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The Mishna in Kedushin 41A discusses being mekadesh a woman via shaliach.

האיש מקדש בו ובשלוחו האשה מתקדשת בה ובשלוחה האיש מקדש את בתו כשהיא נערה בו ובשלוחו

The Gemara asks what the "bo" is for if "bshlucho" teaches that "bo" works by a kol sh'kain. The first girsa of the Gemara is that the "bo" is coming to teach a halacha of R Yosef that it is a bigger mitzvah to do something yourself than via shaliach. The ika d'amri suggests that actually the "bo" is coming to teach a halacha said by R Yehuda amar Rav that it is assur to be mekadesh a woman you haven't seen.

Tosofos asks:

אי איתמר דרב יוסף אסיפא איתמר - ולהכי לא מוקי ארישא וכגון שמכירה משום דהא מנ"ל דלמא מתני' מיירי בין מכירה ובין אין מכירה ואפי' איסורא איכא ומלתא דרב יוסף לא נדע

I'm trying to understand pshat in the Tosofos, in particular according to the Bach on the Tur:

וכתבו התוספות הא דלא מוקמינן לדרב יוסף ארישא וכגון שמכירה משום דא"כ קשה מנ"ל לרב יוסף דבמכירה איכא מצוה בו יותר מבשלוחו דילמא ליכא אפילו מצוה והא דקתני בו ובשלוחו משום דמתניתין מיירי בין מכירה ובין אינה מכירה ותני בו היכא דאין מכירה דאיכא איסורא וקתני בשלוחו היכא דמכירה דליכא אפילו מצוה

Specifically, why does Tosofos say dilma afilu issur ika, and why does the Bach interpolate that perhaps "u'b'shlucho" is coming in a case of makira to teach "afilu mitzvah leika"? What lesser chiddush we comparing these suggestions to that it should use the word afilu to refer to them?

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  • Could you try making this question more clear. It's somewhat hard to follow.
    – N.T.
    Jun 2 at 2:08
  • If he now her, there is no advantage to make Kiddushin by himself
    – kouty
    Jun 2 at 3:32
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    Tosafos doesn’t say “dilma ika afilu mitzva”.
    – Alex
    Jun 2 at 5:03
  • @Alex Sorry, I meant ואפי' איסורא איכא, I changed the question
    – ak0000
    Jun 2 at 12:57
  • Without the Bach, I think Tosafos is fine. It’s saying that not only is it not a mitzvah (as R. Yosef claimed) it’s even assur.
    – Alex
    Jun 2 at 14:18

3 Answers 3

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R. Yosef is saying that there is a general preference to do things yourself, rather than through an agent. Tosafot’s point is that you can’t prove that from the first clause of the Mishnah, because the Mishnah may mean that there is not (merely) a preference to do it yourself here, it is actually forbidden to use an agent (because of R. Yehuda’s concern).

The Bach is merely elaborating on how to allocate this among the cases of prior recognition of the woman and not prior recognition. In a case where he does already know what she looks like there is no preference at all between marrying her yourself or via an agent. The reason why the Mishnah specifies that he can do it himself is to tell us that in a case where he has not previously seen her, it is not merely a preference — it is outright forbidden to do it any other way. And the reason why the Mishnah specifies an agent is precisely to tell is that if he has already seen her there is not even a preference.

When Tosofos says "afilu issur ika", and the Bach says "afilu mitzvah leika", these “afilu”s are contrasting the ends of the spectrum. There are three options: 1. You must do it yourself (שמא תתגנה) 2. it is preferable to do it yourself 3. There is no preference at all. The point of “afilu” is to skip the second option: not only is it not required to do it yourself, it’s not even preferable. And the reverse: not only is it not neutral, it’s actually forbidden to use a shaliach.

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  • I think this is probably right, I just had some follow-up questions. If this is pshat in the Bach, that u'b'shlucho is coming to teach that in a case of aina makira there is no added mitzvah to doing it yourself, then isn't that mashma that in the absence of the mishna, I would think there yes was? Which seems like a stira to the Gemara's first girsa that implies the "bo" could be coming to teach R Yosef, mashma the HA without the "bo" would be that it isn't a bigger mitzvah to do something yourself. Does that make sense?
    – ak0000
    Jun 3 at 1:23
  • And how would this answer address this part of the question? "Specifically, why does Tosofos say dilma afilu issur ika, and why does the Bach interpolate that perhaps "u'b'shlucho" is coming in a case of makira to teach "afilu mitzvah leika"? What lesser chiddush we comparing these suggestions to that it should use the word afilu to refer to them?"
    – ak0000
    Jun 3 at 1:33
  • @ak0000 To address your second question first, the “afilu”s are contrasting the ends of the spectrum. There are three options: 1. You must do it yourself (שמא תתגנה) 2. it is preferable to do it yourself 3. There is no preference at all. The point of “afilu” is to skip the second option: not only is it not required to do it yourself, it’s not even preferable. And the reverse: not only is it not neutral, it’s actually forbidden to use a shaliach.
    – Alex
    Jun 3 at 1:43
  • Perfect, this is exactly what I was looking for. I think this is the simplest answer. If you have a chance to think about my first comment I'd be curious, but I think this is a complete answer to the original question, and I've edited your answer to include your clarifying comment.
    – ak0000
    Jun 3 at 19:25
  • @ak0000 I would like to respond more fully to your first question if I get a chance later, but there is something to be said for the fact that Tosafos is not explaining the actual meaning of the Mishnah; it’s a potential explanation in order to not be stuck with R. Yosef’s explanation.
    – Alex
    Jun 3 at 19:28
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Without the אפילו one may have thought that though it is not a mitzvah, it would still be a הידור to act oneself, by using the word אפילו Tosfos\Bach is stressing that it makes absolutely no difference whether בו or whether בשלוחו

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  • Thanks for the answer! – If so, that we are comparing a mitzvah and a hidor, shouldn't it be the other way around, and say "afilu hidur leika"? Ie not only is it not a mitzvah (lesser chiddush), but it isn't even a hidor (bigger chiddish) – as is, the lashon is mashma that the issur/mitzvah is the bigger chiddish, compared to some other unstated lesser chiddush
    – ak0000
    Jun 2 at 13:58
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    BTW my answer was only a suggestion your question crossed my mind and would suggest that the main theme of the Gemoroh is Mitzva Boi Yoiser Mibishluchoi and therefore it wanted to use the terminology of that phrase Mitzva rather than introduce a new word like Hidur
    – YSA
    Jun 2 at 23:45
  • What is the difference between mitzvah and hidur?
    – Alex
    Jun 3 at 9:03
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The יעב"ץ on that Tosfos explains that he means to say that from the Reisha we would have said that there is even an issur (even if he knows the girl beforehand) to appoint a shliach and not do it yourself, not only just not having a mitzvah. The only reason the Mishna would of mentioned a shliach is to tell us that in the event that a person did appoint a shliach, even though it was assur, it would still be considered a good kiddushin.

Knowing this, perhaps, that is what the Bach is trying to argue with. He holds, only in a case where he did not know her would there be an issur (of R' Yehuda) and in a case where he did know her it would be lacking a mitzvah but not assur.

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  • Doesn’t it seem a little far-fetched to say that Tosafos is referring to a different issur than the Gemara?
    – Alex
    Jun 2 at 22:47
  • @alex perhaps that is why the Bach disagrees?
    – Chatzkel
    Jun 2 at 22:53
  • This is very interesting, sorry for the delay I'm just trying to learn the material
    – ak0000
    Jun 3 at 1:10
  • This is a very cool source and an innovative answer, I'm noticing your bekiyus in less common sources is quite impressive! – Because Alex's answer is a simpler explanation I am accepting his, but this would have been a valid explanation in its own right also. Thank you again for the time you take to do the research, I quite enjoyed learning the source inside!
    – ak0000
    Jun 3 at 19:27

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