Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Reading For Succot; And Daf Yomi Ketubot 48a: Rav Matna's Statement

Two short points.

First, some reading for Succot: Rif on Succah is available here. 45 pages, good stuff.

Second, a passing thought as I prepared Rif on Ketubot 48a, to be published on my Rif blog in a few weeks:
{Ketubot 48a continues}
אמר רב מתנה האומר אם מתה אשתו אל תקברוה מנכסי שומעין לו
מאי שנא כי אמר דנפלו להו נכסי קמי יתמי כי לא אמר נמי נכסי קמי יתמי רמו הלכך בין אמר בין לא אמר כיון דנפלו נכסי קמי יתמי לא קברינן לה מנכסי דיתמי ואין היתומים חייבים בקבורתה
דהא תנן אלמנה ניזונת מנכסי יתומים ומעשה ידיה שלהן מתה אין חייבין בקבורתה
אלא האומר אם מת הוא אל תקברוהו מנכסיו אין שומעין לו לא כל הימנו שיעשיר את בניו ויפיל את עצמו על הציבור

Rav Matna said: If one said that if his wife dies, do not bury her from my assets, we listen to him.
Why must it be that he said, for the assets have fallen before the heirs? When he did not say as well, the assets are cast before the heirs. Therefore, whether he said or he did not say, once the assets fell before the heirs, they do not bury her from the assets of the heirs, and the heirs are not obligated in her burial.
For they learnt {in a Mishna}: A widow is provided for from the assets of the heirs, and the work of her hands belongs to them. If she dies, they are not obligated in her burial.
Rather {, Rav Matna's statement should read}: If one said that if he dies, they should not bury him from his assets, they do not listen to him, for he thereby enriches his sons and casts himself on the community.
In fact, Rav Matna's statement seems pretty clear, and the emendation the gemara proposes is quite a drastic one. Change her to him, change listening to him to not listening to him.

A simpler explanation, it would appear to me, is that Rav Matna was not talking about a case where the husband died. Indeed, the immediate context in the gemara has no mention of the husband dying, where they provide or do not provide for the wife's burial. Rather, the cases are where he became insane or where she died when he was in an overseas country.

To cite once again from my translation:

{Ketubot 48a}
רבי יהודה אומר אפילו עני שבישראל:
א"ר חסדא אמר מר עוקבא הלכה כרבי יהודה ואמר רב חסדא אמר מר עוקבא מי שנשתטה ב"ד יורדין לנכסיו וזנין ומפרנסין אשתו ובניו ובנותיו ודבר אחר.
"Rabbi Yehuda says: Even the poorest man in Israel":
Rav Chisda cited Mar Ukva: The halacha is like Rabbi Yehuda.
And Rav Chisda cited Mar Ukva: One who becomes insane, bet din descends to his assets, and sustain and provide for his wife, sons, and daughters, and anything else.

תניא מי שהלך למדינת הים ואשתו תובעת מזונות ב"ד יורדין לנכסיו וזנין ומפרנסין אשתו אבל לא בניו ובנותיו ולא דבר אחר ומ"ש מדמר עוקבא התם שלא לדעת הכא יצא לדעת
They learnt {in a brayta}: One who goes to an overseas country and his wife demands provisions, bet din descends to his assets and sustain and provide for his wife, but not for his sons and daughters, nor for anything else.
And why is this different from the case of Mar Ukva? There, it was without intent, but here, he left with intent.

מאי דבר אחר
אמר רב חסדא תכשיט
רב יוסף אמר צדקה
מ"ד שאין נותנין תכשיט כ"ש צדקה ומ"ד צדקה אבל תכשיט נותנין דלא ניחא ליה דתינוול
א"ר חייא בר אבין אמר רב הונא מי שהלך למדינת הים ומתה אשתו בית דין יורדין לנכסיו וקוברין אותה לפי כבודה

לפי כבודה ולא לפי כבודו אימא אף לפי כבודו וקמ"ל עולה עמו ואינה יורדת עמו אפי לאחר מיתה What is "anything else?"
Rav Chisda said: Costmetics {/ornaments}.
Rav Yosef said: Charity.
The one who holds that they do not give cosmetics, certainly not charity, and the one who holds charity, but they do give cosmetics, because it would not have been to his liking that she become unattractive.
R' Chiyya bar Avin cited Rav Huna: One who goes to an overseas country and his wife dies, bet din descends to his assets and buries her according to her honor.
According to her honor and not according to his honor? Say, even according to his honor, and this informs us that she ascends with him but does not descend with him, even after death.
Thus, based on context, it makes most sense that these "instructions" the man is leaving is not instructions to be carried out after his death, but rather instructions as to how others should treat his assets if anything happens when he is in this overseas country. Bet din in general would take it upon themselves to descend to his assets and bury his wife, but will not do this in case of explicit refusal by this man. This is the simplest reading of Rav Matna's statement.

Thus, there is no question from the Mishna, and there is no reason to drastically rewrite his statement.

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