Friday, May 18, 2007

Daf Yomi - Yevamos 15 - Highlights

The Gemora attempts to prove from the following braisa that Beis Shamai followed in practice according to their own opinion.

Rabbi Yochanan ben Nuri said: How should we rule regarding the co-wife of an ervah? If we rule according to Beis Shamai and allow the yavam to perform a yibum with the co-wife, the children will be mamzeirim (illegitimate) according to Beis Hillel. If we rule according to Beis Hillel and exempt the co-wife from chalitzah and yibum, thus allowing her to marry another man; the children will be tainted (if she marries a kohen without first performing a chalitzah) according to Beis Shamai. Therefore, he wished to establish that they should have chalitzah and not yibum. This would accommodate both opinions. They were not able to resolve the matter in this way.

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel asked them: What will become of all the earlier co-wives who were taken in yibum; their children will all be regarded as mamzeirim?

This is a proof that Beis Shamai did practice according to their own viewpoint.

The Gemora counters: Perhaps Beis Shamai did not permit the co-wives to be taken for yibum; Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel was asking according to Beis Hillel. Previously, they allowed the co-wife of the ervah to marry someone else without a chalitzah. If we would enact that the co-wives would require chalitzah, what would we do to all those co-wives who married another man? Should we perform a chalitzah now; this would be revolting to their husbands, and it is written [Mishlei 3:17]: The Torah’s ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace. (14b – 15a)

The Gemora attempts another proof: There was an incident regarding the daughter of Rabban Gamliel, who was married to Abba, his brother, who died childless. Rabban Gamliel performed a yibum with the co-wife. It seems evident that Rabban Gamliel followed the opinion of Beis Shamai.

The Gemora asks: This is obviously incorrect; Rabban Gamliel was a descendant of Hillel and not a disciple of Beis Shamai. The reason why he was able to perform a yibum with the co-wife was because his daughter was an aylonis and thus, the co-wife was permitted. (15a)

Rav Mesharshiya asked from the following braisa: Rabbi Akiva picked esrogim from a tree on the first of Shevat. He separated maaser sheini as if it was the second year of the Shemitah cycle and he also separated maaser oni as if it was the third year of the Shemitah cycle. He took the maaser sheini in accordance with Beis Hillel who maintain that the New Year for trees is the fifteenth of Shevat and he took maaser oni in accordance with Beis Shamai who holds that the New Year for trees is the first day of Shevat.

It is evident from this braisa that Beis Shamai did follow their own opinions.

The Gemora rejects this proof: Rabbi Akiva ruled in accordance with Beis Hillel, however he was uncertain if Beis Hillel stated that the New Year for the trees is the first of Shevat or the fifteenth and that is why he separated both maasros. (15a)

The Gemora attempts another proof: Rabbi Yehoshua was asked, “What is the law regarding the co-wife of one's daughter?” He answered them, “It is an argument between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel.” He was asked, “Who is the halacha according to?” He answered them, “Why are you placing my head between two great mountains, between two great groups, between Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel? I fear that they (the rendered mamzeirim, as a result of ruling in accordance with Beis Hillel) might crush my head! I testify to you concerning two great families in Yerushalayim, namely, the family of Beis Tzevo’im who descended from Ben Achmai and the family of Beis Kofai, who descended from Ben Mekosheish, that they were descendants of co-wives (of an ervah and were married without chalitzah) and from them were High Priests who ministered upon the altar.”

The Gemora explains the proof: If they acted in accordance with their own rulings, it is quite understandable why he feared from the mamzeirim. If, however, they did not act in accordance with their own rulings, which mamzeirim was he concerned about?

This proves that Beis Shamai did practice according to their rulings. (15b)