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Section: DAF YOMI   Category: Lessons From The Daf
Father (outside) and Mother (inside): Kiddushin Daf 18
The braisa states: A person can accept kiddushin for his daughter again (if she became widowed or divorced after betrothal), he can sell her again, and he can marry her off after selling her as a maidservant. However, he cannot sell her after marrying her off. Rabbi Shimon says: Just as he cannot do this, he cannot sell her as a maidservant after he already sold her once.

This is like the argument of the following Tannaim. The braisa says: "When he betrayed her." Once he spread his cloak over her (in marriage), he cannot sell her; these are the words of Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Eliezer says, "When he betrayed her," teaches that once he betrayed her (sold her as a maidservant) he cannot sell her.

What is their argument? Rabbi Eliezer says: The way the word is written in the Torah is important. Rabbi Akiva says: The way it is read is important. Rabbi Shimon says: Both are important. ["Important" here refers to how we understand the intent of the Torah. If we focus on the word as it is read, it refers to clothing, while if we focus on the letters, it refers to being sold.]

This is similar to a debate in the Gemora in Sukkah which discusses if a sukkah requires two full walls and a third wall that is at least a tefach, or should there be three complete walls. This debate is based on whether one reads the word Sukkos in the Torah with the letter vav or without the letter vav. The Chachamim maintain that we say yeish eim lemasores, the transmitted written form has primacy, whereas Rabbi Shimon maintains that yeish eim lemikra, the pronounced form has primacy.

The Rif was questioned as to why the Gemora uses the word eim, which means mother, and not av, which means father. A similar question would be that the Gemora refers to one of the thirteen principles of Biblical hermeneutics as a binyan av and not a binyan eim.

The Rif initially responded that he never heard anyone shed light on this matter, but then he proceeded to offer a possible explanation. When the purpose of a principle is to teach a concept in a different area, the Gemora uses the term av, whereas if the discussion at hand is regarding relying on a principle, the Gemora uses the word eim.

Shearim Mitzuyanim B'Halacha explains the words of the Rif. The mother is the akeres habayis, the mainstay of the house as it is said every honorable princess dwelling within. For this reason we say yeish eim lemikra or yeish eim lemasores, as the mother is the central figure in the house and it is the mother who everyone is dependant upon. The father, on the other hand, is not usually found in the house, as he leaves the house to seek a livelihood. The principle of a binyan av, however, is that we are building from one location to another, and this is analogous to a father who influences others. (See Rabbeinu Bachye to Devarim 33:8 for further discussion on the differences between the father and mother.)

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