Monday, 21 March 2016

Kiddushin 10: Intercourse as Acquisition; Betrothal vs. Married

We learn that a man can betroth his wife through sexual intercourse.  "Atypical intercourse" also leads to betrothal, but only if the young woman's husband is the person who is participating in this act.  Any other man who rapes a woman via atypical intercourse does not render this young woman does not affect her status as a virgin.

Today's daf focuses upon the notion of sexual intercourse as a basic model of acquisition.  Disturbingly, the rabbis walk us through this model, teaching about when during intercourse the woman is acquired.   We learn the case of a woman in the midst of sexual intercourse when a second man offers her a document of marriage.  If the beginning of intercourse defines acquisition, then she is betrothed as soon as the intercourse begins.  If not, however, she could be having intercourse with one man while she betroths another!

The rabbis also consider the acquisition of a girl over the age of three years and one day.  Intercourse would allow her to be betrothed, but the rabbis note that this thought of as wrong.  A man having intercourse with a minor would be punished via strangulation, we read in a commentary.

The rabbis continue to compare acquisition through money with acquisition through intercourse.  They bring in the question of teruma, which affect women who marry priests.  The timing of the betrothal and the wedding are critical when it comes to teruma, for betrothed women might share their teruma with their families if they are under the chupa but still living at home.  She could then share that teruma with her relatives who are not permitted to partake.  Partaking of teruma is a dangerous crime if it is done after the fact.   It is notable that the rules regarding Canaanite and other young women consider other factors.

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