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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
— The other replied,1 You have learned it: If one of them was a permitted wife and the other a forbidden one; if she submits to halizah he must submit to that of the forbidden one; and if he marries, he marries the permitted one. Now, what is meant by 'permitted' and 'forbidden'? If it be suggested that 'permitted' means permitted to all the world and 'forbidden' means forbidden to all the world, what practical difference, in view of the fact that she is in either case suitable for him, could this make to him? Consequently 'permitted' must mean permitted to him, and 'forbidden', forbidden to him; and this may happen where he remarries his divorced wife; and yet it was taught. 'If he marries he marries the permitted one'!2 — No; 'permitted' may still mean permitted to all the world, and 'forbidden', forbidden to all the world; and as to your question. 'What practical difference, in view of the fact that she is in either case suitable for him, could this make'? One must take into account the moral lesson of R. Joseph. For R. Joseph said: Here, Rabbi taught that a man shall not pour the water out of his cistern so long as others may require it.3
Come and hear: 'Where a man remarried his divorced wife after she had been married, she and her rival are to perform halizah.' Is it possible to say 'she and her rival'? Consequently it must mean, 'either she or her rival.'4 Did you not, however, have recourse to an interpretation? [You might as well] interpret thus: She is to perform halizah, while her rival may either perform halizah or be married by the levir.
R. Levi b. Memel said in the name of Mar 'Ukba in the name of Samuel: The rival of a mema'eneth5 is forbidden. To whom [is she forbidden]? If it be suggested, to the brothers,6 [it may be retort ed], now that she herself7 is permitted,8 for Samuel said, 'If she refused one brother she is permitted to marry the other',9 is there any question that her rival is permitted!8 Hence [it means] to himself.10 Wherein, however, does the mema'eneth11 differ12 that she is in consequence permitted to the other brothers? Obviously, in that she had taken no action in relation to them;13 but her rival also had taken no action in relation to them!14 — It is an enactment made to prevent marriage with the rival of one's daughter15 who was a mema'eneth.16
Is, however, the rival of one's daughter who is a mema'eneth forbidden? Surely we learned, IF, HOWEVER, ANY AMONG THESE DIED, OR MADE A DECLARATION OF REFUSAL, OR WERE DIVORCED17 [etc.] THEIR RIVALS ARE PERMITTED. Now, against whom was the declaration of refusal made? If it be suggested that she refused the husband, then this case is identical with that of a divorced woman.18 Consequently it must refer to refusal of the levir!19 — No; it may, in fact, refer to the refusal of a husband, but there are two kinds of divorce.20
Wherein, however, does the refusal of a husband differ?21 Obviously in that she thereby annuls the original marriage; but when she refused the levir she has also annulled the original marriage! — [It differs] in respect of what Rami b. Ezekiel had learnt. For Rami b. Ezekiel learnt: If she22 declared her refusal against the husband she is permitted to marry his father;23 if against the levir, she is forbidden to his father.24 From this it clearly follows that from the moment she becomes subject to the levirate marriage25 she is looked upon as his26 daughter-in-law; similarly here also27 she is looked upon as the rival of his daughter from the moment she28 becomes subject to the levirate marriage.
Said R. Assi: The rival of a woman incapable of procreation is forbidden;29 for it is said in the Scriptures, And it shall be that the firstborn that she beareth,30 which excludes a woman incapable of procreation, since she does not bear.31 R. Shesheth raised an objection: In the case where three brothers were married to three women who were strangers to one another, and one of them having died, the second brother addressed to her32 a ma'amar33 and died, behold these34 must perform the halizah but may not marry the levir; for it is said, And one of them die [etc.] her husband's brother shall go in unto her,35 only she36 who is tied to one levir37 but not she who is tied to two levirs;38 and concerning this it was taught: R. Joseph said, 'This is the rival of a paternal brother's wife whose prohibition39 is due to her double subjection to the levirate marriage,40 a case the like of which we do not find through out the Torah'.41 Now, what does the expression 'This is' exclude? Does it not exclude the rival of a woman incapable of procreation, who is permitted!42 — No; it excludes the rival of a woman incapable of procreation who is forbidden. What, then, is meant by the expression, 'This is'?43 — It is that in this case, where the subjection to the levirate marriage has caused the prohibition, her rival requires halizah; in the case, however, of a woman incapable of procreation even halizah is not required. What is the reason? — The prohibition of the one44 is Pentateuchal;45 that of the other only Rabbinical.46
We learnt; IF, HOWEVER, ANY AMONG THESE DIED, OR MADE A DECLARATION OF REFUSAL, OR WERE DIVORCED, OR WERE FOUND INCAPABLE OF PROCREATION, THEIR RIVALS ARE PERMITTED!47 — This is no difficulty; the one48 is a case where he49 knew her defect50 while the other51 is a case where52 he did not know of it.53 The inference from our Mishnah also proves this; for it was stated WERE FOUND54 and not 'were'. This proves it.
The law is that the rival of a woman incapable of procreation is permitted, even though he1 knew her
defect,2 and even the rival of one's own daughter who was incapable of procreation [is permitted].3 But what about the expression WERE FOUND4 in our Mishnah? — Read, 'were'.
When Rabin came5 he stated in the name of R. Johanan: The rival of a mema'eneth,6 the rival of a woman incapable of procreation, as well as the rival of a divorced woman who had been remarried to her former husband,7 are all permitted.
R. Bebai recited before R. Nahman: Three [categories of] women may8 use an absorbent9 in their marital intercourse:10 A minor, a pregnant woman and a nursing woman. The minor,11 because [otherwise] she might12 become pregnant, and as a result13 might die. A pregnant woman,11 because [otherwise]. she might12 cause her foetus to degenerate into a sandal.13 A nursing woman,11 because [otherwise] she might12 have to wean her child prematurely14 and this would result in his death. And what is the age of such a minor?15 From the age of eleven years and one day until the age of twelve years and one day. One who is under,16 or over this age17 must carry on her marital intercourse in the usual manner. This is the opinion of R. Meir. The Sages, however, say: The one as well as the other carries on her marital intercourse in the usual manner, and mercy will be vouchsafed from heaven,18 for it is said in the Scriptures The Lord preserveth the simple.19
Since it has been stated, 'because she might become pregnant and as a result might die' it may be implied that it is possible for20 a minor to be pregnant and not die. But, if so, one could imagine a case where21 a mother-in-law should be in a position to make a declaration of refusal,22 whereas we learned, ONE CANNOT SAY OF A MAN'S MOTHER-IN-LAW, THE MOTHER OF HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW AND THE MOTHER OF HIS FATHER-IN-LAW THAT THEY WERE FOUND INCAPABLE OF PROCREATION OR THAT THEY MADE A DECLARATION OF REFUSAL! — Read, 'because she might become pregnant and die';23 for Rabbah b. Liwai said: She24 is subject to an age limitation. Prior to that period25 she does not conceive at all; during that period25 she dies and her embryo dies; after that period25 both she and her embryo survive. But is it really so? Surely, Rabbah b. Samuel recited: One cannot say of a man's mother-in-law, the mother of his mother-in-law and the mother of his father-in-law that they were found incapable of procreation or that they made a declaration of refusal, since they have already given birth to children!26 — But [the reading], in fact, is, 'because she might become pregnant and as a result might die'. But, [then, the previously mentioned] difficulty remains!27 — R. Safra replied: Children are like marks of puberty.28 Others Say: Children are
more conclusive proof than the marks of puberty. What practical difference is there between the two statements? — [It is this: That] even he who follows R. Judah who stated, '[a girl may exercise the right of refusal] until the black29 predominates'30 admits in the case of children.31
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