THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) HALACHAH: MARRYING FOR MONEY
QUESTION: The Gemara says that "anyone who marries a woman for the sake of
money will have children who do not act properly." RASHI (DH Banim Zarim)
explains that the Gemara is not referring to one who marries a woman solely
for the sake of gaining money, but rather it is referring to one who marries
a woman *who is Pasul to him* for the sake of gaining money. The Gemara is
discouraging a man from transgressing an Isur for the sake of monetary gain.
2) HALACHAH: THE PROHIBITION AGAINST A LEADER DOING MENIAL LABOR
The REMA (EH 2:1) quotes our Gemara according to Rashi's explanation and
states clearly that "when the woman is not Pasul to him and he is marrying
her for the sake of money, it is permissible."
The Rema continues to discuss a case in which the parents of the Kalah
promised to give the Chasan a certain sum of money, and then the parents of
the Kalah retracted their promise. The Rema rules that the Chasan should not
start a quarrel or delay the wedding because of monetary considerations, and
one who makes an issue out of the money that he is not receiving will not
have a successful marriage, "because the money which a man receives by
virtue of his wife is not rightful money ('Mamon Shel Yosher'), and anyone
who does this is called 'one who marries a woman for the sake of money.'"
These words seem to contradict the earlier ruling of the Rema, in which he
states that the Gemara's prohibition applies only to one who marries a woman
who is Pasul, while there is nothing wrong with marrying a woman for the
sake of money. How are these two statements of the Rema to be reconciled?
(a) The BI'UR HA'GRA explains that the Rema is quoting two conflicting
opinions. The first opinion that the Rema quotes is that of Rashi and the
RIVASH. Indeed, according to that opinion, there is nothing wrong with
marrying a woman for the sake of money, or delaying a marriage because of
The Rema, though, then quotes a second opinion, that of the BEIS YOSEF in
the name of the ORCHOS CHAIM, who understands our Gemara differently than
Rashi and explains that marrying a woman "for the sake of money" refers to
any case in which the man is marrying for monetary gain (even if the woman
is completely permitted to him). The Vilna Ga'on adds, though, that even
according to this explanation, the prohibition applies only if the man would
otherwise not have been interested in marrying this woman. If, however, he
would have considered marrying her even without the monetary incentive,
there is nothing wrong in taking money that might be offered to him as part
of the Shiduch.
(b) The CHELKAS MECHOKEK (EH 2:1) explains that the two statements of the
Rema complement each other and do not argue.
Everyone agrees that the Gemara is teaching that one should not transgress
an Isur for the sake of monetary gain (as Rashi explains). The first
statement of the Rema, in the name of the Rivash, is expressing the Isur to
marry a woman who is Pasul for the sake of money. The second statement of
the Rema, in the name of the Orchos Chaim, is teaching that *delaying* one's
marriage because of monetary concerns is also akin to transgressing an Isur
for the sake of money. The delay of marriage is prone to lead to the man
having sinful thoughts (Hirhurim Ra'im), which itself is a sin. If he delays
his marriage in order to gain money, he is effectively transgressing an Isur
(of Hirhurim Ra'im) for the sake of gaining money, and thus he is considered
like one who marries a woman who is Pasul for the sake of monetary gain.
OPINIONS: The Gemara teaches that "from the time that a person is appointed
as a leader over the community, it is prohibited for him to perform labor in
front of three people." What is the reason behind this prohibition?
3) "KOL B'ISHAH"
(a) RASHI explains that this Halachah is in order to protect the dignity of
the *community*. The leader of the community is the one who has authority
and power to rule over the people. It is below the dignity of the community
to be subservient to someone who must perform menial labor himself and does
not have servants to do the work for him.
(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Sanhedrin 25:4) explains that this Halachah is to
protect the dignity of the *leader*. If he is seen doing labor like a common
citizen, the people will look down upon him. This causes not only a disgrace
for the leader, but for the position of authority which he represents.
The Rambam goes on to explain that it goes without saying that a Dayan or
Nasi should take no part in the frivolous activities of the Amei ha'Aretz,
for doing so would cause a terrible disgrace for the Torah.
QUESTION: Rav Nachman told Rav Yehudah to bring greetings to Yalsa, Rav
Nachman's wife. Rav Yehudah refused, responding that Shmuel ruled that "Kol
b'Ishah Ervah," and if he brings greetings to Rav Nachman's wife, she will
return the greeting and it is prohibited for him to listen to her voice.
The Halachah of "Kol b'Ishah Ervah" appears in a different context in the
Gemara in Berachos (24a). There, the Gemara teaches that it is prohibited to
recite Keri'as Shema in the presence of Ervah. The Gemara adds that since
the voice of a woman is also considered Ervah, one may not recite Keri'as
Shema when the sounds of a woman's voice is heard. When citing this
Halachah, the TALMIDEI RABEINU YONAH states that a *singing* voice of a
woman is an Ervah, and this is how the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 75:3) rules as
well: "One must avoid hearing the sound of a woman's voice singing at the
time of reciting Keri'as Shema." The Poskim point out that only the sound of
a woman's voice singing is considered Ervah. Ordinary speech, though, is not
This seems to contradict Shmuel's ruling in our Gemara. Rav Yehudah's fear
was not that he would hear Rav Nachman's wife *singing*, but merely that he
would hear her *talking*, when she would respond to his greeting. Why should
"Kol b'Ishah" be prohibited in such a situation, if the prohibition applies
only when hearing a woman's voice *singing*?
ANSWER: The BEIS SHMUEL explains that there is no contradiction between our
Gemara and the Gemara in Berachos (as explained by the Talmidei Rabeinu
Yonah and Poskim). The reason why only a singing voice, and not a talking
voice, is considered Ervah is because it arouses the Ta'avah of a man. In
normal cases, speech does not arouse such Ta'avah. The case of our Gemara,
though, involved She'eilas Shalom -- bringing greetings to a woman. Asking
another person about his or her welfare engenders a certain degree of
intimacy between the two people; it expresses the existence of a
relationship. Hence, if a woman responds to such a greeting, even in a
regular tone of voice, there is reason to be concerned that it might arouse
the man's Ta'avah.
4) HALACHAH: ASKING ABOUT THE WELFARE OF ANOTHER MAN'S WIFE
OPINIONS: Shmuel rules that one may not inquire about the welfare of another
man's wife, even by sending the inquiry to the woman via the woman's
What is the reason behind this prohibition, and in what circumstances might
it be permissible to inquire about the welfare of a woman?
(a) RASHI (DH Ein Sho'alin b'Shalom Ishah Klal) says that asking a woman
about her welfare is prohibited because one thereby "makes her heart and
mind familiar with him," creating a feeling of affection within the woman
which could, Chas v'Shalom, lead to sin.
HALACHAH: The SHULCHAN ARUCH (EH 21:6) rules like Shmuel, who says that it
is prohibited to ask a married woman about her welfare, even via a
messenger, and even via her husband.
According to this reasoning, it would be permitted for a man to inquire
about a woman's welfare from her husband, since the woman herself is not
aware of it and thus she will not feel affection towards the other man.
Indeed, this is the way RASHI seems to rule in Bava Metzia (87a, DH Al Yedei
Ba'alah). The Gemara there explains that the reason why the Mal'achim were
permitted to ask Avraham Avinu about the welfare of his wife is because they
asked only her husband. Rashi there explains that it is only prohibited to
ask the woman herself about her welfare, but it is permitted to ask her
husband how his wife is doing. (According to the BACH (EH 21, DH v'Ein), for
this reason it is permitted to ask any other person, and not only her
husband, how the woman is doing. The CHELKAS MECHOKEK (EH 21:7) argues and
says that it is only permitted to ask her husband, as the Gemara in Bava
Metzia implies, for her husband specifically avoids relating the man's
inquiry to his wife, while any other person will not be so particular.)
(b) The RITVA, however, implies that the reason a man may not inquire about
the welfare of another man's wife is because the *man* will feel close to
the woman and might, Chas v'Shalom, have sinful thoughts. (This also seems
to be the view of the ME'IRI.) The Ritva writes that if a man knows himself
well and he knows that he has subjugated his Yetzer ha'Ra and he is in
complete control of his thoughts such that he never allows sinful thoughts
into his mind, it is permitted for him to ask a married woman about her
According to the Ritva, the Isur is because of the man's tendency to have
sinful thoughts, and is not because the woman will feel affection towards
the man. Consequently, it is permitted for a man who is in complete control
of his thoughts to ask a woman about her welfare. According to Rashi, such a
man would still be prohibited from asking a woman about her welfare. On the
other hand, according to the Ritva, it would *not* be permitted for a man to
ask a husband about his wife (when the wife will not know about it), since
there still exists the concern that he will have sinful thoughts.
How, though, does the Ritva explain the Gemara in Bava Metzia, that says
that the Mal'achim were permitted to ask Avraham Avinu about his wife? The
DIVREI SHALOM (2:14) explains that the Ritva learns like TOSFOS in Bava
Metzia (87a, DH Al Yedei). Tosfos says that the Mal'achim were permitted to
ask only "where is Sarah" (in order to make her more beloved to her husband,
by emphasizing how Tzanu'ah she was, or because of the requirement to act
with Derech Eretz and ask a man about his wife), but not to ask about her
The Shulchan Aruch rules like Rashi's understanding of the Gemara in Bava
Metzia and says that it is permitted to ask a husband about his wife's
It is interesting to note the comments of the BEN YEHOYADA to the Gemara
here. The Ben Yehoyada suggests that this Isur applies only a man who is
completely unknown to the woman; by inquiring about her welfare, he creates
a bond of affection. If, however, the man is a relative of hers, or is a
frequent guest in her home, it is not prohibited to inquire about her
welfare, because it is clear that his intention is not to form a bond of
affection, but rather to express to her his gratitude for her hospitality,
and, on the contrary, it is a proper act of Derech Eretz to express concern
about her welfare.