הָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם כֹּהֲנִים וְכוּ׳ תָּנוּ רַבָּנַן הִכָּה זֶה וְחָזַר וְהִכָּה זֶה קִלֵּל זֶה וְחָזַר וְקִלֵּל זֶה קִלֵּל שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּבַת אַחַת הִכָּה שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּבַת אַחַת חַיָּיב רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר בְּבַת אַחַת חַיָּיב בָּזֶה אַחַר זֶה פָּטוּר § It is stated in the mishna that if both uncertain fathers were priests, the son is exempt from punishment for striking and for cursing them. The Sages taught: If he struck this uncertain father, and then struck that one, or if he cursed this one and then cursed that one, or if he cursed both of them simultaneously or struck both of them simultaneously, in all these cases he is liable to receive capital punishment, as one of them is certainly his father. Rabbi Yehuda says: Although if he struck or cursed both of them simultaneously he is liable, if he stuck or cursed them one after the other, he is exempt.
וְהָתַנְיָא רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר פָּטוּר בְּבַת אַחַת תְּרֵי תַּנָּאֵי אַלִּיבָּא דְּרַבִּי יְהוּדָה The Gemara asks: But isn’t it taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yehuda says: He is exempt even if he struck or cursed them simultaneously? The Gemara answers: These are the opinions of two tanna’im, and they each expressed their opinion in accordance with that of Rabbi Yehuda.
מַאי טַעְמָא דְּמַאן דְּפָטַר אָמַר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא נֶאֶמְרָה בְּרָכָה לְמַטָּה וְנֶאֶמְרָה בְּרָכָה לְמַעְלָה מָה לְמַעְלָה שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ שׁוּתָּפוּת אַף לְמַטָּה שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ שׁוּתָּפוּת וְאִיתַּקַּשׁ הַכָּאָה לִקְלָלָה The Gemara asks: What is the reasoning of the one who exempts the son from punishment? Rabbi Ḥanina said: Blessing is stated below (Leviticus 20:9), with regard to cursing parents, and blessing is stated above (Exodus 22:27), with regard to cursing God. The Sages used the word blessing as a euphemism for cursing, as it was their custom to avoid uncouth language. Just as the statement above, in Exodus, is referring to a curse that does not involve partnership, as God is One, so too the statement below, in Leviticus, is referring exclusively to a curse of a parent that does not involve partnership, i.e., when there is no doubt with regard to his identity. And striking is juxtaposed with cursing. Just as one is not liable for cursing when it is unclear who his father is, the same applies to striking.
וְעוֹלֶה בְּמִשְׁמָרוֹ וְכוּ׳ וְכִי מֵאַחַר דְּאֵינוֹ חוֹלֵק לָמָּה עוֹלֶה לָמָּה עוֹלֶה הָאָמַר בָּעֵינָא דְּנֶיעְבֵּיד מִצְוָה אֶלָּא עָלָה לָא קָתָנֵי אֶלָּא עוֹלֶה בְּעַל כׇּרְחוֹ § It is stated in the mishna: And he ascends to the Temple service with the priestly watch of both uncertain fathers. However, he does not receive a share of the offerings of either watch. The Gemara asks: Since he does not receive a share, why does he ascend? The Gemara is puzzled by this question: Why does he ascend? Doesn’t he naturally say: I wish to perform a mitzva by serving as a priest? The Gemara explains: However, note that the mishna does not state: If he ascended, but rather: He ascends, in the present tense. Apparently he is obligated to ascend, even against his will. Why is he under obligation to serve in the Temple?
אָמַר רַב אַחָא בַּר חֲנִינָא אָמַר אַבָּיֵי אָמַר רַבִּי אַסִּי אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹחָנָן מִשּׁוּם פְּגַם מִשְׁפָּחָה Rav Aḥa bar Ḥanina said that Abaye said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: He is obligated due to the potential family flaw, i.e., harm to the family name. If he does not serve with these watches, people will infer that both families are unfit for the priesthood, which is not the case.
וְאִם הָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּמִשְׁמָר כּוּ׳ מַאי שְׁנָא שְׁנֵי מִשְׁמָרוֹת דְּלָא דְּאָזֵיל לְהָא מִשְׁמָרָה וּמְדַחוּ לֵיהּ וְאָזֵיל לְהָא מִשְׁמָרָה וּמְדַחוּ לֵיהּ מִשְׁמָר אֶחָד נָמֵי אָזֵיל לְהַאי בֵּית אָב וּמְדַחוּ לֵיהּ It is stated in the mishna: And if both uncertain fathers were in one priestly watch, he receives one share. The Gemara asks: What is different about the case in which the uncertain fathers belonged to two priestly watches, with regard to which the mishna states that the son does not receive a share, and the case in which they belonged to the same watch? Just as in the case where they belonged to two watches, he goes to this watch to receive a share and they reject him, claiming that he belongs to the other watch, and he goes to that watch and they reject him in the same manner, so too, where they belonged to one watch, he goes to this patrilineal family to receive a share on their day, and they reject him, and the other patrilineal family rejects him too, as his true patrilineal family is unknown.
אָמַר רַב פָּפָּא הָכִי קָאָמַר אִם הָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם מִשְׁמָר אֶחָד וּבֵית אָב אֶחָד נוֹטֵל חֵלֶק אֶחָד Rav Pappa said that this is what the mishna is saying: If they were both in one priestly watch and one patrilineal family, he receives one share, as he cannot be rejected.
הֲדַרַן עֲלָךְ נוֹשְׂאִין עַל הָאֲנוּסָה
מִצְוַת חֲלִיצָה בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה דַּיָּינִין וַאֲפִילּוּ שְׁלָשְׁתָּן הֶדְיוֹטוֹת חָלְצָה בְּמִנְעָל חֲלִיצָתָהּ כְּשֵׁרָה בְּאַנְפִּילְיָא חֲלִיצָתָהּ פְּסוּלָה בְּסַנְדָּל שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ עָקֵב כָּשֵׁר וְשֶׁאֵין לוֹ עָקֵב פְּסוּל MISHNA: The mitzva of ḥalitza, the ritual through which the yavam frees the yevama of her levirate bonds, must be performed before three judges, and the ritual does not require the judges to be experts fit to adjudicate other matters, as even if all three are laymen, it is acceptable. If she performed ḥalitza while he was wearing a shoe made of soft leather that covers the whole foot, her ḥalitza is valid, but if she performed ḥalitza while he was wearing a soft shoe [anpileya] made of cloth, her ḥalitza is invalid, as it is not considered a real shoe. If ḥalitza was performed while he was wearing a sandal, i.e., footwear made of hard leather, that has a heel, it is valid; but if performed with a sandal without a heel, it is invalid ḥalitza.
מִן הָאַרְכּוּבָּה וּלְמַטָּה חֲלִיצָה כְּשֵׁרָה מִן הָאַרְכּוּבָּה וּלְמַעְלָה חֲלִיצָה פְּסוּלָה חָלְצָה בְּסַנְדָּל שֶׁאֵין שֶׁלּוֹ אוֹ בְּסַנְדָּל שֶׁל עֵץ אוֹ בְּשֶׁל שְׂמֹאל בְּיָמִין חֲלִיצָה כְּשֵׁרָה חָלְצָה בְּגָדוֹל שֶׁהוּא יָכוֹל לַהֲלוֹךְ בּוֹ אוֹ בְּקָטָן שֶׁהוּא חוֹפֶה אֶת רוֹב רַגְלוֹ חֲלִיצָתָהּ כְּשֵׁרָה If the leg of the yavam was amputated anywhere from the knee down and she performed ḥalitza as he wore a shoe on the stump of his leg, it is valid ḥalitza. If, however, the leg was amputated anywhere from the knee and above, and she performed ḥalitza as he wore a shoe on the stump of his leg, it is invalid ḥalitza. If she performed ḥalitza while the man was wearing a sandal that did not belong to him, or a sandal made of wood, or on the left shoe, which was being worn on his right foot, it is valid ḥalitza. If she performed ḥalitza as the man was wearing a shoe that was too large for him but which he can still walk in, or a shoe that was too small but that covered most of his foot, her ḥalitza is valid.
גְּמָ׳ וּמֵאַחַר דַּאֲפִילּוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה הֶדְיוֹטוֹת דַּיָּינִין לְמָה לִי הָא קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן דְּבָעֵינַן בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה שֶׁיּוֹדְעִים לְהַקְרוֹת כְּעֵין דַּיָּינִים תְּנֵינָא לְהָא דְּתָנוּ רַבָּנַן מִצְוַת חֲלִיצָה בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה שֶׁיּוֹדְעִין לְהַקְרוֹת כְּעֵין דַּיָּינִים רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר בַּחֲמִשָּׁה GEMARA: The Gemara asks: Now that the mishna says that even three laymen are qualified for ḥalitza, why do I need it to mention judges? It would be sufficient to say that the mitzva requires three people. The Gemara answers: This teaches us that we require three people who can at least dictate the verses read during the ḥalitza ritual to the participants like judges, as they are not complete laymen in that they are literate. The Gemara comments: We already learned this halakha in a baraita, as the Sages taught: The mitzva of ḥalitza is performed before three individuals who know how to dictate the verses like judges. Rabbi Yehuda says: Ḥalitza must be performed before five individuals acting as judges.
מַאי טַעְמָא דְּתַנָּא קַמָּא דְּתַנְיָא זְקֵנִים שְׁנַיִם וְאֵין בֵּית דִּין שָׁקוּל מוֹסִיפִין עֲלֵיהֶן עוֹד אֶחָד הֲרֵי כָּאן שְׁלֹשָׁה וְרַבִּי יְהוּדָה זִקְנֵי שְׁנַיִם זְקֵנִים שְׁנַיִם וְאֵין בֵּית דִּין שָׁקוּל מוֹסִיפִין עֲלֵיהֶן עוֹד אֶחָד הֲרֵי כָּאן חֲמִשָּׁה The Gemara discusses the dispute as to how many individuals must conducting the ḥalitza: What is the reason of the first tanna, who requires three? As it is taught in a baraita concerning ḥalitza: “His yevama shall ascend to the gate to the Elders” (Deuteronomy 25:7). Since the minimum number of the plural term “Elders” is two, and since, in order to prevent a paralyzing disagreement between an even number of judges, a court may not be composed of an even number of judges, one more is added to them. Therefore, there are three judges. And Rabbi Yehuda interprets the verse otherwise, for one verse states: “And the Elders of his city shall call him” (Deuteronomy 25:8), indicating a minimum of two judges, and it says in the following verse “Elders” another time, indicating an additional two people, and since a court may not be composed of an even number of judges, one more is added to them. Therefore, there are five judges.
וְתַנָּא קַמָּא הַאי זִקְנֵי מַאי עָבֵיד לֵיהּ מִיבְּעֵי לֵיהּ לְרַבּוֹיֵי אֲפִילּוּ שְׁלֹשָׁה הֶדְיוֹטוֹת The Gemara asks: And what does the first tanna do with this second appearance of the word “Elders”? The Gemara explains: He requires it for allowing the inclusion of even three laymen as presiding judges for ḥalitza. The word “Elders” would seem to limit ḥalitza to recognized judges, but since it is mentioned twice, it becomes an instance of the hermeneutic principle that one restrictive expression appearing after another restrictive expression comes to include some additional halakha. Therefore, repeating the restrictive term “Elders” twice actually comes to include laymen rather than exclude them.
וְרַבִּי יְהוּדָה הֶדְיוֹטוֹת מְנָא לֵיהּ נָפְקָא לֵיהּ מִלְּעֵינֵי דְּאָמַר מָר לְעֵינֵי פְּרָט לְסוֹמִים The Gemara asks: From where does Rabbi Yehuda derive the halakha that ḥalitza can be done in the presence of laymen? The Gemara answers: He derives it from what is written: “Before the eyes of the Elders” (Deuteronomy 25:9), for the Master said: “Before the eyes of” excludes blind individuals from being the judges conducting the ḥalitza.
וּמִדְּאִיצְטְרִיךְ לְעֵינֵי לְמַעוֹטֵי סוֹמִים שְׁמַע מִינַּהּ דַּאֲפִילּוּ הֶדְיוֹטוֹת דְּאִי סָלְקָא דַעְתָּךְ סַנְהֶדְרִין בָּעֵינַן לְמָה לִי לְמַעוֹטֵי סוֹמִין מִדְּתָנֵי רַב יוֹסֵף נָפְקָא דְּתָנֵי רַב יוֹסֵף כְּשֵׁם שֶׁבֵּית דִּין מְנוּקִּים בְּצֶדֶק כָּךְ בֵּית דִּין מְנוּקִּים מִכׇּל מוּם And since it was necessary to say “before the eyes of” to exclude blind individuals from being judges for ḥalitza, learn from here that even laymen are qualified to be judges for ḥalitza. For if it enters your mind to say that we require expert judges who are fit to sit on the high court of the Sanhedrin, then why do I need to exclude blind individuals? For that matter can be derived from a baraita that Rav Yosef taught, as Rav Yosef taught: Just as a court must be clean in righteousness, as they are careful to judge others justly, and are free of guilt and suspicion, likewise a court must be clean of any physical blemish, with judges who are physically complete.