Introduction to Hilchos Naarah Betulah

They include five mitzvot: three positive commandments and two negative commandments. They are:

1) That a seducer [of a virgin maiden] be fined;
2) That a man who rapes [a virgin maiden] should marry her;
3) That the rapist should not divorce the woman he marries;
4) That the wife of a man who issued a slanderous report about her should remain married to him forever;
5) That a man who issues a slanderous report about his wife should not divorce her.

These mitzvot are explained in the chapters that follow.

הלכות נערה בתולה

יש בכללן חמש מצות: שלש מצות עשה, ושתי מצות לא תעשה. וזהו פרטן:
א) לקנוס המפתה.
ב) שישא האונס אנוסתו.
ג) שלא יגרש האונס.
ד) שתשב אשת מוציא שם רע תחת בעלה לעולם.
ה) שלא יגרש מוציא שם רע את אשתו.
וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:


When a man seduces a virgin,1 he is fined 50 sela'im of pure silver.2 This is called a k'nas ("fine"). The same law applies if he rapes her.

Payment of this fine is one of the Torah's positive commandments,3, as [Deuteronomy 22:29] states: "The man who raped her must give the maiden's father 50 silver pieces."


מִי שֶׁפִּתָּה בְּתוּלָה קוֹנְסִין אוֹתוֹ מִשְׁקַל חֲמִשִּׁים סְלָעִים שֶׁל כֶּסֶף מְזֻקָּק וְהוּא הַנִּקְרָא קְנָס. וְכֵן אִם אָנַס אוֹתָהּ. וּקְנָס זֶה מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב כט) "וְנָתַן הָאִישׁ הַשּׁוֹכֵב עִמָּהּ לַאֲבִי הַנַּעֲרָה חֲמִשִּׁים כֶּסֶף":


What is meant by a seducer, and what is meant by a rapist? A seducer is one who enters into relations with a girl with her consent; a rapist is one who takes her by force.

Whenever a man entered into relations with a woman in a field, we operate under the presumption that he raped her, and apply those laws4 unless witnesses testify that she entered into relations with him willingly.5 Whenever a man enters into relations with a woman in a city, we operate under the presumption that she consented, because she did not cry out, unless witnesses testify that she was raped - e.g., he pulled out a sword and told her, "If you cry out, I will kill you."


וְאֵי זֶה הוּא מְפַתֶּה וְאֵי זֶה הוּא אוֹנֵס. מְפַתֶּה לִרְצוֹנָהּ. אוֹנֵס שֶׁבָּא עָלֶיהָ בְּעַל כָּרְחָהּ. כָּל הַנִּבְעֶלֶת בַּשָּׂדֶה הֲרֵי זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת אֲנוּסָה וְדָנִין אוֹתָהּ בְּדִין אֲנוּסָה עַד שֶׁיָּעִידוּ הָעֵדִים שֶׁבִּרְצוֹנָהּ נִבְעֲלָה. וְכָל הַנִּבְעֶלֶת בָּעִיר הֲרֵי זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת מְפֻתָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא זָעֲקָה עַד שֶׁיָּעִידוּ הָעֵדִים שֶׁהִיא אֲנוּסָה, כְּגוֹן שֶׁשָּׁלַף לָהּ חֶרֶב וְאָמַר לָהּ אִם תִּזְעֲקִי אֶהֱרֹג אוֹתָךְ:


When a girl who was seduced does not want to marry the seducer, or her father does not want to give her in marriage to him,6 or if [the seducer] does not want to marry her, he may pay the fine and depart. We do not force him to marry her.7

If they do desire [to wed], and he marries her, he does not pay a fine.8 Instead, he writes her a ketubah, as is written for other maidens.9

When, however, a woman who is raped or her father do not desire that she marry the rapist, they have that prerogative. [In such an instance,] he must pay the fine and depart. If she and her father desire [that the marriage take place], but he does not desire, we force him to marry her, aside from paying the fine, as [Deuteronomy 22:29] states: "He must take [the maiden] as his wife"; this is a positive commandment.10

Even if the girl is lame, blind, or afflicted with leprosy,11 he is forced to marry her and he may never take the initiative in divorcing her,12 as [the above verse continues]: "He may not send her away as long as he lives." This is a negative commandment.13


הַמְפֻתָּה שֶׁלֹּא רָצְתָה לְהִנָּשֵׂא לַמְפַתֶּה. אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא רָצָה אָבִיהָ לִתְּנָהּ לוֹ. אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא רָצָה הוּא לִכְנֹס. הֲרֵי זֶה נוֹתֵן קְנָס וְהוֹלֵךְ וְאֵין כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְנֹס. וְאִם רָצוּ וּכְנָסָהּ אֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם קְנָס אֶלָּא כּוֹתֵב לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה כִּשְׁאָר הַבְּתוּלוֹת. אֲבָל הָאֲנוּסָה שֶׁלֹּא רָצְתָה הִיא אוֹ אָבִיהָ לְהִנָּשֵׂא לְאוֹנֵס הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדָם וְנוֹתֵן קְנָס וְהוֹלֵךְ. רָצְתָה הִיא וְאָבִיהָ וְלֹא רָצָה הוּא כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ וְכוֹנֵס וְנוֹתֵן קְנָס שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב כט) "וְלוֹ תִהְיֶה לְאִשָּׁה" הֲרֵי זוֹ מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה. אֲפִלּוּ הִיא חִגֶּרֶת אוֹ סוּמָא אוֹ מְצֹרַעַת כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְנֹס וְאֵינוֹ מוֹצִיא לִרְצוֹנוֹ לְעוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב יט) "לֹא יוּכַל לְשַׁלְּחָהּ כָּל יָמָיו" הֲרֵי זוֹ מִצְוַת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה:


[This girl] is not granted a ketubah. For our Sages instituted the requirement of a ketubah so that [a husband] will not consider divorce a frivolous matter. [In this instance this is unnecessary, because] the man cannot divorce [his wife].


וְאֵין לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה שֶׁלֹּא תִּקְּנוּ חֲכָמִים כְּתֻבָּה לְאִשָּׁה אֶלָּא כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּהְיֶה קַלָּה בְּעֵינָיו לְהוֹצִיאָהּ וְזֶה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהוֹצִיאָהּ:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


If the girl he raped was forbidden to him,14 even if the prohibition stems from a positive commandment, or she was a sh'niyah [or forbidden by other Rabbinic prohibitions],15 he should not marry her. Similarly, if he discovers adulterous behavior16 on her part after he marries her, he should divorce her. [These concepts are implied by the phrase: "He must take [the girl] as his wife" [which our Sages interpreted to mean]: "She must be fit to be his wife."


הָיְתָה אֲנוּסָה זוֹ אֲסוּרָה עָלָיו אֲפִלּוּ מֵחַיָּבֵי עֲשֵׂה וַאֲפִלּוּ שְׁנִיָּה הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשָּׂאֶנָּה. וְכֵן אִם נִמְצָא בָּהּ דְּבַר זִמָּה אַחַר שֶׁכָּנַס הֲרֵי זֶה יְגָרְשֶׁנָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב כט) "וְלוֹ תִהְיֶה לְאִשָּׁה". אִשָּׁה הָרְאוּיָה לוֹ:


When a High Priest rapes or seduces a virgin maiden, he should not marry her, because he is commanded to marry a virgin,17 and at the time he marries this girl she is not a virgin.18 If he marries [this girl], he must divorce her.


כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁאָנַס בְּתוּלָה אוֹ שֶׁפִּתָּה אוֹתָהּ הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִכְנֹס מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מְצֻוֶּה לִקַּח אֶת הַבְּתוּלָה וּבְשָׁעָה שֶׁיִּשָּׂא זוֹ אֵינָהּ בְּתוּלָה. וְאִם כָּנַס יוֹצִיא בְּגֵט:


Although it is said with regard to a rapist: "He may not send her away as long as he lives," since [this prohibition] is preceded by a positive commandment, as it is said, "He must take [the girl] as his wife," the Torah made the prohibition [rectifiable] by the observance of the positive commandment. Thus, this is a negative commandment [whose violation] can be rectified by [the observance of] a positive commandment. Lashes are not given [as punishment for the violation of such a commandment] unless one does not fulfill the positive commandment, as will be explained in Hilchot Sanhedrin.19

Therefore, when a rapist violates [this prohibition] and divorces [his wife], he is compelled to remarry her and is not punished by lashes. If, however, his divorcee dies or is consecrated by another man20 before he remarries her, or if he is a priest, who is forbidden to marry a divorcee, he should be punished by lashes. For he transgressed the negative commandment, and is unable to fulfill the positive commandment associated with it.21


אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בְּאוֹנֵס (דברים כב יט) "לֹא יוּכַל לְשַׁלְּחָהּ" כֵּיוָן שֶׁקְּדָמוֹ עֲשֵׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב כט) "וְלוֹ תִהְיֶה לְאִשָּׁה" הֲרֵי זֶה נִתְּקוֹ לַעֲשֵׂה וְנִמְצֵאת זוֹ מִצְוַת לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנִּתְּקָהּ לַעֲשֵׂה שֶׁאֵין לוֹקִין עָלֶיהָ אֶלָּא אִם לֹא קִיֵּם עֲשֵׂה שֶׁבָּהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת סַנְהֶדְרִין. לְפִיכָךְ הָאוֹנֵס שֶׁעָבַר וְגֵרֵשׁ כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לְהַחֲזִיר וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה. מֵתָה גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּחְזִירֶנָּה אוֹ נִתְקַדְּשָׁה לְאַחֵר אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה כֹּהֵן שֶׁאָסוּר בִּגְרוּשָׁה הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי עָבַר עַל לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְקַיֵּם עֲשֵׂה שֶׁבָּהּ:


Neither a rapist nor a seducer is liable to pay the fine unless he engages in relations in the ordinary fashion,22 and the relations are observed by witnesses.23 A warning is not necessary.24

At what age is a girl fit to be paid a fine? From the age of three25 until she reaches the age of bagrut.26 If a man engages in relations with a girl less than three years old, the relations are not significant.27 If he engages in relations with her after she reaches the age of bagrut, he is not fined. For [Deuteronomy 22:28] states: "A virgin maiden," thus excluding a girl who has reached maturity.


אֵין הָאוֹנֵס אוֹ הַמְפַתֶּה חַיָּב בִּקְנָס עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹא עָלֶיהָ [כְּדַרְכָּהּ] וּבְעֵדִים וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ הַתְרָאָה. וּמֵאֵימָתַי יִהְיֶה לַבַּת קְנָס. מֵאַחַר שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים גְּמוּרוֹת עַד שֶׁתִּבְגֹּר. נִבְעֲלָה בְּתוֹךְ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים אֵין בִּיאָתָהּ בִּיאָה. בָּא עָלֶיהָ מִשֶּׁבָּגְרָה אֵין לָהּ קְנָס שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב כח) "נַעֲרָה בְתוּלָה" לֹא הַבּוֹגֶרֶת:


Whether or not [a girl's] father is alive, a fine must be paid.28

A fine need not be paid [because of relations] with the following women: a bogeret, a girl who has dissolved a marriage through mi'un,29 an aylonit,30 a mentally incompetent girl, a deaf mute,31 a girl who was reputed to have conducted herself immodestly while young, concerning whom two witnesses testify that she sought sexual relations with them,32 a girl who was married and divorced, but is still a virgin maiden.33

When, by contrast, [a girl] is divorced after merely being consecrated,34 a fine must be paid - and she is entitled to it35 - if she is raped. If she is seduced, she is not entitled to a fine.36


וְאַחַת שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ אָב וְאַחַת שֶׁאֵין לָהּ אָב יֵשׁ לָהּ קְנָס. וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין לָהֶן קְנָס. הַבּוֹגֶרֶת וְהַמְמָאֶנֶת וְהָאַיְלוֹנִית וְהַשּׁוֹטָה וְהַחֵרֶשֶׁת. וּמִי שֶׁיָּצָא עָלֶיהָ שֵׁם רַע בְּיַלְדוּתָהּ וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְהֵעִידוּ שֶׁתָּבְעָה אוֹתָן לִזְנוֹת עִמָּהּ. וְהַמְגֹרֶשֶׁת מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין וַעֲדַיִן הִיא נַעֲרָה בְּתוּלָה. אֲבָל הַמְגֹרֶשֶׁת מִן הָאֵרוּסִין אִם נֶאֶנְסָה יֵשׁ לָהּ קְנָס וּקְנָסָהּ לְעַצְמָהּ. וְאִם נִתְפַּתְּתָה אֵין לָהּ קְנָס:


[The following rules apply with regard to] a convert, a girl who was taken captive, and a [Canaanite] maidservant who was freed:37 If she was converted, redeemed or freed before she reached the age of three, she is entitled to a fine.38

If she was three years old [or older] when she was converted, redeemed or freed, she is not entitled to a fine. Since relations that she engages in at this time are significant, she is placed into the category of non-virgins.


הַגִּיֹּרֶת וְהַשְּׁבוּיָה וְהַמְשֻׁחְרֶרֶת אִם נִתְגַּיְּרָה וְנִפְדֵית וְנִשְׁתַּחְרְרָה וְהִיא בַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים אוֹ פָּחוֹת יֵשׁ לָהּ קְנָס. וְאִם הָיְתָה בַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד כְּשֶׁנִּתְגַּיְּרָה אוֹ כְּשֶׁנִּפְדֵּית אוֹ כְּשֶׁנִּשְׁתַּחְרְרָה אֵין לָהּ קְנָס הוֹאִיל וּבִיאָתָן בִּיאָה הֲרֵי הֵן כִּבְעוּלוֹת:


[The following rules apply when] the virgin [who was raped or seduced] was forbidden to the rapist or the seducer. If the prohibition was punishable by karet - e.g., she was his sister, his aunt, in the niddah state or the like - or she was forbidden by virtue of a negative commandment [that does not involve either karet or execution], he is not liable for a fine if he was given a warning.39 [Instead,] he should be lashed. [The rationale is that] a person is never punished [for the same transgression] by both lashes and a monetary assessment.

If he was not warned, since he is not to be given lashes, he should pay the fine.


הָיְתָה בְּתוּלָה זוֹ אֲסוּרָה עַל הָאוֹנֵס אוֹ הַמְפַתֶּה אִם הָיְתָה אַחַת מֵחַיָּבֵי כְּרֵתוֹת כְּגוֹן אֲחוֹתוֹ אוֹ דּוֹדָתוֹ וְהַנִּדָּה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה מֵחַיָּבֵי לָאוִין אִם הִתְרוּ בּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה לוֹקֶה וְאֵינוֹ מְשַׁלֵּם קְנָס שֶׁאֵין אָדָם לוֹקֶה וּמְשַׁלֵּם. וְאִם לֹא הָיְתָה שָׁם הַתְרָאָה הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב מַלְקוֹת הֲרֵי זֶה מְשַׁלֵּם קְנָס:


[When the girl raped] was forbidden because of a positive commandment, or she was a sh'niyah or forbidden because of another Rabbinic commandment, [the rapist] is obligated to pay the fine whether he was warned against the transgression or not, because he is not punished by lashes.


הָיְתָה מֵחַיָּבֵי עֲשֵׂה אוֹ שְׁנִיָּה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן שֶׁאֲסוּרָה מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. בֵּין הִתְרוּ בּוֹ בֵּין לֹא הִתְרוּ בּוֹ חַיָּב בִּקְנָס שֶׁאֵין כָּאן מַלְקוֹת:


[When the girl raped] was forbidden because of a prohibition punishable by execution by the court - e.g., she was his daughter, daughter-in-law,40 or the like - he is not liable for the fine, regardless of whether or not he received a warning.

[This is derived from Exodus 21:22, which] states: "If there will not be a [fatal] accident, he should be punished."41 Implied is that if there is a [fatal] accident, no punishment should be levied.42 [This applies] although the woman was killed unintentionally, [i.e.,] the man did not intend to strike her,43 as it is written [Ibid.]: "If men strive and a woman receives a blow...." This teaches that with regard to a [fatal] accident, Scripture did not differentiate between an intentional and unintentional act to free him from monetary obligation.

And [Leviticus 24:18-21] says: "A person who [fatally] strikes an animal shall reimburse [its owner] for it, and one who [fatally] strikes a man must die." Just as Scripture did not distinguish between intentional and unintentional action for killing an animal to make him liable for payment, so too, it did not distinguish between intentional and unintentional action for killing a person to free him from financial obligation.


הָיְתָה מֵחַיָּבֵי מִיתַת בֵּית דִּין כְּגוֹן בִּתּוֹ וְאֵשֶׁת בְּנוֹ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן בֵּין הִתְרוּ בּוֹ בֵּין לֹא הִתְרוּ בּוֹ פָּטוּר מִן הַקְּנָס שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא כב) "וְלֹא יִהְיֶה אָסוֹן עָנוֹשׁ יֵעָנֵשׁ" הָא אִם הָיָה שָׁם אָסוֹן אֵין שָׁם עֹנֶשׁ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֲרִיגַת הָאִשָּׁה בִּשְׁגָגָה שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא נִתְכַּוְּנוּ לָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא כב) "כִּי יִנָּצוּ אֲנָשִׁים וְנָגְפוּ אִשָּׁה" הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁלֹּא חִלֵּק הַכָּתוּב בְּאָסוֹן בֵּין שׁוֹגֵג לְמֵזִיד לְפָטְרוֹ מִן הַתַּשְׁלוּמִין. וַהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (ויקרא כד יח) "מַכֵּה נֶפֶשׁ בְּהֵמָה יְשַׁלְּמֶנָּה" (ויקרא כד כא) "וּמַכֵּה אָדָם יוּמָת" מָה מַכֵּה נֶפֶשׁ בְּהֵמָה לֹא חִלֵּק הַכָּתוּב בֵּין שׁוֹגֵג לְמֵזִיד לְחַיְּבוֹ בְּתַשְׁלוּמִין אַף מַכֵּה נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם לֹא חִלֵּק הַכָּתוּב בֵּין שׁוֹגֵג לְמֵזִיד לְפָטְרוֹ מִן הַתַּשְׁלוּמִין:


This law applies with regard to every transgression that is punishable by execution by the court. There is no financial obligation.44


וְכֵן הַדִּין לְכָל עֲבֵרָה שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ מִיתַת בֵּית דִּין שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ תַּשְׁלוּמִין:


If [a girl] dies after she [was seduced or raped], [the seducer or the rapist] is not liable for the fine, [as implied by Deuteronomy 22:29]: "the man who raped her must give the maiden's father...." [The verse states] "the father of the maiden," and not "the father of the dead maiden." [This applies] when she dies before the case came to court.45


בָּא עָלֶיהָ וּמֵתָה הֲרֵי זֶה פָּטוּר מִן הַקְּנָס שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב כט) "וְנָתַן הָאִישׁ הַשֹּׁכֵב עִמָּהּ לַאֲבִי הַנַּעֲרָה" לֹא לַאֲבִי הַמֵּתָה. וְהוּא שֶׁתָּמוּת קֹדֶם שֶׁתַּעֲמֹד בַּדִּין: