What is R. Gamaliel's reason?1 — Because he was in doubt whether a letter of divorce does, or does not set aside [the levirate bond, and whether] a ma'amar does, or does not effect a kinyan.2 'Whether a letter of divorce does, or does not set aside the levirate bond': If the first3 does set aside [the levirate bond], what purpose could the latter serve?4 If the first3 does not set aside [the levirate bond], the latter also does not set it aside. 'Whether a ma'amar does, or does not effect a kinyan': if the first5 does effect a kinyan, what purpose could the latter serve?4 And if the first5 effects no kinyan, the latter also does not.
Abaye raised the following objection against him: R. Gamaliel, however, admits that 'there is [validity in] a letter of divorce after a ma'amar,6 in a ma'amar after a letter of divorce,7 in a letter of divorce after cohabitation and a ma'amar,8 and in a ma'amar after cohabitation and a letter of divorce'.9 Now, if R. Gamaliel was in doubt,10 the cohabitation11 should be regarded as if it had taken place at the beginning,12 and thus constitute a kinyan; for surely we have learnt, IN THE CASE OF COHABITATION, IF IT TOOK PLACE FIRST, NO ACT THAT FOLLOWS IT HAS ANY VALIDITY!
But, said Abaye, though obvious to R. Gamaliel that a letter of divorce does set aside the levirate bond and that a ma'amar does effect a kinyan,13 the Rabbis have nevertheless ruled that with the sister-in-law a letter of divorce is partially valid and a ma'amar is partially valid. Consequently, a letter of divorce after another letter of divorce does not set aside the levirate bond since this14 was already set aside by the first,15 and a ma'amar after a ma'amar does not constitute a kinyan since this kinyan16 has already been constituted by the first;15 with a letter of divorce after a ma'amar, and a ma'amar after a letter of divorce, however, the one act17 sets aside18 while the other19 effects a kinyan.20 (And the Rabbis?21 — [They hold that] the Rabbis have instituted for every levir a letter of divorce and a ma'amar in respect of every sister-in-law.)22
But as to an invalid cohabitation23 [according to R. Gamaliel]24 it is [in one respect] of superior force to a ma'amar and [in another respect] of inferior force to a ma'amar. It is superior to a ma'amar, since whereas a ma'amar after another ma'amar is not effective,25 an act of cohabitation after a ma'amar is effective.26 It is inferior to a ma'amar, for whereas a ma'amar after a letter of divorce constitutes a kinyan of all that the letter of divorce has left,27 cohabitation after a letter of divorce does not constitute a kinyan of all that the divorce has left.28
Our Rabbis taught; How [are we to understand] R. Gamaliel's statement that there is [no validity in] a letter of divorce after another letter of divorce? If two sisters-in-law have fallen to the lot of one levir, and he gave a letter of divorce to one as well as to the other, he submits, in accordance with R. Gamaliel's statement, to halizah from the first,29 and is forbidden to marry her relatives,30 though the relatives of the second one are permitted to him.31 But the Sages said: If he gave a letter of divorce to one and to the other, he is forbidden to marry the relatives of both32 and he submits to halizah from either of them. And the same law applies where there are two Ievirs33 and one sister-in-law.
What did R. Gamaliel mean by his statement that34 there is no [validity in] a ma'amar after another ma'amar'? If two sisters-in-law have fallen to the lot of one levir, and he addressed a ma'amar to the one as well as to the other, he gives, according to R. Gamaliel, a letter of divorce to the first, submits also to her halizah, and is in consequence forbidden to marry her relatives,35 though the relatives of the second are permitted to him.36 The Sages, however, said: He gives letters of divorce to both, and the relatives of both are forbidden to him,32 while he submits to halizah from one of them. And the same law is to be applied where there are two levirs and one sister-in-law.37
The Master said, 'If he gave38 a letter of divorce to one as well as to the other, he submits, according to R. Gamaliel's statement, to halizah from the first and is forbidden to marry her relatives, though the relatives of the second are permitted to him'. Must this be assumed to present an objection against a ruling of Samuel, since Samuel stated, 'If he submitted to halizah from the one39 who had been divorced,40 her rival41 is not thereby exempt'!42 — Samuel can answer you: What I said was in agreement with him who maintains that a levirate bond exists,43 while R. Gamaliel holds the opinion that no levirate bond exists.44
Since R. Gamaliel, however, is of the opinion that no levirate bond exists,
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- In our Mishnah, v. supra p. 327, nn. 1 and 2.
- To constitute a legal marriage.
- Letter of divorce.
- Obviously none. Consequently it is valueless.
- If the ma'amar was addressed to one of the widows and the letter of divorce was subsequently given to the other, the first also is forbidden levirate marriage, while the relatives of both are forbidden to the levir.
- If a letter of divorce was given to one of the widows first, and a ma'amar was subsequently addressed to the second, a letter of divorce must also be given to the second in order to annul thereby the force of the ma'amar.
- Which was addressed to one of the widows prior to the cohabitation with the second that preceded the letter of divorce to the third. The validity of the letter of divorce causes the prohibition to the levir of the relatives of the third widow.
- Given to one of the widows prior to the cohabitation with the second that preceded the ma'amar addressed to the third. The ma'amar constitutes a kinyan, and the relatives of the third widow are forbidden to the levir, while she herself can be released by a letter of divorce only.
- As to the validity of a letter of divorce and a ma'amar given or addressed respectively to a sister-in-law.
- Which took place between the other two acts.
- And the act that follows it, whether it be the delivery of a letter of divorce or the addressing of a ma'amar, should in any case be invalid: In the case of a ma'amar, cohabitation, and divorce, if the ma'amar with the first was valid and effected kinyan, the cohabitation with the second was obviously invalid and much more so the letter of divorce that was given to the third. If, on the other hand, the ma'amar to the first was invalid, the cohabitation with the second widow that followed was obviously valid and there could consequently be no validity in the letter of divorce that was subsequently given to the third. Similarly in the case of divorce, cohabitation and ma'amar, if the letter of divorce given to the first widow was valid the cohabitation that followed had no validity and much more so the ma'amar that came last. If, on the other hand, the letter of divorce given to the first widow was invalid, the cohabitation with the second widow that followed was obviously valid and consequently there could be no validity in the ma'amar that was subsequently addressed to the third widow. In both cases, then, cohabitation which took place between the other two acts should be as valid as if it had taken place at the beginning.
- Cohabitation, therefore, that follows either of these acts cannot have the same force as cohabitation that takes place first.
- Whatever part of the levirate bond a divorce can set aside.
- And the second can add nothing to it.
- As far as a ma'amar has the force of constituting it.
- The divorce.
- The ma'amar.
- V. supra n. 4. In the case of a divorce after a ma'amar, that part of the levirate bond with the first widow which the ma'amar did not effect is set aside by the letter of divorce that was given to the second. Similarly, where there are two levirs and one widow, whatever was not covered by the kinyan of the ma'amar of the first levir is set aside by the letter of divorce of the second. So also in the case of a ma'amar after a letter of divorce, whatever part of the levirate bond remained after the letter of divorce had been given to the first widow (or to one widow by the first levir) is brought under the kinyan constituted by the ma'amar that has been addressed to the second widow (or to the one widow by the second levir).
- The Sages in our Mishnah. How, in view of what has just been explained — can they maintain that A LETTER OF DIVORCE HAS VALIDITY AFTER ANOTHER LETTER OF DIVORCE, AND A MA'AMAR AFTER ANOTHER MA'AMAR?
- The divorce or ma'amar of one levir does not in any way affect the validity of that of any other levir, nor does any of these acts, performed by a levir in respect of one sister-in-law, affect his performance of these acts in respect of another sister-in-law. The divorce or ma'amar in respect of the first sister-in-law does not, therefore, affect that of the second, and the performance of the same acts by the first levir in respect of one sister-in-law does not invalidate the performance of these acts in respect of the same sister-in-law by the other levir. Hence the opinion of the Rabbis in our Mishnah.
- That which was preceded by divorce or ma'amar.
- Who stated that a letter of divorce following a cohabitation which followed a ma'amar, and a ma'amar following a cohabitation which followed a letter of divorce are valid.
- As has been stated supra.
- As may be inferred from the ruling concerning 'a letter of divorce after cohabitation and a ma'amar', which implies that cohabitation after a ma'amar is valid (Rashi). Cf. Tosaf. s.v. [H] and [H] a.l.
- For should a ma'amar, subsequent to the first, be addressed to a third widow it would be altogether invalid, R. Gamaliel invariably admitting no ma'amar after another ma'amar whether the first one was, or was not preceded by a letter of divorce.
- A ma'amar being valid even if it was addressed after an act of cohabitation that followed a letter of divorce.
- Though he could certainly submit to halizah from the second, the letter of divorce to whom is invalid, and thereby exempt the first also. He is advised, however, to submit to halizah from the first because by so doing he averts the prohibition to him of the second widow's relatives who, had he submitted to her halizah, would have become forbidden to him as the 'relatives of his haluzah'. The prohibition to him of the relatives of the first as 'relatives of his haluzah' is of no practical consequence since they are already, owing to the divorce he had given her forbidden to him as the 'relatives of his divorcee.
- They being the relatives of both his divorcee and his haluzah. Cf. supra p. 336, n. 7.
- Because she is neither his haluzah nor his divorcee, the halizah not having been performed by her and the letter of divorce that was given to her being invalid.
- Both divorces being valid.
- And each of them gave a letter of divorce to the one sister-in-law. According to R. Gamaliel, halizah is performed with the first levir and the second levir is permitted to marry her relatives; while according to the Rabbis her relatives are forbidden to both levirs and the halizah is performed with either of them.
- Lit., 'how'.
- As the 'relatives of his haluzah'.
- Since she is neither his wife nor his haluzah nor his divorcee.
- Cf. supra n. 4.
- The Heb. uses here the present participle instead of the perfect used supra in the original.
- Of two sisters-in-law, the widows of his deceased childless brother.
- By him, prior to the performance of the halizah.
- Who had not been divorced and whose levirate bond has consequently still its full force.
- Supra 27a. A halizah performed by one whose levirate bond had been weakened by divorce cannot sever the levirate bond of the other which had never been weakened by divorce and had retained therefore its full force (v. supra n. 2). This is contradictory to R. Gamaliel's view according to which the halizah of the first, though it followed her divorce which had weakened her levirate bond, is effective enough to exempt her rival whose levirate bond retained its full force, since her divorce was invalid and might be regarded as never having taken place.
- Between the levir and the sister-in-law. This levirate bond can only be severed by a halizah which is free from all objection.
- v. infra 109a. Hence, even a halizah which is not free from objection is effective enough to sever it.
the Rabbis are presumably of the opinion that a levirate bond does exist,1 and yet it was stated in the final clause, 'And the same law applies where there are two levirs and one sister-in-law'!2 Must it then be said that this represents an objection to a statement made by Rabbah son of R. Huna in the name of Rab? For Rabbah son of R. Huna stated in the name of Rab: A halizah of an impaired character must go the round of all the brothers!3 — Rabbah son of R. Huna can answer you: Both according to the view of R. Gamaliel and that of the Rabbis no levirate bond exists,4 and their difference here extends only to the question of a divorce that followed another divorce and a ma'amar that followed another ma'amar.
The Master said, 'If he addressed a ma'amar to the one as well as to the other, he gives, according to R. Gamaliel, a letter of divorce to the first, submits also to her halizah, and is in consequence forbidden to marry her relatives, though the relatives of the second are permitted to him'. Now, consider! Since R. Gamaliel holds that there is no [validity in a] ma'amar that follows another ma'amar, the first [sister-in-law] should even be permitted to contract the levirate marriage!5 — A preventive ordinance had to be made6 against the possibility of the levir's marrying the second.
R. Johanan said: R. Gamaliel, Beth Shammai, R. Simeon b. 'Azzai and R. Nehemiah are all of the opinion that a ma'amar constitutes a [fairly]7 perfect kinyan:8
As to R. Gamaliel, there is the statement already mentioned.9
Beth Shammai? — For we learned: If two of three brothers were married to two sisters and the third was unmarried, and when one of the sisters' husbands died, the unmarried brother addressed to her a ma'amar and then his second brother died, Beth Shammai say: His wife10 [remains] with him11 while the other is exempt12 as being his wife's sister.13
R. Simeon? — For it was taught: R. Simeon said to the Sages: If the cohabitation of the first14 is a valid act,15 that of the second cannot have any validity16 if, however, the cohabitation of the first has no validity, then that of the second also has no validity.17 Now, the cohabitation of one who is nine years of age has been given by the Rabbis17 the same force as that of a ma'amar18 and yet R. Simeon stated that such cohabitation19 has no validity.20
Ben 'Azzai? — For it was taught: Ben 'Azzai stated, 'A ma'amar is valid after another ma'amar where it concerns two levirs21 and one sister-in-law,22 but no ma'amar is valid after a ma'amar where it concerns two sisters-in-law and one levir'.23
R. Nehemiah? — For we learned, R. NEHEMIAH SAID: WITH COHABITATION AS WITH HALIZAH WHETHER IT TOOK PLACE AT THE BEGINNING, IN THE MIDDLE, OR AT THE END, THERE IS NO VALIDITY IN ANY ACT THAT FOLLOWS IT. Now, an invalid cohabitation has been given by the Rabbis the same force as a ma'amar,24 and yet it was stated, THERE IS NO VALIDITY IN ANY ACT THAT FOLLOWS IT.25
HOW … IF A LEVIR ADDRESSED A MA'AMAR etc.
Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
- It is now assumed that, as the Rabbis disagreed with R. Gamaliel on the question of a divorce that followed another divorce, they disagreed also on that of the levirate bond.
- According to which the Rabbis maintain that either levir may submit to the halizah (v. supra p. 337, n. 4) and the performance of this impaired halizah exempts the other brother,
- V. supra 26b. The performance of it by one brother does not exempt any of the others!
- While Rabbah son of R. Huna himself does not follow this view but that of the authority who maintains that a levirate bond does exist.
- Since the ma'amar to the second had no validity at all.
- That levirate marriage shall not be contracted with the first.
- V. Rashi, a.l.
- I.e., it is regarded as a perfect kinyan in some, though not in all respects. Cf. Tosaf. s.v. [H] supra 19a.
- Supra, that a ma'amar is invalid after another ma'amar, because the first had already constituted an kinyan.
- I.e., the widow to whom he had addressed the ma'amar.
- Because the ma'amar he had addressed to her constituted a kinyan and she is regarded as his wife. Her sister, when she subsequently became subject to the levirate marriage through the death of her husband, could no more be married to him since at that time she was already 'his wife's sister'.
- Even from halizah.
- 'Ed. IV, 9, supra 29a.
- Of two young levirs of the ages of nine years and one day. According to the Rabbis, if two levirs of such an age cohabited successively with their sister-in-law, the widow of their deceased brother, their acts have the same force as that of a ma'amar that followed a ma'amar. As with a ma'amar the second has also the validity of a betrothal and causes the prohibition of the sister-in-law to the first, so with cohabitation, the act of the second levir causes the sister-in-law to be forbidden to the first levir also. R. Simeon, however, regards the first act only as a valid kinyan. The other consequently is invalid. V. infra 96b.
- Effecting a kinyan.
- The kinyan of the first would not admit it.
- Infra 96b.
- V. supra p. 339, n. 10.
- By the second levir.
- Obviously because the kinyan had been effected by the cohabitation of the first. Thus it follows that a ma'amar also (cohabitation and ma'amar having equal validity) effects kinyan.
- Each one of whom had addressed to the widow only one ma'amar.
- Since each levir is entitled to a ma'amar. V. supra 51a.
- The second ma'amar has no validity, because by the first ma'amar the levir had already effected the kinyan of the sister-in-law to whom he had addressed it.
- Since in both cases, divorce alone is not enough to sever the levirate bond, halizah also being required.
- Obviously because the cohabitation like a ma'amar had constituted a kinyan.