THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
1) GIVING A DOWRY
QUESTION: When Rav Papa invited Rav Yehudah bar Mereimar to accompany him to
the negotiations for the Nedunya for his son, Rav Yehudah declined. Rav Papa
prodded him to come, telling him not to think that it is prohibited to give a
Nedunya to one's daughter for one thereby causes that money to be taken away
from the inheritance of the sons. On the contrary -- the Rabanan instituted
that one should give a Nedunya to his daughter, as we find that Rebbi
Yochanan said in the name of Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai that the Rabanan
instituted the "Kesuvas Benin Dichrin" -- that the Kesuvah of the mother goes
to her children after her death -- in order to persuade a man to write a
large Nedunya for his daughter.
2) REDIRECTING ONE'S INHERITANCE
Why did Rav Papa mention the Takanah d'Rabanan of "Kesuvas Benin Dichrin" as
proof that one may give his daughter a Nedunya? The Gemara earlier (52b)
points out that it has a source in the Torah! The prophet tells the Jewish
people, after the Churban, that Hashem wants them to acquire husbands for
their daughters, as the verse says, "One should acquire husbands for his
daughters [by giving them a large Nedunya]" (Yirmeyahu 29:6). Why, then, did
Rav Papa quote Rebbi Yochanan's statement about the Takanah d'Rabanan? He
should have quoted the verse which teaches that one should give a Nedunya to
one's daughter! (MAHARSHA, MITZPEH EISAN)
ANSWER: Rav Papa perhaps wanted to prove that not only is it permissible to
give a Nedunya to one's daughters, but that it is a Mitzvah to give a Nedunya
to one's daughters, even when one does not need to do so in order to find a
Shiduch for her. Rav Papa was the father of the groom and had already decided
to give his son in marriage to his wife's sister. The Nedunya, then, was not
necessary to persuade Rav Papa's family to agree to the Shiduch. From the
verse we do not see that one should give a Nedunya under such circumstances.
The Rabanan, though, instituted that there should always be a respectable
Nedunya. (M. Kornfeld)
QUESTION: The Gemara mentions Shmuel's teaching that it is improper for a
person to give all of his possessions to one child and not let it be split
equally among all of his children, even if one of his children is "bad." Why,
then, did Avraham Avinu, in his lifetime, give all of his possessions to
Yitzchak (Bereishis 25:5-6)? He left nothing for Yishmael and left only gifts
to the children of his Pilagshim before sending them away!
3) WHY A WOMAN SHOULD LOSE THE "KESUVAS BENIN DICHRIN"
(a) Yitzchak's situation was different, because Avraham was told in a
prophecy that the only child that would be considered his descendant would be
Yitzchak. (KLI YAKAR -- the RAMBAN also hints to this answer in Bereishis
25:6; see also MAHARSHA to Sanhedrin 91a.)
(b) The DA'AS ZEKEINIM (end of Parshas Chayei Sarah) writes that Yishmael was
not considered a rightful heir of Avraham because Yishmael was Megayer after
his birth, and a "Ger she'Nisgayer k'Katan she'Nolad Dami." Thus he was not
Halachically related to Avraham.
As far as the children of the Pilagshim were concerned, those children were
only born after Avraham Avinu had already given away everything to Yitzchak.
He already gave his possessions to Yitzchak at the time that he married
Rivka, as we see in the verse (Bereishis 24:36).
(c) RAV ELYASHIV (in He'oros b'Maseches Kesuvos) answers that we see from our
Sugya that it is permissible to give a gift to one's daughter, even though it
will then not be split among the sons, because there is a purpose to it -- it
will help the girl get married. Accordingly, since Avraham Avinu gave all of
his money to Yitzchak in order for Eliezer to be able to find him a proper
wife, it had a purpose and it was certainly permitted to give all of his
possessions to Yitzchak.
(d) RAV MOSHE FEINSTEIN zt'l (IGROS MOSHE, Choshen Mishpat II:50) writes that
when the Gemara says that one should not take away one's possessions from one
son and give it to another son, even from a bad son to a good son, it is only
referring to a bad son who is slightly disrespectful towards the Torah, or a
son who has bad character traits. If, however, the child is a heretic and
desecrates Shabbos and is raising his children in his evil ways, then
certainly a person is permitted to give his possessions to the son who
observes the Mitzvos, and doing so is commendable. One does not have to take
into account that perhaps his grandchildren from the other son will do
Teshuvah, since it is unlikely and uncommon.
The TCHEBINER REBBE (in DOVEV MESHARIM 1:97) uses this to explain why Avraham
Avinu gave all of his possessions to Yitzchak. The other children were
clearly not going to grow up to be Shomer Mitzvos and their children would
not be part of the Jewish people.
QUESTION: The Gemara discusses whether a woman who foregoes her Kesuvah to
her husband also loses the Kesuvas Benin Dichrin if she dies before her
husband dies. The Gemara asks that perhaps she loses it because she belittled
the Kesuvah by forgoing it.
Why should the woman's Mechilah of the Kesuvah cause her to lose the Kesuvas
Benin Dichrin? The Mishnah (54b) tells us that a man is not allowed to remain
with his wife if there is no Kesuvah, even when the woman was Mochel the
Kesuvah or lost it (57a), and a new Kesuvah must be written in order for them
to be permitted to continue living together. Consequently, since they must
rewrite the Kesuvah, she should get the Kesuvas Benin Dichrin from the new,
(a) The RIF (Teshuvah #42) cited by the RITVA explains that the Gemara means
that she was Mochel the Kesuvah immediately before she died, and no new
Kesuvah was written.
(b) The RASHBA understands the Rif differently. He says that the Rif's answer
is that she was Mochel her rights to the Kesuvah in the event of her
husband's death, but she was not Mochel her rights to the Kesuvah in the
event of divorce. Since the only reason a man's wife must have a Kesuvah is
so that she not feel that the husband can divorce her at whim, here there is
no need to write a new Kesuvah after her Mechilah, because the original
Kesuvah remains in force as far as divorce is concerned. Therefore they are
allowed to remain together.
(c) The RASHBA, RA'AVAD (cited by the Rashba), RITVA and others answer that
the Gemara's case is where she foregoes the Kesuvah and she writes a new
Kesuvah, but she does not include in the new Kesuvah the Kesuvas Benin
Dichrin. Since she belittled the Kesuvas Benin Dichrin by being Mochel the
first Kesuvah which contained it, she is not entitled to the Kesuvas Benin
Dichrin when she writes the Kesuvah anew.
The Rif, who does not accept this answer, might have learned that she only
loses the Kesuvas Benin Dichrin as a penalty for belittling the Kesuvah
itself (by expressing a desire to remain with her husband without a Kesuvah),
and not just for belittling the Kesuvas Benin Dichrin. If she is only Mochel
the Kesuvas Benin Dichrin, but she still keeps a Kesuvah, then she still gets
the Kesuvas Benin Dichrin.