TalmuDigest

For the week ending 22 September 2007

Ketubot 23 - 29

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

A Fruitful Reminder

  • Ketubot 28b

Ketzatzah was the name of an unusual rite whose purpose was to preserve the purity of a family's lineage.

If a member of the family married a woman unfit for him the rest of the family gathered together to make sure that this mismatch would be remembered so that the children born from it should not mingle with the offspring of the relatives. The tactic used was breaking open a container filled with fruits and inviting all present to partake of them as a memento for generations of the undesirable marriage.

Maharsha explains that the principal objective of making the fruits available was to impress the youngsters who enjoy fruit and would rush to grab some. Their memory of the event, it was felt, would last much longer as the mishneh in Masechet Avot (4:20) points out: "One who teaches a child is similar to one writing with ink on a new paper."

Even if the adults present at this rite would forget the incident of the undesirable marriage, it was hoped that the child who so enjoyed the fruit would recall why it was provided and would be capable of testifying for the court regarding the status of the family that emerged from that marriage.

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