Category: Yevamot

Yevamot 122

Mazal Tov! Today, those studying Daf Yomi complete their study of Massechet Yevamot which has spanned 4 months! and which has challenged even the most experience of learners. For all those who were able to keep up during this tough stretch – great work! For today’s thought for our final daf (Yevamot 122b) – thereby…

Details
Yevamot 121

If you have ever walked around the national cemetery on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, you may have noticed the memorial by David Brotzkos in commemoration of the 69 sailors whose lives ended on January 25th 1968. It was on this date when the Israeli Dakar submarine, under the command of Ya’akov Ra’anan went missing.Dakar was…

Details
Yevamot 120

Amid a discussion seeking to resolve an apparent contradiction between a Mishna in Massechet Yevamot (16:3) and a Mishna in Massechet Ohalot (1:6) concerning the danger of a serious wound inflicted by a knife or sword, our daf (Yevamot 120b) explains that the case being described in Ohalot presumes that the knife or sword is…

Details
Yevamot 119

I previously explained in my commentary to Yevamot 99a (see https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/yevamot-99/ how the seemingly improbable case described in that Mishna (Yevamot 11:4) where two children became mixed up actually referred to a situation when families were forced to hide in caves for long periods while conflicts were reigning in their area ‘during which time babies…

Details
Yevamot 118

Today’s daf (Yevamot 118a), while discussing the laws of testimony about the death of a husband by co-wives where one co-wife testifies that he died and the other testified that he didn’t, considers a line of reasoning that: ‘it might enter your mind to say that this man did in fact die, and concerning what…

Details
Yevamot 117

Today’s daf (Yevamot 117a) contains a stunning insight about our relationship with Torah – as derived from a verse in Mishlei 27:19.The verse states כַּמַּיִם הַפָּנִים לַפָּנִים כֵּן לֵב הָאָדָם לָאָדָם – ‘As water reflects the face, so too does the heart of one person to another’ – which is explained by Rashi, according to…

Details
Yevamot 116

A story is told in today’s daf (Yevamot 116b) which is the basis for an important Talmudic rule:‘It occurred at the end of the wheat harvest when ten people went to harvest wheat. A snake bit one of them and he died, and his wife then came and told the Beit Din that her husband…

Details
Yevamot 115

Today’s daf (Yevamot 115a) states a principle that people don’t lie about facts that are likely to become known in the future. And why? Because people are afraid of being exposed as a liar. Admittedly, there are many people nowadays for whom this principle, and this fear, does apply. However, the notion of having a…

Details
Yevamot 114

The Mishna (Yevamot 15:1) in today’s daf (Yevamot 114b) discusses the circumstances where a woman testifying to the death of her husband while they were both overseas is sufficient evidence for a Beit Din to render her a widow: ‘If there was peace between him and her (i.e., the couple were not fighting at the…

Details
Yevamot 113

Today’s daf (Yevamot 113a) informs us how ‘there was once a certain deaf-mute who was living in Rav Malkiyo’s neighbourhood. Rav Malkiyo married him to a woman, and he wrote four-hundred dinars for her from the property [of the deaf-mute as her Ketubah (marriage contract)]. [Responding to this event], Rava said: “Who is as wise…

Details
Yevamot 112

Today’s daf (Yevamot 112a) quotes a Mishna from Massechet Nedarim (11:12) that uses a very powerful phrase. Specifically, in the context of discussing cases where women could seek Jewish divorces even against their husbands will, the Mishna describes a case where a woman states to her husband שָׁמַיִם בֵּינִי לְבֵינָךְ – ‘that heaven is between…

Details
Yevamot 111

Oftentimes, instead of writing a commentary to the Mishna and Gemara, I simply just try and listen to the emotions that emerge from what has already been said in the Mishna and Gemara – and this is what I’d like to do in terms of the Mishna (Yevamot 13:12) found in today’s daf (Yevamot 111b).We…

Details
Yevamot 110

Today’s daf (Yevamot 110b) touches on a topic that I have addressed every year in my ‘Jewish Moral Dilemmas course’, firstly because it is important, secondly because it is painful, thirdly because it is often not addressed until such a situation arises, and lastly because my understanding of the topic was powerfully impacted by a…

Details
Yevamot 109

In today’s daf (Yevamot 109a), Bar Kapara teaches a Beraita which states how: ‘A person should always cleave to three things and distance themselves from three things: They should cleave to Chalitzah, to making peace [between people in conflict], and to the revocation of vows, and they should distance themselves from mi’un (refusal of marriage…

Details
Yevamot 108

Three dapim ago (Yevamot 105b) we read the dramtic story which Jeffrey L. Rubenstein calls, ‘The Shaming of Abdan’ (see https://bit.ly/3NgJZkV for his article on the topic). Significantly, this story concluded by informing us that due to Abdan’s impudence, he contracted tzora’at, his two sons drowned, and his two daughters-in-law made declarations of refusal (mi’un)…

Details
Yevamot 107

Early on in today’s daf (Yevamot 107a), in seeking to provide a rationale for Beit Shammai’s position who asserts – in contrast to Beit Hillel – that once an orphan minor has married then ‘mi’un’ (refusal of that marriage) is not possible, the Gemara invokes the phrase לפי שאין תנאי בנשואין – ‘because nissuiun (marriage)…

Details
Yevamot 106

The final lines of today’s daf (Yevamot 106b) elaborate upon Devarim 25:10 which informs us, concerning the Yavam who refuses to fulfil the mitzvah of Yibum and instead chooses Halitzah, that וְנִקְרָא שְׁמוֹ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל בֵּית חֲלוּץ הַנָּעַל – ‘and his name shall be called in Israel, “The house of the one whose shoe was removed…

Details
Yevamot 105

Today I would like to elaborate on my commentary to Rosh Hashanah 18a (see https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/rosh-hashanah-18/) and address the teaching found both there and in today’s daf (Yevamot 105a) about the role of Torah study and acts of kindness (chessed) in bringing atonement to the world. Moreover, I would like to discuss how – in the…

Details
Yevamot 103-4

A review of Yevamot 103-104 informs us that the Halitzah ceremony must involve the removal of a shoe from the right foot, while if – for whatever reason – the right foot is wearing a left shoe, the ceremony is valid ex post facto.The question, of course, is why do these specific details matter? To…

Details
Yevamot 102

Six months ago in my commentary to Megillah 16a (see https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/megillah-16/) I spoke about the importance of us being prepared to cut our losses and walk away from bad situations. In fact, I even quoted Annie Duke who has written an entire book on the subject (‘Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away’).…

Details
Yevamot 101

A few weeks ago the Jewish world mourned the death of Rabbi Nota Greenblatt (1925-2022) who, aside from being the Rav and Av Beis Din of the Vaad HaKehillot of Memphis and the founder of the Margolin Hebrew Academy, was a tremendous Torah scholar and a Rabbi’s Rabbi who often travelled to smaller Jewish communities…

Details
Yevamot 100

We are taught in today’s daf (Yevamot 100a) how Rava changed his Beit Din prioritisation policy in response to hearing a Beraita discussing the laws of Ma’aser Ani. Specifically, Rava explains that until this point, ‘when both a man and woman would come before me for litigation [each being a plaintiff in their own respective…

Details
Yevamot 99

Sometimes all it takes is a few words to help make sense of what seems to be an unnecessarily confusing case. The Mishna (Yevamot 11:4) in today’s daf (Yevamot 99a) tells us about a case of ‘a woman whose son became mixed up with the son of her daughter-in-law, and these mixed-up sons then matured…

Details
Yevamot 98

I would like to share what I believe to be an original reading of a cryptic story in today’s daf (Yevamot 98a).We are told a Beraita that Ben Yasiyan said: ‘When I travelled overseas I encountered a convert who married his maternal brother’s wife. I said to him: “My son, who permitted this to you?”…

Details
Yevamot 97

Following the discussion initiated on Yevamot 96b about the importance of attributing Torah insights to their original composers, today’s daf (Yevamot 97a) quotes a stunning teaching of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that כל תלמיד חכם שאומרים דבר שמועה מפיו בעולם הזה שפתותיו דובבות בקבר – ‘any Torah scholar in whose name a Torah insight is…

Details
Yevamot 96

The Mishna (Yevamot 10:5) in today’s daf (Yevamot 96a) begins by telling us about a man who, having been informed that his wife has died, then goes on to marry a series of women – in each case only once he has been informed that his previous wife has died – all of whom being…

Details
Yevamot 95

Yevamot 95a-b examines the human cost of forbidden sexual relationships, and specifically, how a marriage is halachically impacted when the husband or wife engages in a forbidden relationship.Significantly, I use the phrase ‘halachically impacted’, because the primary focus of our Gemara is whether a couple may remain together, or whether they must divorce, in a…

Details
Yevamot 94

In response to the interpretation given by Rabbi Elazar ben Matya in Mishna Yevamot (10:3, 92a) to Vayikra 21:7, our daf (Yevamot 94a) records the critical words of Rav – as quoted by Rav Yehuda – that while Rabbi Elazar could have למדרש ביה מרגניתא ודרש בה חספא – ‘expounded a [beautiful and rare] pearl…

Details
Yevamot 93

Much of the focus of today’s daf (Yevamot 93a) concerns the question of אדם מקנה דבר שלא בא לעולם, i.e. whether ‘someone can acquire something that has yet to come into being’.In terms of the essence of this question, it considers whether acquisition must only apply to the tangible or also to the possible; to…

Details
Yevamot 89-92

While I generally endeavour to write an individual post on every page of daf yomi, in very rare instances – such as after a two- or three-day yom tov – I make the decision to write a post that covers a number of dapim while nevertheless making reference to ideas found on every page that…

Details
Yevamot 88

There is a lovely phrase used repeatedly in today’s daf (Yevamot 88b) that I feel is a wonderful message for us all as we approach Shavuot which, among other things, celebrates the giving of the Torah. In its discussion about the reliance and reliability of one witness in certain instances, the Gemara uses the expression:…

Details
Yevamot 87

The Mishna (Yevamot 10:1) in today’s daf (Yevamot 87b) describes one of those terrible ‘what-if’ cases, where a woman whose husband went overseas and who was informed that her husband had died. On the basis of that evidence, the woman then married another man, afterwhich her (first) husband returned. The question addressed by the Mishna…

Details
Yevamot 86

Today’s daf (Yevamot 86b) quotes a verse (Ezra 8:15) describing an event which ostensibly only took place because of a principle explained elsewhere (Eruvin 65a) which is a problem that I, and I think so many others, face on a very regular basis.To explain what I mean, our Gemara makes reference to the fact that…

Details
Yevamot 85

We were previously taught in the Mishna (Yevamot 9:3, 84a) that marriages forbidden by Torah law (eg. a Kohen Gadol to a widow) are often treated less severely than those ‘secondary arayot’ forbidden by rabbinic law, with the Beraita quoted in today’s daf (Yevamot 85a) providing further details in terms of what this means in…

Details
Yevamot 84

Among the various cases recorded in the Mishna (Yevamot 9:2) in today’s daf (Yevamot 84a) are cases of women ‘who are permitted to marry their Yavam but who were forbidden to be married to their husband’. Specifically, this refers to instances where the Torah forbids certain men from marrying certain women (eg. a Kohen Gadol…

Details
Yevamot 83

In today’s daf (Yevamot 83a), reference is made to Mishna Shevi’it 2:6 which discusses the permitted timeline for planting and grafting prior to a Shemitta year – with the halachic requirement being that the seed must already be established in the ground, or the graft sufficiently fused to a tree, before the start of the…

Details
Yevamot 82

One of my favourite films is Cast Away which tells the story of Chuck Noland, a systems analyst for Fedex who, after a plane crash killing the rest of the crew on his cargo plane, washes up on an uninhabited island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. However, while Castaway is a survival movie, it is…

Details
Yevamot 81

Today’s daf (Yevamot 81b) makes reference to a fascinating halachic principle of כל דבר שבמניין אינו בטל – literally ‘any item that is counted is not nullified’.What this means is that when a prohibited item or substance becomes mixed with a permitted item or substance, though in the situation where the majority of a mixture…

Details
Yevamot 80

Much of today’s daf (Yevamot 80a-b) addresses the physical סימנים (signs) indicating how a woman or a man have reached puberty, during which the Gemara also speaks of the סריס (the sexually underdeveloped man, i.e. one who has not undergone puberty, and of the איילונית (the sexually underdeveloped woman, i.e. a woman who has not…

Details
Yevamot 79

For some people, Yevamot 78-79 (i.e. yesterday and today’s daf) are simply more of the same technical halachic debates relating to children, marriage, Jewish status and the mitzvah of yibum. However, for Rav Hayyim David Halevy (see Asseh Lecha Rav 7:70-71), who is one of my spiritual, moral and halachic role models, these pages contain…

Details
Yevamot 78

There is a remarkable halacha discussed in today’s daf (Yevamot 78a) that if a pregnant woman immerses in a mikveh for the sake of conversion, then the child that she is carrying need not also, separately, immerse for the sake of conversion.Significantly, our Gemara discusses the various possible ways in which this spiritual transformation occurs…

Details
Yevamot 77

One of the most frequently quoted verses in Orthodox girls’ schools and Seminaries are the words of Tehillim 45:14: כָּל כְּבוּדָּה בַת מֶלֶךְ פְּנִימָה מִמִּשְׁבְּצוֹת זָהָב לְבוּשָׁהּ which, though explained in many different ways, is generally translated to mean something like: ‘all the honour of the princess is within; she wears clothes embroidered with gold’.Significantly,…

Details
Yevamot 76

Today’s daf (Yevamot 76b) informs us that while the mistreatment of Bnei Yisrael by the male Amonites and Moabites led to the policy of forbidding male converts to Judaism from Amon and Moab, female Amonites and Moabites are permitted to convert to Judaism. Undoubtedly, the most famous female Moabite who did ‘enter the congregation’ was…

Details
Yevamot 75

Much of today’s daf (Yevamot 75b) deals with the laws of a פצוע דכא – someone with wounded or crushed testicles whom the Torah (see Devarim 23:2) restricts from marrying into the ‘the assembly of God’.Unfortunately, just like the many people who choose to quickly skip through dapim addressing such topics, there are men who…

Details
Yevamot 74

Today’s daf (Yevamot 74a) focusses on the restrictions of various individuals such as an אונן (someone whose close relative has died but is yet to be buried), an ערל (someone who is uncircumcised), and a טבול יום (someone who has entered into a state of impurity lasting a day) from consuming various sacred foods such…

Details
Yevamot 73

For reasons which I’ve yet to fully understand, many Jews don’t consider the terrifying statistics of assimilation as being something that is their concern, and when asked why, their general response is two-fold: a) what can I do about it especially as I’m not sufficiently knowledgeable/religious/capable, and, b) that is why we have outreach organizations…

Details
Yevamot 72

There is a remark in today’s daf (Yevamot 72b) which serves as a powerful reminder about the need for time, thought, reflection and depth when studying, processing and understanding Torah – which is most certainly a necessary message in our generation which seems to celebrate instant, knee-jerk, and often shallow opinions. Specifically, we are taught…

Details
Yevamot 71

I previously noted in my commentary to yesterday’s daf that those who are ערלים (uncircumcised) are not permitted by Torah law to consume certain sacred foods such as the Korban Pesach. As the Torah (Shemot 12:48) states: וְכָל עָרֵל לֹא יֹאכַל בּוֹ – ‘and whoever is uncircumcised may not eat of it’.At the same time,…

Details
Yevamot 70

Today we begin Chapter 8 of Massechet Yevamot titled הערל which is often translated as ‘an uncircumcised person’, and it is here where we are taught that those who are ערלים are not permitted to consume terumah. However, the word ערל, although certainly used in the Torah to refer to someone who is physically uncircumcised,…

Details
Yevamot 68 & 69

If I had to pick a theme that emerges from our study of Yevamot 68 & 69, it would be ‘transitions’, and in particular, how reaching a certain physical age is indicative of having reached a certain transitional stage, and similarly, how particular life transitions, such as marriage, are reflective of starting a new stage…

Details
Yevamot 67

Throughout today’s daf (Yevamot 67a), reference is made to the laws of inheritance, and specifically, to the laws of inheritance for daughters.Interestingly, elsewhere in the Gemara we find that an association is made between the laws of yibum and the laws of inherence for daughters. Specifically, we are taught in Bava Batra 119b that when…

Details
Yevamot 66

Today’s daf (Yevamot 66b) quotes from Mishna Terumot 11:9 to teach us that a cow rented by a Israel from a Kohen may still eat terumah food, while conversely, a cow rented by a Kohen from a Israel may not. Given this, the question we must consider is why is this the case, and what…

Details
Yevamot 65

In today’s daf (Yevamot 65b), Rabbi Abba quotes from Mishlei 9:8 which states, אַל תּוֹכַח לֵץ פֶּן יִשְׂנָאֶךָּ הוֹכַח לְחָכָם וְיֶאֱהָבֶךָּ – ‘do not rebuke a scoffer lest he hate you; rebuke a wise person and he will love you’, to teach that it is an obligation not to rebuke someone who will not listen…

Details
Yevamot 64

The Mishna (Yevamot 6:6) in today’s daf (Yevamot 64a) states that if a couple are married for ten years and are unable to have children, they should divorce in order to give each other a chance to become parents.Significantly, the Rambam (Ishut 15:7) formulates this halacha with even stronger language than the Mishna, stating that:…

Details
Yevamot 63

Many of us – myself included – worry. Still, among the various teachings from the Book of Ben Sira that are cited in today’s daf (Yevamot 63b) is one that directly challenges the worrier: אל תצר צרת מחר – ‘do not be agitated by the worries of tomorrow’, כי לא תדע ילד יום – ‘for…

Details
Yevamot 62

Today’s daf (Yevamot 62a) tells the story of the death of Rabbi Akiva’s students, and while I have previously attempted to understand aspects of this story, there have been some parts that have nevertheless eluded me. Then, this year, I purchased a copy of Rabbi Ephraim Oved’s ‘Torat HaAggadah’ where he sheds light on parts…

Details
Yevamot 61

Of those who read my daily daf insights, they differ significantly in terms of age, background, and location. Yet beyond this, they also differ in family situation. Some are single, some are married, some are divorced and some are widows. And in terms of children, some don’t have children. Some do. Some have sadly lost…

Details
Yevamot 60

Early on in today’s daf (Yevamot 60a) an attempt is made to understand the reasoning of one of Rabbi Eliezar ben Yaakov’s rulings especially since, as we are told in the Gemara, his rulings are considered קב ונקי – literally ‘small measured and clean’ and meaning that though he rendered fewer rulings than most of…

Details
Yevamot 59

Much of today’s daf (Yevamot 59a) focusses on the laws of marriage for a Kohen Gadol about whom the Torah instructs: וְהוּא אִשָּׁה בִבְתוּלֶיהָ יִקָּח – ‘He may marry a woman only in her virginity’ (Vayikra 21:13), and which is then reiterated in the following verse that, אַלְמָנָה וּגְרוּשָׁה וַחֲלָלָה זֹנָה אֶת אֵלֶּה לֹא יִקָּח…

Details
Yevamot 58

Today’s daf (Yevamot 58b) discusses the complex halachot concerning a woman who is a בת כהן (the daughter of a Kohen) – meaning that before her marriage she ate Terumah (the tithes given to the Kohanim) in her parents’ home, who then married a Kohen (which meant that after her marriage she ate Terumah in…

Details
Yevamot 57

While various cases are presented in today’s daf (Yevamot 57a) relating to Kohanim, I would like to focus on just two, and by examining these two cases, I hope to share a valuable perspective that I think is often overlooked. However, in order to do so a little background is necessary in order to explain…

Details
Yevamot 56

Three years ago I attended a conference where Rabbi Dr. Rafi Feuerstein spoke about a topic close to his heart; a topic so close that he’d just edited a book on the subject.*Titled, ‘Breaking the Glass Wall: Intimacy and Marriage for People with Disabilities’ (Hebrew), this book addresses the legal, halachic, social & practical questions…

Details
Yevamot 55

The Torah’s model of yibum, which our Massechet has discussed at length, involves a woman marrying her deceased husband’s brother in the case where she and her late husband did not have a child. In doing so, a family connection is maintained, along with the possibly of a child being born that can continue the…

Details
Yevamot 54

Amid the various complex and – at times – startling cases discussed in today’s daf (Yevamot 54a), Rav Ashi teaches us about the difference between dozing and sleeping:‘Dozing is when someone is asleep but not completely asleep, and awake but not completely awake (נים ולא נים תיר ולא תיר). For example, if someone asks a…

Details
Yevamot 53

If you’ve been following my commentary on Massechet Yevamot (and especially my remarks on Yevamot 3 – https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/yevamot-3/, Yevamot 8 – https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/yevamot-8/ and Yevamot 39, https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/yevamot-39/) then you understand that while the Mishna and Gemara often speak about the legal consequences of cohabitation (in terms of them transforming the automatic partial marital bond between a…

Details
Yevamot 52

Today is Yom HaZikaron LaShoah VeLaGevurah, and though – as every day – my task is to study today’s daf (Yevamot 52) and to find or conceive an insight that resonates with me and – I hope – with others, the mood of the day affects my learning in terms of the words that I…

Details
Yevamot 51

Early on in our study of Massechet Yevamot (see for example my commentary to Yevamot 8b) we explained that though the Torah only demands cohabitation in order to transform the partial ‘marriage’ (that is automatically established between a woman whose husband died without children and her brother-in-law upon the death of her husband) into a…

Details
Yevamot 50

We were previously taught in the Mishna (Yevamot 4:13, 49a) that ‘if a man’s wife died, he is permitted to marry her sister’, and similarly, ‘if his yevama died, he is permitted to marry her sister’.Interestingly, Rav Yosef points out in today’s daf (Yevamot 50a) that this teaching appears to be little more than a…

Details
Yevamot 49

In most houses and apartments, the glass used in toilet and bathroom windows differ from those in the rest of the house. In the rest of the house, the glass is transparent – thereby enabling us to clearly see through the window and view whatever is on the other side of the window with clarity.…

Details
Yevamot 48

The final teaching in today’s daf (Yevamot 48b) states that once a non-Jew has decided to convert to Judaism, they should not delay their initiation of that process. In fact, we are then taught by Rabbi Abahu, or some say by Rabbi Chanina, that we learn this idea from Ruth 2:12 when Boaz says to…

Details
Yevamot 46&47

One of the most profound perspectives in the teachings of Rav Soloveitchik is his examination, in ‘Kol Dodi Dofek’, of the dual covenantal conversion rituals of milah (circumcision – or to be more precise, the prohibition of being uncircumcised) and tevilah (immersion); how the former expresses a commitment to the covenant of fate (goral) while…

Details
Yevamot 45

The final teaching in today’s daf (Yevamot 45b) was said by Rav Chama bar Gurya, quoting Rav, stating that: ‘If one buys a slave from an idolater, and before immersing the slave for the sake of converting them to the partial Jewish status of עבד כנעני (Canaanite slave) the slave chooses to immerse themself for…

Details
Yevamot 44

Throughout my posts on Massechet Yevamot I have emphasised how the mitzvah of Yibum is fraught with moral and ethical challenges, how the choice to perform yibum should be לשם שמים (i.e. with good intentions), and how the decision to transform the automatic relationship established upon the death of a man between the female yevama…

Details
Yevamot 43

Towards the end of today’s daf (Yevamot 43b) we find a Beraita listing what may or may not be done in the nine days between Rosh Chodesh Av and Tisha B’Av, and while it states that neither Eirusin nor Nissu’in may be performed during this period, the Gemara then clarifies and explains that though Nissu’in…

Details
Yevamot 42

A Beraita is cited in today’s daf (Yevamot 42b) which makes reference to a ruling מפי חכמים בכרם ביבנה – ‘from the mouths of the Sages in Kerem (lit. ‘the vineyard) B’Yavne (lit. ‘in Yavne’)’, and given that studied in Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavne – whose founding was inspired by the great academy of Yavne established…

Details
Yevamot 41

Embedded in the Mishna (Yevamot 4:10) in today’s daf (Yevamot 41a) is a fascinating remark reflecting – at least according to some commentaries – a keen interest that married couples not be hesitant, awkward or embarrassed about matters of sexual intimacy. But to explain, a little background is necessary.The Torah speaks of two stages of…

Details
Yevamot 40

As we are in the midst of the festival of freedom, and having just had our Pesach Seder, it seems apt to reflect on the gift of freedom while – at the same time – considering a lesson from the Mishna (Yevamot 4:7) and the subsequent Gemara found in today’s daf (Yevamot 40a).If a man…

Details
Yevamot 39

In my commentary to Yevamot 3a (see https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/yevamot-3/), I referenced Yevamot 39b, because it is here where Abba Shaul teaches that the only instance where Yibbum is not considered to be a transgression of a forbidden relationship is where Yibbum is performed לשם שמים (for the sake of heaven) – which is why Abba Shaul…

Details
Yevamot 38

While not the only example, it is rare for a Mishna to appear verbatim as a Mishna in two different Massechtot. However, the Mishna (Yevamot 4:3) in today’s daf (Yevamot 38a) – which discusses the status of a woman whose husband has died and who is in the three-month waiting period during which she is…

Details
Yevamot 37

I have often said that halachic sayings and teachings contain and seek to convey Jewish values and philosophy, and upon studying today’s daf (Yevamot 37b) I was struck by Abaye’s statement who said of Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov that כל ספיקא כודאי משוי ליה – ‘[he treats] every uncertainty as being certain’.As should be clear…

Details
Yevamot 36

The final lines of today’s daf (Yevamot 36b), continuing onto tomorrow’s daf (Yevamot 37a), raises an oft-overlooked and highly misunderstood approach of halacha which endeavours to enable all parties to ‘have its cake and eat it’. And to explain, I would like to quote from Eliezer Berkovits’ ‘Not in Heaven’ where he provides a good…

Details
Yevamot 35

A principle discussed in today’s daf (Yevamot 35b) and stated explicitly in a later Mishna (Yevamot 4:10, 41a) is that if a woman’s husband dies, she may neither fulfil yibum or halitzah until three months have passed since the death of her husband so as to verify that she is not pregnant from her first…

Details
Yevamot 34

In today’s daf (Yevamot 34b) we find a curious teaching of Rav Yochanan that: כל ששהתה אחר בעלה עשר שנים ונשאת שוב אינה יולדת – ‘any woman who waited ten years after the death of her husband and then remarries will not bear children [with her future husband]’. Interestingly, immediately following this teaching, we are…

Details
Yevamot 33

Both in today’s (Yevamot 33b) and yesterday’s (Yevamot 32b) daf, reference is made to the level of transgression committed by someone who marries their sister-in-law in circumstances that do not meet the specific criteria of permitting yibum. And in each instance where various Rabbis disagree about the severity of the crime committed, the Gemara concludes…

Details
Yevamot 32

Today’s daf (Yevamot 32a) makes reference to the biblical verse (Devarim 25:9) describing the halitzah procedure where the woman makes the declaration: כָּכָה יֵעָשֶׂה לָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִבְנֶה אֶת בֵּית אָחִיו – ‘this is what is done to the man who will not build up his brothers house’.Significantly, in these words the woman speaks not…

Details
Yevamot 31

Much of today’s daf (Yevamot 31) explores the difference between קידושין (marriage) and גירושין (divorce) and, specifically, the differences between the requirements of a marriage document (שטר קידושין) and a divorce document (גט).In particular, we are taught (on Yevamot 31b) that while a גט (divorce document) must include the date of the divorce, a שטר…

Details
Yevamot 30

The first Mishna (Yevamot 1:1) in Massechet Yevamot (2a) discusses the situation where a man with more than one wife dies such that one of these two wives is prohibited to marry her brother-in-law – with the rule being that both women are exempt from yibum.With this in mind, the Mishna (Yevamot 3:8) in today’s…

Details
Yevamot 29

The Mishna (Yevamot 3:5) in today’s daf (Yevamot 29a) describes a case of three brothers, where two of the brothers were married to two sisters and the third was unmarried. The Mishna then discusses the unfortunate scenario when one of the married brothers dies without children and whose widow then fulfils yibum with the single…

Details
Yevamot 28

We were previously taught in the Mishna (Yevamot 3:1, 26a) about a case of four brothers, where two of them were married to two sisters, and then the two married brothers suddenly died without having fathered a child – with the question being whether the two remaining brothers may marry the two widowed sisters?The answer…

Details
Yevamot 27

Earlier on in Massechet Yevamot (14b-15a) we learnt a Beraita where we were informed of Rav Yochanan ben Nuri’s attempt to overcome the halachic problems arising from the fact that Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai had different approaches about who could perform yibbum – to the extent that the children born from relationships permitted by…

Details
Yevamot 25

The Mishna (Yevamot 2:9) in today’s daf (Yevamot 25a) informs us that if a man brings a Jewish divorce bill (get) from abroad and declares that it was written and signed in his presence, then that man may not marry the woman who was the intended receiver of the divorce bill. Similarly, if someone testifies…

Details
Yevamot 24

I have previously explained that Massechet Yevamot contains much material about conversion, and given this, I would like to make reference to a teaching from the Beraita about Jewish conversion policy found in today’s daf (Yevamot 24b) where we are taught that אין מקבלים גרים לימות המשיח – ‘conversions won’t be performed in the Messianic…

Details
Yevamot 23

In previous posts I have spoken about my method of learning and writing my thoughts on the daily daf, and though I always endeavour to share, explain or add further insight to a teaching in the daf – oftentimes by making references to various classical or more modern commentaries – I also, either explicitly or…

Details
Yevamot 22

A topic that is regularly addressed in Massechet Yevamot which, as those currently studying it have come to discover, is a Massechet that examines various simple and not so simple relationships, is conversion.In today’s daf (Yevamot 22a), reference is made to the relationship of converts to their families, and it is here where the Gemara…

Details
Yevamot 21

We are taught in Massechet Moed Katan 28a that Rav Chisda was blessed with good Mazal, and this is affirmed in today’s daf (Yevamot 21b) where we are told that Rav Chisda was – seemingly proactively – informed by astrologers that he would be a teacher.However, this prediction was somewhat vague, and Rav Chisda was…

Details
Yevamot 20

As part of its discussion about the various biblically and rabbinically prohibited relationships, today’s daf (Yevamot 20a) quotes a remarkable statement of Abaye that, כל המקיים דברי חכמים נקרא קדוש – which literally translates as ‘whoever fulfils the words of the Sages (i.e. rabbinic law) is called holy’.Clearly, Abaye wished to stress the importance of…

Details
Yevamot 19

As we know, almost all of Massechet Yevamot is about relationships, and specifically, the closeness or distance of relationships that demand or forbid the fulfilment of Yibum or Halitzah.However, today’s daf (Yevamot 19b) contains an altogether different conversation about relationships. Specifically, what is the relationship of ma’amar – which is the rabbinically demanded ceremony that…

Details
Yevamot 18

A week ago the Jewish world lost a beacon of Torah dedication and Torah scholarship, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky zt’l, who died aged 94 and whose love of Torah and of people was powerfully reflected by the huge number of people who attended his funeral and who have since spoken and written about him. Rav Chaim…

Details
Yevamot 17

Today’s daf (Yevamot 17a) contains a brief teaching which, depending on how it is interpreted, has radical implications.The question posed by the Gemara is whether the children born of women from the ten exiled tribes who then intermarried should be considered Jews, and by extension, whether Jewish status should be accorded to those descendants of…

Details
Yevamot 16

Today’s daf (Yevamot 16a) records an exchange between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yonatan ben Harkinas – who was a student of Shammai and who was described by his older brother Rabbi Dosa as being an extremely sharp adversary.In terms of the purpose of the exchange, it related to the question of whether the co-wife of…

Details
Yevamot 15

It is possible that you have an accent that clearly informs those who speak with you about the location where you grew up. For example, those from Glasgow have a particular accent, as do those from Liverpool, and in terms of the US the New York accent is very distinct, as is the accent of…

Details
Yevamot 14

As we know, the Gemara is replete with over 300 disagreements between Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai. However, what we often forget is that while these two schools disagreed on many fundamental aspects of Jewish law, the fact is – as noted in today’s daf (Yevamot 14a) – that בית שמאי מחדדי טפי, meaning that…

Details
Yevamot 13

Within its discussion about the different Yibbum and Halitzah policies of Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai as recorded in the Mishna (Yevamot 1:4), today’s daf (Yevamot 13b) references the Torah prohibition of לֹא תִתְגֹּדְדוּ (Devarim 14:1) and it then explains that beyond its basic meaning of ‘do not cut yourself’, which prohibits self-harming of the…

Details
Yevamot 12

Today’s daf (Yevamot 12a) contains a teaching of Rebbi which, though said with respect to the laws of Yibbum and Halitzah, can be applied to many other realms of life. Specifically, Rebbi’s teaching states that: לא ישפוך אדם מי בורו ואחרים צריכים להם – ‘a person should not spill out extra water [from their pit]…

Details
Yevamot 11

The Beraita towards the end of today’s daf (Yevamot 11b) tells us about a very particular situation where a couple – let’s call them Sara & Yossi – are married, they then divorce, then Sara marries another person but they then divorce or he dies, and then Sara and Yossi remarry.Significantly, the Torah (see Devarim…

Details
Yevamot 10

Purim Sameach! Yesterday’s daf (Yevamot 9a) contained an insult said by Rebbi about his student Levi – כמדומה לי שאין לו מוח בקדקדו, ‘it seems that he has no brain in his head’ – because Rebbi felt that Levi should have invested more effort in his Talmudic reasoning, and in today’s daf (Yevamot 10a) we…

Details
Yevamot 9

Today is Ta’anit Esther and though – from afar – today’s daf (Yevamot 9a) has little to say about this day and the overall message of Purim, I would like to highlight how contains a teaching whose reasoning is core to Judaism and is powerfully expressed in the Purim story. We are taught in a…

Details
Yevamot 8

Towards the end of today’s daf (Yevamot 8b) is a brief statement which should agitate anyone with a moral compass. As you may recall, and as explained in my remarks on Yevamot 3b (see https://rabbijohnnysolomon.com/yevamot-3/), we learn from Devarim 25:5 that when a husband dies without children then an automatic partial ‘marriage’ is established between this…

Details
Yevamot 7

In its pursuit of finding proof that a positive commandment (מצות עשה) can override a negative commandment (מצות לא תעשה) carrying the punishment of karet (i.e. proof for the halachic mechanics of the mitzvah of yibum), today’s daf (Yevamot 7a) invokes one of the thirteen principles taught by R’ Yishmael that, כל דבר שהיה בכלל…

Details
Yevamot 6

As part of the Gemara’s pursuit in finding proof for how various mitzvot override others, today’s daf (Yevamot 6a) cites a Beraita which teaches that though, based on the principle that a positive mitzvah can override a negative mitzvah (עשה דוחה לא תעשה), we may have thought that the building of the Temple overrides the…

Details
Yevamot 5

Much of yesterday, today’s (Yevamot 5), as well as the upcoming dapim are dedicated to the topic of proof, and specifically, proof for the halacha that a positive mitzvah (otherwise known as a מצות עשה) can override a negative mitzvah (otherwise known as a מצות לא תעשה).And why is this the focus of our discussion?…

Details
Yevamot 4

Sometimes, when studying the Gemara, we encounter a teaching that prompts us to do a double take because we struggle to believe that we just read what we just did.Today’s daf (Yevamot 4a) contains one such example where we are informed that Rav Sheshet says in the name of Rabbi Elazar, quoting Rabbi Elazar ben…

Details
Yevamot 3

Having been taught that if a co-wife of a woman whose husband has died without children is forbidden to marry her prospective Yavam (levir) that she is then exempt from Yibbum (levirate marriage) and Halitzah (the ceremony performed to reject a prospective Yavam), today’s daf (Yevamot 3b) cites a Beraita which teaches us the biblical…

Details
Yevamot 2

Today we begin our study of Seder Nashim and, specifically, Massechet Yevamot, though it should be noted that in the Cambridge manuscript of the Mishna this Massechet is not called Yevamot but is, instead, called ‘Massechet Nashim’ – thereby suggesting that there are teachings found in this Massechet that powerfully express the spirit of the…

Details