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The Mishna in Kiddushin (1:1) outlines a machlokes regarding the minimum amount of money necessary to effect kiddushin (i.e. create a marriage).

According to Beis Hillel, the amount of money (or equivalent goods or services) required is a perutah. A perutah is the smallest amount of money with buying power; so I understand philosophically that the Torah is saying one way to execute a marriage is with a symbolic transaction that minimally looks like a valid business one. The one-perutah requirement is similar to people with salaries (or rents) of "one dollar per year."

Beis Shammai, however, requires a dinar (or equivalent goods or services), which is quite a bit more. What's the source for the dinar requirement (once it's not "anything with buying power", where do we set the bar?), and do we know how Beis Shammai may have viewed kiddushin accordingly?

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@DoubleAA taamei-mitzvot-reasons? – msh210 Jun 19 '12 at 0:08
@msh210 Well, he asking for the reason behind Beis Shammai. I agree it's weak, but I didn't like hashkafah-philosophy either. Perhaps lomdus? – Double AA Jun 19 '12 at 0:15
@DoubleAA, I don't know. We've got lots of "what's the reason for this halacha/minhag" questions. Most have no special tag therefor. – msh210 Jun 19 '12 at 5:41
@msh210 Reason for a minhag is different than svara of a machloket. I'm starting to like the idea of lomdus. We never really gave it a good definition though (meta post somewhere...) – Double AA Jun 19 '12 at 5:43

The Talmud searches for Beit Shammai's reason on Kiddushin 11a.

The first suggestion, that of Rav Zera, is that an average woman thinks she is important enough to not accept anything less an dinar for kiddushin. The gemara asks, according to this, it should be completely subjective based on the individual girl. The answer is that this rule applies in a case where she couldn't tell how much money was being offered (eg. she sent a messenger to accept the money) and we assume that a dinar is enough.

The second suggestion, that of Rav Yosef, is that all explicit Biblical references to money are to be evaluated on the Tyrian coinage scale, as opposed to the regular money scale. A dinar is the smallest value of this fancier set of coins. (Other things in this category are Pidyon HaBen and the Ketubah.)

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"forged silver scale" -- you mean "kesef tzuri"? I thought that was read as "the silver of Tyre", the capital of Phoenicia (as in Hiram king of Tzur/Tyre who helped built the First Temple), in what's now Lebanon. – Shalom Jun 20 '12 at 10:00
@Shalom Whoops! Yes you are right! For some reason I guess I was thinking Tzori like Tzoref, but that is clearly wrong. I have updated my answer accordingly. Thanks! – Double AA Jun 20 '12 at 17:20
A minor point: I don't know that the gemara means that a (generic) woman thinks she is worth that much. It just says that they won't accept marriage for less than that. – YDK Jun 20 '12 at 18:07
@YDK I guess it depends what you mean exactly by "worth that much" but I hear what you are saying. I'll try to think of an alternate wording. – Double AA Jun 20 '12 at 18:24

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