THAT ON HER EVIDENCE, THE BROTHERS MAY NOT ENTER INTO THEIR INHERITANCE.1 SAID BETH SHAMMAI TO THEM: DO WE NOT LEARN THIS2 FROM HER KETHUBAH SCROLL WHEREIN [HER HUSBAND] PRESCRIBES FOR HER, 'IF THOU BE MARRIED TO ANOTHER MAN, THOU WILT RECEIVE WHAT IS PRESCRIBED FOR THEE'! THEREUPON BETH HILLEL WITHDREW THIS OPINION, THENCEFORTH TO RULE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE VIEW OF BETH SHAMMAI.
GEMARA. R. Hisda stated: If she3 is taken in levirate marriage the levir enters into the inheritance4 on her evidence. If they5 made an exposition on the kethubah, shall we not make an exposition on the Torah? The All Merciful said, Shall succeed in the name of his brother,6 and he has surely succeeded.7
R. Nahman ruled: If [a woman] came before Beth din and stated, 'My husband is dead; permit me to marry again'. permission must be granted her to marry again. and she is given her kethubah. [If she demanded]. 'Give me my kethubah', she must not be permitted even to marry. What is the reason? Because she came with her mind intent on the kethubuh.8
The question was raised: What is the ruling [where she said], 'Permit me to marry and give me my kethubah'? Has she come with her mind intent on the kethubah, since she specified her kethubah9 or [is it assumed that] a person [naturally] lays before the Beth din all the claims he has!10 And11 should you find [a reason for deciding in her favour because] a person submits whatever claim he has to the Beth din, [the question still remains as to] what [is the law where she stated]. 'Give me my kethubah and permit me to marry'? [Is it assumed that] in this case12 she has undoubtedly come with her mind bent on the kethubah. or is it possible [that she mentioned her kethubah] because13 she did not know by what means she becomes permitted [to marry again].13 — This is undecided.14
MISHNAH. ALL ARE REGARDED AS TRUSTWORTHY TO GIVE EVIDENCE15 FOR HER16 EXCEPTING HER MOTHER-IN-LAW. THE DAUGHTER OF HER MOTHER-IN-LAW, HER RIVAL, HER SISTER-IN-LAW17 AND HER HUSBAND'S DAUGHTER.18 WHEREIN LIES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN [THE ADMISSIBILITY OF] A LETTER OF DIVORCE AND [THAT OF THE EVIDENCE OF] DEATH?19 IN THAT THE WRITTEN DOCUMENT20 PROVIDES THE PROOF.21
GEMARA. The question was raised: What [is the law in regard to the eligibility22 of] the daughter of her father-in-law?23 Is the reason [for the ineligibility] of the daughter of her mother-in-law because there is a mother24 who hates her she25 also hates her; here,26 however, there is no mother who hates her?27 Or is it possible that the reason [for the ineligibility] of the daughter of her mother-inlaw is because she28 believes that the other squanders29 the savings of her mother; there,26 then, she also believes that she squanders29 the savings of her father-in-law?30
Come and hear: 'All are regarded as trustworthy to give evidence for her31 excepting five women'; but if that were so32 [the number should] be six!33 — It is possible that the reason [for the ineligibility] of the daughter of her mother-in-law is because she34 believes that the other squanders the savings of her mother35 [and, therefore] there is no difference between the daughter of her mother-in-law and the daughter of her father-in-law.36 But, surely. it was taught.37 'Excepting seven women'!38 — This is the view of R. Judah. For it was taught:39 R. Judah adds40 also a father's wife41 and a daughter-In-law. They42 said to him: A father's wife41 is, in fact, included in the expression 'a husband's daughter',43 and a daughter-in-law is obviously included in the expression 'her mother-in-law'.44
And R. Judah?45 - Because one can well understand why a mother-in-law should hate her daughter-in-law, since the former believes that the latter squanders her Savings,46 but why should a daughter-in-law hate her mother-in-law!47 Similarly one may well understand why a husband's daughter hates her father's wife, since the former believes that she is squandering her mother's savings, but why should a father's wife hate her husband's daughter!47
Why, then, does he48 add the two?49 — But [this is the true explanation]: Why does a daughter-in-law hate her mother-in-law? Because the latter reports50 to her son all that she51 does. [Similarly] a father's wife also hates her husband's daughter because the latter reports50 to her father all that she52 does. And the Rabbis?53 — As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.54 And R. Judah? — The text55 applies56 to [the study of] the words of the Torah.57
R. Aha b. 'Awya said: In the West58 they asked: What is the ruling in respect of a potential59 mother-in-law?60 Does it occur to her that [this woman's]61 husband might die [without issue] and she62 would thereby be subject to the levir, and therefore. she62 hates her;63 or does it not?
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- Though inheritance is a monetary affair, Only in order to save her from a life-long widowhood was a woman allowed on her own evidence to marry again. In monetary matters, however, the evidence of two eligible witnesses (cf. Deut. XIX. 15) is a sine qua non.
- That she is entitled to her kethubah.
- A woman who reported the death of her husband.
- Of the deceased. Cf. supra 40a.
- Beth Shammai, and later also Beth Hillel, in our Mishnah.
- Deut. XXV, 6, explained Rabbinically to refer to the levir.
- Hence he is also entitled to the inheritance.
- She probably knows that her husband is alive and she has no intention of marrying again. All she aims at is the acquisition of the money.
- And even marriage should, therefore, be forbidden to her,
- But her main purpose was matrimony. Hence both her requests should be granted.
- Reading of Rashal, inserted in cur. edd, within square brackets.
- Since she mentioned her kethubah first,
- She may have thought that it was the kethubah that releases her from her dead husband and it is for this reason that she mentioned it first. Cf. supra note 3'
- Teku. v. Glos,
- That her husband died.
- Any woman.
- The wife of her husband's brother, who becomes her rival if levirate marriage is contracted.
- All these are assumed to be, for one reason or another, hostile to her and are therefore suspected of giving false evidence (cf. supra n. 8) in the expectation that she will marry again and thereby become forever forbidden to their relative, her first husband.
- I.e., why are the relatives mentioned accepted as qualified bearers of her letter of divorce, (v. Git, 23b) and not as eligible witnesses to testify to the death of her husband?
- The letter of divorce,
- It is mainly the document itself that constitutes the validity of the divorce and not the eligibility of its bearer.
- To give evidence that her husband was dead,
- From another wife who is not her mother-in-law.
- I.e., her mother-in-law.
- The daughter of that mother-in-law.
- In the case of the daughter of her father-in-law,
- The daughter of her father-in-law is therefore eligible as a witness.
- The daughter.
- Lit., 'eats'.
- Lit.,'wife's family'. In consequence of which she hates her and is, therefore, ineligible to be her witness.
- Cf. supra p. 824. nn. 8 and 9.
- That the daughter of a father-in-law is also ineligible as witness.
- Since our Mishnah had enumerated five others. From this then it may be inferred that the daughter of a father-in-law is eligible.
- The daughter.
- So BaH. Cur. edd., 'of the father-in-law'.
- Both, therefore, may be regarded as one. Hence the number five,
- Cur. edd., 'we learned'.
- While our Mishnah enumerates only five.
- Cur. edd., 'we learned'.
- To the number of women who are ineligible to testify to the death of another woman's husband.
- The stepmother of the woman in question.
- The Sages.
- Since a husband's daughter is ineligible as witness for a husband's wife it is obvious that the latter also, since both stand in the same relationship to one another, is equally ineligible as witness for the former. V. infra n. 6.
- As a mother-in-law is precluded from giving evidence for her daughter-in-law so, it is obvious, is the latter (cf. supra n. 5) precluded from giving evidence for the former. There was no need, therefore, to enumerate all the four. The mention of two of these embraces the four.
- Why in view of the explanation of the Rabbis does he enumerate seven?
- As the wife of her son and heir she would in due course become mistress of her possessions.
- Her ineligibility, therefore, cannot be inferred from the other. Hence it was necessary specifically to mention her.
- R. Judah.
- Who, as was just explained, are not hostile to the others, and should, therefore, be eligible to give evidence for them!
- Lit., 'reveals', 'discloses'.
- Her daughter-in-law.
- Her father's wife; her stepmother.
- Why, in view of R. Judah's explanation, do they omit the two from their list?
- prov. XXVII, 19. Hatred is mutual. As a husband's daughter hates her father's wife so does the latter hate the former; and the same reciprocity exists between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. There was no need, therefore, to mention them all. The four are covered by the two.
- Lit., 'this'.
- Lit.. 'is written'.
- Effort and success are interdependent as in water face answereth face. Or: The successful achievement of the student is dependent on the sympathy and understanding (the cheerful countenance) of the Master.
- Palestine, which lay on the West of Babylon.
- Lit.. 'that comes afterwards'. i.e., the mother of the levir and stepmother of the husband of the woman in question. who might become her mother-in-law if her husband died childless and she had to contract the levirate marriage with the levir.
- Is she eligible as witness if she testifies that her stepson is dead in consequence of which the wife of the deceased must either marry her son or perform halizah with him and marry a stranger (Rashi). [R. Hananel (v. Lewin B. M. Ozar ha-Geonim, Yebamoth p. 334) explains the problem differently. viz., can a woman give evidence on behalf of her potential mother-in-law? Where. for instance, Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachel, the former of whom bore him a son, Reuben, and the latter, Joseph; and the question arises whether the wife of Reuben may testify as to the death of Jacob, her father-in-law, permitting the remarriage of Rachel, her potential mother-in-law. For should her own husband Reuben die, she would have to contract levirate marriage with his brother Joseph. Rachel thus becoming her mother-in-law].
- For whom she tenders evidence.
- As her future mother-in-law.
- Hence she is ineligible as a witness for her.
Come and hear: If a woman stated. 'My husband died first and my father-in-law died after him'. she may marry again and she also receives her kethubah. but her mother-in-law is forbidden.1 Now, why is her2 mother-in-law forbidden? Is it not because it is assumed that neither her2 husband died nor did her father-in-law die3 and that by her statement4 she intended to damage the position of her mother-in-law.5 hoping that [as a result]6 she7 would not in the future8 come to torment her!9 — There10 it may be different because she11 has experienced her annoyance.12
MISHNAH. IF ONE WITNESS STATED, ['THE HUSBAND13 IS] DEAD', AND THEREUPON HIS WIFE MARRIED AGAIN, AND ANOTHER CAME AND STATED 'HE IS NOT DEAD'. SHE NEED NOT BE DIVORCED. IF ONE WITNESS SAID. 'HE13 IS DEAD AND TWO WITNESSES SAID. 'HE IS NOT DEAD', SHE MUST, EVEN IF SHE MARRIED AGAIN, BE DIVORCED. IF TWO WITNESSES STATED, 'HE13 IS DEAD', AND ONE WITNESS STATED, HE IS NOT DEAD', SHE MAY, EVEN IF SHE HAD NOT YET DONE SO,14 MARRY AGAIN.15
GEMARA. The reason16 then is because [the woman]17 MARRIED AGAIN; had she, however, not married would she18 not have been permitted to marry? But Surely. 'Ulla stated: Wherever the Torah declared one witness credible,19 he is regarded20 as two witnesses, and the evidence of one man21 against that22 of two men23 has no Validity!24 — It is this that was meant: IF ONE WITNESS STATED ['THE HUSBAND IS] DEAD' and after his wife had been permitted to marry again ANOTHER CAME AND STATED 'HE IS NOT DEAD', she is not to be deprived of25 her former status of permissibility.26
IF ONE WITNESS SAID, 'HE IS DEAD', Is this not obvious?27 For the evidence of one man against that Of28 two men29 has no validity! — [This ruling' is] required only in the case of ineligible witnesses30 [this being] in accordance with the view of R. Nehemiah. For it was taught: R. Nehemiah stated, 'Wherever the Torah declares one witness credible,31 the majority of statements is to be followed,32 and [the evidence of] two women against that of one man is given the same validity as that of two men against one man'.33
And if you prefer I might reply: Wherever one eligible witness came first, even a hundred women34 are regarded as one witness.35 But [here it is such a case] as, for example, where a woman witness came in the first instance;36 and [the statement] of R. Nehemiah is to be explained thus: R. Nehemiah stated, 'Wherever the Torah declares one witness credible, the majority of statements is to be followed, and [the evidence of] two women against one woman is given the same validity as that of two men against one man; but [the evidence of] two women against that of one man is regarded as half37 and half.38
IF TWO WITNESSES STATED, 'HE IS DEAD' etc. What does this teach us?39 [A ruling] in respect of ineligible witnesses, [the principle being the same] as that of R. Nehemiah who follows the majority of statements.40 But is not this exactly the same [as the previous clause]!41 — It might have been assumed that the majority is followed only when the law is thereby made more stringent,42 but not [where it leads] to a relaxation of the law;43 hence we were taught [the final clause],44
MISHNAH. IF ONE WIFE45 SAID ['HER HUSBAND IS] DEAD' AND THE OTHER WIFE46 SAID, 'HE IS NOT DEAD, THE ONE WHO SAID, 'HE IS DEAD' MAY MARRY AGAIN AND SHE ALSO RECEIVES HER KETHUBAH, WHILE THE ONE WHO SAID, 'HE IS NOT DEAD, MAY NEITHER MARRY AGAIN NOR IS SHE TO RECEIVE HER KETHUBAH.
IF ONE WIFE47 STATED, 'HE IS DEAD' AND THE OTHER STATED. 'HE WAS KILLED', R. MEIR RULED: SINCE THEY CONTRADICT ONE ANOTHER THEY MAY NOT MARRY AGAIN. R. JUDAH AND R. SIMEON RULED: SINCE BOTH48 ADMIT THAT HE49 IS NOT ALIVE, BOTH MAY MARRY AGAIN.
IF ONE WITNESS STATED, 'HE50 IS DEAD', AND ANOTHER WITNESS STATED.51 'HE IS NOT DEAD',
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- To marry again; infra 118a. The evidence as to the death of her husband is not admissible though the witness. since her own husband was dead at the time she gave her evidence, was no longer her daughter-in-law.
- The witness's.
- And both women are still related to one another as mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.
- Lit., 'and what she said thus'.
- Who if she married again would not any longer be able to live with her first husband, the father-in-law of the witness.
- Cf. supra p. 827. n. 14.
- Her mother-in-law.
- When her husband and son returned from their foreign travels.
- By reporting to her son all the doings of his wife. It is thus obvious that a daughter-in-law is not believed as a witness for her mother-in-law, though the cause of her hatred (the return of her husband and his mother's gossip) is still a thing of the future and at the time her evidence is given, potential only. From this it follows that a potential mother-in-law also is equally ineligible as a witness for her potential daughter. in-law.
- Since in that case the woman for whom evidence is given was already her mother-in-law.
- The daughter-in-law.
- This case, therefore, provides no proof that a woman hates one who had never been her mother-inlaw and whose annoyances she had never experienced.
- Who had gone to a country beyond the sea.
- prior to the appearance of the one witness.
- Even after he tendered his evidence.
- Why the woman in the first clause of our Mishnah may live with the man she married.
- Whose husband's death was reported by the first witness.
- Since our Mishnah only states that SHE NEED NOT BE DIVORCED and does not state that she may marry again.
- As is the case here, where one witness testifies to the death of a husband (cf. supra 88b).
- Lit., 'behold here'.
- In our case, that of the second witness.
- Lit., 'in the place of'.
- In the first instance, the first witness whose evidence had been accepted as valid as that of two.
- Sot. 31b, Keth. 22b, supra 88b. Why then should not the woman be directly permitted to marry again?
- The original [H], lit., 'she shall (or need) not go out', may bear this meaning as well as that given in our Mishnah.
- Because the decision of Beth din had been issued before the second witness appeared. Had he arrived prior to the issue of the decision, the evidence of the first witness, as it had not yet been accepted. would have had no greater validity than his,
- That the woman MUST … BE DIVORCED,
- Lit., 'in the place of',
- As is the case in the second clause of our Mishnah.
- Where the two witnesses were, e.g.. relatives or slaves.
- As in the case, e.g.. spoken of in the first clause of our Mishnah.
- As the accepted law of valid evidence is in such cases suspended, the evidence of any ineligible witnesses (cf. supra n. 7) is admitted,
- Hence the necessity for the ruling of our Mishnah. In the absence of such a ruling it would have been assumed that the evidence of ineligible witnesses is here also inadmissible.
- I.e., ineligible witnesses who, after the woman had married again, stated that her husband was not dead,
- As the evidence of a single witness when it is opposed to that of a previous witness whose evidence had already been accepted (cf. supra p. 828, n. 18) is completely disregarded, so is the evidence of the hundred women if it conflicts with that of the first eligible witnesses.
- And, on her evidence, the widow was permitted to marry again. As two women subsequently opposed the statement of the one, the marriage must be annulled by a letter of divorce.
- Of a valid evidence, i.e., as that of one witness.
- The evidence of two women against that of one man would, therefore, have the same validity as that of one witness against another, spoken of in the first clause of our Mishnah. and the widow would have retained her first status of permissibility. v. supra 88b.
- Is it not obvious that two witnesses are relied upon when they are opposed by one witness only!
- Though the two witnesses are ineligible. their evidence against that of the one witness, since they form the majority, is accepted, and the widow is permitted to marry again.
- The ruling in the second clause of our Mishnah which, as has just been explained, teaches this very principle.
- As in the second clause where, owing to the majority principle, the woman is forbidden to marry again.
- As in the final clause under discussion, where, by following the majority. the woman is allowed to marry again.
- Of our Mishnah, to indicate that in all cases the majority is to be followed.
- Of a man who has gone to a country beyond the sea.
- Her rival.
- V. p. 830. n. 9'
- Lit.. 'this and this'.
- Their husband.
- V. p. 830. n. 9'
- Before the Beth din, on the evidence of the first witness, had allowed the woman to marry again.