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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
Our Rabbis taught: A halizah under a false assumption1 is valid.2 What is meant by 'a halizah under a false assumption'? Resh Lakish explained: Where a levir is told, 'Submit to halizah and you will thereby wed her'. Said R. Johanan to him:3 I am in the habit of repeating a Baraitha, 'Whether he4 had the intention5 [of performing the commandment of halizah] and she had no such intention, or whether she had such intention and he had not, her halizah is invalid, it being necessary6 that both shall at the same time have such intention',7 and you say that her halizah is valid!8 But [in fact this is the meaning]:9 When a levir is told, 'Submit to her halizah on the condition that she gives you two hundred zuz'.10
So it was also taught [elsewhere]: A halizah under a false assumption is valid; and what is meant by a halizah under a false assumption? One in which the levir is told 'Submit to her halizah on condition that she gives you two hundred zuz'. Such an incident, in fact, occurred with a woman who fell to the lot of an unworthy levir who was told, 'Submit to her halizah on condition that she gives you two hundred zuz'. When this case came before R. Hiyya he ruled that the halizah was valid.
A woman11 once came before R. Hiyya b. Abba.12 'Stand up,13 my daughter', the Rabbi said to her. 'Her sitting is her standing',14 replied her mother.15 'Do you know this man?'16 the Rabbi asked. 'Yes', she answered him, 'it is her money that he saw and he would like to it'.17 'Do you not like him then?' he asked the woman.18 'No', she replied. 'Submit to her halizah', [the Rabbi] said to [the levir], 'and you will thereby wed her'. After the latter had submitted to halizah at her hands he said to him, 'Now she is ineligible to marry you; submit again to a proper halizah that she may be permitted to marry a stranger'.
A daughter of R. Papa's father-in-law fell to the lot of a levir who was unworthy of her.19 When [the levir] came before Abaye the latter said to him, 'Submit to her halizah and you will thereby wed her'. Said R. Papa to him, 'Does not the Master accept the [relevant] ruling of R. Johanan?'20 — 'What then could I tell him?' [the other asked]. 'Tell him', the first replied, '"submit to her halizah on condition that she gives you two hundred zuz."' After [the levir] had submitted to halizah at her hand [Abaye] said to her,18 'Go and give him [the stipulated sum]'.21 'She', R. Papa replied, 'was merely fooling him';22 was it not, in fact taught: If a man escaping from prison beheld a ferry boat and said [to the ferryman], 'Take a denar and lead me across',23 [the latter] can only claim his ordinary fare.24 From this then it is evident that the one can say to the other, 'I was merely fooling you'; so here also25 [the woman may say], 'I was merely fooling you'. 'Where is your father?'26 [Abaye] asked him. — 'In town', the other replied. 'Where is your mother?'26 — 'In town', the other again replied. He set his eyes upon them and they died.
Our Rabbis taught:27 A halizah under a false assumption is valid; a letter of divorce [given] under a false assumption is invalid.28 A halizah under coercion is invalid; a letter of divorce [given] under compulsion is valid. How is this29 to be understood? If it is a case where the man [ultimately]30 says, 'I am willing', the halizah also [should be valid]; and if he does not say, 'I am willing', a letter of divorce also should not [be valid]! — It is this that was meant: A halizah under a false assumption is always valid, and a letter of divorce [given] on a false assumption is always invalid; but a halizah under coercion and a letter of divorce [given] under coercion are sometimes valid and sometimes invalid, the former when the man [ultimately]30 declared, 'I am willing', and the latter, when he did not declare, 'I am willing'. For it was taught: He shall offer it31 teaches that the man is coerced.32 It might [be assumed that the sacrifice may be offered up] against his will, it was, therefore, expressly stated, In accordance with his will.33 How then [are the two texts to be reconciled]? He is subjected to pressure until he says, 'I am willing'. And so you find in the case of letters of divorce for women: The man34 is subjected to pressure until he says, 'I am willing'.35
Raba reported in the name of R. Sehora in the name of R. Huna: Halizah may be arranged even though [the parties]36 are unknown37 A declaration of refusal38 may be arranged even though the parties39 are unknown.37 For this reason40 no certificate of halizah may be written41 unless the parties are known,42 and no certificate of mi'un43 may be written41 unless the parties are known,42 for fear of an erring Beth din.44
Raba in his own name, however, stated: halizah must not be arranged unless the parties45 are known,46 nor may a declaration of refusal43 be heard unless the parties47 are known.46 For this reason48 it is permissible49 to write a certificate of halizah50 even though the parties are not known,51 and it is also permissible49 to write a certificate of mi'un52 even though the parties are not known,51 and we are not afraid of an erring Beth din.53
MISHNAH. [THIS IS THE PROCEDURE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF] THE COMMANDMENT OF HALIZAH: HE1 AND HIS DECEASED BROTHER'S WIFE COME UNTO THE BETH DIN, AND [THE LATTER] OFFER HIM SUCH ADVICE AS IS SUITABLE TO HIS CONDITION,2 FOR IT IS SAID IN THE SCRIPTURES, THEN THE ELDERS OF HIS CITY SHALL CALL HIM AND SPEAK UNTO HIM.3 SHE THEN ANNOUNCES: MY HUSBAND'S BROTHER REFUSETH TO RAISE UP UNTO HIS BROTHER A NAME IN ISRAEL; HE WILL NOT PERFORM THE DUTY OF A HUSBAND'S BROTHER UNTO ME.4 THEN HE MAKES THE DECLARATION: I LIKE NOT TO TAKE HER.5 [THESE FORMULAE] WERE ALWAYS SPOKEN IN THE HOLY TONGUE.6 THEN SHALL HIS BROTHER'S WIFE DRAW NIGH UNTO HIM IN THE PRESENCE OF THE THE ELDERS AND DRAW7 HIS SHOE FROM OFF HIS FOOT, AND SPIT BEFORE8 HIS FACE,9 SUCH SPITTLE AS THE JUDGES CAN SEE, AND SHE RAISES HER VOICE AND SAYS:10 SO SHALL IT BE DONE UNTO THE MAN THAT DOTH NOT BUILD UP HIS BROTHER'S HOUSE,11 THUS FAR12 USED THEY TO RECITE.13 WHEN, HOWEVER, R. HYRKANUS, UNDER THE TEREBINTH AT KEFAR ETAM,14 ONCE DICTATED THE READING AND COMPLETED THE ENTIRE SECTION,15 THE PRACTICE WAS ESTABLISHED TO COMPLETE THE ENTIRE SECTION.
[THAT] HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED IN ISRAEL, 'THE HOUSE OF HIM THAT HAD HIS SHOE DRAWN16 OFF',17 IS A COMMANDMENT [TO BE PERFORMED] BY THE JUDGES AND NOT BY THE DISCIPLES.18 R. JUDAH, HOWEVER, RULED: IT IS A DUTY INCUMBENT UPON ALL PRESENT TO CRY '[THE MAN]19 THAT HAD HIS SHOE DRAWN16 OFF'.17
GEMARA. Rab Judah stated: [This is the procedure in the performance of] the commandment of halizah: She recites;20 he recites;21 she draws off his shoe, spits and recites.22 What does he teach us [by this statement]? This is our very Mishnah! — It is this that he teaches us: The prescribed procedure is such, but if the order was reversed, it does not matter. So it was also taught: Whether the drawing off of the shoe preceded the spitting or whether the spitting preceded the drawing off, the act is valid.23
Abaye ruled: The man who dictates the halizah formulae24 shall not read for the woman [the word] not25 separately and [the clause] he will perform the duty of a husband's brother unto me26 separately, since this27 would convey the meaning, 'He desires to perform the duty of a husband's brother to me'; but [should read without a pause]. He will not perform the duty of a husband's brother unto me. Nor shall he read for the levir [the word] not28 separately and [the clause] I like28 separately; for this27 would convey the meaning. 'I like to take her'; but [he should read without a pause], I like not to take her.29 Raba, however, stated: This30 is only the conclusion31 of a sentence, and in a concluding clause [a pause] is of no consequence.32
R. Ashi found R. Kahana making a painful effort to read out for a woman,33 He will not perform the duty of a husband's brother unto me,34 [without a pause]. 'Does not the Master,' he asked him, 'accept the ruling of Raba?'35 — 'Raba', the other replied, 'admits in [the case of the formula] He will not perform the duty of a husband's brother unto me34 [that no pause is permitted].36
Abaye stated: The person who writes a certificate of halizah shall word it as follows: 'We read out for her37 from My husband's brother refuseth38 to39 will perform the duty of a husband's brother unto me;40 and we read out for him41 from not42 to39 to take her;43 and we read out for her from So44 to45 him that had his shoe drawn off.46
Mar Zutra ruled [the paper]47 and copied the full text.48 Mar b. Idi49 demurred: But, surely, [a section only of the Pentateuch] is not permitted to be written!50 The law, however, is in agreement with the ruling of Mar Zutra.51
Abaye stated: If, when she spat. the wind carried the spittle away,52 her act is invalid.53 What is the reason? — It is necessary that she shall spit before54 his face.44 If, therefore, he was tall and she was short, and the wind carried the spittle away,55 her act is deemed to have been56 before his face.57 If, however, she was tall and he was short, it is necessary that [the spittle] shall drop to the level of his face before58 it disappears.
Raba stated: If she ate garlic and then spat59 or if she ate a clod of earth and then spat,59 her act is invalid.53 What is the reason? — Because it is necessary that she shall spit44 of her own free will, which is not the case here.60
Raba further stated: The judges must see the spittle issuing from the mouth of the sister-in-law, because it is written in Scripture Before the eyes of the elders … and spit.61
[THAT] HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED IN ISRAEL, 'THE HOUSE OF HIM THAT HAD HIS SHOE DRAWN OFF' IS A COMMANDMENT [TO BE PERFORMED] BY THE JUDGES AND NOT BY THE DISCIPLES. It was taught: R. Judah stated: We were once sitting before R. Tarfon when a sister-in-law came to perform halizah, and he said to us, 'Exclaim all of you: Haluz ha-na'al,62 haluz ha-na'al, haluz ha-na'al!'
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