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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
MISHNAH. WHO IS DEEMED TO BE A BASTARD?1 [THE OFFSPRING OF A UNION WITH] ANY CONSANGUINEOUS RELATIVE WITH WHOM COHABITATION IS FORBIDDEN;2 THIS IS THE RULING OF R. AKIBA. SIMEON THE TEMANITE SAID: [THE OFFSPRING OF ANY UNION] THE PENALTY FOR WHICH IS KARETH AT THE HANDS OF HEAVEN; AND THE HALACHAH IS IN AGREEMENT WITH HIS VIEW, AND R. JOSHUA SAID: [THE OFFSPRING OF ANY UNION] THE PENALTY FOR WHICH IS DEATH AT THE HANDS OF BETH DIN.
SAID R. SIMEON B. 'AZZAI: I FOUND A ROLL OF GENEALOGICAL RECORDS IN JERUSALEM, AND THEREIN WAS WRITTEN, SO-AND-SO IS A BASTARD [HAVING BEEN BORN] FROM [A FORBIDDEN UNION WITH] A MARRIED WOMAN',3 WHICH CONFIRMS THE VIEW OF R. JOSHUA.
IF A MAN'S WIFE DIED, HE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY HER SISTER. IF HE DIVORCED HER AND THEN SHE DIED HE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY HER SISTER. IF SHE WAS4 MARRIED TO ANOTHER MAN AND DIED, HE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY HER SISTER.
IF A MAN'S SISTER-IN-LAW5 DIED, HE MAY MARRY HER SISTER. IF HE SUBMITTED TO HER HALIZAH AND THEN SHE DIED, HE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY HER SISTER. IF SHE WAS MARRIED6 TO ANOTHER MAN AND THEN DIED HE IS PERMITTED TO MARRY HER SISTER.
GEMARA. What is R. Akiba's reason? — Because it is written A man shall not take his father's wife and shall not uncover his father's skirt,7 he shall not uncover the skirt which his father saw; and he8 holds the same opinion as R. Judah who said that this Scriptural text7 speaks of a woman whom his father had outraged,9 and who is classed among those forbidden to him under the penalty for a negative precept;10 and since close to this [text occurs the commandment], A bastard shall not enter the assembly of the Lord,11 it is obvious that the offspring of any such union12 is deemed to be a bastard. According to R. Simai also who includes13 [the offspring of] any other union that is forbidden by a negative precept even though [the offenders are] not consanguineous relatives,14 and according to R. Yeshebab who includes13 even the offspring of a union forbidden under a positive commandment,15 the deduction16 is made from And … not.17
And Simeon the Temanite?18 — He holds the same opinion as the Rabbis who stated that the text17 speaks of a woman19 awaiting the levirate decision of his father,20 the union with such a woman21 being forbidden under the penalty of kareth; and since close to this text appears. A bastard shall not enter,11 it proves that the offspring of a union forbidden under the penalty of kareth is deemed to be a bastard.
And R. Joshua?22 — The All Merciful should have written23 'Shall not uncover' only!24 What need was there for 'Shall not take'?25 Must it not, consequently. be concluded that it is this that was meant:26 [The offspring] of [a union with her who is explicitly mentioned between] 'Shall not take' and 'Shall not uncover'27 is deemed to be a bastard, but no others28 are to be regarded as bastards.29
Abaye said: All agree that if one cohabited with a menstruant
or with a sotah,1 the child [born from either union] is no bastard.2 'A menstruant', since betrothal with her is valid because it is said, And her impurity be upon him,3 even at the time of her menstruation betrothal with her is valid.4 'A sotah' also, since her betrothal is valid.5 It has been taught likewise: All agree that if one cohabited with a menstruant or with a sotah or with a widow awaiting the decision of a levir, the child [born from any such union] is no bastard.6 And Abaye?7 — He was in doubt in the case of a widow awaiting the decision of the levir as to whether [the law8 is] in agreement with Rab or with Samuel.9
SAID R. SIMEON B. AZZAI etc. [A tanna] recited: Simeon b. 'Azzai said, 'I found a roll of genealogical records in Jerusalem and therein was written "So-and-so is a bastard [having been born] from a forbidden union with] a married woman" and therein was also written "The teaching of R. Eliezer b. Jacob is small in quantity10 but thoroughly sifted".11 And in it was also written, "Manasseh slew Isaiah"'.
Raba said: He12 brought him to trial and then slew him. He12 said to him: Your teacher Moses said, 'For men shall not see Me and live'13 and you said, 'I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up'.14 Your teacher Moses said, 'For what [great nation is there, that hath God so nigh unto them], as the Lord our God is whensoever we call upon him',15 and you said, 'Seek ye the Lord when he may be found'.16 Your teacher Moses said, 'The number of thy days I will fulfil'17 but you said, 'And I will add on to your days fifteen years'.18 'I know', thought Isaiah, 'that whatever I may tell him he will not accept; and should I reply at all, I would only cause him to be a wilful [homicide]'. He thereupon pronounced [the Divine] Name and was swallowed up by a cedar. The cedar, however, was brought and sawn asunder. When the saw reached his month he died. [And this was his penalty] for having said, 'And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips'.19
[Do not] the contradictions between the Scriptural texts, however, still remain? — 'I saw the Lord',20 [is to be understood] in accordance with what was taught: All the prophets looked into a dim glass,21 but Moses looked through a clear glass.22 As to 'Seek ye the Lord when he may be found [etc.'] one [verse]16 applies to an individual,23 the other24 to a congregation. When [is the time for] an individual? — R. Nahman replied in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha: The ten days between the New Year25 and the Day of Atonement.25 Concerning the number of thy days I will fulfil,26 Tannaim are in disagreement. For it was taught: The number of thy days I will fulfil26
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