Previous Folio / Yebamoth Contents / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
That of allowing1 her rival to marry before herself. If it is granted that a rival may give evidence in favour of her associate, her rival may be permitted to marry even if she herself did not remarry. If, however, it be maintained that the reason is because she would not cause injury to herself, the rival would be permitted to marry only if she herself had married again, but if she herself did not remarry, her rival also would not be permitted to remarry. Now, what [is the decision]? — Come and hear: R. ELEAZAR RULED: SINCE THEY WERE ONCE PERMITTED TO THE LEVIR THEY ARE PERMITTED TO MARRY ANY MAN. Now, if it be granted that [the reason is because] she would not cause injury to herself one can well see the reason why only when the one married again is the other permitted to remarry. If it be maintained, however, that the reason is because a rival is eligible to tender evidence in favour of her associate, [the associate should be permitted to marry again] even if the rival did not remarry. Consequently it must be concluded2 that R. Eleazar's reason is: Because she3 herself had married again and she would not cause injury to herself! — R. Eleazar may have argued on the basis of the view of the Rabbis.4 'According to my view [he may have said in effect] a rival is eligible to tender evidence in favour of her associate, and even if she herself did not remarry the other may be allowed to marry again. According to your view, however, you must at least agree with me that where she herself' remarried the other also should be allowed to marry again, since she3 would naturally not injure herself!' And the Rabbis?5 — She might be acting [in the spirit of] let me die with the Philistines.6
Come and hear: 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. R. Eleazar7 ruled: Since she becomes permitted her rival also becomes permitted!8 — Read: Since she was permitted and she married again. Let it, however,9 be apprehended that she3 may have returned with a letter of divorce and that the reason why she made her statement10 is because it was her intention to injure her rival!11 — If she was married to an Israelite, this would be so indeed;12 but here we are dealing with one who married a priest.13
MISHNAH. EVIDENCE [OF IDENTITY]14 MAY BE LEGALLY TENDERED15 ONLY ON [PROOF AFFORDED BY] THE FULL FACE16 WITH THE NOSE, THOUGH THERE WERE ALSO MARKS ON THE MAN'S BODY OR CLOTHING. NO EVIDENCE [OF A MAN'S DEATH]15 MAY BE TENDERED BEFORE HIS SOUL HAS DEPARTED; EVEN THOUGH THE WITNESSES HAVE SEEN HIM WITH HIS ARTERIES CUT17 OR CRUCIFIED OR BEING DEVOURED BY A WILD BEAST.18 EVIDENCE [OF IDENTIFICATION] MAY BE TENDERED [BY THOSE] ONLY [WHO SAW THE CORPSE] WITHIN19 THREE DAYS [AFTER DEATH].20 R. JUDAH B. BABA, HOWEVER, SAID: NEITHER ALL MEN, NOR ALL PLACES, NOR ALL SEASONS21 ARE ALIKE.22
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: Evidence [of identification]23 may be tendered24 only on [proof afforded by] the forehead without the face25 or the face without the forehead — Both together with the nose must19 be present.26
Abba b. Martha, otherwise30 Abba b. Manyumi, was being pressed for the payment of some money by the people of the Exilarch's house. Taking some wax he smeared it on a piece of rag and stuck it upon his forehead. He passed before them and they did not recognize him.31
THOUGH THERE WERE ALSO MARKS etc. Does this imply that identification marks are not valid Pentateuchally? A contradiction, surely, may be pointed out: If he32 found it33 tied to a bag, a purse or a seal-ring34 or if it was found among his furniture,35 even after a long time, it33 is valid!36 — Abaye replied: This is no difficulty. The one is the view of37 R. Eliezer38 b. Mahebai while the other is that of37 the Rabbis. For it was taught: No evidence [of identification] by a mole may he legally tendered. R. Eliezer38 h. Mahebai ruled: Such evidence may be legally tendered. Do they not differ on the following principle,39 that one Master40 is of the opinion that identification marks are valid Pentateuchally41 while the other Master42 is of the opinion that identification marks are only Rabbinically valid? — Said Raba: All43 agree that identification marks are valid Pentateuchally; but here they differ on the question whether it is common for the same kind of mole to he found on persons of simultaneous birth.44 One Master42 is of the opinion that it is common for the same kind of mole to be found on persons of simultaneous birth,45 and the other Master46 is of the opinion that it is not common for the same kind of mole to be found on persons of simultaneous birth.47
Others say: Their48 point of difference here is whether a mole usually undergoes a change after one's death — One Master49 is of the opinion that it usually undergoes a change after one's death50 and the other Master46 is of the opinion that it does not usually undergo a change after one's death.
Others maintain that Raba said: All51 agree that identification marks are only Rabbinically valid; but here [it is on the question] whether a mole
constitutes a distinct1 identification mark2 that they differ. One Master is of the opinion that it constitutes a distinct identification mark,2 and the other Master is of the opinion that it does not constitute a distinct identification mark.
With reference to the version according to which Raba stated that 'identification marks are valid Pentateuchally' [the objection might be raised:] Surely it was taught, THOUGH THERE WERE ALSO MARKS ON THE MAN'S BODY OR CLOTHING!3 — As to the BODY [the marks indicated by the witnesses were only that the corpse was] long or short;4 and as to one's CLOTHING [no reliability can be placed upon their identification] since borrowing might be apprehended.5 If, however, borrowing is to be apprehended how could we allow the return of an ass6 on [the strength of] the identification marks of a saddle!7 — People do not borrow a saddle because it makes the back of the ass sore.8 Where one 'found it tied to a bag, a purse or a seal-ring',9 how do we allow its return!10 — As to a seal-ring one is afraid of forgery;11 as to one's bag and purse, people are superstitious12 and do not lend such objects.13 And if you prefer I might say [that the identification marks of one's] CLOTHING [consisted in a statement] that they were white or red.14
EVEN THOUGH THE WITNESSES HAVE SEEN HIM WITH HIS ARTERIES CUT etc. This then implies that a man whose arteries have been cut may live; but this is inconsistent with the following: A person does not cause defilement15 before his soul has departed, even though his arteries had been cut and even though he is in a dying condition.16 [Thus it follows that] it is only defilement that he does not cause but that it is impossible for him to live!17 — Abaye replied: This is no difficulty. The one represents the view of18 R. Simeon b. Eleazar; the other that of18 the Rabbis. For it was taught: Evidence may be legally tendered on [the death of a person] whose arteries were cut,19 but no such evidence may be tendered concerning one crucified. R. Simeon b. Eleazar ruled: No such evidence may be legally tendered even concerning one whose arteries were cut, because [the wounds] might be cauterized and [the man] may survive.20 Can this,21 however, be reconciled22 with the views of R. Simeon b. Eleazar? Surely in the final clause23 it was taught: It once happened at Asia that a man24 was lowered into the sea and Only his leg was brought up,25 and the Sages ruled: [If the recovered leg contained the part] above the knee [the man's wife] may marry again,26 [but if it contained only the part] below the knee she may not remarry!27 — Waters are different since they irritate the wound.28 But, surely, Rabbah b. Bar Hana related: I myself have seen an Arab merchant who took hold of a sword and cut open the arteries of his camel, but this did not cause it to cease its cry!29 — Abaye replied: That [camel] was a lean animal.30
OR BEING DEVOURED BY A WILD BEAST etc. Rab Judah stated In the name of Samuel: This has been taught only in the case [where the attack was] not on a vital organ,33 but where it was on a vital organ, evidence may be legally tendered.
Rab Judah further stated in the name of Samuel: If a person whose two organs34 or the greater part of them were cut35 escaped, evidence [of his death] may be legally tendered.36 But this cannot be! For, surely, Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel: If a man whose two [organs]34 or the greater part of them were cut35 indicated by gestures, 'Write a letter of divorce for my wife', [such document] is to be written and delivered [to his wife]!37 — He is alive38 but will eventually die.39 If this is so40 one41 should go into exile42 on account of him; while, in fact,43 it was taught: If a man cut [unwittingly] the two, or the greater part of the two [organs44 of another man] he is not to go into exile! — Surely in connection with this it was stated that R. Hoshaia explained: The possibility must be taken into consideration that the wind might have aggravated the wound45 or that he himself46 also may
- To Next Folio -