Tuesday, May 10, 2016

When is a betrothal not a betrothal in the Talmud?

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: The True Pleasure of the Talmud Is Its Intellectual Gamesmanship. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi’ reading, a pair of sages engage in a duel of the mind, posing, parrying, and riposting over hypothetical marriage and sexual scenarios.
For a man to betroth a woman, we have learned in Tractate Kiddushin, requires two things: a declaration of intent, and the transfer of money or an item of value worth at least one peruta. This seems straightforward enough, but as always in the Talmud, the rabbis are alert to possible complications. There are many ways that betrothal can go wrong, due to a flaw in either the declaration or the purchase. This week’s Daf Yomi reading explored a number of these possible errors and in doing so entered into fairly remote regions of the law. Because halakha is one vast system, you can easily start out talking about betrothal and end up talking about tithing or agricultural laws.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.