Blog Yomi – Yevamos #17

Yesterday’s blog was very long, and there is no need to review what we learned because we covered everything in sufficient detail. I’ll also play it straight, with considerably less sensationalism , or at least that’s my intent. Let’s therefore begin today’s blog with a preview of what is to come. In order to do that, we’ll look at page 108 of our picture book, צִיוּרִים לְמַסֶכֶת יְבָמוֹת, for this case: שני אחין בעולם אחד:

  1. There are two brothers, Reuven and Shimon.
  2. Reuven marries Chana, and Shimon marries Penina.
  3. Reuven dies without children.
  4. Before Shimon is מְיַבֵּם Chana, his mother gives birth to another brother Levi.
  5. Levi’s relationship to Chana is אשת אחיו שלא היה בעולמו
  6. Shimon dies before having the chance to do anything with Chana.
  7. If you hold יֵשׁ זִיקָה, Chana would be an עֶרְוָה to Levi as אשת אחיו (albeit שלא היה בעולמו).
  8. If you hold אֵין זִיקָה, Chana falls to Levi (since both of his brothers are dead) and he must do יִבּוּם or חַלִיצָה. Our Daf will bring proof that this case is illustrative of אֵין זִיקָה.

A second scenario, on page 110 of our picture book (צִיוּרִים לְמַסֶכֶת יְבָמוֹת) is as follows:

  1. Two brothers are married to two sisters.
  2. One of the sisters is a minor (קְטַנָה) and the other is older than 12 years and a day (גְדוֹלָה).
  3. The brother married to the גְדוֹלָה dies, so the גְדוֹלָה falls to the surviving brother for יִבּוּם.
  4. The גְדוֹלָה is אַחוֹת אִשְׁתּוֹ, but only מדרבּנן.
  5. רבּן גמליאל says you wait until the קְטַנָה reaches puberty, make יִבּוּם on her, and the גְדוֹלָה goes free.
  6. Our Daf once again brings proof of this case as illustrative again of אֵין זִיקָה

Note in this second case רבּן גמליאל, in allowing the brother to wait until the קְטַנָה is old enough to consummate marriage, is allowing him to be מְבַטֵל the יִבּוּם of the גְדוֹלָה. That is at odds with the אֵין זִיקָה case we had toward the end of yesterday’s Daf.

That sets the stage for today’s Daf, which begins eight lines from the top of דף י״ח עמוּד א.

מֵתִיב רַב הוּנָא בַּר חִיָּיא: עָשָׂה בָּהּ מַאֲמָר וּמֵת — שְׁנִיָּה חוֹלֶצֶת וְלֹא מִתְיַיבֶּמֶת. טַעְמָא דַּעֲבַד בַּהּ מַאֲמָר, הָא לָא עֲבַד בַּהּ מַאֲמָר — שְׁנִיָּה נָמֵי יַבּוֹמֵי מְיַיבְּמָה, וְאִי אָמְרַתְּ יֵשׁ זִיקָה, הָוְיָא לַהּ צָרַת אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בְּעוֹלָמוֹ בְּזִיקָה

An important principle which we haven’t touched upon much to this point is “מַאֲמָר”. This is an act involving the exchange of money as a statement of intent on the part of the יָבָם to marry the יְבָמָה, but this כֶּסֶף קִידוּשִׁין does not yet constitute marriage. It is in essence a “down payment” which can potentially impact the זִיקָה bond. In fact, according to בֵּית שַׁמַּאי the act of מַאֲמָר is tantamount to making יִבּוּם on the צָרָה. Comes along the Gemara here to tell you no, we don’t hold like that:

הָא דְּקָתָנֵי מַאֲמָר, לְאַפּוֹקֵי מִבֵּית שַׁמַּאי, דְּאָמְרִי: מַאֲמָר קוֹנֶה קִנְיָן גָּמוּר — קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן

Now we’re going to get into the first scenario listed at the outset of the blog, “שְׁנֵי אַחִין בְּעוֹלָם אֶחָד”, so let’s reproduce it and look at the Gemara’s language for the challenge posed by אַבַּיֵי :

There are two brothers, Reuven and Shimon.
Reuven marries Chana, and Shimon marries Penina.
Reuven dies without children.
Before Shimon is מְיַבֵּם Chana, his mother gives birth to another brother Levi.
Levi’s relationship to Chana is אשת אחיו שלא היה בעולמו
Shimon dies before having the chance to do anything with Chana.
If you hold יֵשׁ זִיקָה, Chana would be an עֶרְוָה to Levi as אשת אחיו (albeit שלא היה בעולמו).
If you hold אֵין זִיקָה, Chana falls to Levi (since both of his brothers are dead) and he must do יִבּוּם or חַלִיצָה.

אֵיתִיבֵיהּ אַבָּיֵי: שְׁנֵי אַחִין בְּעוֹלָם אֶחָד, וָמֵת אֶחָד מֵהֶן בְּלֹא וָלָד, וְעָמַד הַשֵּׁנִי הַזֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹת מַאֲמָר בִּיבִמְתּוֹ, וְלֹא הִסְפִּיק לַעֲשׂוֹת בָּהּ מַאֲמָר עַד שֶׁנּוֹלַד לוֹ אָח, וּמֵת. הָרִאשׁוֹנָה — יוֹצְאָה מִשּׁוּם אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בְּעוֹלָמוֹ, וּשְׁנִיָּה — אוֹ חוֹלֶצֶת אוֹ מִתְיַיבֶּמֶת. וְאִי אָמְרַתְּ יֵשׁ זִיקָה, הָוְיָא לַהּ צָרַת אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בְּעוֹלָמוֹ בְּזִיקָה

So here is a proof, because we allow Chana to “get out of jail free” despite her being אשת אחיו to the יָבָם (Shimon), that we hold אֵין זִיקָה with regard to the distance created by שלא היה בעולמו. In addition to the רִאשׁוֹנָה (Chana) exiting the scene, that also enables Levi to either make יִבּוּם or חַלִיצָה to the שְׁנִיָּה (Penina) who is the צָרָה. In other words, in the realm of electro-chemical transmission, אשת אחיו שלא היה בעולמו constitutes a weak signal or bond with regard to זִיקָה.

The Gemara now goes deep into the weeds to rationalize how a סְתַּם or anonymous Mishnah reflects the opinion of רַב מֵאִיר that is consistent with אֵין זִיקָה. This will ultimately lead us to the case in our picture book on page 109 involving four brothers married, two of whom are married to two sisters. First we’ll cite the pertinent Gemara, and then reference the case:

הָא מַנִּי — רַבִּי מֵאִיר הִיא, דְּאָמַר: אֵין זִיקָה. וּמִי סְבִירָא לֵיהּ לְרַבִּי מֵאִיר אֵין זִיקָה? וְהָתְנַן: אַרְבָּעָה אַחִים, שְׁנַיִם מֵהֶן נְשׂוּאִים שְׁתֵּי אֲחָיוֹת, וּמֵתוּ הַנְּשׂוּאִין הָאֲחָיוֹת — הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ חוֹלְצוֹת וְלֹא מִתְיַיבְּמוֹת

History takes note of President John F, Kennedy’s heroism on PT-109 (Patrol Torpedo boat) in which several of his men were killed in an accident. Accidents happen.

Think of accidents happening as the rationale behind our case on Paginated Torah 109, in which the two brothers who are married to the two sisters die, leaving the two unmarried brothers remaining. We advise one of the two surviving brothers to make חַלִיצָה to both widowed sisters. Apparently we do that because, if we let one of the two surviving brothers make יִבּוּם on one sister, the second sister will be in limbo if the other surviving brother dies before having the chance to make יִבּוּם with her. This leads to another extended discussion in the Gemara of whether or not we are being מְבַטֵל the mitvzah of יְבָמִין if we hold אֵין זִיקָה. That in part is influenced by whether we make decision based on certainties or whether we allow for doubt based on the fact that unanticipated deaths happen that disrupt the flow of who falls to whom.

The next piece of Gemara references picture sequence 187 that appears in our picture book on page 214, which we covered at the end of yesterday’s blog as in illustration of יֵשׁ זִיקָה. I’ll re-post it here for reference:

  1. There are three brothers, Reuven, Shimon, and Levi.
  2. There are two sisters unrelated to the brothers, Machla and Noa
  3. Reuven marries Machla.
  4. Reuven dies, so Machla falls to Shimon and Levi.
  5. If you hold יֵשׁ זִיקָה, there is a strong bond of אַחוֹת אִישָׁה between Noa and Machla. Noa would therefore be off limits to both Shimon and Levi.
  6. If Levi wants to marry Noa, this would only be permitted if Shimon is willing to give Machla חַלִיצָה.

In the words of the Gemara: שׁוֹמֶרֶת יָבָם שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ אָחִיו אֶת אֲחוֹתָהּ, מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶּן בְּתִירָה אָמְרוּ: אוֹמְרִים לוֹ: הַמְתֵּן עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה אָחִיךָ מַעֲשֶׂה. וְאָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: הֲלָכָה כְּרַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶּן בְּתִירָה

A widow is waiting for her יָבָם to take her in יִבּוּם or perform חַלִיצָה. In the interim, the brother who married her sister dies. They said in the name of רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶּן בְּתִירָה: They say to the brother who betrothed her: Wait and do not marry your betrothed until your brother performs the requisite action of either חַלִיצָה or יִבּוּם. This is because until that time the levirate bond is still applicable and the woman betrothed to you is forbidden to you as the sister of a woman bonded to you (due to יֵשׁ זִיקָה). And Shmuel said: The halacha is in accordance with the opinion of רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בֶּן בְּתִירָה. From here one may infer that שְׁמוּאֵל holds that the levirate bond is substantial.

At this juncture it may be helpful to summarize the opinions being discussed according to the five principals involved, as ArtScroll does:

A. Rav Huna

  • Rules that when a woman who was awaiting her יָבָם dies, the יָבָם can marry her mother because there is no זִיקָה bond.
  • Nevertheless, while the יְבָמָה is alive, the יָבָם is not permitted to marry her mother. If he were to do so, the יְבָמָה would be designated as his wife’s daughter which is an עֶרְוָה, thereby negating the mitzvah incumbent upon the יָבָם.

B. Rav Yehuda

  • Rules that when a woman who was awaiting her יָבָם dies, the יָבָם cannot marry her mother because there is a זִיקָה bond.
  • Although the deceased יְבָמָה obviously no longer awaits יִבּוּם, the זִיקָה bond does not dissolve spontaneously with her death.

C. Rav Yehuda Ben Beseira

  • There is a זִיקָה bond which prevents a יָבָם who performed קִידוּשִׁין from performing נִישׂוּאִין and consummating his marriage until …
  • His brother dissolves the זִיקָה bond by doing יִבּוּם or חַלִיצָה.

D. Rav Meir

  • There is no זִיקָה bond. However …
  • It is forbidden to be מְבַטֵל the mitzvah incumbent on the יְבָמִין, even when there is doubt involved.

E. Rabban Gamliel

  • There is no זִיקָה bond.
  • It is permitted to be מְבַטֵל the mitzvah incumbent on the יְבָמִין, even by marring a relative of the woman awaiting יִבּוּם and thereby setting her free.

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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1 Response to Blog Yomi – Yevamos #17

  1. doctuhdon says:

    PT-109 😀

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