For the week ending 8 November 2014 / 15 Heshvan 5775

Yevamot 37 - 43

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • The yivamah that got married on the basis of giving birth but the child died within 30 days
  • The kohen who marries a pregnant or nursing woman before end of required waiting period
  • The status of the dubious mamzer
  • The "provisional wives" of the Sages
  • The inheritance dispute between the certain heirs and the dubious one
  • The "lost road" dispute with neighbors of a field
  • The assets of the widow waiting for yibum
  • Status of the yivamah divorced after yibum
  • Which brother makes yibum
  • Which is preferred – yibum or chalitzah?
  • Inheritance of deceased's assets when chalitza is made and when there is a surviving father
  • The rabbinical ban on marrying relatives of a chalutzah and how far it extends
  • When one of the brothers makes kiddushin with a sister of the widow awaiting yibum
  • The three month waiting period before yibum or chalitzah and before marriage with a divorcee or widow
  • Marriage with a pregnant or nursing woman
  • The significance in the order of the mishnayot
  • The mourning period of the widow and its impact on her ability to marry

The Silent Treachery

One should not marry a woman whom he intends to divorce. This statement, quoted in our gemara in the name of Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov, is based on what is written (Mishlei 3:29) that "one should not secretly plot evil against another who trusts him enough to live with him."

The commentaries, however, refer us to another gemara (Meshechta Gittin 90a) in which this passage is applied by the Sage Rava to forbid a man to live with his wife if he is secretly plotting to divorce her. The children born from a union with such a thought in mind are adversely affected and are referred to (Mesechta Nedarim 20b) as "the offspring of one with divorce in his heart".

What is most interesting is the word in the above-mentioned passage that is the verb describing the act of betrayal of a "trusting wife". Tacharosh literally means "to plow". How it applies to the man secretly plotting divorce is understood in two different ways.

Rashi explains that just as one who plows the earth to prepare it for planting, so does the plotter prepare the ground for carrying out his scheme. Maharsha, however, prefers to relate this word to cheresh, which means silent or secret and which describes the thought of divorce this treacherous husband is concealing.

What the Sages Say

"There is no comparison between the hunger of a man who has bread in his basket and one who has none."

  • An oft-quoted maxim ascribed in Yoma 74b to either Rabbi Ami or Rabbi Asi - Yevamot 37b

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