Yevamot 38aיבמות ל״ח א
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38aל״ח א

דרכי חד גבך הוא אבל הכא מי איכא למימר הכי

my one path is with you in one of your pieces of land. Since his claim is based on facts that are clear and certain, his claim is successful. However, here, in the dispute over the inheritance, is the son of uncertain descent able to state a claim like this? Although the son of uncertain descent claims that ultimately, whatever the nature of his relationship with the deceased is, he should have the right to inherit, nevertheless, since it is not actually known what that relationship is, his claim in reality is merely a composite of uncertain claims.

ורבי ירמיה אמר לך אנא דאמרי אפי' לרבנן עד כאן לא קאמרי רבנן התם אלא משום דא"ל אי שתקת שתקת ואי לא מהדרנא שטרא למרייהו ולא מצית לאשתעויי דינא בהדייהו אבל הכא מי איכא למימר הכי

And Rabbi Yirmeya could have said to you: I stated my ruling even in accordance with the opinion of the Rabbis, since perhaps the Rabbis state their ruling only there, in the case of the lost path, because the owner of the surrounding land said to the field owner: If you do not press your claim and are silent, then be silent and I will sell you the path at a reasonable price; but if not, then I will return the bills of purchase of the pieces of land to their previous owners and then you will not be able to successfully engage in a legal dispute with them. He is successful with this claim because it is within his power to return the fields and thereby recreate the original circumstances in which the owner of the field would forfeit the path. However, here, are the sons of the yavam able to state a claim like this? The original circumstance, in which the inheritance of the deceased had still not been divided, cannot be recreated. Therefore, a claim based on that circumstance will be unsuccessful.

ספק ויבם שבאו לחלוק בנכסי סבא ספק אמר האי גברא בר מיתנא הוא ופלגא דידי הוא יבם אמר את בראי דידי את ולית לך ולא מידי

The Gemara brings another case, that of one of uncertain descent, who is either the son of the deceased or the son of the yavam, and the yavam who came to divide up the possessions of the grandfather, i.e., the father of the yavam and the deceased, and each one made a claim to the inheritance. The son of uncertain descent said: That man, referring to himself, is the son of the deceased, and therefore half of the possessions are mine because the inheritance should be split between the two sons, i.e., the deceased and the yavam, and since I am the sole heir of the deceased, I should receive his portion. The yavam said to him: You are my son, and therefore you have absolutely no rights to the possessions; rather, I should receive all the inheritance. One half is mine because I am the grandfather’s son, and the other half, which would have gone to my deceased brother, I should receive by virtue of the fact that I consummated the levirate marriage with his widow.

הוי יבם ודאי וספק ספק ואין ספק מוציא מידי ודאי

The Gemara rules on this case: This is a case in which the yavam has a definite claim because he is the grandfather’s son, and the son of uncertain descent has only an uncertain claim, and the halakha is that one with an uncertain claim cannot extract property from one who has a definite claim to it. Therefore, the yavam receives all the inheritance.

ספק ובני יבם שבאו לחלוק בנכסי סבא ספק אמר ההוא גברא בר מיתנא הוא ופלגא דידי הוא ובני יבם אמרי אחונא את ומנתא אית לך בהדן

The Gemara raises yet another case, that of one of uncertain descent, who is either the son of the deceased or the son of the yavam, and the sons of the yavam who came to divide up the possessions of the grandfather, and each one made a claim to the inheritance. The son of uncertain descent said: That man, referring to himself, is the son of the deceased, and therefore half of the possessions are mine because the inheritance should be split between the two sons, i.e., the deceased and the yavam, and since I am the lone heir of the deceased I should receive his portion. And the sons of the yavam said: You are our brother, and therefore you should receive only a portion together with us.

פלגא דקמודי להו שקלי תילתא דקא מודו ליה שקל פש להו דנקא הוי ממון המוטל בספק וחולקין

The Gemara rules on this case: The half of the grandfather’s possessions that the son of uncertain descent concedes belongs to them, the sons of the yavam, they take for themselves. By claiming to be the son of the brother who died first, he forfeits any rights to the other brother’s portion. The third of the grandfather’s possessions that the sons of the yavam concede belong to him, the son of uncertain descent, he takes for himself. By claiming he is their brother, they admit that he should at least receive an equal portion to them, which would mean one-third if they are three. This leaves them with one-sixth [danka] of the possessions that is property of uncertain ownership, and so they should divide it up between them.

סבא ויבם בנכסי ספק או סבא וספק בנכסי יבם

The Gemara presents two additional cases. One is a case where a son of uncertain descent, who is either the son of the deceased or the son of the yavam, died, and the grandfather and the yavam come to divide up the possessions of the son of uncertain descent. In the absence of any children, a father inherits from his son. The grandfather claims that the son of uncertain descent was actually the son of the deceased, and since the deceased has already died, the grandfather should be next in line to inherit from him. The yavam claims that the son of uncertain descent was his own son, and therefore he should inherit from him. Or, the second case is one in which the yavam died and the grandfather and the son of uncertain descent come to divide up the possessions of the yavam. The son of uncertain descent claims to be the lone son of the yavam and therefore he should inherit, whereas the grandfather claims that the son of uncertain descent was the son of the deceased and that the yavam died childless, and therefore the grandfather, who is the father of the yavam, should inherit from him.

הוי ממון המוטל בספק וחולקין:

The Gemara rules in these cases: This is a case of property of uncertain ownership, and so they should divide up the possessions between them.

מתני׳ שומרת יבם שנפלו לה נכסים מודים ב"ש וב"ה שמוכרת ונותנת וקיים

MISHNA: With regard to a widow waiting for her yavam to either consummate a levirate marriage or perform ḥalitza with her, i.e., a yevama, to whom property was bequeathed: Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel both agree that she may sell or give away that property ab initio, and that if she did, the transfer is valid. Since she has only a levirate bond with the yavam, she retains total control of the property. This is in contrast to a betrothed woman, concerning whom Beit Hillel rule that she may not sell such property because her betrothed also has rights to it (Ketubot 78a).

מתה מה יעשה בכתובתה ובנכסים הנכנסים ויוצאין עמה ב"ש אומרים יחלוקו יורשי הבעל עם יורשי האב וב"ה אומרים נכסים בחזקתן כתובה בחזקת יורשי הבעל נכסים הנכנסים ויוצאין עמה בחזקת יורשי האב

If she died, what should be done with the money assured to her in her marriage contract by her deceased husband and with her property that enters and leaves the marriage with her, in which a husband only ever has a usufructuary interest? Beit Shammai say: The husband’s heirs, i.e., the yavam, who stands to inherit from the husband when he consummates the levirate marriage, should divide up the property together with her father’s heirs, i.e., the woman’s family. And Beit Hillel say: The property retains its previous ownership status. Therefore, money assured to her in her marriage contract remains in the possession of the husband’s heirs. Since it was to be paid from the husband’s own property, the money is retained by his estate and passes to his heirs. And her property that enters and leaves the marriage with her remains in the possession of the father’s heirs. Since those properties belonged to her, upon her death they are inherited by her father or his heirs.

כנסה הרי היא כאשתו לכל דבר ובלבד שתהא כתובה על נכסי בעלה הראשון:

If the yavam consummated the levirate marriage with her, then her legal status is that of his wife in every sense, and therefore the yavam has the same rights to her property as in a regular marriage. And the only exception to this is that her marriage contract will still be payable from the property of her first husband and not from the property of the yavam.

גמ׳ מ"ש רישא דלא פליגי ומ"ש סיפא דפליגי

GEMARA: The Gemara asks: What is different about the first clause, concerning a yevama who is still alive, that Beit Shammai do not disagree with Beit Hillel that the woman has full possession of the property since there is only a levirate bond but no marriage, and what is different about the latter clause that Beit Shammai disagree with Beit Hillel and rule that the yavam does take a share of the property, which would imply that the levirate bond alone is sufficient to afford the yavam rights over her property?

אמר עולא רישא דנפלה כשהיא ארוסה וסיפא דנפלה כשהיא נשואה

Ulla said: The two clauses concern different cases: The first clause concerns a case where she happened before her yavam for levirate marriage at a time when she was a betrothed woman and only then did she come into the possession of property. Since when she was betrothed her husband did not have any rights to the property, neither does the yavam. And the latter clause concerns a case where she happened before her yavam at a time when she was a married woman. In such a case, were her husband still alive, he would have full rights to the property; therefore, so does the yavam.

וקסבר עולא זיקת ארוסה עושה ספק ארוסה

The Gemara explains: And Ulla holds that a levirate bond formed with a betrothed woman affords her a status equivalent to a woman about whom there is an uncertainty whether she is betrothed,