Ketubot (1:8) | Yisrael Bankier | 4 months ago

The Mishnah (1:8) discusses a case where a woman is seen "talking" with an individual in the marketplace. The identity of this person is not known. The woman then claims that the man was a kohen. Rabban Gamliel and R' Eliezer maintain that she can be trusted. R' Yehoshua however disagrees, and it is assumed she had a relationship with someone that would thereafter invalidate her from marrying a kohen. Consequently, she would not be able to marry a kohen until she brings proof to support her claim.

The Gemara (13a) brings to opinions, both of which agree that the case is not where she was simply talking to this stranger. Rav Ashi explains that she had a relationship with the individual whereas Zeiri explains that she was witnessed going into seclusion with this person. The Maharik explains that it does not mean that even if they were in a seclusion for short time that there would be a problem. Rather they were behaving in a fashion prior to going into seclusion such that their intention for going there was clear.

R' Akiva Eiger however asks that if R' Yehoshua does maintains that she is not trusted, how would bringing a proof regarding the identify of this individual help. Given her willingness to engage in such a relationship, R' Yehoshua should be concerned that she engaged in another one with someone else who would be problematic.

R' Akiva Eiger therefore explains the debate between R' Gamliel and R' Yehoshua as follows. R' Gamliel maintains that she is trusted due to a combination of two factors. One is the definite claim she is making -- bari. The seconds is that she has a chezkat kashrut. In other words, until this point her status was that she can marry a kohen. R' Yehoshua however only argues where it is certain that she had a relationship, and the question is who that man was. If however there is a doubt regarding whether a she had a relationship with someone else, then R' Yehoshua would agree that the bari and chezkat kashrut is enough to maintain her kashrut.

The Pnei Yehoshua explains in a similar fashion that if she brings a proof, she is permitted to marry a kohen and we are not concerned for another a forbidden relationship, since there is a double doubt. The first is whether there even was one. The second is that even if there was, it may have been with someone (from the majority) that would not have made her pasul to a kohen.

Interestingly, the Rambam in his commentary on the Mishnah maintains that even if we know that the man in question is kasher, she would still not be able to marry a kohen, since it is assumed she had a relationship with pesulim. We find that R' Akiva Eiger's question is indeed the Rambam's conclusion. The difficulty with this explanation here, is how we understand R' Yehoshua's qualifier "... until she brings proof to support her words." It would seem that if she would bring proof then she would be able to marry a kohen. The Chatam Sofer answers that this Mishnah simple follows the language used in the following Mishnayot. Nevertheless, in this case since it would not be possible to bring proof that she was not mafkir herself to anyone else, R' Yehoshua would maintain that she cannot marry a kohen.


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