THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) PROVIDING ONE'S WIFE WITH A "KAR V'KESES" QUESTION:
The Gemara records a
Machlokes between the Tana Kama and Rebbi Nasan regarding the obligation for
a man to provide his wife with a Kar v'Keses -- a padded blanket and pillow
upon which one rests one's head and body. The Gemara says that both agree
that in a case where she is accustomed to sleeping on such fine items, he
certainly is obligated to provide her with them. The Machlokes is only where
she is not accustomed to such luxuries, but *he* is accustomed to them. The
Tana Kama holds that he does not have to buy her a Kar v'Keses of her own.
Rebbi Nasan argues and says that he must provide her with a Kar v'Keses,
because she can claim that sometimes he might leave town with his own (which
the two of them sleep upon, since his is large enough to be used by both of
them) and return to his town as Shabbos enters. Due to the prohibition of
Hotza'ah (carrying four Amos in a public place on Shabbos) he will not be
able to carry his Kar v'Keses all the way home. When he arrives home without
his Kar v'Keses, he will take his wife's Kar v'Keses away from her and make
her sleep on the ground. Therefore, he must give her a Kar v'Keses of her
(a) Why doesn't the Gemara propose a simple reason to require him to buy her
a Kar v'Keses? Since he is accustomed to using a Kar v'Keses, we should
apply the principle that says that she rises to his degree of luxury and
standard of living (Kesuvos 61a)! The very fact that he will take his Kar
v'Keses away when he leaves town should be valid reason to require him to
buy her a separate set.
(b) How can the Gemara say that she is afraid that he will take away "her
Kar v'Keses," if he does not buy her a separate Kar v'Keses? She does not
have her own Kar v'Keses for him to take away, since he did not buy her one!
(a) There are a wide variety of answers to the question of why we
do not apply the principle that says that she rises to his degree of luxury
in our Gemara.
1. RASHI (DH Urchei) and TOSFOS (DH v'Shakalt) seem to understand that our
Gemara indeed *does* apply this principle. Nevertheless, they maintain that
this principle only applies when they are actually living with each other.
When the husband travels away from home, since he is not together with his
wife, his wife does not need to live according to his standard of living.
(b) RASHI offers two answers to our second question.
It seems that the only reason we say she rises to his degree of luxury is
because it is insulting for her if he denies her the luxury that she *sees*
2. However, most Rishonim reject this approach, and maintain that even when
he is traveling, he must treat his wife (who remained at home) to his own
standard of living. Why, then, does our Gemara not mention this rule?
The RIF (as explained by the Ritva and Rishonim), who does not cite the
Beraisa we are discussing in his Halachic compilation, seems to have learned
that the Beraisa disagrees with the rule that she rises to his level of
luxury. The Beraisa is therefore not accepted as Halachah.
3. The RAMBAN explains that when the Gemara says that he is accustomed to
using a Kar v'Keses, it means that only he, but not the rest of his family,
is accustomed to a Kar v'Keses. Since it is not his *family's* practice, he
need not treat her to that level of luxury.
4. The RASHBA explains that the Beraisa (like our Mishnah) is discussing a
poverty stricken individual. Since *she* is not accustomed to living in such
luxury, even though he became accustomed to it, he need not beg door to door
in order to earn money so that he can treat her to his level of luxury.
5. The RA'AVAD (cited by the above Rishonim) explains that the Beraisa is
discussing whether he must be her a *second* Kar v'Keses set. She already
has one, but he might have to buy her a second set to be prepared for the
eventuality that he will leave his own Kar v'Keses on the road and take
1. First, he explains that the woman is not claiming that the husband will
take away her *Kar v'Keses* that she sleeps on, but rather she is claiming
that he will take away her simple bedspread from her.
Why, though, does the husband have to take away her bedspread? Let them both
sleep on it! Apparently, the normal, simple bedspread is the size of one
person, as opposed to the Kar v'Keses, which are large enough for two
people. She is therefore afraid that he will take away her bedspread even
though he is not entitled to do so. Even though he has his own bedspread at
home (and he does not take it along on his travels, since *every* bed comes
with at least a simple bedspread), since he is used to luxury, one bedspread
may not suffice for him, and he will take hers as well (TOSFOS DH v'Shakalt)
2. In his second answer, Rashi explains that she is saying that she is going
to buy her own Kar v'Keses with her own money (so that she can sleep on it
when her husband goes away with his Kar v'Keses, because she has become
accustomed to such luxuries), and she is afraid that her husband will
unfairly take hers away from her if he finds himself without his Kar
Why is she afraid that he will take hers away from her, if her Kar v'Keses
is large enough for both of them? The answer is that according to this
answer, the Kar v'Keses is only large enough to accommodate a single person,
just like a simple bedspread.
According to this, though, how does Rebbi Nasan solve the problem by
requiring the husband to buy for his wife a Kar v'Keses? Even if he buys one
for her, he might take it away from her if he finds himself without his
linen to sleep on! The answer is that now that he buys her one set of Kar
v'Keses, she can invest her own money to buy a spare Kar v'Keses for such
occasions, and she does not have to buy two spare sets with her own money.
Alternatively, the only reason she is complaining is because he might take
away the Kar v'Keses that she purchased with *her own money* to use when he
goes away on trips. If *he* buys her the Kar v'Keses, though, it will not
bother her so much when he takes it away on rare occasions and asks her to
sleep on a simple bedspread like she used to do. (M. Kornfeld)
3. According to the Ra'avad (cited above, a:5) the answer to our question is
obvious. The Beraisa is discussing whether or not he must buy his wife an
*extra* Kar v'Keses; she already has one set! (However, the Rishonim point
out that the Ra'avad's explanation is not consistent with the version of
this Beraisa as it is recorded in the TOSEFTA.)