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Ishut - Chapter Four

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Ishut - Chapter Four


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.


אֵין הָאִשָּׁה מִתְקַדֶּשֶׁת אֶלָּא לִרְצוֹנָהּ וְהַמְקַדֵּשׁ אִשָּׁה בְּעַל כָּרְחָהּ אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. אֲבָל הָאִישׁ שֶׁאֲנָסוּהוּ עַד שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ בְּעַל כָּרְחוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְיֵשׁ לָאִישׁ לְקַדֵּשׁ נָשִׁים רַבּוֹת כְּאַחַת וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה בְּכֶסֶף אִם קִדֵּשׁ בְּכֶסֶף פְּרוּטָה לְכָל אַחַת וְאַחַת. וְיֵשׁ לְאַחַת מֵהֶן אוֹ לְאַחֵר לְקַבֵּל הַקִּדּוּשִׁין עַל יְדֵי כֻּלָּן מִדַּעְתָּן:


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.


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת הָאִשָּׁה וְנָתַן הַקִּדּוּשִׁין מִדַּעְתָּהּ בְּיַד חֲבֶרְתָּהּ וְאָמַר לַחֲבֶרְתָּהּ כְּשֶׁנָּתַן הַקִּדּוּשִׁין בְּיָדָהּ וְאַתְּ נַמִּי. אוֹ וְכֵן גַּם אַתְּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. הֲרֵי שְׁתֵּיהֶן מְקֻדָּשׁוֹת. אֲבָל אִם נָתַן בְּיָדָהּ וְאָמַר לָהּ וְאַתְּ. הֲרֵי זוֹ שֶׁקִּבְּלָה הַקִּדּוּשִׁין מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בְּסָפֵק. שֶׁמָּא לֹא נִתְכַּוִּן אֶלָּא לִרְאוֹת מַה בְּלִבָּהּ וּכְאִלּוּ אָמַר לָהּ וְאַתְּ מַה תֹּאמְרִי בְּדָבָר זֶה. וּלְפִיכָךְ קִבְּלָה הַקִּדּוּשִׁין הִיא שֶׁהֲרֵי זֶה עֲדַיִן שׁוֹאֲלָהּ לִרְאוֹת מַה בְּלִבָּהּ וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה הִיא סָפֵק מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת:


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," " your father" or " 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.


אָמַר לָהּ הִתְקַדְּשִׁי לִי בְּדִינָר זֶה נְטָלַתּוּ וּזְרָקַתּוּ לְפָנָיו אוֹ לַיָּם אוֹ לָאוּר אוֹ לְדָבָר הָאָבֵד אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. אָמְרָה לוֹ תְּנֵהוּ לְאַבָּא אוֹ לְאָבִיךָ אוֹ לְאִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי וְנָתַן אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְאִם אָמְרָה לוֹ תְּנֵהוּ לוֹ שֶׁיְּקַבְּלֵהוּ לִי וְנָתַן הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת:


[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.


אָמְרָה הַנִּיחֵהוּ עַל הַסֶּלַע אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת וְאִם הָיָה סֶלַע שֶׁלָּהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. הָיָה סֶלַע שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בְּסָפֵק. אָמַר לָהּ הִתְקַדְּשִׁי לִי בְּכִכָּר זֶה אָמְרָה לוֹ תְּנֵהוּ לֶעָנִי אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה עָנִי הַסָּמוּךְ עָלֶיהָ אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. תְּנֵהוּ לַכֶּלֶב הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת וְאִם הָיָה הַכֶּלֶב שֶׁלָּהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְאִם הָיָה רָץ אַחֲרֶיהָ לְנָשְׁכָהּ וְאָמְרָה לוֹ תְּנֵהוּ לְכֶלֶב זֶה הֲרֵי זוֹ סָפֵק מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת:


[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."


הָיָה מוֹכֵר פֵּרוֹת אוֹ כֵּלִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן בָּאָה אִשָּׁה וְאָמְרָה לוֹ תֵּן לִי מְעַט מֵאֵלּוּ וְאָמַר לָהּ אִם אֶתֵּן לָךְ תְּהִי מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי. אִם אָמְרָה הֵן וְנָתַן לָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת אֲבָל אִם אָמְרָה לוֹ תֵּן לִי מֵהֶן אוֹ הַשְׁלֵךְ לִי אוֹ דְּבָרִים שֶׁעִנְיָנָם לֹא תִּשְׂחַק עִמִּי בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ אֶלָּא תֵּן לִי בִּלְבַד וְנָתַן אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה שׁוֹתֶה יַיִן וְאָמְרָה לוֹ תֵּן לִי כּוֹס אֶחָד וְאָמַר לָהּ אִם אֶתֵּן לָךְ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי בּוֹ וְאָמְרָה הַשְׁקֵנִי הַשְׁקוֹת אוֹ תֵּן הַשְׁקֵה הַשְׁלֵךְ אֵינָהּ מְ [קֵ] דֶּשֶׁת שֶׁאֵין הַדְּבָרִים נִרְאִין אֶלָּא הַשְׁקֵנִי בִּלְבַד וְלֹא תִּשְׂחַק עִמִּי בְּדָבָר אַחֵר:


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.


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ בְּעֵד אֶחָד אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לְקִדּוּשָׁיו וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשְּׁנֵיהֶם מוֹדִין. קַל וָחֹמֶר לִמְקַדֵּשׁ בְּלֹא עֵדִים. הַמְקַדֵּשׁ בִּפְסוּלֵי עֵדוּת שֶׁל תּוֹרָה אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. בִּפְסוּלֵי עֵדוּת שֶׁל דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים אוֹ בְּעֵדִים שֶׁהֵן סָפֵק פְּסוּלֵי תּוֹרָה אִם רָצָה לִכְנֹס חוֹזֵר וּמְקַדֵּשׁ בִּכְשֵׁרִים וְאִם לֹא רָצָה לִכְנֹס צְרִיכָה גֵּט מִמֶּנּוּ מִסָּפֵק. וַאֲפִלּוּ כָּפְרָה הָאִשָּׁה וְהִכְחִישָׁה אֶת הָעֵדִים וְאָמְרָה לֹא קִדַּשְׁתַּנִי כּוֹפִין אוֹתָהּ לִקַּח גֵּט. וְכֵן דִּין כָּל קִדּוּשֵׁי סָפֵק אִם רָצָה לִכְנֹס חוֹזֵר וּמְקַדֵּשׁ וַדַּאי וְאִם לֹא רָצָה לִכְנֹס צְרִיכָה גֵּט מִמֶּנּוּ מִסָּפֵק:


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].


קָטָן שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ אֵין קִדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין. אֲבָל גָּדוֹל שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ אֶת הַקְּטַנָּה הַיְתוֹמָה. אוֹ קְטַנָּה שֶׁיָּצְאָה מֵרְשׁוּת אָבִיהָ. אִם הָיְתָה פְּחוּתָה מִבַּת שֵׁשׁ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא נְבוֹנַת לַחַשׁ בְּיוֹתֵר וּמַכֶּרֶת וּמַבְחֶנֶת אֵין כָּאן שֵׁם קִדּוּשִׁין וְאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן. וְאִם הָיְתָה מִבַּת עֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים וּלְמַעְלָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא סְכָלָה בְּיוֹתֵר הוֹאִיל וְנִתְקַדְּשָׁה לְדַעְתָּהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לְמֵאוּן. הָיְתָה מִבַּת שֵׁשׁ וְעַד סוֹף עֶשֶׂר בּוֹדְקִין אֶת יְפִי דַּעְתָּהּ אִם מַכֶּרֶת וּמַבְחֶנֶת עִסְקֵי הַנִּשּׂוּאִין וְהַקִּדּוּשִׁין צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן. וְאִם לָאו אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לְמֵאוּן וְאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן:


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.


כֵּיצַד מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לְמֵאוּן. שֶׁאִם נִתְקַדְּשָׁה וְלֹא רָצְתָה לֵישֵׁב עִם בַּעְלָהּ צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן בִּפְנֵי שְׁנַיִם וְלוֹמַר אֵינִי רוֹצָה בּוֹ וְיוֹצְאָה בְּלֹא גֵּט כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת גֵּרוּשִׁין. וְזוֹ הִיא הַנִּקְרֵאת מְמָאֶנֶת. וְלָמָּה יוֹצְאָה בְּלֹא גֵּט מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים וְהֵן תְּלוּיִין שֶׁאִם יָשְׁבָה עִם בַּעְלָהּ עַד שֶׁגָּדְלָה גָּמְרוּ קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ וְנַעֲשֵׂית אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ גְּמוּרָה וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וּלְקַדְּשָׁהּ אַחַר שֶׁגָּדְלָה. וְאִם לֹא רָצְתָה לֵישֵׁב צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן וְתֵצֵא בְּלֹא גֵּט:


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


חֵרֵשׁ שֶׁנָּשָׂא פִּקַּחַת וְכֵן חֵרֶשֶׁת שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת לְפִקֵּחַ אֵין קִדּוּשֵׁיהֶן גְּמוּרִין מִן הַתּוֹרָה אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים לְפִיכָךְ אִם בָּא פִּקֵּחַ וְקִדֵּשׁ אֵשֶׁת חֵרֵשׁ הַפִּקַּחַת הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לַשֵּׁנִי קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין וְנוֹתֵן גֵּט וְהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת לְבַעְלָהּ הַחֵרֵשׁ. אֲבָל הַשּׁוֹטֶה שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ פִּקַּחַת אוֹ פִּקֵּחַ שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ שׁוֹטָה אֵין כָּאן קִדּוּשִׁין כְּלָל לֹא מִדִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה וְלֹא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים:


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


סָרִיס שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ בֵּין סְרִיס חַמָּה בֵּין סְרִיס אָדָם וְכֵן אַיְלוֹנִית שֶׁנִּתְקַדְּשָׁה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין:


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


טֻמְטוּם וְאַנְדְּרוֹגִינוּס שֶׁקִּדְּשׁוּ אִשָּׁה אוֹ שֶׁקִּדְּשָׁן אִישׁ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ קִדּוּשֵׁי סָפֵק וּצְרִיכִין גֵּט מִסָּפֵק:


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


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אַחַת מִן הָעֲרָיוֹת לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם שֶׁאֵין קִדּוּשִׁין תּוֹפְסִין לָעֶרְוָה חוּץ מִן הַנִּדָּה שֶׁהַמְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת הַנִּדָּה הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין וְאֵין רָאוּי לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן:


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.


אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ שֶׁפָּשְׁטָה יָדָהּ וְקִבְּלָה קִדּוּשִׁין מֵאַחֵר בִּפְנֵי בַּעְלָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לַשֵּׁנִי. שֶׁהָאִשָּׁה שֶׁאָמְרָה לְבַעְלָהּ בְּפָנָיו גֵרַשְׁתַּנִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת חֲזָקָה אֵין אִשָּׁה מְעִזָּה פָּנֶיהָ בִּפְנֵי בַּעְלָהּ. אֲבָל אִם קִדְּשָׁהּ אַחֵר שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי בַּעְלָהּ אֵין קִדּוּשִׁין תּוֹפְסִין בָּהּ עַד שֶׁתָּבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה קֹדֶם שֶׁתְּקַבֵּל הַקִּדּוּשִׁין, כָּל שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו מְעִזָּה:


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.


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אַחַת מִן הַשְּׁנִיּוֹת אוֹ מֵאִסּוּרֵי לָאוִין אוֹ מֵאִסּוּרֵי עֲשֵׂה. וְכֵן יָבָם שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ צָרַת יְבָמָה. הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין חוּץ מִיבָמָה שֶׁנִּתְקַדְּשָׁה לְזָר שֶׁהִיא מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בְּסָפֵק. נִסְתַּפֵּק לַחֲכָמִים אִם הַקִּדּוּשִׁין תּוֹפְסִין בִּיבָמָה כִּשְׁאָר חִיּוּבֵי לָאוִין אוֹ אֵין קִדּוּשִׁין תּוֹפְסִין בָּהּ כְּעֶרְוָה. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאָסוּר לוֹ לִכְנֹס אַחַת מִכָּל אֵלּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה מְגָרֵשׁ בְּגֵט:


[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


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ כּוּתִית אוֹ שִׁפְחָה אֵינָן קִדּוּשִׁין אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הִיא אַחַר הַקִּדּוּשִׁין כְּמוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה קֹדֶם הַקִּדּוּשִׁין. וְכֵן עַכּוּ''ם וְעֶבֶד שֶׁקִּדְּשׁוּ בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵין קִדּוּשֵׁיהֶן קִדּוּשִׁין. יִשְׂרָאֵל מוּמָר שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא עוֹבֵד עַכּוּ''ם בִּרְצוֹנוֹ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין וּצְרִיכָה גֵּט מִמֶּנּוּ:


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.


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אִשָּׁה שֶׁחֶצְיָהּ שִׁפְחָה וְחֶצְיָהּ בַּת חוֹרִין אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין עַד שֶׁתִּשְׁתַּחְרֵר וְכֵיוָן שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּחְרְרָה גָּמְרוּ קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ כְּקִדּוּשֵׁי קְטַנָּה שֶׁגָּדְלָה וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְקַדְּשָׁהּ קִדּוּשִׁין אֲחֵרִים. בָּא אַחֵר וְקִדְּשָׁהּ אַחַר שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּחְרְרָה הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק קִדּוּשִׁין לִשְׁנֵיהֶם:


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.


וְאֵי זוֹ הִיא שִׁפְחָה חֲרוּפָה הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה זוֹ מִי שֶׁחֶצְיָהּ שִׁפְחָה וְחֶצְיָהּ בַּת חוֹרִין שֶׁקִּדְּשָׁהּ עֶבֶד עִבְרִי. וּמִי שֶׁחֶצְיוֹ עֶבֶד וְחֶצְיוֹ בֶּן חוֹרִין שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ בַּת חוֹרִין הֲרֵי זוֹ סָפֵק קִדּוּשִׁין:


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.


שִׁכּוֹר שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ קִדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּכֵּר הַרְבֵּה. וְאִם הִגִּיעַ לְשִׁכְרוּתוֹ שֶׁל לוֹט אֵין קִדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין. וּמִתְיַשְּׁבִין בְּדָבָר זֶה:


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.


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ בְּפָחוֹת מִפְּרוּטָה אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. קִדְּשָׁהּ בְּאֹכֶל אוֹ בִּכְלִי וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ שֶׁשָּׁוֶה פָּחוֹת מִפְּרוּטָה הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בְּסָפֵק וּצְרִיכָה גֵּט מִסָּפֵק שֶׁמָּא דָּבָר זֶה שָׁוֶה פְּרוּטָה בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר. הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁכָּל הַמְקַדֵּשׁ בִּשְׁוֵה כֶּסֶף אִם הָיָה בְּאוֹתָהּ הַמְּדִינָה שְׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ קִדּוּשֵׁי וַדַּאי וְאִם אֵינוֹ שְׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ קִדּוּשֵׁי סָפֵק. יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁאִם קִדֵּשׁ בְּתַבְשִׁיל אוֹ בְּיָרָק שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְקַיֵּם וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶם אִם לֹא הָיוּ שְׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה בְּאוֹתוֹ הַמָּקוֹם אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת כְּלָל שֶׁהֲרֵי דָּבָר זֶה אֵינוֹ מַגִּיעַ לְמָקוֹם אַחֵר עַד שֶׁיִּפָּסֵד וְיֹאבַד וְלֹא יִהְיוּ שְׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה. וְדָבָר שֶׁל טַעַם הוּא זֶה וְרָאוּי לִסְמֹךְ עָלָיו:


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].


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ (אִשָּׁה) בְּפָחוֹת מִפְּרוּטָה אוֹ שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים בִּפְרוּטָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשָּׁלַח סִבְלוֹנוֹת לְאַחַר מִכֵּן אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְכֵן קָטָן שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשָּׁלַח סִבְלוֹנוֹת לְאַחַר שֶׁהִגְדִּיל אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת שֶׁמֵּחֲמַת קִדּוּשִׁין הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שְׁלָחָן שֶׁהָיוּ קִדּוּשִׁין פְּסוּלִין:


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


הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת הָאִשָּׁה בְּכֶסֶף אוֹ בִּשְׁטָר אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּתֵּן הַקִּדּוּשִׁין לְתוֹךְ יָדָהּ אֶלָּא כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָצְתָה לִזְרֹק לָהּ קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ וּזְרָקָן בֵּין לְתוֹךְ יָדָהּ בֵּין לְתוֹךְ חֵיקָהּ אוֹ לְתוֹךְ חֲצֵרָהּ אוֹ לְתוֹךְ שָׂדֶה שֶׁלָּהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. הָיְתָה עוֹמֶדֶת בִּרְשׁוּת הַבַּעַל צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּתֵּן לְתוֹךְ יָדָהּ אוֹ לְתוֹךְ חֵיקָהּ. הָיְתָה עוֹמֶדֶת בִּרְשׁוּת שֶׁהִיא שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶן וְזָרַק לָהּ קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ מִדַּעְתָּהּ וְלֹא הִגִּיעוּ לְיָדָהּ אוֹ לְחֵיקָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת קִדּוּשֵׁי סָפֵק. וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמְרָה לוֹ הַנַּח קִדּוּשִׁין עַל מָקוֹם זֶה וְאוֹתוֹ הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ קִדּוּשֵׁי סָפֵק:


[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."


הָיוּ עוֹמְדִים בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים אוֹ בִּרְשׁוּת שֶׁאֵינוֹ שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם וְזָרַק לָהּ קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ. קָרוֹב לוֹ אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. קָרוֹב לָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. מֶחֱצָה עַל מֶחֱצָה אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ סָפֵק קָרוֹב לוֹ סָפֵק קָרוֹב לָהּ וְאָבְדוּ קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּגִּיעוּ לְיָדָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ סָפֵק מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. כֵּיצַד הוּא קָרוֹב לוֹ וְקָרוֹב לָהּ. כָּל שֶׁהוּא יָכוֹל לִשְׁמֹר אוֹתָן וְהִיא אֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה זֶה הוּא קָרוֹב לוֹ. הִיא יְכוֹלָה לִשְׁמֹר אוֹתָן וְהוּא אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל זֶהוּ קָרוֹב לָהּ. שְׁנֵיהֶן יְכוֹלִין לִשְׁמֹר אוֹתָן אוֹ שְׁנֵיהֶן אֵין יְכוֹלִים לִשְׁמֹר אוֹתָן זֶה הוּא מֶחֱצָה עַל מֶחֱצָה:


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.


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.


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


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).


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


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.)


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).


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


Chapter 11, Halachah 8.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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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