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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth

Folio 93a

[If a woman said to her husband]. 'Konam,1  I do aught for your mouth',2  he3  need not annul [her vow].4  R. Akiba, however, said: He3  must annul it, since she might do more [work] than is due5  to him!6  Surely in connection with this it was stated: R. Huna son of R. Joshua said, [This law7  applies only] where she said, 'My hands8  shall be consecrated to Him who made them', since her hands are in existence.9

This10  differs [from the opinion] of R. Nahman b. Isaac. For R. Nahman b. Isaac stated: R. Huna [holds the same opinion] as Rab,11  Rab as R. Jannai, R. Jannai as R. Hiyya. R. Hiyya as Rabbi,12  Rabbi as R. Meir, R. Meir as R. Eliezer b. Jacob. and R. Eliezer b. Jacob as R. Akiba, who stated that a man may transfer possession of a thing that is not yet in existence.

What statement is it [that records the opinion of] R. Huna? It was stated: He who sold the fruit of a date-tree13  to another may. said R. Huna, withdraw from the sale before they come into existence; but after they have come into existence he may no longer withdraw.14  R. Nahman, however, stated: He may withdraw even after they have come Into existence.15  Said R. Nahman: I admit, that if he16  had already plucked and ate them, [compensation] is not to he extracted from him.17

As to Rab?18  — [In that] which R. Huna stated in the name of Rab: If a man said to another, 'let this field which I am about to buy be yours as from now the moment I buy it', [the latter] acquires It.19

'R. Jannai [is of the same opinion] as R. Hiyya'; for R. Jannai had a tenant20  who used to bring him a basket of fruit every Sabbath Eve. Once as it was growing dark, and [the tenant] did not come, [R. Jannai] took21  tithe22  from the fruit which [he had] at home for [the redemption of] those.23  When he subsequently came before R. Hiyya [the latter] said to him, 'You have acted well; for it was taught: That thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always24  refers to Sabbaths and festivals'.25  Now, in 'respect of what law?26  If in respect of giving tithe27  so that one may be allowed to eat,28  was it necessary [it may be asked] for a Scriptural text to permit moving,29  [the prohibition of which is only] Rabbinical!30

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. This is one of the expressions of a vow. V. Glos.
  2. I.e., that her husband be forbidden to eat anything made by her or purchased from the proceeds of her work.
  3. The husband who is empowered to annul his wife's vow. Cf. Num. XXX, 7ff.
  4. A wife's work belongs to her husband and she has, therefore, no right to dispose of it by vow or otherwise. Her vow is consequently null and void and requires on invalidation.
  5. A husband is entitled only to a certain amount of his wife's work (v. Keth. 64b). Any work in excess of that maximum is at the disposal of the wife who, in the opinion of R. Akiba, is entitled to forbid it to her husband by a vow, though that work has not yet been done.
  6. Keth. 59a, 66a, Ned. 85a, Kid. 63a. V. supra note 3.
  7. That a wife may by her vow cause her future work to be forbidden.
  8. And through them the work they will produce.
  9. At the time she made her vow.
  10. The view presented by R. Huna, according to which R. Akiba maintains that a thing that is not yet in existence may not be legally transferred.
  11. From whom he received it as a tradition from his master, R. Jannai. who in turn, received it from his master, R. Hiyya, and so on to R. Akiba.
  12. R. Judah I, the Patriarch or Prince, compiler of the Mishnah.
  13. During the winter, before they blossomed.
  14. Because, according to R. Huna, the kinyan that was arranged before they come into existence takes effect as soon as they come into existence.
  15. In his opinion no kinyan is effective unless the object sold is actually in existence at the time of the sale.
  16. The buyer.
  17. B.M. 66b.
  18. Where was his view expressed?
  19. B.M. 16b; which proves that, in the opinion of Rab, one may transfer possession of a field which one does not yet possess. obviously because he holds that one may transfer possession of that which is not yet in existence.
  20. [H] cf [G], a tenant of a field who in return for his labour receives a share of the field's produce.
  21. Before the Sabbath commenced.
  22. An act which In Rabbinic law it is forbidden to perform on the Sabbath.
  23. The fruit which he expected from the tenant, though at the time the tithe was taken they were still the property of the tenant (v. Tosaf. s.v. [H] a.l.) and not that of R. Jannai.
  24. Deut.XIV, 23, speaking of the levitical and priestly gifts.
  25. On which enjoyment should not be marred by failure to set apart the prescribed gifts.
  26. Was the Scriptural warning necessary.
  27. On Sabbath or festivals.
  28. Of his produce from which tithe was not taken before the holy day set in.
  29. [H] moving the fruit before being tithed. The prohibition to set aside on holy days any of the priestly or levitical gifts is due to the Rabbinical ordinance which is in the same category as the moving from its place, on such days, of articles that are unfit for use. (Cf. Bezah 36b).
  30. Scripture, surely. could not be referring to a prohibition which was not ordained before the Rabbinical period.

Yebamoth 93b

Consequently1  [it must refer to] an instance like this one.2  Said the first to him, 'But in my dream3  they read to me a Scriptural text on the "bruised reed";4  did they not mean to tell me: Behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed'?5  'No'. [the other replied], 'It is this that they meant: A bruised reed shall he not break, and the dimly burning wick shall he not quench'.6

Rabbi?7  — Where it was taught: Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a bondman,8  Rabbi explained that Scripture speaks here of a man who bought a slave on the condition that he would set him free.9  How is this10  to be understood?11  R. Nahman b. Isaac replied: In the case where [the buyer] gave him12  a written declaration, 'Your person shall become yours as from now as soon as I have bought you'.13

R. Meir?14  — Where it was taught:15  If a man said to a woman, 'Be thou betrothed to me after I shall have become a proselyte'. 'after thou shalt have become a proselyte'. 'after I shall have been emancipated'. 'after thou shalt have been emancipated'. 'after thy husband shall have died', 'after thy sister shall have died', or 'after thy brother-in-law shall have submitted to thy halizah', the betrothal is invalid; but R. Meir said that her betrothal is valid.16

R. Eliezer b. Jacob?14  — Where it was taught: More than this did R. Eliezer b. Jacob say: Even if a man said, 'The plucked fruit of this bed shall be terumah for the attached fruit of that17  other bed', or 'The attached fruit of this17  bed [shall be terumah] for the plucked fruit of that other bed,17  when it shall have grown16  to a third [of its maturity] and been plucked'. his words are valid if the fruit has grown to18  a third [of its maturity] and has been plucked.19

R. Akiba?20  — Where we learned: [If a woman said to her husband]. 'Konam,21  if I do aught for your mouth',22  he23  need not annul [her vow].24  R. Akiba, however, said: He23  must annul It, since she might do more [work] than is due25  to him.26

An enquiry was addressed to R. Shesheth: What is [the law in respect of] one witness27  in the case of a sister-in- law?28  Is the reason why one witness [is sometimes believed elsewhere]29  because no one would tell a lie which is likely to be exposed. and consequently here also [the witness] would tell no lie;30  or is the reason why one witness [is believed elsewhere]31  because the woman herself makes careful enquiries and [only then] marries, and consequently here, since she may sometimes be in love with [her brother-in-law]. she might marry him without proper enquiry?32  — R. Shesheth answered them: You have learned it, IF SHE WAS TOLD, 'YOUR SON DIED AND YOUR HUSBAND DIED AFTERWARDS', AND SHE CONTRACTED THE LEVIRATE MARRIAGE, AND LATER SHE WAS TOLD, 'IT WAS OTHERWISE, SHE MUST DEPART; AND ANY CHILD BORN BEFORE OR AFTER IS A BASTARD.33  Now, how is this to be understood? If it be suggested [that there were] two witnesses against two,34  what reason do you see [it may be asked] for relying on the latter? Rely rather on the former! Furthermore. [how could the child be described as] BASTARD [when he is only] an uncertain bastard! And should you reply that he35  was not exact in his expression. surely [it may be pointed out] since in the final clause he35  stated, ANY CHILD BORN BEFORE [THE DEATH OF HER FIRST HUSBAND] IS A BASTARD, BUT ONE BORN AFTER IT IS NO BASTARD,33  it may well be inferred that he was exact In his expressions, Consequently36  it must be concluded [that the first report was that of] one witness, and that the reason [why he is not believed is] because two witnesses came and contradicted his evidence, but had this not been the case37  he would have been believed.38

Another reading: This question39  does not arise, since even the woman herself is believed.40  For we learned: A woman who stated, 'My husband is dead' may be married again.41  and she may similarly contract levirate marriage [if she stated] 'My husband is dead'.42  The question arises only in respect of permitting a sister-in-law to marry a stranger.43  Is the reason why one witness [is elsewhere sometimes believed]44  because no one would tell a lie which is likely to be exposed, and consequently, here also [the witness] would tell no lie;45  or is the reason why one witness [is elsewhere believed]44  because [the woman] herself makes careful enquiries and [only then] marries, and consequently here she might marry without proper enquiry. since she might fiercely

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. Lit., 'but not'.
  2. That of R. Jannai; the text indicating that tithe may be given for the redemption of fruit which has not yet come into one's possession, in order that thereby a man's enjoyment on Sabbaths and festivals might not be disturbed by his inability to partake of untithed fruit that arrived too late. Thus it follows that R. Jannai received the tradition from R. Hiyya that a man may legally dispose of that which is not yet in existence.
  3. On the evening of the incident with his tithe.
  4. Mentioned in II Kings XVIII, 21 and lsa. XLII, 3.
  5. II Kings XVIII, 21, implying that his action was blameworthy.
  6. Isa. XLII, 3, concluding, He shall make the right to go forth according to the truth, a text suggesting approval.
  7. Where was the view attributed to him, supra 93a, expressed?
  8. Deut. XXIII, 16.
  9. Such a slave shall not be delivered to the bondage of the man who bought him, but must be given his emancipation.
  10. The buyer's undertaking.
  11. It cannot refer to an undertaking given at, or after the time of purchase. Such an undertaking is obviously binding and the ruling of Rabbi in such a case would he superfluous.
  12. The slave.
  13. Kid. 63a, Git. 45a, which shews that, according to Rabbi, one may dispose of what is not yet his
  14. Where was the view attributed to him, supra 93a, expressed?
  15. Cur. edd., 'we learned'.
  16. Kid. 63a, Keth. 58b, B.M. 16b, and supra 92b, q.v. for notes. Though at the time of the stipulation the conditions were not yet fulfilled, R. Meir regards the betrothal as valid. Thus it has been shewn that, according to him, one may effect a kinyan of that which is not yet in existence.
  17. V. BaH, a.l.
  18. Lit., 'brought'.
  19. Tosef. Ter. II, Kid. 62a, which clearly proves that according to R. Eliezer b. Jacob one may legally dispose of things which are not yet in existence.
  20. V. supra note 1.
  21. Cf. supra p. 632, n. 4.
  22. Cf. supra p. 632 n. 8.
  23. Cf. supra p. 632, n. 6.
  24. Cf. supra p. 632, n. 7.
  25. Cf. supra p. 632, n. 8.
  26. Cf. supra p. 632. n. 9. This proves that, according to R. Akiba, one may legally dispose of work even if It is not yet in existence, and the same naturally applies to other things also.
  27. Who testifies that the husband of the woman is dead.
  28. Whose husband died without issue, and who is in consequence subject to the levirate marriage. Is the witness in such a case believed?
  29. In respect of allowing a woman to marry again if he testified that her husband was dead.
  30. And his evidence is, therefore, accepted.
  31. v. p. 635. n. 16.
  32. And the one witness, therefore, is not to be relied upon.
  33. Supra 92a.
  34. One pair testifying to the veracity of the first report and the other to that of the second.
  35. The author of our Mishnah.
  36. Lit., 'but not'.
  37. Lit., 'not thus'.
  38. Which proves that the evidence of one witness is relied upon in permitting a sister-in-law to marry a levir.
  39. In the case just proved. V. supra note 9.
  40. Much more so a witness.
  41. Where she is not otherwise subject to the levirate marriage.
  42. And was survived by no issue. 'Ed. I, 12, Sheb. 32b, infra 114b. V. p. 636. n. II.
  43. Where one witness testified that her brother-in-law' was dead or that her husband died first and her son died after him.
  44. V. supra p. 635, n. 16.
  45. V. supra p. 636, n.I.