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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Kethuboth
No allowance for wine is made for a woman.1 And should you point out the Scriptural text, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax. mine oil and my drink,2 [it may be replied that the reference is to] things which a woman desires.3 And what are they? Jewellery.
R. Judah of Kefar Nabirya4 (others say: of Kefar Napor5 Hayil) made the following exposition: Whence is it derived that no allowance for wines is made for a woman? — [From Scripture in] which it is said, So Hannah rose up after she had eaten6 in Shiloh, and after drinking.7 only 'he had drunk' but she did not drink. Now, then, would you also [interpret:] 'She had eaten'8 that he6 did not eat? — What we say is [that the deduction may be made] because the text has deliberately been changed. For consider: It was dealing with her, why did it change [the form]?9 Consequently it may be deduced that it was 'he who drank' and that she did not drink.
An objection was raised: If [a woman] is accustomed [to drink] she is given [an allowance of drink]! — Where she is accustomed to drink the case is different. For R. Hinena b. Kahana stated in the name of Samuel, 'If she was accustomed [to drink] she is given an allowance of one cup; if she was not accustomed [to it] she is given an allowance of two cups'. What does he mean? — Abaye replied: It is this that he means: If she was in the habit [of drinking] two cups in the presence of her husband she is given one cup in his absence; if she is used [to drink] in the presence of her husband only one cup, she is given none at all in his absence. And if you prefer I might say: If she is used [to drink] she is allowed some wine for her puddings10 only. For R. Abbahu stated in the name of R. Johanan: It happened that when the Sages granted the daughterin-law of Nakdimon11 b. Gorion a weekly12 allowance of two se'ahs of wine for her puddings she13 said to them, 'May you grant such allowances to your daughters'. A Tanna taught: She was a woman awaiting the decision of the levir.14 Hence they did not reply Amen after her.15
A Tanna taught: One cup16 is becoming to a woman; two are degrading. [and if she has] three she solicits publicly.17 [but if she has] four she solicits even an ass in the street and cares not. Raba said: This was taught only [in respect of a woman] whose husband is not with her; but if her husband is with her [the objection to her drinks] does not arise.18 But, Surely. [there is the case of] Hannah whose husband was with her!19 — With a guest20 it is different,21 for R. Huna stated Whence is it inferred that a guest is forbidden marital union? [From Scripture in] which it is said, And they rose up in the morning early and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah; and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her,22 only23 then24 but not before.
Homa, Abaye's wife, came to Raba25 and asked him, 'Grant me an allowance of board', and he granted her the allowance. 'Grant me [she again demanded] an allowance of wine'. 'I know', he said to her, 'that Nahmani26 did not drink wine'. 'By the life of the Master [I swear]'. she replied. 'that he gave me to drink27 from horns28 like this'.29 As she was showing it to him her arm was uncovered and a light shone30 upon the court. Raba rose, went home and solicited R. Hisda's daughter.31 'Who has been to-day at the court?' enquired R. Hisda's daughter. 'Homa the wife of Abaye'. he replied. Thereupon she followed her, striking her with the straps32 of a chest33 until she chased her out of all Mahuza.34 'You have', she said to her, 'already killed three [men].35 and now you come to kill another [man]!'
The wife of R. Joseph the son of Raba came before R. Nehemiah the son of R. Joseph and said to him, 'Grant me an allowance of board', and he granted her. 'Grant me also an allowance of wine' [she demanded], and he granted her. 'I know', he said to her, 'that the people of Mahuza drink wine'. The wife of R. Joseph the son of R. Menashya of Dewil36 came before R. Joseph and said to him, 'Grant me an allowance of board', and he granted her. 'Grant me', she said, 'an allowance of wine', and he granted her. 'Grant me', she said again. 'an allowance of silks'. 'Why silks?' he asked. 'For your sake', she replied. 'and for the sake of your friend and for the sake of your associates'.37
HE MUST ALSO PROVIDE HER WITH A BED, A MATTRESS etc. Why38 should he give her A MATTRESS AND A RUSH MAT?39 — R. Papa replied: [This is done only] in a place where it is the practice to girth the bed with ropes.40 which would hurt41 her.
Our Rabbis taught: She42 is not given43 a cushion and a bolster. In the name of R. Nathan it was stated: She is given a cushion and a bolster. How is this to be understood? If it is a case where she is used to it,44 what [it may be objected] is the reason of the first Tanna?45 And if it is a case where she is not used to it,44 what [it may be asked] is the reason of R. Nathan?46 — [The statement was] necessary only in the case where it47 was his habit but not her habit.48 The first Tanna49 is of the opinion that [her husband] may say to her, 'When I go away50 I take them and when I return I bring them back with me',51 while R. Nathan holds the opinion that she can tell him, 'It might sometimes happen [that you will return] at twilight52 when you will be unable to bring them53 and so you will take mine54 and make me sleep on the ground'.55
HE MUST ALSO GIVE HER [ONCE A YEAR] A CAP. Said R. Papa to Abaye:
This Tanna1 [expects a person to be] 'stripped naked and to wear shoes'!2 'The Tanna,' the other replied. 'was dealing3 with a mountainous region where one cannot possibly manage with less than three pairs of shoes [a year].4 and indirectly he informed us that these should be given to her on the occasion of a major festival so that she might derive joy from them.
AND CLOTHING [OF THE VALUE] OF FIFTY ZUZ. Abaye said: Fifty small zuz.5 Whence is this deduced? — From the statement:6 ALL THIS APPLIES TO THE POOREST IN ISRAEL, BUT IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER OF THE BETTER CLASSES ALL IS FIXED ACCORDING TO THE DIGNITY OF HIS POSITION. Now, should one imagine [that the reference is to] fifty real zuz,7 whence [it could be objected] would a poor man obtain fifty zuz? Consequently it must be concluded [that the meaning is] fifty small zuz.
SHE IS NOT TO BE GIVEN NEW etc. Our Rabbis taught: Any surplus of food8 belongs to the husband, while any Surplus of worn out clothes belongs to the woman. [You said:] 'Any surplus of worn out clothes belongs to the woman'; of what use are they to her? — Rehaba replied: For putting on during the days of her menstruation so that she may not [by the constant wearing9 of the same clothes] become repulsive to her husband. Abaye stated: We have a tradition that the surplus of the worn out clothes of a widow10 belongs to her husband's heirs. For the reason in the former case11 is that she shall not become repulsive to her husband12 but in this case13 let her be ever so repulsive.
HE MUST ALSO GIVE HER [EVERY WEEK] A SILVER MA'AH etc. What [is meant by] SHE IS TO EAT? — R. Nahman replied: Actual eating. R. Ashi replied: Intercourse. We have learned: SHE IS TO EAT WITH HIM ON THE NIGHT OF EVERY SABBATH. Now, according to him14 who said, '[actual] eating' it is quite correct to use the expression SHE IS TO EAT. According to him,15 however, who said, 'intercourse', why [it may be asked] was the expression SHE IS TO EAT used?16 — It is a euphemism.17 as it is written in Scripture. She18 eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith: 'I have done no wickedness'.19
An objection was raised: R. Simeon b. Gamaliel said, 'She is to eat with him on the night of the Sabbath and on the Sabbath [day]'. Now, according to him20 who said, '[actual] eating', it is correct to state, 'and on the Sabbath [day]'.21 According to him,22 however, who said, 'intercourse', is there any intercourse on the Sabbath day? Did not R. Huna state, The Israelites are holy and do not have intercourse in the day-time'?23 — But, Surely, Raba stated: It is permitted in a dark room.24
IF SHE WAS NURSING [HER CHILD]. R. 'Ulla the Great made at the Prince's25 door the following exposition: Although it was said:26 'A man is under no obligation to maintain his sons and daughters when they are minors', he must maintain them while they are very young.27 How long?28 — Until the age of six; in accordance [with the view of] R. Assi, for R. Assi stated: A child of the age of six is exempt29 by the 'erub30 of his mother. Whence [is this31 derived]? — From the Statement: IF SHE WAS NURSING [HER CHILD] HER HANDIWORK IS REDUCED AND HER MAINTENANCE IS INCREASED. What can be the reason?32 Surely because he33 must eat together with her. But is it not possible [that the reason32 is] because she34 ailing? — If that were the case it should have been stated, 'If she was ailing', why then [was it stated]. IF SHE WAS NURSING?35 But is it not possible that it was this that we were taught:36 That nursing mothers are commonly ailing?37
MISHNAH. A WIFE'S FIND AND HER HANDIWORK BELONG TO HER HUSBAND. AND [OF] HER INHERITANCE40 HE HAS THE USUFRUCT DURING HER LIFETIME.41 [ANY COMPENSATION FOR] AN INDIGNITY OR BLEMISH [THAT MAY HAVE BEEN INFLICTED UPON] HER BELONGS TO HER. R. JUDAH B. BATHYRA RULED: WHEN IN PRIVACY42 SHE RECEIVES TWO-THIRDS [OF THE COMPENSATION] WHILE HE43 RECEIVES ONE-THIRD, BUT WHEN IN PUBLIC44 HE RECEIVES TWO-THIRDS45 AND SHE RECEIVES ONE-THIRD. HIS SHARE IS TO BE GIVEN TO HIM FORTHWITH, BUT WITH HERS LAND IS TO BE BOUGHT AND HE43 ENJOYS THE USUFRUCT.46
GEMARA. What does he47 teach us? This surely was already learnt: A father has authority over his daughter in respect of her betrothal [whether it was effected] by money, by deed or by intercourse; he is entitled to anything she finds and to her handiwork; [he has the right] of invalidating her vows, and he receives her letter of divorce; but he has no usufruct during her lifetime. When she marries, the husband surpasses him [in his rights] in that he has usufruct during her lifetime!48 — He49 regarded this50 as necessary [on account of the law relating to] INDIGNITY OR BLEMISH [THAT MAY HAVE BEEN INFLICTED UPON] HER, [which is the subject of] a dispute between R. Judah b. Bathyra and the Rabbis.51
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