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it can be inferred that the Rabbis hold that the levirate bond is substantial, as it is assumed that they disagree with Rabban Gamliel in this regard as well. And the latter clause of that baraita teaches: And you would say the same with regard to two yevamin and one yevama such that if the two yevamin gave one yevama a bill of divorce, she is exempted by the ḥalitza of one of them. If so, let us say that it is a conclusive refutation of the statement that Rabba bar Rav Huna said that Rav said. For Rabba bar Rav Huna said that Rav said: In cases of invalid ḥalitza, the yevama is required to repeat the ḥalitza with all the brothers. If the ḥalitza was invalid for some reason, all the brothers must perform ḥalitza with the yevama, as her bond with them is not canceled by an invalid ḥalitza.

The Gemara responds: Rabba bar Rav Huna could have said to you: Both Rabban Gamliel and the Rabbis hold that the levirate bond is not substantial, whereas my statement is in accordance with the opinion that the levirate bond is substantial. And here the dispute does not concern the topic of the levirate bond at all, but rather it only involves the explicitly mentioned issue: They disagree with regard to the efficacy of a bill of divorce after a bill of divorce and levirate betrothal after levirate betrothal.

The Master said above in the baraita: If he performed levirate betrothal with this one and levirate betrothal with that one, Rabban Gamliel says: He gives a bill of divorce to the first one and performs ḥalitza with her and is forbidden to her relatives, but he is permitted to the relatives of the second one. The Gemara poses a question: Since Rabban Gamliel holds that levirate betrothal is not effective after levirate betrothal, and the second levirate betrothal is of no consequence, the first woman should also be permitted to enter into levirate marriage. Why must he perform ḥalitza with her? The Gemara answers: It is prohibited due to a rabbinic decree lest he perform levirate marriage with the second woman. The Sages were concerned that in cases where the yavam performed levirate betrothal with both women, if he were permitted to consummate the levirate marriage with the first woman, he might do so with the second woman as well.

§ Rabbi Yoḥanan said: Rabban Gamliel, and Beit Shammai, and Rabbi Shimon, and ben Azzai, and Rabbi Neḥemya, they all hold that levirate betrothal acquires the yevama as a full-fledged acquisition, like a regular betrothal. The source for Rabban Gamliel’s opinion is that which we said above, that levirate betrothal is not effective after levirate betrothal. Rabbi Yoḥanan maintains that the second levirate betrothal is not effective because she was already fully acquired by the first one.

The source for the opinion of Beit Shammai is as we learned in a mishna: In the case of three brothers, two of whom were married to two sisters, and one who was single, the following occurred: The husband of one of the sisters died childless, leaving behind his wife, and the single brother performed levirate betrothal with this wife. Afterward, the second brother died, whereby the second brother’s wife, the sister of the betrothed, happened before him for levirate marriage as well. In this case, Beit Shammai say: His wife remains with him, i.e., the woman he betrothed is considered like his wife, and he is not required to divorce her. And this other leaves the yavam and is exempt from levirate marriage due to the fact that she is the sister of a wife. This indicates that Beit Shammai hold that the levirate betrothal performed with the first woman makes her fully betrothed, thereby nullifying the levirate bond with her sister.

The source for the opinion of Rabbi Shimon is based on the following case cited in a mishna (96b): In the case of a boy aged nine years and one day old who had relations with his yevama, and afterward his brother, who is also nine years and one day old, had relations with her, the second brother disqualifies her from performing levirate marriage with the first one. Rabbi Shimon says he does not disqualify her. As it is taught in a baraita that Rabbi Shimon said to the Rabbis: If the intercourse of the first brother is considered effective intercourse, the intercourse of the second brother is not considered effective intercourse such that it would disqualify her from performing levirate marriage with the first brother, as the first brother has already acquired her through his intercourse. If the intercourse of the first brother is not considered effective intercourse, the intercourse of the second brother is also not effective intercourse. And the Sages considered the intercourse of a nine-year-old boy to be like levirate betrothal, and Rabbi Shimon says that the intercourse of the second boy is not considered intercourse. This proves that in his opinion the intercourse of a nine-year-old fully acquires the yevama, and similarly, so does levirate betrothal.

This source for ben Azzai’s opinion is as it is taught in a baraita that ben Azzai says: Levirate betrothal is effective after levirate betrothal in the case of two yevamin and one yevama, but levirate betrothal is not effective after levirate betrothal in the case of two yevamot and one yavam. Because the latter case involves only one yavam, his levirate betrothal fully acquires the yevama, and therefore the levirate betrothal he performs with the second woman is of no account, as he is already betrothed to the first yevama. The source for Rabbi Neḥemya’s opinion is as we learned in a mishna that Rabbi Neḥemya says: With regard to both intercourse and ḥalitza, whether at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end, nothing is effective after it. And the Sages considered invalid intercourse to be like levirate betrothal, and Rabbi Neḥemya teaches that nothing is effective after it. This indicates that he maintains that no form of acquisition is effective after levirate betrothal, as levirate betrothal completely acquires the yevama.

§ The mishna states: How so? If he performed levirate betrothal with his yevama and gave her a bill of divorce, etc.

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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