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Borrowing When It Must Belong to You - A Seeming Contradiction [Until You Resolve It]

Anyone who has ever been a chassan or kallah knows that the Rabbi asks the Chaasan under the chuppah if the ring that he is about to give the kallah belongs to him. The correct answer is "yes". The ring must belong to the chassan and not to anyone else. [That was the first and last time that I bought myself a piece of jewlery.]

The Shulchan Aruch says that if one borrowed a ring from his friend and made it clear that the ring will be used to betroth a woman, the ring MAY be used [Even Haezer 28/19]. The Rosh explains the rationale: The person lending the ring wants the ring to be valid for kiddushin. Since a borrowed ring can't work for kiddushin, he really intends to give it as a bonafide gift [or at least a matana al minas Lihachzir].

Cool! Mazel Tov!!

But wait! If you borrow an esrog from your friend on the first day of Succos it cannot be used because there is a requirement of "lachem" - the esrog must be the user's property. But according to the logic of the Rosh, even a borrowed esrog should be valid because we assume that the lender wants the borrower to be able to fulfill his obligation and the only way that will happen is if the esrog is considered a gift to the borrower. So why do we validate kiddushin with a borrowed ring but not the taking of a borrowed esrog?

[Incidentally, the medrash compares a wife to a beautiful esrog. We just hope that the woman lasts for more than seven days!!]

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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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