קִנְיָן גָּמוּר קָא מַשְׁמַע לַן דְּלָא כְּבֵית שַׁמַּאי as a full-fledged acquisition. According to that opinion, the unrelated woman does not even require ḥalitza, since she is considered to be a rival wife of a forbidden relative. This mishna teaches us that the halakha is not in accordance with the opinion of Beit Shammai.
וּלְרַב נַחְמָן קַשְׁיָא דְּרַב אָשֵׁי וְכִי תֵּימָא הוּא הַדִּין דַּאֲפִילּוּ מֵת וְאַחַר כָּךְ גֵּירַשׁ צָרָתָהּ מוּתֶּרֶת אֶלָּא זוֹ הִיא לְמַעוֹטֵי מַאי לְמַעוֹטֵי כָּנַס וְאַחַר כָּךְ גֵּירַשׁ The Gemara raises a question from the opposite perspective: And according to Rav Naḥman, who deduced from the earlier mishna that the levirate bond is not substantial, the deduction of Rav Ashi that the levirate bond is substantial is difficult. And if you would try to resolve this in a similar manner and say: With regard to the ruling in the present mishna, which states that the sister’s rival wife, i.e., the unrelated woman, is permitted, the same is true even if Levi had died and then afterward the brother married to the other sister divorced his wife, there is a difficulty. If that is the case, then what does the phrase this is, cited at the end of the mishna, come to exclude? If we follow this explanation then the same ruling would hold true in all cases. The Gemara responds: It excludes the case where Shimon first married the unrelated woman and only afterward divorced the sister, as in such circumstances the unrelated woman is most certainly a rival wife of Reuven’s wife’s sister and is therefore not permitted.
הָנִיחָא אִי סָבַר לַהּ כְּרַבִּי יִרְמְיָה דְּאָמַר תַּבְרָא מִי שֶׁשָּׁנָה זוֹ לֹא שָׁנָה זוֹ The Gemara states: This works out well if he holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yirmeya, who said with regard to a seeming contradiction between this mishna and an earlier mishna (13a): The mishnayot are disjointed; he who taught this mishna did not teach that mishna. The earlier mishna established the principle that if a man was married to two women, one of whom was a forbidden relative, and he divorced the forbidden relative before he died, then the rival wife is no longer prohibited to the brothers.
וְהַאי תַּנָּא סָבַר מִיתָה מַפֶּלֶת וְהַאי תַּנָּא סָבַר נִישּׂוּאִין הָרִאשׁוֹנִים מַפִּילִים This dispute is based upon the following: This tanna from the earlier mishna holds that death determines her status when she happens before the brothers, i.e., the crucial moment for determining whether the prohibition relating to rival wives applies is the moment at which the brother dies. In other words, whether the yevama is permitted to the yavam is determined by the status of the yevama at that given moment. Therefore, in the case where he had married a forbidden relative and later divorced her, the rival wife would be permitted. And this tanna of our present mishna holds that the original marriage determines her status when she happens before the brothers. If, at the time the woman was married to the deceased brother she was forbidden as a close relative, and her rival wife was likewise forbidden as the rival wife of a forbidden relative, then even though the status of the relative had changed at the time of the death of the brother, both she and her rival wife remain forbidden.
זוֹ הִיא לְמַעוֹטֵי כָּנַס וּלְבַסּוֹף גֵּירַשׁ אֶלָּא אִי סָבַר לַהּ כְּרָבָא דְּאָמַר לְעוֹלָם חַד תַּנָּא הוּא וְזוֹ וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר זוֹ קָתָנֵי זוֹ הִיא לְמַעוֹטֵי מַאי עַל כׇּרְחָךְ כְּרַבִּי יִרְמְיָה סְבִירָא לֵיהּ According to this opinion, it is indeed possible to state that the phrase this is comes to exclude the case where he married one woman and ultimately divorced the other. According to this mishna, in that case, the rival wives would be prohibited. However, if he holds in accordance with the opinion of Rava, who said: Actually, understand this to be the opinion of a single tanna, and he teaches the mishna employing the style: This, and it is unnecessary to say that, a difficulty remains. According to Rava, both mishnayot maintain the position that in the case where the yavam married one woman and ultimately divorced the other, the rival wife would be permitted. If that is the case, what does the phrase this is come to exclude? In what case would the rival wife be prohibited to the yavam? The Gemara responds: Perforce Rav Naḥman holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yirmeya with regard to his interpretation of the mishnayot.
וּלְרָבָא הָנִיחָא אִי סָבַר לַהּ כְּרַב אָשֵׁי זוֹ הִיא לְמַעוֹטֵי מֵת בְּלֹא גֵּירֵשׁ אֶלָּא אִי סָבַר לַהּ כְּרַב נַחְמָן זוֹ הִיא לְמַעוֹטֵי מַאי עַל כׇּרְחָךְ כְּרַב אָשֵׁי סְבִירָא לֵיהּ The Gemara raises a question from a different perspective: And according to Rava, who maintains that in both cases the rival wife is permitted, this works out well if he holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav Ashi that the levirate bond is substantial. In that case the phrase this is comes to exclude the case where he died without divorcing his wife. In this case the rival wife is forbidden because the entire time she was the rival wife of a forbidden relative by levirate bond. If, however, he holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav Naḥman in this matter, what does the phrase this is come to exclude? The Gemara answers: Perforce Rava holds in accordance with the opinion of Rav Ashi. Accordingly, with regard to this halakha there is a connection between the various opinions as to how to interpret the mishnayot and the dispute.
מַתְנִי׳ וְכוּלָּן שֶׁהָיוּ בָּהֶן קִדּוּשִׁין אוֹ גֵרוּשִׁין בְּסָפֵק הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ הַצָּרוֹת חוֹלְצוֹת וְלֹא מִתְיַיבְּמוֹת כֵּיצַד סְפֵק קִדּוּשִׁין זָרַק לָהּ קִדּוּשִׁין סָפֵק קָרוֹב לוֹ סָפֵק קָרוֹב לָהּ זֶהוּ סְפֵק קִדּוּשִׁין MISHNA: And if any of these fifteen women who are prohibited as forbidden relatives had undergone a betrothal or divorce whose status is uncertain with the deceased brother, then those women who were their rival wives must perform ḥalitza and may not enter into levirate marriage since they are possibly the rival wives of forbidden relatives. The mishna elaborates: How could there be a situation of uncertainty with regard to betrothal? If in the public domain he threw her an item for the purpose of betrothal and there were eight cubits between them, and the item was possibly closer to him and did not enter into her domain, and possibly closer to her, i.e., within four cubits of her, whereby she could acquire the object, this is a case of uncertainty with regard to betrothal.
סְפֵק גֵּרוּשִׁין כָּתַב בִּכְתַב יָדוֹ וְאֵין עָלָיו עֵדִים יֵשׁ עָלָיו עֵדִים וְאֵין בּוֹ זְמַן יֵשׁ בּוֹ זְמַן וְאֵין בּוֹ אֶלָּא עֵד אֶחָד זֶהוּ סְפֵק גֵּרוּשִׁין Uncertainty with regard to divorce occurs when, for instance, he wrote a bill of divorce in his handwriting but there are no signatures of witnesses on the document, or there are the signatures of witnesses on the document but there is no date written in it, or the date is written in it but there is only the signature of a single witness. Since there is doubt as to whether these three kinds of bills of divorce are valid, a woman who was divorced through them is only possibly divorced, and so this case is called uncertainty with regard to divorce.
גְּמָ׳ וְאִילּוּ בְּגֵרוּשִׁין סָפֵק קָרוֹב לוֹ סָפֵק קָרוֹב לָהּ לָא קָתָנֵי GEMARA: The Gemara remarks: But yet when discussing divorce, it does not teach the case where it is uncertain if the bill of divorce is closer to him, and uncertain if it is closer to her. It would have been appropriate to describe this case, as it parallels the case involving the object of betrothal. He could have tossed it in such a way that it was not clear to whom the bill was closer.
מַאי טַעְמָא אָמַר רַבָּה אִשָּׁה זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת הֶיתֵּר לַשּׁוּק עוֹמֶדֶת וּמִסָּפֵק אַתָּה בָּא לְאוֹסְרָהּ אַל תַּאַסְרֶנָּה מִסָּפֵק The Gemara asks: What is the reason the mishna did not present this situation as well? Rabba said: When this type of uncertainty exists, the performance of ḥalitza is not mandatory, as this woman, the rival wife, has the presumptive status of being permitted to marry a man from the general public. At the time of her marriage she was rendered a rival wife of a forbidden relative. And due to an uncertainty alone would you render her forbidden to the general public until she performs ḥalitza, simply because it is unclear to us whether or not the forbidden relative had indeed been divorced? Do not render her forbidden due to an uncertainty. This is not, however, the case with the various bills of divorce mentioned in the mishna, for they are all certainly considered effective bills of divorce, even if the circumstances involved raise some questions or doubts.
אֲמַר לֵיהּ אַבָּיֵי אִי הָכִי בְּקִדּוּשִׁין נָמֵי נֵימָא אִשָּׁה זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת הֶיתֵּר לַיָּבָם עוֹמֶדֶת וּמִסָּפֵק אַתָּה בָּא לְאוֹסְרָהּ אַל תַּאַסְרֶנָּה מִסָּפֵק Abaye said to him: If that is so, let us say in the case of betrothal as well that this woman, the rival wife, has the presumptive status of being permitted to the yavam before he betrothed the forbidden relative, and due to the uncertainty whether she is the rival wife of a forbidden relative would you come and render her forbidden? Do not render her forbidden due to an uncertainty. Consequently, you should permit her to enter into levirate marriage.
הָתָם לְחוּמְרָא The Gemara explains: There, with regard to betrothal, the halakha follows the stringent ruling, because the rival wife is certainly his wife and requires levirate marriage. As there is uncertainty with regard to the betrothal with the forbidden relative, the ruling is stringent; she may not enter into levirate marriage and must only perform ḥalitza.
הַאי חוּמְרָא דְּאָתֵי לִידֵי קוּלָּא הוּא זִימְנִין דְּאָזֵיל הוּא וּמְקַדֵּשׁ לַהּ לַאֲחוֹתַהּ קִדּוּשֵׁי וַדַּאי The Gemara objects: Yet this is a stringency that might bring about a leniency in another scenario. How so? Sometimes that same man who betrothed the forbidden relative might go and betroth her sister with a betrothal whose status is certain. If one says that due to a stringency the rival wife may not enter into levirate marriage due to her possible status as the rival wife of a forbidden relative, people might come to assume that the betrothal with the forbidden relative was a valid betrothal, and that the subsequent betrothal with her sister was not valid, since she is his wife’s sister. This would be assumed because they would not know that the status of the first betrothal was itself uncertain and that only due to a stringent ruling is the rival wife not allowed to enter into levirate marriage. In fact, the status of the betrothal with the sister of the forbidden relative is also uncertain. As a result of this ruling, however, people might be led to think that a man’s wife, i.e., the sister of the forbidden relative, is in fact permitted.
וְאִי נָמֵי זִימְנִין דְּאָתֵא אַחֵר וּמְקַדֵּשׁ לַהּ לְדִידַהּ קִדּוּשֵׁי וַדַּאי וְכֵיוָן דְּאָסַר לַהּ מָר לְצָרָה לְיַיבּוֹמֵי אָמְרִי דְּקַמָּא קִדּוּשִׁין וּדְבָתְרָא לָאו קִדּוּשִׁין Alternatively, sometimes another man might come and betroth the forbidden relative herself with a betrothal whose status is certain, and since the Master rendered it prohibited for the rival wife to enter into levirate marriage, people would say that the betrothal of the first man, i.e., the deceased brother, was a fully effective betrothal, and that the betrothal of the latter man was not a valid betrothal. If she was married to the first man, then she is forbidden to the second as the man’s wife, and betrothal cannot take effect with her. However, since the status of her betrothal to the first man was uncertain, then she is also considered possibly betrothed to the second man and would require a divorce from him as well. As a result, one can find a situation that would lead people to think that a man’s wife is in fact permitted.