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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
regard her menstrual periods as regular1 unless the recurrence had been regular three times. Nor is she released from the restrictions of an established regular period unless it has varied three2 times.3
'And the ox [whose owner has been] forewarned'? — As we learned: An ox is not deemed a mu'ad unless [its owner] has been forewarned three times.4
Our Rabbis taught: A woman who had been married to one husband and had no children and to a second husband and again had no children, may marry a third man only if he has children. If she married one who has had no children she must be divorced without receiving her kethubah.
The question was raised: Where she married a third husband and bore no children, may her first two husbands reclaim [the respective amounts of her kethubah]?5 Can they plead, 'It has now been proved that you were the cause',6 or can she retort, 'It is only now that I have deteriorated'? — It stands to reason that she may plead, 'It is only now that I have deteriorated'.
The question was raised: If she married a fourth husband and gave birth to children, may she claim her kethubah from her third husband? — We advise her: 'Your silence is better than your speech'; for7 he8 could tell her, 'I would not have divorced you in such circumstances'.9 R. Papa demurred: Even if she keeps silence, should we remain silent? The divorce, surely,10 is annulled,11 and her children are bastards! In truth,12 the fact is,13 that it is assumed that she has now been restored to health.14
If the husband15 pleads, 'The fault is hers'16 and the wife pleads, 'The fault is his',17 R. Ammi ruled: In private matrimonial affairs18 the wife is believed. And what is the reason? — She is in a position to know whether emission is forceful,19 but he is not in a position to know it.
If the husband states that he intends taking another wife to test his potency.20 R. Ammi ruled: 'He must in this case also divorce [his present wife] and pay her the amount of her kethubah; for I maintain that whosoever takes in addition to his present wife another one must divorce the former and pay her the amount of her kethubah.'
Raba said: A man may marry wives in addition to his first wife; provided only that he possesses the means to maintain them.
If the husband pleads1 that his wife had miscarried within the ten years.2 and she states, 'I had no miscarriage', '3 R. Ammi ruled: She is believed in this case also; for if she had really miscarried she would not herself have sought to acquire the reputation of a barren woman.
A woman who miscarried, and then miscarried a second, and a third time, is confirmed as one subject to abortions.4
If he5 said, 'She miscarried two'6 and she said, 'three'?7 — R. Isaac b. Eleazar stated: Such a case was dealt with at the college, and it was ruled that she was to be believed; for if she had not miscarried8 she would not herself have sought to acquire the reputation of producing only miscarriages.
MISHNAH. A MAN IS COMMANDED CONCERNING THE DUTY OF PROPAGATION BUT NOT A WOMAN. R. JOHANAN B. BEROKA, HOWEVER, SAID: CONCERNING BOTH OF THEM9 IT IS SAID, AND GOD BLESSED THEM; AND GOD SAID UNTO THEM: 'BE FRUITFUL, AND MULTIPLY.'10
GEMARA. Whence is this11 deduced? R. Ile'a replied in the name of R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon: Scripture stated, And replenish the earth, and subdue it;12 it is the nature of a man to subdue but it is not the nature of a woman to subdue. On the contrary! And subdue it13 implies two!14 R. Nahman b. Isaac replied: It is written, And thou subdue it.15
R. Ile'a further stated in the name of R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon: As one is commanded to say that which will be obeyed,19 so is one commanded not to say that which will not be obeyed.20 R. Abba stated: It20 is a duty; for it is said in Scripture, Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee; reprove a wise man and he will love thee.21
R. Ile'a further stated in the name of R. Eleazar son of R. Simeon: One may modify a statement in the interests of peace; for it is said in Scripture, Thy father did command etc. so shall ye say unto Joseph: Forgive, I pray thee now, etc.22 R. Nathan said: It23 is a commandment; for it is stated in Scripture, And Samuel said: 'How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me', etc.24
At the School of R. Ishmael it was taught: Great is the cause of peace. Seeing that for its sake even the Holy One, blessed be He, modified a statement; for at first it is written, My lord being old,25 while afterwards it is written, And I am old.26
R. JOHANAN B. BEROKA, HOWEVER, SAID. It was stated: R. Johanan and R. Joshua b. Levi [are at variance]. One stated that the halachah is in agreement with R. Johanan b. Beroka, and the other stated that the halachah is not in agreement with R. Johanan b. Beroka. It may be proved that it was R. Johanan who stated that the halachah is not [in agreement etc.]. For R. Abbahu was once sitting [at the college] and reported in the name of R. Johanan that the halachah [was in agreement etc.], and R. Ammi and R. Assi turned away their faces.27 Others say: R. Hiyya b. Abba made the report,28 and R. Ammi and R. Assi turned away their faces. Said R. Papa: According to him who maintains that R. Abbahu made the statement28 it is easy to understand that it was out of respect for the royal house that they29 said nothing to him.30 According to him, however, who maintains that R. Hiyya b. Abba made the statement,28 they29 should have told him that R. Johanan did not say so!
Now, what is the decision?31 — Come and hear what R. Aha b. Hanina stated in the name of R. Abbahu in the name of R. Assi: Such a case32 once came before R. Johanan at the Synagogue of Caesarea, and he decided that the' husband must divorce her and also pay her the amount of her kethubah. Now, if it be suggested that a woman is not subject to the commandment,33 how could she have any claim to a kethubah? — It is possible that this was a case where she submitted a special plea; as was the case with a certain woman who once came to R. Ammi and asked him to order the payment of her34 kethubah. When he replied, 'Go away, the commandment35 does not apply to you',36 she exclaimed, 'What shall become of a woman like myself37 in her old age!'38 'In such a case', the Master said, 'we certainly compel [the husband]'.39
A woman once came [with a similar plea]40 before R. Nahman. When he told her, 'The commandment35 does not apply to you', she replied, 'Does not a woman like myself37 require a staff in her hand and a hoe for digging her grave'!41 'In such a case', the Master said, 'we certainly compel [the husband]',39
Judah and Hezekiah were twins. The features of the one were developed at the end of nine months, and those of the other were developed at the beginning of the seventh month.42 Judith,43 the wife of R. Hiyya, having suffered in consequence agonizing pains of childbirth, changed her clothes [on recovery] and appeared44 before R. Hiyya. 'Is a woman', she asked, 'commanded to propagate the race'? — 'No', he replied. And relying on this decision,45 she drank a sterilizing potion. When her action finally became known, he exclaimed, 'Would that you bore unto me only one more issue of the womb!'46 For a Master stated: Judah and Hezekiah were twin brothers and Pazi and Tawi
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