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Steinsaltz

he is embarrassed with her. Therefore, it is possible that more time passed before he engaged in intercourse with her.

§ The Gemara asks about the halakha that if he has not consummated the marriage, he is forced to perform ḥalitza: Before he is forced to perform ḥalitza, let us force him to consummate the levirate marriage. Rav said: The mishna is referring to a case where her bill of divorce is already to be found in her hand. The yavam has already given her a bill of divorce, but she claims that he never consummated the levirate marriage, and that therefore she is not released by the bill of divorce and still requires ḥalitza.

The Gemara raises an objection: If, within thirty days, a yevama said: I have not engaged in sexual intercourse with him, then whether he says: I did engage in intercourse, or whether he says: I did not engage in intercourse, the court forces him to perform ḥalitza. If she made this claim after thirty days have passed, the court asks him to perform ḥalitza.

If she says after thirty days: I engaged in sexual intercourse with him, and he says: I did not engage in sexual intercourse with her, then he releases her with a bill of divorce, because the legal presumption is that he did have sexual relations with her. If he says: I engaged in sexual intercourse with her, and she says: I did not engage in sexual intercourse with him, even if he retracted his statement and said: I did not engage in sexual intercourse with her, this situation requires both a bill of divorce and ḥalitza. The fact that the baraita requires a bill of divorce indicates that the entire passage is referring to a case when she did not yet have a bill of divorce.

Rabbi Ami says: When the baraita says that she requires a bill of divorce, it means that she requires ḥalitza with her bill of divorce that she already received. Rav Ashi says: There, where Rav explained the mishna as referring to a case where she has already received a divorce, it is referring to a bill of divorce that he gave her for his levirate bond, before he consummated the levirate marriage. Upon its reception, it is prohibited to consummate the levirate marriage, but she still requires ḥalitza. Here, in the baraita, it is referring to a bill of divorce that he gave for his consummation of the levirate marriage. After he engaged in sexual relations with her she becomes his wife and requires a regular divorce in order to remarry.

It was told: A certain couple, a yavam and yevama, who both admitted that they had not consummated the levirate marriage, came before Rava. Rava said to the Sages who sat before him: Arrange ḥalitza for her, and resolve her case. Rav Sherevya said to Rava: But it is taught in a baraita that she requires a bill of divorce and ḥalitza. He said to him: If this baraita is taught, it is taught, and I retract my ruling on account of it.

Hon, son of Rav Naḥman, asked Rav Naḥman: What is the halakha with regard to her rival wife? If the yavam consummated the levirate marriage with his brother’s wife, the rival wife is exempted. In the event that the yevama who entered levirate marriage says that her yavam did not consummate the levirate marriage, is there a need for a procedure to exempt the rival wife from the levirate bond?

He said to him: Just because we force or sometimes ask the husband to perform ḥalitza in order to remove any uncertainty and release the wife, should the rival wife be forbidden to remarry? The presumption is that the yavam did consummate the levirate marriage but since she denies it, she causes herself to be forbidden to marry others without ḥalitza. However, her statement is not relied upon to the extent that her rival wife would be forbidden.

§ It is taught in the mishna: If a woman vows during her husband’s lifetime to derive no benefit from her yavam, the court forces him to perform ḥalitza. We learned in a mishna elsewhere (Nedarim 90b): At first they said: Three categories of women are divorced from their husbands against their will, and even so they receive payment of their marriage contract.

They are: A woman who says: I am defiled to you. When a priest’s wife tells her husband that she was raped, he is obligated to divorce her as she is forbidden to him. Since she became forbidden due to circumstances beyond her control, she is entitled to receive payment of her marriage contract. Likewise, a woman who says: Heaven is between me and you, that is: There are no witnesses to the matter, but Heaven will testify that you are incapable of having normal sexual relations with me. Since this is not her fault, she receives the settlement in her marriage contract. The same halakha applies if a woman vows: I am withdrawn from the Jews, meaning, she vows not to engage in sexual relations with any Jew, because conjugal relations are difficult for her.

The Sages subsequently retracted and said that in order that a married woman should not cast her eyes on another man and, in order to be with him, ruin her relationship with her husband and leave with payment of her marriage contract, these halakhot were modified. Rather, a priest’s wife who says to her husband: I am defiled to you, must bring evidence for her statement that she was raped. A woman who says: Heaven is between me and you, the court deals with the matter by way of a request, and the husband is not forced to divorce his wife.

As for a woman who says: I am withdrawn from the Jews, her husband must nullify his part in the vow, that is, the part of the vow that concerns him, so that she should be permitted to him, and she may have relations with him. But she is withdrawn from all other Jews, so that if he divorces her, she is forbidden to all.

A dilemma was raised before the scholars: If the wife said: I am withdrawn from the Jews and the husband nullifies his part in the vow, what is the halakha with regard to the yavam once the husband has died? Does this vow apply to him? When she takes the vow, does it enter her mind that her husband will die and she will happen before a yavam, or not? If she did entertain the thought, then the vow applies to the yavam, as the husband’s nullification only affects himself, and she must perform ḥalitza. If she did not consider the possibility of becoming a yevama, then the vow does not apply to the yavam and she can enter into levirate marriage. Her vow was directed only against any potential suitors she might have if her husband divorced her.

Rav says: A yavam is not like a husband. She did not intend that her vow be directed against him at all, and he may enter into levirate marriage with her. And Shmuel says: A yavam is like a husband in this respect and the vow applies to him as well, so he must perform ḥalitza. Abaye said: Ruling according to Rav’s opinion stands to reason, as we learned in the mishna: If a woman vows during her husband’s lifetime to derive no benefit from her yavam, the court forces him to perform ḥalitza. And if it is the case that it enters her mind that the husband will die and she will become a candidate for levirate marriage with the yavam,

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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