Does the term mitqaddešet (consecrated) mean "Engagement"? Seems to have this meaning in rabbinic literature bu not in the bible. According to Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Sefer Nashim, Ishut 3,11 indicates the "betrothal" of a three-year-old girl and a day that occurs through "sexual intercourse" (the term is bǝbîʾâ) with the consent of the father, least from what Rabbi Eliyahu Touger translates into English "If a girl is older than three years and one day, she can be consecrated through sexual relations with her father's consent". Confirm the translation of the term consecrated with Engagement? Shalom.

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    Miskadeshes means kiddushin.. translated as engaged or betrothed.
    – Shlomy
    Apr 15, 2021 at 22:57
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    The word is bibiah
    – Shlomy
    Apr 15, 2021 at 23:12
  • Thank you very much!
    – Ootsutsuki
    Apr 15, 2021 at 23:46
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    The word used is biah, which simply means "coming." (You saw bibiah above, which is bi-biah, "with coming.") When Sarah can't get pregnant, she tells Abraham "come to my maidservant." One of the many Biblical euphemisms.
    – Shalom
    Apr 16, 2021 at 0:13

2 Answers 2


Miskudeshes means betrothed, literally consecrated or set aside / made holy. It could occur via intercourse (see Mesechta Kiddushin, "Kesef, Shtar, Biah") but practically never does.

It's usually via the two other means. Document (shtar), and value-exchange ("kessef") as via intercourse it's lewd and thus carries a makkos penalty.

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    I've never heard of "document" ever being used either
    – Double AA
    Apr 16, 2021 at 0:14
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    What makes you say our ketubot don't also function as a document of betrothal? (Actually, there is a good reason why they don't, that no one writes them with that intention.)
    – Mordechai
    Apr 18, 2021 at 20:08
  • @Mordechai The text of a kesubah says nothing about effecting the marriage. A document of betrothal woulsd say something to the effect of הרי את מקודשת לי.
    – N.T.
    Oct 31, 2021 at 7:58
  • @N.T. My wife's ketubba indeed does say הוי לי לאינתו which is just a literal translation of your exact phrase.
    – Double AA
    Nov 1, 2021 at 0:21
  • @DoubleAA The full text is אמר לה להדא ______ בת ______ הוי לי לאנתו which is a record of what you said at the chuppah, not something being said now by the document.
    – N.T.
    Nov 1, 2021 at 6:14

As @PloniAlmoni noted, the usage of Mitkadeshet by the Rambam and in most other sources refers to the betrothal-marriage process. However, in the bible the root קדש (KDSh) could also refer to prostitution or depravity. For example, Beresheet 38:21:

וַיִּשְׁאַ֞ל אֶת־אַנְשֵׁ֤י מְקֹמָהּ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר אַיֵּ֧ה הַקְּדֵשָׁ֛ה הִ֥וא בָעֵינַ֖יִם עַל־הַדָּ֑רֶךְ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ לֹא־הָיְתָ֥ה בָזֶ֖ה קְדֵשָֽׁה׃

"He inquired of the people of that town, “Where is the cult prostitute, the one at Enaim, by the road?” But they said, “There has been no prostitute here.”

In the Hebrew, Tamar, who had dressed up like a prostitute, is called by Chirah the Adulamite a "kedesha" which means "prostitute".

The same can be seen in Devarim 23:18, several times in Melachim (such as Melachim 1:22:47 and 2:23:7) and in Iyov 36:14.

Side-note: It's possible that the term comes from Qetesh/Qedesh, the Canaanite deity of fertility, ecstasy and pleasure.

  • Rashi says a prostitute is considered set aside for immorality, so its meaning is consistent with @ploni_almoni's answer.
    – N.T.
    Oct 28, 2021 at 23:58

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