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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth

Folio 102a

A proselyte may, according to Pentateuchal law, sit in judgment1  on a fellow proselyte, for it is said in the Scriptures, Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose; one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee;2  only when set over thee2  is he required to be one from among thy brethren;2  when, however, he is to judge his fellow proselyte he may himself be a proselyte.3  If his4  mother was an Israelitish woman he may sit in judgment even on an Israelite.5  In respect of halizah, however, [no man is eligible as judge] unless both his father and his mother were Israelites for it is said, And his name shall be called in Israel.6

Rabbah stated in the name of R. Kahana in the name of Rab: If Elijah should come and declare that halizah may be performed with a foot-covering shoe,7  he would be obeyed; [were he, however, to declare that] halizah may not be performed with a sandal,8  he would not be obeyed, for the people have long ago adopted the practice [of performing it] with a sandal.

R. Joseph, however, reported in the name of R. Kahana in the name of Rab: If Elijah should come and declare that halizah may not be performed with a foot-covering shoe,7  he would be obeyed; [were he, however, to declare that] halizah may not be performed with a sandal,8  he would not be obeyed, for the people have long ago adopted the practice [of performing it] with a sandal.

What is the practical difference between them?9  — The practical difference between them is [the propriety of using] a foot-covering shoe ab initio.10

According to him, however, who stated [that it was proper to use11  it] even ab initio, surely, [it may be objected] we learned: IF A WOMAN PERFORMED THE HALIZAH WITH A FOOT-COVERING SHOE, HER HALIZAH IS VALID [which12  implies validity only] after the action had been performed but not ab initio. — The same law13  is applicable even [where the shoe was used] ab initio. As, however, it was desired to state in the final clause: BUT IF WITH A SOCK IT IS INVALID, [a law] which applies even after the action had been performed, a similar expression14  was also used in the first clause.

[On the question of] using a foot-covering shoe15  ab initio Tannaim differ. For it was taught: R. Jose16  related, 'I once went to Nesibis where I met an old man whom I asked, "Are you perchance acquainted with R. Judah b. Bathyra?" and he replied, "Yes; and he in fact always sits at my table". "Have you ever seen him arranging a halizah ceremony for a sister-in-law?" [I asked]. "I saw him arranging halizah ceremonies many a time", he replied. "With a foot-covering shoe [I asked] or with a sandal?" — "May halizah be performed", he asked me' "with a foot-covering shoe?" I17  replied: Were that [not] so, what could have caused18  R. Meir to state that halizah if performed with a foot-covering shoe is valid, while R. Jacob reported in his19  name that it was quite proper to perform [even] halizah ab initio with a foot-covering shoe!'

With reference to him who ruled that it was not proper ab initio [to perform halizah with a foot-covering shoe] what could be the reason? If it be suggested: Because [the loosing of] the upper20  [may be described as] from off21  and [the loosing of the] thong22  as 'from off of the from off', [a performance which is not in accordance with] the Torah which said, from off21  but not 'from off of the from off'; [it could well be retorted that] if such were the reason [the halizah should be invalid] even when actually performed. — This23  is a preventive measure against the possible use of a flabby24  shoe or even half a shoe.25

Said Rab: Had I not seen my uncle26  arranging a halizah with a sandal that had laces I would have allowed a halizah only with an Arabian sandal which can be more firmly fastened. And in respect of our [kind of sandal] though it has a knot,27  a strap also should be tied to it,28  so that the halizah may be properly performed.29

(Mnemonic: You permitted a sister-in-law a sandal.)30  Rab Judah reported in the name of Rab: The permissibility of a sister-in-law to marry a stranger takes effect as soon as the greater part of the heel31  is released.32

An objection was raised: If the straps of a foot-covering shoe or of a sandal were untied33  or if [the levir] slipped [it off from] the greater part of his foot,34  the halizah is invalid.35  The reason then36  is because it was he that slipped it off; had she, however, slipped it off, her halizah would have been valid; [and, furthermore this applies to] the greater part of the foot only37  but not to the greater part of the heel!38  — The 'greater part of the foot' has the same meaning as 'the greater part of the heel'; [and the reason] why he calls it 'the greater part of the foot' [is] because all the weight of the foot rests on it.

This39  provides support for R. Jannai. For R. Jannai stated: Whether [the levir] untied [the straps] and she slipped off [the sandal] or whether she untied the straps and he slipped off the sandal, her halizah remains invalid, unless she unties the straps and she slips off the sandal.

R. Jannai enquired: What is the law if she tore it?40  What if she burnt it?40  Is the exposure of the foot necessary,41  and this has here been effected,42  or is 'taking off' necessary, which has not taken place here?43  — This remains undecided.44

R. Nehemiah enquired of Rabbah: What is the law in the case of two shoes one above the other? — How is this enquiry to be understood? If it be suggested: That she45  drew off the upper one and the lower one remained, surely, the All Merciful said: From off46  but not 'from off of the from off'! — Such enquiry is necessary only where she tore the upper one and removed the lower one while the upper one remained [on the levir's foot], the question being whether47  the requirement is the 'taking off' which has been done,42  or whether the exposure of the foot is necessary which was not effected here?48

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Even in capital cases. In civil matters a proselyte judge has equal rights with an Israelite.
  2. Deut. XVII, 15. The term 'king' is taken to embrace that of judge'. Cf. Prov. XXIX. 4.
  3. Lit., 'but a proselyte judges his fellow a proselyte'.
  4. The proselyte's.
  5. Cf. supra n. 1.
  6. Deut. XXV, 10, emphasis on the last word.
  7. V. supra p. 694, n. 2.
  8. V. supra p. 694. no. 3 and 5.
  9. Rabbah and R. Joseph. According to either of their reports the practice of using a sandal is not to be altered.
  10. According to Rabbah it is improper to use a foot-covering shoe. Its use would be permitted only if Elijah came and declared it to be permissible. According to R. Joseph, however, its use is and remains permitted unless Elijah should come and declare it to be inadmissible.
  11. A foot-covering shoe.
  12. Since the Perfect in a conditional clause was used.
  13. That the halizah is valid.
  14. Lit., 'which has been done'.
  15. For halizah.
  16. Or 'Simeon'. V. Tosef. Yeb. XII.
  17. Cut. edd. insert in parenthesis: 'And the Torah said his shoe [H] but not his foot-covering shoe [H] [This is deleted by Rashi since the term [H] is post-Biblical, occurring nowhere in the Bible in the sense of shoe. v. Rashi].
  18. Lit., 'he saw'.
  19. R. Meir's.
  20. Of the shoe.
  21. Cf. Deut. XXV, 9. And loose his shoe from off his foot.
  22. Which binds the upper to the foot and rests above it.
  23. The impropriety of using a foot-covering shoe ab initio.
  24. Cf. Jast.; or 'burst' (cf. Rashi).
  25. Such are not permitted at all for halizah purposes. Were any foot-covering shoe permitted for use in halizah one might erroneously use such a shoe even when it was burst or when it was flabby or even when half of it was torn away. Hence its entire prohibition. No such measure was necessary in the case of the sandal which, when burst or broken in halves cannot be worn at all.
  26. R. Hiyya.
  27. Which prevents the sandal from falling off the foot.
  28. Round the sandal and the foot, prior to the halizah.
  29. By untying the strap first and then releasing the foot from the shoe, the woman carries out completely the prescribed requirements of the halizah. The rt. [H] may signify both (a) loosing or untying sc. of the shoe strap, and (b) releasing sc. of the foot from the shoe.
  30. A prominent verb and two prominent nouns in the following three rulings reported by Rab Judah in the name of Rab.
  31. Of the levir.
  32. From the sandal.
  33. By the levir or by themselves, but not by the woman.
  34. And the woman completed the removal.
  35. Tosef. Yeb. XII.
  36. Why the halizah is invalid.
  37. Lit., 'yes'.
  38. How then could Rab state that permissibility to marry a stranger comes into effect as soon as the greater part of the heel had been released.
  39. The Baraitha cited.
  40. The sandal while on the levir's foot.
  41. For a valid halizah.
  42. Lit., 'there is'.
  43. Lit., 'and there is not'. Since she did not take off the sandal.
  44. Teku, v. Glos.
  45. The sister-in-law.
  46. V. supra p. 702, n. 2.
  47. Lit., 'what'.
  48. Where the upper sandal still remains on the levir's foot.

Yebamoth 102b

Does this, however, ever happen? — Yes; for the Rabbis once saw Rab Judah going out into the street in five pairs of felt socks.

Rab Judah reported in the name of Rab: A sister-in-law who was brought up together with the brothers1  is permitted to marry any one of the brothers and there is no need to consider the possibility that she2  might have taken off the sandal [from the foot] of one of them.3  The reason, then4  is because we did not actually observe it,5  had we, however, observed it5  the possibility [that her halizah was valid] would have had to be taken into consideration.6  But, surely, it was taught: Whether he7  had the intention8  [of performing the commandment of halizah] and she had no such intention, or whether she had such intention and he did not, halizah is invalid, it being necessary9  that both shall at the same time have such intention!10  It is this that was meant: Although we observed it5  there is no need to consider the possibility that they might have intended [to give their action the character of a valid halizah].

Others read: The reason4  is because we did not see it,5  had we, however, seen it, the possibility [of a valid halizah] would have had to be considered,6  the statement that11  intention12  is necessary13  applying only to the permissibility [of the woman] to strangers,14  but to the brothers she does become forbidden.15

Rab Judah stated in the name of Rab: No halizah may be performed with a sandal that was sewn with flax,16  for it is said in Scripture, And I shod thee with tahash.17  Might it be suggested that [the skill of] a tahash18  is admissible19  but not any other material? — The mention of 'shoe' twice20  indicates the inclusion [of all kinds of leather]. If the repeated mention of 'shoe' indicates the inclusion [of all kinds of leather] all other materials should also be included! — If that were so,21  for what purpose was the term tahash used?

R. Eleazar enquired of Rab: [What is the law where] the sandal was made of leather and its straps of [animal] hair? — The other replied: Could we not apply to it, And I shod thee with tahash!22  If so, a shoe all made of hair23  should also be admissible! — Such is called a slipper.24

Said R. Kahana to Samuel: Whence is it derived that the verb in25  we-halezah26  his shoe from off his foot27  signifies taking off? — Because it is written, That they shall take out28  the stones in which the plague is.29  But I might suggest that the meaning30  is that of arming;31  for it is written in Scripture, Arm32  ye men from among you for the war!33  — There also,33  [the underlying meaning is] the slipping out from the house to go to war. But, surely, it is also written in Scripture, He girds34  the afflicted in his affliction!35  — [The meaning is that] as a reward for his affliction He will deliver36  him from the judgment of Gehenna. What, however, is the explanation of the Scriptural text,37  The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and He girds them?38  — [The meaning is that] as a reward for those who fear him He will deliver them from the judgment of Gehenna.

What explanation is there, however, for the Scriptural text,39  And He will make strong40  thy bones,41  of which R. Eleazar said that this was the best of the blessings,42  and Raba explained that the meaning43  was the strengthening of the bones!44  — Yes, it may bear the one meaning and it may also bear the other; but were the meaning here45  intended to be that of 'tying on',46  the All Merciful should have written: 'We-halezah his shoe upon his foot'.47  But [it might be still objected], had the All Merciful written, 'upon his foot' it might have been suggested: Only upon his foot, but not upon his leg;48  hence the All Merciful wrote From off49  his foot, [to indicate] that [halizah may be performed] even on the [levir's] leg! — If so, the All Merciful should have written: 'Upon [what is] above his foot'. Why [then did He use the expression] From off his foot? Consequently it must be inferred that the meaning50  is 'to take off'.

A certain Min51  once said to R. Gamaliel:52  You are a people with whom its God has performed halizah,53  for it is said in Scripture, with their flocks and with their herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they shall not find him; He hath drawn off54  [the shoe] from them.55  The other replied: Fool, is it written: 'He hath drawn off [the shoe] for them'? It is written, 'He hath drawn off [the shoe] from them'; now in the case of a sister-in-law from whom the brother drew off [the shoe] could there be any validity in the act?56

BUT IF WITH A SOCK IT IS INVALID etc. This then teaches that a sock is not regarded as a shoe; and so it was also taught: The man who removes [the monies] from the Temple treasury57  must not enter with a bordered tunic or with a sock,58  and there is no need to state [that he must not enter] with a shoe or with a sandal, since no one59  may enter the Temple court with a shoe or a sandal;60  but elsewhere the contrary was taught: One must not walk61  with a shoe, a sandal or a sock either from one house to another or even from one bed to another bed!62  — Abaye replied: [This refers to a sock] which is furnished with pads, [the prohibition] being due to the pleasure [its wearing affords].63  Said Raba to him: Is [all footwear] forbidden on the Day of Atonement because of the pleasure it affords, even though it cannot be regarded as a shoe? Surely, Rabbah son of R. Huna used to wrap a scarf round his foot and so went out!61  — But [in fact], said Raba,64  there is no difficulty: The one Baraitha65  refers to a leather sock; the other66  to a felt sock. This explanation is indeed reasonable. For were you not to say so, a contradiction [would arise between one statement dealing with] the Day of Atonement and [another statement which also deals with] the Day of Atonement. For it was taught: No man may walk about in slippers in his house,61  but he may walk about in his house in socks.67  Consequently68  it must be inferred that one statement refers to a leather sock and the other to a felt sock. This proves It.

It was taught in agreement with Raba:69  [If a sister-in-law] performed halizah with a torn shoe which covered the greater part of the [levir's] foot, with a broken sandal which contained the greater part of his foot, with a sandal of cork70  or of bast, with an artificial foot,71  with a felt sock, with a support of the feet,72  or with a leather sock, and also where she performed halizah with an adult

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Of her deceased husband.
  2. In the course of the years they were together.
  3. As a friendly service. It is now assumed that had such an act been performed the removal of the sandal would have been regarded as a valid halizah which would cause the sister-in-law to become forbidden to marry the brothers.
  4. Why halizah is not apprehended.
  5. That she drew off the sandal from the foot of any brother.
  6. And the sister-in-law would be forbidden to marry any of the brothers.
  7. The levir.
  8. Where halizah was performed.
  9. Lit., 'until'.
  10. Tosef. Yeb. XII, infra 106a. Why then should the removal of a sandal as a mere friendly act ever be regarded as a valid halizah?
  11. Lit., 'and what he taught'.
  12. To perform the commandment of halizah.
  13. On the part of the levir and the sister-in-law.
  14. Lit., 'to the world'. Only for this purpose is intention a sine qua non.
  15. Even where there was no intention but mere action.
  16. I.e., provided with a flax lining or, according to another interpretation, stitched with a flaxen thread (cf. Rashi).
  17. Ezek. XVI, 10, E.V. sealskin. The tahash, the skin of which was used for one of the coverings of the roof of the Tabernacle made by Moses in the wilderness, formed a class of its own, and the Sages could not determine whether it belonged to the class of wild or of domestic animals (cf. Shab. 28b). The mention in the context of shoeing of tahash, the use of the skin of which only was recorded in the Scriptures, is taken to imply that the shoe spoken of in the Scriptures was invariably made of a material similar to that of the skin of tahash, viz., leather. Hence the inadmissibility in halizah of any shoe that was not wholly made of leather.
  18. Since this animal only was mentioned.
  19. Lit., 'yes'.
  20. Lit., 'shoe' (bis). V. Deut. XXV, 9 and 10.
  21. That all materials are admissible.
  22. Ezek. XVI, 10.
  23. The tahash also had hair on its skin.
  24. And is not included in the term of 'shoe'.
  25. Lit., 'that that'.
  26. [H] (rt. [H]), E.V. and loose.
  27. Deut. XXV, 9.
  28. [H] (rt. [H]), v. supra n. 9.
  29. Lev. XIV, 40.
  30. Of [H] in Deut. XXV, 9.
  31. I.e., the tying on and not the taking off of the shoe.
  32. [H] (rt. [H]) v. supra note 9.
  33. Num. XXXI, 3.
  34. [H] (rt. [H]). V. supra note 9.
  35. Job XXXVI, 15, which shews that the rt. [H] also signifies 'putting on', 'tying on'.
  36. [H] cf. E.V. He delivereth the afflicted by His affliction.
  37. Lit., 'but that which it is written'.
  38. Ps. XXXIV, 8. [H] (rt [H]), v. supra p. 705, nn. 9 and 18.
  39. Lit., 'but that which it is written'.
  40. [H] (rt. [H]).
  41. Isa. LVIII, 11.
  42. That were enumerated in the context. Cf. ibid. 8-14.
  43. Of [H].
  44. Which shews that the rt. [H] signifies also 'strengthening', 'equipping', 'arming', and thus also 'tying on'.
  45. Deut. XXV, 9.
  46. Lit., 'strengthening', 'arming'.
  47. Instead of 'from off'.
  48. And in case his foot was amputated, no halizah would be possible.
  49. [H] lit., 'from above', i.e., even from that part which is above his foot.
  50. Of [H] in Deut. XXV, 9.
  51. V. Glos.
  52. [Probably R. Gamaliel of Jabneh, after the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. V. Herford, Christianity in the Talmud p. 355].
  53. I.e., severed his connection with them.
  54. [H].
  55. E.V. 'He hath withdrawn Himself from them'. Hos. V, 6.
  56. Certainly not. It is the sister-in-law that performs the halizah while the brother-in-law only submits to it. God, in the image of the text quoted, standing towards Israel in the relationship of a Ievir to his sister-in-law, cannot perform the halizah, and his action is, so to speak, invalid, the bond between him and His people remaining in force.
  57. Cur. edd. 'we learned'. Cf. marg. note a.l. and Shek. III, 2.
  58. In order that he may be free from the suspicion that he concealed some money in his socks or in the border of his tunic.
  59. Even when suspicion is out of the question.
  60. Out of respect for the place. Now, since a sock is permitted in the Temple court where a shoe is for. bidden it is obvious that a sock is not included in the category of shoe.
  61. On the Day of Atonement, when as a part of the affliction (cf. Lev. XVI, 29) the wearing of shoes is forbidden.
  62. Which shows that a sock is also regarded as a shoe.
  63. Cf. supra n. 6.
  64. In reply to the contradiction that was pointed out.
  65. Which forbids the wearing of a sock on the Day of Atonement.
  66. That dealing with entry into the Temple court.
  67. Which is contradictory to the Baraitha previously cited there the wearing of socks was forbidden even where one only walked from one bed to another.
  68. Lit., 'but not'?
  69. That a difference is drawn between a sock of felt or cloth and one of leather. While the former is not regarded as a shoe the latter is.
  70. Or, according to others, 'bamboo'.
  71. Of the levir. Lit., 'the hollowed stump of the cripple'.
  72. One of the cushions which a cripple ties to his feet.