1) THE ROLE OF "MESIRAH"
ANSWERS: The Rishonim seem to have entirely different perspectives concerning what Mesirah l'Chupah is, as is evidenced by how they answer this question.
(a) TOSFOS (DH u'Shmuel and DH Teyuvta; see also DH Rav Asi) explains that Mesirah la'Ba'al actually accomplishes Nisu'in mid'Oraisa.
The Amora'im who say that Mesirah works only for Yerushah do not mean that all it accomplishes is that the husband inherits the Nedunya. Rather, they are merely excluding Achilas Terumah. They are saying that it works for Yerushah (and for the other laws of marriage) but it does not work to permit the wife to eat Terumah. Even though Mesirah is a type of Chupah, there is still a fear of "Simpon," and the Rabanan therefore took away the woman's rights to eat Terumah until she moves in with him.
(b) RASHI (48b, DH Shmuel) takes the opposite approach. Rashi writes that Mesirah is really not a Chupah at all. Chupah involves Yichud of some sort in the house of the husband. Although the laws of Na'arah Me'urasah do not apply after the Mesirah (that is, if she is Mezanah she receives Chenek like any married woman, and not Sekilah like an Arusah), that is not because Mesirah is a form of Chupah but because there is less of a disgrace to the father after the Mesirah, and thus the punishment is less severe.
Why, then, may the husband annul her Nedarim after the Mesirah if Mesirah does not create Nisu'in? The Halachah of Hafaras Nedarim depends on the consummation of the marriage!
The answer is that Rashi (ibid.) in fact writes that even after the Mesirah, the husband may not annul her Nedarim. How, though, does Rashi understand the Beraisa here that says that Mesirah removes her from the Reshus of her father with regard to Hafaras Nedarim, implying that the husband may annul her Nedarim?
The PNEI YEHOSHUA and others explain that according to Rashi, she is neither in the Reshus of the father nor in the Reshus of the husband. Mesirah only removes her from the father's Reshus but does not bring her into the husband's Reshus. Neither of them may annul her Nedarim after Mesirah. (This is why the verse compares her to an Almanah Gerushah, for whom no one may annul her Nedarim.)
This answers a number of other difficult points in Rashi. REBBI AKIVA EIGER points out that Rashi earlier (48b, DH l'Olam) implies that even according to those who say that Mesirah makes them completely married, it is not Koneh her for everything; there are certain matters for which she is not considered married. Regarding what does Mesirah not serve to be Koneh her to him?
The answer is that Mesirah does not make her married with regard to Hafaras Nedarim. It makes her married to him with regard to Terumah because there is no longer any fear of "Simpon," and with regard to other Halachos that are mid'Rabanan. (It also makes her like a married woman with regard to Tum'ah, if he is a Kohen, as Rashi (48b, DH Mesirasah la'Kol) writes. The reason for this is that since she has left the house of her father through Mesirah, there now is nobody to bury her. She therefore is deemed a "Mes Mitzvah" and her Kohen husband may bury her, as the Gemara explains in Yevamos 89b with regard to a Mema'enes.)
This might also explain why Rashi says that the opinion that she may eat Terumah after Mesirah also maintains that the Rabanan prohibited an Arusah from eating Terumah only because she might give it to her brothers and sisters, but not because of "Simpon." TOSFOS asks that the conclusion of the Gemara (on 58b) is that the reason the Rabanan prohibited her from eating Terumah is "Simpon" and not just that she might feed the Terumah to her brothers and sisters. Rashi should have explained that the opinion which allows her to eat Terumah after Mesirah maintains that there is no more problem of "Simpon" at that point, since that is already the beginning of Nisu'in and the husband examines her before that point. Why does Rashi explain that Rav Asi, who maintains that she eats Terumah, argues with the conclusion of the Gemara later (58b)?
The answer might be that Rashi follows his own opinion that Mesirah removes her only from her father's house but accomplishes nothing towards bringing her into the Reshus of her husband. Therefore, it is not logical to say that her husband checks her for blemishes and that there is no fear of "Simpon" from the time of the Mesirah. Tosfos, on the other hand, follows his view that Mesirah is Chupah mid'Oraisa and therefore the husband checks her for blemishes before the Mesirah. (M. Kornfeld)
2) MESIRAH WITHOUT CHUPAH
If the Gemara learns that the words "l'Reshus ha'Ba'al" mean Mesirah to the husband and not actual Chupah, the same inference should be made from those words in the Mishnah (48a) which says that "she is always in the Reshus of the father until she enters the Reshus of the Ba'al for Nisu'in." The Mishnah should mean that from the time of the Mesirah to the husband she leaves the Reshus of her father. The Gemara there explains that this part of the Mishnah is discussing her right to eat Terumah when she marries a Kohen. The Mishnah is saying clearly that after the Mesirah she does eat Terumah. Why, then, does the Gemara not cite proof from the Mishnah for the opinion of Rav Asi and Rebbi Yochanan who say that the woman may eat Terumah after the Mesirah la'Ba'al? (TOSFOS 48a, DH l'Olam)
(b) The RITVA's text of the Mishnah omits the word "l'Nisu'in." He explains that it is only from the Beraisa which adds the extra word "l'Nisu'in" that the inference can be made that it is discussing Mesirah la'Ba'al.
(c) The ROSH, RIF, and others have the Girsa in the Mishnah (48b), "Ad she'Tikanes l'Chupah," and not "Ad she'Tikanes l'Reshus ha'Ba'al." This is also the way the Gemara (48b) quotes the Mishnah.
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