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Mishnayos Yevamos Perek 1 Mishnah 1

יבמות פרק א׳ משנה א׳


The Torah law obligating a man whose brother died without children [yavam] to marry his deceased brother’s widow [yevama] or to free her from her levirate bonds through the act of ḥalitza applies only when it is permitted for the widow to marry her surviving brother-in-law. However, in cases where the yevama is forbidden to her yavam due to her status as a close family relative, the mitzva of levirate marriage is not applicable, and she is exempt from both levirate marriage and ḥalitza.
The Sages further taught that the exemption of a yevama from levirate marriage also exempts her rival wife. In other words, if the deceased brother had two wives, each a so-called rival of the other, and only one wife is a relative of the surviving brother, then the rival wife is also exempt from both levirate marriage and ḥalitza. Moreover, if that same rival wife entered into levirate marriage with a different brother of the deceased, one to whom she is not forbidden, then were this third brother also to die childless, so that the obligation of levirate marriage would again be incurred by the second brother, not only is the forbidden rival wife exempt from levirate marriage and ḥalitza, her new rival wives from her second marriage are also exempt.
That is to say, any other wife of the third brother is exempt from the mitzva of levirate marriage, as she is the rival wife of that first rival wife, who was exempted from levirate marriage following her first husband’s death due the exemption of her original rival wife. The same principle applies if that second rival wife subsequently enters into levirate marriage with another permitted brother, and so on. In summary, every widow who is exempt from marrying her brother-in-law due to her status as rival wife of a forbidden relative is treated as a forbidden relative herself and is therefore exempt from both ḥalitza and levirate marriage and causes exemption for future rival wives as well.

The mishna describes various cases that invoke the principles above. Fifteen categories of women constitute familial relations that are forbidden as incestuous, and consequently, these women exempt their rival wives and the rival wives of their rival wives from ḥalitza and from levirate marriage forever, i.e., they also exempt rival wives of rival wives of rival wives, and so on. And these women are: The daughter of the yavam, i.e., the deceased brother had married a daughter of his brother, which means that when he died childless, his brother’s own daughter came before her father for levirate marriage, and therefore she is exempt. And the same applies if the deceased brother’s widow is the daughter of the daughter of the yavam, or if she is the daughter of his son, or the daughter of his wife. And similarly, if the yevama is the daughter of the son of the wife of her yavam or the daughter of his wife’s daughter, or if she is the mother-in-law of her yavam, or his mother-in-law’s mother, or his father-in-law’s mother, then she is exempt from ḥalitza and levirate marriage. The mishna continues its list of close relatives. If the yevama is the maternal half sister of the yavam, or if she is the sister of his mother, or his wife’s sister, then she is exempt from both ḥalitza and levirate marriage Or if she was the wife of his maternal half brother, and after this brother died or divorced his wife, she married another of his father’s brothers, who was not her relative, and this brother died, she is exempt. In this case, the obligation to enter into levirate marriage should be incurred by the surviving brother, but since she was previously the wife of his maternal brother, she is exempt. And the same applies to the wife of a brother with whom he did not coexist, i.e., the wife of a man who died before his brother was born. As will be explained, the obligation of levirate marriage does not apply to the yavam in this case. Since levirate marriage does not apply to him, the yevama remains forbidden to him as his brother’s wife. And the last case is if one’s yevama had previously been his daughter-in-law, and after his son had died one’s brother married her, before he too passed away. These fifteen women exempt their rival wives and the rival wives of their rival wives from ḥalitza and levirate marriage forever. § And with regard to all of these women listed as prohibited relations, these halakhot apply only if they were married to the deceased brother until the time of his death. However, this is not the case if they died during the deceased brother’s lifetime, or if they refused their husbands when they were minors. This refusal is referring to the decree of the Sages that a girl under the age of twelve whose father is no longer alive may be married off by her mother or brothers. However, this marriage is not final, as she can terminate it by performing an act of refusal, i.e., by declaring, while still a minor, that she does not desire this marriage. In this case, the marriage is annulled retroactively and she is considered as though she were never married at all. Or if those women were divorced by their husband, the deceased brother, or were found to be a sexually underdeveloped woman [aylonit], i.e., a woman who is so underdeveloped that she is not considered a woman in the full sense, these halakhot do not apply. Her marriage is considered a mistaken marriage and is null and void. In all these cases their rival wives are permitted, as the exemption for rival wives of forbidden relatives applies only when the forbidden relative was the brother’s wife at the time of his death, when the halakhot of levirate marriage came into effect. § And the mishna comments that the language of this principle is imprecise, as you cannot say with regard to his mother-in-law and with regard to his mother-in-law’s mother and with regard to his father-in-law’s mother that they were found to be an aylonit, as an aylonit is sterile and therefore cannot become a mother or a mother-in-law. Nor is the mishna precise when it states: Or refused, as refusal applies only to minors, who cannot give birth.

חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה נָשִׁים פּוֹטְרוֹת צָרוֹתֵיהֶן וְצָרוֹת צָרוֹתֵיהֶן מִן הַחֲלִיצָה וּמִן הַיִּבּוּם עַד סוֹף הָעוֹלָם. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן, בִּתּוֹ, וּבַת בִּתּוֹ, וּבַת בְּנוֹ, בַּת אִשְׁתּוֹ, וּבַת בְּנָהּ, וּבַת בִּתָּהּ, חֲמוֹתוֹ וְאֵם חֲמוֹתוֹ, וְאֵם חָמִיו, אֲחוֹתוֹ מֵאִמּוֹ, וַאֲחוֹת אִמּוֹ, וַאֲחוֹת אִשְׁתּוֹ, וְאֵשֶׁת אָחִיו מֵאִמּוֹ, וְאֵשֶׁת אָחִיו שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בְעוֹלָמוֹ, וְכַלָּתוֹ, הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ פּוֹטְרוֹת צָרוֹתֵיהֶן וְצָרוֹת צָרוֹתֵיהֶן מִן הַחֲלִיצָה וּמִן הַיִּבּוּם עַד סוֹף הָעוֹלָם. וְכֻלָּן אִם מֵתוּ, אוֹ מֵאֲנוּ, אוֹ נִתְגָּרְשׁוּ, אוֹ שֶׁנִּמְצְאוּ אַיְלוֹנִיּוֹת, צָרוֹתֵיהֶן מֻתָּרוֹת. וְאִי אַתָּה יָכוֹל לוֹמַר בַּחֲמוֹתוֹ וּבְאֵם חֲמוֹתוֹ וּבְאֵם חָמִיו שֶׁנִּמְצְאוּ אַיְלוֹנִיּוֹת אוֹ שֶּׁמֵּאֵנוּ:


חמש עשרה נשים פוטרות צרותיהן – for one of them was married to his brother, and he had two wives and died without children, both of them are exempt [Halitzah and levirate marriage] , as it states (Leviticus 18:18): “Do not marry a woman as a rival to her sister and uncover her nakedness in the other’s [lifetime],” for the inference does not teach us about her but rather to teach you that even his sister-in-law (i.e., the widow of a brother who died without issue) that is stated about her (Deuteronomy 25:5): “Her husband’s brother shall unite with her: [he shall take her as his wife and perform the levir’s duty].” If she is “do not marry a woman as a rival to her sister” and the same law applies to the rest of the forbidden relationships [in the Torah] that have [the punishment of] extirpation. But I don’t have anything but her, her rival-wife, from where do we learn this in the Torah? The inference teaches us לצור צרתה (I Samuel 1:6) – “her rival”; from where do we learn in the Torah צרתה? The inference teaches us (Leviticus 18:18): לצרור – “as a rival,” which implies “do not marry,” neither he nor her rival wife, nor the rival of her rival wife.

בתו ובת בתו וכו' – regarding his daughter from his outraged wife, and similarly, the daughter of his daughter and the daughter of his son, for whereas his daughter from his wife which is the daughter of his wife for since it is written (Leviticus 18:17): [“Do not uncover the nakedness of] a woman and her daughter,” there is no difference whether it is from him neither there is any difference if it is from another man, but his daughter from his outraged wife, one does not derive from this Biblical verse, because it implies a wife through betrothal/Kiddushin, but it is derived from (Leviticus 18:17): “[nor shall you marry] her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter [and uncover her nakedness: they are kindred; it is depravity].”

חמותו ואם חמותו ואם חמיו – all of these are forbidden to him because of (Leviticus 18:17): “Do not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter; nor shall you marry her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter [and uncover her nakedness];” there is included within this his mother-in-law, the mother of his mother-in-law and the mother of his father-in-law.

אחותו מאמו – [his sister from his mother] who was married to his brother from his father, and he died, and similarly, the sister of his mother, for there is no levirate marriage, other than with his brother from his father for we derive “his brother, his brother” from the children of Jacob; just as there it is from the father, even though that there are none from the mother, so too here, there is no difference.

ואשת אחיו מאמו – [the wife of his brother from his mother] who died and she married his [the dead husband’s] brother from his father for she was a stranger regarding him, and he died without children and she fell before him for levirate marriage but she is forbidden to him because she was first the wife of his brother from his mother, and is prohibited to him forever, as it is written (Leviticus 18:16): “Do not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; [it is the nakedness of your brother],” and we expound, “your brother,” whether from the father or whether from the mother.

ואשת אחיו שלא היה בעולמו – such as, for example, Reuven who died without children and a brother was born to him after his death and his name is Levi, but Shimon performed levirate marriage with his wife and he has another wife and he died without children, and both of them fell before Levi, both of them are exempt, since the wife of Reuven who married Shimon is forbidden to Levi through [the punishment of] extirpation because Scripture had exempted him from Levirate marriage from Levi, as it states (Deuteronomy 25:5): “When brothers dwell together [and one of them dies and leaves no son the wife of the deceased shall not be married to a stranger, outside of her family: Her husband’s brother shall unite with her: he shall take her as his wife and perform the levir’s duty],” that they had one seating in the world; therefore, when Reuven died , she was forbidden upon Levi forever as the brother’s wife who has children and even though that now she fell from the power of the marriage of Shimon who was prohibited to him in his world on account of Reuven, and just as she is prohibited, so too is her rival wife forbidden.

וכלתו – [his former daughter-in-law – who then married his brother] whose son died, and she married his brother and his daughter-in-law is prohibited to him eternally and even after his son died.

וכולן אם מתו – such as, for example, this son died before the death of his brother ore she refused him, and even though there is no refusal other than with an minor female orphan whose mother or her mothers married her off, it is found regarding her that she refused him during the lifetime of her father, such as, for example, that her father married her off to another and she was divorced while still a minor, her father does not have control over her and she married off to the brothers of her father while she was still a minor, then she goes free through refusal and we call her further on an orphan during the lifetime of [her] father and if she refused his brother or was divorced from him or was found to be a barren woman whose acquisition was an errant purchase, it is as if she was never the wife of his brother, her rival/co-wife engages in a levirate marriage.

אילוני' – the language of a male ram from the sheep and her signs are explained clearly – that she does not have breasts like women and she does not have signs of puberty and her voice is thick like that of a male and she does not have the lower part of her abdomen like women , meaning to say, that this place does not protrude from her body like the lewdness of other women.

ואי אתה יכול לומר וכו' – that they already give birth from another prior to her being married to his brother; therefore, these are not barren women and there is also no refusal, for they are adults and only a minor [woman] may refuse, but our Tanna/teacher does not consider his mother amidst the women who exempt their rival/co-wives, for he holds like the one who holds that a man does not marry the outranged woman of his father and seduced woman of his father, but according to the one who says , that a man may marry the outraged wife of his father and the seduced wife of his and this is Halakha. It is possible that his mother married his brother from his father, and when he dies without children, it is found that his mother falls before her son for levirate marriage, and there are found sixteen women who exempt their rival/co-wives, and is mother is one of them, and this is the Halakha.

חמש עשרה נשים פוטרות צרותיהן. שאם היתה אחת מהן נשואה לאחיו ולו שתי נשים ומת בלא בנים, שתיהן פטורות, שנאמר (ויקרא י״ח:י״ח) ואשה אל אחותה לא תקח לצרור לגלות ערותה עליה, שאין תלמוד לומר עליה, אלא ללמדך שאפילו יבמתו שנאמר בה (דברים כ״ה:ה׳) יבמה יבא עליה, אם היא אשה אל אחותה, לא תקח. והוא הדין לשאר עריות שיש בהן כרת. ואין לי אלא היא, צרתה מנין, ת״ל לצור. צרת צרתה מנין, ת״ל לצרור. דמשמע לא תקח לא היא ולא צרתה ולא צרת צרתה:

בתו ובת בתו וכו׳ בבתו מאנוסתו, וכן בת בתו ובת בנו, דאילו בתו מאשתו היינו בת אשתו. דכיון דכתיב (ויקרא י״ח:י״ז) ערות אשה ובתה לא שנא הימנו ולא שנא מאיש אחר. אבל בתו מאנוסתו לא נפיק מהאי קרא דאשה על ידי קדושין משמע אלא נפקא מערות בת בנך או בת בתך (שם:):

חמותו ואם חמותו ואם חמיו. כל אלו אסורות לו, משום ערות אשה ובתה לא תגלה את בת בנה ואת בת בתה, ויש בכלל זה חמותו ואם חמותו ואם חמיו:

אחותו מאמו. שנשאת לאחיו מאביו ומת. וכן אחות אמו. שאין יבום אלא באחיו מן האב, דילפינן אחוה אחוה מבני יעקב, מה להלן מן האב אף על פי שאין מן האם הכא נמי לא שנא:

ואשת אחיו מאמו. שמת ונשאה אחיו מאביו, שהיתה נכרית אצלו, ומת בלא בנים ונפלה לפניו ליבום. ואסורה לו לפי שהיתה תחלה אשת אחיו מאמו ואסורה לו עולמית, דכתיב (שם) ערות אשת אחיך, ודרשינן אחיך בין מן האב בין מן האם:

ואשת אחיו שלא היה בעולמו. כגון ראובן שמת בלא בנים, ונולד לו אח לאחר מיתה ושמו לוי, ויבם שמעון את אשתו ולו אשה אחרת ומת בלא בנים, ונפלו שתיהן לפני לוי, שתיהן פטורות, לפי שאשת ראובן שנשאת לשמעון אסורה ללוי בכרת, לפי שמיעטה הכתוב מיבום לוי, שנאמר (דברים כ״ה) כי ישבו אחים יחדיו, שהיתה להם ישיבה אחת בעולם. הלכך כשמת ראובן נאסרה על לוי איסור עולם כאשת אח שיש לו בנים. ואע״פ שעתה נפלה מכח נישואי שמעון שהיה בעולמו, אסורה לו מחמת ראובן. וכשם שהיא אסורה כך צרתה אסורה:

וכלתו. שמת בנו, ונשאה אחיו. וכלתו אסורה עליו איסור עולם ואפילו אחר שמת בנו:

וכולן אם מתו. כגון שמתה בתו קודם מיתת אחיו או שמיאנה בו. ואע״פ שאין מיאון אלא ביתומה קטנה שהשיאוה אמה ואחיה, משכחת לה שמיאנה בחיי אביה, כגון שהשיאה אביה לאחר ונתגרשה בעודה קטנה, ששוב אין לאביה רשות בה, ונישאת לאחי אביה בעודה קטנה, אז יוצאה במיאון, דקרינן לה לקמן יתומה בחיי האב. ואם מיאנה באחיו או נתגרשה ממנו, או נמצאה אילונית שמקחה מקח טעות וכאילו לא היתה אשת אחיו מעולם, צרתה מתיבמת:

אילונית. לשון איל. הזכר מן הצאן. וסימניה מפורשים, שאין לה שדים כנשים ואין לה סימנים וקולה עבה כאיש ואין לה שיפולי מעים כנשים כלומר שאותו מקום אינו בולט מגופה כערות שאר הנשים:

ואי אתה יכול לומר וכו׳ שכבר ילדו מאחר קודם שנישאו לאחיו, הלכך לאו אילוניות נינהו. ומיאון נמי ליכא, שהרי גדולות הן, ואין ממאנת אלא קטנה. ותנא דידן דלא חשיב אמו בכלל הנשים שפוטרות צרותיהן, סבר לה כמ״ד שאין אדם נושא אנוסת אביו ומפותת אביו. אבל לדברי האומר נושא אדם אנוסת אביו ומפותת אביו, והיא הלכה, אפשר שתנשא אמו לאחיו מאביו, וכשימות בלא בנים נמצאת אמו נופלת לפני בנה ליבום. ונמצאו ט״ז נשים פוטרות צרותיהן, ואמו אחת מהן. וכן הלכה: