א׳ בניסן ה׳תשע״ה (March 21, 2015)

Ketubot 47a-b: This, in Exchange for That

We have learned on the previous daf that a father has rights and responsibilities towards his daughter, and a husband has similar rights and responsibilities towards his wife. On our daf we learn that although many of these rights belong to the father based on interpretations of biblical passages by , in the relationship between husband and wife, many of the rights and responsibilities are related to each other. Thus, the wife’s earnings belong to her husband in exchange for his feeding her (mezonot), he must redeem her from captivity in exchange for the rights that he receives to derive benefit from her property (peirot), and he is obligated to ensure a proper burial in exchange for the dowry that she brings into the household (ketuba).

Once we understand this relationship, the logical conclusion is that upon agreement between husband and wife it is possible that these relationships can be broken, i.e. since the central concern of the Sages is to ensure that the wife is fed, a woman will be able to say eini nizonet ve-eini osa – I choose not to receive food from my husband, and I will keep my earnings for myself.

With regard to the relationship between peirot and pidyon (deriving benefit from her property and redeeming her from captivity), from the simple reading of the Gemara it would appear that the peirot is the central issue. Nevertheless, most of the rishonim understand that pidyon is the central issue, and rule that a man cannot force his wife to cede her guarantee of redemption in exchange for his concession of the peirot. The Meiri suggests that this is the clear position of the Talmud Yerushalmi on the matter.

This is in clear contrast with the opinion of the Rashbam in Massekhet Bava Batra (49b) who believes that the main issue in this case is the peirot.

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