שנאמר (שיר השירים ד, ז) כולך יפה רעיתי ומום אין בך ואידך ההוא לעיני מאי עביד ליה ההוא לכדרבא הוא דאתא דאמר רבא צריכי דייני למיחזי רוקא דקא נפיק מפומא דיבמה דכתיב לעיני הזקנים וירקה This is as it is stated: “You are entirely beautiful, my love, and there is no blemish in you” (Song of Songs 4:7). If the Elders conducting ḥalitza needed to be expert judges, there would be no reason to explicitly exclude the blind, as they are unfit to be judges in a regular court. Evidently it is permitted for laymen to be judges for ḥalitza, and only blind individuals are excluded. The Gemara asks: And the other Sage, the first tanna, what does he do with the verse “before the eyes of”? The Gemara answers: That verse comes for that which Rava taught, as Rava said: The judges must see the spittle that exits from the mouth of the yevama as part of the ceremony of ḥalitza, as it is written: “His yevama shall approach him, before the eyes of the Elders, and remove his shoe from on his foot and spit before him and respond and say: So shall it be done to the man who does not build his brother’s house” (Deuteronomy 25:9).
ואידך נמי מיבעי ליה לכדרבא אין ה"נ ואלא הדיוטו' מנא ליה נפקא מבישראל ישראל כל דהו The Gemara asks: If so, the other Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, should also require “before the eyes” to teach Rava’s statement. The Gemara answers: Yes, this is so, as Rabbi Yehuda understands “before the eyes” as requiring the judges to see the spittle. But then from where does he derive the eligibility of laymen? He derives it from the phrase: “In Israel,” in the verse “And his name shall be called in Israel” (Deuteronomy 25:10), which indicates that any Israelite, even one who is not an expert judge, may preside over ḥalitza.
ואידך האי ישראל מאי עביד ליה מיבעי ליה לכדתני רב שמואל בר יהודה בישראל בב"ד של ישראל ולא בב"ד של גרים The Gemara asks: And with regard to the other Sage, the first tanna, what does he do with this phrase: “In Israel”? The Gemara answers: He requires it for that which was taught by Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda: “In Israel” means in a court of Israelites from birth, and not in a court of converts. The mitzva of ḥalitza must be conducted by judges who can trace their lineage to other Jews from birth, and not converts.
ואידך בישראל אחרינא כתיב ואידך מיבעי ליה לכדתניא א"ר יהודה פעם אחת היינו יושבין לפני רבי טרפון ובאה יבמה לחלוץ ואמר לנו ענו כולכם חלוץ הנעל The Gemara asks: And with regard to the other Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, from where does he derive this halakha? The Gemara answers: “In Israel” is written another time as well (Deuteronomy 25:7, 10), and that is the source of this principle. And the other, the first tanna, what does he do with this additional “In Israel”? The Gemara explains: He requires it for that which is taught in a baraita, that Rabbi Yehuda said: Once we were sitting in study before Rabbi Tarfon, and a yevama came to perform ḥalitza, and he said to us: After the ḥalitza is completed, you should all respond: “He who had his shoe removed.” He understands the verse “His name shall be called in Israel” (Deuteronomy 25:10) to mean that all those who witness the ḥalitza must respond: “He who had his shoe removed” (Deuteronomy 25:10).
ואידך מונקרא נפקא The Gemara asks: And the other, Rabbi Yehuda, from where did he derive this halakha? The Gemara answers: He derives it from the phrase “Shall be called,” that those who attend the ḥalitza must respond aloud.
אלא מעתה וקראו שנים ודברו שנים הכי נמי לר' יהודה הרי כאן תשעה לרבנן הרי כאן שבעה The Gemara returns to the dispute concerning the number of judges: However, if that is so, that the plural term “Elders” indicates the need for additional judges, there are other plural terms written in the verse that should also indicate the need for additional judges. As the verse states: “And they shall call”; this is referring to two people. “And they shall speak” indicates two more. Therefore, according to Rabbi Yehuda’s interpretation there should be nine judges here, and according to the Rabbis there should be seven here.
ההוא מיבעי ליה לכדתניא וקראו לו ולא שלוחם ודברו אליו מלמד שמשיאין לו עצה ההוגנת לו שאם היה הוא ילד והיא זקנה הוא זקן והיא ילדה אומרים לו מה לך אצל ילדה מה לך אצל זקנה כלך אצל שכמותך ואל תכניס קטטה לתוך ביתך The Gemara answers: That verse is necessary for him to derive the halakha that is taught in a baraita: “They shall call him” means the judges themselves and not their agents. “They shall speak to him” teaches that they give him counsel appropriate for him concerning whether he should perform levirate marriage or ḥalitza. For example, if he was a young boy and she was elderly, or if he was elderly and she was a young girl, they would tell him not to enter into levirate marriage because: What are you doing with a young girl if you are an old man? What are you doing with an elderly woman if you are a young boy? Go be with someone like yourself, closer to your own age, and do not bring a quarrel into your household, as the age difference will be a cause for disputes and strife later.
אמר רבא אר"נ הלכה חליצה בשלשה הואיל וסתם לן תנא כוותיה א"ל רבא לר"נ אי הכי מיאון נמי דתנן המיאון והחליצה בשלשה Rava said that Rav Naḥman said: The halakha is that ḥalitza takes place before three men, since the tanna taught us this opinion as an unattributed mishna in the beginning of the chapter, in accordance with this opinion, indicating that this is the halakha. After he heard him say this, Rava said to Rav Naḥman: If that is so, then declarations of refusal, written on behalf of a girl who as a minor was married to a man by her brother or mother after the death of her father, and is given the right to refuse the marriage upon reaching majority, also should be performed before three men. As we learned in a mishna (25b): Declarations of refusal and ḥalitza are performed before three judges.
וכ"ת הכי נמי והתניא מיאון בית שמאי אומרים ב"ד מומחין וב"ה אומרים בב"ד ושלא בב"ד אלו ואלו מודים שצריך שלשה ר' יוסי בר' יהודה ור' אלעזר ברבי יוסי מכשירין בשנים ואמר רב יוסף בר מניומי אמר רב נחמן הלכה כאותו הזוג And if you would say that indeed three men are required, but isn’t it taught in a baraita: With regard to refusal, Beit Shammai say that a declaration of refusal may be performed only by a court of experts, and Beit Hillel say: It may be performed in a court of experts, or not in a court of experts. Both concede that whether the judges are experts or not, three men are required. On the other hand, Rabbi Yosei, son of Rabbi Yehuda, and Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, validate declarations of refusal even before two men. And Rav Yosef bar Minyumi said that Rav Naḥman said: The halakha follows that pair. Evidently, Rav Naḥman is willing to rule differently from the unattributed mishna that rules that three judges are necessary for ḥalitza.
התם חד סתמא והכא תרי סתמי התם נמי תרי סתמי נינהו דתנן מיאנה או שחלצה בפניו ישאנה מפני שהוא בב"ד The Gemara answers: There, with respect to declarations of refusal, there is only one unattributed mishna (Sanhedrin 2a) that states that refusals are performed before three judges, and here, there are two unattributed mishnayot that state that ḥalitza is performed before three judges, both here and also in that same mishna in tractate Sanhedrin. The Gemara challenges the previous claim: There too, with regard to refusals, there are two unattributed mishnayot, as we learned in a mishna (25b): If she made a declaration of refusal or performed ḥalitza before a judge, this judge may marry her if he wishes to, as there is no suspicion of ulterior motives, because he is a member of a court. This mishna implies that declarations of refusal may take place only before a court.
אלא התם תרי סתמי הכא תלתא סתמי The Gemara concedes: Rather, there, with regard to refusals, there are only two unattributed statements found in the mishna, and here, with regard to ḥalitza, there are three unattributed statements found in the mishna. That convinces us to rule in accordance with those three sources requiring three for ḥalitza.
מכדי הא סתמא והא סתמא מה לי חד סתם מה לי תרי סתם מה לי תלתא אלא אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק הואיל וסתם במקום מחלוקת The Gemara asks: Since this is supported by an unattributed mishna and that is supported by an unattributed mishna, what difference does it make to me if there is one unattributed mishna? What difference does it make to me if there are two unattributed mishnayot? What difference does it make to me if there are three unattributed mishnayot? Rather, Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said: This ruling was made because the unattributed mishna, which states that ḥalitza requires three men, is recorded unequivocally in a place where it is adjacent to a different dispute involving Rabbi Yehuda.
דתנן סמיכת זקנים ועגלה ערופה בשלשה דברי ר' יוסי ר' יהודה אומר בחמשה החליצה והמיאונין בשלשה ולא קפליג ר' יהודה ש"מ הדר ביה ר' יהודה ש"מ: As we learned in a mishna (Sanhedrin 2a): Ordination of Elders and the ceremony of the heifer whose neck is broken are performed before three judges; this is the statement of Rabbi Yosei. Rabbi Yehuda says: Before five. Ḥalitza and declarations of refusal are performed before three. The Gemara explains the rationale to rule on the basis of this mishna that ḥalitza should in fact be performed before three: And since Rabbi Yehuda did not dispute this second statement concerning ḥalitza even though he disputed the first halakha in the mishna, learn from here: Rabbi Yehuda retracted his opinion concerning ḥalitza and no longer required that it be performed before five men. The Gemara concludes: Indeed, learn from here that he retracted his opinion, and three judges are sufficient for conducting ḥalitza.
אמר רבא צריכי דייני למיקבע דוכתא דכתיב (דברים כה, ז) ועלתה יבמתו השערה אל הזקנים רב פפא ורב הונא בריה דרב יהושע עבדי עובדא בחמשה כמאן כר' יהודה והא הדר ביה לפרסומי מילתא § The Gemara begins a discussion concerning the halakhic details of ḥalitza. Rava said: The judges need to establish a location ahead of time where the ḥalitza will be performed, as it is written: “His yevama shall ascend to the gate to the Elders” (Deuteronomy 25:7), indicating that there is an established place, “the gate,” for the court to convene for ḥalitza. The Gemara relates: Rav Pappa and Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, conducted a case of ḥalitza before five judges. The Gemara asks: In accordance with whose opinion were they ruling? If you say they ruled in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda, but it was proven above that Rabbi Yehuda retracted his initial opinion and requires only three judges. The Gemara answers: They did this only to publicize the matter and not because this number of judges is required.
רב אשי איקלע לבי רב כהנא אמר ליה סליק מר לגבן למלויי בי חמשה אמר רב כהנא הוה קאימנא קמיה דרב יהודה ואמר לי תא סק לזירזא דקני לאיצטרופי בי חמשה אמרו לו למה לי חמשה אמר להו כי היכי דליפרסם מילתא It is told further: Rav Ashi once happened to come to Rav Kahana’s house. Rav Kahana said to Rav Ashi: Will the master come up with us to complete the quorum of five men in order to perform ḥalitza? Rav Kahana said further: When I stood before Rav Yehuda, he said to me: Go up to the bundle [zirza] of reeds to join the five men who will oversee the performance of ḥalitza, as a bundle of reeds had been set aside to be the established location where the court will convene to conduct cases of ḥalitza. Those in attendance said to Rav Yehuda: Why do I need five if three are sufficient? He said to them: In order to publicize the matter, and not because it is a halakhic obligation.
רב שמואל בר יהודה הוה קאי קמיה דרב יהודה אמר ליה סק תא לזירזא דקני לאצטרופי בי חמשה לפרסומי מילתא אמר ליה תנינא בישראל בב"ד ישראל ולא בב"ד של גרים ואנא גר אנא It is told: Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda was standing before Rav Yehuda. Rav Yehuda said to him: Go up to the bundle of reeds to complete the quorum of five in order to publicize the matter of this ḥalitza. Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda said to him: We learned that the phrase “In Israel” in the verse: “And his name shall be called in Israel” (Deuteronomy 25:10) indicates that ḥalitza must be performed before a court of Israelites from birth, and not before a court composed of converts, but I am a convert, as Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda had converted along with his father.
אמר רב יהודה כגון רב שמואל בר יהודה מפיקנא ממונא אפומיה מפיקנא ס"ד והא ע"פ שנים עדים אמר רחמנא אלא מרענא שטרא אפומיה Rav Yehuda said to him: I would exact payment based on the word of someone such as Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda, as he has shown that he is upright and honest by revealing this unknown fact about himself. The Gemara questions: Does it enter your mind that one can actually exact payment based on the word of one man, no matter how honest he seems to be? Doesn’t the Merciful One state in the Torah: “By the mouth of two witnesses or by the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15), indicating that one can exact payment based only on the evidence of at least two witnesses? Rather, the Gemara explains that Rav Yehuda’s intention was to say: I would declare a bill of indebtedness invalid based on his word, accepting his claim that the debt had been collected.
אמר רבא Parenthetical to mentioning the status of a convert with regard to a court of ḥalitza, the Gemara relates: Rava said: