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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
If Rabbi1 has not taught it,2 whence would R. Hiyya3 know it! The first said to him: Surely we learned: A hackle for flax, whose teeth were broken off and two remained, is [susceptible to levitical] uncleanness,4 but [if only] one [tooth remained,5 it is levitically] clean.6 All the teeth, however, if they were removed one by one are individually [susceptible to levitical] uncleanness.7 A wool [comb] whose alternate teeth8 are broken off is levitically clean.9 If three consecutive10 teeth, however, remained, it is susceptible to levitical uncleanness. If one of these was a side tooth,11 [the comb] is levitically clean.12 If two [teeth] were removed and someone used them as pincers, they are susceptible to levitical uncleanness. One [tooth also] that was adopted for [snuffing] the light,13 or as a spool,14 is susceptible to levitical uncleanness.15 And we have it as a traditional ruling that the halachah is not in agreement with this Mishnah!16 — The other replied, 'With the exception of this;17 for both R. Johanan and Resh Lakish stated: This is not [an authoritative] Mishnah'.
What is the reason? — R. Huna b. Manoah replied in the name of R. Idi son of R. Ika: Because the first clause is in contradiction to the second one. For at first it was stated that 'a wool comb whose alternate teeth are missing is levitically clean' from which it follows that if two consecutive teeth did remain it would be susceptible to uncleanness, while immediately afterwards it was stated, 'If three consecutive teeth, however, remained it is susceptible to levitical uncleanness' from which it follows that only three but not two! — What difficulty is this? It is possible that one18 refers to the internal,19 and the other20 the external teeth!21
The contradiction, however, arises from the following:22 It was taught first, 'all the teeth, however, if they were removed one by one are individually susceptible to levitical uncleanness' [implying], even though each tooth was not adapted [for the purpose]. Now read the final clause: 'One tooth that was adapted for snuffing the light, or as a spool, is susceptible to levitical uncleanness', [implying,] only when he adapted it but not when he did not adapt it! — Abaye replied: What is the difficulty? It is possible that the one [refers to a tooth] with a handle23 and the other [to a tooth] without a handle! R. Papa replied: What is the difficulty? It is possible that the one refers to small,24 and the other to thick teeth.25 [The reason]26 is rather because accurate scholars add this conclusion: 'These are the words of R. Simeon'.27
R. Hiyya b. Abin sent the following message: Betrothal may take place within the three months, and the practice [of the Sages]28 is also in accordance with this ruling. And R. Eleazar, too, taught us the same law in the name of R. Hanina the Great: The greater part of the first month, the greater part of the third one, and the full middle month.29
Amemar permitted betrothal on the ninetieth day.30 Said R. Ashi to Amemar: But, surely, both Rab and Samuel stated that the widow must wait three months exclusive of the day on which her husband died and exclusive of the day of her betrothal! — This ruling was stated in connection with a nursing mother; for both Rab and Samuel stated: She must wait twenty-four exclusive of the day on which the child was born and exclusive of the day of her betrothal.31 Did not, however, a man once arrange a betrothal feast on the ninetieth days32 and Raba spoilt his feast!33 — That was a wedding feast.
The law is that [a nursing mother] must wait twenty-four months, exclusive of the day on which the child was born and exclusive of the day on which she is to be betrothed. Similarly. One [who is not a nursing mother] must wait three months, exclusive of the day on which her husband died and exclusive of the day on which she is to be betrothed.
EXCEPTING THE WIDOW etc. R. Hisda said: [Cannot the law34 be deduced by inference] from major to minor?35 If when washing of clothes is forbidden,36 betrothal is permitted, how much more should betrothal be permitted when the washing of clothes is permitted!37 What is it?38 — We learned: During the week in which the Ninth of Ab occurs it is forbidden to cut the hair and to wash clothes. On the Thursday, however, this is permitted in honour of the Sabbath.39 And [in connection with this Mishnah] it was taught: Before this time40 the public must restrict their activities in commerce, building and plantings but it is permissible to betroth though not to marry, nor may any betrothal feast be held!41 — That was taught in respect of the period before that time.42 Said Raba, Even in respect of the 'period before that time'43 [the law might be arrived at by inference from] major to minor: If where it is forbidden to trade it is permitted to betroth, how much more should betrothal be permitted where trade also is permitted! — Do not read, R. JOSE SAID: ALL [MARRIED] WOMEN44 MAY BE BETROTHED but read, 'ALL MARRIED WOMEN44 may be married'.45
Does not R. Jose, then, hold the view that it is necessary to make a distinction?1 — If you wish I might say2 that he does not. And if you prefer I might say that he does, in fact, hold [this view],3 but read, 'R. Jose said: All betrothed women who were divorced may be married'.4 If so, it5 is the same view as that of R. Judah!6 — The point at issue between them is the question of the betrothal7 of a married woman. R. Judah maintains that a married woman may be betrothed,7 while R. Jose maintains that a married woman may not be betrothed.7 But is R. Jose of the opinion that a married woman is forbidden betrothal?7 Surely it was taught, 'R. Jose said: All women8 may be betrothed,7 excepting the widow, owing to her mourning. And how long does her mourning continue? Thirty days. And all these must not marry before three months have passed'! — What an objection is this!9 If it be argued: Because it was stated, 'R. Jose said: All women may be betrothed', is this [it may be retorted] of greater force than our Mishnah? As that was interpreted to mean that 'betrothed women who were divorced may be married' so here also [it might be interpreted to mean], 'All betrothed women who were divorced may be married'! — [The objection,] however, [arises from] the final clause where it was stated, 'And all these must not marry before three months have passed', [implying that] only marriage is forbidden to them but they may well be betrothed!10 — Raba replied: Explain and reconstruct it11 as follows:12 R. Jose said: Betrothed women who were divorced may be married, excepting the widow owing to her mourning. And how long does her mourning continue? Thirty days. And married women may not be betrothed before three months have passed.13 But is any mourning to be observed by an erusin14 widow? Surely R. Hiyya b. Ammi taught: In the case of a betrothed wife,15 the husband is neither subject to the laws of onan16 nor may he defile himself17 for her;18 and she, [in his case,] is likewise not subject to the laws of onan16 nor may she defile herself for him;19 if she dies he does not inherit from her, though if he dies she collects her kethubah!20 — The fact, however, is that this21 is a question in dispute between22 Tannaim. For it was taught: From the first day of the month23 until the fast,24 the public must restrict their activities in trade, building and planting, and no betrothals or marriages may take place.25 During the week in which the Ninth of Ab occurs it is forbidden to cut the hair, to wash clothes;26 and others say that this is forbidden during the entire month.27 R. Ashi demurred: Whence is it proved that betrothal means actual betrothal! Is it not possible that it is only forbidden to give28 a betrothal feast but that betrothal itself is permitted?29 — If so, does 'no marriage may take place' also mean that the giving of a wedding feast is forbidden but marriage itself is permitted! — How now! In the case of a marriage without a feast there is still sufficient rejoicing;30 in the case of betrothal, however, is there any rejoicing when no feast is held?31 The fact is, said R. Ashi, that recent mourning32 is different from ancient mourning,33 and public mourning33 is different from private mourning.34
MISHNAH. WHERE FOUR BROTHERS WHO WERE MARRIED TO FOUR WOMEN DIED, THE ELDEST35 MAY, IF HE DESIRES, CONTRACT LEVIRATE MARRIAGE WITH ALL OF THEM.
WHERE A MAN WHO WAS MARRIED TO TWO WOMEN DIED, COHABITATION OR HALIZAH WITH ONE OF THEM EXEMPTS HER RIVAL.
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