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איך אתה לומד דף יומי?






 

Steinsaltz

we would have said that the halakha is stringent in this case because they are prohibited by any amount, i.e., a creeping animal or insect is prohibited on pain of lashes even if it is very small, provided that it is a whole creature (Tosafot). However, with regard to eating blood, which is not a Torah prohibition unless there is at least the volume of a quarter-log, one might say that there is no prohibition against directly feeding minors, as this prohibition is more lenient. And had the tanna taught us only the case of blood, we would have said that they were stringent with regard to blood because there is the punishment of karet for eating blood. However, for creeping animals, whose consumption does not entail karet, one might say that this halakha does not apply.

And had the tanna taught us only these two cases, we would have said it is because their prohibitions apply equally to all Jews. However, in the case of ritual impurity, which is a mitzva for priests alone, one might say that there is no prohibition against directly rendering minors ritually impure. And had the tanna taught us only the case of ritual impurity, we would have said that the case of priests is different and more stringent, because the Torah includes extra mitzvot for them. However, with regard to these prohibitions of creeping animals and blood, one might say that there is no prohibition against directly feeding minors. Therefore, it was necessary to state all these cases.

§ The Gemara cites another relevant source with regard to a minor who eats the meat of unslaughtered animals. Come and hear: If two brothers, one of whom is a deaf-mute and the other one halakhically competent, were married to two halakhically competent sisters, and the deaf-mute married to the halakhically competent sister died, what should the halakhically competent brother married to the halakhically competent sister do? His brother’s wife is released without levirate marriage or ḥalitza, due to the prohibition with regard to a wife’s sister.

If the halakhically competent brother married to the halakhically competent sister died, what should the deaf-mute brother married to the halakhically competent sister do? He divorces his wife with a bill of divorce, which is as valid as their original marriage. And his brother’s wife is forbidden to him forever. He must divorce his wife, as the levirate bond applies by Torah law, whereas his marriage is valid by rabbinic law. However, in practice he is unable to consummate levirate marriage with the yevama or perform ḥalitza with her.

The Gemara inquires: Why should he divorce his wife with a bill of divorce? Let her continue to live with him, as a deaf-mute is in the same category as a minor who eats the meat of unslaughtered animals, for he is not legally competent. Consequently, even if he were to engage in sexual relations with her, this would not be considered a transgression. The Gemara answers: If the matter concerned the deaf-mute alone, this would be the case. However, here he must divorce her due to the prohibition that applies to her, as his wife is legally competent, and just as she is forbidden to him, he is also forbidden to her.

Come and hear: If two halakhically competent brothers were married to two sisters, one of whom is a deaf-mute and the other one halakhically competent, and the halakhically competent brother married to the deaf-mute sister died, what should the halakhically competent brother married to the halakhically competent sister do? The deaf-mute is released due to the prohibition with regard to a wife’s sister. If the halakhically competent brother married to the halakhically competent sister died, what should the halakhically competent brother married to the deaf-mute sister do? He divorces his wife with a bill of divorce, as the halakhically competent sister came before him for levirate marriage, and the legal status of her levirate bond is higher than that of his marriage to his wife, a deaf-mute. And he releases his brother’s wife, who is not a deaf-mute, by means of ḥalitza, as they are both competent and can therefore perform ḥalitza.

The Gemara again asks: But why should he divorce his wife with a bill of divorce? Let her continue to live with him, as a deaf-mute is in the same category as a minor who eats the meat of unslaughtered animals. The Gemara answers as above: He must divorce her due to the prohibition that applies to him.

Rava said: Come and hear: If two brothers, one of whom is a deaf-mute and the other one halakhically competent, were married to two sisters, one of whom is a deaf-mute and the other one halakhically competent, and the deaf-mute brother married to the deaf-mute sister died, what should the halakhically competent brother married to the halakhically competent sister do? The deaf-mute woman is released due to the prohibition with regard to a wife’s sister. If the halakhically competent brother married to the halakhically competent sister died, what should the deaf-mute brother married to the deaf-mute sister do? He divorces his wife with a bill of divorce, and his brother’s wife is forbidden to him forever.

Rava elaborates: But here is a case where there is no prohibition that applies to her and there is no prohibition that applies to him, as they are both deaf-mutes who are not prohibited to each other, and yet it is taught that he divorces his wife with a bill of divorce. Rav Shemaya said: This is a rabbinic decree due to the danger of permitting a yevama to a member of the public. Since people might think that the deaf-mute sister is his full-fledged wife, they are likely to conclude that it is permitted for this yevama to marry someone other than the yavam, like any other sister of the wife of the yavam. However, in actual fact she is not the sister of the wife of her yavam, as the deaf-mutes are not married by Torah law, and she may not marry any other man because she is a yevama whose yavam cannot marry her or perform ḥalitza. For this reason, the Sages decreed that this deaf-mute husband must divorce his wife. In sum, this source too does not provide conclusive proof with regard to the question of a minor who eats meat from unslaughtered animals.

MISHNA: With regard to a woman who went, she and her husband, overseas, if there was peace between him and her, i.e., the couple were not fighting at the time, and there was also peace in the world, i.e., there was no war at that time, and the woman came back by herself and said: My husband died, she may marry on the basis of her own testimony. Likewise, if she said: My husband died, and they did not have children, but her husband had a brother, she may enter into levirate marriage.

If there was peace between him and her when they left but there was war in the world, or if there was a quarrel between him and her and peace in the world, and she came and said: My husband died, she is not deemed credible, as she may be mistaken or lying. Rabbi Yehuda says: She is never deemed credible when she testifies that her husband died, unless she came crying and her clothing was torn, in which case it is apparent that she is speaking the truth. They said to him: This is an incorrect distinction. Rather, both this woman who cries and this woman who does not cry may marry on the basis of their own testimony.

GEMARA: The tanna of the mishna taught the clause: Peace between him and her, because later he wanted to teach the clause: A quarrel between him and her. Likewise, he taught: Peace in the world, because he wanted to teach afterward: War in the world. In other words, the fact that there was peace between them or peace in the world is of importance only because the opposite is the case in other situations dealt with in the mishna. Therefore, the tanna emphasized the lack of disruptions in the first case cited by the mishna.

Rava said: What is the reason that one does not rely on her testimony when there is war? It is because she says what she imagines to be the case: Can it enter one’s mind that among all these people who were killed, her husband alone is saved? If you say: Since there was peace between him and her, she guards herself and waits until she actually sees that he died; even so, at times it might happen that his enemies strike him with an arrow or spear and she thinks that he is certainly dead due to the wound, and yet this is no proof that he is dead, as there are instances when someone prepares medicine [samterei] for the wounded person and he survives, despite his apparently fatal wound.

Rava thought to say that famine is not like war, as in the case of a famine she will not say and infer based on what she imagines to be the case. Rava then retracted and said: Famine is like war. Why did he change his mind? This happened because a certain woman came before Rava, and said to him: My husband died in a famine. Seeking to cross-examine her, Rava said to her: Did you do well to save yourself, by running away and leaving him? Did it enter your mind that with that small amount of sifted flour that you left him he could have survived? She said to him: The Master also knows that in a case like this he could not survive. Rava understood from her comment that she did not actually see her husband die, but merely saw that he was weak from hunger, and yet she testified with certainty that he died.

Rava then retracted again and said: Famine is worse than war in this respect. As in wartime, it is only if she said: My husband died in the war, that she is not deemed credible. This indicates that if in a time of war she says: He died upon his bed, or in some other unrelated manner, she is deemed credible, as she would not err in this case, whereas with regard to a famine she is deemed credible only if she says: He died and I buried him. In other words, during a famine it must be clear that she is testifying about his actual death, and is not basing her claim on an assumption.

Similarly, a rockslide is like war, as she will say what she imagines to be the case, and she might not meticulously examine the facts to see if he was possibly saved. Furthermore, an outbreak of snakes and scorpions is like war, as she will say what she imagines to be the case.

In a case of pestilence or a similar plague, some say it is like war, and some say it is not like war. The Gemara explains: Some say it is like war, as she will say what she imagines to be the case, because she assumes that if most everyone died in the plague her husband could not have survived. Conversely, some say it is not like war, because we rely on that which people say in the common expression: For seven years there was pestilence and not a person left, i.e., died, before his time. In other words, with regard to natural disasters of this kind it is known sometimes that one can avoid harm, and therefore if a woman testifies that her husband died she certainly witnessed his death.

§ A dilemma was raised before the scholars: If she maintains that there is a war in the world, i.e., if the court was not aware of a war in that place, but the wife comes and claims that there was a war, and she went on to say that her husband died in this war, what is the halakha in this case? Do we say: Why should she lie? In other words, if she was lying she would have issued a more advantageous claim. Since she herself informed the court that there was a war, which undermines her claim that her husband died, there is no legitimate reason to suspect her of lying.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
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