Yevamot 13b:17יבמות י״ג ב:יז
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13bי״ג ב

חלצו ב"ש פוסלין מן הכהונה ובית הלל מכשירין נתייבמו בית שמאי מכשירין ובית הלל פוסלין

If any of the rival wives of the brother performed ḥalitza, Beit Shammai disqualify her from marrying into the priesthood, as in their opinion these rival wives were fit for levirate marriage, which means that the ḥalitza was fully valid. Consequently, they are disqualified from marrying a priest, like all other women who perform ḥalitza. And Beit Hillel deem them fit, as they maintain that no legal act of ḥalitza was performed here at all. If they entered into levirate marriage, Beit Shammai deem them fit for the priesthood, as in their opinion, this is a fully legal levirate marriage. And Beit Hillel disqualify them, because they engaged in licentious sexual relations as the rival wives of a forbidden relative.

אע"פ שאלו אוסרים ואלו מתירין אלו פוסלין ואלו מכשירין לא נמנעו בית שמאי מלישא נשים מבית הלל ולא בית הלל מבית שמאי כל הטהרות והטמאות שהיו אלו מטהרים ואלו מטמאין לא נמנעו עושין טהרות אלו על גבי אלו:

§ The mishna comments: Although Beit Hillel prohibit the rival wives to the brothers and Beit Shammai permit them, and although these disqualify these women and those deem them fit, Beit Shammai did not refrain from marrying women from Beit Hillel, nor did Beit Hillel refrain from marrying women from Beit Shammai. Furthermore, with regard to all of the disputes concerning the halakhot of ritual purity and impurity, where these rule that an article is ritually pure and those rule it ritually impure, they did not refrain from handling ritually pure objects each with the other, as Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel frequently used each other’s vessels.

גמ׳ אמר רבי שמעון בן פזי מאי טעמא דבית שמאי דכתיב (דברים כה, ה) לא תהיה אשת המת החוצה לאיש זר חוצה מכלל דאיכא פנימית ואמר רחמנא לא תהיה

GEMARA: Rabbi Shimon ben Pazi said: What is the reason for the opinion of Beit Shammai? As it is written: “The wife of the dead man shall not be married outside of the family to one not of his kin” (Deuteronomy 25:5). The term “outside” indicates by inference that there is a woman who is considered inside, i.e., a close relative of the yavam, who is inside his family. And the Merciful One states: “Shall not be married” and also “to one not of his kin.” In other words, even when one of the wives is a forbidden relative, the rival wife who is outside the family of the yavam is obligated in levirate marriage.

ובית הלל מיבעי להו לכדרב יהודה אמר רב דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב מנין שאין קידושין תופסין ביבמה שנאמר לא תהיה אשת המת החוצה לאיש זר לא תהיה בה הויה לזר

And how do Beit Hillel respond to this argument of Beit Shammai? They require these passages for that which Rav Yehuda said that Rav said, as Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: From where is it derived that betrothal is not effective in the case of a yevama who did not perform ḥalitza, if the betrothal is performed by an unrelated man and not a yavam? This betrothal is not valid at all, as it is stated: The wife of the dead man shall not be married outside of the family to one not of his kin” (Deuteronomy 25:5). This verse indicates that there shall not be in her case the becoming married to one not of his kin.

ובית שמאי מי כתיב לחוץ חוצה כתיב ובית הלל כיון דכתיב חוצה כמאן דכתיב לחוץ דמי

And how do Beit Shammai respond to this claim? They ask: Is it written: To the outside [laḥutz], which might indicate betrothal to an unrelated man? It is actually written “outside [ḥutza],” which is an adjective describing this woman as one who is from the outside. And Beit Hillel, what is their response? They maintain that since it is written “outside,” it is considered as though it is written: To the outside.

דתניא ר' נחמיה אומר כל תיבה שצריכה למ"ד בתחלתה הטיל לה הכתוב ה"א בסופה ותנא דבי ר' ישמעאל כגון אלים (שמות טו, כז) אלימה מחנים (שמואל ב יז, כד) מחנימה מצרים (בראשית יב, י) מצרימה (במדבר לג, מו) דבלתימה (יחזקאל ח, ג) ירושלימה (דברי הימים א ה, ט) מדברה

As it is taught in a baraita: Rabbi Neḥemya says that with regard to any word that requires the letter lamed at its beginning, meaning: To, the verse at times placed a letter heh at its end, but the meaning is the same. And the school of Rabbi Yishmael taught: For example, the term: To “Elim” (Exodus 16:1) can be rendered as Elima (Exodus 15:27) instead of le’Elim; “Maḥanaim” (I Kings 2:8) becomes Maḥanaima (II Samuel 17:24); Mitzraim (e.g., Genesis 13:1) into Mitzraima (Genesis 12:10); Divlatayim is Divlataima (Numbers 33:46); to Yerushalaim is Yerushalaima (Ezekiel 8:3); and midbara (Joshua 18:12) means: To the wilderness [midbar]. All these words that contain the letter heh at the end mean the same as if there were a lamed at the beginning.

ובית שמאי דרב יהודה אמר רב מנא להו מלאיש זר נפקא

The Gemara asks: And Beit Shammai, from where do they derive that halakha that Rav Yehuda said that Rav said? The Gemara answers: They derive it from the phrase: “To one not of his kin” (Deuteronomy 25:5). This phrase indicates that marriage is invalid with an unrelated man. However, they learn another matter from the term “outside.”

ובית הלל נמי תיפוק להו מלאיש זר אין הכי נמי חוצה למה לי לרבות הארוסה

The Gemara asks: But if so, let Beit Hillel, too, derive this halakha from: “To one not of his kin.” The Gemara answers: Yes, it is indeed so. They, too, infer it from this source. Then why do I need the term “outside”? This word was necessary to include a betrothed woman. With regard to a woman who was betrothed but not yet married to the deceased brother, although she is still technically outside his house, she is nevertheless obligated in levirate marriage.

ואידך מחוצה החוצה ואידך חוצה החוצה לא משמע להו

And the other one, Beit Shammai, infers this halakhic ruling from a single superfluous letter, as instead of “outside” being written as ḥutza it is written as haḥutza. And as for the other one, Beit Hillel, they do not derive a halakha from the linguistic difference between ḥutza and haḥutza, as they maintain that this is not a significant enough difference.

רבא אמר טעמייהו דבית שמאי דאין איסור חל על איסור

§ Rava said: The rationale of Beit Shammai for their opinion that rival wives are permitted in levirate marriage is not due to a specific verse. Rather, Beit Shammai apply the well-known halakhic principle that a prohibition does not take effect where another prohibition already exists. Since the first wife was already a prohibited relation to her brother-in-law during his brother’s lifetime, the second prohibition of a wife’s sister does not apply to her. Accordingly, her presence is entirely disregarded, as though there is no forbidden relative here to exempt the rival wife.

תינח היכא דנשא מת ואחר כך נשא חי לא אתי איסור אחות אשה וחייל אאיסור אשת אח אלא נשא חי ואחר כך נשא מת אחות אשה קדים

The Gemara raises a difficulty: This works out well where the deceased brother had first married one sister and afterward the surviving brother had married another sister, as in this case it is possible to say that the prohibition of a wife’s sister does not come and apply in addition to the prohibition of a brother’s wife. However, if the surviving brother had married one sister and afterward the deceased brother had married another sister, in this case the prohibition of a wife’s sister precedes that of a brother’s wife. How can it be said in this situation that this prohibition of a forbidden relative does not take effect where another prohibition already exists, if actually it came first?

כיון דלא אתי איסור אשת אח וחייל אאיסור אחות אשה הויא לה צרת ערוה שלא במקום מצוה ושריא:

The Gemara answers: Since the prohibition of a brother’s wife does not come and apply in addition to the prohibition of a wife’s sister, the status of a brother’s wife does not pertain to her and she is not obligated in levirate marriage with him at all. This means that the other wife is a rival wife of a forbidden relative where no mitzva applies, and she is therefore permitted.

חלצו בית שמאי פוסלים וכו': פשיטא

§ The mishna taught: If any of the rival wives of the brother performed ḥalitza, Beit Shammai disqualify her from marrying into the priesthood, as they hold that the ḥalitza was fully valid. The Gemara asks: If the rival wives are obligated in the mitzva of levirate marriage and they performed ḥalitza, it is obvious that the status of a woman who had undergone ḥalitza applies to them.

לאפוקי דרבי יוחנן בן נורי דאמר בואו ונתקן להם לצרות שיהו חולצות ולא מתייבמות קמ"ל דבית הלל מכשירים:

The Gemara answers: This statement comes to exclude the opinion of Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Nuri, who said: Come and let us institute for rival wives of women with whom relations are forbidden that they should perform ḥalitza and not enter into levirate marriage. If this ordinance were accepted, these rival wives would be disqualified by rabbinic law, even according to the opinion of Beit Hillel. The mishna therefore teaches us that Beit Hillel deem the rival wives fully fit to marry into the priesthood, as no ḥalitza was instituted for rival wives and any ḥalitza performed with them is entirely meaningless.

נתייבמו בית הלל פוסלין כו': הא תו למה לי איידי דתנא חלצו תנא נמי נתייבמו

§ The mishna further taught: If they entered into levirate marriage, Beit Shammai deem them fit for the priesthood and Beit Hillel disqualify them. The Gemara asks: Why do I need this as well, as this halakha follows logically from the previous statement concerning ḥalitza? The Gemara answers that since the mishna taught: Performed ḥalitza, it also taught the case of: Entered into levirate marriage, despite the fact that this was not necessary, as even without this ruling the matter would have been understood.

תנן התם מגילה נקראת באחד עשר ובשנים עשר ובשלשה עשר ובארבעה עשר ובחמשה עשר לא פחות ולא יותר

§ Apropos the mishna’s comments concerning the details of the relationship between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel, the Gemara discusses the issue of disputes in general. We learned in a mishna there, in tractate Megilla (2a): The Megilla, the Scroll of Esther, is read on the eleventh of Adar, on the twelfth, on the thirteenth, on the fourteenth, or on the fifteenth, in cities surrounded by a wall, no earlier and no later than this. The obligation to read the Megilla on the fourteenth or fifteenth of Adar is stated in the Megilla itself, while the additional days were instituted by the Sages to allow residents of villages, who would come to the cities on Mondays and Thursdays and supply water and rations to the residents of the cities, to hear the reading of the Megilla at that opportunity.

אמר ליה ר"ל לר' יוחנן איקרי כאן (דברים יד, א) לא תתגודדו לא תעשו אגודות אגודות האי לא תתגודדו מיבעי ליה לגופיה דאמר רחמנא לא תעשו חבורה על מת

Reish Lakish said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: I should read here the verse: “You shall not cut yourselves [titgodedu]” (Deuteronomy 14:1), which is interpreted as meaning: Do not become numerous factions [agudot]. In other words, the Jewish people should be united, rather than divided into disparate groups that act in different ways. Before analyzing this issue, the Gemara asks: This verse: “You shall not cut yourselves,” is required for the matter itself, as the Merciful One is saying: Do not cut yourselves over the dead. How is the halakha concerning factions derived from this apparently straightforward verse?

א"כ לימא קרא לא תגודדו מאי תתגודדו שמע מינה להכי הוא דאתא ואימא כוליה להכי הוא דאתא אם כן לימא קרא לא תגודו מאי לא תתגודדו שמע מינה תרתי

The Gemara answers: If so, that the verse comes to teach only about the practices of mourning, let the verse state only: You shall not cut. What is the meaning of: “You shall not cut yourselves”? Learn from this that it comes for this purpose as well, to teach the prohibition against splitting into factions. The Gemara asks: But in that case, one can say that the entire verse comes for this purpose and does not refer to cutting for the dead at all. The Gemara answers: If so, let the verse state: Lo tagodu, rather than lo titgodedu, both of which mean: You shall not cut. What is the meaning of: Lo titgodedu”? Conclude two conclusions from it: Both the simple prohibition against making cuts for the dead and the matter of dividing into factions.

א"ל עד כאן לא שנית מקום שנהגו לעשות מלאכה בערבי פסחים עד חצות עושין מקום שנהגו שלא לעשות אין עושין

After this incidental discussion, the Gemara returns to the basic question raised by Reish Lakish: Why doesn’t the reading of the Scroll of Esther in different places at different times violate the prohibition against breaking into factions? Rabbi Yoḥanan said to him: Have you not taught until now: In a place where the people were accustomed to perform labor on Passover eve until midday, one may do so on that day; in a place where the people were accustomed not to perform labor, one may not do so? This shows that different places can have different customs without violating the prohibition against dividing into factions.

א"ל אמינא לך אנא איסורא דאמר רב שמן בר אבא אמר ר' יוחנן (אסתר ט, לא) לקיים את ימי הפורים בזמניהם זמנים הרבה תיקנו להם חכמים ואת אמרת לי מנהגא

Reish Lakish said to Rabbi Yoḥanan: I speak to you of a prohibition, as residents of villages are prohibited from reading the Megilla with a blessing on the fifteenth of Adar, as Rav Shemen bar Abba said that Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The verse “to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times” (Esther 9:31) teaches that the Sages instituted many times for their reading, and it is prohibited to deviate from these dates. And you speak to me about a custom that does not involve a prohibition. How can a prohibition be established in a manner that involves the formation of factions among the people?

והתם לאו איסורא הויא והתנן (בלילה) בית שמאי אוסרין ובית הלל מתירין

Rabbi Yoḥanan replied: And in that case there, on Passover eve, is there no prohibition involved? But didn’t we learn in a mishna: On the night before the fourteenth of Nisan, Beit Shammai prohibit the performance of work and Beit Hillel permit it. Evidently, there is indeed a prohibition involved, and yet some perform work while others do not, which splits the people into factions.

אמר ליה התם הרואה אומר מלאכה הוא דלית ליה והא בית שמאי מתירין הצרות לאחים ובית הלל אוסרים

Reish Lakish said to him: In that case there, the different factions are not noticeable, as one who sees another idle says: It is because he has no labor to perform. Therefore, refraining from work does not have the appearance of breaking off into factions. Rabbi Yoḥanan raises a difficulty: But Beit Shammai permit rival wives to the brothers, and Beit Hillel prohibit this practice. This is an example of a clear prohibition, and yet two different traditions were followed.