הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁהָלְכָה הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם, שָׁלוֹם בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ וְשָׁלוֹם בָּעוֹלָם, וּבָאתָה וְאָמְרָה, מֵת בַּעְלִי, תִּנָּשֵׂא. מֵת בַּעְלִי, תִּתְיַבֵּם. שָׁלוֹם בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ וּמִלְחָמָה בָעוֹלָם, קְטָטָה בֵינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ וְשָׁלוֹם בָּעוֹלָם, וּבָאתָה וְאָמְרָה, מֵת בַּעְלִי, אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, לְעוֹלָם אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן בָּאתָה בוֹכָה וּבְגָדֶיהָ קְרוּעִין. אָמְרוּ לוֹ, אַחַת זוֹ וְאַחַת זוֹ, תִּנָּשֵׂא: With regard to a woman who went, she and her husband, overseas, if there was peace between him and her, i.e., the couple were not fighting at the time, and there was also peace in the world, i.e., there was no war at that time, and the woman came back by herself and said: My husband died, she may marry on the basis of her own testimony. Likewise, if she said: My husband died, and they did not have children, but her husband had a brother, she may enter into levirate marriage. If there was peace between him and her when they left but there was war in the world, or if there was a quarrel between him and her and peace in the world, and she came and said: My husband died, she is not deemed credible, as she may be mistaken or lying. Rabbi Yehuda says: She is never deemed credible when she testifies that her husband died, unless she came crying and her clothing was torn, in which case it is apparent that she is speaking the truth. They said to him: This is an incorrect distinction. Rather, both this woman who cries and this woman who does not cry may marry on the basis of their own testimony.
בֵּית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים, לֹא שָׁמַעְנוּ אֶלָּא בְּבָאָה מִן הַקָּצִיר, וּבְאוֹתָהּ מְדִינָה, וּכְמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁהָיָה. אָמְרוּ לָהֶן בֵּית שַׁמַּאי, אַחַת הַבָּאָה מִן הַקָּצִיר, וְאַחַת הַבָּאָה מִן הַזֵּיתִים, וְאַחַת הַבָּאָה מִן הַבָּצִיר, וְאַחַת הַבָּאָה מִמְּדִינָה לִמְדִינָה. לֹא דִבְּרוּ חֲכָמִים בַּקָּצִיר אֶלָּא בַהֹוֶה. חָזְרוּ בֵית הִלֵּל לְהוֹרוֹת כְּבֵית שַׁמָּאי: Beit Hillel say: We heard that one may accept the testimony of a woman concerning the death of her husband only when she comes from the grain harvest, and when she testified in the same country where he died, and in circumstances similar to the incident that occurred, in which a lenient ruling was issued, as will be explained. Beit Shammai said to Beit Hillel: The same halakha applies to a wife who comes from the grain harvest, and one who comes from the olive harvest, and also one who comes from the grape harvest, and even one who comes from one country to another country. Although the incident in question took place during the grain harvest, the Sages spoke of the grain harvest only because it was the present occurrence, i.e., that is what happened in practice, but this is no proof that she is deemed credible only when she arrived specifically from the grain harvest. The mishna comments: Beit Hillel retracted their opinion, and decided to teach in accordance with the opinion of Beit Shammai on this issue.
בֵּית שַׁמַּאי אוֹמְרִים, תִּנָּשֵׂא וְתִטֹּל כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. בֵּית הִלֵּל אוֹמְרִים, תִּנָּשֵׂא וְלֹא תִטֹּל כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. אָמְרוּ לָהֶן בֵּית שַׁמַּאי, הִתַּרְתֶּם עֶרְוָה חֲמוּרָה, לֹא תַתִּירוּ אֶת מָמוֹן הַקַּל. אָמְרוּ לָהֶן בֵּית הִלֵּל, מָצִינוּ שֶׁאֵין הָאַחִים נִכְנָסִים לַנַּחֲלָה עַל פִּיהָ. אָמְרוּ לָהֶם בֵּית שַׁמַּאי, וַהֲלֹא מִסֵּפֶר כְּתֻבָּתָהּ נִלְמֹד, שֶׁהוּא כוֹתֵב לָהּ, שֶׁאִם תִּנָּשְׂאִי לְאַחֵר, תִּטְּלִי מַה שֶׁכָּתוּב לִיכִי. וְחָזְרוּ בֵית הִלֵּל לְהוֹרוֹת כְּדִבְרֵי בֵית שַׁמָּאי: Beit Shammai say: A woman who testifies that her husband died may marry, and take the money guaranteed in her marriage contract. Beit Hillel say: She may marry, but she may not take her marriage contract, as qualified witnesses are required for monetary matters. Beit Shammai said to them: If you have permitted a woman potentially forbidden to him, which is a relatively stringent prohibition, based merely upon her own testimony, will we not permit a monetary matter, which is more lenient, as the money can be returned and this sin does not entail such a severe punishment? Beit Hillel said to them: This is no proof, as we find that the brothers do not come into the inheritance from the deceased brother based on her testimony. Evidently, although this testimony is accepted with regard to forbidden sexual relationships, it is not effective for monetary matters. Beit Shammai said to them: But we can learn this halakha from the scroll of the marriage contract, as every husband writes for her that: If you marry another man, take what is written for you in this contract. This shows that her right to receive the money of her marriage contract is dependent upon her eligibility to remarry. In this case, as she is deemed credible when she says her husband died and she may marry again, she is likewise entitled to the money of the marriage contract. And Beit Hillel again retracted their opinion, and decided to teach in accordance with the opinion of Beit Shammai.
הַכֹּל נֶאֱמָנִים לַהֲעִידָהּ, חוּץ מֵחֲמוֹתָהּ, וּבַת חֲמוֹתָהּ, וְצָרָתָהּ, וִיבִמְתָּהּ, וּבַת בַּעְלָהּ. מַה בֵּין גֵּט לְמִיתָה, שֶׁהַכְּתָב מוֹכִיחַ. עֵד אוֹמֵר מֵת, וְנִשֵּׂאת, וּבָא אַחֵר וְאָמַר לֹא מֵת, הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵצֵא. עֵד אוֹמֵר מֵת, וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים לֹא מֵת, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת, תֵּצֵא. שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים מֵת, וְעֵד אוֹמֵר לֹא מֵת, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִשֵּׂאת, תִּנָּשֵׂא: All are deemed credible when they come to give testimony with regard to the death of a woman’s husband, apart from her mother-in-law, the daughter of her mother-in-law, her rival wife, the wife of her yavam, and her husband’s daughter, her stepdaughter. The reason is that these women are likely to hate her and will lie to her detriment. The mishna explains: In the case of a divorce all people, including these women, may bring her bill of divorce and testify that it was written appropriately. What, then, is the difference between a bill of divorce and death? The mishna answers: The difference is that in the case of a bill of divorce the writing proves the accuracy of the testimony, i.e., her testimony is supported by the text of the document itself, whereas with regard to the death of her husband there is no proof apart from the statement of the woman herself. If one witness says: The man died, and the wife married based on this testimony, and one other witness came and said: He did not die, she need not leave her new husband due to this testimony. However, if one witness comes and says: The husband died, and two witnesses say: He did not die, then even though she married based on the first witness she must leave her new husband. If two witnesses say: He died, and one witness says: He did not die, the testimony of the two witnesses is accepted, and even though she did not yet marry, she may marry.
אַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְאַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת, זוֹ שֶׁאוֹמֶרֶת מֵת תִּנָּשֵׂא וְתִטֹּל כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. וְזוֹ שֶׁאוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת לֹא תִנָּשֵׂא וְלֹא תִטֹּל כְּתֻבָּתָהּ. אַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְאַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת נֶהֱרָג, רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר, הוֹאִיל וּמַכְחִישׁוֹת זוֹ אֶת זוֹ, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לֹא יִנָּשֵׂאוּ. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמְרִים, הוֹאִיל וְזוֹ וָזוֹ מוֹדוֹת שֶׁאֵינוֹ קַיָּם, יִנָּשֵׂאוּ. עֵד אוֹמֵר מֵת וְעֵד אוֹמֵר לֹא מֵת, אִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְאִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת, הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִנָּשֵׂא: If two women who were married to the same man come forward, and one of them says that the husband died, and the other one says he did not die, the one who says he died may marry on the basis of her own testimony, and she takes the money of her marriage contract. And the one who said he did not die may not marry, and does not take the money of her marriage contract. If one wife says: He died in a normal manner, and the other one says: He was killed, Rabbi Meir says: Since they contradict one another, these women may not marry. Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Shimon say: Since they both agree that he is not alive they may marry, despite the fact that they dispute the circumstances of his demise. If a witness says: He died, and a witness says: He did not die, or one woman says: He died, and another woman says: He did not die, this woman may not marry.
הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁהָלְכָה הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם, וּבָאָה וְאָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי, תִּנָּשֵׂא וְתִטֹּל כְּתֻבָּתָהּ, וְצָרָתָהּ אֲסוּרָה. הָיְתָה בַת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְכֹהֵן, תֹּאכַל בַּתְּרוּמָה, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, אֵין זוֹ דֶרֶךְ מוֹצִיאַתָּה מִידֵי עֲבֵרָה, עַד שֶׁתְּהֵא אֲסוּרָה לִנָּשֵׂא, וַאֲסוּרָה מִלֶּאֱכֹל בַּתְּרוּמָה: In the case of a woman who went, she and her husband, overseas, and she comes and says: My husband died, she may marry, and she takes her marriage contract based on her own testimony. And it remains prohibited for her rival wife to remarry, as a woman cannot testify on behalf of her rival wife. If the rival wife was an Israelite woman married to a priest, she may continue to partake of teruma, as she is not permitted to remarry, and therefore the presumption that the husband is still alive is maintained in relation to her. This is the statement of Rabbi Tarfon. Rabbi Akiva says: This is not the way to spare someone from transgression. According to the opinion of Rabbi Tarfon, there is a concern that she might be eating teruma unlawfully. There is no remedy for this situation unless it is prohibited for the rival wife to marry, as she cannot rely on the testimony of her rival wife, and it is also prohibited for her to partake of teruma, lest the other woman was speaking the truth. In other words, the halakha is stringent on both counts.
אָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת חָמִי, תִּנָּשֵׂא וְתִטֹּל כְּתֻבָּתָהּ, וַחֲמוֹתָהּ אֲסוּרָה. הָיְתָה בַת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְכֹהֵן, תֹּאכַל בַּתְּרוּמָה, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, אֵין זוֹ דֶרֶךְ מוֹצִיאַתָּה מִידֵי עֲבֵרָה, עַד שֶׁתְּהֵא אֲסוּרָה לִנָּשֵׂא, וַאֲסוּרָה לֶאֱכֹל בַּתְּרוּמָה. קִדֵּשׁ אַחַת מֵחָמֵשׁ נָשִׁים וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ אֵיזוֹ קִדֵּשׁ, כָּל אַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת אוֹתִי קִדֵּשׁ, נוֹתֵן גֵּט לְכָל אַחַת וְאֶחָת, וּמַנִּיחַ כְּתֻבָּה בֵּינֵיהֶן וּמִסְתַּלֵּק, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, אֵין זוֹ דֶרֶךְ מוֹצִיאַתּוּ מִידֵי עֲבֵרָה, עַד שֶׁיִּתֵּן גֵּט וּכְתֻבָּה לְכָל אַחַת וְאֶחָת. גָּזַל אֶחָד מֵחֲמִשָּׁה וְאֵין יוֹדֵעַ מֵאֵיזֶה גָזַל, כָּל אֶחָד אוֹמֵר אוֹתִי גָזַל, מַנִּיחַ גְּזֵלָה בֵּינֵיהֶן וּמִסְתַּלֵּק, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן. רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, אֵין זוֹ דֶרֶךְ מוֹצִיאַתּוּ מִידֵי עֲבֵרָה, עַד שֶׁיְּשַׁלֵּם גְּזֵלָה לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד: The mishna discusses a similar case. If a woman said: My husband died and afterward my father-in-law died, she may marry and take her marriage contract, and it is prohibited for her mother-in-law to remarry, as a woman may not testify on behalf of her mother-in-law. If the mother-in-law was the daughter of an Israelite married to a priest, she may partake of teruma; this is the statement of Rabbi Tarfon. Rabbi Akiva says: This is not the way to spare her from transgression; there is no remedy unless it is prohibited for the mother-in-law to marry and also prohibited for her to partake of teruma. In relation to the dispute between Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva in the previous mishna, in which Rabbi Akiva states that one must avoid a possible transgression, the mishna cites two similar cases involving other topics. With regard to one who betrothed one of five women, and he does not know which of them he betrothed, and each one of them says: He betrothed me, if he does not want to marry any of them he gives a bill of divorce to each and every one of them so none will have the status of a woman with regard to whom there is uncertainty whether she is divorced. And he leaves the marriage contract among them and departs. The marriage contract remains in dispute between the women until they clarify which of them is entitled to the money. This is the statement of Rabbi Tarfon. Rabbi Akiva says: This is not the way to spare someone from transgression, as perhaps the woman he actually betrothed will not receive the money to which she is entitled. There is no remedy unless he gives a bill of divorce and a marriage contract payment to each and every one. And likewise, in the case of one who stole money from one of five people and does not know from which of them he stole, and each one says: He stole from me, he leaves the stolen money among them and departs, and they will decide among themselves how to distribute the money; this is the statement of Rabbi Tarfon. Rabbi Akiva says: This is not the way to spare him from transgression; there is no remedy unless he pays each and every one of them.
הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁהָלְכָה הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם וּבְנָהּ עִמָּהֶם, וּבָאָה וְאָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת בְּנִי, נֶאֱמֶנֶת. מֵת בְּנִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת בַּעְלִי, אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת, וְחוֹשְׁשִׁים לִדְבָרֶיהָ, וְחוֹלֶצֶת וְלֹא מִתְיַבֶּמֶת: In the case of a woman who went, she and her husband, overseas, and her son was with them, and later she came back and said: My husband died and afterward my son died, she is deemed credible. It is permitted for her to remarry, and she is exempt from levirate marriage. The reason is that she had children when she left, and therefore she retains her presumptive status of one who is exempt from levirate marriage. However, if she said: My son died and afterward my husband died, she is not deemed credible, i.e., she may not enter into levirate marriage. And yet we are concerned and give some credence to her statement, in case she was actually widowed by a childless husband, and therefore she performs ḥalitza to exempt her from the levirate bond with her yavam, and she does not enter into levirate marriage.
נִתַּן לִי בֵן בִּמְדִינַת הַיָּם, וְאָמְרָה מֵת בְּנִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת בַּעְלִי, נֶאֱמֶנֶת. מֵת בַּעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת בְּנִי, אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת, וְחוֹשְׁשִׁים לִדְבָרֶיהָ, וְחוֹלֶצֶת וְלֹא מִתְיַבֶּמֶת: If she went with her childless husband and returned alone and testified: A son was born to me overseas, and she further said: My son died and afterward my husband died, she is deemed credible and may even enter into levirate marriage, as she was presumed to be childless when she left and consequently she retains that presumptive status. However, if she said: My husband died and afterward my son died, she is not deemed credible for the purpose of exempting her from levirate marriage, but the court is concerned about her statement. And therefore she must perform ḥalitza and she does not enter into levirate marriage.
נִתַּן לִי יָבָם בִּמְדִינַת הַיָּם, אָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת יְבָמִי, יְבָמִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ בַּעְלִי, נֶאֱמֶנֶת. הָלְכָה הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ וִיבָמָהּ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם, אָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת יְבָמִי, יְבָמִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ בַּעְלִי, אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת. שֶׁאֵין הָאִשָּׁה נֶאֱמֶנֶת לוֹמַר מֵת יְבָמִי, שֶׁתִּנָּשֵׂא. וְלֹא, מֵתָה אֲחוֹתִי, שֶׁתִּכָּנֵס לְבֵיתוֹ. וְאֵין הָאִישׁ נֶאֱמָן לוֹמַר מֵת אָחִי, שֶׁיְּיַבֵּם אִשְׁתּוֹ. וְלֹא, מֵתָה אִשְׁתִּי, שֶׁיִּשָּׂא אֲחוֹתָהּ: If she said: A yavam was born for me overseas, i.e., when the family left the country her husband did not have a brother, and she claims that in the meantime a brother was born to her husband, and she also said: My husband died and afterward my yavam died, or: My yavam died and afterward my husband died, in either case she is deemed credible. This is because when she left she was not presumed to require levirate marriage, and the suggestion that her husband now has a brother is based solely on her testimony. However, if she went, she and her husband and her yavam, overseas, and upon her return she said: My husband died and afterward my yavam died, or: My yavam died and afterward my husband died, she is not deemed credible, as a woman is not deemed credible if she says: My yavam died, in order that she may marry another man. And she is not deemed credible if she says that her sister died, in order that she may enter the house of her sister’s husband. And a man is not deemed credible if he says: My brother died, so that he may enter into levirate marriage with his brother’s wife, and he is not deemed credible when he says that his wife died, in order that he may marry his wife’s sister. The Sages accepted impaired testimony of this kind only when there was a concern about creating a situation of a deserted wife.