The mishna goes on to list who may marry whom (which may be why it bothered to enumerate these ten groups). Kohanim, Levites, and Israelites may all intermarry. (These are, by the way, the three main groups; if you hear people talk about three categories of Jews, this is what they mean.) Levites, Israelites, halalim, proselytes, and freedmen (but not kohanim) may all intermarry. And prosselytes, freedmen, mamzerim, netinim, shetuki, and foundlings may all intermarry. (69a)
If you map this out, you'll see that these last few categories, who mostly have uncertain or non-Jewish parents, are pretty limited in whom they can marry. One reason for the restriction is to prevent accidental forbidden marriages -- for example, we don't want a foundling who doesn't know who his parents are to accidentally marry his sister. I guess the rabbis see the odds of this being very low if they stick within these groups; in principle two foundlings could have the same parents, but the only alternative would be to forbid them from marrying at all. (Skimming ahead a bit, it looks like they do in fact make the rarity argument on 73a.)
The g'mara does not here comment that in order to say "after you become a proselyte", the man must be betrothing a non-Jewish woman (at the time). I don't know if a betrothal to a future Jew would be held to be valid, or if the discussion just never gets that far because of the other issue raised.
(Today's daf is 55, and part of a long discussion arising from this mishna.)
I don't understand conditional betrothals. As far as I can tell this isn't about some future state (if I am wealthy when it's time to get married); betrothal takes effect, or doesn't, immediately, so the state of the condition must be known, right?
Now we get to the g'mara. What are positive time-bound commandments from which women are exempt? The g'mara lists: dwelling in the sukkah, taking the lulav (a special ritual done during Sukkot), hearing the shofar, wearing tzitzit (fringes), and wearing t'filin (phylacteries). And what are positive commandments not bound by time? Placing a mezuzah on your doorpost, building a guard-rail on your roof/balcony, returning lost property, and sending away the mother bird before taking the eggs from the nest. These are not complete lists.
But the g'mara goes on to object. It points out several positive time-bound commandments that women are obligated to, including rejoicing on festivals, eating matzah on Pesach, and assembling at the Temple on Sukkot (when we were able to do so). And there are positive non-time-bound commandments from which women are exempt, such as studying torah and procreation. R' Yochanan answers: we cannot learn these from general principles. Over the next couple pages the g'mara presents sources about specific commandments. (29a mishna, 34a g'mara)
Remember that the talmud doesn't always start from "we have these facts; what can we derive?", but, rather, often starts from "we know the law to be X (because the oral law is a received tradition); from where do we know it or how can we characterize it?". We aren't here given a principle from which we can derive that women are exempt from sukkah, lulav, and so on; we're given a list.
People who find themselves abused online are often told to ignore it – it’s only words; it isn’t real life. But in extreme cases, that distinction breaks down completely, such as when a person is doxed, or SWATed, when nude photos are posted of the person without consent, or when a stalker assumes the person’s identity on an online dating site and a string of all-too-real men appear at their door expecting sex. As one woman who had this experience said: “Virtual reality can become reality, and it ruins your life.”
But in addition to the psychological and professional harm online abuse and harassment can cause to individuals, there are social harms, too. Recent research by the Pew Centre found that not only had 40% of adults experienced harassment online but 73% had witnessed others being harassed. This must surely have a chilling effect, silencing people who might otherwise contribute to public debates – particularly women, LGBT people and people from racial or religious minorities, who see others like themselves being racially and sexually abused.
Is that the kind of culture we want to live in?
Is that the web we want?
(Today's daf is 27.)
The Hebrew slave goes free in the seventh year (it's not forever). The verse cited here, though, is from the case where at that time the slave says he loves his master and refuses to go -- in that case he remains forever. This decision is entirely the slave's, so while you think you might be acquiring him, and thus taking on the obligation to treat him as one of your household in exchange for his labor, for six years, it could end up being for much longer.
Whatever Hosea is talking about involves a penalty more dire than the flood (it all comes down to the fish). How do we get from Hosea's list of transgressions to those who don't know what they're doing with divorce and betrothal? I think it's about the adultery -- if you bungle a divorce then she's still married but doesn't know it, leading to adultery. This is my speculation; it's not completely clear to me in the text that this is the reasoning.
It's gotta be distinctly "Purim" (not serious), distinctly Torah, and distinctly Q&A. Purim Torah questions that don't have all three of these qualities may be closed.Here's a sampling from this year. Purim Torah is welcome through this week, so feel free to join in.
So, post sincere-looking questions (you know, the kind that invite answers) that:
- misinterpret a real Torah concept or Jewish text, or
- apply a distinctly Torah style (e.g. Talmudic analysis) to an irrelevant topic
The first mishna of Kiddushin says: a woman is acquired in marriage in three ways: by money, by deed (a written document), or by intercourse. On money, Beit Shammai requires a dinar in value, but Beit Hillel requires a perutah (a very small amount). The g'mara then discusses betrothal through money for several pages. Shortly before today's daf we learn how this works: if a man gives a woman money (or its equivalent value in goods) and declares "behold, thou art consecrated to me" (or "betrothed to me" or "wife to me"), and she accepts the gift, they are betrothed. Apparently a gift by itself doesn't effect the betrothal without the declaration, so it's safe to give gifts to your single female friends. (2a mishna, 5b g'mara)
Today's daf is 6.
So the compulsion can come from any court, but the instruction must come from an Israelite court -- we don't entrust gentile courts to rule on matters concerning Jewish law.
Note: This has been an issue from before the time of the mishna through to today. The mishna's view is not the final word on this nor the halacha, about which (I understand) there is some controversy. I'm just presenting what the talmud says here; don't draw broader conclusions from this.
The next mishna (also on this daf) says: if a man divorced his wife and then they are seen staying together in an inn, Beit Shammai says that she does not require a second get from him (i.e. we do not worry that they re-consumated the marriage) while Beit Hillel says she does require it. Both are talking, the mishna says, about the case where they were married; if they were only betrothed (which does still require a get to dissolve), then Beit Hillel agrees that she does not need it because he would not take liberties with her in that situation. (81a)
So it seems that Beit Hillel holds that if they were married (and then divorced) he will not resist the opportunity to have relations with her (which can effect a marriage), while if they were only engaged (and then divorced) he can control himself. The reasoning is not given.
And it was that when Moshe came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the law in his hand, when he descended, Moshe did not know that the skin of his face sent forth rays of light when he talked with Him. When Aharon and all Israel saw that his face sent forth rays of light, they were afraid to come near. Moshe called to them, and Aharon and the chiefs of the people returned to him and he spoke to them, and after that, all Israel came and Moshe commanded to them all that God had spoken on Mount Sinai. And when Moshe was done speaking with them he put a veil over his face. (Exodus 34:29-33)Moshe had a problem. Ok, he had several problems -- the people who had encountered God built themselves the golden calf only forty days later, lots of them died, God wanted to destroy the rest and start over, and Moshe persuaded Him to relent. But Moshe also had another problem, covered in just a few sentences at the end of the parsha.
Moshe was different, different in a way that bothered other people. He had come down from the mountain the second time literally aglow with God's splendor. The bright light shining from his face was painful to look at. His abnormal condition frightened the people and prevented them from working with him.
This condition -- this disability -- was not under his control and it wasn't his fault. It's just the way God made him.
So what did Moshe do? He could have said to the community "this is from God; suck it up" and expect them to deal with it. It wasn't his fault, after all; there was nothing wrong with him. He could have placed the burden and the guilt on them. If they were sensitive, caring, and inclusive people they would just ignore his disability no matter what effect it had on them, right?
But that's not what he did. Instead, Moshe put on a veil. He took on some extra work and inconvenience to mitigate what he could mitigate. This allowed him to meet the community part-way -- he adjusted what he could adjust and they adjusted what they could adjust.
Moshe and Yisrael are a model for how communities can function and be inclusive. Everybody does what he can and we all meet in the middle. Nobody places the burden entirely on the other.
I have some vision problems. To mitigate this, I have to sit in the front row if a presenter is using slides -- even though I would otherwise sit farther back, even though it can be ostracizing to sit alone up front. (C'mon, we all know nobody likes the front row.) I carry a magnifying glass to read smaller print. The community, in turn, provides large-print copies of the siddur and paper copies of the Visual T'filah slides, and is understanding if my torah reading is a little bumpy sometimes. And I, in turn, understand that if things get too bad, if my torah-reading moves from "occasional problem" to "near-certain failure", it's not fair for me to insist, to impose. Not all people can do all things, and that's ok. So we work together. It's not my burden alone and it's not the community's burden alone.
A friend tried for years to have a child and finally succeeded -- but her daughter has cerebral palsy. She has good days and bad days and sometimes has uncontrollable outbursts. My friend and her daughter go to Shabbat services -- and are ready to step out of the room if need be. This is a burden for my friend, but it's what decent people do. The community, in turn, understands that there will be some noise sometimes.
My friend doesn't demand that the community smile and nod and say nothing if her child has a prolonged crying burst; she takes her daughter out into the hall. I don't demand that presenters avoid using visual materials if I can get my own copy and follow along. Moshe didn't demand that the people just shut up and avert their eyes until sunglasses could be invented; he put on a veil. All of us also make some demands on the community, expecting the community to make accommodations, but we have to do our part first.
Inclusive communities do not place the whole burden of dealing with disabilities on the disabled. But well-functioning inclusive communities also don't place the whole burden on their other members. The whole point of being in a community is that we work together, each contributing what we can and striving to be flexible.
A veil is inconvenient and probably uncomfortable, but because Moshe wore it the people were able to stay together and ultimately enter the promised land. It is my hope and prayer that, when we're the ones who are unintentionally and unavoidably placing some challenge before others, we too can take the steps we're able to take instead of expecting others to take on the whole task.
I don't see a discussion here about why somebody would want to divorce on condition of dying from an illness -- what benefit does that provide? It's not an agunah problem (the trapped woman) like in the lost-at-sea case. I can imagine in modern times somebody whose illness precludes marital relations wanting his wife to be able to get satisfaction outside the marriage (and that "not adultery" ruling would help), but that sounds like a very modern sensibility, not one I would expect from mishnaic times.
By the way, the g'mara gives us the remedy for the wine-delirium: red meat broiled on the coals and wine highly diluted.