Sacred Texts  Judaism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at


§ 1. If a woman whose husband went beyond seas [or on a distant journey], received intelligence of the death of her husband [attested by one witness only], and upon that evidence married again; and it happens, that after such a marriage, the husband [who was supposed to be dead] returns: she must be separated from both husbands, 1 and must receive Get of both. She loses, with both, her rights to her marriage contract, maintenance, repayment for the use of usufructum goods, and for the wear and tear of such goods, and must restore whatever she received of either husband: on that account the offspring of both marriages are deemed bastards, 2 and neither [husband] has a right to her findings or earnings, nor to annul her vows. If a daughter of an Israelite, she is disqualified to marry a priest; if a Levite's daughter, of the right of eating tithe; and if a priest's daughter, of the right to eat heave; and the heirs of neither husband can claim the amount of her marriage contract. 3 In case of the death of these husbands [before they had divorced her], the brother of one, as well as of the other, must have the ceremony of Chalitzah performed to them by her, but neither of them may marry her by Yeboom. R. José saith, "The amount of her marriage contract must be charged on the property of her first husband." R. Eleazar saith, "the first husband has a right to her findings, her earnings, and to annul her vows;" R. Simeon says, "Carnal intercourse with her, or the ceremony of Chalitzah by the brother of her first husband releases her rival, and a child from her first husband [born at any time] is legitimate; and if she married the second time without requiring legal permission, 4 she may return to the first husband."

p. 220

§ 2. If married to the second husband with consent of the tribunal [Beth Din], the marriage must be annulled [on the return of the first husband], but she need not bring a sin-offering; she is bound to do so [and be divorced] if she married without legal consent. 5 The legal permission [although erroneous] has the power, nevertheless of releasing from the obligation of bringing a sin-offering. But if the Beth Din permitted her to marry, and she married a person to whom she is prohibited to be married, 6 she is bound to bring the sin-offering, because the permission of the Beth Din was intended to apply to a legal marriage only.

§ 3. If a woman whose husband and son are on a distant journey, is told, 7 "Your husband died first, and your son afterwards," 8 marries again, and is then told the reverse, 9 she must leave her [second] husband's home, and any child from him born before or after this information was received is a bastard. If they told her, "Thy son died first, and thy husband afterwards," upon which she married her brother-in-law by Yeboom, and it was afterwards found that the facts were the reverse, she must leave her husband's house, 10 and any child born before or after this intelligence, is a bastard. If they told her, "Thy son died first, and thy husband afterwards," upon which she married, and was afterwards told, "He was alive then, but is dead now," she must separate from her husband, and any child born before this latter information was received is a bastard, but not those born afterwards. If they told her, "Thy husband is dead," upon which she was betrothed to another man, and her husband returns, she may go back to the latter; and even if the second husband should have divorced her, such divorce would not disqualify her to be married to a priest. For thus R. Eleazar ben Matya expounded the text (Lev. xxi. 7), "Priests shall not marry a woman divorced from her husband, that is, they may not marry a woman divorced from her husband, consequently, they may marry her who was divorced from a man who was not [yet] her husband."

p. 221

§ 4. If a man is informed that his wife, who was in a distant country, had died, upon which he married her sister, and the [first] wife comes back, she may again return to him; he may marry the relations of the second wife, 11 and she may marry his: after the death of the first wife, he may again marry the second. If, upon being informed of the death of his wife, he had married her sister, and was then told, "She was alive at that time, but is dead now," then any child born before the receipt of this intelligence is illegitimate, but not those born afterwards. R. José established the following rule: "Whenever a person causes another to incur the prohibition of retaining his wife, he also causes that prohibition to operate against himself in respect to his own wife; and wherever this first mentioned is not incurred, the latter does also not take place." 12

§ 5. When a man, who had received information of his wife's death, married her sister from father's side only, and upon the receipt of intelligence of the death of this latter, marries her maternal sister; 13 and on the news of the decease of the last mentioned, marries her sister from father's side; 14 and, finally, on the reported death of this latter, marries her maternal sister, 15 and it turns out that all these [five] women are yet alive: then the first, third, and fifth wives are permitted to him, and [in case of Yeboom, such women] also release their rivals; but the second and fourth are prohibited to him, and the intercourse with one of them [by the brother-in-law, when the duty of Yeboom is incumbent on him], does not release her rivals; but if his 16 intercourse with the second wife had taken place after the death of the first, the second and fourth are permitted to him, and release their rivals; but he may not have the third and fifth in marriage, and intercourse with any one of them does not release her rival.

§ 6, 7, 8, 9. *      *      *      *
                *      *      *      *


219:1 Because, having married illegally, and upon insufficient evidence, she is to be treated as an adulteress in every respect.

219:2 In case she returns to the first husband and has then children by him.

219:3 See Treatise Ketuboth, chap. IV. § 10.

219:4 That is, if she married on the evidence of at least two witnesses.

220:5 Even on the evidence of two witnesses.

220:6 For instance, if she was married to a high-priest, who may not marry a widow, &c.

220:7 By two competent witnesses.

220:8 Which releases her from the obligation of Yeboom.

220:9 That the son died first, &c., which subjects her to the law of Yeboom; this information being received of two witnesses who contradict the testimony of the former.

220:10 That is, that of the brother-in-law whom she marries by Yeboom.

221:11 Such as her daughter.

221:12 We have rendered this passage according to the Commentaries of Maimonides and Bartenora. The literal rendering of this obscure part is as follows: "Whosoever disqualifies through others, also disqualifies for himself, but whosoever does not disqualify for others, does not disqualify for himself."

221:13 Who is a stranger to the first wife.

221:14 Who is not related to the second, and, of course, not to the first wife.

221:15 Who is not related to the third, and, of course, not to the second and first wives.

221:16 Namely, that of the husband of the five women.

Next: Chapter XI