More Discussions for this daf
1. White-haired maidens 2. Review Questions

Jeff Ram asked:

Regarding the Mishna at the very bottom of 108b and 109a, you write in "Answers to Review Questions - 109": "1)(a) According to the Chachamim, if a man fixes a dowry for his daughter who is already betrothed and goes bankrupt, there is nothing the woman can do about it but to wait until her Chasan makes the next move."

There seem to be 2 way to understand the Chachamim; 1) that the father in "mocking" the chasan. He really has the money, but refuses (now) to pay; or 2) the father goes bankrupt.

My difficulty is that in the first case, the Chachamim seem content to allow the woman to suffer at the hands of her father. She can neither go to the chupa nor can she marry anyone else. In the second case, the woman is suffering through no fault of her own (her father made a bad business deal.)

I was wondereing how is it possible that the Chachamim left this woman "chained" to this Chasan because her father is a wicked person or (in case # 2) may have made a bad business deal during the time between the betrothal and the wedding and lost all his money. (and later in the gemara) Somehow, even if it was her fault (where she promised a certain amount as a dowry and her father refused to pay that amount), to force her remain in a relationship of "limbo", neither married to this man nor available to marry others seems (to say the least) unfair.

And if we're concerned that the chasan would be responsible for a get (and kesuva) thruough no "fault" of his own, we had several cases just a few dapin ago where the chachamim decreed that the chasan was not responsible to pay a get in certain cases. Why can't we just include this case and decree that the chasan is not responsible to pay a get, but is forced to give a get and free the woman to marry someone else? Why force her to sit in her father's house "until grey hairs come down"?

Jeff Ram

The Kollel replies:

Why, in the specific case of "Pashat Lo Es ha'Regel," are you now interested in defending the girl? After all, the father always has the right to marry his daughter to a Menuval or Mukah Shechin, just to receive the profit of the Kidushin money, and she must remain married to that Menuval for life! Also, we know that the father, under certain circumstances, may sell his minor daughter into servitude. Once we accept that the minor daughter has a status of being under the jurisdiction and "possession" of the father with regard to the matter of marriage, we can accept that -- despite the suffering that we certainly don't want her to experience -- it falls within the father's prerogative to cause her to be an an unfortunate situation as you described, even though any suffering she may incur may be unfortunate it falls within the father's rights. (Such an unfortunate situation is rare, and by maintaining the general rights of the father to marry off his daughter, a much greater good is done for society as a whole and for most individuals).

As for the husband, he has no responsibility to finalize the deal if his terms are not met.

Dov Zupnik

Note: There is a way out for the woman: if the woman is willing to forego her Kesuvah, the husband will probably divorce her (M. Kornfeld).