Previous Folio / Yebamoth Directory / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
GEMARA. The reason. then,5 is because she said, 'HE IS NOT DEAD'; had she, however, kept silent she would presumably have been allowed to marry again; but [it may be objected], no rival may give evidence on behalf of her associate!6 — It was necessary [to teach the case where the OTHER WIFE SAID], 'HE IS NOT DEAD.7 Since it might have been assumed that [their husband] was really dead and that by stating8 'HE IS NOT DEAD' she evidently9 intended to inflict injury upon her rival in the spirit of10 Let me11 die with the Philistines,12 we are informed [that she is nevertheless forbidden to marry again].
IF ONE WIFE STATED, 'HE IS DEAD' etc. R. Meir should have expressed his disagreement in the first clause also!13 R. Eleazar replied: [The first clause] is a subject14 in dispute and it15 represents the opinion of R. Judah and R. Simeon.16 R. Johanan. however. stated that it17 may be said [to represent even the view of] R. Meir, for in such a case even R. Meir agrees,18 since in the case of testimony relating to a woman19 the evidence [of the nature of] 'He is not dead' is not [regarded as a valid] contradiction,20
We learned: IF ONE WITNESS STATED, HE IS DEAD' AND ANOTHER WITNESS STATED, HE IS NOT DEAD', OR IF ONE WOMAN STATED, 'HE IS DEAD AND ANOTHER WOMAN STATED, HE IS NOT DEAD', SHE MAY NOT MARRY AGAIN. Now according to R. Eleazar21 it may well be explained that the anonymous statement [in the final clause]22 is in agreement with R. Meir. According to R. Johanan,23 however, there is a difficulty! — This is a difficulty.
MISHNAH. IF A WOMAN AND HER HUSBAND WENT TO A COUNTRY BEYOND THE SEA, AND SHE RETURNED AND STATED, MY HUSBAND IS DEAD'. SHE MAY BE MARRIED AGAIN AND SHE ALSO RECEIVES HER KETHUBAH. HER RIVAL, HOWEVER, IS FORBIDDEN.24 IF [HER RIVAL] WAS THE DAUGHTER OF AN ISRAELITE [WHO WAS MARRIED] TO A PRIEST, SHE IS PERMITTED TO EAT TERUMAH;25 SO R. TARFON. R. AKIBA, HOWEVER, SAID: THIS26 IS NOT A WAY THAT WOULD LEAD HER OUT OF THE POWER OF TRANSGRESSION, UNLESS [IT BE ENACTED THAT] SHE SHALL BE FORBIDDEN BOTH TO MARRY AND TO EAT TERUMAH.
IF SHE 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-LAWS27 IS FORBIDDEN.28 IF [THE LATTER] WAS THE DAUGHTER OF AN ISRAELITE [WHO WAS MARRIED] TO A PRIEST, SHE IS PERMITTED TO EAT TERUMAH; SO R. TARFON. R. AKIBA, HOWEVER, SAID.. THIS29 IS NOT A WAY THAT WOULD LEAD HER OUT OF THE POWER OF TRANSGRESSION, UNLESS [IT BE ENACTED THAT] SHE SHALL BE FORBIDDEN BOTH TO MARRY AGAIN AND TO EAT TERUMAH.
GEMARA. And [both statements30 were] necessary. For If the first only had been stated, it might have been assumed that only in that did N. Tarfon maintain [his view],31 since the grievance is personal.32 but that in respect of a mother-in-law, the grievance against whom is merely general,33 he agrees with N. Akiba.34 And had the latter only been stated it might have been assumed that R. Akiba maintained [his view] there only, but that in the former case he agrees with R. Tarfon. [Hence both statements were] necessary.
Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel: The halachah is in agreement with R. Tarfon. Said Abaye: We also learned the same: [If a woman35 states],36 'A son was given to me in a country beyond the sea, and my son died first while my husband died after him', she is believed.37 [If, however, she states]. 'My husband [died first] and my son died after him', she is not believed,38 though note must be taken of her statement, and she must, therefore, perform halizah39 but may not40 contract the levirate marriage.41 [From which it follows that] 'note must be taken of her statement', but that no note need be taken of the statement of a rival. Thus our point is proved.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN BETROTHED ONE OF FIVE WOMEN AND HE DOES NOT KNOW WHICH OF THEM HE HAS BETROTHED, AND EACH STATES, 'HE HAS BETROTHED ME. HE GIVES A LETTER OF DIVORCE TO EVERY ONE OF THEM,1 AND, LEAVING THE KETHUBAH2 AMONG THEM, WITHDRAWS;3 SO R. TARFON. R. AKIBA, HOWEVER, SAID: THIS IS NOT A WAY THAT WOULD TAKE ONE OUT OF THE POWER OF TRANSGRESSION, UNLESS ONE GIVES TO EACH OF THEM BOTH A LETTER OF DIVORCE AND HER KETHUBAH.2
IF A MAN ROBBED ONE OF FIVE PERSONS AND DOES NOT KNOW WHICH OF THEM HE HAS ROBBED, AND EACH ONE STATES. 'HE HAS ROBBED ME', HE LEAVES THE [AMOUNT OF] THE ROBBERY AMONG THEM AND WITHDRAWS;4 SO R. TARFON. R. AKIBA, HOWEVER, STATED: THIS IS NOT A WAY THAT WOULD LEAD ONE OUT OF THE POWER OF SIN, UNLESS ONE PAYS [THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE ROBBERY] TO EVERY ONE [OF THE PERSONS INVOLVED].
GEMARA. Since BETROTHED was stated. and not5 'cohabited'. and since ROBBED was stated and not 'bought'. whose [view, it may be asked, is represented in] our Mishnah? Neither. [apparently. that of] the first Tanna6 nor that of R. Simeon b. Eleazar!6 For it was taught: R. Simeon b. Eleazar stated that R. Tarfon and R. Akiba did not differ [on the ruling that] where a man betrothed one of five women, and he does not know which of them he betrothed, he leaves the kethubah2 among them and withdraws;3 they differ only in the case where cohabitation occurred, R. Tarfon ruling that the man leaves the kethubah2 among them and withdraws, while R. Akiba ruled [that the man is not exempt from transgression] unless he pays7 everyone of them. R. Tarfon and R. Akiba. furthermore, did not differ on [the ruling that] where a person bought something from five men and does not know from which of them he bought, he may leave the price of the purchase among them and depart; they differ only in the case where a person robbed one of five men, R. Tarfon ruling that the man must deposit the amount of the robbery among them and may then depart, while R. Akiba ruled [that the man is not exonerated] unless he pays [the amount of the] robbery to everyone.8 Now, since R. Simeon b. Eleazar said that they9 do not differ in the case where a man betrothed or purchased, it may be inferred that the first Tanna is of the opinion that they9 did differ. Whose [view then, is presented in our Mishnah]? If it is that of the first Tanna 'betrothal' and purchase should have been mentioned,10 and if [it is that of] R. Simeon b. Eleazar cohabitation and 'robbery' should have been mentioned!11 — [Our Mishnah represents] in fact [the view of] N. Simeon b. Eleazar, but the meaning of12 BETROTHED is betrothal through cohabitation'. BETROTHED was used in order to acquaint you how far R. Akiba is prepared to go,13 as he imposes a penalty14 even where one transgressed a Rabbinic prohibition15 only; and ROBBED was taught in order to acquaint you how far N. Tarfon is prepared to go, as he imposes no penalties16 even where one had transgressed a Pentateuchal prohibition.17
MISHNAH. A WOMAN WHO WENT WITH HER HUSBAND TO A COUNTRY BEYOND THE SEA, HER SON ALSO [GOING] WITH THEM, AND WHO CAME BACK AND STATED, 'MY HUSBAND DIED AND AFTERWARDS MY SON DIED', IS BELIEVED.18 [IF, HOWEVER, SHE STATED.] 'MY SON DIED AND AFTERWARDS MY HUSBAND DIED'.19 SHE IS NOT BELIEVED,20 BUT NOTE IS TAKEN OF HER ASSERTION21 AND SHE MUST, THEREFORE, PERFORM HALIZAH22 AND MAY NOT CONTRACT THE LEVIRATE MARRIAGE.23
[IF A WOMAN24 STATES].25 'A SON WAS GIVEN TO ME [WHILE I WAS] IN A COUNTRY BEYOND THE SEA' AND SHE ALSO ASSERTS, 'MY SON DIED AND AFTERWARDS MY HUSBAND DIED', SHE IS BELIEVED.26 [IF, HOWEVER, SHE STATES]. 'MY HUSBAND DIED AND AFTERWARDS MY SON DIED.27 SHE IS NOT BELIEVED,28 BUT NOTE IS TAKEN OF HER ASSERTION29 AND SHE MUST, THEREFORE, PERFORM HALIZAH30 BUT MAY NOT CONTRACT LEVIRATE MARRIAGE.31
[19 F A WOMAN32 STATES]. 'A BROTHER-IN-LAW WAS GIVEN TO ME [WHILE I WAS] IN A COUNTRY BEYOND THE SEA',33 AND SHE ALSO STATES, 'MY HUSBAND DIED AND AFTERWARDS MY BROTHER-IN-LAW DIED OR 'MY BROTHER-IN-LAW DIED AND AFTERWARDS MY HUSBAND DIED', SHE IS BELIEVED.34
IF A WOMAN AND HER HUSBAND AND HER BROTHER-IN-LAW WENT TO A COUNTRY BEYOND THE SEA, AND SHE [ON RETURNING HOME] STATED, 'MY HUSBAND DIED AND AFTERWARDS MY BROTHER-IN-LAW [DIED]' OR 'MY BROTHER-IN-LAW [DIED] AND AFTERWARDS MY HUSBAND [DIED]'. SHE IS NOT BELIEVED; FOR A WOMAN IS NOT TO BE BELIEVED WHEN SHE ASSERTS 'MY BROTHER-IN-LAW IS DEAD', IN ORDER THAT SHE MAY MARRY AGAIN. NOR [WHEN SHE STATES THAT] HER SISTER IS DEAD. IN ORDER THAT SHE MAY ENTER HIS35 HOUSE.36 A MAN ALSO IS NOT BELIEVED WHEN HE ASSERTS 'MY BROTHER IS DEAD', SO THAT HE MAY CONTRACT LEVIR' ATE MARRIAGE WITH HIS WIFE, NOR [WHEN HE ASSERTS THAT] HIS WIFE IS DEAD, IN ORDER THAT HE MAY MARRY HER SISTER.37
GEMARA. Raba enquired of R. Nahman: What [is the legal position] if a husband transferred to his wife [through an agent]38 the possession of a letter of divorce, where a brother-in-law39 is in existence?40 [Is the divorce], since she [usually] hates her brother. in-law, an advantage to her and [consequently valid, because] a privilege may be conferred upon a person in his absence; or is it possible [that the divorce], since she sometimes loves her brother-in-law, is a disadvantage to her and [consequently invalid because] no disadvantage may be imposed upon a person in his absence? The other replied. We have learned this: NOTE IS TAKEN OF HER ASSERTION AND SHE MUST, THEREFORE, PERFORM HALIZAH. BUT MAY NOT CONTRACT THE LEVIRATE MARRIAGE.41
Said Rabina to Raba: What [is the legal decision] if a husband transferred to his wife [through an agent]42 the possession of a letter of divorce at a time43 when a quarrel [raged between them]? [Is the divorce], since she has a quarrel with her husband, an advantage to her or [is it a disadvantage, since] the gratification of bodily desires is possibly preferred by her?44 — Come and hear what Resh Lakish said: 'It is preferable to live in grief45 than to dwell in widowhood'.46
Abaye said: 'With a husband [of the size of an] ant her seat is placed among the great'.47
- To Next Folio -