Previous Folio / Yebamoth Directory / Tractate List / Navigate Site
Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
the graves of idolaters do not impart levitical uncleanness by an ohel,  for it is said, And ye My sheep the sheep of My pasture, are men;  you are called men  but the idolaters are not called men. 
An objection was raised: And the persons were sixteen thousand!4 — This is due to [the mention of] cattle.5 Wherein are more than six-score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right and their left hand!6 — This is due [to the mention of] cattle.7 Whosoever hath killed any person, and whosoever hath touched any slain, purify yourselves!8 — One of the Israelites might have been slain. And the Rabbis?9 — [Scripture states]. There lacketh not one man of us.10 And R. Simeon b. Yohai? — There lacketh not one man of us, through indulgence in sin.
Rabina replied: Granted that Scripture excluded them11 from imparting uncleanness through an ohel,12 because of the written text, When a man dieth in the tent,13 did Scripture also exclude them from [imparting uncleanness by] touch and carriage?14
MISHNAH. [A PRIEST WHO] BETROTHED A WIDOW, AND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY APPOINTED HIGH PRIEST, MAY CONSUMMATE THE MARRIAGE. IT ONCE HAPPENED WITH JOSHUA B. GAMALA THAT HE BETROTHED MARTHA THE DAUGHTER OF BOETHUS, AND THE KING APPOINTED HIM HIGH PRIEST, AND HE, NEVERTHELESS, CONSUMMATED THE MARRIAGE.
IF ONE AWAITING THE DECISION OF THE LEVIR15 BECAME SUBJECT TO A COMMON PRIEST WHO WAS SUBSEQUENTLY APPOINTED HIGH PRIEST, [THE LATTER], THOUGH HE ALREADY ADDRESSED TO HER A MA'AMAR, MUST NOT CONSUMMATE THE MARRIAGE.
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: Whence is it deduced that [a priest] who betrothed a widow and was afterwards appointed High Priest may consummate the marriage? It is specifically stated in Scripture, Shall he take to wife.16 If so, [the same law should apply to] a yebamah awaiting the decision of the levir also! — A 'wife' but not a yebamah.
IT ONCE HAPPENED TO JOSHUA etc. He APPOINTED HIM17 but he was not elected!18 Said R. Joseph: I see here a conspiracy;19 for R. Assi, in fact, related that Martha the daughter of Boethus brought to King Jannai20 a tarkab21 of denarii before he gave an appointment to Joshua b. Gamala among the High Priests.22
GEMARA. He lays down a general rule implying25 that there is no difference whether [the yebamah became a widow] after betrothal or after marriage! One can well understand [the case of the widow] after marriage, [since marriage with her is forbidden by] a positive26 as well as by a negative commandment,27 and no positive commandment28 may override a negative and a positive commandment;29 but [in the case of a widow] after betrothal, the positives should override the negative commandment!30 — The first act of cohabitation31 was forbidden as a preventive measure against the second act of cohabitation.32
MISHNAH. A COMMON PRIEST SHALL NOT MARRY A WOMAN INCAPABLE OF PROCREATION,33 UNLESS HE HAD ALREADY A WIFE34 OR CHILDREN.35 R. JUDAH SAID: EVEN THOUGH HE HAS HAD A WIFE AND CHILDREN HE SHALL NOT MARRY A WOMAN INCAPABLE OF PROCREATION, SINCE SUCH36 [IS INCLUDED IN THE TERM OF] HARLOT MENTIONED IN THE TORAH.37 BUT THE SAGES SAID: THE TERM HARLOT IMPLIES ONLY A FEMALE PROSELYTE,38 FREED BONDMAID38 AND ONE WHO HAS BEEN SUBJECTED TO MERETRICIOUS INTERCOURSE.
GEMARA. Said the Exilarch39 to R. Huna: What is the reason?40 Obviously because of the duty of the propagation of the race; are, then, only priests commanded concerning the propagation of the race while Israelites are not commanded?41 The other replied:42 Because it was desired to state in the final clause, R. JUDAH SAID: EVEN THOUGH HE HAS HAD A WIFE
AND CHILDREN HE SHALL NOT MARRY A WOMAN INCAPABLE OF PROCREATION, SINCE SUCH [IS INCLUDED IN THE TERM OF] HARLOT MENTIONED IN THE TORAH. Since priests only were commanded concerning the harlot while Israelites were not so commanded, therefore PRIEST only was mentioned.
Said R. Huna: What is R. Judah's reason? — Since it is written, And they shall eat, and not have enough, they shall commit harlotry and shall not increase,1 any cohabitation which results in no increase is nothing but meretricious intercourse.
It was taught: R. Eliezer stated, A priest shall not marry a minor. Said R. Hisda to Rabbah: Go and consider this matter,2 for in the evening R. Huna will question you on the subject. When he went out he considered the point [and came to the conclusion that] R. Eliezer was of the same opinion as R. Meir and also of the same Opinion as R. Judah. 'He is of the same opinion as R. Meir' who takes exceptional cases3 into consideration;4 and 'also of the same opinion as R. Judah', who holds that a woman incapable of procreation is regarded as a harlot.5 But does he6 hold the same opinion as R. Meir? Surely it was taught: A minor, whether male or female, may neither perform, nor submit to halizah, nor contract levirate marriage; so R; Meir. They said to R. Meir: You spoke well [when you ruled], may neither perform, nor submit to halizah', since in the Pentateuchal section7 man was written,8 and we also draw a comparison between woman and man.9 What, however, is the reason why they may not contract levirate marriage? He replied: Because a minor male might be found to be a saris;10 a minor female might be found to be incapable of procreation; and thus the law of incest would be violated.11 And it was also taught: A minor female may contract the levirate marriage12 but may not perform halizah;13 so R. Eliezer!14
And does he hold the same opinion as R. Judah? Surely it was taught: Zonah15 implies, as her name [indicates, a faithless wife];16 so R. Eliezer. R. Akiba said: Zonah implies one who is a prostitute.17 R. Mathia b. Heresh said: Even a woman whose husband, while going18 to arrange for her drinking,19 cohabited with her on the way,20 is rendered a zonah. R. Judah said: Zonah implies one who is incapable of procreation.21 And the Sages said: Zonah is none other than a female proselyte, a freed bondwoman, and one who has been subjected to any meretricious intercourse. R. Eleazar22 said: An unmarried man who had intercourse with an unmarried woman, with no matrimonial intent, renders her thereby a zonah!23 No, said R. Adda b. Ahabah, the reference here24 is to25 a High Priest. For when does he acquire her [as his lawful wife]? Only when she grows up;26 but, then, she is already a be'ulah.27 Said Raba:28 What thoughtlessness!29 If her father had arranged her betrothal, then [the High Priest] would have acquired her from that very moment;30 and if she herself had accepted the betrothal, is this31 then the view of R. Eliezer only32 and not that of the Rabbis!33 No, explained Raba, it34 refers indeed to a common priest, but [the prohibition to marry the minor] is a precaution against the possibility of her seduction35 while living with him. If so, [the same should apply to] an Israelite also! — The seduction of a minor is regarded as an outrage, and an outraged woman is permitted in the case of an Israelite.36 R. Papa replied: [It34 speaks] of a High Priest, and it represents the opinion of the following Tanna. For it was taught: A virgin;37 as one might assume it to mean a minor, it was explicitly stated wife. If only 'wife' [had been written], it might have been assumed to mean one who is adolescent,38 hence it was explicitly stated, 'a virgin'. How, then [is the text to be understood]? One who has emerged from her minority but has not yet attained adolescence.39
R. Nahman b. Isaac explained:40 It is the opinion of the following Tanna. For it was taught: A virgin;37 the only meaning of 'virgin' is damsel;41 and so it is said in Scripture, And the damsel42 was very fair to look upon, a virgin.43
R. Eleazar said: An unmarried man who had intercourse with an unmarried woman, with no matrimonial intent, renders her thereby a zonah.' R. Amram said: The halachah is not in agreement with the opinion of R. Eleazar.
MISHNAH. A MAN SHALL NOT ABSTAIN FROM THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTY OF THE PROPAGATION OF THE RACE44 UNLESS HE ALREADY HAS CHILDREN. [AS TO THE NUMBER]. BETH SHAMMAI RULED: TWO MALES, AND BETH HILLEL RULED: MALE AND A FEMALE, FOR IT IS STATED IN SCRIPTURE, MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM.45
GEMARA. [This implies] if he has children, he may abstain from performing the duty of propagation but not from that of living with a wife.46 This provides support for a statement R. Nahman made in the name of Samuel who ruled that although a man may have many children he must not remain without a wife, for it is said in the Scriptures, It is not good that the man should be alone.47
Others read: [This48 implies] if he has children he may abstain from performing the duty of propagation and also from that of living with a wife. May it, then, be said that this presents an objection against the statement R. Nahman made in the name of Samuel?49 — No; if he has no children he must marry a woman capable of procreation; and if he has children he may marry a woman who is incapable of procreation. What is the practical difference?50 — In respect of selling a Scroll of the Law for the sake of children.51 BETH SHAMMAI RULED: TWO MALES. What is Beth Shammai's reason? We make an inference from Moses, in connection with whom it is written, The sons of Moses: Gershom and Eliezer.52 And Beth Hillel? — We infer from the creation of the world. Let Beth Shammai also infer from the creation of the world! — The possible cannot be inferred
- To Next Folio -