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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Yebamoth
In the case of a nissu'in widow they both agree1 that it does not exempt, since no positive precept may override a combination of a positive and a negative precept.2 They differ, however, in the case of an erusin widow. He who maintains that it3 exempts [does so because] a positive precept supersedes a negative one; and he who maintains that it3 does not exempt holds that the positive precept here does not supersede the negative one since [in this case] halizah is possible.4
An objection was raised: If they5 had intercourse [with any of the forbidden women] they acquire [her as wife]!6 -This is indeed a refutation. May this7 be assumed to provide a refutation of the view of Resh Lakish also?8 -Resh Lakish can answer you: I said it only in the case where the precept is fulfilled; here, however, halizah as a substitute for the levirate marriage is not a fulfilment of the precept.9
Raba said: Where in the Torah may an allusion be found to [the prohibition of] relations in the second degree?10 It is said, For all these abominations have the men of the land done;11 the expression, these12 implies grave abominations, from which it may be inferred that there are milder ones. And what are these? The cases of incest of the second degree. What proof is there that 'these'12 is an expression of gravity? — Because it is written in the Scriptures, And the mighty13 of the land he took away.14 May it be assumed that this view15 differs from that of R. Levi? For R. Levi said: The punishments for [false] measures are more rigorous than those for [marrying] forbidden relatives; for in the latter case the word used is El,12 but in the former Eleh.16 — El implies rigour, but Eleh implies greater rigour than El.17 Is not Eleh written also In connection with forbidden relatives?18 -That [Eleh has been written] to exclude [the sin of false] measures from the penalty of kareth.19 In what respect, then,20 are they21 more rigorous? — In the case of the former,22 repentance is possible; in that of the latter23 repentance is impossible.24
Rab Judah said: It25 may be derived from the following: Yea he pondered, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs,26 in relation to which 'Ulla said in the name of R. Eleazar, 'Before Solomon appeared, the Torah was like a basket without handles; when27 Solomon came he affixed handles28 to it.
Said R. Ashi: R. Oshaia's interpretation may be represented by the simile30 of a man who guards an orchard. If he guards it from without, all of it is protected. If, however, he guards it from within, only that, section in front of him is protected but that which is behind him is not protected. This statement of R. Ashi, however, is mere fiction.31 There,32 the section in front of him, at least, is protected; while here were it not for the prohibition of incest of the second degree, one would have encroached upon the very domain of incest.
Said Abaye to R. Joseph: This,35 surely, is Pentateuchal!36 — It is Pentateuchal' but the Rabbis have expounded it.37 All the Torah, surely- was expounded by the Rabbis!38 But [the fact is that the prohibition39 is] Rabbinical, while the Scriptural text is [adduced as] a mere prop.40
Our Rabbis taught: Who are the forbidden relatives in the second degree?41 — His mother's mother, his father's mother, his father's father's wife, his mother's fathers wife, the wife of his father's maternal brother, the wife of his mother's paternal brother, the daughter-in-law of his son daughter-in-law his daughter. A man is permitted to marry the wife of his father-in-law and the wife of his step-son but is forbidden to marry the daughter of his step-son. His step-son is permitted to marry his42 wife and his42 daughter. The wife of his step-son may say to him, 'I am permitted to you though daughter is forbidden to you'.
Is not the daughter of, his step-son forbidden, it being written in the Scriptures, Her son's daughter or her daughters daughter?43 — As he wished to state in the latter clause, 'The wife of his step-son may say to him, "I am permitted to you though my daughter is forbidden to you", and though my daughter is forbidden to you Pentateuchally the Rabbis did not forbid me as a preventive measure', he stated in the previous clause also 'the daughter of his step-son'. If so,44 could not the wife of his father-In-law also say, 'I am permitted to you and my daughter is forbidden to you', since she is his wife's sister?45 -The prohibition of the one46 is permanent;47 that of the other is not.48
Rab said: Four [categories of] women [forbidden in the second degree] are subject to a limitation.49 Of these Rab knew50 three: The wife of a mother's51 paternal brother, the wife of a father's52 maternal brother, and one's daughter-in-law.53 Ze'iri, however, adds also the wife of his mother's father. Said R. Nahman b. Isaac: Your mnemonic sign is, 'Above that of Rab'.54 Why does not Rab include it?55 — Because she55 might be mistaken for the wife of one's father's father.56 And Ze'iri? — Thither57 one usually goes,58 but hither59 one does not usually go.60
Is not the prohibition of one's daughter-in-law
Pentateuchal, it being written in the Scriptures, Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter-in-law?1 — Read, 'the daughter-in-law of his son'. But is there any limitation2 for the daughter-in-law of one's son? Surely it was taught: His daughter-in-law is a forbidden relative, and the daughter-in-law of his son is a forbidden relative of the second degree; and the same principle is to be applied to one's son and son's son to the end of all generations!3 — But read, 'the daughter-in-law of his daughter' for R. Hisda said: I heard from a great man-And who is he? R Ammi- [the following statement]: 'The daughter-in.law was forbidden only on account of the daughter-in-law'; and when the soothsayers4 told me, 'You will be a teacher', I thought, 'If I would be a great man5 I would explain it6 on my own; and should I be a Scripture teacher of little children I would ask the Rabbis who come to the school house.7 Now I am in a position to explain it on my own: The daughter-in-law of one's daughter was forbidden only on account of the daughter-in-law of one's son.
Said Abaye to Raba: I can explain it to you: Take as an example a daughter-in-law of the house of Bar Zithai.8 R. Papa said: As for example a daughter-in-law in the house of R. Papa b. Abba.9 R. Ashi said: As for example a daughter-in-law of the house of Mari b.Isak.9
An inquiry was made: What [is the law in respect of] the wife of a mother's maternal brother? Did the Rabbis forbid as a preventive measure only the wife. of a father's maternal brother and the wife of a mother's paternal brother because in these cases there is a paternal strain,10 but where there is no paternal strain11 the Rabbis did not pass any preventive measure, or is there no difference? R. Safra replied: She herself12 is forbidden as a preventive measure; shall we come and superimpose a preventive measure upon a preventive measure! Said Raba: Are not others13 forbidden as a preventive measure to a preventive measure? His mother, e.g., Is a forbidden relative, his mother's mother is a forbidden relative of the second degree, and yet was his father's mother forbidden as a preventive measure against his mother's mother13 And what is the reason? Because they are both called 'grandmother'14 His father's wife is a forbidden relative, his father's father's wife is a forbidden relative of the second degree, and yet was his mother's father's wife forbidden as a preventive measure against his father's father's wife! And what is the reason? Because they are both called 'grandfather'.15 The wife of his father's paternal brother is a forbidden relative, the wife of his father's maternal brother is a forbidden relative of the second degree, and yet was the wife of his mother's paternal brother forbidden as a preventive against the wife of his father's maternal brother! And what is the reason? Because they are both called uncle!15 What, then, is the law?16 Come and hear: When R. Judah b. Shila came17 he stated that In the West18 the rule was laid down19 that whenever a female20 is a forbidden relative the wife of the male21 is forbidden in the second degree as a preventive measure; and Raba remarked: 'Is this a general rule? Surely one's mother-in-law is a forbidden relative and yet is one's father-in-law's wife permitted, the daughter of his mother-in-law is a forbidden relative and yet is the wife of the son of his mother-in-law permitted, his step-daughter is a forbidden relative and yet is the wife of his step-son permitted, the daughter of his step-daughter is a forbidden relative and yet is the wife of the son of his step-son permitted'; what, then, does R. Judah b. Shila's [reported rule] include? Does it not then include the case of the wife of a mother's maternal brother, since 'wherever a female22 as a forbidden relative23 the wife of the male24 is forbidden in the second degree as a preventive measure'!25
What is the difference between those26 and this?27 — In this case27 she becomes related to him by one act of betrothal;28 in those cases29 they do not become related to him until two acts of betrothal have taken place.30
R. Mesharsheya of Tusaneya31 sent to R. Papi: Will our Master instruct us as to what is the law concerning the wife of the father's father's [paternal]32 brother, and a father's father's sister?33 Seeing that the degree below is incest,34 has a preventive measure been issued in respect also of the degree above,35 or perhaps [not]. since the relationship has branched off?36 Come and hear: Who are the forbidden relatives of the second degree [etc.];37 and these35 were not enumerated among them!38 — Some might have been mentioned and others omitted.39 What other omissions were made such as to justify this omission also? — The forbidden relatives of the second degree, of the School of R. Hiyya,40 were also omitted.
Amemar permitted the wife of one's father's father's brother and one's father's father's sister. Said R. Hillel to R. Ashi:41 'I saw the [list of] forbidden relatives of the second degree of Mar the son of Rabana42 and sixteen were written down as forbidden cases. Would they not be the eight of the Baraitha,43 the six of the School of R. Hiyya,44 and these two,45 in all sixteen? — But according to your view there should be seventeen, since there is also the case of the wife of a mother's maternal brother, who in accordance with our decision is forbidden!' — 'This is no difficulty.
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