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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
from one house.1 Nor must he take one In levirate marriage and thereby exempt the other, for it is possible that the levirate bond is not as binding as actual marriage, and the two sisters-in-law would thus be coming from two houses.2 From this it clearly follows that he3 is in doubt.4 And should you reply that Biblically one of the widows may indeed be taken in levirate marriage and the other is thereby exempt, but that this procedure had Rabbinically been forbidden as a preventive measure against the possibility of the assumption that where two sisters-in-law came from two houses5 one may be taken in levirate marriage and the other is thereby exempt without any further ceremonial;6 surely [it may be pointed out] R. Simeon's reason is because of his doubt as to the validity of the levir's ma'amar!7 For it was taught: R. Simeon said to the Sages, 'If the ma'amar of the second brother is valid he8 is marrying the wife of the second; and if the ma'amar of the second is invalid he is marrying the wife of the first'! — Said Abaye to him:9 Do you not make any distinction between the levirate bond with one levir and the levirate bond with two levirs? It is quite possible that R. Simeon said the levirate bond is like actual marriage in the case of one levir only10 but not in that of two levirs.11
Does R. Simeon, however, recognize such a distinction?12 Surely it was taught: R. Simeon has laid down a general rule that wherever the birth13 preceded the marriage14 the widow is neither to perform halizah nor to be taken in levirate marriage. If the marriage14 preceded the birth13 she may either perform the halizah or be taken In levirate marriage. Does not this apply to one levir?15 And yet It is stated 'she is neither to perform halizah nor to be taken in levirate marriage'!16 — No; it applies to two levirs.17 But in the case of one levir,17 may she in such circumstances also18 either perform halizah or contract levirate marriage? If so, instead of stating, 'If the marriage preceded the birth she may either perform halizah or be taken in levirate marriage' the distinction should have been drawn in this very case itself,19 thus: 'This applies only to the case of two brothers.in.law but with one brother-in-law she may either perform halizah or be taken in levirate marriage'! — The entire passage dealt with two brothers-in-law.20
What, then, is meant by the general rule?21 And a further objection22 was raised by R. Oshaia: If there were three brothers and two of them were married to two sisters, or to a woman and her daughter, or to a woman and her daughter's daughters or to a woman and her son's daughter, behold these23 must24 perform the halizah25 but may not be taken in levirate marriage.26 R. Simeon, however, exempts them.27 Now, if it be assumed that R. Simeon is of the opinion that the 'levirate bond' has the same force as actual marriage, let [the third brother] take the first widow28 In levirate marriage and let the other29 be thereby exempt.30 R. Amram replied: The meaning of 'exempt'31 is that he exempts the second widow,32 But has it not been taught: R. Simeon exempts them both'?33 -Raba replied: The second of the one pair and the second of the other pair.34 Raba, however, was mistaken [in the interpretation] of the four pairs.35 For, in the first instance, we have twice the word 'or',36 and, furthermore, [if Raba's interpretation were the correct one]37 it should [have read], 'R. Simeon exempts the four'.38 Furthermore, it was taught: R. Simeon exempts both39 from the halizah and from the levirate marriage, for it is said in the Scriptures, And thou shalt not take a woman to her sister, to he a rival to her,40 when they become rivals to one another41 you may not marry even one of them!42 But, said R. Ashi: If they43 had become subject [to the levir] one after the other, the law would indeed have been so.44 Here,45 however, we are dealing with the case where both become subject to him at the same time; and R. Simeon shares the view of R. Jose the Galilean who stated, 'It is possible to ascertain simultaneous occurrence'.46
R. Papa47 said: R. Simeon differs48 only where the levirate marriage49 took place first, and the birth50 afterwards; he does not differ, however, when the birth50 occurred first, and the marriage49 took place afterwards; and both these cases51 are required on account of the Rabbis,52 and53 [a stronger case is given after a weaker] 'not only this54 but also that'.55
It was taught in agreement with R. papa56 and in contradiction to R. Oshaia: If one of two contemporary brothers died without Issue, and the second intended to address a ma 'amar to his deceased brother's wife but before he was able to do so a third brother was born and he himself died, the first widow is exempt57 as 'the wife of the brother who was not his contemporary', and the second58 may either perform the halizah or be taken in levirate marriage. If, however, he59 addressed a ma'amar to the widow and subsequently a third brother was born, or if a third brother was born first and he59 addressed the ma'amar to the widow subsequently, and died, the first widow is exempt57 as 'the wife of his brother who was not his contemporary' while the second58 must perform the halizah,60 though she may not be taken in levirate marriage.
R. Simeon said: Intercourse or halizah with the one of them1 exempts her rival.2 If, however, he3 participated in halizah with her to whom [the second brother had] addressed the ma'amar, her rival is not exempt.4 If he1 married her5 and died, and a [third] brother was subsequently born, or if a [third] brother was born, and subsequently he married her5 and died, both [widows] are exempt from the halizah and the levirate marriage. If he married her5 and [after that a third] brother was born and then he himself died, both widows are exempt from the halizah and the levirate marriage; this is the opinion of R. Meir. R. Simeon, however, said: Since, when he6 came [into the world] he found her7 permitted to him,8 and she was never forbidden to him even for one moment, he6 may take in levirate marriage whichever of them he desires or he may participate in the halizah with whichever of them he desires. Now, in accordance with whose view was the case in the latter clause9 taught?10 If it be suggested that it was taught in accordance with the view of R. Meir,11 it might be observed that, as R. Meir draws no distinction between marriage that was followed by birth and birth that was followed by marriage, all these cases should have been combined in one statement!12 Consequently it must have been in accordance with the view of R. Simeon who thus differs13 only in the case where the levirate marriage was followed by birth'14 but does not differ13 where birth was followed by levirate marriage.15 Our point is thus proved.
The Master said, '[If] the second intended to address a ma'amar to his deceased brother's wife but before he was able to do so, a third brother was born while he himself died, the first widow is exempt as "the wife of the brother who was not his contemporary" and the second may either perform halizah or be taken in levirate marriage'. What is meant by 'he intended' and what by 'he was not able'? If he did it, it is an accomplished fact;16 and if he did not do it, it is not an accomplished fact!16 -In fact [this is the meaning:] 'He intended' with her consent and 'he was not able' with her consent but against her wish.17
This,18 however, is not in agreement with the view of Rabbi. For it was taught: If a man addressed a ma'amar to his deceased brother's wife against her consent, Rabbi regards this as legal [betrothal].19 But the Sages say, This is not a legal [betrothal]. What is Rabbi's reason? — He deduces [this form of betrothal] from the intercourse with the wife of a deceased brother; as the Intercourse with the wife of a deceased brother may be effected against her will20 so may the betrothal of the wife of a deceased brother be effected against her will. And the Rabbis? — They deduce it from the usual form of betrothal;21 as the usual betrothal can be effected with the woman's consent only so may the betrothal of a yebamah22 be effected with her consent only. On what principle do they differ? — One Master23 is of the opinion that matters relating to a yebamah should be inferred from matters relating to a yebamah and the Masters24 are of the opinion that matters of betrothal should be inferred from matters of betrothal.25
'If, however, he addressed a ma'amar to the widow, and subsequently a third brother was born, or if a third brother was born first and he26 addressed the ma'amar to the widow subsequently and died, the first widow is exempt as "the wife of his brother who was not his contemporary" while the second must perform the halizah, though she may not be taken in levirate marriage. R. Simeon said: Intercourse or halizah with the one of them exempts her rival'.27 What is R. Simeon referring to?28 If it should be suggested, 'To the case where the third brother was born first and he26 addressed the ma'amar subsequently's surely it has been stated, that where birth preceded marriage R. Simeon does not differ from the Rabbis!29 — But [the reference is] to the case where the ma'amar was addressed first and the third brother was born subsequently. Hence, 'if he participated in halizah with her to whom [the second brother had] addressed the ma amar, her rival is not exempt', because30 the [subjection of the] rival31 is a certainty32 while [the subjection of her] to whom the ma'amar had been addressed is doubtful,33 and no doubt may over-ride34 a certainty.
R. Manasseh b. Zebid sat in the presence of R. Huna, and in the course of the session he said: What is R. Simeon s reason?35 — 'What is R. Simeon's reason'! [Surely it is] as it has been stated: The reason is 'because when he was born he found her permitted to him, and she was never forbidden him even for one moment'!36 But [the question rather is] what is the reason of the Rabbis?37 -Scripture said, A/Id take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her,38 the former levirate attachment still remains with her.39 But then what of the following40 where we learned, 'If he41 married her42 she is regarded as his wife in every respect'43 and [in connection with this] R. Jose b. Hanina said, 'This teaches
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