My question is, when the gemara relates the story of the daughter of Nakdimon ben Gurion, it says that after Beis Din gave her money for spices she gave the chachamim a bracha that their daughters should have similar amounts, and they responded amen. Tosfos explains that her husband was away and had authorized beis din to support her from his estate.
According to Rashi, however, we are left with a serious question. He explains that her husband had died and she was being supported from his estate. This explanation is troubling in light of a previous Braisa (65a) in which a similar incident occured with the wife of Nakdimon ben Gurion, and she too gave the chachamim an identical bracha for their dughters, yet they did not respond amen, because her husband had died, and they did not want this to happen to their daghters. How then can we understand the fact that on our daf the chachamim did answer amen if, as Rashi explains, her husband too was dead?
Devora Whitman, New Haven, USA
We made a note of this in the Daf-Background section, which we have copied for you below.
12*) [line 31] V'ANU ACHAREHA - in this instance, the Chachamim did answer Amen, while in the incident on Daf 65a they did not. The reason for this is that on 65a the woman was a Shomeres Yavam, which is an abnormal situation, and it was not appropriate to wish that upon the Chachamim's daughters (SHITAH MEKUBETZES). Alternatively, on 65a, the son of Nakdimon died. The wish of the daughter-in-law was that the same should happen to the Chachamim's daughters-in-law when their sons die before their daughters-in- law. In this case, though, Nakdimon's son-in-law died before his daughter, and therefore the Berachah was more appropriate to the Chachamim. (M. Kornfeld)
Thank you for responding but I sill do not understand the explanation brought down by the Shitah Mekubetzes: which part of the bracha was not appropriate? Is it being suggested that the chachamim had no problem with the fact that her husband had died, but rather took issue with the specific aspect of the situation that she was a shomeres yavam? But in our case (66b), according to Rashi's pshat, that her husband had died, it is quite possible that here too she was a shomeres yavam, in which case her bracha would not have been appropriate. In any event it still remains questionable that the chachamim were willing to support a bracha for their daughters under such circumstances, even if in fact she was not a shomeres yavam.
The Shitah assumes that since the Gemara did not say otherwise, she was not a Shomeres Yavam. He explains that death is a normal situation; it happens to all of us some time or other. If the wife is a Shomeres Yavam, though, it means her husband died childless. fThe Chachamim did not want to answer "Amen" that such a situation should apply to their daughters.