QUESTIONS: The Gemara records a dispute between the Tana Kama and Rebbi Nasan with regard to the obligation for a man to provide his wife with a Kar v'Keses, a padded blanket and pillow upon which the head and body rest. The Gemara says that both agree that in a case where she is accustomed to sleeping on such fine items, he certainly is obligated to provide her with them. The dispute applies only where she is not accustomed to such luxuries but he is accustomed to them. The Tana Kama maintains that he does not have to buy her a Kar v'Keses of her own. Rebbi Nasan argues and says that he must provide her with a Kar v'Keses because she can claim that sometimes he might leave town with his own (which the two of them sleep upon, since his is large enough to be used by two people) and return to his town as Shabbos enters. Due to the prohibition of Hotza'ah (carrying four Amos in a public place on Shabbos) he will not be able to carry his Kar v'Keses all the way home. When he arrives home without his Kar v'Keses, he will take his wife's Kar v'Keses away from her and make her sleep on the ground. Therefore, he must give her a Kar v'Keses of her own.
(a) Why does the Gemara not propose a simple reason to require him to buy her a Kar v'Keses? The Gemara earlier (61a) teaches that a man's wife rises to his degree of luxury and standard of living. Since he is accustomed to using a Kar v'Keses, she also is accustomed to using them. The very fact that he will take his Kar v'Keses away when he leaves town should be sufficient grounds to require him to buy her a separate set.
(b) Whhy does the Gemara say that she is afraid that he will take away "her Kar v'Keses" if he does not buy her a separate Kar v'Keses? She does not have her own Kar v'Keses for him to take away since he did not buy her one in the first place!
(a) There are various answers to why this principle (that she rises to his degree of luxury) does not apply to the case of the Gemara here.
1. RASHI (DH Urchei) and TOSFOS (DH v'Shakalt) seem to understand that the Gemara indeed does apply this principle. Nevertheless, they maintain that this principle applies only when the man and his wife are actually living with each other. When the husband travels away from home his wife does not need to live according to his standard of living.
It seems that the only reason for why she rises to his standard of luxury is that it is insulting for her if he denies her the luxury that she sees him experiencing.
2. However, most Rishonim reject this approach and maintain that even when he is traveling he must provide for his wife (who remained at home) his own standard of living. Why, then, does the Gemara here not mention this rule?
The RIF (as explained by the Ritva and Rishonim) does not cite the Beraisa in his Halachic compilation. He apparently understands that the Beraisa disagrees with the rule that she rises to his level of luxury. The Beraisa therefore is not accepted as Halachah.
3. The RAMBAN explains that when the Gemara says that he is accustomed to using a Kar v'Keses, it means that only he, but no one else in his family, is accustomed to a Kar v'Keses. Since it is not his family's practice, he need not treat his wife to that level of luxury.
4. The RASHBA explains that the Beraisa (like the Mishnah) refers to a poverty-stricken individual. Since she is not accustomed to living in such luxury, even though he became accustomed to it, he need not beg from door to door in order to earn money so that he can treat her to his level of luxury.
5. The RA'AVAD (cited by the above Rishonim) explains that the Beraisa discusses whether he must buy for her a second Kar v'Keses set. Although she already has one set, he might be required to buy her a second set to be prepared for the eventuality that he will leave his own Kar v'Keses on the road and take hers.
(b) RASHI offers two answers to the second question.
1. Rashi explains that the woman does not claim that her husband will take away her Kar v'Keses on which she sleeps, but rather that he will take away her simple bedspread from her.
Why, though, would the husband take away her bedspread, if they can both sleep on it? Apparently, an ordinary, simple bedspread fits only one person, as opposed to the Kar v'Keses which are large enough for two. She is afraid that he will take away her bedspread even though he is not entitled to do so. Although he has his own bedspread at home (and he does not take it with him on his travels, since every bed comes with at least a simple bedspread), since he is used to luxury one bedspread may not suffice for him and he will take hers as well (TOSFOS DH v'Shakalt).
2. In his second answer, Rashi explains that the woman says that she is going to buy her own Kar v'Keses with her own money (so that she can sleep on it when her husband goes away with his Kar v'Keses, as she has become accustomed to such luxuries), and she is afraid that her husband will unfairly take hers away if he finds himself without his Kar v'Keses.
Why is she afraid that he will take hers away from her, if her Kar v'Keses is large enough for both of them? This answer of Rashi understands that the Kar v'Keses is large enough to accommodate only a single person, like a simple bedspread.
According to this approach, however, how does Rebbi Nasan solve the problem by requiring the husband to buy for his wife a Kar v'Keses? Even if he buys one for her, he might take it away from her if he finds himself without his linen to sleep on! The answer is that now that he buys her one set of Kar v'Keses, she can invest her own money to buy a spare Kar v'Keses for such occasions and she does not have to buy two spare sets with her own money.
Alternatively, her only complaint is that he might take away the Kar v'Keses that she purchased with her own money to use when he goes away on trips. If he buys her the Kar v'Keses, though, it will not bother her so much when he takes it away on rare occasions and asks her to sleep on a simple bedspread like she used to do. (M. Kornfeld)
3. According to the Ra'avad (cited above, a:5) the answer to the question is obvious. The Beraisa discusses whether or not he must buy his wife an extra Kar v'Keses; she already has one set. (However, the Rishonim point out that the Ra'avad's explanation is not consistent with the version of this Beraisa as it is recorded in the Tosefta.)