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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth

Folio 103a

why then was it stated, 'AT THE PLACE WHERE HER MOTHER [LIVES]'?1  Consequently it must be inferred that [the place of] a daughter, whether she be of age or a minor, is with her mother.

THE TWO HUSBANDS CANNOT PLEAD etc. A certain man once leased his mill to another for [the consideration of the latter's services in] grinding [his corn].2  Eventually he became rich and bought another mill and an ass. Thereupon he said to the other, 'Until now I have had my grinding done at your place but now3  pay me rent'. — 'I shall', the other replied, 'only grind for you'.4  Rabina [in considering the case] intended to rule that it involved the very principle that was laid down in our Mishnah: THE TWO HUSBANDS CANNOT PLEAD, 'WE WILL MAINTAIN HER JOINTLY', BUT ONE MUST MAINTAIN HER AND THE OTHER ALLOWS HER THE COST OF HER MAINTENANCE.5  R. 'Awira, however, said to him: Are [the two cases] alike? There [the woman]6  has Only one stomach, not two;7  but here8  [the lessee] might well tell the owner, 'Grind [in your own mill]9  and sell; grind [in mine]10  and keep'.11  This,12  however, has been said only in a case where [the lessee] has no [other orders for] grinding at his mill,13  but if he has [sufficient orders for] grinding at his mill he may in such circumstances be compelled [not to act] in the manner of Sodom.14


GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught:19  [A widow] may use [her deceased husband's] dwelling as she used it during his20  lifetime. [She may also use] the bondmen and bondwomen, the cushions and the bolsters, and the silver and gold utensils as she used them during the lifetime of her husband, for such is the written undertaking he gave her: 'And you shall dwell in my house and be maintained therein out of my estate throughout the duration of your widowhood'.21

R. Joseph learnt:22  'In my house' [implies] 'but not in my hovel'.23

R. Nahman ruled: If orphans sold a widow's dwelling24  their act is legally invalid.25  But why [should this case be] different from that of which R. Assi spoke in the name of R. Johanan as follows:26  If the male orphans forestalled [the female orphans] and sold27  some property of a small estate28  their sale is valid?29  — There30  [the property] Was not pledged to any daughter31  during [her father's] lifetime,32  but here33  [the dwelling] was pledged to the widow34  during [her husband's] lifetime.35

Abaye stated: We have a tradition that if a widow's dwelling36  collapsed it is not the duty of the heirs to rebuild it.' So it was also taught: If a widow's dwelling36  collapsed it is not the duty of the heirs to rebuild it.37  Furthermore, even if she says, 'Allow me and I shall rebuild it at my own expense', she is not granted her request.38

Abaye asked: What [is the legal position if] she repaired it?39  — This is undecided.40

IF SHE SAID, HOWEVER,'I HAVE NO DESIRE' etc. Why should they not give her maintenance while she lives there?41  — This supports [a statement] of R. Huna who said, 'The blessing of a house [is proportionate] to its size'.42  Why then can they not give her according to the blessing of the house?43  — That is so.44

Said R. Huna: The sayings45  of the Sages [are a source of] blessing, wealth and healing. [As to] 'blessing', [we have] the statement just mentioned. 'Wealth'? — Because we learned: If one sold fruits to another46  [and the buyer] pulled47  them, though they have not yet been measured,48  ownership is acquired. If, however, they have been measured,49  but [the buyer] has not pulled them, ownership is not acquired. But if [the buyer] is prudent he rents the place where they are kept.50  'Healing'? — For we learned: A man should not chew wheat and put it on his wound during the Passover because it ferments.51

Our Rabbis taught: When Rabbi52  was about to depart [from this life] he said, 'I require [the presence] of my sons'. When his sons entered into his presence he instructed them: 'Take care that you shew due respect to your mother. The light53  shall continue to burn in its usual place, the table53  shall be laid in its usual place [and my] bed shall be spread in its usual place.54  Joseph of Haifa and Simeon of Efrath who attended on me in my lifetime shall attend on me when I am dead'.

'Take care that you shew due respect to your mother'. Is [not this instruction] Pentateuchal, since it is written, Honour thy father and thy mother?55  — She was their stepmother.56  [Is not the commandment to honour] a stepmother56  also Pentateuchal, for it was taught: Honour thy father and thy mother,'55  'thy father'57  includes58  'thy stepmother','and thy mother'59  includes60  'thy Stepfather',61  and the superfluous waw62  includes 'thy elder brother'? — This exposition63  [was meant to apply] during [one's own parents'] lifetime but not after [their] death.

'The light shall continue to burn in its usual place, the table shall be laid in its usual place [and my] bed shall be spread in its usual place'.64  What is the reason? — He used to come home again at twilight every Sabbath Eve. On a certain Sabbath Eve a neighbour came to the door speaking aloud, when his handmaid whispered, 'Be quiet for Rabbi is sitting there'. As soon as he heard this he came no more, in order that no reflection might be cast65  on the earlier saints.66

'Joseph of Haifa and Simeon of Efrath who attended on me in my lifetime shall attend on me when I am dead'. He was understood to mean, 'In this world'.67  When it was seen however, that their biers preceded his68  [all] said that the conclusion must be that he was referring to the other69  world, and that the reason why he mentioned it70  was that it might not be suspected that they were guilty of some offence71  and that it was only the merit of Rabbi that protected72  them until that moment.73

'I require'. he said to them, '[the presence] of the Sages of Israel', and the Sages of Israel entered into his presence. 'Do not lament for me',74  he said to them, 'in the smaller towns,

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Emphasis on MOTHER.
  2. No money rental having been arranged.
  3. 'That I have another mill in which to grind my corn'.
  4. But will pay no rent.
  5. As 10 this case a cash payment must be made though originally only maintenance gas undertaken so in the case of the miller a cash rental may be demanded though the original arrangement was for payment in service.
  6. Spoken of in our Mishnah.
  7. She cannot he expected to consume a double allowance of food. Hence there is no other alternative but that of substituting one monetary payment for one allowance of food.
  8. The case of the miller.
  9. The one you bought.
  10. The one I hired from you.
  11. A suggestion which may well be adopted by the owner without any loss to himself.
  12. That the lessee cannot be compelled to pay a cash rental.
  13. It would be an act of injustice to compel him to pay rent while his machinery stood idle. It is more equitable that he should be enabled to continue the original agreement whereby he is both kept employed and pays his rent.
  14. The Sodomites were notorious for refusing to do any favours even when they cost them nothing. 'A dog-in-the-manger attitude' (cf. B.B. Sonc. ed. p. 62, n. 3).
  15. [H], so MS.M. Wanting incur. edd.
  16. For refusing to live with the heirs.
  17. The heirs, children from another wife.
  18. In consequence of which she fears quarrels or temptation.
  19. Cf. Tosef. Keth. XI.
  20. Lit., 'her husband'.
  21. Mishnah supra 52b.
  22. In explaining the Mishnah cited.
  23. Supra 540 q.v. for notes.
  24. Which formed part of her deceased husband's estate.
  25. Lit., 'they have not done anything'.
  26. Lit., 'for R. Assi stated in the name of R. Johanan'.
  27. Before the court had dealt with the case.
  28. Of their deceased father, which is legally due to the daughters (cf. infra 108b).
  29. Lit., 'what they sold is sold', Yeb. 67b, Sotah 21b, B.B. 1400.
  30. The sale of a small estate.
  31. Lit., 'to her'.
  32. A father is under no legal obligation to maintain his daughters.
  33. A widow's dwelling.
  34. Lit., 'to her'.
  35. As is evident from the Mishnah supra 52b.
  36. Which formed part of her deceased husband's estate.
  37. Her claim upon the dwelling terminates as soon as it is no longer fit for habitation.
  38. Lit., 'they do not listen to her'.
  39. The dilapidated dwelling (v. Rashi). Aliter; May she repair it? (V. Tosaf. s.v. d"v a.l.) Is she entitled, it is asked, to continue to live In that dwelling so long as it can be kept up by repairs or must she quit it as soon as dwelling in it becomes impossible without repairs.
  40. Teku, v. Glos.
  41. In her father's house.
  42. Tosef. Keth. XII, B.B. 144b. The more the members of a household the cheaper the cost of living.
  43. Sc. an allowance equal to the cheaper cost of her maintenance at the house of the heirs.
  44. Lit., 'thus also'; she is in fact entitled to such an allowance.
  45. Lit., 'tongue', 'language'.
  46. The price having been agreed upon.
  47. 'Pulling' (meshikah, v. Glos.).
  48. Measuring is not an essential factor of a sale, since it merely determines the quantity sold.
  49. V. B.B. 84b as to how and where.
  50. Mishnah B.B. 84b. If the fruit is kept in the seller's domain the buyer who for some reason is unable to transport his purchase forthwith and fears that the seller might retract and cause him financial loss, may thus protect himself by renting the spot on which the fruit is kept and thereby acquire possession of the fruit since a man's domain acquires possession for him. A buyer thus gets wealth by taking the hint of the Sages.
  51. Pesah. 39b. From this saying one learns of a remedy for a wound.
  52. R. Judah I (135-220 C.E.) the Patriarch, compiler of the Mishnah.
  53. Which he used during his lifetime.
  54. 'Bed shall … place' is wanting in MS.M.
  55. Ex. XX, 12.
  56. Lit., 'a father's wife'.
  57. [H] emphasis on [H] the sign of the defined accusative, which is not absolutely essential in the context.
  58. Lit., 'this'. Cf., however, Beth Joseph, Y.D. 240 ad fin. where the reading is [H] 'to include'.
  59. [H] cf. supra n. 7 mutatis mutandis.
  60. V. supra note 8.
  61. Lit. 'thy mother's husband'.
  62. In [H].
  63. Lit., 'these words', respect for step.parents.
  64. V. supra note 4.
  65. Lit., 'to bring out'.
  66. [H] 'righteous and pious men' who were denied the privilege of revisiting their earthly homes.
  67. I.e., they should attend to his burial (Rashi) or to the light. table and bed at his house, of which he spoke earlier.
  68. They died about the same time as Rabbi and were buried first.
  69. Lit., 'that'.
  70. Lit., 'that he said thus', that they should attend on him.
  71. Lit., 'that they may not say: They had something'.
  72. Lit., 'benefitted'.
  73. Until the end of his days.
  74. Or 'hold funeral orations'.
Tractate List

Kethuboth 103b

and reassemble1  the college after thirty days.2  My son Simeon is wise3  my son Gamaliel Nasi4  and Hanina b. Hama shall preside [at the college].

'Do not lament for me in the smaller towns'. He was understood to give this instruction In order [to cause less] trouble.5  As it was observed, however, that when lamentations were held in the large towns everybody6  came7  they arrived at the conclusion that his instruction was due to [a desire to enhance] the honour [of the people].8

'Reassemble the college after thirty days', because [he thought] 'I am not more important than our teacher Moses concerning whom it is Written in Scripture, And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days'.9

For thirty days they mourned both day and night; subsequently10  they mourned in the day-time and studied at night or mourned at night and studied during the day, until a period of twelve months of mourning11  [had passed].

On the day that Rabbi died a bath kol12  went forth and announced: Whosoever has been present at the death of Rabbi is destined to enjoy the life of the world to come. A certain fuller,13  who used to come to him14  every day, failed to call on that day; and, as soon as he heard this, went up upon a roof, fell down to the ground and died. A bath kol12  came forth and announced: That fuller also is destined to enjoy the life of the world to come.

'My son Simeon is wise. What did he14  mean?15  — It is this that he meant: Although my son Simeon is wise, my son Gamaliel shall be the Nasi.16  Said Levi, 'Was It necessary to state this?'17  — It was necessary'. replied R. Simeon b. Rabbi, 'for yourself and for your lameness'.18  What was his19  difficulty?20  Does not Scripture state, But the kingdom gave he to Jehoram, because he was the firstborn?21  — The other22  was properly representing23  his ancestors24  but R. Gamaliel was not properly representing23  his ancestors.25  Then why did Rabbi act in the manner he did?26  — Granted that he27  was not representing his ancestors In wisdom he was worthily representing them in his fear of sin.28

'Hanina b. Hama shall preside at the college'. R. Hanina, however, did not accept [the office] because R. Afes was by two and a half years older than he; and so R. Afes presided. R. Hanina sat [at his studies] outside [the lecture room],29  and Levi came and joined him. When R. Afes went to his eternal rest30  and R. Hanina took up the presidency Levi had no one to join him31  and came in consequence to Babylon.

This description coincides with the following:32  When Rab was told that a great man who was lame made his appearance at Nehardea33  and held a discourse [in the course of which he] permitted [the wearing of] a wreath,34  he said,'It is evident35  that R. Afes has gone to his eternal rest, and R. Hanina has taken over the presidency; and that Levi having had no one to join him, has come [down here].' But might not one have suggested that R. Hanina came to his eternal rest, that R. Afes continued In the presidency as before36  and that Levi who had no one to join him came [therefore, to Babylon]? If you wish I might reply: Levi would have submitted to the authority of R. Afes. And if you prefer I might reply: Since [Rabbi] once said, 'Hanina b. Hama shall preside at the college', there could be no possibility of his not becoming head;37  for about the righteous it is written in Scripture. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee.38

Was there not R. Hiyya?39  — He had already gone to his eternal rest.40  But did not R. Hiyya, state, 'I saw Rabbi's sepulchre41  and shed tears upon it'? — Reverse [the names]. But did not R. Hiyya state, 'On the day on which Rabbi died holiness ceased'? — Reverse [the names]. But has it not been taught: When Rabbi fell in R. Hiyya entered into his presence and found him weeping. 'Master', he said to him, 'Why are you weeping? Was it not taught: '[If a man] dies smiling it is a good omen for him, if weeping it is a bad omen for him; his face upwards it is a good omen, his face downwards it is a bad omen; his face towards the public it is a good omen, towards the wall it is a bad omen; if his face is greenish it is a bad omen, if bright and ruddy a good omen; dying on Sabbath Eve42  is a good omen, on the termination of the Sabbath43  is a bad omen; dying on the Eve of the Day of Atonement is a bad omen, on the termination of the Day of Atonement44  is a good omen; dying of diarrhoea is a good omen because most righteous men die of diarrhoea?' And the other replied, 'I weep on [account of my impending separation from] the Torah and the commandments'?45  — If you wish I might reply: Reverse [the names]; and if you prefer I might reply: In fact there Is no need to reverse [the names; but as] R. Hiyya was engaged in the performance of pious deeds Rabbi thought 'I will not disturb him'.46

This47  is in line with the following:48  When R. Hanina and R. Hiyya were engaged in a dispute R. Hanina said to R. Hiyya, 'Do you [venture to] dispute with me? Were the Torah, God forbid, to be forgotten in Israel, I would restore it by means of my dialectical arguments'. — 'I', replied R. Hiyya, 'make provision that the Torah shall not be forgotten in Israel. For I bring flax seed, sow it, and weave nets [from the plant]. [With these] I hunt stags with whose flesh I feed orphans and from whose skins I prepare scrolls, and then proceed to a town where there are no teachers of young children, and write out the five Books of the Pentateuch for five children [respectively] and teach another six children respectively the six orders of the Mishnah, and then tell each one: "Teach your section to your colleagues"'. It was this that Rabbi [had in mind when he] exclaimed, 'How great are the deeds of Hiyya?' Said R. Simeon b. Rabbi to him: '[Greater] even than yours?' — 'Yes', he replied. 'Even', asked R. Ishmael the son of R. Jose, 'than my father's?' — 'God forbid', the other replied. 'Let no such thing be [mentioned] in Israel!'49

'I desire', he50  announced, 'the presence of my younger son R. Simeon entered into his presence and he entrusted him with the orders51  of wisdom. 'I desire the presence of my elder son', he announced. When R. Gamaliel entered he entrusted him with the traditions and regulations51  of the Patriarchate. 'My son', he said to him, 'conduct your patriarchate with men of high standing,52  and cast bile among the students'.53

But surely, this54  is not proper55  for is it not written in Scripture, But he honoureth them that fear the Lord,56  and the Master said that this [text might be applied to] Jehoshaphat, King of Judah. who, on seeing a scholar, used to rise from his throne, embrace him and kiss him, and call him 'My master, my master; my teacher, my teacher'? — This is no difficulty: The latter attitude57  [is to be adopted] in private; the former57  in public.58

It was taught: Rabbi was lying [on his sickbed] at Sepphoris59  but a [burial] place was reserved for him at Beth She'arim.60

Was it not, however, taught: Justice, justice shalt thou follow.61  follow Rabbi to Beth She'arim? — Rabbi was [indeed] living at Beth She'arim62  but when he fell ill63  he was brought to Sepphoris

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Lit., 'and cause to sit.
  2. Of lamentation and mourning. No longer period for mourning shall be allowed.
  3. [H], this is explained in the Gemara infra. V. also infra n. 24 and p. 659. n. 9.
  4. [H] 'prince'. 'president', 'patriarch'. On some of the dignities and honours attached to the offices of Nasi, Hakam, and Ab-beth-din respectively v. Hor. 13b.
  5. By restricting the lamentations to the larger towns the inhabitants of the smaller ones as well as the villagers would be spared the time and trouble involved in arranging, or attending, the public funeral services.
  6. Lit., 'all the world'.
  7. Both from the smaller towns and the villages.
  8. Cf., 'he wished that Israel might be honoured in greater measure through him' (Sanh. 470).
  9. Deut. XXXIV, 8.
  10. Lit., 'from now onwards'.
  11. Lit., 'that they mourned twelve months of the year'.
  12. V. Glos.
  13. [Probably this was the fuller mentioned in Ned. 410 (Jacob Emden).]
  14. Rabbi.
  15. One would naturally expect the wise son rather than the other to succeed his father as Nasi. Why then did Rabbi mention the wisdom of the one as apparently a reason for the appointment of the other?
  16. Cf. supra p. 658 nn. 13-14. [Halevy Doroth, II, p. 20, n. I, explains that what Rabbi primarily meant was that Simeon shall be the Hakam and Gamaliel the Nasi. The precedence, however, given in his instructions to Simeon, although his office was second to that of the Nasi, indicated that Rabbi desired to have a secondary meaning attached to his words. Hence the question, 'what did he mean?'].
  17. That Gamaliel, who was the elder son and entitled to the succession, shall be the Nasi.
  18. Levi was lame (v. Suk. 530). Aliter (Jast.): 'Do we need thee and thy limping (lame remark)?'
  19. R. Simeon b. Rabbi's.
  20. In understanding Levi's objection.
  21. II Chron. XXI, 3. (Cf. p. 659, n. 10). What need then was there, as Levi objected, for Rabbi's specific instruction?
  22. Lit., 'that', Jehoram.
  23. Lit., 'fulfilling the place of'.
  24. Since there was no other son possessing a superior claim.
  25. His younger brother having been wiser. Hence the necessity for Rabbi's specific instructions. Aliter; What was his (sc. Levi's) difficulty? (Is it) that Scripture stated, But the kingdom … the firstborn, that (firstborn, it may be replied.) was properly representing his ancestors but R. Gamaliel etc. (cf. S. Strashun).
  26. Lit., 'thus'.
  27. Gamaliel.
  28. Moral conception and conduct (cf. Abboth III, II; Sonc. ed. III, 9' p. 32).
  29. Since he could not recognise R. Afes as his superior.
  30. Lit., 'his soul rested'.
  31. Lit., 'to sit at his side'.
  32. Lit., 'and that is'.
  33. V. supra p. 222, n. 8.
  34. On the Sabbath, when the carrying of objects from one domain into another is forbidden (cf. Shab. 59b).
  35. Lit., 'infer from this'.
  36. Lit., 'as he sat he sits'.
  37. Lit., 'that he should not reign'. Consequently he must have survived R. Afes.
  38. lob XXII, 28.
  39. Who was superior to both R. Hanina and R. Afes. Why was he overlooked by Rabbi?
  40. When Rabbi was making his testamentary appointments.
  41. 'His coffin' (Rashi).
  42. Being the approach of the day of rest.
  43. Lit., 'at the going out of the Sabbath'.
  44. One's sins having been forgiven during the day.
  45. All of which proves that R. Hiyya was still alive when Rabbi was on his deathbed.
  46. Lit., 'cause him to be idle' or 'to relax'.
  47. The testimony to R. Hiyya's piety and public benefactions.
  48. Lit., 'and that is (why)'.
  49. Cf. B.M. 85b where the parallel passage contains some variations including the substitution of 'R. Ishmael the son of R. Jose' for 'R. Simeon b. Rabbi'.
  50. Rabbi. The story of the last moments of his life, interrupted by the Preceding discussions, explanations and incidents, is here resumed.
  51. Plur. const. of rsx 'order', 'rules and regulations'.
  52. [H] (sing. [H] 'high', 'elevated'). Aruch reads, [H] ([H] 'equivalent', 'compensation', 'value') 'as something precious'.
  53. Sc. 'introduce a firm discipline in the college'.
  54. Keeping scholars under a discipline which many might regard as degrading.
  55. Lit., 'I am not'.
  56. Ps. XV, 4.
  57. Lit., 'that'.
  58. Scholars, like the general public, may be expected to respect the common rules and regulations and to pay homage to the Patriarch.
  59. V. supra p. 410, n. 6.
  60. Identified with (a) the modern Tur'an. a village situated ten kilometres E.N.E. of Sepphoris (I. S. Horowitz, Palestine s.v.); (b) Besara, mentioned in Josephus, the modern Dscheda W. of the Valley of Jezreel (Klein. S. EJ. 4, 427).
  61. Deut. XVI, 20.
  62. 'Rabbi … She'arim' is wanting in [H] edd.
  63. V. B.M. 85a.
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