כ״ג באדר ה׳תשע״ה (March 14, 2015)

Ketubot 40a-b: Additional Penalties

We have learned that according to the Torah, when a young woman is raped or seduced, the perpetrator is required to pay a kenas – a penalty – to the girl’s father (see Shemot 22:15-16; 22:28-29). The Mishna on our daf teaches that aside from that kenas, the woman also receives other payments due to her because of boshet and pegam – embarrassment and loss of personal value, similar to other cases of assault when these payments are made. The Mishna explains that although the kenas is a standard 50 shekalim for all women, the boshet and pegam can be any sum, which is decided by the courts based on the status of the perpetrator and the victim.

In answer to the Gemara’s query that we need to find a source to support the requirement to pay boshet and pegam – after all, the Torah makes no apparent mention of any payment aside from the 50 shekel kenas – Rabbi Zeira suggests that we do not need a biblical passage, as it is simply a logical argument that the daughter of a king should not receive the same 50 shekalim as a girl from a simple family.

Both Abaye and Rava argue that there are pesukim from which this can be derived. Abaye, for example, points to 22:29, from which it is clear that the kenas is only payment for the inuy – the suffering that was imposed – implying that other payments are to be made, as well.

Abaye rejects Rabbi Zeira’s suggestion by pointing out that there are other cases in the Torah where the kenas is identical in two situations even though the value of the individual appears to be different. For example, when a non-Jewish slave is killed by a goring ox, the owner of the ox is obligated to pay 30 shekel to the owner of the slave (see Shemot 21:32). This is true whether the slave was trained to cut pearls or if he only knew how to mend simple garments.

Pearls usually have a small hole drilled into them, which allows them to be strung. In order to ensure that the pearl is not ruined in the course of the drilling, great care must be taken by a well-trained artisan, who knows how to drill the hole with only minimal damage to the beauty of the stone. It is clear that the expert who knows how perform such tasks will be well-paid for his efforts, and a slave with these abilities would be a valuable asset to his master.