I noted that Rashi first refers to the two sides of the kesuba as "ba'al goveah me'avi habas". A little bit further he says "goveah hechasan mechamav". Is there significance to this change?
Gershon Dubin, Brooklyn, NY
In a place where the Kesuvah is treated like a Milveh, the parties involved are like any other Malveh and Loveh, with no particular relationship between them. Therefore, Rashi says that the "father of the woman" pays the man.
In a place where twice the actual amount is written in the Kesuvah in order to give Kavod to the parties involved, then the whole point of the Kavod is for the sake of the marriage taking place. Therefore, Rashi writes that the "Chasan collects from his father-in-law."
The reason why Rashi alters his wording when referring to who collects the Nadan, the dowry, is as follows. When discussing the Kesuvah, the premise to keep in mind is that the main thing in the Kesuvah is always the Kesuvah itself -- the amount of the Kesuvah that will be paid in the end, to the woman or her father, upon the husband's death or divorce. That is the primary element of the Kesuvah. The dowry that is paid at the time of the marriage is secondary.
The way the Kesuvah works in relation to the Nadan, the dowry, is that whatever happens at the time of the payment of the Kesuvah happens at the time of the payment (in the other direction). The wife (or her father) receives the Kesuvah payment later, and the husband receives the dowry payment now.
When a change in the manner or form of payment of the Kesuvah (i.e. in the primary element of the Kesuvah, as written above) is stipulated, the same change happens for the dowry.This is because the person who benefits from the change later, in the main element of the Kesuvah, must concede now in order to keep his benefit later. The one who benefits at the time of the giving of the Kesuvah is considered to be receiving the main benefit.When the Gemara discusses writing the Kesuvah as a Milveh, Rashi explains that the "father of the woman" ("Avi ha'Bas") has to pay the dowry as a Milveh. Why does Rashi call him "Avi ha'Bas?" He calls him "Avi ha'Bas" because having the Kesuvah written as a Milveh is an advantage for the woman's side (i.e. the woman or her father), in that it entitles her to collect the Kesuvah later from Beinonis and not just from Ziboris, like a Milveh. This means that she (or her father) has won, so to speak, this point in the Kesuvah negotiations by having the payment of the Kesuvah knocked up to the level of a Milveh. Now, though, for the secondary part of the Kesuvah -- the dowry, the woman's side must pay the dowry like a Milveh. That is what she concedes in order to keep the benefit that comes later. Rashi focuses on the winner of the negotiations (that is, the one who gains on the main part of the Kesuvah), and therefore he says that the "Avi ha'Bas" (who is the winner on the Kesuvah side) has to pay like a Milveh on the dowry side.
When explaining the Gemara that says that in a place where double the actual amount is written in the Kesuvah (because of Kavod), half of what is written is actually paid, Rashi says that the "Chasan collects from his father-in-law." Rashi here emphasizes that it is the Chasan who collects the dowry because with regard to the main part of the Kesuvah (i.e. what the husband will have to pay later), it is the Chasan who is the winner, for he benefits by only having to pay half of what is written. Since he benefits in the main part of the Kesuvah, he must concede with regard to what he receives for the dowry. To emphasize that he is the one who is benefitting from the Kesuvah, Rashi explains that the "Chasan collects from his father-in-law" half of the amount written.
In his next comment, Rashi says that the husband collects from the "Avi ha'Bas," again focusing on the father of the woman, because again it is he who is winning at the end with regard to the main part of the Kesuvah.