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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
frail beings you speak frail words;1 through its proper duct it fertilizes but when not passing through its proper duct it does not fertilize.'
Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel: If it had a small perforation which was closed up, the man is deemed to be unfit if the wound re-opens when semen is emitted, but if it does not re-open the man is regarded as fit.
In respect of this ruling Raba raised the question: Where? If the perforation is below the corona,2 [the man should remain fit] even if it were cut off! — It means, in the corona itself. So it was also stated elsewhere: R. Mari b. Mar said in the name of Mar Ukba in the name of Samuel: If a hole that has been made in the corona itself is closed, the man is disqualified if it re-opens when semen is emitted; but if it does not [re-open the man is deemed to be] fit.
Raba the son of Rabbah sent to R. Joseph: Will our Master instruct us how to proceed.3 The other replied: Warm barley bread is procured, and placed upon the man's anus. Thereby the flow of semen sets in, and the effect can be observed. Said Abaye: Is everybody like our father Jacob concerning whom it is written, My might, and the first-fruits of my strength,4 because he never before experienced the emission of semen!5 — No, said Abaye, coloured garments6 are dangled before him.7 Said Raba: Is everybody then like Barzillai the Gileadite!8 — In fact it is obvious that the original answer is to be maintained.
Our Rabbis taught: If it9 was punctured [the man is regarded as] unfit, because the flow is sluggish.10 If it was closed up [he is deemed to be] fit, because he is then capable of production. And this is a case where the unfit may return to his former state of fitness. What does the expression 'this' exclude? — It excludes the case where a membrane was formed on the lungs in consequence of a wound; since such cannot be regarded as a proper membrane.11
R. Idi b. Abin sent the following question to Abaye: How are we to proceed?12 — A grain of barley is to be procured wherewith the spot13 is lacerated.14 Tallow is rubbed in, and a big ant, procured for the purpose, is allowed to bite in, and its head is severed.15 It must be a grain of barley; an iron instrument would cause inflammation. This procedure, furthermore, applies only to a small perforation; a large one would peel off.
Rabbah son of R. Huna stated: A man who urinates at two points is an unfit person.16
Said Raba: The law is in agreement neither with the view of the son nor with that of the father. As to the son, there is the statement just mentioned. As to the father? — Since R. Huna said: Women who practise lewdness with one another are disqualified from marrying a priest.17 And even according to R. Eleazar, who stated that an unmarried man who cohabited with an unmarried woman with no matrimonial intention renders her thereby a harlot, this disqualification ensues only in the case of a man;18 but when it is that of a woman19 the action is regarded as mere obscenity.
MISHNAH. A MAN WHO IS WOUNDED IN HIS STONES, AND ONE WHOSE MEMBRUM IS CUT OFF, ARE PERMITTED TO MARRY A PROSELYTE OR AN EMANCIPATED SLAVE. THEY ARE ONLY FORBIDDEN TO ENTER INTO THE ASSEMBLY,20 AS IT IS SAID IN SCRIPTURE, HE THAT IS WOUNDED IN HIS STONES OR HATH HIS PRIVY MEMBRUM CUT OFF SHALL NOT ENTER INTO THE ASSEMBLY OF THE LORD.21
GEMARA. R. Shesheth was asked: May a priest who is wounded in his stones marry a proselyte or an emancipated slave;22 does he23 remain in his state of holiness and is consequently forbidden24 or does he not remain in his state of holiness and is consequently permitted?24 — R. Shesheth replied: You have learned this [law in the following]. 'An Israelite who is wounded in his stones is permitted to marry a nethinah'.25 Now, were it to be assumed that he26 retains his holiness, the text, Neither shalt thou make marriages with them27 should be applicable here.28 Said Raba: Is the law there29 due at all to sanctity or non-sanctity? [It is merely due to] the possibility that he30 might beget a child who31 would proceed to worship idols. This, then, is applicable only when they32 are still idol worshippers. When, however, they are converted, they are undoubtedly permitted,33 and it was only the Rabbis who placed them34 under a prohibition as a preventive measure.35 But such a preventive measure was instituted by the Rabbis in respect of those only who are capable of procreation, not in respect of those who are incapable of procreation.36
Now, then,37 a bastard also, since he is capable of procreation,38 should also be forbidden,39 while in fact, we have learned, 'Bastards and nethinim may intermarry with one another'!40 — In fact [this is the explanation:] the Rabbis instituted a preventive measure only in the case of the fit but not in that of the unfit.41
Subsequently Raba stated: What I said42 is of no consequence. For while they are still idolaters their marriages are invalid; only when they are converted are their marriages valid.43
R. Joseph raised an objection: And Solomon became allied to Pharaoh King of Egypt by marriage, and took Pharaoh's daughter!44 — He caused her to be converted. But, surely, no proselytes were accepted either in the days of David or in the days of Solomon!45 — Was there any reason for it46 but [that the motive of the proselytes might be the benefits] of the royal table?
Such a woman1 obviously was in no need of it.2 But let the inference3 be drawn from the fact that she1 was an Egyptian of the first generation!4 And were you to reply that those5 had already departed, and these6 are others;7 surely, it may be pointed out, it was taught: R. Judah stated, 'Menjamin, an Egyptian proselyte, was one of my colleagues among the disciples of R. Akiba, and he told me: I am an Egyptian of the first generation and married an Egyptian woman of the first generation; I shall arrange for my son to marry an Egyptian of the second generation in order that my grandson may be enabled to enter into the congregation of Israel!'8 R. Papa replied: Are we to take our directions from Solomon! Solomon did not marry at all,9 for it is written, Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the Children of Israel: 'Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods'; Solomon did cleave unto them in love.10 The expression. And he become allied … in marriage,11 however, presents a difficulty!12 — On account of his excessive love for her. Scripture regards him as if he had become allied by marriage to her. Said Rabina to R. Ashi: Surely we learned A MAN WHO IS WOUNDED IN HIS STONES, AND ONE WHOSE MEMBRUM VIRILE IS CUT OFF, ARE PERMITTED TO MARRY A PROSELYTE OR AN EMANCIPATED SLAVE, [from which it follows] that they are forbidden to marry a nethinah!13 — The other replied: According to your view,14 read the final clause, THEY ARE ONLY FORBIDDEN TO ENTER INTO THE ASSEMBLY, [from which it follows] that they are permitted to marry a nethinah! But [the fact is that] no inference may be drawn from this Mishnah.
MISHNAH. AN AMMONITE AND A MOABITE ARE FORBIDDEN15 AND THEIR PROHIBITION IS FOR EVER.16 THEIR WOMEN, HOWEVER, ARE PERMITTED AT ONCE.17 AN EGYPTIAN AND AN EDOMITE ARE FORBIDDEN18 ONLY UNTIL THE THIRD GENERATION.19 WHETHER THEY ARE MALES OR FEMALES. R. SIMEON, HOWEVER, PERMITS THEIR WOMEN FORTHWITH.17 SAID R. SIMEON: THIS LAW20 MIGHT BE INFERRED A MINORI AD MAJUS: IF WHERE THE MALES ARE FORBIDDEN FOR ALL TIME21 THE FEMALES ARE PERMITTED FORTHWITH,22 HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD THE FEMALES BE PERMITTED FORTHWITH WHERE THE MALES ARE FORBIDDEN UNTIL THE THIRD GENERATION ONLY.23 THEY REPLIED: IF THIS20 IS AN HALACHAH,24 WE SHALL ACCEPT IT; BUT IF IT IS ONLY AN INFERENCE,25 AN OBJECTION CAN BE POINTED OUT. HE REPLIED: NOT SO.26 [BUT IN FACT] IT IS AN HALACHAH THAT I AM REPORTING.
GEMARA. Whence are these laws inferred? — R. Johanan replied: Scripture stated, And when Sail saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said into Abner, the captain of the host: 'Abner, whose son is this youth'? And Abner said: 'As thy soul liveth, O King, I cannot tell'.27 But did he28 not know him? Surely it is written, And he loved him greatly; and he became his armour bearer!29 — He rather made the inquiry concerning his father. But did he not know his father? Surely it is written, And the man was an old man in the days of Saul, stricken in years among them;30 and Rab or, it might be said, R. Abba, stated that this referred to the father of David, Jesse. who came in with an army31 and went out with an army!31 — It is this that Saul meant: Whether he descended from Perez,32 or from Zerah.33 If he descended from Perez he would be king, for a king breaks34 for himself a way and no one can hinder him. If, however, he is descended from Zerah he would only be an important man.35 What is the reason why he gave instructions that enquiry be made concerning him? — Because it is written, And Saul clad David with his apparel.36 being of the same size as his,37 and about Saul it is written, From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.38 Doeg the Edomite then said to him,39 'Instead of enquiring whether he is fit to be king or not, enquire rather whether he is permitted to enter the assembly or not'! 'What is the reason'?40 'Because he is descended from Ruth the Moabitess'. Said Abner to him,41 'We learned: An Ammonite,42 but not an Ammonitess; A Moabite,42 but not a Moabitess!43 But in that case44 a bastard45 would' imply: But not a female bastard?' — 'It is written mamzer [Which implies] anyone objectionable'.46 'Does then47 Egyptian48 exclude the Egyptian woman'? — 'Here49 it is different, since the reason for the Scriptural text is explicitly stated: Because they met you not with bread and with water;50 it is customary for a man to meet [wayfarers]; It is not, however, customary for a woman to meet [them]'.51
'The men should have met the men and the women the women!'
He52 remained silent, Thereupon. the King said.'53 'Inquire thou whose son the stripling is'.54 Elsewhere he calls him youth;55 and here54 he calls him, stripling!56 — It is this that he implied, 'You have overlooked57 an halachah,' go and enquire at the college!' On enquiry, he was told: An Ammonite,58 but not an Ammonitess; A Moabite,58 but not a Moabitess.
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