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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
Said Rabina to R. Ashi: In what respect is [the sandal] that was made in honour of a [dead] elder different [from an ordinary sandal]? Is it because it was not made for walking? That of the Beth din also4 was not made for walking! — The other replied: Should the attendant of the Beth din use it for walking, would the Beth din object!5
MISHNAH. IF [A SISTER-IN-LAW] PERFORMED THE HALIZAH AT NIGHT, HER HALIZAH IS VALID. R. ELEAZAR, HOWEVER, REGARDS IT AS INVALID. [IF SHE PERFORMED IT] WITH [THE LEVIR'S] LEFT SHOE, HER HALIZAH IS INVALID, BUT R. ELEAZAR DECLARES IT TO BE VALID.
GEMARA. May it be suggested that they6 differ on the following principle: The one Master7 holds the opinion that lawsuits are to be compared to plagues,8 while the other Master9 holds the opinion that lawsuits cannot be compared to plagues?10 — No; all agree that lawsuits cannot be compared to plagues; for should they be compared, even the close of a legal process could not have been allowed at night.11 Here, however, they12 differ on the following principle: Ones Master9 holds that halizah is like the commencement of legal proceedings13 and the other Master14 holds that halizah is like the close of the proceedings.15
Rabbah16 b. Hiyya of Ktesifon17 carried out a halizah with a felt sock, with no other men present, at night. Said Samuel: How great is his authority18 in acting on the view of one individual!19 What [however, could be his] objection?20 If [against the use of the] felt sock, an anonymous Baraitha21 [permits it]!22 If [against his acting at] night, our anonymous Mishnah23 [permits this]!24 — His objection, however, is [that Rabbah acted] alone. How [he objected] could he act alone when it was only one individual who expressed approval of such a procedure!25 For we learned: If [a sister-in-law] performed halizah in the presence of two or three men, and one of them. was discovered to be a relative or in any other way unfit [to act as judge], her halizah is invalid; but R. Simeon and R. Johanan ha-Sandelar declare it valid. Furthermore, it once happened that a man submitted to halizah with none present but himself and herself in a prison, and when the case came before R. Akiba he declared the halizah valid.26
And27 if you prefer I might say: All these [rulings] also are the views of28 an individual. For it was taught: R. Ishmael son of R. Jose stated, 'I saw R. Ishmael b. Elisha carry out a halizah with a felt sock, with no other men present, and [this occurred] at night'.
WITH [THE LEVIR'S] LEFT SHOE HER HALIZAH etc. What is the Rabbis' reason? 'Ulla replied: [The meaning of] 'foot' [here]29 is deduced from that of foot30 in the context of the leper. As there31 it is the right32 so here33 also it must be the right. Does not R. Eleazar, then, deduce [the meaning of] foot [here]33 from that of foot34 in the context of the leper? Surely, it was taught: R. Eleazar stated, Whence is it deduced that the boring [of the ear of a Hebrew slave]35 must be performed on his right ear? — For the term ear was used here36 and the term 'ear' was also used elsewhere;37 as there37 it is the right ear38 so here also it is the right ear!39 — R. Isaac b. Joseph replied in the name of R. Johanan: The statement is to be reversed.40
Raba said: There is, in fact, no need to reverse [the statement,36 the reply to the objection41 being that] the terms 'ear'42 [are both] free [for the deduction];43 the terms of 'foot,'44 however, are not free for deduction.45 But even if [one of the texts] is not free for deduction, what objection can be raised [against the deduction]?46 — It may be objected: The case of the leper is different,47 since he is also required [to bring] cedar-wood and hyssop and scarlet.48
MISHNAH. [IF A SISTER-IN-LAW] DREW OFF [THE LEVIR'S SHOE] AND SPAT,49 BUT DID NOT RECITE [THE FORMULAE],50 HER HALIZAH IS VALID.51 IF SHE RECITED [THE FORMULAE] AND SPAT, BUT DID NOT DRAW OFF THE SHOE, HER HALIZAH IS INVALID.52 IF SHE DREW OFF THE SHOE AND RECITED [THE FORMULAE] BUT DID NOT SPIT, HER HALIZAH, R. ELIEZER53 STATED, IS INVALID; AND R. AKIBA STATED: HER HALIZAH IS VALID.
SAID R. ELIEZER TO HIM: [SCRIPTURE STATED], SO SHALL BE DONE,1 ANYTHING WHICH IS A DEED2 IS A SINE QUA NON.3 R. AKIBA, HOWEVER, SAID TO HIM, FROM THIS VERY TEXT4 PROOF [MAY BE ADDUCED FOR MY VIEW]: SO SHALL BE DONE UNTO THE MAN,5 ONLY THAT WHICH IS TO BE DONE UNTO THE MAN.6
[A SISTER-IN-LAW] WHO PERFORMED HALIZAH WHILE SHE WAS A MINOR MUST AGAIN PERFORM HALIZAH WHEN SHE BECOMES OF AGE; AND IF SHE DOES NOT AGAIN PERFORM IT, THE HALIZAH IS INVALID.
IF [A SISTER-IN-LAW] PERFORMED HALIZAH IN THE PRESENCE OF TWO OR THREE MEN AND ONE OF THEM WAS DISCOVERED TO BE A RELATIVE OR ONE IN ANY OTHER WAY UNFIT [TO ACT AS JUDGE], HER HALIZAH IS INVALID; BUT R. SIMEON AND R. JOHANAN HA-SANDELAR DECLARE IT VALID. FURTHERMORE,8 IT ONCE HAPPENED THAT A MAN SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH PRIVATELY BETWEEN HIMSELF AND HERSELF IN A PRISON, AND WHEN THE CASE CAME BEFORE R. AKIBA HE DECLARED THE HALIZAH VALID.
We learned: IF A DEAF LEVIR SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH, OR IF A DEAF SISTER-IN-LAW PERFORMED HALIZAH, OR IF A HALIZAH WAS PERFORMED ON A MINOR, THE HALIZAH IS INVALID. Now, what is the reason?11 is it not because these are unable to recite [the formulae]!12 — No; because they are not in complete possession of their mental faculties.13 If so, [the same applies] also to a dumb man and to a dumb woman!14 — Raba replied: A dumb man and a dumb woman are in full possession of their mental faculties, and it is only their mouth that troubles15 them. But, surely, at the school of R. Jannai it was explained [that the reason why a deaf-mute is unfit for halizah is] because [the Scriptural instruction], He shall say16 or She shall say17 is inapplicable to such a case!18 — [Say] rather, if Raba's statement was ever made it was made in connection with the final clause: IF A DEAF LEVIR SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH, OR IF A DEAF SISTER-IN-LAW PERFORMED HALIZAH, OR IF A HALIZAH WAS PERFORMED ON A MINOR, THE HALIZAH IS INVALID. [It is in connection with this that] Raba said: Now that you have stated that the recital of [the formulae]19 is a sine qua non, the halizah of a dumb man or a dumb woman is invalid. And our Mishnah20 [is based on the same principle] as [that propounded by] R. Zera; for R. Zera stated: Wherever proper mingling21 is possible actual mingling is not essential,22 but where proper mingling is not possible23 the actual mingling is a sine qua non.24
[The following ruling] was sent to Samuel's father: A sister-inlaw who spat25 must perform the halizah.26 This implies that she is rendered unfit for the brothers;27 but whose view is this?28 If it be suggested [that it is that of] R. Akiba, it may be objected:29 If R. Akiba said that it30 was not indispensable31 even where the actual commandment [of halizah is being performed, in which case] it could be argued that it could be given the same force as [the burning] of the altar portions of the sacrifices, which is not an essential [rite] when [the portions] are not available,32 and yet is a sine qua non when they are available,33 [would he regard it30 as a reason for the woman] to become thereby unfit for the brothers! [Should it be suggested], however, [that the view34 is that] of R. Eliezer,35 surely [it may be retorted] are two acts36 which jointly effect permissibility,37 and any two acts that jointly effect permissibility are ineffective one without the other!38 — Rather, the view39 is in agreement with that of Rabbi. For it was taught: The Pentecostal lambs40 cause the consecration of the bread41 only by their slaughter.42 In what manner?43 If they were slaughtered for the purpose of the festival sacrifices44 and their blood also was sprinkled with such intention,44 the bread becomes consecrated. If they were not slaughtered for the purpose of the festival sacrifices,45 though their blood was sprinkled for the proper purpose,44 the bread does not become consecrated. If they were slaughtered for the purpose of the festival sacrifices44 and their blood was sprinkled for another purpose,46 [the bread] is partly consecrated and partly unconsecrated;47 so Rabbi. R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon, however, stated: [The bread] is never consecrated unless the slaughtering [of the lambs] and the sprinkling of their blood were both intended for the proper purpose of the festival.48
Did R. Akiba, however, hold that the act of spitting does not render the woman unfit?49 Surely it was taught: If she drew off [the levir's shoe] but did not
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