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What Was She Thinking?
‘I Did So Only To Please My Husband’
(Bava Basra 49b)



A married man’s property is tied to his wife’s kesubah payment. Therefore, if he sells his property and subsequently dies or divorces his wife, she has the right to seize that property from her husband’s buyers.

The Gemara cites a mishnah (Gittin 55b) which presents the following scenario: A husband sold property to a buyer who also got his wife to agree to sell him her rights to the field. The mishnah states that the sale is invalid. The Gemara on our daf explains that the sale is invalid because she can claim she only agreed to sell her rights to please her husband.


The Rashbam (s.v. “Teima nachas ruach…”) wonders why this argument is sufficient to invalidate the sale. Even if we accept her argument, isn’t a coerced sale valid (supra 47a)?

The Rashbam explains that a coerced sale is only valid when an owner sells property to escape the would-be buyer’s tormenting. This woman, though, is not a victim of torment; she merely wished to live peacefully with her husband. Thus, when she said yes to the sale, she didn’t really consent in her heart.

Some Gift

The Ramban questions why we consider her agreement invalid. She seemingly agreed willingly out of a calculated decision to live peacefully with her husband. Indeed, the Ramban maintains that the sale is valid. What about the mishnah which states that it isn’t? He argues that the mishnah refers to a case where she isn’t paid anything for her consent. She only agreed due to pressure.


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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.