Tractate Derekh Eretz Rabbah
1א׳
1 א

פרק ראשון המקדש את האשה ה״ז אוסר עליו שבע עריות אלו הן אמה ואם אמה ואם אביה בתה בת בנה ובת בתה ואחותה בזמן שהיא קיימת וכולן שנאסרו עליו אין להן היתר לאיסורן חוץ מאחות אשתו שאינה אסורה אלא בחייה ולעולם אינו פוסל את אשתו על אמה ועל בתה ועל אחותה.

When a man betroths1On the terms ‘betrothal’ and ‘marriage’ in Jewish law, cf. Kallah, p. 401, n. 1. a woman, he debars himself from [marrying] seven blood relations, viz.: her mother, her mother’s mother, her father’s mother, her daughter, her son’s daughter, her daughter’s daughter and her sister while she herself is alive.2Cf. Yeb. 40a, b (Sonc. ed., p. 249). In all these who are prohibited to him, the interdict is never lifted except in the case of his wife’s sister who is forbidden to him only during her lifetime;3Cf. Lev. 18, 18. and never does he disqualify his wife [from cohabitation with him] through [his intercourse] with her mother, her daughter or her sister.4The law applies to all the seven relatives. The three are mentioned probably because one might have thought that, on account of their close relationship, his wife would in such a circumstance be forbidden to him. Cf. Yeb. 94b-95a (Sonc. ed., pp. 643ff.).

2 ב

נבעלה באונס מותרת לו ברצון אסורה לו והכהנת בין באונס בין ברצון אסורה לו . נתארסה נתגרשה נבעלה בין באונס בין ברצון אסורה לחזור לו דברי רבי ישמעאל שהיה רבי ישמעאל אומר (דברים כ״ד:ד׳) לא יוכל בעלה הראשון אשר שלחה לשוב לקחתה אחרי אשר הוטמאה. וכי מאין נטמאת זאת אלא זו שאמרו חכמים נבעלה באונס מותרת לו ברצון אסורה לו והכהנת בין באונס בין ברצון אסורה לו.

If [after betrothal the woman] was raped, she is permitted to him,5Cf. Deut. 22, 23-27. but should she have been a willing party she is forbidden to him. If she is the wife of a kohen, she is forbidden to him whether [it happened] under force or with her consent. [For it is stated, And she be not seized6Num. 5, 13, E.V. neither she be taken in the act. The phrase is interpreted by the Rabbis in the sense that she did not act under compulsion but willingly, referring to a married woman who was defiled secretly without witnesses to testify against her.—[only then] is she forbidden; if, however, she was seized7i.e. violated by force. she is permitted. There is another class of woman who is forbidden [to her husband] even though she had been seized; and who is that? The wife of a kohen.8Cf. Yeb. 56b (Sonc. ed., p. 378), Keth. 51b (Sonc. ed., p. 298). R. Ishmael9According to R. Ishmael there is no distinction between the wife of a kohen and a lay-Israelite in the case of rape. said: And she be not seized she is forbidden; consequently if she had been seized she is permitted. There is another class of woman who is permitted [to her husband] even if she had not been seized; and who is that? A woman whose betrothal was mistaken.10If, e.g., a condition were attached to the betrothal that remained unfulfilled. In such a case the woman may leave her husband without a geṭ, and in any subsequent intercourse, whether forced or willing, her status is that of an unmarried woman who had never been previously married. The passage within brackets is added by GRA and is necessary, otherwise R. Ishmael would be contradicting himself. Cf. Yeb. 100b (Sonc. ed., p. 692), Keth. loc. cit.]
If a divorcee who became betrothed was seduced, whether under force or of her free will, she is forbidden to return to her former husband.11If her second husband subsequently died or divorced her. She is, however, permitted to remarry her former husband after betrothal alone, where no marriage with the second man took place and he died. This is the opinion of R. Jose b. Ḳippar in the name of R. Eleazar b. Shammua‘. This is the reasoning by which R. Jose b. Ḳippar expounded his view:12This is the reading of GRA as against V and H, who name R. Ishmael as the authority. [It is written,] Her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled.13Deut. 24, 4. In what circumstances did she become defiled?14If she was legally married to the second husband the term defiled is inapplicable. It can only be explained by what the Sages have said: If a woman [after betrothal] was forcibly seduced, she is permitted to [her husband]; if she was a willing party she is forbidden to him; but in this case,15Of the divorcee who became betrothed and was then seduced. This is the reading of GRA. V and H have ‘the wife of a kohen’. whether under compulsion or of her free will she is forbidden to return to her former husband.16So GRA. V and H ‘to him’.

3 ג

זה מדרש דרש רבי יוסי בן כיפר משום ר״א בן שמוע כל האסורות לו איסור ערוה ובא עליהן אין צריכות ממנו גט חוץ מאחות אשתו ואשת אחיו ואשת איש שיש להן היתר אחר איסורן.

17V and H insert here ‘and this is the reasoning by which R. Jose b. Ḳippar expounded in the name of R. Eleazar b. Shammua‘’. None of the women forbidden to him on account of incest requires a geṭ from him if he married any of them18Such an unlawful marriage is regarded merely as harlotry, and we do not fear lest people infer that a married woman may leave her husband and remarry without a geṭ. except his wife’s sister,19Whom he married after he had been told that his wife, who had gone overseas, was dead. his brother’s wife20Whom he married on the evidence that his brother (the woman’s husband) was dead but later returned. The requirement of a divorce in these cases is only a preventive measure against the possibility of assuming that the second marriage was legal, and hence inferring that a married woman may leave her husband to marry another without a geṭ. and a married woman,21Whose husband was reported by one witness to be dead and she remarried with the sanction of a Beth Din who accepted the evidence, and later the husband returned. In such a case the woman requires a divorce from her second husband as a preventive measure against the possibility of assuming that the first had divorced her and the second had married her legally, and consequently a married woman may leave her husband without a geṭ. Cf. Yeb. 94b (Sonc. ed., p. 641). because these have a termination to their prohibition.22lit. ‘a permission after their prohibition’; e.g. by the death of his wife, by the death of his brother and by being divorced.

4 ד

זה מדרש דרש רבי חנינא בן אורי לפני חכמים משום רבי נתן כל שהוא בלא יבא הוולד פסול ופוסל בביאה. ואלו הן עמוני מואבי מצרי ואדומי עבד ממזר נתין עובד כוכבים חלל בת חלל כשרה אע״פ שהוא בלא יבא.

The following exposition was given by R. Ḥanina b. Uri before [a gathering of] the Sages in the name of R. Nathan: Anyone who is included in the category Shall not enter [into the assembly of the Lord]23Deut. 23, 2-4. disqualifies a woman by his cohabitation24From marrying a kohen or from eating terumah if she was the daughter of a kohen. Cf. Ḳid. 74b (Sonc. ed., pp. 381f.). and disqualifies the child.25From his marriage. Such a child cannot be counted as belonging to the community. The reading of GRA is followed. They are: an Ammonite,26Deut. 23, 4. Moabite,27ibid. Egyptian,28ibid. 8f. Idumean,29ibid. slave, bastard, nathin,30A descendant of the Gibeonites; cf. Josh. 9, 27. Samaritan31Cuthean (Samaritan) was probably substituted from fear of the censor for an original goï (heathen). and a ḥalal.32One unfit for the priesthood on account of his father’s illegitimacy. The daughter of a ḥalal is fit33To marry even a kohen. although [her father] is within [the category of] shall not enter.34This is in accordance with the opinion of R. Dosethai b. Judah in Ḳid. 77a (Sonc. ed., p. 395), who maintained that as the sons of Israel are a miḳweh of purification for ḥalaloth, so are the daughters a miḳweh of purification for ḥalalim, so that their issue is eligible for the priesthood. The Mishnah (ibid.) states: The daughter of a ḥalal is unfit to the priesthood for all time.

5 ה

כל האסורות לו איסור ערוה ובא עליהן מותר בקרובותיהן. הבא על אשת איש מותר בבתה.

If a man had intercourse with any of the women prohibited to him as forbidden relatives, he is still permitted to marry her near relatives.35Only relatives of a married wife are subject to the law of incest. [For instance,] he who had intercourse with a married woman is permitted to marry her daughter.

6 ו

זו שאלה שאל רבי יוסי בן תדאי איש טבריא את ר״ג מה אשתי שאני מותר בה אני אסור בבתה אשת איש שאני אסור בה אינו דין שאהיה אסור בבתה. אמר לו צא ופרנס לי כהן גדול. שכתב בו (ויקרא כ״א:י״ד) כי אם בתולה מעמיו וגו׳ ואני אפרנס לך כל ישראל דבר אחר אין דנין דבר לעקור דבר מן התורה ונדהו ר״ג.

This is the question which R. Jose b. Taddai of Tiberias put to Rabban Gamaliel: If I, who may cohabit with my wife, am prohibited from marrying her daughter, how much more should I be prohibited from marrying the daughter of a married woman, seeing that I am prohibited from cohabiting with her!36The purpose of this a fortiori argument is to point out that one should not be allowed to marry anyone except the daughter of a widow or of a divorcee, because these are no longer a man’s wife. He replied to him: Go and provide me [a wife] for the High Priest of whom it is written, A virgin of his own people shall he take to wife,37Lev. 21, 14. and I will provide you [with wives] for Israel.38Since a High Priest may not marry a widow or a divorcee, their daughters also ought to be prohibited according to R. Jose’s argument, and this would be contrary to the Scriptural text. Hence the reasoning must be fallacious. The premise is false, viz. that he is permitted to cohabit with his wife who was the daughter of a married woman. Another explanation39The Yalḳuṭ omits the words ‘another explanation’. [in refutation of the reasoning is that] we do not use an a fortiori argument to abrogate a specific law of Scripture.40It is explicitly stated, He shall take to wife, but if we adopt R. Jose’s argument, a High Priest could never marry. Rabban Gamaliel excommunicated him.41The Yalḳuṭ omits this sentence.

7 ז

כל האסורות לו איסור ערוה ובא עליהן (לא) פסלן מן הכהונה. נדה אף על פי שחייב על ביאתה הוולד כשר להיות עומד ומקריב על גבי המזבח. הנבעלת ממי שאינו איש אף על פי שחייבת בהכרת לא פסלה מן הכהונה. א״ר יוסי מעשה בריבה אחת בהיתלי שהיתה מכבדת הבית ובא הקוף ובעלה מאחוריה ובא מעשה לפני חכמים ולא פסלוה מן הכהונה.

If a man cohabits with any woman forbidden him as incest, he does not thereby disqualify her from marrying a kohen.42Cf. Yeb. 61b (Sonc. ed., p. 409) where R. ‘Aḳiba maintains that the term harlot forbidden to a kohen applies only to one who is in fact a prostitute. GRA omits ‘not’. Higger quotes the suggestion of Prof. L. Ginzberg that there is a scribal error through dittography and the text should read: ‘Not only is the child a bastard but he even disqualifies her from marrying a kohen’. [If a kohen cohabits with his wife when she is] niddah, although he is liable to a penalty for the intercourse,43Cf. Lev. 18, 19. the child [who is conceived] is qualified to stand and offer sacrifices upon the altar.44The offspring of a forbidden but valid marriage cannot be considered a ḥalal. Cf. Yeb. 60a (Sonc. ed., p. 399).
A woman who had intercourse with that which is not a human being,45i.e. an animal; ibid. 59b (Sonc. ed., p. 397). although she is in consequence subject to the penalty of kareth,46If the offence was committed in the presence of witnesses after due warning, the penalty is stoning (Lev. 20, 16); in the absence of witnesses and warning, she is under the penalty of kareth. she is not disqualified from marrying a kohen. R. Jose said: It once happened at Haitali47The Babylonian form of Aitalu, the modern Aiterun, N.W. of Ḳadesh; cf. S. Klein, Beiträge, p. 47. that while a young woman was cleaning the floor48lit. ‘house’; she must have been kneeling. a gorilla49In Yeb. loc. cit., ‘a wild dog’. came and covered her from the rear. When the case came before the Sages, they did not disqualify her from marrying a kohen.

8 ח

אלו הן שניות אם אביו ואם אמו ואשת אבי אמו ואשת אבי אביו ואשת בן בנו ואשת בן בתו ואשת אחי אביו מאמו ואשת אחי אמו מן האב. בר קפרא מוסיף אם אבי אביו ואם אבי אמו אשת אחי אביו אסורה לו ובתו מותרת לו ואחי אביו מותר באשתו ובבתו. אשת אחי אמו אסורה לו ובתו מותרת לו ואחי אמו מותר באשתו ובבתו אשת חמיו ואשת חתנו הרי אלו מותרות לו אבל אמרו חכמים אשת חמיו אסורה מפני מראית העין ובתה מותרת לו. בת חורגו אסורה לו ואשתו מותרת לו. וחורגו מותר באשתו ובבתו. נושא אדם אשת בן אחיו ואשת בן אחותו .

The following are the forbidden relatives in the second degree: his father’s mother, his mother’s mother,50The Bible only prohibits a man’s mother and the Rabbis extended the prohibition to his mother’s mother on account of his mother. His father’s mother is likewise prohibited as they are both called ‘grand-mothers’. the wife of his mother’s father, the wife of his father’s father,51The previous note applies here mutatis mutandis. the wife of his son’s son, the wife of his daughter’s son, the wife of a father’s maternal brother, the wife of a mother’s paternal brother. Bar Ḳappara adds the mother of his father’s father and the mother of his mother’s father. The wife of his father’s brother is forbidden to him52Lev. 18, 14. but the daughter [his cousin] is permitted to him; his father’s brother is permitted to marry his53The nephew’s. wife or his daughter; the wife of his mother’s brother is forbidden to him but his daughter is permitted to him. His mother’s brother is permitted to marry [the nephew’s] wife or daughter.
A man is permitted to marry the wife of his father-in-law54Cf. Yeb. 21a (Sonc. ed., p. 124). and the wife of his son-in-law, but the Sages said that the wife of his father-in-law is not permitted to him because of appearance’s sake; [the mother-in-law’s] daughter is permitted to him.55After the death of her sister, his wife. A man may not marry the daughter of his stepson,56It is forbidden in Lev. 18, 17, and is not an incest of the second degree. It is only included here on account of the clause that follows. Cf. Yeb. loc. cit. but [the stepson’s] wife is permitted to him. His stepson is permitted to marry [the stepfather’s] wife and daughter. A man may marry the wife of his brother’s son and the wife of his sister’s son.57This is a repetition of what is stated above in connection with a nephew’s wife and daughter. [A table of prohibited marriages is provided in Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Leviticus, pp. 186f., Sonc. ed., p. 559.]

9 ט

המחזיר גרושתו משנשאת אסורה לבעלה (וחולצת וצרתה מותרת ליבם. והוא שבא על אחות חלוצתו אסורה לבעלה וחולצת) ואסורה ליבם. אשת כשר ויש לו אח פצוע דכא מותרת לבעלה ואסורה ליבם. צרת סוטה מותרת לבעלה ואסורה ליבם. ואחיו שבא על אחות גרושתו [או אחות] חלוצתו מותרת לבעלה ואסורה ליבם. (בעל) אשתו של פצוע דכא ויש לו אח כשר מותרת ליבם ואסורה לבעל. סוטה אסורה לזה ולזה. חלוצה אסורה לזה ולזה. אשתו של פצוע דכא ויש לו אח פצוע דכא אסורה לזה ולזה.

If a man remarried his divorced wife after her marriage [with a second husband who subsequently died or divorced her], he may not cohabit with her, neither may a levir marry her [if her husband died childless].58So GRA. Cf. Yeb. 11b-12a (Sonc. ed., pp. 57f.). The wife of a fit man who has a brother who is crushed in his privy parts59Deut. 23, 2. is permitted to her husband but is prohibited to the levir.60If her husband died childless. The rival61Where a husband has more than one wife, each woman is a ‘rival’ in relation to the other. of a soṭah is permitted to her husband but forbidden to the levir.62Both the rival and the soṭah are exempt from the levirate marriage and ḥaliẓah, because a soṭah is in the same category as a forbidden relative.
A man who married a sister of his brother’s divorced wife or a sister of his brother’s ḥaluẓah, [though this sister] is permitted to her husband she is forbidden to the levir [if her husband died childless].
The wife of a man crushed in his privy parts who has a fit brother, though forbidden to her husband,63Cf. Deut. 23, 2. is permitted to the levir. A soṭah is forbidden both to the husband and to the levir.64lit. ‘to this one and to that one’. A ḥaluẓah is likewise forbidden to both. The wife of a man crushed in his privy parts whose brother is similarly maimed is forbidden to both.

10 י

הגיורת והשבויה והמשוחררת ואלמנת עיסה וסוטה חלוצה גרושה וחללה פסולות מן הכהונה נשאו לישראל בנותיהן כשרות לכהונה.

A female proselyte, captive woman, freed woman,65These are presumed to have had intercourse. the widow of one who was of mixed family,66lit. ‘a widow of dough’. ‘Dough’ is a designation for a mixed community or family, i.e. with an admixture of illegitimate persons or persons of doubtful legitimacy. The reference here is to a girl, and not necessarily to a widow of a member, of such a mixed family. This is in accordance with the opinion of Rabban Gamaliel; cf. Keth. 14a (Sonc. ed., p. 76). a soṭah, [56a] ḥaluẓah, divorcee and a ḥalalah are unfit to marry a kohen. If they were married to a lay-Israelite, the daughters [of the union] are fit to marry a kohen.67Cf. Ḳid. 77a (Sonc. ed., pp. 393f.).

11 יא

הבא על השפחה חייב עליה משום ארבע עשרה לאוין וכרת בידי שמים משום לא תזרע כרמך כלאים ומשום לא תחרוש ומשום לא תלבש שעטנז (ומשום לא תרצח) ומשום לא תנאף ומשום לא (תגנוב ולא תענה ולא) תחמוד משום אשת אב משום אשת אח משום שפחה משום זונה משום נדה משום עובדת כוכבים . אם היה ישראל וחלל עצמו וזרעו בעובדת כוכבים לא יהיה לו ער בחכמים ועונה בתלמידים. ואם היה כהן לא יהיה לו בן מגיש מנחה לה׳ צבאות:

He who cohabits with a maidservant is liable to the penalty for transgressing fourteen negative commands and also to the penalty of kareth at the hand of Heaven, viz.: Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind;68Lev. 19, 19. The list given here is according to the text of GRA. Cf. Sanh. 82a (Sonc. ed., pp. 543f.). Thou shalt not sow thy field with two kinds of seed;69ibid. Neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together;70ibid. Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with two kinds of seed;71Deut. 22, 9. Thou shalt not plough [with an ox and an ass together];72ibid. 10. Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff;73ibid. 11. All these laws forbid ‘mixtures’. Thou shalt not commit adultery;74Ex. 20, 13. Thou shalt not covet;75ibid. 14. And thou shalt not lie with any beast;76Lev. 18, 23. Neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God;77ibid. 21. also one on account of [laws concerning] a non-Jewish maidservant, a harlot, a niddah and a heathen woman. And one punishment of kareth, as it is stated, May the Lord cut off to the man that doeth this him that calleth and him that answereth out of the tents of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts.78Mal. 2, 12. If he was a lay-Israelite and profaned his seed with a maidservant or a heathen woman, he will have no ‘awakening’79i.e. instruction. ‘Awakening’ and ‘responding’ correspond in the Heb. to him that calleth and him that answereth in Mal. 2, 12. among the Sages and no ‘responding’ among the disciples. If he was a kohen, he will not have a son that offereth an offering unto the Lord of hosts.

12 יב

הנושא אשה ההוגנת לו אליהו נושקו והקב״ה אוהבו. והנושא אשה שאינה הוגנת לו הקב״ה שונאו ואליהו רצעו. אוי לו לפוסל את זרעו ולפוגם את משפחתו ולנושא אשה שאינה הוגנת לו. וכל הפוסל פסול ואינו מדבר בשבחו של עולם.

Who marries a wife fitting for him;80i.e. of good lineage and standing. Elijah kisses and the Holy One, blessed be He, loves him; but who takes a wife who is not fitting for him, Elijah binds and the Holy One, blessed be He, lashes him.81This is the reading of GRA in agreement with Ḳid. 70a (Sonc. ed., p. 354). V has ‘the Holy One, blessed be He, hates and Elijah lashes’. Woe to him who disqualifies his seed, blemishes his family and takes to wife one who is not fit for him. He who is himself unfit [continually] declares [others to be] unfit82So GRA. and never speaks well of anybody.83lit. ‘in praise of the world’. Cf. DEZ. VIII, 10.

13 יג

אבא חלפי אומר משום אבא חגרת אביו אל תהי פרוץ בנדרים שלא תמעול בשבועות ואל תתארח אצל כהן עם הארץ שמא יאכילך בקדשי שמים לא תרבה שיחה עם האשה שכל שיחתה של אשה אינה אלא דברי ניאופים. רבי אחי בר יאשיה אומר כל הצופה בנשים סוף שהוא בא לידי עבירה . וחכמים אומרים כל המסתכל בעקיבה של אשה גוזרים עליו שיהו לו בנים בעלי מומין. וכל מי שאין בו בושת פנים במהרה הוא חוטא שנאמר (ישעיהו ג׳:ט׳) הכרת פניהם ענתה בם. וכל מי שיש בו בושת פנים לא במהרה הוא חוטא שנאמר (שמות כ׳:י״ז) ובעבור תהיה יראתו על פניכם לבלתי תחטאו. רבי מייש׳ בר בריה דרבי יהושע בן לוי אומר כל הרואה דבר ערוה ואינו זן את עיניו ממנו זוכה ומקבל פני השכינה שנאמר (ישעיהו ל״ג:ט״ו) ועוצם עיניו מראות ברע מה כתיב בתריה הוא מרומים ישכון וכתיב (שם) מלך ביפיו תחזינה עיניך:

Abba Hilfai said in the name of his father Abba Ḥagra: Do not be rash in making vows that you may not trespass in the matter of oaths,84Which are more stringent; cf. Ned. 20a (Sonc. ed., p. 56), Demai II, 3 (Sonc. ed., p. 58). and do not be the guest of a kohen who is an ‘am ha-’areẓ lest he give you consecrated food85e.g. terumah. According to this reading the exhortation is to a non-kohen. R.N. (cf. Ned. loc. cit.) reads ‘unclean consecrated food’, which was forbidden even to a kohen, in which case the exhortation is addressed to a kohen. to eat. Do not converse much with women because every conversation with a woman is only about unchastity.86This statement is not meant to be derogatory of women, who were held in high esteem, but was conditioned by the prevailing laxity in morals which characterized many of the ancient peoples. Cf. Herford, Talmud and Apocrypha, pp. 163ff. [See also Büchler, Types of Jewish-Palestinian Piety, p. 66, n. 2.] The saying is based on Aboth I, 5 (Sonc. ed., p. 4). R. Aḥi of the School87V and H read ‘son of’. of R. Josiah said: He who gazes at a woman eventually comes to sin, and he who looks upon a woman’s heel will beget degenerate children,88‘And he who looks’, etc., is the reading of GRA. V and H have: ‘And the Sages said: It is decreed against one who looks’, etc. and he who has no shamefacedness89i.e. whoever is impudent. is easily led to sin; as it is stated, The show of their countenance doth witness against them [and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not].90Isa. 3, 9. But he who is shamefaced91i.e. is not callous, but feels humiliated when he does wrong. will not easily sin, as it is stated, [And Moses said unto the people, fear not; for God is come to prove you] that His fear may be before your face that ye sin not.92Ex. 20, 17. Face is understood as shamefacedness. Cf. Yeb. 79a (Sonc. ed., p. 535) where a sense of shame is said to be one of the characteristics of the Jew.
R. Measha,93[This is the correct form of the name; cf. Bacher, Ag. d. pal. Amoräer, III, p. 614. Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus, XXIII, 13, Sonc. ed., p. 303, reads ‘Menashyah’.] grandson of R. Joshua b. Levi, said: One who looks at a naked part of the body and does not feed his eyes on it94i.e. his gaze is not for the purpose of lustful pleasure. will merit to receive the Divine Presence; as it is stated, And [he that] shutteth his eyes from looking upon evil,95Isa. 33, 15. and immediately after it is written, He shall dwell on high,96ibid. 16. and it is written, Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty.97ibid. 17. King is here understood of God.