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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
IF THE TWO [HUSBANDS] WERE PRIESTS etc. Our Rabbis taught: If he1 struck one2 and then struck the other, or if he cursed one2 and then cursed the other, or cursed them both simultaneously or struck them both simultaneously, he is guilty.3 R. Judah. however, said: If4 simultaneously, he is guilty;5 if4 successively he is exonerated.6 But, surely, it was taught: R. Judah stated that he7 is exonerated [even if his offences were] simultaneous! — Two Tannaim differ as to what was the opinion of R. Judah.
What is the reason of him who exonerated?8 R. Hanina replied: 'Blessing'9 is spoken of in Scripture [in respect of parents] on earth10 and blessing9 is spoken of [in respect of God] above.11 As there is no association above so must there be no association below;12 and striking has been compared to cursing.13
HE MAY GO UP [TO SERVE] IN THE MISHMAR etc. Since, however, HE DOES NOT RECEIVE A SHARE why should he go up? — [You ask] 'Why should he go up'; surely. he might say: I wish to perform a commandment!14 — But [this is the difficulty]: It does not say. '[If] he went up'15 but HE GOES up, implying even against his will!16 — R. Aha b. Hanina in the name of Abaye in the name of R. Assi in the name of R. Johanan replied: In order [to avert any possible] reflection on his family.17
IF, HOWEVER, BOTH SERVED IN THE SAME MISHMAR etc. In what respect do two mishmaroth18 differ [from one] that [in the former case] he should not [receive a share]? [Is it] because when he comes to the one mishmar he is driven away and when he comes to the other mishmar he is again driven away?19 Then, even in the case of one mishmar also, when he comes to one beth ab20 he is driven away and21 when he comes to the other beth ab he is also driven away! — R. Papa replied: It is this that was meant: IF, HOWEVER, BOTH SERVED IN THE SAME MISHMAR and in the same beth ab, HE RECEIVES A SINGLE PORTION.
MISHNAH. THE COMMANDMENT OF HALIZAH MUST BE PERFORMED IN THE PRESENCE OF THREE JUDGES, EVEN THOUGH ALL THE THREE ARE LAYMEN.22 IF THE WOMAN PERFORMED THE HALIZAH WITH A SHOE,23 HER HALIZAH IS VALID,24 [BUT IF] WITH A SOCK25 IT IS INVALID; IF WITH A SANDAL26 TO WHICH A HEEL IS ATTACHED IT IS VALID, BUT [IF WITH ONE] THAT HAS NO HEEL IT IS INVALID. [IF THE SHOE WAS WORN]27 BELOW THE KNEE28 THE HALIZAH IS VALID, BUT IF ABOVE THE KNEE28 IT IS INVALID. IF THE WOMAN PERFORMED THE HALIZAH WITH A SANDAL26 THAT DID NOT BELONG TO HIM,29 OR WITH A WOODEN SANDAL, OR WITH THE ONE OF THE LEFT FOOT [WHICH HE29 WAS WEARING] ON HIS RIGHT FOOT, THE HALIZAH IS VALID.
IF SHE PERFORMED THE HALIZAH WITH A SANDAL TOO LARGE [FOR HIM],29 IN WHICH, HOWEVER, HE IS ABLE TO WALK, OR WITH ONE TOO SMALL WHICH, HOWEVER, COVERS THE GREATER PART OF HIS FOOT, HER HALIZAH IS VALID.
GEMARA. Since even THREE LAYMEN [are sufficient],30 what need is there for JUDGES? — It is this that we were taught: That three men are required, who are capable of dictating [the prescribed texts]31 like judges.32 Thus we have learned here what the Rabbis taught: The commandment of halizah is performed in the presence of three men who are able to dictate [the prescribed texts]31 like judges.32 R. Judah said: In the presence of five.33
What is the first Tanna's reason? — Because it was taught: Elders34 [implies] two; but as no court may be evenly balanced,35 one man more is added to them; behold here three. And R. Judah?36 — The elders of37 [implies] two; and elders38 [implies another] two; but since no court may be evenly balanced,35 one man more is added to them; behold here five.
As to the first Tanna, what deduction does he make [from the expression] the elders of?37 — He requires it for the purpose of including39 even three laymen. Whence, then, does R. Judah deduce the eligibility of laymen?39 — He deduces it from Before the eyes of;40 a Master having said: 'Before the eyes of', excludes blind men. Now, since the expression 'Before the eyes of' is required to exclude blind men it follows that even laymen [are eligible]. For should it be suggested [that only members of] the Sanhedrin41 are required. what need was there to exclude blind men, [an exclusion which could have been] deduced from that which R. Joseph learnt! For R. Joseph learnt: As the Beth din42 must be clean43 in respect of righteousness so must they be clear from all physical defects,44
for it is said in Scripture, Thou art all fair, my love; and there is no spot in thee.1
As to the former,2 however, what deduction does he make from the expression. 'Before the eyes of'? — That expression serves the purpose of a deduction like that of Raba, Raba having 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.3 But does not the other4 also require the text5 for a deduction like that of Raba! — This is so indeed. Whence, then,6 does he deduce [the eligibility of] laymen?7 — He deduces it from in Israel8 [implying] any Israelite whatsoever. As to the former,9 however, what deduction does he make from 'In Israel'?10 — He requires it for a deduction like that which R. Samuel b. Judah taught: 'In Israel' [implies that halizah must be performed] at a Beth din of Israelites but not at a Beth din of proselytes.11 And the other?4 — 'In Israel' is written a second time.12 And the former?9 — He requires it13 for another deduction in accordance with what 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: The man that had his shoe drawn off"'.14 And the other? — This is deduced from And [his name] shall be called.14 If this is so'15 And they shall call16 [implies] two;17 And they shall speak16 [also implies] two,17 [so that] here also [one might deduce]: According to R. Judah,18 behold there are here nine; and according to the Rabbis,19 behold there are here seven! — That text16 is required for a deduction in accordance with what was taught: And they20 shall call him16 but not their representative; And they shall speak unto him16 teaches that they give him suitable advice. If he,21 for instance, was young and she22 old, or if he was old and she was young, he is told, 'What would you with23 a young woman?' Or 'What would you23 with an old woman? Go to one who [is of the same age] as yourself, and introduce no quarrels into your home'.24
Raba stated in the name of R. Nahman: The halachah is that halizah is to be performed in the presence of three men, since the Tanna25 has taught us so26 anonymously.27 Said Raba to R. Nahman: If so [the same ruling should apply to] mi'un28 also, for we learned:29 Mi'un and halizah [must be witnessed] by three men!30 And should you reply [that the halachah] is so indeed, surely [It may be retorted] it was taught: Mi'un,31 Beth Shammai ruled, [must be declared before] a Beth din of experts;32 and Beth Hillel ruled: [It may be performed] either before a Beth din or not before a Beth din. Both, however, agree that a quorum of three is required. R. Jose son of R. Judah and R. Eleazar son of R. Jose33 ruled: [The mi'un is] valid [even if it was declared] before two.34 And R. Joseph b. Manyumi reported in the name of R Nahman34 that the halachah is in agreement with this pair!35 — There,36 only one anonymous [teaching] is available while here37 two anonymous [teachings]38 are available.
There36 also two anonymous [teachings] are available! For we learned: If, however, a woman made a declaration of refusal39 or performed halizah in his presence, he40 may marry her,41 since he [was but one of the] Beth din!42 — But, [the fact is that while] there,43 only two anonymous [teachings] are available; here,44 three anonymous [teachings] are available.45
Consider! The one43 is an anonymous [teaching], and the other44 is an anonymous [teaching]; what difference does it make to me whether the anonymous [teachings] are one, two or three? — Rather, said R. Nahman b. Isaac, [the reason46 is] because the anonymity47 occurs in a passage recording a dispute.48 For we learned: 'The laying on of hands by the elders,49 and the breaking of the heifer's neck50 is performed by three elders; so R. Jose,51 while R. Judah stated: By five elders. Halizah and declarations of mi'un, [however, are witnessed] by three men';52 and since R. Judah does not express disagreement,53 it may be inferred that R. Judah changed his opinion.54 This proves it.
R. Papa and R. Huna son of R. Joshua arranged a halizah'58 in the presence of five. In accordance with whose view?59 Was it in accordance with that of R. Judah? He, surely, had changed his opinion!60 [Their object61 was] to give the matter due publicity.62
R. Ashi once happened to be at R. Kahana's, when the latter said to him, 'The Master has come up to us [at an opportune moment] to complete a quorum of five'.63
R. Kahana stated: I was once standing in the presence of Rab Judah, when he said to me, 'Come, get on to this bundle of reeds64 that you may be included in a quorum of five'.63 On being asked, 'What need is there for five?' he replied, 'In order that the matter be given due publicity'.62
R. Samuel b. Judah once stood before Rab Judah when the latter said to him, 'Come, get on to this bundle of reeds64 to be included in a quorum of five,63 in order that the matter be thereby given due publicity'.62 'We learned', the first remarked, 'In Israel [implies that halizah must be performed] at a Beth din of Israelites but not at a Beth din of proselytes65 while I am, in fact, a proselyte'. 'On the word66 [of a man] like R. Samuel b. Judah', Rab Judah said, 'I would withdraw money [from its possessor]'.67 [You say] 'Withdraw'! Could this be imagined? Surely the All Merciful said, At the mouth of two witnesses!68 — Rather [it is this that he meant]. 'I would on his word66 impair the validity of a note of indebtedness.69
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