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According to jewish law a women is betrothed to a man when the man gives the woman a gift worth more than a prutah and recites the words "you are betrothed to me through this object".

How can a man give a gift to a woman that is not his relative without getting himself into a safek (doubtful) kiddushin (betrothal)?

  • With a shaliah Passul as a women or a non Jew or a little child. Without witnesses. He can declare that it is a gift at condition that it is not Kidushin. ...etc... – kouty Mar 6 '16 at 14:52
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    You've given no reason to think just giving it to her would cause any problem whatsoever. – Double AA Mar 6 '16 at 15:01
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    What about not saying "you are betrothed to me through this object"? – Daniel Mar 6 '16 at 16:53
  • See the Remo in Even Haezer 27, 1. Don't forget that this question is also relevant for Bachur and Bachura before the Chatuna. it is better to be a little careful in this case. – kouty Mar 6 '16 at 20:48
  • How about specifying that he is not marrying her, if he is really worried.. – mevaqesh Mar 7 '16 at 21:00
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Basically, just don't indicate it's for marriage, and don't do it in front of two witnesses. Yes there's complicated discussions brought down about mishloach manot, plus discussions about engagement gifts. At the end of the day, Rabbi Hershel Shachter shlit'a is on the record that the "single guy shouldn't give single lady mishloach manot" concern is a chumra that extends beyond normal halachic concerns.

I would be so bold as to propose (not that propose!) something simple: normally, single guy gives single girl flowers, fine whatever. But on a day when many people are feeling silly and everyone is going around giving stuff to their neighbors, we don't advise a single-guy-single-girl practice. Because every now and then, a guy (sometimes the girl too) fills silly and says "you are wed to me" while handing her a Hershey bar, pizza slice, or the like. (This makes a lot of headaches for rabbis.) So when telling people to go do a mitzva, we don't encourage playing with fire!

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See Rema Orach Chayim 695, 4

ואשה תשלח לאשה ואיש לאיש אבל לא להיפך שלא יבא איש לשלוח לאלמנה ויבאו לידי ספק קידושין אבל במתנות לאביונים אין לחוש

The Machatsith Hashekel explain that this Chashash follows the svara that if he send a special gift called "sivlonoth". they are certainly already married (according Tosfoth Kidushin 50B).

This question is very serious. There is evidence that despite he has not sent specially witnesses (but witnesses saw that he was offered a gift), a serious problem remain. Given Tsedaka is perhaps the best way, or to make as if a women offer the gift, not a man(shaliach passul is also a problem).

The source of this Chashash is a Gemoro Kidushin 50B

  1. The first concept we lear from this Gemoro is "Sivlonoth", a gift that makes a fiance to his fiancee (Rashi Kidushin 50A)
  2. there is concern that there has been kidushin due to of sivlonoth
  3. this sentence is understood differently by commentators.
    • a doubt: sivlonoth =? kidushin
    • a doubt: before sivlonoth, there had been Kidushin?
  • There are many details to remember. Take a look at the Shulchan Aruch (Even Haezer 45, 1).
  • This is perhaps because of this that the Rema, in Hilchoth Mishloach Manoth, encouraged to exercise caution.
  • So the OP is a very serious and important question. We must be very careful[1]


    [1] It might be objected that nowadays it is rare to find Kidushin before the day of the wedding. But in matter of learning it was important to clarify a number of points.

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    Maseches Kedushin daf 5b discusses what a man must say in order to have a valid kedushin. It also gives certain ambiguous language that definitely does not cause kiddushin. Thus as long as it is definitely not a language of kiddushin there should be no problem.

    • The problem according Rabenu Chananel & Tosfot is not the mishloach manoth itself. See Tosfoth kidushin 50B – kouty Mar 18 '16 at 11:18

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