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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
but that a [Rabbinical] prohibition is 'nevertheless involved!1 — The law, in fact, is that even a [Rabbinical] prohibition is not involved; only, because it was desired to state in the final clause, 'but are guilty [of a punishable offence]', it was stated in the first clause also, 'they are not guilty [of a punishable offence]'.
Raba stated: With reference to the Rabbinical statement that [legally] an Egyptian has no father,2 it must not be imagined that this is due to [the Egyptians'] excessive indulgence in carnal gratification, owing to which it is not known [who the father was], but that if this were known3 it is to be taken into consideration;4 but [the fact is] that even if this is known it is not taken into consideration. For, surely, in respect of twin brothers, who originated in one drop that divided itself into two, it was nevertheless stated in the final clause,5 that they 'neither participate in halizah nor perform levirate marriage'.6 Thus it may be inferred that the All Merciful declared their children to be legally fatherless,7 for [so indeed it is also] written, Whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses.8
Come and hear what R. Jose related: It once happened with the proselyte Niphates9 that he married the wife of his [deceased]10 maternal brother,11 and when the case was submitted to the Sages their verdict was that the law of matrimony does not apply to a proselyte. But then, should a proselyte betroth a woman, would also the betrothal be invalid? — Say then rather: The prohibition of a brother's wife does not apply to a proselyte. Now does not [this refer to the case] where his brother11 had married her while he was a proselyte!12 — No; where he married her while he was still an idolater.13 But if [betrothal took place] while he was still an idolater, what [need is there] to state it?14 — It might have been assumed that [in the case of a brother's betrothal] while he is still an idolater a preventive measure should be enacted lest [erroneous conclusions be drawn in the case] where he is a proselyte, hence we were taught [that no such measure was enacted].
Come and hear what Ben Yasyan15 related: When I went to the coastal towns16 I came across a certain proselyte who had married the wife of his maternal brother. 'Who, my son', I said to him, 'permitted you [this marriage]?' 'Behold', he replied. 'the woman and her seven children;17 on this bench sat R. Akiba when he made two statements: "A proselyte may marry the wife of his maternal brother", and he also stated, "And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying,18 only a second time did the Shechinah speak to him; a third time the Shechinah did not speak to him."'19 At any rate, it was stated here that 'a proselyte may marry the wife of his maternal brother'. Does not [this refer to a case] where his brother married her while he was a proselyte! — No; where he married her while he was still an idolater.20 What [need then was there] to state [such an obvious law]? — It might have been assumed that [in the case of a brother's betrothal] while he is still an idolater a preventive measure should be enacted lest [erroneous conclusions be drawn in the case] where he is a proselyte. hence we were taught [that no such measure was enacted].
Is he,21 however, believed? Surely R. Abba stated in the name of R. Huna in the name of Rab: Wherever a scholar gives directions22 on a point of law and such a point comes up for a practical decision, he is obeyed if he made the statement23 before the event;24 but if it was not so made, he is not obeyed!25 — If you wish I might say: The incident occurred after he made his statement. If you prefer, I might say: Because he stated, 'Behold the woman and her seven children'.26 And if you prefer I might say: Here it is different27 because with it he related another incident.28
The Master said, 'And the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying,29 only a second time did the Shechinah speak unto him, a third time the Shechinah did not speak to him'. But surely it is written in Scripture, He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath unto the sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke by the hand of His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet!30 — Rabina replied: He31 referred to the affairs of Nineveh.
R. Nahman b. Isaac replied, It is this that was meant:32 According to the word of the Lord … which He spoke by the hand of his servant, the prophet,33 as his intention towards Nineveh was turned from evil to good, so was his intention towards Israel, in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, turned from evil to good.
Come and hear: A proselyte who was born in holiness34 but was not conceived in holiness35 has [legally] maternal consanguinity but no paternal consanguinity. For instance:36 If he married his maternal sister,37 he must divorce her;38 if his paternal one, he may retain her.39 His father's maternal sister he must divorce;40
his paternal one he may retain. His mother's maternal sister he must divorce. As to her paternal sister, R. Meir said: He must divorce her,1 and the Sages said: He may retain her;2 R. Meir maintaining that any woman forbidden on account of maternal consanguinity must be divorced, but if on account of paternal consanguinity he may retain her. He is also permitted [to marry] his brother's wife,3 and the wife of his father's brother. All other forbidden relatives are also permitted to him, including his father's wife. If [a proselyte]4 married a woman and her daughter5 she may6 retain7 one, but must release the other.8 In the first instance he may not marry7 her.9 If his wife died, he is permitted to marry his mother-in-law. Another opinion is that he is forbidden to marry his mother-in-law.10 At all events, it was here stated that he is 'permitted [to marry] his brother's wife'; does not [this apply to a woman] whom his brother had married while he was a proselyte! — No; where he married her while he was still an idolater. What [need was there] to state it?11 — It might have been assumed that [in the case of a brother's marriage] while he was still an idolater a preventive measure12 should be enacted to preclude [the same thing being done] where he is already a proselyte, hence were we taught [that in such a case a brother's wife was permitted].
The Master stated, 'If [a proselyte] married a woman and her daughter, he may retain one but must release the other; in the first instance he may not marry her'. Now, if he must even release her, is there any need [to speak of a prohibition to marry her] from the outset?13 — It refers to a previous clause,14 and the meaning is this: That [woman]. concerning whom the Rabbis ruled that he15 may retain her,16 may nevertheless not be married by him from the outset.
'If his wife died he is permitted to marry his mother-in-law. Another opinion is that he is forbidden to marry his mother-inlaw'. One is in agreement with R. Ishmael and the other is in agreement with R. Akiba. He who forbade the marriage agrees with R. Ishmael who stated: A man's mother-in-law after [his wife's] death retains the former prohibitions;17 and in respect of a proselyte a preventive measure was enacted.18 He, however, who permits the marriage follows R. Akiba who stated that the prohibition [to marry] one's mother-in-law is weakened after [one's wife's] death;19 and, consequently, no preventive measure has been enacted by the Rabbis in respect of a proselyte.
MISHNAH. IF THE [MALE] CHILDREN OF FIVE WOMEN WERE MIXED UP20 AND, WHEN THESE INTERCHANGED CHILDREN GREW UP, THEY TOOK WIVES AND THEN DIED, FOUR21 SUBMIT TO HALIZAH FROM ONE [OF THE WIDOWS]22 AND ONE23 CONTRACTS WITH HER THE LEVIRATE MARRIAGE.24 [THEN] HE25 AND THREE [BROTHERS]21 SUBMIT TO HALIZAH FROM ONE [OTHER OF THE WIDOWS]. AND ONE26 CONTRACTS WITH HER27 THE LEVIRATE MARRIAGE.28 THUS29 EVERY ONE [OF THE WIDOWS] PERFORMS HALIZAH FOUR TIMES AND CONTRACTS THE LEVIRATE MARRIAGE ONCE.
GEMARA. Only the halizah [must take place30 first] and the levirate marriage afterwards; the levirate marriage, however, must not take place first, since, thereby, one31 might infringe the prohibition against a sister-in-law's marriage with a stranger.32
What [was the object of the statement], HE AND THREE [BROTHERS] SUBMIT TO HALIZAH FROM ONE [OTHER OF THE WIDOWS]?33 — That it be not suggested that one brother only should contract levirate marriage with all of them. Rather let every brother contract levirate marriage with only one [of the widows], when it is possible his own [sister-in-law] might happen to fall to his lot.
Our Rabbis taught:34 'If some of them35 were brothers36 and some were no brothers,36 the brothers submit to halizah while those who are no brothers contract the levirate marriage.' What does this exactly mean? — R. Safra replied. It is this that is meant: If some of them35 were paternal brothers36 and some were [also] maternal brothers,37 the maternal brothers submit to halizah38 and the paternal brothers may [also] contract levirate marriage.39 'If some of them40 were priests and some were non-priests, the priests submit to halizah41 and those who are non-priests may [also] contract levirate marriage. If some of them42 were priests and some maternal brothers, the former as well as the latter submit to halizah but may not contract levirate marriage.'43
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