Yevamot 44 - 50
- With how many women is one advised to make yibum and when is he encouraged to make chalitzah
- Status of the child born from marriage with certain forbidden women such as his divorcee who had an interim marriage
- Status of a child whose mother is Jewish and father is not and that of the mother
- When the father is half slave, half free
- The challenge involved in buying a slave from a non-Jew
- The three rulings of Rabbi Yochanan regarding the sinners of Gavla
- The need for both circumcision, mikveh immersion and a rabbinical court in order to achieve proper conversion
- If a person is believed when he claims he had a proper conversion and how this affects his children
- Discouraging the conversion candidate and what he is taught if he persists
- What we learn from the dialogue of Naomi and Ruth
- The immersion process of a convert and of a freed slave
- The yifat to’ar woman taken captive for purpose of marriage
- The slave who is not circumcised either because he refuses or because his owner bought him on that condition
- Who is a mamzer
- The mysterious record found by the Sage Shimon ben Azai
- The trial and execution of the Prophet Yeshayahu by King Menashe
- When one act of acquiring a yivamah or releasing her is followed by another act performed by the same yavam or his brother
The Kohen and the Victim of Intermarriage
- Yevamot 45a
One of the problems facing a kohen in this generation of widespread intermarriage is finding a woman whom he is permitted to marry. Even if the young lady was chaste enough to have avoided premarital relations with a non-Jew she may be disqualified for marriage to a kohen if her father was not a Jew.
Although there is no doubt about her status as a Jewess because her mother is Jewish there is a serious question as to whether a kohen may marry her.
The source of the problem is a kal vechomer — a method of halachic interpretation deducing the status of something of a more serious nature not explicitly stated in the Torah from something explicit and of a less serious nature. In this case the less serious subject is the widow who is forbidden to a kohen gadol. This is a prohibition limited to a kohen gadol alone, and yet the child of such a union is disqualified from marrying a kohen. How much more so must we infer that the daughter of a union between a Jewish woman with a non-Jew, a prohibition common to all Jews, should be disqualified from marrying a kohen!
Whether this is actually the conclusion of our gemara is a matter of dispute. While Rav Alfas and Rambam maintain that there is no definitive conclusion and leave the matter in doubt, the Rosh unequivocally rules that a kohen may not marry the daughter of a non-Jewish father.
The Shulchan Aruch (Even Ha'ezer 4:5) rules that such a woman is forbidden to a kohen. The commentaries point out, however, that because of the dissenting opinions such a forbidden marriage must not be terminated.
What the Sages Say
"When the Torah states 'Who is like the L-rd our G-d whenever we call to Him' (Devarim 4:7), it is referring to the repentance and prayer of the many, while the limiting time-frame of the Prophet Yishayahu (54:6) 'to seek G-d when He makes Himself available to you' refers to the individual who has the special opportunity during the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur."
- Rabbi Nachman in the name of the Sage Rabbah bar Avuha -Yevamot 49b