The rabbis use the additional word “and perform levirate marriage with her” to prove that only sexual relations is effective to acquire the yevamah. Money or a document is not.
The rabbis here tease out a bit more meaning from the extra heh at the end of the word “vayevamah”. The word itself teaches that if he has intercourse with her against her will, she is married to him. [Yes, this is very problematic. I might add that this does not at all mean that this should be done. Just that legally, consent is not necessary for levirate marriage because she consented to marry the brother]. The extra heh allows us to also learn that only sex completes the acquisition. Money and document do not.
How do we know that a woman who undergoes halitzah is free to marry whomever she wants? Again, this is something the rabbis know and is not really under debate. The rabbis just want to know how we know this.
The rabbis use the word “in Israel” to prove that once halitzah is performed by her removal of his shoe, she is permitted to marry whomever she wants.
The word “Israel” is already used up by another midrash—to teach that halitzah must be performed in a court of Jews and not in front of a court of non-Jews.
The word “in Israel” is written twice thus justifying its use in two midrashim.
The Talmud argues that both times that the word “Israel” appears are needed for other midrashim. The first is, as we saw above, that the court must consist of Jews. The second is that after the shoe is removed the Jews present must respond with a declaration. So again, if both instances of the word are used up, the word “in Israel” is not “free” to derive from it that a woman who has undergone halitzah is free to remarry whomever she wants.
The Talmud answers that the obligation to answer with a declaration comes from a different part of the verse. This frees up one instance of the word “Israel.”
Here we need to prove that a yevamah whose yavam died may marry anyone whom she wants.
The penalty for regular adultery is execution by strangulation (for both the man and woman). But a woman waiting for yibbum who has sex with another man has transgressed a negative commandment, but it is not penalized with the death penalty. Therefore, the rabbis argue, if the former can remarry at the death of her husband, all the more so can the latter.
The Talmud argues that a married woman is different from a yevamah because the former goes out through divorce whereas the latter does not.
The Talmud responds that the yevamah also has another means of being released from marraige—halitzah.
A married woman goes out at the death of her husband because he is the one who married her. But the yavam is not the one who married her. So how can his death free her?
R. Ashi points out that the yavam does in a sense bind her—had there not been any yavam, she would have gone free at the death of her husband. So the comparison is valid—just as a regular wife goes free at the death of her husband, so too the yevamah goes free at the death of her yavam.
Today’s section asks why a married woman cannot be released through halitzah, as is a yevamah and why a yevamah cannot be released through a get, as is a married woman. Again, these questions are theoretical. The rabbis know that halitzah works only for a yevamah. But they are asking why it does not work for a married woman or how we know it does not work.
While we might construe a logical argument for claiming that a married woman could have her marriage terminated through halitzah, the verse proves that only a document will sever the marriage.
The word “thus” in the passage about levirate marriage means that a yevamah goes out of the obligation for levirate marriage only through halitzah, and not through a get as does a regular wife.
This is a complicated argument embedded within another argument. Above, we learned not to make a kal vehomer in a case where a word implies that a certain act is “indispensable.” But the Talmud cites another case where an indispensable word exists and yet there is still a kal vehomer. The case refers to the goat on Yom Kippur upon whose head falls the lot to be a sin-offering. The midrash teaches that this goat becomes holy not by verbal designation but by the placing of the lot. It rejects a kal vehomer argument that would argue that designation also works to make it holy. But were it not for this midrash, the kal vehomer argument would be valid even though the word “statute” implies indispensableness. Thus indispensableness itself does not rule out making a kal vehomer argument to the contrary.
The Talmud now comes up with a new midrash to prove that a yevamah does not leave the marriage by divorce—the word “her” in the verse about divorce.
The problem with the word “her” is that even though it is written twice, it is needed for two other midrashim. One to teach that the get must be written with a specific woman in mind and the other to teach that two women cannot be divorced with one get. This means we still need a midrash to prove that a yevamah is not released with a get.
The Talmud now comes up with another midrash—the word “shoe” proves that the removal of his shoe (essentially what halitzah is) severs the tie with the yavam and nothing else, including a get.
The problem is again familiar—the word “shoe” is used for other midrashim. So how can we use it to teach that a yevamah is not released through a get?