Yevamot 29b:12יבמות כ״ט ב:יב
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29bכ״ט ב
1 א

ואי ס"ד מאמר לב"ש קונה קנין גמור זה יעשה מאמר ויקנה וזה יעשה מאמר ויקנה

And if it enters your mind that according to Beit Shammai levirate betrothal acquires the woman as a full-fledged acquisition, then this matter could potentially have been resolved ab initio: This brother should perform levirate betrothal and acquire one sister, and that brother should perform levirate betrothal and acquire the other sister. As there is no prohibition whatsoever involved in performing levirate betrothal, the concern for violating a prohibition by consummating the levirate marriage with a sister of a woman with whom he has a levirate bond is avoided; he only betroths her, but does not engage in sexual intercourse with her. After the betrothal, the levirate bond of her sister is dissolved and he can freely consummate the levirate marriage with her.

2 ב

אלא מאי דוחה דחייה גמורה זה יעשה מאמר וידחה וזה יעשה מאמר וידחה

The Gemara objects: Rather, what then? If levirate betrothal does not serve to fully acquire the woman, what is the alternative? It must be that according to Beit Shammai levirate betrothal precludes the rival wife from entering levirate marriage with a complete preclusion. If so, there is an additional potential scenario: This one should perform levirate betrothal with one sister and preclude the second sister from entering levirate marriage, and that one should perform levirate betrothal with the second sister and preclude the first sister from entering levirate marriage. In this way, the yevamin can consummate the levirate marriage with the sisters ab initio as well. Yet the mishna does not allow for this possibility.

3 ג

אלא מאי אית לך למימר מאמר דהתירא דחי דאיסורא לא דחי ה"נ מאמר אפילו למ"ד מאמר קונה קנין גמור מאמר דהתירא קני דאיסורא לא קני

Rather, what have you to say? One must assert that levirate betrothal performed in circumstances where it is permitted to perform levirate marriage, i.e. where there is no prohibition with regard to the close relative of a woman with whom the yavam has a levirate bond, completely precludes the rival wife from entering levirate marriage. However, levirate betrothal performed in circumstances where it is forbidden to perform levirate marriage, does not preclude entering levirate marriage. Therefore, in the case of two sisters who happen simultaneously before two brothers for levirate marriage, the sisters cannot be precluded from entering levirate marriage via levirate betrothal. So too here, with regard to levirate betrothal performed by the third brother, the same distinction can be made. Even according to the one who said that levirate betrothal acquires a woman as a full-fledged acquisition, just like marriage, there is the following difference: Levirate betrothal under permitted circumstances acquires the woman, but levirate betrothal under forbidden circumstances does not acquire the woman. Therefore, there is no proof as to the nature of levirate betrothal according to the opinion of Beit Shammai from the first mishna in the chapter.

4 ד

רב אשי מתני הכי אמר ר"א לא תימא מאמר לב"ש דחי דחייה גמורה וצרתה חליצה נמי לא בעיא אלא דוחה ומשייר הוא

Rav Ashi teaches this discourse in this manner: Rabbi Elazar said: Do not say that according to Beit Shammai levirate betrothal precludes entering levirate marriage as a complete preclusion, so that the rival wife of the woman who received levirate betrothal does not require even ḥalitza. Rather, it precludes entering levirate marriage and yet leaves a remnant of the levirate bond in place. Accordingly, levirate betrothal precludes the rival wife’s entering levirate marriage to the degree that the yavam is not required to divorce the woman he betrothed, but the levirate bond with the rival wife remains to the extent that he must still perform ḥalitza with her.

5 ה

א"ר אבין אף אנן נמי תנינא ב"ש אומרים יקיימו יקיימו אין לכתחלה לא ואי ס"ד מאמר לב"ש דוחה דחייה גמורה זה יעשה מאמר וידחה וזה יעשה מאמר וידחה ואלא הא קתני בש"א אשתו עמו והלזו תצא משום אחות אשה

Rabbi Avin said: We, too, learn this statement from the mishna, where it states: Beit Shammai say: They may maintain them as their wives. From here it can be deduced: Yes, they may maintain them as their wives after the fact; no, they are not allowed to marry them ab initio. And if it enters your mind to say that, according to Beit Shammai, levirate betrothal precludes entering levirate marriage as a complete preclusion, then this brother should perform levirate betrothal and preclude one sister from levirate marriage, and that brother should perform levirate betrothal and preclude the other sister from levirate marriage. The Gemara challenges this conclusion: But didn’t the mishna teach that Beit Shammai say: His wife remains with him, and this other is sent away due to her status as a sister of his wife? This indicates that she is exempt from levirate marriage and does not even require ḥalitza.

6 ו

אלא יבמה דחזיא לכולהו חזיא למקצתה יבמה דלא חזיא לכולהו לא חזיא למקצתה

Rather, one must resolve this by asserting that a yevama who is suitable for all of the aspects of levirate marriage is also suitable for part of it. If a yevama is eligible for both levirate marriage and ḥalitza when she happens before the brothers, as in the case cited in the present mishna where the woman who happened before the third brother was permitted to enter into levirate marriage, she is eligible for part of it. This indicates that if the yavam does not take her in levirate marriage but performs only levirate betrothal, the levirate betrothal has sufficient legal force to preclude the rival wife completely. However, a yevama who is not suitable for all of the aspects of levirate marriage is also not suitable for a part of it. If the yevama is not eligible for levirate marriage, such as in the case referred to in the first mishna of this chapter, where both women happened simultaneously so that the yavam is not permitted to consummate the levirate marriage with either woman, she is not suitable for part of it. In that case, if the yavam performs levirate betrothal, it does not have the legal force to affect a total preclusion.

7 ז

בעי רבה מאמר לב"ש נישואין עושה או אירוסין עושה אמר ליה אביי למאי הלכתא

§ With regard to Beit Shammai’s opinion about levirate betrothal, Rabba asks: Does levirate betrothal, according to the opinion of Beit Shammai, create a full-fledged marriage bond? Or, does it merely create betrothal, similar to all other acts of betrothal? Abaye said to him: With regard to what halakha do you ask this?

8 ח

אילימא ליורשה וליטמא לה ולהפר נדריה השתא ארוסה בעלמא תני ר' חייא אשתו ארוסה לא אונן ולא מטמא לה וכן היא לא אוננת ולא מטמאת לו מתה אינו יורשה מת הוא גובה כתובתה עבד בה מאמר מיבעיא

If we say it pertains to inheriting from her when she dies, and to becoming ritually impure for her if he is a priest, and to nullifying her vows, all of which are rights and obligations acquired by marriage, this is difficult. Now, with regard to a betrothed woman in general, i.e., a woman who was betrothed by Torah law, Rabbi Ḥiyya teaches in a baraita: One does not enter acute mourning on the day of the death of his betrothed wife, nor can he become ritually impure for her if she dies if he is a priest. Similarly, she does not enter acute mourning for him and is not obligated to become ritually impure for him. If she dies, he does not inherit from her; if he dies, she collects the payment of her marriage contract; In a case where he performed only levirate betrothal with her, is it necessary to say that he does not inherit from her, nor does he become ritually impure for her? Therefore, this halakha is obvious and Rabba’s question seems superfluous.

9 ט

ואלא לענין מסירה לחופה מאי נישואין עושה ולא בעיא מסירה לחופה או דלמא אירוסין עושה ובעיא מסירה לחופה

Rather, the question must relate to the matter of delivery of the woman to the husband under a wedding canopy. What is the ruling with regard to this? Is the yavam obligated to enter the wedding canopy in the manner that he would with any other betrothed woman, or not? This is the dilemma: Does levirate betrothal create a full-fledged marriage bond, whereby the yevama would not require further delivery to a wedding canopy? Or, does levirate betrothal perhaps create only betrothal, whereby she would require delivery to a wedding canopy?

10 י

א"ל השתא לא עבד בה מאמר כתיב (דברים כה, ה) יבמה יבא עליה בעל כרחה עבד בה מאמר מיבעיא

Abaye said to him that this question is not necessary, as well: Now, if he did not perform levirate betrothal with her at all, it is written: “Her brother-in-law will have intercourse with her” (Deuteronomy 25:5). It is deduced from this verse that he can take her even against her will. Is it necessary to say that if he performed levirate betrothal with her, even without a wedding canopy, that he is allowed to engage in sexual intercourse with her?

11 יא

א"ל שאני אומר כל העושה מאמר ביבמתו פרחה ממנו זיקת יבמין וחלה עליה זיקת אירוסין מאי

Rabba said to him: This question is relevant, as I say that anyone who performs levirate betrothal with his yevama causes the levirate bond to be removed from him, and he is no longer considered subject to the halakhot of levirate marriage. Instead, a standard bond of betrothal applies to him. Therefore, it is appropriate to ask if this act of levirate betrothal is similar to a standard betrothal insofar as the wedding canopy is concerned, and consequently the woman would be required to enter the wedding canopy. Alternatively, perhaps the halakhot of levirate marriage still apply somewhat, in which case the woman would not be required to enter a wedding canopy in order to become married, similar to a standard yevama to whom levirate betrothal was not performed. Does the performance of levirate betrothal weaken the capacity of intercourse to establish levirate marriage on its own? What is the halakhic ruling here?

12 יב

ת"ש שומרת יבם בין יבם אחד בין שני יבמין ר"א אומר יפר ר' יהושע אומר לאחד ולא לשנים ר' עקיבא אומר לא לאחד ולא לשנים

The Gemara suggests: Come and hear an answer from what is taught in a mishna (Nedarim 74a): What is the ruling with regard to the nullification of vows for a widow who is waiting for her yavam, whether she is waiting for a single yavam or two yevamin? Rabbi Eliezer says: Let him nullify her vows. The yavam may nullify her vows as though he were her husband. Rabbi Yehoshua says: This holds true only if she is bonded to a single yavam, but not to two. Rabbi Akiva says: It does not hold true, neither to one yavam nor to two yevamin. They may not they nullify her vows.

13 יג

והוינן בה בשלמא ר"ע סבר אין זיקה אפי' לחד לר' יהושע לחד יש זיקה לתרי אין זיקה אלא לר"א נהי נמי דקסבר יש זיקה בשלמא לחד מיפר אלא לתרי אמאי

And we discussed this issue, interpreting the various opinions: Granted, Rabbi Akiva holds that the levirate bond is not substantial, even in the case of one yavam. In his opinion, the levirate obligation does not create a marriage bond at all, even if there is only a single yavam. And according to Rabbi Yehoshua, the levirate bond with one yavam is substantial. The yevama undoubtedly requires this yavam for levirate marriage, and therefore she is considered to be like his wife. But with two yevamin, the levirate bond is not substantial, since it is not clear which brother will consummate the levirate marriage with her. However, Rabbi Eliezer, if he indeed holds that the levirate bond is substantial, his opinion is difficult. Granted, if there is one yavam, he can nullify her vows, but if there are two, why should only one of them suffice to nullify her vows, as it is not yet clear which of them will eventually marry her?

14 יד

וא"ר אמי (בר אהבה) הכא במאי עסקינן כגון דעבד בה מאמר וב"ש היא דאמר מאמר קונה קנין גמור

And Rabbi Ami bar Ahava said: With what are we dealing here? This is a case where one of them performed levirate betrothal with her, and this is in accordance with the opinion of Beit Shammai, who say: Levirate betrothal acquires her as a full-fledged acquisition.

15 טו

אי אמרת בשלמא נישואין עושה משום הכי מיפר אלא אי אמרת אירוסין עושה היכי מצי מיפר והתנן נערה המאורסה אביה ובעלה מפירים נדריה אמר רב נחמן בר יצחק מאי מיפר מיפר בשותפות

This interpretation can resolve Rabba’s question. Granted, if you say levirate betrothal creates a full-fledged marriage, it is due to that reason that the yavam can nullify her vows just as a full-fledged husband does. However, if you say that levirate betrothal merely creates betrothal, how can he nullify the vows? Even in standard cases of betrothal by Torah law the husband cannot nullify her vows, for didn’t we learn in a mishna: With regard to a betrothed young woman, only her father and her husband together can nullify her vows? How could a yavam nullify the vows without the father of the yevama, if he is not considered a full-fledged husband? Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak said that this proof can be rejected by interpreting the mishna as follows: What is the meaning of the phrase: He nullifies? That he nullifies her vows only in conjunction with her father.

16 טז

ולר"א דאמר מאמר לב"ש אינו קונה אלא לדחות לצרה בלבד אמאי מיפר בשותפות אמר לך ר' אלעזר אימר דאמרי אנא אינו קונה אלא לדחות לצרה בלבד דלא סגי לה בגיטא אלא בעי נמי חליצה להפר נדריה מי אמרינן

The Gemara questions this reading of the mishna: And according to the opinion of Rabbi Elazar, who said that for Beit Shammai levirate betrothal acquires the woman only insofar as it precludes a rival wife from entering levirate marriage, and it is not a full-fledged acquisition, why should the yavam nullify her vows, even if he does so in conjunction with her father? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Eliezer could have said to you: One can say that when I said that levirate betrothal acquires the woman only insofar as it precludes the rival wife from entering levirate marriage, it was to emphasize that a bill of divorce would not suffice for her, but rather she also requires ḥalitza. However, with regard to the matter of nullifying her vows, do we say that levirate betrothal is not effective, and that he cannot nullify her vows alone?

17 יז

ואיבעית אימא אמר לך רבי אלעזר ולרב נחמן בר יצחק מי ניחא מי קתני יפרו יפר קתני אלא הכא במאי עסקינן שעמדה בדין ופסקו לה מזונות משלו

And if you wish, say an alternate explanation: Rabbi Elazar could have said to you: And as for Rav Naḥman bar Yitzḥak, does this resolution that the mishna is only referring to a case where the father and the yavam can nullify her vows together work out well? Did the mishna teach that they can nullify her vows? It teaches that he can nullify her vows in the singular, implying that he nullifies the vows alone and not in conjunction with anyone else. Rather, the mishna must be explained differently: With what are we dealing here? It is a case where the yavam, regardless of whether or not he performed levirate betrothal, did not want to consummate the levirate marriage or perform ḥalitza. Therefore, the yevama stood in court so as to compel him to consummate the levirate marriage or perform ḥalitza, and it ruled that he must supply her sustenance. Because she is bound to him and cannot marry another, the court ruled that he was responsible for her livelihood.

18 יח

וכדרב פנחס משמיה דרבא דאמר רב פנחס משמיה דרבא כל הנודרת על דעת בעלה היא נודרת:

And this is in accordance with the statement that Rav Pineḥas said in the name of Rava, as Rav Pineḥas said in the name of Rava: Any woman who makes a vow, makes her vow with the consent of her husband. Because she is dependent upon her husband for her livelihood, she does not act without his consent. In this case, because the yavam is responsible to supply the yevama with sustenance, it is assumed that her vows are also made with his consent. It is for this reason that he can nullify her vows without her father. Consequently, no conclusive proof can be derived from here with regard to the strength of acquisition through levirate betrothal.