Previous Folio / Yebamoth Directory / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
MISHNAH. IF A MAN DIVORCED HIS WIFE AND REMARRIED HER, SHE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY THE LEVIR;1 R. ELEAZAR2 HOWEVER, FORBIDS.3 SIMILARLY, IF A MAN DIVORCED AN ORPHAN4 AND REMARRIED HER,5 SHE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY THE LEVIR;6 R. ELEAZAR, HOWEVER, FORBIDS.
IF A MINOR WAS GIVEN IN MARRIAGE BY HER FATHER AND WAS DIVORCED,7 [SO THAT SHE IS REGARDED] AS AN 'ORPHAN' IN HER FATHER'S LIFETIME,8 AND THEN HER HUSBAND REMARRIED HER,9 ALL AGREE THAT SHE IS FORBIDDEN TO MARRY THE LEVIR.10
GEMARA. 'Efa stated: What is R. Eleazar's reason?11 Because there was a period when she was forbidden to him.12 Said the Rabbis to 'Efa: If so, halizah also should not be required!13 And should you reply that the law is so indeed; surely [it may be pointed out] it was taught: In the name of R. Eleazar it was stated that she does perform halizah! — In truth, said 'Efa, the reason of R. Eleazar is unknown to me.
Abaye said, This is the reason of R. Eleazar:11 He was in doubt whether it was death14 that subjects [the widow to the levirate marriage] or whether it was the marriage that preceded it15 that subjects her to it. If it is death that subjects her to it, she should be subject to the16 levirate marriage; and if it is the marriage preceding it15 that subjects her to it, then there was a period when she was forbidden to him.17
Raba said: It was in fact obvious to R. Eleazar that it is death14 that subjects [the widow to the levirate marriage], but while all well know of the divorce, not all are aware of the remarriage.18 On the contrary! Remarriage gets noised abroad since the woman dwells with him! — Do we not, however, deal here [even with such a case as] where he remarried her in the evening and died in the morning?19
R. Ashi said, This is the reason of R. Eleazar:20 He forbade [the levirate marriage of] these21 as a preventive measure against the remarriage of an 'orphan' [minor] in her father's lifetime.22 This23 may also be logically supported; for in the final clause it was stated, IF A MINOR WAS GIVEN IN MARRIAGE BY HER FATHER AND SHE WAS DIVORCED [SO THAT SHE IS REGARDED] AS AN 'ORPHAN' IN HER FATHER'S LIFETIME, AND THEN REMARRIED HER HUSBAND, ALL AGREE THAT SHE IS FORBIDDEN TO MARRY THE LEVIR. Now what [need was there] to state [this when it is so] obvious!24 Consequently it must be25 this that was taught: R. Eleazar's reason20 is because he forbade [the levirate marriages of] those as a preventive measure against [the levirate marriage of] this one. Thus our case has been proved.
It was taught in agreement with R. Ashi: The Sages agree with R. Eleazar in respect of a minor whom her father had given in marriage and who was divorced [so that she is regarded] as an 'orphan' in her father's lifetime, and who then remarried [her husband], that she is forbidden to [contract the levirate marriage with] the levir, because her divorce was a perfectly legal divorce, whereas her remarriage was not a perfectly legal remarriage. This,26 however, applies only where he27 divorced her while she was a minor28 and remarried her while she was still a minor;29 but if he27 divorced her while she was a minor and remarried her when she was of age, and also if he remarried her while she was still a minor and she became of age while she was with him, and then he died,30 she may either perform halizah or contract the levirate marriage.31 In the name of R. Eleazar, however, it was stated: She must perform halizah but may not contract the levirate marriage.32
Raba enquired of R. Nahman: What is [the law33 in respect of] her34 rival?35 — The other replied: [The prohibition against] herself is a preventive measure;36 shall we then go so far37 as to enact a preventive measure38 against a preventive measure?39 But, surely, it was taught: It was stated in the name of R. Eleazar, 'She and her rival perform halizah'; Now can it possibly be imagined that she and her rival [are to perform halizah]? Consequently it must mean,40 'either she or her rival performs halizah'!41 — Are you not [in any case obliged to] offer an explanation?42 Explain, then,42 as follows: She performs halizah while her rival may either perform halizah or contract the levirate marriage.
MISHNAH. WHERE TWO BROTHERS WERE MARRIED TO TWO SISTERS WHO WERE MINORS43 AND ORPHANS,44 AND THE HUSBAND OF ONE OF THEM DIED,45 [THE WIDOW]46 IS FREE47 AS BEING [THE LEVIR'S] WIFE'S SISTER. SIMILARLY IN THE CASE OF TWO DEAF48 [SISTERS ONE OF WHOM WAS] OF AGE AND [THE OTHER] A MINOR, IF THE HUSBAND OF THE MINOR DIED, THE MINOR IS FREE47 AS BEING [THE LEVIR'S] WIFE'S SISTER. IF THE HUSBAND OF THE ELDER SISTER DIED, THE MINOR IS TO BE INSTRUCTED, R. ELIEZER49 STATED, TO EXERCISE HER RIGHT OF MI'UN AGAINST HIM.50 R. GAMALIEL SAID: IF SHE51 EXERCISED HER RIGHT OF MI'UN WELL AND GOOD;52 BUT IF [SHE DID] NOT, LET HER WAIT53 UNTIL SHE IS OF AGE54 WHEN THE OTHER BECOMES FREE47 AS BEING [THE LEVIR'S] WIFE'S SISTER. R. JOSHUA SAID: WOE TO HIM55 BECAUSE OF HIS WIFE AND WOE TO HIM BECAUSE OF HIS BROTHER'S WIFE! HE MUST ALLOW HIS WIFE TO GO56 BY [GIVING HER] A LETTER OF DIVORCE,57 AND HIS BROTHER'S WIFE58 BY [SUBMITTING TO HER] HALIZAH.
GEMARA. But is this is permitted?59 Surely. Bar Kappara taught: A man should always cling to three things and keep away from three things. 'A man should cling to the following three things': Halizah, the making of peace and the annulment of vows; 'and keep away from three things': — From mi'un, from [receiving] deposits and from acting as surety!60 Mi'un [involving the fulfilment] of a commandment61 is different.62
[Reverting to our] previous text, 'Bar Kappara taught: A man should always cling to three things … Halizah', in accordance with [a statement of] Abba Saul. For it was taught: Abba Saul said, 'If [a levir] married his sister-in-law on account of her beauty, or in order to gratify his sexual desires 'or with any other ulterior motive, it is as if he has infringed [the law of] incest; and I am even inclined to think that the child [from such a union] is a bastard'.63
'The making of peace', for it is written, Seek peace and pursue it64
and [in connection with this] R. Abbahu stated that deduction is made1 by a comparison between the two expressions of 'pursuit':2 Here it is written, Seek peace and pursue it and elsewhere it is written, He that pursueth3 after righteousness and mercy findeth life, prosperity and honour.4
'The annulment of vows', in accordance with [a statement of] R. Nathan. For it was taught: R. Nathan said, 'If a man makes a vow it is as if he has built a high place5 and if he fulfils it,6 it is as if he has offered up a sacrifice upon it'.7
'And keep away from three things: From mi'un', since it is possible that when she becomes of age she will change her mind.
'From [receiving] deposits' [applies to deposits made by] his fellow townsman who [regards] his house as his own house.8
'From acting as surety [refers to would-be] sureties in Shalzion.9 For R. Isaac said, 'What was meant by the Scriptural text, He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it?10 Evil after evil11 comes upon those who receive proselytes,12 and upon the sureties13 of Shalzion and upon him who rivets14 himself to the word of the halachah.15
That 'those who receive proselytes', [bring evil upon themselves, is deduced] in accordance with [a statement of] R. Helbo. For R. Helbo stated: Proselytes are hurtful to Israel as a sore on the skin.16
'The sureties of Shalzion [bring evil upon themselves]' because [in that place] they practice 'pull out and thrust in'.17
'Who rivets himself to the word of the halachah', [brings evil upon himself], for it was taught: R. Jose said, 'Whosoever says that he has no [desire to study the] Torah, has no [reward for the study of the] Torah'. Is not this obvious? — But [this must be the meaning]: 'Whosoever says that he has only [an interest in the study of the] Torah18 has only [reward for the study of the] Torah'. This, however, is also obvious! — But [the meaning really is] that he has no [reward] even [for the study of the] Torah. What is the reason? — R. Papa replied: Scripture said, That ye may learn them and observe to do them,19 whosoever is [engaged] in observance20 is [also regarded as engaged] in study, but whosoever is not [engaged] in observance is not [regarded as engaged] in study. And if you wish I may say: [The reading is] in fact, as was said before: 'Whosoever says that he has only [an interest in the study of the] Torah has only [reward for the study of the] Torah', yet [the statement] was necessary [in the case] where he teaches others and these go and do observe [the laws of the Torah]. Since it might have been assumed that he also receives reward,21 hence we were taught [that he does not]. And if you wish I may say [that the statement] 'who rivets himself to the word of the halachah' [applies] to a judge who, when a lawsuit is brought before him, and he knows of an halachah [relating to a similar case], compares one case with the other22 and, though he has a teacher, he does not go to him to inquire.23 [Such a judge brings evil upon himself] for R. Samuel b. Nahmani stated in the name of R. Jonathan: A judge should always imagine himself as if [he had] a sword lying between his thighs, and Gehenna was open beneath him; as it is said in Scripture, Behold, it is the couch24 of Solomon; threescore mighty men25 are about it, of the mighty men of Israel etc. because of the dread in the night:26 'because of the dread of' Gehenna27 which is like 'the night'.
R. GAMALIEL SAID: IF SHE EXERCISED HER RIGHT OF MI'UN etc. R. Eleazar inquired of Rab: What is R. Gamaliel's reason?28 Is it because he holds the opinion that the betrothal of a minor remains in a suspended condition29 and as she grows up it grows with her30 even though no cohabitation has taken place;31 or is the reason because he is of the opinion that when a man betroths the sister of his sister-in-law the latter procures her exemption thereby, but thereby only,32 [and consequently] only if cohabitation has taken place is the elder sister exempt,33 but if no cohabitation has taken place she is not? — The other replied, This is R. Gamaliel's reason: Because he is of the opinion that when a man betroths the sister of his sister-in-law the latter procures her exemption thereby but thereby only32 [and consequently] only if cohabitation has taken place is the elder sister exempt,33 but if no cohabitation has taken place she is not.
Said R. Shesheth: It seems34 that Rab made this statement while he was sleepy and about to doze off;35 for it was taught: If a man betrothed a minor, her betrothal remains in a suspended condition. Now, what [is meant by] 'a suspended condition'? Obviously36 that as she grows up it grows up with her37 even though there was no cohabitation.38 Said Rabin the son of R. Nahman to him: The matter of the betrothal of a minor39 remains in a suspended condition. If cohabitation had taken place40 it is valid, but if no cohabitation had taken place40 it is not; for [in the absence of such cohabitation] she thinks 'He has an advantage over me41 and I have an advantage over him'.42
Is Rab, however, of the opinion that only if cohabitation had taken place is the betrothal valid,43 but if there was no cohabitation it is not? Surely it was stated: Where a minor did not exercise her right of mi'un and, when she became of age, actually44 married [another man], Rab ruled: She requires no letter of divorce from her second husband, and Samuel ruled: She requires a letter of divorce from her second husband.45
- To Next Folio -