I’am an Italian noahide.

Rambam states in his Sefer Hamitzvot (English translation by Rabbi Berel Bell):

“The 233rd mitzvah is that a person is commanded to marry his amah ivriyah. Either her master or his son is commanded to marry her; and this is known as the mitzvah of yi'ud."

Rabbi Bell adds, in note: "If she wants, see Hilchos Avadim 4: 8".

We read in Rambam’s Hilchos Avadim 4:8 (English translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger):

“A master may not designate an amah ivriyah as his wife or as his son's wife without her knowledge. Although her father already received money because of her, the Torah uses the term ya'adah, which implies with her knowledge.”

I do not know what is the Hebrew linguistic expression used by Rambam, but the requirement of "knowledge" do not seem to me equivalent to that of "consent".

I therefore ask myself: it was legally expected that the amah ivriyah would agree with this designation by her master or only that did the designation itself not take place in the absence of the woman?

I tried to consult the English translation of the specific Talmudic source (Kiddushin 18a-b), but I was unable to clarify my ideas.

  • The problem here, as I see it, is with the translation of the Halakhah in Avadim 4:8 (and not any ambiguity in the Hebrew text). The word 'מדעתה' (or the male form 'מדעתו') means 'with her/his acceptance', i.e. that they don't oppose it. For example, see Skhirut 12:1 , or Malveh ve-Loveh 18:1, and how 'מדעתו' gets translated in those places.
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 15:43
  • @TamirEvan Thank you. This confirms how fundamental it is to learn Hebrew in order to properly understand Jewish sources. Both Rabbi Eliyahu Touger and the referents of the Sefaria site here use the English word "knowledge", but it is an imprecise translation, as you highlighted.
    – Amos74
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 16:00

1 Answer 1


See Kesef Mishna who explains that "her knowledge" must mean her consent, or it would be meaningless.

  • Thank you, Rabbi Karo's observation is indeed logical; however, it seems to me that Rambam's words on the matter are objectively ambiguous
    – Amos74
    Commented Feb 16, 2020 at 9:09

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