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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Ishut - Chapter Three

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Ishut - Chapter Three

1

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

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

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

א

כֵּיצַד הָאִשָּׁה מִתְקַדֶּשֶׁת. אִם בְּכֶסֶף הוּא מְקַדֵּשׁ אֵין פָּחוֹת מִפְּרוּטָה כֶּסֶף אוֹ שְׁוֵה פְּרוּטָה. אוֹמֵר לָהּ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי. אוֹ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְאֹרֶסֶת לִי. אוֹ הֲרֵי אַתְּ לִי לְאִשָּׁה בָּזֶה. וְנוֹתֵן לָהּ בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים. וְהָאִישׁ הוּא שֶׁאוֹמֵר דְּבָרִים שֶׁמַּשְׁמָעָן שֶׁקּוֹנֶה אוֹתָהּ לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וְהוּא שֶׁיִּתֵּן לָהּ הַכֶּסֶף:

2

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

ב

נָתְנָה הִיא וְאָמְרָה לוֹ הֲרֵי אֲנִי מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לְךָ. הֲרֵינִי מְאֹרֶסֶת לְךָ. הֲרֵינִי לְךָ לְאִנְתּוּ אוֹ בְּכָל לְשׁוֹן הַקְנָאָה אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְכֵן אִם נָתְנָה הִיא לוֹ וְאָמַר הוּא אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְאִם נָתַן הוּא וְאָמְרָה הִיא הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת מִסָּפֵק:

3

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

ג

וְאִם קִדֵּשׁ בִּשְׁטָר כּוֹתֵב עַל הַנְּיָר אוֹ עַל הַחֶרֶס אוֹ עַל הֶעָלֶה אוֹ עַל כָּל דָּבָר שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי אוֹ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְאֹרֶסֶת לִי וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ וְנוֹתְנוֹ לָהּ בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים:

4

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

ד

וְצָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּכְתֹּב אוֹתוֹ לְשֵׁם הָאִשָּׁה הַמִּתְקַדֶּשֶׁת כְּגֵט. וְאֵינוֹ כּוֹתְבוֹ אֶלָּא מִדַּעְתָּהּ. כְּתָבוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ אוֹ לִשְׁמָהּ שֶׁלֹּא מִדַּעְתָּהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנְּתָנוֹ לָהּ לְדַעְתָּהּ בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת

5

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

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

ה

וְאִם קִדֵּשׁ בְּבִיאָה אוֹמֵר לָהּ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי אוֹ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְאֹרֶסֶת לִי אוֹ הֲרֵי אַתְּ לִי לְאִשָּׁה בִּבְעִילָה זוֹ וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. וּמִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ בִּפְנֵי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים וּבוֹעֲלָהּ. וְהַמְקַדֵּשׁ בְּבִיאָה (מִסְּתָמָא) דַּעְתּוֹ עַל גְּמַר בִּיאָה. וּכְשֶׁיִּגְמֹר בִּיאָתוֹ תִּהְיֶה מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. (וּבֵין שֶׁבָּא עָלֶיהָ כְּדַרְכָּהּ וּבֵין שֶׁבָּא עָלֶיהָ שֶׁלֹּא כְּדַרְכָּהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת):

6

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

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

ו

הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁיֹּאמַר הָאִישׁ כְּשֶׁיְּקַדֵּשׁ צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מַשְׁמָעָם שֶׁהוּא קוֹנֶה הָאִשָּׁה וְלֹא שֶׁיְּהֵא מַשְׁמָע שֶׁהִקְנָה עַצְמוֹ לָהּ. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁאָמַר לָהּ אוֹ שֶׁכָּתַב בַּשְּׁטָר שֶׁנְּתָנוֹ לָהּ. הֲרֵינִי בַּעְלֵךְ. הֲרֵינִי אֲרוּסֵךְ. הֲרֵינִי אִישֵׁךְ וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. אֵין כָּאן קִדּוּשִׁין כְּלָל. אָמַר לָהּ אוֹ כָּתַב לָהּ. הֲרֵי אַתְּ אִשְׁתִּי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ אֲרוּסָתִי. אוֹ הֲרֵי אַתְּ קְנוּיָה לִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ שֶׁלִּי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ לְקוּחָתִי. הֲרֵי אֶת חֲרוּפָתִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ בִּרְשׁוּתִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ זְקוּקָה לִי וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת:

7

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

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

ז

אָמַר לָהּ אוֹ כָּתַב לָהּ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְיֻחֶדֶת לִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְיֹעֶדֶת לִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ עֶזְרָתִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ נֶגְדָּתִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ צַלְעָתִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ סְגוּרָתִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ תַּחְתַּי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ עֲצוּרָתִי. הֲרֵי אַתְּ תְּפוּסָתִי. הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בְּסָפֵק. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מְדַבֵּר עִמָּהּ תְּחִלָּה עַל עִסְקֵי קִדּוּשִׁין. אֲבָל אִם אֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר עִמָּהּ תְּחִלָּה עַל עִסִקֵי קִדּוּשִׁין אֵין חוֹשִׁשִׁין לִמִלּוֹת אֵלּוּ:

8

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

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

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

ח

וְיֵשׁ לָאִישׁ לְקַדֵּשׁ הָאִשָּׁה בְּכָל לָשׁוֹן שֶׁהִיא מַכֶּרֶת בּוֹ. וְיִהְיֶה מַשְׁמַע הַדְּבָרִים בְּאוֹתָהּ הַלָּשׁוֹן שֶׁקְּנָאָהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. הָיָה מְדַבֵּר עִם הָאִשָּׁה עַל עִסְקֵי הַקִּדּוּשִׁין וְרָצְתָה וְעָמַד וְקִדֵּשׁ וְלֹא פֵּרֵשׁ וְלֹא אָמַר לָהּ כְּלוּם אֶלָּא נָתַן בְּיָדָהּ אוֹ בָּעַל הוֹאִיל וְהֵן עֲסוּקִין בָּעִנְיָן דַּיּוֹ וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְפָרֵשׁ. וְכֵן עֵדֵי הַקִּדּוּשִׁין וְהַגֵּרוּשִׁין אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר לָהֵם אַתֵּם עֵדַי. אֵלָּא כֵּיוָן שֵׁגֵּרֵשׁ אוֹ קִדֵּשׁ בִּפִנֵיהֵם הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת אוֹ מִגֹרֵשֵׁת:

9

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

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

ט

הָאוֹמֵר לְאִשָּׁה הִתְקַדְּשִׁי לְחֶצְיִי הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. הָא לְמַה זֶּה דּוֹמֶה לְאוֹמֵר לָהּ תְּהִי אִשְׁתִּי אַתְּ וְאַחֶרֶת שֶׁנִּמְצָא שֶׁאֵין לָהּ אֶלָּא חֲצִי אִישׁ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר חֶצְיֵךְ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת שֶׁאֵין אִשָּׁה אַחַת רְאוּיָה לִשְׁנַיִם. וְכֵן אִם אוֹמֵר הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי וְלָזֶה אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת:

10

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

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

י

אָמַר לָהּ הֲרֵי חֶצְיֵךְ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי בִּפְרוּטָה וְחֶצְיֵךְ בִּפְרוּטָה. אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר לָהּ חֶצְיֵךְ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי בַּחֲצִי פְּרוּטָה וְחֶצְיֵךְ הָאַחֶרֶת מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בַּחֲצִי פְּרוּטָה הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. אָמַר לָהּ חֶצְיֵךְ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי בִּפְרוּטָה הַיּוֹם וְחֶצְיֵךְ בִּפְרוּטָה לְמָחָר. שְׁתֵּי חֲצָיַיִךְ בִּפְרוּטָה. שְׁתֵּי בְּנוֹתֶיךָ לִשְׁנֵי בָּנַי בִּפְרוּטָה. בִּתְּךָ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי וּפָרָתְךָ מְכוּרָה לִי בִּפְרוּטָה. אוֹ בִּתְּךָ וְקַרְקָעָתְךָ לִי בִּפְרוּטָה. בְּכָל אֵלּוּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בְּסָפֵק:

11

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

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

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

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

יא

הָאָב מְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת בִּתּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לְדַעְתָּהּ כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה. וְכֵן כְּשֶׁהִיא נַעֲרָה רְשׁוּתָהּ בְּיָדוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב טז) "אֶת בִּתִּי נָתַתִּי לָאִישׁ הַזֶּה לְאִשָּׁה". וְקִדּוּשֶׁיהָ לְאָבִיהָ. וְכֵן הוּא זַכַּאי בִּמְצִיאָתָהּ וּבְמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֶיהָ וּבִכְתֻבָּתָהּ אִם נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אוֹ נִתְאַלְמְנָה מִן הָאֵרוּסִין הוּא זַכַּאי בַּכּל עַד שֶׁתִּבָּגֵר. לְפִיכָךְ מְקַבֵּל הָאָב קִדּוּשֵׁי בִּתּוֹ מִיּוֹם שֶׁתִּוָּלֵד עַד שֶׁתִּבָּגֵר. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיְתָה חֵרֶשֶׁת אוֹ שׁוֹטָה וְקִדְּשָׁהּ הָאָב הֲרֵי הִיא אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ גְּמוּרָה. וְאִם הָיְתָה בַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד מִתְקַדֶּשֶׁת בְּבִיאָה מִדַּעַת אָבִיהָ. פָּחוֹת מִכֵּן אִם קִדְּשָׁהּ אָבִיהָ בְּבִיאָה אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת:

12

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

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

יב

בָּגְרָה הַבַּת אֵין לְאָבִיהָ בָּהּ רְשׁוּת וַהֲרֵי הִיא כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַנָּשִׁים שֶׁאֵינָם מִתְקַדְּשׁוֹת אֶלָּא לְדַעְתָּן. וְכֵן אִם הִשִּׂיאָהּ אָבִיהָ וְנִתְאַלְמְנָה אוֹ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה בְּחַיֵּי אָבִיהָ הֲרֵי הִיא בִּרְשׁוּת עַצְמָהּ וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעֲדַיִן הִיא קְטַנָּה. כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת אֵין לְאָבִיהָ בָּהּ רְשׁוּת לְעוֹלָם:

13

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

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

יג

נִתְקַדְּשָׁה קֹדֶם שֶׁתִּבְגֹּר שֶׁלֹּא לְדַעַת אָבִיהָ אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם נִתְרַצָּה הָאָב אַחַר שֶׁנִּתְקַדְּשָׁה. וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם נִתְאַלְמְנָה אוֹ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה מִן אוֹתָן הַקִּדּוּשִׁין אֵינָהּ אֲסוּרָה לְכֹהֵן. וּבֵין הִיא וּבֵין אָבִיהָ יְכוֹלִין לְעַכֵּב. בֵּין אִם נִתְקַדְּשָׁה בְּפָנָיו בֵּין שֶׁנִּתְקַדְּשָׁה שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו אֵינָהּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת:

14

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

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

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

יד

הָיְתָה הַבַּת סָפֵק בּוֹגֶרֶת. בֵּין שֶׁקִּדְּשָׁהּ אָבִיהָ שֶׁלֹּא לְדַעְתָּהּ בֵּין שֶׁקִּדְּשָׁה הִיא עַצְמָהּ שֶׁלֹּא לְדַעַת אָבִיהָ. הֲרֵי זוֹ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בְּסָפֵק לְפִיכָךְ צְרִיכָה גֵּט מִסָּפֵק. יֵשׁ לָאִישׁ לַעֲשׂוֹת שָׁלִיחַ לְקַדֵּשׁ לוֹ אִשָּׁה בֵּין אִשָּׁה פְּלוֹנִית בֵּין אִשָּׁה מִשְּׁאָר הַנָּשִׁים. וְכֵן הָאִשָּׁה הַגְּדוֹלָה עוֹשָׂה שָׁלִיחַ לְקַבֵּל קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ בֵּין מֵאִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי בֵּין מֵאִישׁ מִשְּׁאָר אֲנָשִׁים. וְכֵן הָאָב עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלִיחַ לְקַבֵּל קִדּוּשֵׁי בִּתּוֹ כְּשֶׁהִיא בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ. וְאוֹמֵר הָאָב לְבִתּוֹ הַקְּטַנָּה צְאִי וְקַבְּלִי קִדּוּשַׁיִךְ:

15

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

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

טו

כָּל הָעוֹשֶׂה שָׁלִיחַ לְקַבֵּל הַקִּדּוּשִׁין צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים. אֲבָל הָאִישׁ שֶׁעָשָׂה שָׁלִיחַ לְקַדֵּשׁ לוֹ אִשָּׁה אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ בְּעֵדִים שֶׁאֵין מָקוֹם לְעֵדִים בִּשְׁלִיחוּת הָאִישׁ אֶלָּא לְהוֹדִיעַ אֲמִתַּת הַדָּבָר. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הוֹדוּ הַשָּׁלִיחַ וְהַמְשַׁלֵּחַ אֵינָן צְרִיכִין עֵדִים כְּמוֹ שְׁלִיחַ הַגֵּט וּכְמוֹ שָׁלִיחַ שֶׁהִרְשָׁהוּ לְהַפְרִישׁ לוֹ תְּרוּמָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן בְּכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁשְּׁלוּחוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם כְּמוֹתוֹ וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ עֵדִים:

16

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

טז

הַשָּׁלִיחַ נַעֲשֶׂה עֵד לְפִיכָךְ אִם עָשָׂה שְׁנֵי שְׁלוּחִין לְקַדֵּשׁ לוֹ אִשָּׁה וְהָלְכוּ וְקִדְּשׁוּ אוֹתָהּ הֵן הֵן שְׁלוּחָיו וְהֵן הֵן עֵדֵי הַקִּדּוּשִׁין וְאֵינָן צְרִיכִין לְקַדְּשָׁהּ לוֹ בִּפְנֵי שְׁנַיִם אֲחֵרִים:

17

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

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

יז

הַכּל כְּשֵׁרִין לִשְׁלִיחוּת חוּץ מֵחֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָן בְּנֵי דַּעַת וְהָעַכּוּ''ם לְפִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ בְּנֵי בְּרִית וְנֶאֱמַר (במדבר יח כח) "כֵּן תָּרִימוּ גַם אַתֶּם" לְרַבּוֹת הַשָּׁלִיחַ וּמַה אַתֶּם בְּנֵי בְּרִית אַף שְׁלוּחֲכֶם בְּנֵי בְּרִית לְהוֹצִיא אֶת הָעַכּוּ''ם. אֲבָל הָעֶבֶד אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא נַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלִיחַ לְדָבָר שֶׁבְּמָמוֹן הֲרֵי הוּא פָּסוּל לִשְׁלִיחוּת הַקִּדּוּשִׁין וְהַגִּטִּין לְפִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ בְּתוֹרַת גִּטִּין וְקִדּוּשִׁין:

18

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

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

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

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

יח

שְׁלִיחַ הָאִישׁ שֶׁמְּקַדֵּשׁ אוֹמֵר לָהּ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִפְלוֹנִי בְּכֶסֶף זֶה אוֹ בִּשְׁטָר זֶה. אִם שְׁלִיחַ הָאִשָּׁה הוּא שֶׁמְּקַבֵּל הַקִּדּוּשִׁין אוֹמֵר לוֹ הֲרֵי פְּלוֹנִית שֶׁשָּׁלְחָה אוֹתְךָ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לוֹ קִדַּשְׁתִּיהָ לְךָ אוֹ אֵרַסְתִּיהָ לְךָ אוֹ נְתַתִּיהָ לְךָ לְאִשָּׁה וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה. וְכֵן הַמְקַדֵּשׁ עַל יְדֵי הָאָב אוֹמֵר לוֹ הֲרֵי בִּתְּךָ פְּלוֹנִית מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לוֹ קִדַּשְׁתִּיהָ לְךָ. אִם אָמַר הָאָב אוֹ הַשָּׁלִיחַ הֵן דַּיּוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ שָׁתַק. וְאִם הָיוּ עֲסוּקִין בְּאוֹתוֹ עִנְיָן וְנָתַן לָאָב אוֹ לַשָּׁלִיחַ וְלֹא פֵּרֵשׁ וְלֹא אָמַר דָּבָר דַּיּוֹ וְהִיא מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְאִם קִדֵּשׁ בִּשְׁטָר אֵינוֹ כּוֹתְבוֹ אֶלָּא מִדַּעַת הָאָב אוֹ מִדַּעַת הַשָּׁלִיחַ. וְכֵן בְּכָל הַדְּבָרִים כֻּלָּן שֶׁל קִדּוּשִׁין דִּין הָאִישׁ עִם הָאִשָּׁה כְּדִין שָׁלִיחַ עִם שָׁלִיחַ אוֹ עִם הָאָב:

19

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

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

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

יט

מִצְוָה שֶׁיְּקַדֵּשׁ אָדָם אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ בְּעַצְמוֹ יוֹתֵר מֵעַל יְדֵי שְׁלוּחוֹ. וְכֵן מִצְוָה לָאִשָּׁה שֶׁתְּקַדֵּשׁ עַצְמָהּ בְּיָדָהּ יוֹתֵר מֵעַל יְדֵי שְׁלוּחָהּ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ רְשׁוּת לָאָב לְקַדֵּשׁ בִּתּוֹ כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה וּכְשֶׁהִיא נַעֲרָה לְכָל מִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה אֵין רָאוּי לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן אֶלָּא מִצְוַת חֲכָמִים שֶׁלֹּא יְקַדֵּשׁ אָדָם בִּתּוֹ כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה עַד שֶׁתַּגְדִּיל וְתֹאמַר לִפְלוֹנִי אֲנִי רוֹצָה. וְכֵן הָאִישׁ אֵין רָאוּי לְקַדֵּשׁ קְטַנָּה. וְלֹא יְקַדֵּשׁ אִשָּׁה עַד שֶׁיִּרְאֶנָּה וְתִהְיֶה כְּשֵׁרָה בְּעֵינָיו שֶׁמָּא לֹא תִּמְצָא חֵן בְּעֵינָיו וְנִמְצָא מְגָרְשָׁהּ אוֹ שׁוֹכֵב עִמָּהּ וְהוּא שׂוֹנְאָהּ:

20

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

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

כ

הַמְקַדֵּשׁ בְּבִיאָה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ קִדּוּשֵׁי תּוֹרָה. וְכֵן מִתְקַדֶּשֶׁת בִּשְׁטָר מִן הַתּוֹרָה. כְּשֵׁם שֶׁגּוֹמֵר וּמְגָרֵשׁ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד א) "וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת" כָּךְ גּוֹמֵר וּמַכְנִיס. אֲבָל הַכֶּסֶף מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים (וְכֵן דִּין הַכֶּסֶף דִּין תּוֹרָה וּפֵרוּשׁוֹ מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים) שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב יג) "כִּי יִקַּח אִישׁ אִשָּׁה" וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים לִקּוּחִים אֵלּוּ יִהְיוּ בְּכֶסֶף שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית כג יג) "נָתַתִּי כֶּסֶף הַשָּׂדֶה קַח מִמֶּנִּי":

21

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

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

כא

אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעִקַּר הַדָּבָר כָּךְ הוּא כְּבָר נָהֲגוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְקַדֵּשׁ בְּכֶסֶף אוֹ בִּשְׁוֵה כֶּסֶף. וְכֵן אִם רָצָה לְקַדֵּשׁ בִּשְׁטָר מְקַדֵּשׁ. אֲבָל אֵין מְקַדְּשִׁין בְּבִיאָה לְכַתְּחִלָּה וְאִם קִדֵּשׁ בְּבִיאָה מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל פְּרוּצִים בְּדָבָר זֶה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקִּדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין:

22

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

כב

וְכֵן הַמְקַדֵּשׁ בְּלֹא שִׁדּוּכִין אוֹ הַמְקַדֵּשׁ בַּשּׁוּק אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקִּדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא דָּבָר זֶה הֶרְגֵּל לִזְנוּת וְיִדְמֶה לִקְדֵשָׁה שֶׁהָיְתָה קֹדֶם מַתַּן תּוֹרָה:

23

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

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

כג

כָּל הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אִשָּׁה בֵּין עַל יְדֵי עַצְמוֹ בֵּין עַל יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ צָרִיךְ לְבָרֵךְ קֹדֶם הַקִּדּוּשִׁין אוֹ הוּא אוֹ שְׁלוּחוֹ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּבָרְכִין עַל כָּל הַמִּצְוֹת וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְקַדֵּשׁ וְאִם קִדֵּשׁ וְלֹא בֵּרֵךְ לֹא יְבָרֵךְ אַחַר הַקִּדּוּשִׁין שֶׁזּוֹ בְּרָכָה לְבַטָּלָה מַה שֶּׁנַּעֲשָׂה כְּבָר נַעֲשָׂה:

24

Which blessing is recited?

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

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

כד

כֵּיצַד מְבָרֵךְ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְהִבְדִּילָנוּ מִן הָעֲרָיוֹת וְאָסַר לָנוּ אֶת הָאֲרוּסוֹת וְהִתִּיר לָנוּ אֶת הַנְּשׂוּאוֹת עַל יְדֵי חֻפָּה וְקִדּוּשִׁין בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' מְקַדֵּשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל. זוֹ הִיא בִּרְכַּת אֵרוּסִין. וְנָהֲגוּ הָעָם לְהַסְדִּיר בְּרָכָה זוֹ עַל כּוֹס שֶׁל יַיִן אוֹ שֶׁל שֵׁכָר. וְאִם יֵשׁ שָׁם יַיִן מְבָרֵךְ עַל הַיַּיִן תְּחִלָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְבָרֵךְ בִּרְכַּת אֵרוּסִין וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְקַדְּשָׁהּ. וְאִם אֵין לוֹ יַיִן אוֹ שֵׁכָר מְבָרֵךְ אוֹתָהּ בִּפְנֵי עַצְמָהּ:

Footnotes
1.

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

2.

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

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

3.

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

4.

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

5.

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

6.

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

7.

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

8.

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

9.

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

10.

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

11.

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

12.

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

13.

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

14.

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

15.

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

16.

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

17.

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

18.

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

19.

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

20.

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

21.

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

22.

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

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

23.

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

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

24.

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

25.

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

26.

Hilchot Terumah 4:1.

27.

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

28.

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

29.

Kiddushin 4b.

30.

The punishment given for transgressing a Rabbinic decree.

31.

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

32.

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

33.

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

34.

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

35.

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

36.

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

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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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