Greco-Roman Period
Marriage was described in terms of a financial arrangement long after Jewish marriage had become an act of free will by husband and wife. The Rabbis debated how significant a sum must be used to effect the symbolic acquisition of the bride by the groom. For the House of Hillel, whose ruling was followed, even a minimal, symbolic sum sufficed.

1-1 By three means is a woman acquired [in marriage], and by two means she “acquires
herself.” She is acquired by money, by contract, or by intercourse. “By money”- The
House ofShammai say- “by a denar 141 or by that which is worth a denar.” The House of
Hillel say- “by a perutah or that which is worth a perutah.” How much is a perutah? An
eighth of an Italian issar. And she acquires herself by a bill of divorce or by the death of
her husband. The widow of a deceased brother is acquired [by the living brother] by
intercourse, 142 and she acquires herself 143 by halizah, 144 or by the death of her deceased
husband’s brother.

140. Trans. S. Berrin.

141. 1 denar= 192 perutot.

142. In the case of levirate marriage (Deut. 25-5-6).

143. That is, exits the marriage.

144. A ritual which cancels the obligation of a man to marry the wife of his deceased brother (Deut. 25-7-