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Steinsaltz

The Gemara rejects this suggestion: This cannot enter your mind, as the halakha of deduction must be similar to the halakha of designation, i.e., the process by which a master designates his Hebrew maidservant as a wife for him or his son (Exodus 21:8–9). Just as with designation, although the halakha is that if he desires, he may designate her and if he does not desire, he is not required to designate her, nevertheless anywhere that he cannot designate her, e.g., in a case where they are related and she is therefore forbidden to him, her sale is not a valid sale, so too here, with regard to her redemption, anywhere that she cannot deduct an amount from her purchase price, her sale is not a valid sale.

The Gemara notes: And according to the opinion of Beit Shammai the mode of betrothal of a woman by money is derived from the case of a Hebrew maidservant, as follows: Just as a Hebrew maidservant cannot be acquired with one peruta, so too a woman cannot be betrothed with one peruta.

The Gemara asks: Even if Beit Shammai derive their opinion from here, how does this prove that a woman can be betrothed only with a minimum of one dinar? But why not say she can be betrothed with half a dinar, or say that she can be betrothed with two perutot, as it is possible to fulfill the redemption of a Hebrew maidservant if her sale was for either of these amounts? The Gemara answers: Since this comparison excludes betrothal with one peruta, as it indicates that a woman can be betrothed only with money of significant value, the Sages established the minimum amount at one dinar, which is a coin of substantial value.

Rava said a different explanation: This is the reasoning of Beit Shammai, who hold that a woman can be betrothed only with a minimum of one dinar: The daughters of Israel should not be treated like ownerless property. Allowing women to be betrothed with such a small amount as one peruta is disrespectful to them.

§ The mishna teaches: And Beit Hillel say that a woman can be betrothed with one peruta, or with any item that is worth one peruta. Rav Yosef thought to say: One peruta means any amount. There is no defined value, as a woman may be betrothed with one peruta regardless of its value at the time. Abaye said to him: But isn’t it taught with regard to this in the mishna itself: How much is one peruta? It is one-eighth of the Italian issar. This shows there is a defined value for one peruta.

And if you would say: This statement applies only to the generation of Moses, i.e., this was the value of one peruta in the time of the Torah, but now, at any later time, its value is determined by that which people consider one peruta, that claim cannot be correct. As when Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael he said: Rabbi Simai estimated in his generation: How much is one peruta? It is one-eighth of the Italian issar. And when Ravin came from Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia he said that Rabbi Dostai and Rabbi Yannai and Rabbi Oshaya estimated: How much is one peruta? It is one-sixth of the Italian issar.

Rav Yosef said to Abaye: If so, then this is in conflict with that which we learned in a baraita: Go and calculate how many perutot there are in two sela: More than two thousand. Now there are not even two thousand, and you call them: More than two thousand? Rather, the peruta is certainly worth less than one-eighth of the Italian issar. A certain old man said to them: I teach this baraita as saying: Close to two thousand. The Gemara asks: Ultimately, according to the calculation of one-eighth of an issar, the number of perutot in two sela is 1,536, which is nowhere near two thousand. The Gemara answers: Since it passes half of the second thousand it is called: Close to two thousand.

The Gemara discusses the matter itself. When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael he said: Rabbi Simai estimated in his generation: How much is one peruta? It is one-eighth of the Italian issar. And when Ravin came he said that Rabbi Dostai and Rabbi Yannai and Rabbi Oshaya estimated: How much is one peruta? It is one-sixth of the Italian issar. Abaye said to Rav Dimi: Shall we say that you and Ravin disagree with regard to the issue that is the subject of the dispute between these tanna’im.

As it is taught in a baraita: The peruta mentioned by the Sages is one-eighth of the Italian issar. Six silver ma’a are one dinar, and one ma’a is worth two pundeyon. In a pundeyon there are two issar, and an issar is two masmas. A masmas is worth two konterank, and a konterank is two perutot. By this calculation, one finds that one peruta is one-eighth of the Italian issar.

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: This is not the case; rather, there are three hadreis to a ma’a, two henetz to a hadreis, two shamin to a henetz, and two perutot to a shamin. Consequently, one finds that one peruta is one-sixth of the Italian issar. Shall we say that one Master agrees with the first tanna, and Ravin, who said his ruling in the name of Rabbi Dostai and Rabbi Yannai and Rabbi Oshaya, agrees with Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel?

Rav Dimi said to Abaye: Both my statement and that of Ravin are in accordance with the opinion of the first tanna, and it is not difficult. This statement of mine is referring to when the issar increased in value in relation to silver coins, and this statement of Ravin is referring to when the issar decreased in value. The Gemara elaborates: When the issar increased in value, twenty-four issar stood at one dinar; when they decreased in value, thirty-two issar stood at one dinar. If so, there is a set ratio between the value of a peruta and the value of silver, and there are 192 perutot in one dinar. By contrast, the ratio between the value of a copper issar and silver dinars fluctuates, so that sometimes an issar will be worth eight perutot while at other times it is worth only six.

§ Shmuel says: If man betrothed a woman with a date, she is betrothed even if a kor of dates is worth one dinar, which would mean that one date is worth much less than one peruta. The reason is that although a date has little value here, we are concerned that perhaps it is worth one peruta in Media or in some other distant place where dates are expensive. Therefore, she is betrothed in this location as well.

The Gemara asks: But didn’t we learn in the mishna that Beit Hillel say: With one peruta or with an item worth one peruta, but not less? The Gemara explains: This is not difficult. This statement in the mishna is referring to betrothal whose status is certain. Betrothal with one peruta or an item worth one peruta is certainly valid. Conversely, this case stated by Shmuel is referring to betrothal whose status is uncertain. Although the item is not worth one peruta here, there is a concern that the betrothal might nevertheless be valid.

The Gemara relates: There was a certain man who betrothed a woman with a bundle of rags [zavda de’urdei]. Rav Shimi bar Ḥiyya sat before Rav and examined the bundle to see if it had the value of one peruta. If it was worth one peruta, yes, she was betrothed, and if not, no, she was not betrothed. The Gemara asks: And if it does not have the value of one peruta, is she not betrothed? But didn’t Shmuel say that we are concerned that the item might be worth one peruta in Media? The Gemara explains: This is not difficult. This ruling of Rav Shimi bar Ḥiyya is referring to betrothal whose status is certain, whereas this statement of Shmuel is referring to betrothal whose status is uncertain.

The Gemara further relates: There was a certain man who betrothed a woman with a blue marble stone. Rav Ḥisda sat and estimated whether it was worth one peruta. If it was worth one peruta, yes, she was betrothed, and if not, no, she was not betrothed. The Gemara asks: And if it does not have the value of one peruta, is she not betrothed? But didn’t Shmuel say that we are concerned that the item might be worth one peruta in Media? The Gemara answers: Rav Ḥisda does not hold in accordance with that opinion of Shmuel, as he holds that if the item is not worth one peruta in the place where the betrothal occurred, the betrothal is invalid.

The mother of the man who offered the betrothal said to Rav Ḥisda: But on that day that he betrothed her it was worth one peruta. He said to the mother: It is not in your power to render her forbidden to a later man. If another comes and betroths her, his betrothal is not dismissed due to this earlier act. Since the marble stone is not worth one peruta now, the betrothal of the second man may be valid.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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