that [once a woman was married she] is not taken away because of a mere rumour; and so here also [the woman married] is not to be taken away because of a rumour.
MISHNAH. IF ALL THESE1 HAD WIVES2 WHO [SUBSEQUENTLY] DIED, [THE OTHER WOMEN]3 ARE PERMITTED TO MARRY THEM.4 IF THEY3 WERE MARRIED TO OTHERS5 AND WERE [SUBSEQUENTLY] DIVORCED,6 OR WIDOWED, THEY MAY BE MARRIED TO THESE.7 THESE8 ARE ALSO PERMITTED TO THEIR6 SONS OR BROTHERS.9
GEMARA. Only if they10 died11 but not if they were divorced.12 Said R. Hillel to R. Ashi: Surely, it was taught: Even if they were divorced! — This is no difficulty: The one13 refers to the case where they led14 a quarrelsome life;15 the other,16 where they17 had no quarrels.18 If you prefer I might say that the one as well as the other [refers to the case] where there were no quarrels, and yet there is no difficulty: The former16 is a case where the husband had led on [to the divorce];19 in the latter,20 she led on to the divorce.
IF THEY WERE MARRIED etc. It was now assumed that death21 has reference to the case of death,22 and divorce23 to that of divorce.24 Must it then be said that our Mishnah25 is in disagreement the delivery of the letter of divorce by the messenger, or the evidence of the man who testified to their husbands' deaths. with the view of Rabbi? For had it been in agreement with Rabbi, [a third marriage would not have been allowed], for he said that two occurrences constitute a hazakah.26 — No;27 death28 [has reference] to divorce,29 and divorce28 to death.30
THESE ARE ALSO PERMITTED TO THEIR SONS OR BROTHERS. Wherein is this different from the following where it was taught:31 A man who is suspected of intercourse with a woman is forbidden to marry her mother, her daughter and her sister.32 -It is the usual thing for women to pay frequent visits to other women;33 it is not usual, however, for men to pay frequent visits to other men.34 Or [this] also:35 Women who do not cause one another to be forbidden by their cohabitation36 do not particularly mind one another;37 men, however, who do cause one another to be forbidden by their cohabitation38 do mind one another.34 If so,39 [the same law40 should] also [apply to] one's father!41 -The meaning is, 'There is no need',42 [thus]: There is no need [to state that the law40 is applicable to] one's father before whom a son is shy;43 but [in the case of] one's son44 before whom a father44 is not shy it might have been assumed [that this law was] not [to be applied], hence we were informed [that the same law was applicable to a son also].
MISHNAH. [IN THE CASE OF] FOUR BROTHERS, TWO OF WHOM WERE MARRIED TO TWO SISTERS, IF THOSE WHO WERE MARRIED TO THE SISTERS DIED, BEHOLD. THESE45 MUST PERFORM HALIZAH BUT MAY NOT BE TAKEN IN LEVIRATE MARRIAGE [BY THE BROTHERS].46 IF THEY HAD ALREADY47 MARRIED THEM, THEY MUST DISMISS THEM. R. ELIEZER SAID: BETH SHAMMAI HOLD THAT THEY MAY RETAIN THEM, AND BETH HILLEL HOLD THAT THEY MUST DISMISS THEM.
IF ONE OF THE SISTERS48 WAS FORBIDDEN TO ONE [OF THE BROTHERS] UNDER THE PROHIBITION OF INCEST,49 HE IS FORBIDDEN TO MARRY HER BUT MAY MARRY HER SISTER,50 WHILE TO THE SECOND BROTHER BOTH ARE FORBIDDEN.
[IF ONE SISTER]48 WAS FORBIDDEN BY VIRTUE OF A COMMANDMENT51 OR BY VIRTUE OF HOLINESS51 SHE MUST PERFORM THE HALIZAH BUT MAY NOT BE TAKEN IN LEVIRATE MARRIAGE.
IF ONE OF THE SISTERS48 WAS FORBIDDEN TO ONE BROTHER UNDER THE LAW OF INCEST AND THE OTHER SISTER WAS FORBIDDEN TO THE OTHER UNDER THE LAW OF INCEST, SHE WHO IS FORBIDDEN TO THE ONE IS PERMITTED TO THE OTHER AND SHE WHO IS FORBIDDEN TO THE OTHER IS PERMITTED TO THE FIRST. THIS IS THE CASE CONCERNING WHICH IT HAS BEEN SAID: WHEN HER SISTER IS HER SISTER-IN-LAW52 SHE MAY EITHER PERFORM HALIZAH OR BE TAKEN IN LEVIRATE MARRIAGE.53
GEMARA. This then54 implies that a levirate bond exists;55 for if no levirate bond exists, observe this point: These widows come from two different houses,56 let one brother take in levirate marriage the one and the other brother the other!57 — As a matter of fact it may still be assumed that no levirate bond exists55 [but the levirate marriage is nevertheless forbidden] because he58 is of the opinion that it is forbidden to annul the precept of levirate marriage, it being possible that while one of the brothers married [one of the widowed sisters] the other brother would die,59 and the precept of levirate marriage would be annulled.60 If so,61 [the same applies to] three [brothers] also!62 — This may be regarded as the case of 'There is no need etc.';63 thus: There is no need to state three,64 since the precept of levirate marriage would inevitably have to be annulled;65 but [in the case of] four66 [it might have been assumed that] one need not take precautions against [possible] death,67 hence we were informed [that even in such a case levirate marriage is forbidden].68 If so,69
Original footnotes renumbered.
- Lit., 'and all of them'. The Sage, the messenger who brought a letter of divorce and the man who testified to the death of a husband. (V. previous two Mishnahs, supra 250, 25b).
- At the time of their action which resulted in enabling the women there mentioned to marry.
- I.e. the women concerned in their respective actions. V. previous note.
- Having had their own wives at the time they were engaged in the other women's affairs they are not to be suspected of any ulterior motives. Cf. supra p. 153, n. 2 and p. 155. n. 12.
- After the decision of the Sage,
- By their second husbands.
- Cf. supra p. 157, n. 6.
- V. p. 157, n. 8.
- The prohibition being limited to themselves.
- The wives of the Sage, messenger and witness (cf. supra p. 157, n. 6).
- Lit., 'they died, yes'; only then is it permissible for the husbands to marry the women whom they had helped to obtain permission to marry.
- It being possible that their action in favour of the women and the subsequent divorces were dictated by the same ulterior motive.
- The Baraitha quoted by R. Hillel.
- Before their respective husbands had acted in favour of the other women.
- With their husbands. It is consequently obvious that the divorces were due to the domestic differences, and that the husband's subsequent actions were not dictated by ulterior motives.
- That implied in our Mishnah.
- V. supra note 5.
- As husbands and wives lived in peace until the former had met the other women, there is good reason to suspect that the divorces were due to these meetings.
- Hence there is cause for suspicion.
- V. supra note 8.
- Of the second husbands with whom marriage had taken place In the meanwhile.
- In the second clause of the Previous Mishnah but one (supra 25a), where evidence was given that the woman's first husband had died or was killed.
- Cf. supra n. 16.
- Where a letter of divorce was brought by a messenger, (v. the first clause of the Mishnah supra 25a).
- Which allows a woman to marry a third husband though her first two husbands had died or divorced her.
- V. Glos. An established characteristic or defect in the woman, physical or moral, which confirms her as the cause of the death of her husbands or as the cause of the divorces. Hence, she should not have been permitted ever to marry again.
- Our Mishnah does not differ from Rabbi.
- V. p. 158, n. 16.
- V. p. 158, n. 19.
- V. supra p. 158. n. 17. Hence no two husbands died or divorced the same woman, and no hazakah could, therefore, have been constituted.
- Cur. edd., 'we learned'.
- Because there is reason to suspect that the marriage was planned by the man as a mere means of bringing him into closer association and intimacy with his paramour. Why, then, is this suspicion disregarded in the case of our Mishnah?
- Misconduct may, therefore, occur and suspicion (v. previous note) is justified.
- And suspicion that any intimate intercourse might take place would, therefore, be groundless.
- May be said in reply.
- With one another's husbands. The husband is not forbidden to his wife if cohabitation occurred between him and another woman.
- V. note 8.
- With one another's wives. The wife of one with whom the other cohabited is forbidden to her husband.
- That men are watchful of one another, and that consequently there is no ground for suspicion.
- Permitting the marriage of any of the women in question.
- Why, then, does our Mishnah mention sons and brothers only?
- Lit., 'it is not required he said'.
- And would not venture to be too intimate with his wife.
- Or brother.
- The sisters.
- The reason is explained in the Gemara, infra.
- Lit., 'anticipated' (the ruling of the court).
- In the case mentioned in the first paragraph of our Mishnah.
- E.g., as a mother-in-law.
- Who is not forbidden on account of her rival since the latter is biblically forbidden to the levir and cannot be regarded as his zekukah (v. Glos.).
- The term is used in the Mishnah supra 20a and discussed in the Gemara loc. cit.
- The wife of her husband's brother.
- V. supra 20a. Cf. supra p. 162, n. 6.
- The first clause of our Mishnah.
- Between the widow of a deceased childless brother and his surviving brothers, in consequence of which each widow being a zekukah (v. Glos.), is forbidden as the sister of a zekukah.
- They are the widows of two different husbands and neither of them stands in any marital relationship with any of the surviving brothers (v. previous note).
- A levirate bond then obviously does exist. That being so, why has the question of the existence of a levirate bond remained a matter of dispute in Ned. 742 and supra 17b?
- The author of our Mishnah.
- And thus be prevented from marrying the other widow.
- Because the surviving brother would then not be able either to marry, or to participate in the halizah with the second widow who by that time will have become his wife's sister. If, however, halizah only is performed with one brother and the death of the other should occur before the second widow had performed halizah with him, no difficulty would arise, since the first brother may then participate in the halizah of the second also.
- That the reason for the prohibition of the levirate marriage with the widowed sisters is not the existence of a levirate bond but the endeavour to prevent the annulment of the precept of levirate marriage.
- If two of them died childless and both their widows become subject to the levirate marriage or halizah of the third. In this case too the third brother must only participate in halizah; for, should he marry one of the sisters, the other would be forbidden, as the sister of his wife, either to marry him or to perform halizah with him.
- Lit., 'it is not required, do we say'.
- That where one of three brothers survived, no levirate marriage must take place.
- Were he to marry one of the widows. Cf. supra p. 162, n. 8.
- Brothers, two of whom survived.
- And that consequently one brother should marry one of the widows and the other brother the other.
- Because provision must always be made against possible death.
- v. previous note.
the same applies to five brothers also!1 -The possibility that two might die2 need not be taken into consideration.
Rabbah3 son of R. Huna said in the name of Rab: If three sisters who are sisters-in-law fell to the lot of two brothers who are their brothers-in-law, one of the brothers participates in her halizah with one, and the other brother participates in the halizah with the other, but the third,4 requires halizah from both. Said Rabbah to him: Since you say that the third widow requires submission to halizah by both brothers, you must be holding the opinion that a Ievirate bond exists5 and that the halizah is of an impaired character,6 and that as an impaired halizah it must go the round of all the brothers;7 but if so, [the same should apply to] the first [two sisters] also!8 — If they9 had become subject [to the levirs] at the same time the law would indeed have been so;10 [the statement of our Mishnah, however,] was required only in the case where they become subject [to the Ievirs] one after another. When the first sister became subject to the obligation of the levirate marriage. Reuben11 participated in her halizah;12 when the second came Under the obligation. Simeon13 participated in her halizah;14 when the third came under the obligation.15 if the one brother participated in her halizah he removed his own levirate bond,16 and when the other participated in the halizah he likewise removed his own levirate bond. But, surely. Rab said that no levirate bond exists!17 — This statement18 he made in accordance with the opinion of him who maintains that a levirate bond does exist.
Samuel, however, stated that one brother participates in the halizah with all of them. But consider: We have heard Samuel say that a proper halizah is required for Samuel said:
Original footnotes renumbered.
- Two of whom who were married to two sisters died and three survived. In this case also, if provision is to be made against the possibility of death, no levirate marriage should be allowed to any of the three survivors, since it might happen that two of the survivors would also die and the last and only surviving brother would be precluded from levirate marriage and halizah because the widows would then be his wife's sisters.
- Lit., 'for the death of two'.
- So Emden. Cur. edd., 'Raba'.
- Lit., 'the middle one'.
- V. supra p. 162, n. 3'
- Since each brother may only participate in halizah with the widow but may not, as she is the sister of his haluzah (v. Glos.). marry her. Such a halizah is not of the same validity as one which is the alternative of a permitted levirate marriage.
- The levirate bond between the widow and the other brothers cannot be dissolved by such a halizah with one of them. [Me'iri seems to have had a shorter and smoother text: … that a levirate bond exists and that an impaired halizah must go the round of all the brothers'.]
- Since they, like the third, are subject to the Ievirate bond, and with them also only halizah, but not levirate marriage may take place, and their halizah also is consequently of an impaired character.
- All the three sisters.
- Halizah would have had to be performed by every one of them with every brother.
- I.e., the first brother. Reuben was Jacob's first son (Gen. XXIX, 32).
- This was a proper halizah since at that time he could have married her if he wished.
- I.e., the second brother. Simeon was the second son of Jacob. (Cf. Gen. XXIX, 33)'
- This also was a proper halizah since he could marry her if he wished. She is no longer the sister of his zekukah (v. Glos.) since the first brother had already performed with that zekukah proper halizah and had thereby severed the levirate bond between her and Simeon as well as between her and himself.
- Levirate marriage is no more possible since, in the case of each brother, she is the sister of his haluzah, while exemption from halizah cannot be granted because the prohibition to marry the sister of one's haluzah is only Rabbinical and cannot supersede the Biblical precept which requires halizah where no levirate marriage takes place.
- Which otherwise could not have been severed. V. previous note.
- Supra 17b.
- Reported supra by Rabbah b. R. Huna.