [the rights to] her ketubah - whether to another person or to her husband - she does not forfeit the other privileges of her ketubah.40 [As such,] if she has a son, [and she dies before her husband does,] he inherits the worth of her ketubah - [although it] was sold from his father's estate - in addition to his share [in the estate, as will be explained].41

If, by contrast, a woman waives her ketubah in favor of her husband, she forfeits all the privileges associated with her ketubah. [Her husband] is not required to provide her even with her subsistence.42

The waiver of a ketubah [in favor of the woman's husband] need not [be affirmed by] a contractual act nor [be observed by] witnesses,43 just as the forfeiture [of any obligations] does not require affirmation by] a contractual act nor [the observation of] witnesses. Through one's words alone [the forfeiture is binding], provided the statement is made seriously, [in a manner that] can be relied upon, rather than facetiously, as a joke, or rhetorically.44

יט

הַמּוֹכֶרֶת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ בֵּין לַאֲחֵרִים בֵּין לְבַעְלָהּ לֹא אִבְּדָה שְׁאָר תְּנָאֵי כְּתֻבָּה. וְאִם הָיָה לָהּ בֵּן זָכָר יוֹרֵשׁ כְּנֶגֶד הַכְּתֻבָּה הַזֹּאת שֶׁנִּמְכְּרָה מִנִּכְסֵי אָבִיו יוֹתֵר עַל חֶלְקוֹ כְּדִין תְּנַאי זֶה. אֲבָל הַמּוֹחֶלֶת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ לְבַעְלָהּ אִבְּדָה כָּל תְּנָאֵי כְּתֻבָּתָהּ וַאֲפִלּוּ מְזוֹנוֹת אֵין לָהּ עָלָיו. וּמוֹחֶלֶת כְּתֻבָּתָהּ אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה קִנְיָן וְלֹא עֵדִים כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַמּוֹחֲלִים שֶׁאֵינָן צְרִיכִין לֹא עֵדִים וְלֹא קִנְיָן אֶלָּא בִּדְבָרִים בִּלְבַד. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ דְּבָרִים שֶׁהַדַּעַת סוֹמֶכֶת עֲלֵיהֶן וְלֹא יִהְיוּ דִּבְרֵי שְׂחוֹק וְהִתּוּל אוֹ דִּבְרֵי תֵּימָהּ אֶלָּא בְּדַעַת נְכוֹנָה:

Test Yourself on This Chapter

Footnotes
1.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Ketubot 10:4), the Rambam explains that this oath differs from the oath that all widows take before collecting from an estate, as mentioned in Chapter 16, Halachah 4, and must be taken even when the wives are not obligated to take that oath. The woman must take this oath for the other widows, stating that she did not collect any money from their husband's estate previously. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 96:16), however, states that the first widow takes an oath to the second, the second to the third, the third to the fourth, and the fourth to the heirs.

2.

This procedure is followed even if doing so prevents one of the wives from collecting all that is due her. Indeed, even if there is nothing left for her at all, this order should be followed.

3.

This ruling follows the opinion of ben Nanas in the above-mentioned mishnah. It involves a reversal of opinion for the Rambam, who, in his Commentary on the Mishnah favored the view of the other Sages.

4.

This refers to a situation where the property owned by the estate is sufficient to cover all the obligations. Otherwise, the creditor takes precedence over the widows, as explained in Halachot 4-5 (Maggid Mishneh).

5.

If one of the wives or creditors did not wait for the formal deposition of the estate's property, but took possession of some of the movable property on his or her own initiative, they are allowed to retain possession. For in contrast to landed property, the ownership of movable property is not a matter of public knowledge. Hence a creditor does not know whether another creditor preceded him, and therefore no creditor is given the right to collect his due from such property.

As reflected in the rulings of the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 102:2), this ruling applies only when the movable property was not acquired together with and via the acquisition of landed property (kinyan agav). In the latter situation, the ownership of the movable property also becomes public knowledge, and therefore the order in which the liens were established is significant.

The Ramah quotes the opinion of the Mordechai, who states that, in the latter instance, if one of the widows seizes possession of the property, it should be expropriated from her.

6.

For it was money that he gave him.

7.

For a woman relies on the fact that she will ultimately be able to collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah from the landed property in her husband's estate (Ketubot 86a).

8.

See Chapter 16, Halachah 7.

9.

See the notes on Halachah 3 with regard to a kinyan agav.

10.

The term nichsei tzon barzel refers to property that the woman brought to the household, for which the husband obligated himself to pay a fixed value. In this instance, since the woman, like a creditor, gave up something of value, she is considered on a higher level of precedence than usual.

11.

This pattern is also followed in the allocation of a person's holdings when they are not sufficient to pay the debts he owes, as explained in Hilchot Malveh V'Loveh, Chapter 20. The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's approach and follows the minority view that the Rambam cites in that source, which maintains that the money should be divided proportionately. The Rambam's view is followed by most other Rishonim (Rashi, Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi, the Rashba and Rabbenu Asher) and is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 96:18).

12.

Bava Batra 174b explains that the guarantor is not serious about his commitment. He feels that the couple needs only a small push to get married, and that is his intent, rather than making a serious financial commitment. Even a contractual act, which in other contexts serves as an indication of seriousness of purpose, is not sufficient in this instance.

The Ra'avad and the Tur (Even HaEzer 102) differ, and maintain that if a guarantor affirms his commitment with a contractual act, he is liable. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 102:6) quotes the Rambam's view, while the Ramah cites that of the Ra'avad.

13.

I.e., he brought about the marriage between the couple.

14.

As can be deduced from the Rambam's wording, the Maggid Mishneh states that if a person guarantees a woman's nedunyah (the goods she brought to the household), his commitment is binding. For in this instance, the woman did give up something of value.

15.

In this instance as well, the Ra'avad and the Tur differ and hold the father liable, even when he did not affirm his commitment with a contractual act. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 102:6) follows the Rambam's view, while the Ramah cites that of the Ra'avad.

16.

Moreover, this vow must be taken al da'at rabbim, based on the judgement of the public, and it thus cannot be nullified (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 102:7).

17.

I.e., after the woman collected the money due her by virtue of her ketubah from him.

18.

The woman may not collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah from the property while it is the possession of the Temple treasury. After it is redeemed, however, she may collect her due from the property. The person who redeems the property must, however, be advised that the property is on lien to a woman's ketubah. (See Hilchot Malveh V'Loveh 18:7; Hilchot Arachin VaCharamin 7:14-15.)

19.

I.e., the woman will collect her husband's property because it is on lien on her ketubah. Afterwards, she will remarry her husband, and he will be able to use his property, because of his rights as the woman's husband.

20.

The sale is valid, however, until the woman seeks to claim the property. If, by contrast, the husband sells property that belonged to the woman, or property from which she was designated to collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah, the sale is nullified immediately (Maggid Mishneh). (See Hilchot Mechirah 30:3.)

21.

Note the Ramah (Even HaEzer 90:17), who states that if the woman received money from the purchaser, her commitment is binding.

22.

I.e., the woman is saying that her commitment was not sincere and was made only to satisfy her husband.

23.

Since she entered into the agreement with the purchaser before her husband made the sale, she cannot excuse herself by saying that she made her statements only to please her husband.

24.

The Maggid Mishneh questions the reason for this phrase. When this law is cited in the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 90:17), this phrase is omitted. Nevertheless, based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Ketubot 10:5), the Ma'aseh Rokeach maintains that, according to the Rambam, a sale must have been nullified in order for the woman's commitment to be binding later on.

25.

A three-way compromise would obviously be most desirable. Nevertheless, any compromise between two of the three parties that causes one to renounce his right to expropriate the property is sufficient to stop the cycle (Chelkat Mechokek 100:26).

26.

Our Sages understood that the necessity to pursue judicial proceedings is a cause of hardship and embarrassment for women. They felt that rather than subject his wife to such distress, any husband would willingly grant her the right to collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah by selling his property without appearing in court (Ketubot 97b).

Therefore, rather than require her to take the matter to a formal court, they enabled her to resolve the issue by having the property evaluated by three acquaintances who possess the qualities mentioned above. Although these men would not be considered capable of participating in an ordinary court, an exception was made in this case. If, however, the widow has already remarried, she is required to undergo the ordinary judicial procedure.

27.

I.e., should the property be expropriated by a creditor of the deceased, his heirs must reimburse the purchaser.

28.

With regard to a divorcee, by contrast, our Sages (op. cit.) felt that her ex-husband would not be disturbed by her being subjected to hardship when this is necessary to protect his own interests.

Although there are Rishonim who maintain that the provision made for a widow also applies to a divorcee, the Rambam's ruling is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 103:3).

29.

See Hilchot Malveh V'Loveh 12:8,10, which explains that public announcements that a property will be sold are made daily for thirty days (or on Mondays and Thursdays, for a period of sixty days).

30.

I.e., without the participation of a formal court.

31.

I.e., without even the participation of the three acquaintances mentioned in the previous halachah.

32.

Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 103:1) appears to favor the Rambam's view, it does mention other opinions that differ.

33.

It would appear that the Rambam requires her merely to take the oath required of all widows before collecting the money due her by virtue of her ketubah. In this instance, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 103:4) requires the woman to take an additional oath, stating that she did not sell the property for less than its worth.

34.

The Maggid Mishneh and Chelkat Mechokek 103:11 state that, according to the Rambam, if the woman has the property evaluated by three trustworthy men who are knowledgeable with regard to the value of property, she is allowed to take the property as her own. Other opinions differ and maintain that this is possible only when the property is evaluated by a proper Rabbinical court.

35.

When selling the property, the woman is considered to be the agent of the heirs, and the profit belongs to them and not to her (Ketubot 98b).

36.

In this instance, the woman must accept the loss herself, because she took property that was worth the full value of her ketubah.

37.

For she has no right to sell any property that is worth more than her ketubah.

38.

The requirement of a ketubah was instituted so that the husband will not consider divorce a light matter, because of the severity of the financial obligation that will result. This remains true even if the woman does not receive the money herself.

39.

As reflected in the continuation of the Rambam's words, the woman must first take the oaths required of her as if she herself were to collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah.

40.

I.e., her rights to support, medical attention and the like.

41.

Chapter 19, Halachah 2.

42.

From the Rambam's wording, it appears that the woman is not entitled to her subsistence even during her husband's lifetime, while they remain married. (Note Chapter 10, Halachah 10, which states that if a woman waives her ketubah in favor of her husband, he must write her a new ketubah.) The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 93:9) quotes the opinion that even during the husband's lifetime, he is not required to support his wife, but appears to favor the view of other Rishonim (Rashi, the Ramban and the Rashba), who grant a woman the right to support during her husband's lifetime in such a situation.

See also Chapter 19, Halachah 12, which discusses another consequence of a woman's waiver of her ketubah in favor of her husband.

43.

In contrast to their role with regard to marriage and divorce, in financial matters witnesses are necessary only to confirm what happened. Their presence does not make a transaction or a commitment binding, nor hinder it from becoming so. (See Hilchot Mechirah 5:9.)

44.

See Hilchot Mechirah 5:11-13.

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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