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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth

Folio 103a

whether he was standing, sitting or reclining, and also if her halizah was performed with a blind man, her halizah is valid. [If her halizah] however, [was performed] with a torn shoe that did not cover the greater part of the [levir's] foot, with a broken sandal which does not hold the greater part of his foot, with a support of the hands,1  or with a cloth sock, and also where her halizah was performed with a minor, her halizah is invalid.2

Whose [view is represented in the first statement mentioning] the artificial foot?3  — [Obviously that of] R. Meir, for we learned: A cripple may go out [on the Sabbath]4  with his artificial foot;5  so R. Meir, and R. Jose forbids it;6  [but the latter statement]: 'With a cloth-sock'7  can only represent the view of the Rabbis!8  — Abaye replied: Since the latter statement [represents the opinion of] the Rabbis, the first also [must represent the opinion of] the Rabbis, the first [dealing with an artificial foot that was] covered with leather.9

Said Raba to him:10  What, however, [is the law if it11  was] not covered with leather? Is it then unfit!12  If so, instead of teaching in the latter statement, 'With a cloth sock',13  a distinction should have been drawn in [respect of the artificial foot] itself: This14  applies only where it was covered with leather, but if it was not covered with leather it is unfit!12  Rather, said Raba, since the first statement represents the view of R. Meir, the latter also represents the view of R. Meir, the one11  affording protection15  while the other16  affords no protection.17

Amemar stated: When a levir submits to halizah he must press down his foot [to the ground]. Said R. Ashi to Amemar: Was it not taught [that the halizah was valid] 'whether he18  was standing, sitting or reclining'? — Read: And in all these cases, only if he pressed his foot [to the ground].

Amemar further stated: A man who walks on the upper side of his foot19  must not submit to halizah. Said R. Ashi to Amemar: But, surely, it was taught: 'Supports of the feet';20  does not [this signify] that such [a cripple]21  may submit to halizah with a support! No; [the meaning is] that he may give it to another person22  who is allowed to submit to halizah [with it].

Said R. Ashi: According to Amemar's ruling neither Bar Oba nor Bar Kipof23  could submit to halizah.

[IF THE SHOE WAS WORN] BELOW THE KNEE etc. A contradiction was pointed out: Regalim,24  excludes25  stump-legged cripples!26  — Here27  it is different since it was written in Scripture, From off his foot.28  If so, [halizah should be permissible] above the knee also! — From off but not 'from off the from off'.29

Said R. Papa: From this30  it may be inferred that the istewira31  reaches down to the ground;32  for were it to be imagined that it is disconnected,33  it [would be situated] above [the foot], while the leg [would be] above that which is above [the foot].34  R. Ashi, however, said: It may even be said that it is disconnected, but any part adjacent to the foot is legally regarded as the foot itself.35

ABOVE THE KNEE. R. Kahana raised an objection: And against her afterbirth that cometh out from between her feet!36  — Abaye replied: When a woman kneels down to give birth she presses her heels against her thighs and thus gives birth. Come and hear: He had neither dressed his feet nor trimmed his beard!37  — This is a euphemistic expression. Come and hear: And Saul went in to cover his feet!38  — This is a euphemistic expression. Come and hear: Surely he is covering his feet in the cabinet of the cool chamber!39  — This is a euphemistic expression. Between her feet etc.!40  — This is a euphemistic expression.

    R. Johanan Said: That profligate41  had seven sexual connections on that day;42  for it is said, Between her feet he sunk, he fell, he lay; at her feet he sunk, he fell; where he sunk there he fell down dead.43  But, surely she44  derived gratification from the transgression! R. Johanan replied in the name of R. Simeon b. Yohai: All the favours of the wicked45 

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Cf. supra n. 6, one of the cushions tied to a cripple's hands.
  2. Thus it has been shown that in respect of halizah a legal distinction is made between the two kinds of sock. Cf. supra n. 3.
  3. Regarding it as a proper shoe. Cf. supra n. 5.
  4. When carrying from one domain into another is forbidden.
  5. Because it is regarded as a shoe which one may wear on the Sabbath.
  6. Shab. 65b, Yoma 78b.
  7. That halizah with it is invalid.
  8. Who differ from R. Meir in regarding neither the artificial foot nor the cloth sock as a shoe. According to R. Meir a cloth sock, like an artificial foot, is regarded as a shoe. Does then the Baraitha represent the contradictory views of R. Meir and the Rabbis!
  9. Hence its admissibility as a shoe for halizah.
  10. Abaye.
  11. The artificial foot.
  12. For halizah.
  13. That halizah with it is invalid.
  14. The admissibility of the artificial foot for halizah.
  15. For the Ieg. Hence it is regarded as a shoe that is admissible for halizah.
  16. A cloth sock.
  17. Hence its unfitness for halizah. It is not the material of which it is made but its unsuitability as a covering of the foot that causes its unfitness.
  18. The levir.
  19. Owing to a deformity in his foot (cf. Rashi). [H], the 'fibula', 'splint-bone's 'his feet being turned outward so as to form an obtuse angle' (Jast.).
  20. Are among the objects that may be used as shoes for the purpose of halizah.
  21. In the conditions just described.
  22. Whose foot is not deformed.
  23. These were men with deformed feet. Cf. M.K. 25b.
  24. [H] Ex. XXIII, 14 (E.V., times) referring to the Festival pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
  25. Since [H] may also be taken as the plural of [H] foot.
  26. Hag. 3a. [H] v. Glos. s.v. kab. As these cripples are deprived of their feet they (v. supra n. 2) are exempt from the duty of the pilgrimages (v. supra n. 1). Thus it follows that the leg is not regarded as a 'foot', which is contrary to our Mishnah!
  27. The case of halizah.
  28. Deut. XXV, 9, [H], lit., 'from above his foot', i.e., any part of the leg.
  29. V. supra n. 5. The part of the leg between the knee and the foot is 'above the foot'; and the part above the knee is 'above the above'.
  30. Our Mishnah which permits halizah on any part of the leg below the knee.
  31. [The ankle-bone (talus) v. Katzenelsohn, Talmud und Medizin, p. 384.]
  32. There is legally no division between the foot and this bone.
  33. From the foot.
  34. And halizah on that part would be invalid.
  35. Hence any part between it and the knee may be legally regarded as directly above the foot.
  36. Deut. XXVIII, 57; which shews that the region of the thighs is also included in the term of feet.
  37. II Sam. XIX, 25. Cf. supra n. 13.
  38. I Sam. XXIV, 4, expression for urination.
  39. Judges III, 24. Cf. supra n. 15.
  40. Ibid. V, 27. Cf. supra nn. 13 and 15.
  41. Sisera.
  42. When he fled from Barak and Deborah.
  43. Judges V, 27. Each of the expression he sunk [H] and he fell [H] occurs three times, and he lay [H] occurs once.
  44. Jael.
  45. Which they do for the righteous.
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Yebamoth 103b

are evil for the righteous;1  For it is said, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or evil.2  Now, as regards evil, one can perfectly well understand [the meaning]3  but why not good? From here then it may be inferred that the favour of the wicked is evil for the righteous.

There,4  one can well see the reason,5  since he6  might possibly mention to him the name of his idol;7  what evil, however, could be involved here?8  — That of infusing her with sensual lust. For R. Johanan stated: When the serpent copulated with Eve,9  he infused her10  with lust. The lust of the Israelites who stood at Mount Sinai,11  came to an end, the lust of the idolaters who did not stand at Mount Sinai did not come to an end.

IF THE WOMAN PERFORMED THE HALIZAH WITH A SANDAL THAT DID NOT BELONG TO HIM etc. Our Rabbis taught: [From the expression] His shoe12  I would only know that his own13  shoe [is suitable];14  whence, however, is it deduced that anybody's shoe is suitable?15  Hence was the term 'shoe' repeated,16  thus indicating the suitability of anyone's shoe.17  If so, why was the expression, 'His shoe', at all used? — 'His shoe' implies one which he can wear, excluding a large one in which he cannot walk, excluding a small one which does not cover the greater part of his foot, and excluding also a sandal which consists of a sole but has no heel.

Abaye once stood in the presence of R. Joseph when a sister-in-law came to perform halizah. 'Give him',18  he19  said to him,20  your sandal', and [Abaye] gave him' his left sandal. 'It might be suggested', he19  said to him,20  'that the Rabbis spoke21  only of a fait accompli; did they, however, speak also of what is permissible ab initio?' The other20  replied: If so, in respect of a sandal that is not the levir's own, it might also be suggested that the Rabbis spoke22  only of a fait accompli; did they, however, speak also of what is permissible ab initio! 'I', the first19  answered him, 'meant to tell you this: Give it to him and transfer possession to him'.23

A WOODEN SANDAL. Who is the Tanna [whose view is expressed in this ruling]?24  — Samuel replied: The view is that of R. Meir. For we learned: A cripple may go out [on the Sabbath]25  with his wooden stump; so R. Meir,26  while R. Jose forbids it.27  Samuel's father explained:28  With one that is covered with leather, [the ruling representing] the general opinion.29

R. Papi stated in the name of Raba: No halizah may be performed with a sandal that is under observation;30  a halizah, however, that has been performed [with it] is valid. No halizah may be performed with a sandal, the leprous condition of which has been confirmed;31  and even a halizah that had already been performed [with it] is invalid.32  R. Papa, however, stated in the name of Raba: No halizah may be performed either with a sandal under observation30  or with one the leprous condition of which had been confirmed;31  a halizah, however, that had been performed [with either] is valid.

An objection was raised: A house locked up33  imparts uncleanness from within,34  [and a house] confirmed in its leprous condition [imparts uncleanness]34  both within and without. The one as well as the other imparts uncleanness to anyone entering.35  Now, if it is to be assumed [that an object doomed to destruction is regarded] as already crushed to dust,36  surely [it may be objected] the requirement [there]37  is that He goeth into the house;38  but [such a house] is not in existence!39  — There37  it is different, because Scripture said, And he shall break down the house,40  even at the time of breaking down it is still called 'house'.

Come and hear: A [leprous] strip of cloth41  measuring three [finger-breadths] by three,42  even if [in volume] it does not amount to the size of an olive,43  causes, as soon as the greater part of it has entered a clean house, the defilement of that house.44  Does not [this refer to a strip of cloth the uncleanness of which] had been confirmed!45  No; [it refers to] one under observation.46  But if so, read the final clause: If in volume47  it constituted the size of many olives,48  as soon as a portion of it of the size of an olive49  enters a clean house, it causes the uncleanness of that house.50  Now, if you grant [that the reference is to a strip] of confirmed leprosy one can well understand why it was compared51  to a corpse;52  if, however, you maintain [that the reference is to a strip] under observation53  why [it may be objected] was it compared to a corpse! — There54  it is different,55  for Scripture said, And he shall burn the garment,56  even at the time of burning it is still called 'garment.'57  Then let [halizah] be deduced from it!58  — A prohibition cannot be deduced from [the laws of] uncleanness.59

Raba stated: The law is that [a sister-in-law] may not perform halizah either with a sandal under observation,60  or with a sandal of confirmed leprosy, or with a sandal belonging to an idol;61  if, however, she has performed halizah [with either of these], her halizah is valid.62  [With a sandal] that was offered to an idol63

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. Cf. Hor. 10b, Naz. 23b.
  2. Gen. XXXI, 24.
  3. [H] adv. or interr. (lit., 'for life'), 'very well'.
  4. In the warning to Laban.
  5. Why even good should not be spoken.
  6. Laban.
  7. Cf. Gen. XXXI, 30.
  8. In the incident with Jael.
  9. In the Garden of Eden, according to a tradition.
  10. I.e., the human species.
  11. And experienced the purifying influence of divine Revelation.
  12. Deut. XXV, 9.
  13. The levir's.
  14. For his own halizah.
  15. For the halizah of any other person.
  16. Lit., 'it was stated shoe (bis)'.
  17. Lit., 'from any place'.
  18. The levir.
  19. R. Joseph.
  20. Abaye.
  21. In ruling that halizah with a left-foot sandal is valid. V. our Mishnah.
  22. Cf. supra n. 4, mutatis mutandis.
  23. As a gift, so that the shoe might become the levir's property.
  24. Permitting halizah with a wooden sandal.
  25. When carrying from one domain into another is forbidden.
  26. Who regards the cripple's wooden stump as a proper shoe.
  27. Shab. 25b. As in respect of the Sabbath R. Meir regards the stump as a shoe, so also in respect of halizah does he regard it as a shoe.
  28. Our Mishnah. Cf. supra n. 7.
  29. All agree that a wooden stump that is furnished with a leather covering is admissible for halizah.
  30. [H], lit., 'locked up', a sandal that, in accordance with Lev. XIII, 50, is shut up for a certain period so that it may be ascertained whether the plague-spot that appeared on it is of the clean or unclean type. Cf. ibid. 47ff.
  31. [H], rt. [H], 'to tie up' (Jast.).
  32. Such a sandal, being doomed to destruction by burning (Lev. XIII, 55), is legally regarded as non-existent.
  33. For the purpose of observation. Cf. p. 712, n. 13 and Lev. XIV, 34ff.
  34. By contact.
  35. Neg. XIII, 4 though no contact took place.
  36. And, consequently, as legally non-existent. Cf. supra note 15.
  37. In the case of a leprous house.
  38. Lev. XIV, 46, emphasis on house. Only then is the person unclean.
  39. Since it is condemned to be broken down. V. supra n. 4. How, then, could uncleanness be imparted by that which does not exist?
  40. Lev. XIV, 45.
  41. Cf. ibid. XIII, 47.
  42. These are the minimum measurements required for a piece of cloth to be termed garment.
  43. Which in the case of a corpse is the minimum that may impart uncleanness.
  44. Tosef. Neg. VII. A leprous garment, like a leper, imparts uncleanness to all objects in a house as soon as it is brought into that house, though none of the objects have come in actual contact with it.
  45. In consequence of which it is doomed to destruction by burning. Now, if what is doomed to destruction is legally regarded as non-existent, how could such a strip impart uncleanness?
  46. Cf. supra p. 712, n. 13.
  47. That of a strip of cloth of the size mentioned.
  48. If the material, for instance, was very thick.
  49. Though its measurements were less than the greater part of three finger-breadths by three.
  50. Neg. XIII, 4.
  51. In the fixing of its minimum, in respect of imparting uncleanness, to be that of the size of an olive.
  52. Which also imparts uncleanness if a small part of it of the size of an olive only remained. Confirmed leprosy may well be compared to a corpse. Cf. Num. XII, 22: Let her not … be as one dead. The reference is to Miriam who was at the time leprous (v. ibid. 10) and Aaron requested Moses that she may not be confirmed in her leprosy and thus become like a corpse.
  53. V. supra p. 712, n. 13 mutatis mutandis.
  54. The law of uncleanness in respect of the strip of leprous cloth.
  55. From the law of halizah where an object doomed to destruction is regarded as non-existent.
  56. Lev. XIII, 52, emphasis on burn and garment.
  57. Hence it may impart uncleanness even where it is doomed to destruction.
  58. And a sandal of confirmed leprosy should also be admissible for halizah.
  59. Which form a peculiar class of their own.
  60. Cf. supra p. 712, n. 13.
  61. Which is put on the idol when it is moved from place to place (Rashi).
  62. Because the sandal under observation is not doomed to destruction; the sandal of confirmed leprosy is regarded as a garment despite its doom, (as deduced supra from Lev. XIII, 52); while the sandal of the idol, being only an accessory to it, is not doomed to burning. Though no benefit may be derived therefrom it is admissible for halizah, because the fulfilment of a precept is not regarded as a 'benefit'.
  63. As part of its worship, and which must consequently be destroyed.
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