תָּא שְׁמַע אָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת חָמִי תִּנָּשֵׂא וְתִטּוֹל כְּתוּבָּה וַחֲמוֹתָהּ אֲסוּרָה מַאי טַעְמָא חֲמוֹתָהּ אֲסוּרָה לָאו מִשּׁוּם דְּאָמְרִינַן לָא בַּעְלַהּ מִיית וְלָא חֲמוּהָ מִיית וְהָא דְּקָאָמְרָה הָכִי לְקַלְקוֹלַאּ לַחֲמוֹתָהּ הוּא דְּקָמִיכַּוְּונָא Come and hear a resolution to this dilemma. If she said: My husband died and afterward my father-in-law died, she may marry and take her money from the marriage contract, and her mother-in-law is prohibited to remarry; she is not deemed credible to testify for her mother-in-law, as already stated. The Gemara clarifies: What is the reason that her mother-in-law is prohibited to remarry? Is it not because we say: Perhaps her husband did not really die, and she is still her mother-in-law, and her father-in-law did not die either, and the reason that she says this statement is that she intends to ruin her mother-in-law?
סָבְרָה לְבָתַר שַׁעְתָּא לָא תֵּיתֵי (תִּצְטַעֲרַן) The Gemara elaborates. She reasons: Later, when the husbands arrive, she will not come back and trouble me, because if the mother-in-law relies on this testimony and remarries she will no longer be able to return to her original husband, and she will be out of her daughter-in-law’s life. This shows that there is a concern that a daughter-in-law might lie in order to prevent future family relationships from coming into being. Similarly, a woman should be suspected of lying with regard to her future daughter-in-law.
דִּלְמָא שָׁאנֵי הָתָם דִּרְגִישׁ לַהּ צַעֲרָא The Gemara rejects this suggestion. Perhaps it is different there, as the daughter-in-law has already felt oppressed by her mother-in-law. In other words, she is suspected of lying because she had previous dealings with that woman, whereas in the case of a future mother-in-law, with whom she had no previous dealings, there is no such concern. Consequently, the dilemma cannot be resolved from this case.
מַתְנִי׳ עֵד אוֹמֵר מֵת וְנִשֵּׂאת וּבָא אֶחָד וְאָמַר לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא עַד אוֹמֵר מֵת וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים לֹא מֵת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים מֵת וְעֵד אוֹמֵר לֹא מֵת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִשֵּׂאת תִּנָּשֵׂא MISHNA: 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.
גְּמָ׳ טַעְמָא דְּנִשֵּׂאת הָא לֹא נִשֵּׂאת לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא וְהָאָמַר עוּלָּא כׇּל מָקוֹם שֶׁהֶאֱמִינָה תּוֹרָה עֵד אֶחָד הֲרֵי כָּאן שְׁנַיִם וְאֵין דְּבָרָיו שֶׁל אֶחָד בִּמְקוֹם שְׁנַיִם GEMARA: The Gemara infers: The reason in the case of one witness contradicted by another witness is that she already married; however, if she did not yet marry and a second witness comes in the meantime and contradicts the statement of the first one, she may not marry. The Gemara asks: But didn’t Ulla say: Wherever you find that the Torah relies on one witness, his testimony is considered complete proof, as though there are two witnesses present here? If so, the witness who comes and testifies to the opposite is only one witness, and the statement of one witness has no standing in a place where it is contradicted by two witnesses. Why, then, may she not remarry, even ab initio?
הָכִי קָאָמַר עֵד אֶחָד אוֹמֵר מֵת וְהִתִּירוּהָ לְהִנָּשֵׂא וּבָא אֶחָד וְאָמַר לֹא מֵת לֹא תֵּצֵא מֵהֶיתֵּירָהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן The Gemara answers that this is what the mishna said: If one witness says: He died, and they permitted her to marry based on his testimony, and one other witness later came and said: He did not die, she does not leave her initial, permitted state, i.e., the permission she was granted to remarry is still in force, and she may marry ab initio.
עַד אוֹמֵר מֵת פְּשִׁיטָא דְּאֵין דְּבָרָיו שֶׁל אֶחָד בִּמְקוֹם שְׁנַיִם לָא צְרִיכָא בִּפְסוּלֵי עֵדוּת וְכִדְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה § The mishna taught that if one witness says: He died, and two come and say: He did not die, she must leave her new husband. The Gemara asks: This is obvious, as the statement of one witness has no standing in a place where it is contradicted by two witnesses. The Gemara answers: No, it is necessary in a case of people disqualified from giving testimony. In other words, the mishna is referring to two people who are generally disqualified from serving as witnesses. In the case of a missing husband, however, their testimony is accepted in contradiction of the first, qualified, witness. And this is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Neḥemya.
דְּתַנְיָא רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה אוֹמֵר כׇּל מָקוֹם שֶׁהֶאֱמִינָה תּוֹרָה עֵד אֶחָד הַלֵּךְ אַחַר רוֹב דֵּעוֹת וְעָשׂוּ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים בְּאִישׁ אֶחָד כִּשְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים בְּאִישׁ אֶחָד As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Neḥemya says: Wherever you find that the Torah relies on one witness, follow the majority of opinions, even if they are disqualified. And the Sages established the testimony of two women against one man in this case like the testimony of two men against one man, i.e., the testimony of the two witnesses negates the earlier testimony of a single witness. The mishna is teaching that even if the first witness was qualified to give testimony, his account is negated by the statements of the two disqualified witnesses who contradicted him.
וְאִיבָּעֵית אֵימָא כֹּל הֵיכָא דַּאֲתָא עֵד אֶחָד כָּשֵׁר מֵעִיקָּרָא אֲפִילּוּ מֵאָה נָשִׁים כְּעֵד אֶחָד דָּמְיָין אֶלָּא כְּגוֹן דַּאֲתַאי אִשָּׁה מֵעִיקָּרָא And if you wish, say: Anywhere that a qualified witness came initially and testified that he died, even if one hundred women came and contradicted his account, they are considered like one witness, and cannot negate his testimony. However, here it is speaking of a case where a woman came initially and they relied on her testimony to release the wife, and afterward two other women came and contradicted her.
וְתָרְצַהּ לִדְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה הָכִי רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה אוֹמֵר כׇּל מָקוֹם שֶׁהֶאֱמִינָה תּוֹרָה עֵד אֶחָד הַלֵּךְ אַחַר רוֹב דֵּעוֹת וְעָשׂוּ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים בְּאִשָּׁה אַחַת כִּשְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים בְּאִישׁ אֶחָד אֲבָל שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים בְּאִישׁ אֶחָד כְּפַלְגָא וּפַלְגָא דָּמֵי The Gemara explains: And you can explain the ruling in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Neḥemya as follows: Rabbi Neḥemya says: Wherever you find that the Torah relies on one witness, e.g., in testimony concerning a woman’s missing husband, follow the majority of opinions, and they established two women against one woman like two men against one man. However, in a case involving two women against one man, the latter of whom is a qualified witness, this is like half against half, i.e., they are equal. The testimony of two women has no advantage over that of one male witness, who is considered like two witnesses in testimony concerning a missing husband.
שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים מֵת וְכוּ׳ מַאי קָמַשְׁמַע לַן בִּפְסוּלֵי עֵדוּת וְכִדְרַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה דְּאָזֵיל בָּתַר רוֹב דֵּעוֹת הַיְינוּ הָךְ § The mishna taught: If two witnesses say: He died, and one witness says: He did not die, even if she did not yet marry, she may marry. The Gemara asks: What is the mishna teaching us? If you say it is referring to people disqualified from giving testimony, and this is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Neḥemya, who follows the majority of opinions, then this case is identical to that previous case.
מַהוּ דְּתֵימָא כִּי אָזְלִינַן בָּתַר רוֹב דֵּעוֹת לְחוּמְרָא אֲבָל לְקוּלָּא לָא קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן The Gemara answers. This case is also necessary, lest you say that when we follow the majority of opinions, this is only when it leads to a stringency, but when this principle would lead to a leniency, to permit her to marry based on the majority of opinions, we do not follow the majority opinion. Therefore, the mishna teaches us that there is no difference in this regard, as the majority of opinions is accepted whether this leads to a lenient or a stringent outcome.
מַתְנִי׳ אַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְאַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת זוֹ שֶׁאוֹמֶרֶת מֵת תִּנָּשֵׂא וְתִטּוֹל כְּתוּבָּתָהּ וְזוֹ שֶׁאוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא וְלֹא תִּטּוֹל כְּתוּבָּתָהּ MISHNA: 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.
אַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְאַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת נֶהֱרַג רַבִּי מֵאִיר אוֹמֵר הוֹאִיל וּמַכְחִישׁוֹת זוֹ אֶת זוֹ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לֹא יִנָּשְׂאוּ רַבִּי יְהוּדָה וְרַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמְרִים הוֹאִיל וְזוֹ וָזוֹ מוֹדוֹת שֶׁאֵין קַיָּים יִנָּשְׂאוּ עֵד אוֹמֵר מֵת וְעֵד אוֹמֵר לֹא מֵת 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,