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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
with his wife's sister, however, presumptuous [marriage with whom does] not [cause his first wife to be] forbidden [to him] by Pentateuchal law, no preventive measure has been instituted by the Rabbis in her case where [he acted] unwittingly.1 Whence, however, is it deduced that she2 is not forbidden?3 — [From that] which was taught: With her;4 only cohabitation5 with her causes her to be prohibited;3 cohabitation6 with her sister, however, does not cause her to be prohibited. [This, Scriptural text was required] since [otherwise] It might have been argued [as follows]: If where a man cohabited with [a woman forbidden by] a lighter prohibition.7 [the person]8 who caused the prohibition [itself]9 is forbidden [to her],10 how much more should [the person]11 who caused the prohibition become forbidden in the case of cohabiting with [one12 forbidden by] a heavier prohibition.13
R. Judah stated: Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel are agreed14 that a man who cohabited with his mother-in-law renders his wife unfit [to live with him]; they only differ where a man cohabited with his wife's sister, in which case Beth Shammai maintain that thereby he causes [his wife] to be unfit for him, while Beth Hillel maintain that he does not thereby cause her to be unfit for him.
R. Jose stated: Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel are agreed14 that a man who cohabits with his wife's sister does not thereby render his wife unfit for him; they differ only where a man cohabited with his mother-in-law, in which case Beth Shammai maintain that thereby he causes [his wife] to be unfit for him, while Beth Hillel maintain that he does not thereby cause her to be unfit for him. [Both agree]15 for the following reason:16 Originally all the women of the world were permitted to him,17 and all the men of the world were permitted to her;18 but when he betrothed her he imposed a prohibition upon her and she imposed a prohibition upon him; the prohibition, however, which he imposed upon her is greater than the prohibition which she imposes upon him, since he caused all the men of the world to be forbidden to her, while she caused her relatives only to be forbidden to him. This,19 then, may be arrived at by an inference: If she, to whom he20 caused21 all the men in the world to be prohibited, is, if she cohabited unwittingly with one who was forbidden to her,22 not forbidden to the man23 who was permitted to her,24 how much more reason is there why he23 to whom she25 caused26 the prohibition of her relatives only, should, if he cohabited unwittingly with one who was forbidden to him,27 not be forbidden28 to her25 who was permitted to him. This argument is applicable to one who acted unwittingly. Whence is it deduced [that the same law29 is applicable] to one who acted wilfully? It was expressly stated With her,30 cohabitation31 with her only causes her to be prohibited;32 cohabitation33 with her sister, however, does not cause her to be prohibited.32
Said R. Ammi in the name of Resh Lakish: What is R. Judah's reason?34 — Because it is written, They shall be burnt with fire. both he and they;35 is the whole household to be burned!36 If this, then, is not a case for burning36 regard the text as indicating a prohibition.37
Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel: The law is not in agreement with R. Judah.37
A man once committed incest with his mother-in-law, and Rab Judah summoned him and ordered him to receive a flogging. 'Had Samuel not stated', he said to him, 'that the law was not in agreement with R. Judah. I would have forbidden [your wife] to you for all time'.
What was meant by a 'lighter prohibition'?38 — R. Hisda replied: Remarrying one's divorced wife after her marriage to another man — 39 When that man40 cohabited with her, he caused her to be prohibited to the other,41 and when the other41 cohabited with her42 he caused her to be prohibited to the former.43 [But, it may be argued,] remarrying one's divorced wife after her marriage to another man is different44 since her body45 was defiled and she is46 prohibited for all time!47 — Rather, said Resh Lakish, [it means] a yebamah.48
A yebamah with whom?49 If it be suggested: With a stranger,50 [the ruling] being in accordance with R. Hamnuna who ruled51 that a woman awaiting the decision of the levir who played the harlot is forbidden to the levir,52 [it may be objected that] a yebamah is different,44 since her body was defiled and she is prohibited to the majority of men.53 If, however, [it be suggested that it refers54 to] a yebamah in relation to [her deceased husband's] brothers: Where one [brother, for instance] addressed to her a ma'amar he caused her to be prohibited to the other,55 and when the other cohabited with her he caused her to be prohibited to the former.56 [But in this case] what point is there, [it may be retorted, in stating]57 that the second cohabited with her,58 [when the same law is applicable] also even where he59 only addressed to her a ma'amar!60 — This is no difficulty; [a ma'amar could not be postulated], in accordance with R. Gamaliel who ruled: There is no validity in a ma'amar that was addressed after a previous ma'amar.61 But [still the objection is that the same law is applicable] even if he59 gave her a letter of divorce and even if he submitted to her halizah! — Rather, said R. Johanan, [it means] a sotah.62
A sotah, with whom?63 If it be suggested: With her husband who, if he cohabited with her,64 caused her to be prohibited to her seducer,65 what point is there, [it may be objected, in stating] that he cohabited with her? Even if he66 only gave her a letter of divorce and even if he only said, 'I am not allowing her to drink',67 [the same law is applicable]!68 [If it be suggested] however: The sotah with the seducer;69 is this70 [it may be objected] a 'lighter prohibition'? It is surely a grave prohibition, since she is a married woman!
— Rather, said Raba, it means a married woman. Similarly when Rabin came1 he stated in the name of R. Johanan: A married woman. But why should this2 be described as 'a lighter prohibition'? — Because [her husband] who causes her to be prohibited [to other men] does not cause her to be so prohibited during the whole of his lifetime.3
It4 was taught likewise: Abba Hanan stated in the name of R. Eleazar: [It means] a married man. [And the argument runs thus:] If where a man cohabits with [a woman forbidden by] a lighter prohibition,5 in which case he6 who caused the prohibition of her does not cause her to be prohibited during the whole of his lifetime,7 [it is nevertheless ruled] that the very person who causes the prohibition becomes prohibited,8 then, in a case of cohabiting with [one forbidden] by a graver prohibition,9 where the person, who causes the prohibition of her,10 prohibits her during the whole of her lifetime,11 how much more should we rule that the very person who causes the prohibition should become prohibited;12 hence it was expressly stated, With her,13 only cohabition14 with her15 causes her to be prohibited16 but cohabitation17 with her sister does not cause her18 to be prohibited.16
R. JOSE STATED: WHOSOEVER DISQUALIFIES etc. What does R. Jose mean?19 If it be suggested that while the first Tanna implied that 'Where a man's wife and his brother-in-law20 went to a country beyond the sea,21 the wife of his brother- in-law is forbidden,22 though his own wife is permitted',23 R. Jose said to him, 'As his own wife is permitted23 so is the wife of his brother-in-law also permitted';22 if so, [it may be objected, why the expression] WHOSOEVER DOES NOT DISQUALIFY FOR OTHERS DOES NOT DISQUALIFY FOR HIMSELF24 where it should have been. 'Whosoever does not disqualify25 for himself, does not disqualify for others'!26
If, however, [it be suggested that R. Jose implied]. 'As the wife of his brother-in-law is forbidden,27 so is his wife also forbidden',28 [the expression,] WHOSOEVER DISQUALIFIES would be satisfactorily explained; what, however, would be the purport of WHOSOEVER DOES NOT DISQUALIFY?24 — R. Ammi replied: [He29 refers] to an earlier clause:30 'If she married with the authorization of the Beth din, she must leave, but is exempt from an offering. If she married, however, without the authorization of the Beth din, she must leave and is also liable to an offering, the authorization of the Beth din is thus more effective in that it exempts her from the offering.31 Concerning this, the first Tanna stated [that his wife may return to him]32 'irrespective of whether [the marriage33 took place] on the evidence of two witnesses,34 where the wife of his brother-in-law is permitted,35 or whether [it took place] in accordance with a decision of the Beth din,36 where the wife of his brother-in- law is forbidden',35 and [to this] R. Jose replied. '[If the marriage took place] in accordance with a decision of the Beth din,36 where he DISQUALIFIES FOR OTHERS37 he DISQUALIFIES FOR HIMSELF;38 [if, however, it took place] on the basis of the evidence of two witnesses,34 where he DOES NOT DISQUALIFY FOR OTHERS39 he DOES NOT DISQUALIFY FOR HIMSELF.40
R. Isaac Nappaha replied: [R. Jose may], in fact, refer to the latter clause,41 one42 [of his rulings applying] where [the persons who] had gone [were] the man's wife43 and his brother-in-law. and the other [applying] where his betrothed and brother-in-law had gone. The first Tanna having ruled that 'irrespective of whether it was his wife and his brother-in-law or whether it was his betrothed and his brother-in-law, the wife of his brother-in-law is forbidden44 while his wife is permitted,'45 R. Jose said to him, 'In the case of his wife and brother-in-law where no one would assume that he had attached some condition to his marriage46 and where consequently he does not cause [his sister-in-law] to be prohibited to the other,47 he does not cause [his first wife] to be prohibited to him either; in the case of his betrothed and his brother-in-law, however, where someone might assume that he had attached some condition to his betrothal48 and where, in consequence, he causes [his sister- in-law] to be prohibited to the other,49 he causes [his first wife] also to be prohibited to him.
Rab Judah Stated in the name of Samuel: The halachah is in agreement with R. Jose.
R. Joseph demurred: Could Samuel have said this?50 Surely it was stated: A yebamah,51 Rab said, has the status of a married woman; and Samuel said: She has not the status of a married woman. And R. Huna said: Where, for instance, a man's brother betrothed a woman52 and then went to a country beyond the sea, and he,53 on hearing that his brother was dead, married his wife. [It is in such a case] that Rab ruled that 'she has the status of a married woman' and is consequently forbidden to the brother-inlaw;54 and Samuel ruled that 'she has not the status of a married woman' and is, therefore, permitted to him!55 Said Abaye to him:56 Whence [do you infer] that when Samuel stated that 'the halachah is in agreement with R. Jose', he was referring to R. Isaac Nappaha's interpretation? Is it not possible that he was referring to that of R. Ammi!57 And even if he refers to that of R. Isaac Nappaha, whence the proof that [he referred to the ruling] 'DISQUALIFIED'?58
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