refers to the years of the generations.1 If one is worthy one is allowed to complete the full period; if unworthy. the number is reduced; so R. Akiba. But the Sages said: If one is worthy years are added to one's life;2 if unworthy, the years of his life are reduced. They said to R. Akiba: Behold, Scripture says,3 And I will add unto your days fifteen years!4 He replied: The addition was made of his own,5 You may know [that this is so]6 since the prophet7 stood up and prophesied: Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name,8 while Manasseh9 had not yet been born.10 And the Rabbis!11 — Is it written 'from Hezekiah'? It is surely written, 'To the house of David';8 he12 might be born either from Hezekiah or from any other person.13
IF A MAN'S WIFE DIED etc. IF A MAN'S SISTER-IN-LAW DIED etc. R. Joseph said: Here Rabbi taught an unnecessary Mishnah.14
MISHNAH. R. GAMALIEL SAID: THERE IS NO [VALIDITY IN A] LETTER OF DIVORCE AFTER ANOTHER LETTER OF DIVORCE,15 NOR IN A MA'AMAR AFTER ANOTHER MA'AMAR16 NOR IN AN ACT OF COHABITATION AFTER ANOTHER ACT OF COHABITATION,17 NOR IN A HALIZAH AFTER ANOTHER HALIZAH.18 THE SAGES, HOWEVER, SAID: A LETTER OF DIVORCE HAS VALIDITY AFTER ANOTHER LETTER OF DIVORCE,19 AND A MA'AMAR AFTER ANOTHER MA'AMAR;20 BUT THERE IS NO VALIDITY IN ANY ACT AFTER COHABITATION OR HALIZAH.21
HOW [IS THE RELEASE FROM THE LEVIRATE BOND22 EFFECTED]? — IF A LEVIR ADDRESSED A MA'AMAR TO HIS SISTER-IN-LAW AND SUBSEQUENTLY GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE, IT IS NECESSARY FOR HER TO PERFORM THE HALIZAH WITH HIM.23 IF HE ADDRESSED TO HER A MA'AMAR AND PARTICIPATED IN THE HALIZAH, IT IS NECESSARY FOR HER TO OBTAIN FROM HIM A LETTER OF DIVORCE.24 IF HE ADDRESSED TO HER A MA'AMAR AND THEN COHABITED WITH HER, BEHOLD THIS IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRESCRIBED PRECEPT.25
IF THE LEVIR GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE AND THEN ADDRESSED TO HER A MA'AMAR, IT IS NECESSARY FOR HER TO OBTAIN [A SECOND] LETTER OF DIVORCE26 AND TO PERFORM THE HALIZAH.27 IF HE GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE AND THEN COHABITED WITH HER, IT IS NECESSARY FOR HER TO OBTAIN A LETTER OF DIVORCE AND TO PERFORM THE HALIZAH.28 IF HE GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE AND THEN SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH, THERE IS NO VALIDITY IN ANY ACT29 AFTER HALIZAH HAD BEEN PERFORMED.
IF THE LEVIR SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH AND THEN ADDRESSED TO HER A MA'AMAR, GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE, OR COHABITED WITH HER; OR IF HE COHABITED WITH HER AND THEN ADDRESSED TO HER A MA'AMAR, GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE, OR SUBMITTED TO HER HALIZAH, NO ACT IS VALID AFTER HALIZAH30
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- The span of life allotted to every human being at his birth.
- The meaning of fulfil is addition to the allotted span of life.
- II Kings XX, 6.
- Emphasis on add.
- Years which were originally allotted to him and then curtailed.
- That the years added were only those allotted to Hezekiah at his birth and reduced at his illness.
- In the days of Jeroboam, long before the birth of Hezekiah.
- I Kings XIII, 2.
- From whom Josiah descended.
- At the time of Hezekiah's illness. Manasseh, in fact, was born three years after his father's illness (v. II Kings XXI, 2); and since the birth of his sun Josiah was prophetically announced long before the birth of his father Hezekiah, it is obvious that the years allotted to Hezekiah at his birth extended beyond the year of his illness (to include the year of Manasseh's birth). Consequently, the original number must have been reduced at his illness; and, at his recovery, only that was added which was first reduced.
- How could they, in view of the argument advanced, maintain that view years were added to Hezekiah's life?
- Of the house of David.
- Since the laws therein enumerated are self-evident. Lev. XVIII, 18, from where the prohibition of marrying the sister of one's wife originates, distinctly limits the prohibition to the wife's life-time: And thou shalt not take a woman to her sister … in her life-time. V. Rashi a.l. According to Tosaf (s.v. [H] a.l. q.v.) the unnecessary Mishnah is only that portion which relates to the sister-in-law whose case could be inferred from that of the wife a minori ad majus.
- Given in succession by one levir to two sisters-in-law, i.e., the widows of a deceased childless brother, or by two levirs to one sister-in-law. (The term sister-in-law used throughout this chapter is to be understood in the sense defined). The second divorce is invalid and the relatives of the second widow are, therefore, permitted to the levir, and so are the relatives of the one widow to the second levir. Whether the first divorce is valid or not, the second is at all events valueless. For if the first is valid the levirate bond with both the widows is thereby severed and the second widow (in the case of one levir) or the one widow (in the case of two Levirs) when receiving the second letter of divorce, is a complete stranger to the levir. If, on the other hand, the first divorce was invalid, the second also, for the same reason, is invalid.
- Addressed in succession (a) by one levir to two sisters-in-law or (b) by two levirs to one sister-in-law. The first ma'amar has satisfied all the requirements of the levirate obligations and, consequently, (a) the second widow, or (b) the one widow to whom the second ma'amar was addressed, requires no letter of divorce from (a) the one levir or (b) the second levir respectively. The second widow, moreover, does nor cause the prohibition to the levir of the first widow, and her relatives also are permitted to the levir as are those of the one widow to the second levir.
- The second act by the one levir with the second widow or by the second levir with the one widow respectively, is deemed to be one of mere adultery and has no matrimonial validity to cause the prohibition of her relatives to the levir.
- Cf. supra n. 2. The first halizah has finally severed the levirate bond between the levir or the levirs and the widow or the widows. The second halizah is, therefore, valueless.
- The relatives of the second widow are, therefore, forbidden to the levir (as relatives of his legal divorcee), and the relatives of the one widow are similarly forbidden to the second levir. The first letter of divorce, the Sages maintain, is only partially valid since halizah also is required. The levirate bond consequently is not thereby completely severed and the second divorce brings the widow under the category of a divorced woman. Cf supra 327 n. 1.
- The first ma'amar effected only partial matrimony and the levirate obligations were not fully satisfied before the consummation of the marriage took place. The second ma'amar, since it was made before consummation had taken place, is, therefore, valid.
- Either of these acts satisfies fully all the requirements of the levirate obligations. The former effected complete union; the latter final severance. No act in connection with the levirate obligations that follows either of these can, therefore, have any validity.
- Between one levir and one sister-in-law. This section has no reference to the dispute in the previous section. V. Gemara infra.
- But no levirate marriage may now he contracted. The ma'amar alone has not completely satisfied the requirements of the levirate obligations (cf. supra n. 1), hence the need for halizah. Since, however, a divorce had been given the levir had placed himself under the prohibition of Deut. XXV, 9 'That doth not build': if he once refused to build he must never again build (v. supra 10b), hence the prohibition of the levirate marriage.
- To annul the ma'amar which, in some respects, has the force of a betrothal. The halizah alone is not enough since it only severs a levirate bond but does not annul a ma'amar.
- This is discussed in the Gemara infra.
- Even according to R. Gamaliel. The divorce is required to annul the ma'amar since it is possible that the first divorce was invalid and the ma'amar had, therefore, been valid. According to the Sages, who regard the divorce as partially valid, the ma'amar also is partially valid and a divorce is required to annul that part.
- In order to sever thereby the levirate bond. Levirate marriage, however, must not take place now after the delivery of the first letter of divorce (v. supra p. 325, n. 4 final clause).
- Levirate marriage is forbidden owing to the first divorce (v. supra p. 325, n. 4, final clause), a letter of divorce is required owing to the act of cohabitation, while halizah is necessary to sever the levirate bond.
- Whether it be the addressing of a ma'amar or cohabitation. The levirate bond has completely disappeared.
- Cf. supra n. 3. This refers to the cases where halizah was performed first. With reference to the last three cases, where cohabitation took place first, the expression should be 'no act is valid after cohabitation'. V. Gemara infra.
AND THE LAW IS THE SAME WHETHER THERE IS ONE SISTER-IN-LAW TO ONE LEVIR OR TWO SISTERS-IN-LAW TO ONE LEVIR.
HOW?1 — IF THE LEVIR ADDRESSED A MA'AMAR TO THE ONE2 AND A MA'AMAR TO THE OTHER,2 TWO LETTERS OF DIVORCE3 AND ONE HALIZAH4 ARE REQUIRED.5 IF HE ADDRESSED A MA'AMAR TO ONE AND GAVE A LETTER OF DIVORCE TO THE OTHER, [THE ONE] REQUIRES A LETTER OF DIVORCE6 AND [THE OTHER MUST PERFORM] THE HALIZAH.7 IF HE ADDRESSED A MA'AMAR TO ONE AND COHABITED WITH THE OTHER, BOTH REQUIRE LETTERS OF DIVORCE8 AND [ONE MUST PERFORM] THE HALIZAH.9 IF HE ADDRESSED A MA'AMAR TO ONE AND SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH FROM THE OTHER, IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE FIRST TO OBTAIN A LETTER OF DIVORCE.10
IF THE LEVIR GAVE A LETTER OF DIVORCE TO ONE AS WELL AS TO THE OTHER, HALIZAH IS NECESSARY FOR BOTH.11 IF HE GAVE A LETTER OF DIVORCE TO ONE AND COHABITED WITH THE OTHER, [THE SECOND] REQUIRES A LETTER OF DIVORCE12 AND MUST ALSO PERFORM THE HALIZAH.13 [IF HE GAVE] A LETTER OF DIVORCE TO ONE AND ADDRESSED A MA'AMAR TO THE OTHER, [THE SECOND] REQUIRES A LETTER OF DIVORCE AND [ONE OF THEM MUST PERFORM] THE HALIZAH. [IF HE GAVE] A LETTER OF DIVORCE TO ONE AND SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH FROM THE OTHER, THERE IS NO VALIDITY IN ANY ACT THAT FOLLOWS THE HALIZAH.14
IF THE LEVIR SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH FROM THE ONE AND FROM THE OTHER, OR SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH [FROM ONE] AND ADDRESSED [TO THE OTHER] A MA'AMAR, GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE, OR COHABITED WITH HER; OR IF HE COHABITED WITH THE ONE AND WITH THE OTHER, OR COHABITED [WITH THE ONE] AND ADDRESSED [TO THE OTHER] A MA'AMAR, GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE, OR SUBMITTED TO HER HALIZAH, NO ACT IS VALID AFTER THE HALIZAH.15 [THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN THE LAW] WHETHER THERE WAS ONE LEVIR TO TWO SISTERS-IN-LAW OR TWO LEVIRS TO ONE SISTER-IN-LAW.16
[IF THE LEVIR]17 SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH AND THEN ADDRESSED TO HER18 A MA'AMAR, GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE, OR COHABITED WITH HER; OR IF HE COHABITED WITH HER AND THEN ADDRESSED TO HER A MA'AMAR, GAVE HER A LETTER OF DIVORCE, OR SUBMITTED TO HALIZAH, NO ACT IS VALID AFTER THE HALIZAH, WHETHER [IT WAS PERFORMED] IN THE BEGINNING, IN THE MIDDLE,19 OR AT THE END.20 IN THE CASE OF COHABITATION, IF IT TOOK PLACE FIRST NO ACT THAT FOLLOWS IT HAS ANY VALIDITY; IF IT OCCURRED, HOWEVER, IN THE MIDDLE21 OR AT THE END22 SOMETHING VALID23 STILL REMAINS.24 R. NEHEMIAH SAID: WITH COHABITATION AS WITH HALIZAH, WHETHER IT TOOK PLACE IN THE BEGINNING, IN THE MIDDLE, OR AT THE END, THERE IS NO VALIDITY IN ANY ACT THAT FOLLOWS IT.25
GEMARA. Their difference26 concerns only a letter of divorce after another letter of divorce and a ma'amar after another ma'amar, but one letter of divorce to one sister-in-law or one ma'amar to one sister-in-law is valid.27
Why did the Rabbis say that a letter of divorce to one sister-in-law is valid?28 — Because it is also valid elsewhere.29 For should you suggest that it is not valid,30 it might be argued that since a letter of divorce serves to release a woman and halizah serves to release a woman, as the letter of divorce is of no effect,31 so is the halizah also of no effect, and thus one would come to consummate marriage after halizah.32
And why did the Rabbis say that a ma'amar with one sister-in-law is valid?33 — Because it is valid elsewhere.34 For should you say that it is not valid,35 it might be argued that since a ma'amar serves the purpose of acquisition34 and cohabitation serves the purpose of acquisition,36 as a ma'amar is of no effect,37 so is cohabitation also of no effect38 and one would thus consummate marriage39 after an act of cohabitation.40
And why did the Rabbis say that after an invalid cohabitation something41 lingers?42 — It might be replied that if it is a cohabitation43 after a letter of divorce,44 a preventive measure was made45 against cohabitation after halizah;46 and if it is a cohabitation43 after a ma'amar44 a preventive measure had to be made47 against cohabitation after cohabitation.48
And why did the Rabbis say that after the invalid halizah49 nothing lingers?50 — It may be replied: What kind of preventive measure could have been enacted! Should halizah after a letter of divorce be forbidden as a preventive measure against halizah after halizah?51 Under such circumstances, surely, halizah might well be indefinitely continued!52 And should halizah after a ma'amar be forbidden as a preventive measure against halizah after cohabitation?53 Surely [it may be replied] is not in the case of halizah after a ma'amar, a letter of divorce required in respect of one's ma'amar? So also in the case of halizah after cohabitation, a letter of divorce is required in respect of one's cohabitation.54
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- How are the obligations of the levirate carried out where there is one levir and two sisters-in-law?
- One for each woman, in accordance with the view of the Sages in our Mishnah that a ma'amar after a ma'amar is valid.
- With either. The halizah with one exempts her rival.
- Levirate marriage, however, is now forbidden since one must not build two houses'. V. supra.
- Marriage with her must not be consummated on account of the divorce of the second; hence the necessity for a divorce to annul the ma'amar which the halizah cannot do.
- To sever thereby the levirate bond which a letter of divorce cannot do.
- On account of the ma'amar and the cohabitation respectively. The second widow may not be retained in matrimony owing to the bond of the ma'amar with the first.
- The other becoming thereby exempt from the levirate obligations. The divorce alone does not set the second free because the cohabitation with her was not the performance of a legal commandment but an unlawful act.
- The halizah of this second cannot annul the force of the ma'amar of the first.
- The halizah is performed by one who thereby exempts the other. V. Gemara infra.
- She is forbidden to the levir on account of the divorce of the first.
- Divorce alone is not enough since the cohabitation was unlawful (cf. supra note 3).
- The halizah of the second sets both widows free; and the divorce of the first is of no consequence.
- Cf p. 329, n. 4. The relatives of the second widow are permitted to him as if he had not acted at all after the first halizah.
- And the two levirs performed the above mentioned acts with the same widow.
- Where there was only one levir and one sister-in-law.
- The same sister-an-law.
- Between a ma'amar and a divorce. If, e.g., he gave a letter of divorce to one, submitted to halizah from the other and then addressed a ma'amar to one of them.
- After a ma'amar and a divorce. The halizah is invariably valid, and any ma'amar addressed subsequently has no validity at all, and the widow requires no divorce.
- If. e.g.. he divorced one, cohabited with the other and addressed a ma'amar to a third, in which case the cohabitation, owing to the previous divorce, was unlawful.
- If he divorced one, addressed a ma'amar to the other, and then cohabited with one of them. V. supra n. 7.
- Of the levirate bond.
- Hence, in the first case (v. supra n. 7), the relatives of the last widow are forbidden to him, and in the second case (v. supra n. 8), halizah is required, since the levirate bond cannot be severed by a letter of divorce.
- After cohabitation a letter of divorce without halizah is enough, and betrothal of the other after cohabitation with the first is invalid.
- That of R. Gamaliel and the Sages in our Mishnah.
- The divorce prevents subsequent levirate marriage under the prohibition of 'that doth not build' etc. (v. supra p. 328, n. 4, second clause); and the ma'amar prevents the levirate marriage of a rival under the injunction, 'a levir may build one house but not two houses', and necessitates also a letter of divorce should it be desired to cancel the ma'amar.
- In the Pentateuch, surely, only halizah was prescribed and the prohibition under 'that doth not build' should apply to the prescribed ceremony only!
- In the release of all married women.
- And that the levir may marry the widow even after he gave her a letter of divorce.
- v. supra n. 4.
- And thus infringe a Pentateuchal prohibition.
- Forbidding levirate marriage with her rival. Since, according to the Pentateuch, acquisition of the sister-in-law is effected by the consummation of the levirate marriage, that consummation only should have had the force of forbidding marriage with the rival.
- The usual betrothal between man and woman, which is as binding as the consummation of marriage.
- And that after a ma'amar had been addressed to a sister-in-law her rival may be married.
- Cf. supra n. 7.
- Without subsequent cohabitation.
- Unless there was also a ma'amar.
- With a rival.
- With one of the widows. Such a marriage. however, would infringe (v. supra note 1) a Pentateuchal prohibition.
- Of the levirate bond.
- Halizah being required in the case of the second widow in addition to the letter of divorce. V. supra p. 330, nn. 6 and 7.
- With one sister-in-law.
- To the other.
- V. p. 332. n. 16.
- Were a letter of divorce alone, without halizah, permitted, it might have been assumed that as unlawful cohabitation is so effective it might also be effective enough to annul a previous halizah.
- Cf. p. 332, n. 26, and p. 330, nn. 2 and 3.
- It might have been assumed that as unlawful cohabitation has the force of validity even after a ma'amar which is a legal kinyan, it has also the same force after a kinyan that had been effected through lawful cohabitation. Acting on this argument one would infringe the prohibition of marriage with one's brother's wife.
- Performed after a divorce or a ma'amar.
- Should the levir subsequent to such a halizah address a ma'amar or give a letter of divorce to a third sister-in-law his act would have no validity whatsoever.
- So that a levir does not submit to the halizah of two sisters-in-law in succession, and two levirs do not submit in succession to the halizah of one sister-in-law.
- And none will be the worse for it.
- That it be not assumed that halizah without a letter of divorce is sufficient after an act of cohabitation.
- The implication of 'nothing lingers after an unlawful halizah' is the invalidity of all subsequent acts. Any previous act such as ma'amar or cohabitation is valid, and a letter of divorce to annul it is certainly required.