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Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld

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Kesuvos 14

KESUVOS 11-14 - have been anonymously dedicated by a unique Ohev Torah and Marbitz Torah living in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel.


(a) An engaged couple came before Rav Yosef. They both said that she is pregnant from him.
(b) (Rav Yosef): There is no reason to be concerned - firstly, the husband admits!
1. Another reason - the law is as R. Gamliel!
(c) Question (Abaye): Your words imply that the 2nd reason stands on its own - but did R. Gamliel say his law when the husband does not admit?
1. (Shmuel): Even though the law is as R. Gamliel, do not rule leniently unless most people in the area do not defile her.
2. In our case, everyone except the husband defiles her!
(d) Counter-question: How do you (Abaye) understand - if the law is as R. Gamliel, why not rule leniently (even without a Kosher majority)?
(e) Answer: You must say, the law is as R. Gamliel B'diavad; L'chatchilah, we require a Kosher majority.
(f) Our case is also like B'diavad (if we are stringent, the child cannot get married (even to one of improper lineage; some explain, if we are stringent, the husband will not want to stay married to her).
(a) Question (Abaye): Did R. Yehoshua really say that she is not believed?
(b) (Beraisa): R. Yehoshua and R. Yehudah Ben Beseira testified of a widow of an Isah (lit. dough, i.e. a family in which there is a mixture of doubtful lineage) is permitted to a Kohen!
(c) Answer (Rabah): That is because a woman checks before she gets married; here, does a woman check before having extramarital relations?!
(d) Question (Rava): Why did Abaye only ask a contradiction in R. Yehoshua - there is also a contradiction in R. Gamliel!
(e) (End of the previous Beraisa): R. Gamliel: We accept your testimony. but R. Yochanan Ben Zakai decreed not to check such families - Kohanim will only listen to avoid such women, but they will not marry such women, even if we say they are permitted!
(f) Answer (Rava): We must answer, R. Gamliel is stringent there, since the woman herself is unsure if she is Kosher; he is lenient in our Mishnah, since the woman is sure that she is Kosher.
(g) We will answer for R. Yehoshua, that he is lenient by the Isah since there are 2 doubts; he is stringent in the Mishnah, since there is only a single doubt. (Rabah's answer cannot be used, since to explain R. Gamliel, we must say that the widow had not checked her first husband.)
1. R. Gamliel gives great credence to a certain claim; he is lenient, even by a single doubt; he is strict by a doubtful claim, and is stringent even by a double doubt.
2. R. Yehoshua is strict by a single doubt, and prohibits even when there is a certain claim; he is lenient by a double doubt, and permits even when there is an unsure claim.
(h) (Beraisa): What is a widow of an Isah? A family with no doubtful Mamzerim (bastards), Nesinim (Givonim),or slaves of kings;

(i) R. Meir: Any family without any of these, the women may marry Kohanim.
(j) R. Shimon Ben R. Elazar: A widow of an Isah is when a doubtful Chalal (profaned Kohen) got mixed into a family; Jews recognize Mamzerim among ourselves, but not the Chalalim among ourselves.
(k) Question#1: The first Tana says that Mamzerim, Nesinim or slaves may not be mixed in - we infer that Chalalim may be mixed in!
1. Why is there a distinction - the prohibition of Chalalim (for their daughters or widows to marry Kohanim) is also a Torah law
(l) Question#2: R. Meir says the same thing as the 1st Tana!
(m) Question#3: R. Shimon Ben R. Elazar ... an Isah may have Chalalim mixed in ... there is no need for him to later say, we do not recognize Chalalim among ourselves!
(n) Answer (R. Yochanan): They argue in the case of a man who protests if he is called a Mamzer, but is silent if called a Chalal.
1. The 1st Tana says that if someone in the family is silent to any of these accusations, a widow of the family may not marry a Kohen.
2. R. Meir agrees, if he is called a Mamzer, Nasin or slave; but if he is called a Chalal, his silence just shows that he doesn't care, and the widow may marry a Kohen.
3. R. Shimon Ben R. Elazar says that when R. Meir declared Kosher a man who is silent, it was in response to being called a Mamzer - since we recognize Mamzerim, he knows that people will not believe it, since there has been no talk about him.
i. If he protests when called a Mamzer, but is silent if called a Chalal, we assume that he is a Chalal - he is silent because he can still marry into Yisrael.
(o) (Beraisa - R. Yosi): One who is silent if called a Mamzer is Kosher; one who is silent if called a Chalal is a Chalal.
(p) (Beraisa): One who is silent if called a Chalal is Kosher; one who is silent if called a Mamzer is a Mamzer.
1. R. Yosi holds as R. Shimon Ben R. Elazar; the 2nd Beraisa holds as the 1st version of R. Meir in the earlier Beraisa.
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