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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
A proselyte may, according to Pentateuchal law, sit in judgment1 on a fellow proselyte, for it is said in the Scriptures, Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee;2 only when set over thee2 is he required to be one from among thy brethren;2 when, however, he is to judge his fellow proselyte he may himself be a proselyte.3 If his4 mother was an Israelitish woman he may sit in judgment even on an Israelite.5 In respect of halizah, however, [no man is eligible as judge] unless both his father and his mother were Israelites for it is said, And his name shall be called in Israel.6
Rabbah stated in the name of R. Kahana in the name of Rab: If Elijah should come and declare that halizah may be performed with a foot-covering shoe,7 he would be obeyed; [were he, however, to declare that] halizah may not be performed with a sandal,8 he would not be obeyed, for the people have long ago adopted the practice [of performing it] with a sandal.
R. Joseph, however, reported in the name of R. Kahana in the name of Rab: If Elijah should come and declare that halizah may not be performed with a foot-covering shoe,7 he would be obeyed; [were he, however, to declare that] halizah may not be performed with a sandal,8 he would not be obeyed, for the people have long ago adopted the practice [of performing it] with a sandal.
According to him, however, who stated [that it was proper to use11 it] even ab initio, surely, [it may be objected] we learned: IF A WOMAN PERFORMED THE HALIZAH WITH A FOOT-COVERING SHOE, HER HALIZAH IS VALID [which12 implies validity only] after the action had been performed but not ab initio. — The same law13 is applicable even [where the shoe was used] ab initio. As, however, it was desired to state in the final clause: BUT IF WITH A SOCK IT IS INVALID, [a law] which applies even after the action had been performed, a similar expression14 was also used in the first clause.
[On the question of] using a foot-covering shoe15 ab initio Tannaim differ. For it was taught: R. Jose16 related, 'I once went to Nesibis where I met an old man whom I asked, "Are you perchance acquainted with R. Judah b. Bathyra?" and he replied, "Yes; and he in fact always sits at my table". "Have you ever seen him arranging a halizah ceremony for a sister-in-law?" [I asked]. "I saw him arranging halizah ceremonies many a time", he replied. "With a foot-covering shoe [I asked] or with a sandal?" — "May halizah be performed", he asked me' "with a foot-covering shoe?" I17 replied: Were that [not] so, what could have caused18 R. Meir to state that halizah if performed with a foot-covering shoe is valid, while R. Jacob reported in his19 name that it was quite proper to perform [even] halizah ab initio with a foot-covering shoe!'
With reference to him who ruled that it was not proper ab initio [to perform halizah with a foot-covering shoe] what could be the reason? If it be suggested: Because [the loosing of] the upper20 [may be described as] from off21 and [the loosing of the] thong22 as 'from off of the from off', [a performance which is not in accordance with] the Torah which said, from off21 but not 'from off of the from off'; [it could well be retorted that] if such were the reason [the halizah should be invalid] even when actually performed. — This23 is a preventive measure against the possible use of a flabby24 shoe or even half a shoe.25
Said Rab: Had I not seen my uncle26 arranging a halizah with a sandal that had laces I would have allowed a halizah only with an Arabian sandal which can be more firmly fastened. And in respect of our [kind of sandal] though it has a knot,27 a strap also should be tied to it,28 so that the halizah may be properly performed.29
(Mnemonic: You permitted a sister-in-law a sandal.)30 Rab Judah reported in the name of Rab: The permissibility of a sister-in-law to marry a stranger takes effect as soon as the greater part of the heel31 is released.32
An objection was raised: If the straps of a foot-covering shoe or of a sandal were untied33 or if [the levir] slipped [it off from] the greater part of his foot,34 the halizah is invalid.35 The reason then36 is because it was he that slipped it off; had she, however, slipped it off, her halizah would have been valid; [and, furthermore this applies to] the greater part of the foot only37 but not to the greater part of the heel!38 — The 'greater part of the foot' has the same meaning as 'the greater part of the heel'; [and the reason] why he calls it 'the greater part of the foot' [is] because all the weight of the foot rests on it.
This39 provides support for R. Jannai. For R. Jannai stated: Whether [the levir] untied [the straps] and she slipped off [the sandal] or whether she untied the straps and he slipped off the sandal, her halizah remains invalid, unless she unties the straps and she slips off the sandal.
R. Jannai enquired: What is the law if she tore it?40 What if she burnt it?40 Is the exposure of the foot necessary,41 and this has here been effected,42 or is 'taking off' necessary, which has not taken place here?43 — This remains undecided.44
R. Nehemiah enquired of Rabbah: What is the law in the case of two shoes one above the other? — How is this enquiry to be understood? If it be suggested: That she45 drew off the upper one and the lower one remained, surely, the All Merciful said: From off46 but not 'from off of the from off'! — Such enquiry is necessary only where she tore the upper one and removed the lower one while the upper one remained [on the levir's foot], the question being whether47 the requirement is the 'taking off' which has been done,42 or whether the exposure of the foot is necessary which was not effected here?48
Does this, however, ever happen? — Yes; for the Rabbis once saw Rab Judah going out into the street in five pairs of felt socks.
Rab Judah reported in the name of Rab: A sister-in-law who was brought up together with the brothers1 is permitted to marry any one of the brothers and there is no need to consider the possibility that she2 might have taken off the sandal [from the foot] of one of them.3 The reason, then4 is because we did not actually observe it,5 had we, however, observed it5 the possibility [that her halizah was valid] would have had to be taken into consideration.6 But, surely, it was taught: Whether he7 had the intention8 [of performing the commandment of halizah] and she had no such intention, or whether she had such intention and he did not, halizah is invalid, it being necessary9 that both shall at the same time have such intention!10 It is this that was meant: Although we observed it5 there is no need to consider the possibility that they might have intended [to give their action the character of a valid halizah].
Others read: The reason4 is because we did not see it,5 had we, however, seen it, the possibility [of a valid halizah] would have had to be considered,6 the statement that11 intention12 is necessary13 applying only to the permissibility [of the woman] to strangers,14 but to the brothers she does become forbidden.15
Rab Judah stated in the name of Rab: No halizah may be performed with a sandal that was sewn with flax,16 for it is said in Scripture, And I shod thee with tahash.17 Might it be suggested that [the skill of] a tahash18 is admissible19 but not any other material? — The mention of 'shoe' twice20 indicates the inclusion [of all kinds of leather]. If the repeated mention of 'shoe' indicates the inclusion [of all kinds of leather] all other materials should also be included! — If that were so,21 for what purpose was the term tahash used?
R. Eleazar enquired of Rab: [What is the law where] the sandal was made of leather and its straps of [animal] hair? — The other replied: Could we not apply to it, And I shod thee with tahash!22 If so, a shoe all made of hair23 should also be admissible! — Such is called a slipper.24
Said R. Kahana to Samuel: Whence is it derived that the verb in25 we-halezah26 his shoe from off his foot27 signifies taking off? — Because it is written, That they shall take out28 the stones in which the plague is.29 But I might suggest that the meaning30 is that of arming;31 for it is written in Scripture, Arm32 ye men from among you for the war!33 — There also,33 [the underlying meaning is] the slipping out from the house to go to war. But, surely, it is also written in Scripture, He girds34 the afflicted in his affliction!35 — [The meaning is that] as a reward for his affliction He will deliver36 him from the judgment of Gehenna. What, however, is the explanation of the Scriptural text,37 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and He girds them?38 — [The meaning is that] as a reward for those who fear him He will deliver them from the judgment of Gehenna.
What explanation is there, however, for the Scriptural text,39 And He will make strong40 thy bones,41 of which R. Eleazar said that this was the best of the blessings,42 and Raba explained that the meaning43 was the strengthening of the bones!44 — Yes, it may bear the one meaning and it may also bear the other; but were the meaning here45 intended to be that of 'tying on',46 the All Merciful should have written: 'We-halezah his shoe upon his foot'.47 But [it might be still objected], had the All Merciful written, 'upon his foot' it might have been suggested: Only upon his foot, but not upon his leg;48 hence the All Merciful wrote From off49 his foot, [to indicate] that [halizah may be performed] even on the [levir's] leg! — If so, the All Merciful should have written: 'Upon [what is] above his foot'. Why [then did He use the expression] From off his foot? Consequently it must be inferred that the meaning50 is 'to take off'.
A certain Min51 once said to R. Gamaliel:52 You are a people with whom its God has performed halizah,53 for it is said in Scripture, with their flocks and with their herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they shall not find him; He hath drawn off54 [the shoe] from them.55 The other replied: Fool, is it written: 'He hath drawn off [the shoe] for them'? It is written, 'He hath drawn off [the shoe] from them'; now in the case of a sister-in-law from whom the brother drew off [the shoe] could there be any validity in the act?56
BUT IF WITH A SOCK IT IS INVALID etc. This then teaches that a sock is not regarded as a shoe; and so it was also taught: The man who removes [the monies] from the Temple treasury57 must not enter with a bordered tunic or with a sock,58 and there is no need to state [that he must not enter] with a shoe or with a sandal, since no one59 may enter the Temple court with a shoe or a sandal;60 but elsewhere the contrary was taught: One must not walk61 with a shoe, a sandal or a sock either from one house to another or even from one bed to another bed!62 — Abaye replied: [This refers to a sock] which is furnished with pads, [the prohibition] being due to the pleasure [its wearing affords].63 Said Raba to him: Is [all footwear] forbidden on the Day of Atonement because of the pleasure it affords, even though it cannot be regarded as a shoe? Surely, Rabbah son of R. Huna used to wrap a scarf round his foot and so went out!61 — But [in fact], said Raba,64 there is no difficulty: The one Baraitha65 refers to a leather sock; the other66 to a felt sock. This explanation is indeed reasonable. For were you not to say so, a contradiction [would arise between one statement dealing with] the Day of Atonement and [another statement which also deals with] the Day of Atonement. For it was taught: No man may walk about in slippers in his house,61 but he may walk about in his house in socks.67 Consequently68 it must be inferred that one statement refers to a leather sock and the other to a felt sock. This proves It.
It was taught in agreement with Raba:69 [If a sister-in-law] performed halizah with a torn shoe which covered the greater part of the [levir's] foot, with a broken sandal which contained the greater part of his foot, with a sandal of cork70 or of bast, with an artificial foot,71 with a felt sock, with a support of the feet,72 or with a leather sock, and also where she performed halizah with an adult
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