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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth

Folio 11a

— This is rather a difficulty.

R. Ashi holds the same opinion as Resh Lakish1  and explains it2  in accordance with the ruling of R. Simeon.3  Rabina holds the same opinion as R. Johanan4  and explains it5  in accordance with the ruling of the Rabbis.6  'R. Ashi holds the same opinion as Resh Lakish and explains it in accordance with the ruling of R. Simeon', thus: If [a levir] who submitted to halizah from his sister-in-law had subsequently betrothed her, she7  requires halizah from the brothers. Who are these brothers? Those born [subsequently].8  According to whose view? According to that of R. Simeon.9  If one of the previously born10  brothers, however, betrothed her, she has no claim upon him.11  According to whose view? According to that of Resh Lakish.11

'Rabina holds the same opinion as R. Johanan and explains it in accordance with the ruling of the Rabbis', thus: If [a levir] who submitted to halizah from his sister-in-law had subsequently betrothed her, she requires halizah from the brothers. Who are these brothers? Those born [prior to the halizah]. According to whom? According to R. Johanan.12  If one of the subsequently13  born brothers, however, betrothed her, she has no claim upon him. According to whose view? According to that of the Rabbis.14

It has been stated: In the case where [the Ievir] had intercourse with his sister-in-law15  and one of the other brothers had intercourse with her rival, there is a difference of opinion between R. Aha and Rabina. One said: [It involves16  a transgression subject] to kareth and the other said: [The transgression] of a positive precept.17  He who said, '[A transgression subject] to kareth' follows Resh Lakish;18  and he who said, '[The transgression] of a positive precept' follows R. Johanan.19

Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: The rival of a sotah20  is for bidden.21  What is the reason?22  — Because uncleanness is ascribed to her23  as to the cases of incest.24  R. Hisda raised an objection:25  R. Simeon26  said, the intercourse27  or halizah of the brother of the first husband exempts her rival!28  — Rab can answer you, 'I speak of a sotah that is Biblically forbidden,29  and you talk of a sotah that is only Rabbinically forbidden'.30

But as to him who raised this objection, what did he imagine?31  — He thought that Rabbinical provisions were given the same force as Biblical laws.32

R. Ashi raised an objection: If she33  entered with the man into a private place and remained with him for a period sufficient for the consummation of defilement, she is forbidden to her house,34  she may not eat of terumah,35  and if he died she must undergo the ceremony of halizah

To Part b

Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. That any brother, other than the one who submitted to the halizah, who married the widow after she had performed the halizah is subject to the penalty of kareth (v. supra 10b).
  2. The first clause of the statement cited in the discussion between R. Johanan and Resh Lakish, according to which halizah is required.
  3. Who maintains that a brother born after the levirate marriage of his elder brother is not subject, in relation to the deceased brother, to the restriction of a 'brother who was not his contemporary'. The first clause then, which requires halizah, may consequently refer to brothers born after both the halizah and the betrothal had taken place. The widow of the levir not being forbidden to them on account of her first deceased husband, is subject to halizah on account of the second. (The final clause which clearly agrees with the view of Resh Lakish requires of course no explanation).
  4. Who maintains that the brother who performed the halizah as well as all the other brothers are forbidden to marry the widow subsequent to the halizah, not under the penalty of kareth but under that of a negative precept. Hence the ruling in the first clause that halizah is required.
  5. The final clause. (Cf. n. 2 supra).
  6. Who hold that even a brother born after the levirate marriage (v. n. 3 supra) is subject to the restrictions of 'a brother who was not his contemporary'. The final clause may accordingly refer to such brothers to whom the widow is forbidden for this reason (not on account of the halizah that had been performed) and the marriage or betrothal with whom is consequently invalid. (The first clause obviously is in agreement with R. Johanan).
  7. In the case where the levir who betrothed her also died without issue.
  8. After the halizah and the betrothal. Having been born after the halizah they have never been subject to the levirate relationship on account of the first deceased brother and the halizah of the levir had, therefore, imposed no restrictions upon them in relation to the widow.
  9. V. supra n. 3. Hence it is the duty of one of these brothers to submit to halizah which is incumbent upon them as brothers of the levir who also died without issue.
  10. Prior to the performance of the halizah.
  11. Since according to Resh Lakish the performance of the halizah by one of the brothers had caused the prohibition of the widow upon all other contemporary brothers under the penalty of kareth, such a betrothal is invalid.
  12. V. supra p. 51, n. 4.
  13. After the performance of the halizah.
  14. V. supra p. 51, n. 6.
  15. The widow of his deceased childless brother.
  16. For the other brother.
  17. The precept is to perform one levirate marriage but not more than one, a transgression to which no penalty is attached.
  18. In whose view (supra 10b) the levir who marries, or participates in halizah with the widow, does not act as the agent of the other brothers. Hence, despite the fact that in the levir's own case the prohibition to marry the rival is regarded as having the force of a positive precept, in that of the other brothers the original prohibition to marry a brother's wife remains in force and marriage with her involves, therefore, the penalty of kareth.
  19. Who regards the levir as the agent of the brothers (supra 10b). Hence they are subject to the same prohibition. As in the levir's own case so in that of the other brothers the levirate obligations supersede the prohibition of marrying a brother's wife, and with it the original penalty of kareth.
  20. [H], a married woman suspected of adultery, who is subject to the ordeal prescribed in Num. V, 12ff. V. Glos.
  21. To the levir; in the case where there are witnesses that the sotah had committed the crime and her husband subsequently died childless. The rival and certainly the sotah herself are in such a case exempt from both the levirate marriage and the halizah.
  22. So BaH. Cur. edd. omit.
  23. She being defiled. Num. V, 13.
  24. Defile ye not yourselves. Lev. XVIII, 24. As the rival in the latter case is forbidden, so is she in the former.
  25. The following refers to a case where a woman married a second husband on the basis of a report by one witness that her first husband had died in a foreign country. If later it was discovered that her first husband was alive, she must be divorced by both. If both died childless prior to the divorce she requires halizah from a brother of each but may not, according to the Rabbis, marry either of them.
  26. Disagreeing with the Rabbis in one point.
  27. Her second marriage having been entered into through an innocent error, no penalty is incurred by her as far as her relationship with the levir from the first marriage is concerned. Hence, in the opinion of R. Simeon, either marriage or halizah is permitted, v. infra 87a.
  28. From this it follows that the rival of a married woman who had intercourse with another husband is permitted to the levir both according to R. Simeon and according to the Rabbis (the latter having only disputed the case of the married woman herself). Why, then, did Rab state that the rival of a sotah is forbidden?
  29. A woman that was faithless to her husband. (Num. V, 12ff).
  30. The woman who married a second husband under an honest misapprehension. Biblically she is permitted to live again with her husband since her second marriage was entered into on the basis of a report by a witness, on the strength of which she was by Biblical law fully permitted to contract the marriage.
  31. He must surely have known that the one was Biblical and the other only Rabbinical! [H] rt. [H] or [H] (cf. [G]) 'to speak', 'enquire', 'argue'.
  32. Lit., 'all that the Rabbis provided, like that of the Torah they provided'.
  33. A woman suspected by her husband who warned her not to seclude herself with a certain man.
  34. I.e., to her husband.
  35. V. Glos.; in the case where the husband is a priest.
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Yebamoth 11b

though she may not marry the levir!1  — Rab can answer you. 'I speak of a definite sotah, and you speak of a doubtful one'. But why should a definite sotah be different? Obviously because in relation to her the expression of 'uncleanness' is used;2  is not, however, the expression of 'uncleanness' also used in relation to a doubtful sotah! For it was taught: R. Jose b. Kipper said in the name of R. Eleazar, The remarriage by a husband of his divorced wife is forbidden after marriage3  and permitted after betrothal,4  because it is stated in the Scriptures. After that she is defiled.5  The Sages, however, say, the one as well as the other6  is forbidden,7  and the expression8  'After that she is defiled' implies the inclusion of a sotah who secluded herself with a man!9  — The underlying meaning of 'secluded herself' is 'sexual intercourse'. Why then did he say 'secluded herself'? — In order to employ a euphemism.10  But in relation to sexual intercourse, [surely,] uncleanness was actually mentioned in the Scriptures. She being defiled secretly!11  — To subject the offence12  to a negative precept.13  And R. Jose b. Kipper?14  — He does not hold the view that a negative precept is applicable to a sotah, even in the case where she had actually committed adultery. What is the reason? — [Because in reference to the remarriage of a divorced wife] Scripture uses the expression of15  becoming16  as well as that of matrimony.17

Rab Judah inquired of R. Shesheth: What is the law in regard to the rival of a woman whom her former husband remarried after her second marriage and died?18  According to the view of R. Jose b. Kipper the question does not arise. For R. Jose b. Kipper having stated that 'uncleanness' is mentioned in the case of him who remarried his divorced wife, it follows that her rival is subject to the very same restrictions. And if [objection be raised] from the Scriptural text, She is an abomination,19  [it may be replied that the implication is] that she is an abomination and not her children,20  her rival, however, being an abomination. The question, however, arises on the view of the Rabbis: Does the Scriptural text,21  despite the fact that the Rabbis had applied the expression 'uncleanness' to the sotah, also bear its ordinary meaning,22  or since it23  was once torn away [from its ordinary meaning] it must in all respects so remain?24  Others say: According to the Rabbis no question arises, for since the text has once been torn away [from its ordinary meaning] it must in all respects so remain. The question, however, arises according to the view of R. Jose b. Kipper: What is the law? [Is it assumed that] although R. Jose b. Kipper stated that the expression of 'uncleanness' refers to the remarriage of a divorced wife, the All Merciful has written 'She is an abomination' to indicate that 'she' is an abomination but not her rival,25  or is the implication, perhaps, that 'she' is an abomination, but her children are not; a rival, however, being an abomination?26  — The other replied: You have learnt it, 'If one of them27  was a permitted wife and the other a forbidden one; if he28  submit to halizah he must submit to that of the forbidden one;29  and if he marries he marries the permitted one.'29  Now what is meant by 'permitted' and 'forbidden'? If it be suggested that 'permitted' means permitted for all the world,30  and 'forbidden' means forbidden for all the world,31  what practical difference, in view of the fact that she is In either case suitable for him,32  could this make to him? Consequently 'permitted' must mean permitted to him, and 'forbidden', forbidden to him; and this may happen where33  he34  remarried his divorced wife;35  and yet it was taught, 'and if he marries he marries the permitted one'!36  — No; 'permitted' may still mean permitted to all the world30  and 'forbidden', forbidden for all the world;31  and as to your question, 'what practical difference, in view of the fact that she is in either case suitable for him, could this make', one must take into account the moral lesson37  of R. Joseph. For R. Joseph stated: Here38  Rabbi taught that a man shall not pour the water out of his cistern so long as others may require it.39

Come and hear: 'Where a man remarried his divorced wife after she had been married,40  she and her rival are to perform the halizah.' Is it possible to say 'she and her rival'?41  Consequently it must mean, 'Either she or her rival.'42  Did you not, however, have recourse to an interpretation?43  [You might as well] interpret thus: She is to perform halizah, while her rival may either perform halizah or be married by the levir.

R. Hiyya b. Abba said: R. Johanan inquired as to what is the law44  in regard to a rival of a divorced woman whom her former husband remarried after her second marriage. Said R. Ammi to him: Enquire rather regarding herself!45  — Concerning herself I have no question since her case may be inferred a minori ad majus: If she is forbidden to him46  to whom she was originally47  permitted, how much more so to the man48  to whom she was originally47  forbidden!49  The question, however, remains concerning her rival: Is the inference a minori ad majus strong enough to exclude a rival50  or not?

R. Nahman b. Isaac taught as follows: R. Hiyya b. Abba said, R. Johanan enquired as to what is the law44  in regard to a divorced woman whom her husband remarried after her second marriage. Said R. Ammi to him: Enquire rather regarding her rival! — Concerning her rival I have no question, for an inference a minori ad majus51  is not strong enough to exclude a rival;50  the question, how ever, remains regarding herself. Is the inference a minori ad majus strong enough [to be acted upon] where a precept52  is involved or not?

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Original footnotes renumbered.
  1. If the sotah herself must go through the ceremony of halizah, much more so her rival; how then could Rab state that the rival of a sotah (and much more so the sotah herself, v. supra p. 53, n. 1) is exempt from halizah?
  2. Num. V, 13.
  3. With a second husband who subsequently died or divorced her.
  4. Where no marriage with the second man took place, and he died.
  5. Deut. XXIV, 4, referring, in the opinion of R. Eleazar, to a divorced woman who had married a second husband.
  6. Married or betrothed.
  7. This is deduced by the Sages from And goeth and becometh another man's wife (Deut. XXIV, 2) which, they maintain, implies betrothal as well as marriage.
  8. Lit., 'but what do I establish'.
  9. That the husband must not take her back. This clearly shews that the expression of 'uncleanness' was also used concerning a doubtful sotah.
  10. Lit., 'he took a nice (or superior) expression'.
  11. Num. V, 13; what need, then, was there for the implication of the text of Deut. XXIV, 4?
  12. Of remarrying a sotah.
  13. Lit., 'to cause to stand concerning it in a negative (prohibition)'; the negative can only be derived from Deut. XXIV, 4: May not take her again to be his wife.
  14. Who applies the entire text to the remarriage of a divorced wife, whence does he derive the law concerning the sotah?
  15. Lit., 'it is written concerning it'.
  16. Deut. XXIV, 2, And she departeth out of his house, and goeth and becometh ([H]) another man's wife.
  17. Ibid., Or if the latter husband ([H]) die, implying that the divorced woman's connection with the second man must be that of 'husband and wife', i.e., lawful matrimony. In the case of the sotah the intercourse was unlawful and cannot come, therefore, under the prohibition of Deut. XXIV, 4.
  18. Is the rival subject to the levirate marriage and halizah?
  19. Deut. XXIV, 4, dealing with a woman remarried after divorce. The text She is an abomination. [H], might be taken to imply that the designation, and consequently the restrictions, refer to the woman only ([H] = she) and not to her rival.
  20. I.e., the exclusion of [H] may refer not to her rival but to her children who, unlike their mother who is regarded as an 'abomination', may marry into priestly families.
  21. Describing the woman (or the act of remarrying the first husband after divorce and second marriage) as 'uncleanness'.
  22. I.e., its bearing on the woman remarried (v. previous note), with whose case the text in its ordinary meaning is concerned, and consequently on her rival also.
  23. The expression of uncleanness.
  24. Lit., 'that it was uprooted it was uprooted', i.e., since it was removed from its context and applied to the sotah, it can never be re-applied to its original case. Hence a rival would not come under the same restrictions as the sotah herself.
  25. To whom, consequently, the restrictions would not apply.
  26. And consequently subject to the same restrictions as the woman herself.
  27. Two widows of a brother who died without issue.
  28. The levir.
  29. Infra 44a, and thereby liberates also the other widow, her rival.
  30. I.e., even to priests.
  31. In case she was once, e.g., a divorced woman and is thus forbidden to marry a priest.
  32. He being an ordinary Israelite.
  33. Lit., 'and what is it'.
  34. The deceased brother.
  35. In which case the woman who was remarried is forbidden to the levir as she was forbidden to his deceased brother who had married her unlawfully, while her rival, having been lawfully married, is permitted to the levir.
  36. Which clearly shews that the rival of a woman remarried by her former husband is subject to the levirate marriage.
  37. Lit., 'because of'.
  38. In the Mishnah cited where it is stated that halizah is to be performed with the forbidden one.
  39. A man should not destroy anything which may be of use to others though it is of no use to him. In the case under discussion, the levir submits to halizah from the forbidden one and thus liberates the permitted one to marry even a priest to whom she would have been forbidden had the halizah been performed by her.
  40. To a second husband who divorced her or died.
  41. Halizah surely is performed by one of the widows only!
  42. Which supplies an answer to the enquiry addressed by Rab Judah to R. Shesheth.
  43. 'He and her rival' was interpreted as 'Either etc.'
  44. In respect of the levirate marriage.
  45. The remarried woman.
  46. Her first husband.
  47. Before she married her second husband.
  48. The levir.
  49. As brother's wife.
  50. From the levirate marriage.
  51. V. previous paragraph.
  52. The levitate marriage.

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