Blog Yomi – Yevamos #10

There’s a marvelous new book by Oded Gallor, an Israeli economist at Brown University, titled The Journey of Humanity: The Origins of Wealth and Inequality. In it he asks us to imagine residents of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, being transported to the Ottoman-ruled Jerusalem of 1800. Although 19th century Jerusalem was quite different from its Roman predecessor, our time travelers would adjust with relative ease to their new surroundings. While they may have had to adapt their their behavior to new cultural norms, their knowledge and skill set would still serve them well. And while Gallor assserts that this would not be the case for the 21st century regarding technology, laws and customs remain the same as they ever were. I was reminded of that while watching the funeral of R’ Chaim Kanievsky in Israel this morning.

After opening today’s Daf with a tribute to Rabbi Kanievsky, the גָדוֹל הַדוֹר, Rabbi Stern backtracked to review the Daf from the preceding day, beginning on דף י עמוּד ב, ten lines from the bottom, with the dispute between רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן and רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ regarding how חֲלִיצָה changes the nature of the relationship between brothers of the deceased and women in the family:

אֵיתִיבֵיהּ רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן לְרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ: הַחוֹלֵץ לִיבִמְתּוֹ, וְחָזַר וְקִדְּשָׁהּ, וּמֵת — צְרִיכָה חֲלִיצָה מִן הָאַחִין

Shimon did not take his deceased brother Reuven’s widow in יִבּוּם. Rather he did חַלִיצָה and then married his sister-in-law unlawfully. I’m going to Zoom ahead to דף יא עמוּד א, where the Gemara cites Rav Ashi:

רַב אָשֵׁי סָבַר לַהּ כְּרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ וּמְתָרֵץ לַהּ כְּרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן: הַחוֹלֵץ לִיבִמְתּוֹ וְחָזַר וְקִדְּשָׁהּ — צְרִיכָה חֲלִיצָה מִן הָאַחִין. מַאן אַחִין

Rav Ashi holds according to the opinion of Reish Lakish, and answers the בְּרַייתָא in accordance with Rav Shimon. In the case of one who performs חַלִיצָה with his יְבָמָה and went back and married her, and then died, she requires חַלִיצָה from one of the brothers. Who are the brothers being referred to here?

Rav Ashi explains that they are the newborn brothers: הילודים – שנולדו אחר קדושין של זה ולא איתסרא עלייהו בחליצתו דהא זיקה קמייתא לא רמאי קמייהו לייבומי ומשום אשת אחיו שלא היה בעולמו לא מיתסרא כר”ש דאמר ייבם ולבסוף נולד שריא

In other words, brothers who were born only after their deceased brother had married their sister-in-law. Consequently, although this woman was the wife of the first deceased brother before they were born, after their birth she was already the wife of a living brother. Therefore, the prohibition of a wife of a brother שֶׁלֹא הָיָה בְּעוֹלָמוֹ never applied, and she requires חַלִיצָה. This is in accordance with the opinion of Rav Shimon, who maintains that in a case of this kind the brothers are not considered to be co-existing. Let’s follow along with Rabbi Stern at the 8:30 mark of the video.

The Gemara continues: עָמַד אֶחָד מִן הַנּוֹלָדִים וְקִדְּשָׁהּ — אֵין לָהּ עָלָיו כְּלוּם, כְּמַאן — כְּרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ.

Consider the case when one of the brothers who was born in the lifetime of the first brother, and married the deceased brother’s widow after another brother had performed חַלִיצָה. In other words, they were all in the world at the same time while the sequence of events were going on. However, she has no claim to make at all. This is in accordance with the opinion of Reish Lakish, who maintains that there was an אִסוּר כָּרֵת involved in her marrying her brother-in-law originally, and that is why the marriage was never valid in the first place and she is not considered a יְבָמָה when her husband dies.

Now we come to a related, but distinct case:

אִיתְּמַר: הַבָּא עַל יְבָמָה, וּבָא אֶחָד מִן הָאַחִין עַל צָרָתָהּ, פְּלִיגִי בַּהּ רַב אַחָא וְרָבִינָא. חַד אָמַר: בְּכָרֵת. וְחַד אָמַר: בַּעֲשֵׂה

An individual had intercourse with his yevama and thereby performed the mitzvah of יִבּוּם as required. In that event there is no mitzvah for any of the other brothers to have intercourse with her צָרָה (rival, or co-wife). However, one of the brothers did so. What is his punishment? Rav Acḥa and Ravina disagree with regard to this matter. One said: The second brother is liable to receive כָּרֵת; the other said that he is in violation of only a לַאו. The פָּסוּק says: אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־יִבְנֶ֖ה אֶת־בֵּ֥ית אָחִֽיו – “Who does not build up his brother’s house” (the complete פָּסוּק is: וְנִגְּשָׁ֨ה יְבִמְתּ֣וֹ אֵלָיו֮ לְעֵינֵ֣י הַזְּקֵנִים֒ וְחָלְצָ֤ה נַעֲלוֹ֙ מֵעַ֣ל רַגְל֔וֹ וְיָרְקָ֖ה בְּפָנָ֑יו וְעָֽנְתָה֙ וְאָ֣מְרָ֔ה כָּ֚כָה יֵעָשֶׂ֣ה לָאִ֔ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־יִבְנֶ֖ה אֶת־בֵּ֥ית אָחִֽיו) teaches that one house may be built up, but not two houses,. In other words, no more than one wife of a deceased brother may be married by one of his brothers. Any mitzvah formulated as a positive injunction has the status of a positive mitzvah, even if it is violated by the performance of an action, in the manner of a prohibition.

Next the Gemara says: אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב: צָרַת סוֹטָה אֲסוּרָה – The צָרָה (rival or co-wife) of an unfaithful wife is forbidden from participating in either יִבּוּם or חַלִיצָה. That case is detailed in our picture book (ציורים למסכת יבמות) on page 26:

  1. Reuven and Shimon are brothers.
  2. Reuven is married to Chanah and Peninah.
  3. Chanah has an elicit affair outside the marriage and is no longer permitted to have relations with her husband (Reuven)
  4. Reuven dies and Chana and Peninah fall to Shimon, but he cannot marry either one of them.
  5. The reason is a גְזֵרַת שָוֶה from two פּסוּקִים, the first is: שָׁכַ֨ב אִ֣ישׁ אֹתָהּ֮ שִׁכְבַת־זֶ֒רַע֒ וְנֶעְלַם֙ מֵעֵינֵ֣י אִישָׁ֔הּ וְנִסְתְּרָ֖ה וְהִ֣יא נִטְמָ֑אָה, and the second is אַל־תִּֽטַּמְּא֖וּ בְּכל־אֵ֑לֶּה. Because the word טוּמְאָה is used in conjunction with both the sotah and the ervah, the סוֹטָה is in the same category as עֶרְוָה here. So just like the עַרָיוֹת exempt the צָרָה, the סוֹטָה exempts the צָרָה as well.

The Gemara continues with another case:

מֵתִיב רַב חִסְדָּא, רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר: בִּיאָתָהּ אוֹ חֲלִיצָתָהּ מֵאָחִיו שֶׁל רִאשׁוֹן — פּוֹטֶרֶת צָרָתָהּ

For this, we need Rashi’s help:

ביאתה או חליצתה וכו’ – האשה שהלך בעלה למדינת הים ובאו ואמרו לה מת בעליך ונשאת ואח”כ בא בעלה תצא מזה ומזה מתו אחיו של זה ואחיו של זה חולצין ולא מייבמין רבי שמעון אומר ביאתה או חליצתה מאחיו של ראשון פוטרת היא לכתחלה את צרתה שהרי היא כשאר נשים לגבי יבם דלא קנסוה רבנן מיבם דודאי שריא ליה שאנוסה היתה ששמעה שמת. אלמא נבעלה תחת בעלה שריא צרתה לייבם ואפי’ רבנן לא פליגי אר”ש אלא בדידה אבל בצרתה מודו

This is the case of a woman whose husband travels overseas, and witnesses come and tell her that her husband dies. Thinking she is a widow, she re-marries, and afterward her husband turns up alive. She is required to leave her new husband, and is forbidden to be with her first husband. If the first husband then dies (confirmed), the Tanna Kama says that brothers of the original husband have to give her חַלִיצָה and are not permitted to perform יִבּוּם.

We’re not even half way through today’s Daf, and because there is so much that remains you’re going to have to cover the rest with the video and we’ll do a mini-review of it in our next installment.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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