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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
What possibility can be taken into consideration!1 If that of loss,2 one is surely careful with [a note of indebtedness];3 if that of a deposit,4 since the name of the one is like that of the other the former does not entrust the latter with such a deposit;5 what then can be said?6 That he7 may only have delivered [the note] to him!8 'Letters'9 [it may be replied] are acquired by mesirah.10
A letter of divorce was once found at Sura, and in it appeared this entry: 'In the town of Sura, I, Anan son of Hiyya. a Nehardean, released and divorced my wife So-and-so.' Now when the Rabbis searched from Sura to Nehardea [they found that] there was no other Anan son of Hiyya save one Anan son of Hiyya of Hagra11 who was at that time at Nehardea, and witnesses came and declared that on the day on which the letter of divorce was written Anan son of Hiyya of Hagra was with them.12 Said Abaye: Even according to me who hold that [the possibility of the existence of other men of the same name] is to be taken into consideration. no such possibility need be considered here,13 for [even in respect of the only other man known to have that name] witnesses declared that he was at Nehardea;14 how then could he [on the same day,] have been15 at Sura!16 Raba said: Even according to me who hold that [the possibility of the existence of other men of the same name] is not to be taken into consideration. [such possibility] must be considered here,17 since [the man in question] may have gone [to Sura] on a flying camel,18 or19 [got there] by a miraculous leap,20 or19 he may have given verbal instructions21 [for the letter of divorce to be written22 on his behalf], as, [in fact] Rab said to his scribes, and R. Huna, similarly, said to his scribes: When you are at Shili23 write [in any deed] 'At Shili', although the instructions were given to you at Hini,24 and when you are at Hini,23 write, 'At Hini', although the instructions Were given to you at Shili.25
What is [the decision] in respect of the sesame?26 — R. Yemar ruled: [The possibility that it was removed and replaced by another lot] is not to be taken into consideration; Rabina ruled: It is to be taken into consideration; and the law is that it is to be taken into consideration.
DISCORD BETWEEN HIM AND HER etc. What is to be understood by DISCORD BETWEEN HIM AND HER? Rab Judah replied in the name of Samuel: When [a wife] says to her husband. 'Divorce me!' Do not all women27 say this?28 Rather [this is the meaning]: When she says to her husband. 'You have divorced me!' Then let her be believed on the strength of R. Hamnuna's ruling; for R. Hamnuna ruled: If a woman said to her husband, 'You have divorced me'. she is believed, for it is an established principle that no woman would dare [to make such a false assertion] in the presence of her husband! — [Here it is a case] where she said. 'You have divorced me in the presence Of So-and-so and So-and-so', who. when asked, stated that this had never happened.29
What is the reason in case Of DISCORD?30 — R Hanina explained: Because she is likely to tell a lie.31 R. Shimi b. Ashi explained: Because she speaks from conjecture.32 What is the practical difference between them?33
The question was raised: What [is the law in respect of] one witness in a case of discord? Is the reason why one witness is [elsewhere]3 believed4 that he would not tell a lie which is likely to be exposed.5 and consequently he would here also tell no lie;6 or is it possible that the reason why one witness is believed elsewhere7 is that [the woman] herself makes careful enquiries and [only then] marries again; here, therefore, [his evidence should not be accepted] since, as there was discord between husband and wife,8 she would not make careful enquiries and yet would marry again? — This remains undecided.9
R. JUDAH SAID: SHE IS NEVER etc. It was taught: They10 said to R. Judah: According to your statement, only a woman of sound senses11 would be allowed to marry again while an imbecile12 would never be allowed to marry again! But the fact is that13 the one as well as the other may be allowed to marry again.
A woman14 once came to Rab15 Judah's Beth din. 'Mourn', they said to her, 'for your husband, rend your garments and loosen your hair'. Did they teach her to simulate!16 — They themselves held the same view as the Rabbis,17 but in order that he18 also should allow her to marry they advised her to do so.
MISHNAH. BETH HILLEL STATED: WE HAVE HEARD SUCH A TRADITION19 ONLY IN RESPECT OF A WOMAN WHO CAME FROM THE HARVEST20 AND [WHOSE HUSBAND DIED] IN THE SAME COUNTRY,21 [THE CIRCUMSTANCES BEING THE SAME] AS THOSE OF A CASE THAT ONCE ACTUALLY HAPPENED. SAID BETH SHAMMAI TO THEM: [THE LAW IS] THE SAME WHETHER THE WOMAN CAME FROM THE HARVEST OR FROM THE OLIVE PICKING, OR FROM THE VINTAGE, OR FROM ONE COUNTRY TO ANOTHER, FOR THE SAGES SPOKE OF THE HARVEST ONLY [BECAUSE THE INCIDENT TO WHICH THEY REFERRED] OCCURRED THEN.22 BETH HILLEL, THEREFORE, CHANGED THEIR VIEW [THENCEFORWARD] TO RULE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE OPINION OF BETH SHAMMAI.
GEMARA. It was taught: Beth Shammai said to Beth Hillel, According to your View,23 one would only know the law concerning24 the wheat harvest;25 whence, however, [the law concerning] the barley harvest? And, furthermore, one would only know the law in the case where24 one harvested; whence, however, [the law in the case where] one held a vintage, picked olives, harvested dates, or picked figs? But [you must admit] it is only the original incident that occurred at harvest time and that the same law is applicable to all [the other seasons]. So here also [we maintain that] the incident occurred with [a husband who died] in the same country. and the same law is applicable to all [other countries]. And Beth Hillel?26 — In the case of the same country. where people freely [move about].27 she is afraid;28 [coming. however]. from one country to another, since people do not freely [move about].29 she is not afraid.30 And Beth Shammai?31 — Here32 also caravans frequently [move about].33
What was the original incident?34 — [It was that of] which Rab Judah spoke in the name of Samuel: It was the end of the wheat harvest when ten men went to reap their wheat and a serpent bit one of them and he died [of the wound]. His wife, thereupon, came and reported the incident to Beth din, who, having sent [to investigate]. found her statement to be true. At that time it was ordained: If a woman stated, 'My husband is dead', she may marry again; [if she said] 'My husband is dead [and left no issue]', she may contract the levirate marriage.
Must it be suggested that R. Hanania b. Akabia35 and the Rabbis differ on the same principle as that on which Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel differ? For it was taught: No man shall carry water of purification36 and ashes of purification36 across the Jordan on board a ship, nor may one stand on [the bank on] one side and throw them across to the other side, nor may one float them upon water nor may one carry them while riding37 on a beast or on the back of another man unless his [own] feet were touching the [river] bed. He may, however, convey them across a bridge. [These laws are applicable] as well to the Jordan as to other rivers. R. Hanania b. Akabia35 said: They38 spoke39 only of the Jordan and of [transport] on board a ship, as was the case in the original incident.40 Must it, then, be assumed that the Rabbis41 hold the same view as Beth Shammai42 while R. Hanania b. Akabia holds the same view as Beth Hillel?43 — The Rabbis can answer you: Our ruling agrees with the view44 of Beth Hillel also; for Beth Hillel maintained their opinion45 only there,46 since [the woman is believed only because] she fears [to tell an untruth, and it is only] in a place that is near that she fears while in a distant one she does not fear. Here,47 however, what matters it whether it is on the Jordan or on other rivers!48 R. Hanania b. Akabia can also answer you: I may uphold my view even according to Beth Shammai; for Beth Shammai maintained their opinion49 only there46 because [a woman] makes careful enquiries50 and [only then] marries again. Hence, what matters it whether the locality was near or far. Here,51 however, [the prohibition] is due to an actual incident; hence it is only [against transport] on the Jordan and on board a ship, where the incident occurred, that the Rabbis enacted their preventive measure, but against other rivers where the incident did not occur the Rabbis enacted no preventive measure.
What was the incident?52 — [It was that] which Rab Judah related in the name of Rab: A man was once transporting Water of purification53 and ashes of purification53 across the Jordan on board a ship, and a piece of a corpse, of the size of an olive,54 was found stuck in the bottom of the ship. At that time It was ordained: No man shall carry Water of purification and ashes of purification across the Jordan on board a ship.
MISHNAH. BETH SHAMMAI RULED: SHE55 IS PERMITTED TO MARRY AGAIN AND SHE RECEIVES HER KETHUBAH. BETH HILLEL, HOWEVER, RULED: SHE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY AGAIN BUT SHE DOES NOT RECEIVE HER KETHUBAH. SAID BETH SHAMMAI TO THEM: YOU HAVE PERMITTED [WHAT MIGHT BE] THE GRAVE OFFENCE OF ILLICIT INTERCOURSE,56 SHALL WE NOT PERMIT [THE TAKING OF HER HUSBAND'S] MONEY WHICH IS OF LESS IMPORTANCE!57 BETH HILLEL ANSWERED THEM: WE FIND
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