Tenai Beit Din

Ketubot (4:7) | Yisrael Bankier | 3 months ago

The Mishnah (4:7) teaches that if a husband did not write the standard sum of money in the ketubah he is still obligated to pay that amount. It is a tenai beit din, a standard obligation, that is not dependant on whether it is written in the ketubah. Similarly, if the husband allocated some land for the ketubah and did not write that there is a lien on all his property to fund the ketubah, it would nonetheless apply to all his property. Once again, it is a tenai beit din.

The Pnei Yehoshua notes that the Mishnah in the first perek already taught the value of the ketubah for a betulah and almana. What then is the need for this Mishnah? The Pnei Yehoshua explains that the Mishnah was necessary for the point that the Gemara was able to derive from our Mishnah.

The Gemara (51a) initially explains that the Mishnah is according to the opinion of R' Meir since he maintains that the ketubah can never be less than two hundred. R' Yehuda however argues that a woman can write a receipt from the outsett that she has already received one hundred, thereby forgoing half the value. At the core, R' Meir and R' Yehuda argue whether the obligation of a ketubah is biblical or rabbinic.

The Gemara however continues that the continuation of the Mishnah appears to align with R' Yehuda and not R' Meir. That is because they argue whether omitting achrayut nechasim is a ta'ut sofer. In other words, when a loan contract is drawn, it must include that a lien is placed on all the property of the borrower. This means that if he cannot pay back the loan, the money can be collected even from property that was sold after the loan. R' Yehuda maintains that even if it is omitted, we considered it as if it was written in the contract, whereas R' Meir disagrees. The end of the Mishnah which asserts that achrayut nechasim is a tenai beit din for a ketubah appears to reflect the opinion of R' Yehuda.

The Gemara explains that the Mishnah could reflect the opinion of either R' Yehuda or R' Meir. It is possible that even the beginning of the Mishnah aligns with R' Yehuda. R' Yehuda only allows the value of the ketubah to be less than two hundred if she put in writing that it should considered as if she already accepted half the ketubah's value. Rashi explains that if it was not put in writing, then it assumed that she was instead relying on the standard rule that the value of the ketubah is two-hundred. The Pnei Yehoshua explains that even if she stipulated at the time of marriage that the ketubah should be less that two-hundred, R' Yehuda would maintain it would not work. That is because since the ketubah is rabbinic, they strengthened the laws around it to assert its authority. The Gemara adds that the end of the Mishnah could align with R' Meir. When the Mishnah states that the money can be collected from all his property, it means the property in his possession and not property that had been sold.

Consequently the Mishnah was needed to teach these additional laws that disqualify other initiatives that attempt to reduce the value of the ketubah.

The Pnei Yehoshua notes that the language that the ketubah's value is a tenai beit din appears to align better with R' Yehuda who maintains that the ketubah is rabbinic. According to R' Meir however, the law of the ketubah is biblical. What then is the tenai beit din?

The Pnei Yehoshua answers that the Mishnah was referring specifically to the ketubah of an almana which R' Meir agrees is rabbinic. Alternatively, it is referring to the law discussed in the Gemara that she cannot write that she has received part of the ketubah. That is because of the gezeira that a man cannot be with is wife without a ketubah; the Chachamim did not want it to be easy for the husband to divorce his wife on impulse. It is because of that gezeirah -- that tenai beit din -- the mechila cannot work.

Indeed, the Cheshek Shlomo understand that the term tenai beit din works better with the opinion of R' Meir. The Gemara was certain that the Mishnah was discussing the case of mechila since it is this detail that is related to a takana. According to R' Yehuda however many details are rabbinic. Furthermore, according to R' Yehuda, the ketubah was a takana kedumah, an early decree, for which the term tenai beit din does not appear to be appropriate. The Cheshek Shlomo explains that this why the Gemara first assumed that the beginning of the Mishnah was the opinion of R' Meir

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