Monday, May 07, 2007


Rabbi Akiva Eiger asks the following question: Why do we need a passuk of "litzror" mentioned in the braisa, to derive the prohibition against marrying a tzaraas tzarah (co-wife’s co-wife)? Once the Torah prohibits performing yibum with a tzarah (co-wife), she remains forbidden to her (deceased) husband's brothers because of the prohibition of eishes ach (the wife of one's brother). Accordingly, her status is the same as that of any other ervah, and her tzarah should be no different from any tzarah of an ervah.

Although the prohibition against marrying ones brother’s wife is normally suspended in situations of yibum, the Mishna teaches in another case (eishes achiv she'lo hayah b'olamo - the wife of his brother who was not in his world (this brother and the yavam were not alive at the same time)) that the prohibition of eishes ach has the capability to prohibit the woman to the brother with whom she otherwise would have performed yibum with, and the Gemora does not find it necessary to seek an extra source for this.

In that case, a brother born after the death of his older (and childless) brother may not perform yibum, because he was "not in the world at the same time" as his brother and thus his brother's wife remains forbidden to him as an eishes ach. Similarly, her tzarah is also forbidden to him because she is the tzarah of an ervah. Just as in this case, an extra source is not required to teach us the prohibition of the tzarah of an ervah, a source should not be required to teach us the prohibition of the tzarah of a tzarah. (Kollel Iyun HaDaf assisted us immensely in the writing of this question.)

Reb Elchonon Wasserman (Kovetz Heoros 2:4) answers: The only time that the ervah of eishas ach can exempt the tzorah from yibum is when the ervah became exempt herself on the account of eishes ach; however, when the yevamah became exempt from yibum on the account of a different reason, resulting in there being a prohibition of eishas ach; she will not exempt the tzorah from yibum.

In the case where the two brothers were not alive at the same time, the yevamah is exempt from yibum on the account of being an eishes ach; she will exempt the tzorah, as well. A tzoras ervah is not exempt because she is an eishes ach; she is only exempt because she is a co-wife of an ervah; consequently, she becomes prohibited on the account of eishes ach, but she cannot exempt her tzorah. The Gemora requires a source to teach us that the tzorah has the ability to exempt her tzorah, as well.