[Avodah] [Areivim] learners' ktuba

Chana Luntz Chana at kolsassoon.org.uk
Mon Jan 28 01:47:49 PST 2013

RGS writes on Areivim:

Rabbeinu Tam disagrees http://torahmusings.com/2012/12/support-your-wife/

Well the case that RSN referred to namely:

On 1/27/13, saul newman <newman400 at gmail.com> wrote:
> should the obligation to live the learning lifestyle abrogate terms in the
> ktuba? a judge thinks not

Is not about the same kind of case that Rabbanu Tam was commenting on.
Rabbanu Tam was talking about a situation where the marriage was ongoing, ie
the ketuba was operational, and the judge was talking about a case where the
marriage had broken down, and so any ongoing obligations under pure halacha
under the ketuba would fall away.  Any ongoing obligations under the halacha
(as opposed to any secular law entitlement) has to come in relation to
supporting the children (as discussed on this list previously, takana of
Usha etc).

But in terms of the article on Torah musings itself, and Rabbanu Tam's
position, there seems to be something of an eliding between what is regarded
as proper behaviour, and what a beis din should be empowered to enforce.

Let's give a slightly different case.

Let's say we were dealing with a husband who was engaging in extra marital
relations (in modern parlance: "cheating on his wife").

Would Rabbanu Tam require a beis din to force the husband to divorce his
wife? - famously no.

Does that mean that Rabbanu Tam is comfortable with a man who has a bit on
the side, and indeed would embrace a society where this was the norm and
regard them as ideal?

I find that position very doubtful, and yet that appears to be the
implication of the article vis a vis the ketuba - ie if a beis din is not
empowered or required force a man to get a job to support his wife, then a
society where men are not prepared to do this can therefore be accepted as
an ideal.

There are many situations where the moral situation and the legal situation
do not align.  Classic cases in halacha are the situations that give rise to
a mishepara.  If somebody agrees to enter into a contract, but reneges
before the necessary halachic formalities creating a kinyan are carried out,
the courts are unable to force such a person to fulfil the contract.  But
what they can do is give a formal curse for engaging in such behaviour and
going back on their word.

Similarly here.  One can have a political/philosophical position that is
generally not keen on government or beis din intervention, and regards such
intervention as a cure worse than the disease, and still not support the
actions of those who take advantage of the lack of intervention.  It does
not necessarily follow that anybody opposed to government regulated gun
control believes that shooting innocent children is ideal or appropriate,
nor does it follow that if somebody does not support a beis din forcing a
husband to hire himself out to support his wife, especially if the rationale
is, as the Hagahos Mamonios indicates, because that would violate the
Torah's prohibition on slavery, then such a person supports a society where
husbands learn in kollel rather than work (or a society where people refuse
to fulfil their korbanos obligations by refusing to go out and work).  It is
just that such a person may regard minimal interference by the courts (or
government) in people's lives as an ideal, even if that has consequences
that result in people (maybe even many people) not fulfilling the
obligations to which they have signed up to or where as a consequence they
are left free (at least b'zman hazeh) to act in immoral ways with others
paying the price.

>Gil Student



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