Blog Yomi – Yevamos #11

We begin today’s Daf with the first wide line toward the bottom of דף יא עמוּד ב with another יִבּוּם question:

אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא בַּר אַבָּא, רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן בָּעֵי: הַמַּחְזִיר גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ מִשֶּׁנִּיסֵּת, צָרָתָהּ מַהוּ

Here is the scenario. An individual, Reuven divorces a woman Chana who remarries, and her second husband dies. She is not permitted to re-marry her first husband, but they do in fact re-marry and then the first husband (Reuven) dies childless. Can one of his brothers, Shimon do יִבּוּם to the צָרָה? That is the question subject to debate here, and is where the video begins.

The Gemara says that we can apply a kal vachomer:

דּאָמְרִינַן קַל וָחוֹמֶר: בַּמּוּתָּר לָהּ — אֲסוּרָה, בָּאָסוּר לָהּ — לֹא כּל שֶׁכֵּן?! כִּי קָא מִיבַּעְיָא לִי: צָרָתָהּ, מַאי? מִי אַלִּים קַל וָחוֹמֶר לְמִידְחֵי צָרָה, אוֹ לָא

As Rabbi Stern explains, the מַּחְזִיר גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ, the divorcee who remarried Reuven before he died, was never permitted to his brother Shimon. She was אַסוּר to him because she was אֵשֶׁת אַח. So the question doesn’t apply to Shimon, it applies to Levi. And it doesn’t apply to Chana, it applies to her צָרָה, Penina. Is the kal vachomer sufficiently powerful to push Penina away, or not?

The Gemara, as it is wont to do, answers this question with another series of questions (that isn’t just a Jewish joke):

רַב נַחְמָן בַּר יִצְחָק מַתְנֵי הָכִי: אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּיא בַּר אַבָּא, בָּעֵי רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן: הַמַּחְזִיר גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ מִשֶּׁנִּיסֵּת, מַהוּ? אֲמַר לֵיהּ רַבִּי אַמֵּי: וְתִיבְּעֵי לָךְ צָרָתָהּ? צָרָתָהּ לָא קָמִיבַּעְיָא לִי, דְּלָא אַלִּים קַל וָחוֹמֶר לְמִידְחֵי צָרָה. אֶלָּא כִּי קָמִיבַּעְיָא לִי, הִיא גּוּפַהּ מַאי: מִי אַלִּים קַל וָחוֹמֶר בִּמְקוֹם מִצְוָה, אוֹ לָא

If the kal vachomer wasn’t sufficiently powerful to alter Penina’s situation as a צָרָה, is it sufficiently powerful with regard to Chana herself as the יְבָמָה? We now transition to the top of דף יב עמוּד א:

אֲמַר לֵיהּ, תְּנֵיתוּהָ: הָיְתָה אַחַת כְּשֵׁרָה וְאַחַת פְּסוּלָה, אִם הָיָה חוֹלֵץ — חוֹלֵץ לַפְּסוּלָה, וְאִם הָיָה מְיַיבֵּם — מְיַיבֵּם לַכְּשֵׁרָה. מַאי ״כְּשֵׁרָה״ וּמַאי ״פְּסוּלָה״? אִילֵּימָא ״כְּשֵׁרָה״ — כְּשֵׁרָה לְעָלְמָא, ״פְּסוּלָה״ — פְּסוּלָה לְעָלְמָא, כֵּיוָן דִּלְדִידֵיהּ חַזְיָא — מַאי נָפְקָא לֵיהּ מִינַּהּ

Rav Yochanan addresses Rav Ami with regard to both of the questions raised above (on the צָרָה and on the יְבָמָה). This reaches back to the Gemara we had a couple of days ago. A man (Reuven) marries a divorcee, Chana. Her צָרָה, Penina, is free and clear. Reuven dies, and these two women (Chana and Penina) fall in front of Reuven’s brother, Shimon, for יִבּוּם. If he does יִבּוּם he should do it with the כְּשֵׁרָה (Penina), and if he does חַלִיצָה he should do it with the פְּסוּלָה (the גְרוּשָׁה, Chana). The Gemara entertains the logic that we’re talking about preserving the eligibility of one woman of the pair involved to marry a כּּהֵן. Since a מַּחְזִיר גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ can’t marry a a כּּהֵן anyway, give her חַלִיצָה, so that the צָרָה in this case would be eligible to marry a כּּהֵן.

Now for a different case. To our picture book, ציורים למסכת יבמות, page 84: צָרַת מַמְאֶנֶת אַסוּרָה:

  1. There are three brothers, Reuven the eldest, then Shimon, and Levi is the youngest.
  2. Reuven is married to two women, Chana when she is a minor (קְטַנָה) and Penina.
  3. Reuven dies, and “Chana the Ketana” falls to Shimon for יִבּוּם, but she refuses to marry him (this is called “מִיאוּן”). This nullifies her original marriage to Reuven, without the need for a “get”.
  4. Penina, who is Chana the Ketana’s צָרָה is אַסוּר. But to whom is she אַסוּר? It shouldn’t be to Levi, the youngest brother. After all if he isn’t אַסוּר to Chana the Ketana (she only refused to marry Shimon, not Levi), then he shouldn’t be אַסוּר to Penina. It must therefore be referring to Shimon not being able to marry Penina. It is a Rabbinic prohibition (a decree or גְזֵירָה) so that we safeguard the case of צָרַת בִּתּוֹ מַמְאֶנֶת.

For that case, צָרַת בִּתּוֹ מַמְאֶנֶת, we go to page 28 of our picture book:

  1. There are two brothers, Reuven and Shimon.
  2. Reuven raped a woman and they had a daughter Chana together.
  3. Chana marries someone (“אַחֵר”) when she is a minor.
  4. אַחֵר divorces Chana the Ketana, giving her a גֶט, so she s a “free agent”.
  5. Chana the Ketana now marries her uncle Shimon (Reuven’s brother) who is also married to another woman named Penina. (Shimon is marrying his niece born out of wedlock.)
  6. Shimon dies, so falling in front of his brother Reuven are two women, Penina, and Chana the Ketana (who is his daughter).
  7. Chana the Ketana is forbidden to Reuven her father because she is an עֶרְוָה.
  8. Before Chana the Katana is מַמְאֶנֶת her father, it looks like Penina is her father’s צָרָה. Hence the case is called צָרַת בִּתּוֹ מַמְאֶנֶת.

Even though the preceding case involving Chana the Ketana did not involve an an עֶרְוָה, and the marriage was nullified, we forbid the צָרָה to marry any of the principals here due to a גְּזֵירָה from the רַבָּנָן to avoid any appearance of impropriety:

גְּזֵירָה מִשּׁוּם צָרַת בִּתּוֹ מְמָאֶנֶת. וְצָרַת בִּתּוֹ מְמָאֶנֶת מִי אֲסִירָא? וְהָתְנַן: וְכוּלָּן אִם מֵתוּ אוֹ מֵיאֲנוּ — צָרוֹתֵיהֶן מוּתָּרוֹת

What about a different twist? Consider the case of the אַילוֹנִית. Most of us marry with the plan to have children as some point, and raising good children is challenging in its own right.

But there are some women who cannot have children, referred to as an אַילוֹנִית, from the word “אַיל” or the male version of a sheep (a ram). As Rashi explains: צרת אילונית – הרי שהיה נשוי ב’ נשים והא’ אילונית. אילונית דוכרניתא דלא ילדה לשון איל זכר מן הצאן. A man is married to two women, one of whom is an אַילוֹנִית.

The Gemara states: אָמַר רַב אַסִּי: צָרַת אַיְלוֹנִית אֲסוּרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וְהָיָה הַבְּכוֹר אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵד״ — פְּרָט לָאַיְלוֹנִית שֶׁאֵינָהּ יוֹלֶדֶת

Let’s take a look again at the פְּסוּקִים involved in פַּרְשַׁת כִּי תֵצֵא:

  1. כִּֽי־יֵשְׁב֨וּ אַחִ֜ים יַחְדָּ֗ו וּמֵ֨ת אַחַ֤ד מֵהֶם֙ וּבֵ֣ן אֵֽין־ל֔וֹ לֹֽא־תִהְיֶ֧ה אֵֽשֶׁת־הַמֵּ֛ת הַח֖וּצָה לְאִ֣ישׁ זָ֑ר יְבָמָהּ֙ יָבֹ֣א עָלֶ֔יהָ וּלְקָחָ֥הּ ל֛וֹ לְאִשָּׁ֖ה וְיִבְּמָֽהּ
  2. וְהָיָ֗ה הַבְּכוֹר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר תֵּלֵ֔ד יָק֕וּם עַל־שֵׁ֥ם אָחִ֖יו הַמֵּ֑ת וְלֹֽא־יִמָּחֶ֥ה שְׁמ֖וֹ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵֽל

The fact that it says אֲשֶׁ֣ר תֵּלֵ֔ד in conjunction with יִבּוּם is proof that if the woman who falls in front of a surviving brother is an אַיְלוֹנִית, who cannot give birth, then she exempts the צָרָה because she remains an עֶרְוָה.

At the 37:40 mark of the video Rabbi Stern explains this: Reuven is married to two women, Chana who is an אַיְלוֹנִית and Penina who is a צָרָה. Reuven dies, and falling in front of his brother Shimon are these two women, one of whom is Chana the אַיְלוֹנִית who can’t be מְקַיֵים the mitzvah of אֲשֶׁ֣ר תֵּלֵ֔ד, and who therefore remains an עֶרְוָה as אֵשֶׁת אַח thereby patering (exempting) Penina as a צָרָה.

The case of the אַיְלוֹנִית is so important, on so many levels, that I’m going to stop here and continue with a discussion about her 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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