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Yevamos, 106

YEVAMOS 106 - dedicated anonymously by a student of Rabbi Kornfeld's in N.Y.


QUESTION: The Mishnah expounds the verses in the Parshah of Chalitzah. The Mishnah quotes the words, "v'Kar'u Lo... v'Dibru Elav" -- "They will call him... and they will speak to him" (Devarim 25:8), and says that these words are teaching that the Beis Din must advise the Yavam about the proper course of action that he should take. Rashi, based on the Gemara earlier (101b), explains that this means that the Beis Din assesses the situation, and if the Yavam is young and the Yevamah is old, or if the Yavam is old and the Yevamah is young, they advise him not to marry her but to do Chalitzah instead, and to find someone more appropriate to marry.

However, the Mishnah's explanation of the words does not fit into the verse at all! The preceding verse (Devarim 25:7) says that "if the man does not want to take his Yevamah... she should go up to the gate to the elders and say, 'My brother-in-law refuses [to do Yibum].'" It then says that the elders call in the Yavam ("v'Kar'u Lo") and speak to him ("v'Dibru Elav"), and then "the Yavam shall stand and say, 'I do not want to marry her.'"

Thus, we see that the verse says that "they call him" *after* he has refused to do Yibum! How, then, can the Gemara say that these words mean that they advise him about doing Yibum?


(a) The ARUCH LA'NER points out that the RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos and in Hilchos Yibum 4:1) explains the verse slightly differently than the Gemara does. He says that the elders call him and tell him to do Yibum if the Yevamah is appropriate for him, and if she is not appropriate for him, then they advise him to do Chalitzah.

It seems that the Rambam learns the Gemara's elucidation differently, in such a way that it fits into the verse. When the Beraisa says that if she is not appropriate for him then they tell him to do Chalitzah, the Beraisa is just emphasizing an extra point which is not included in the simple meaning of the verse, but which apparently is derived from the repetition of v'Kar'u Lo... v'Dibru Elav" -- if they are speaking to him, then it is obvious that they must call him! It must be that "v'Kar'u Lo" implies that they call him in because they need to see him and assess the situation in order to give him advice. (The Drash of "v'Lo Shelucham," Yevamos 101b, might have been learned from "Lo" without "v'Kar'u.")

(b) The other Rishonim do not write that they give him advice to get married, like the Rambam says. Rather, it seems that their advice is only to prevent him from doing Yibum where it is not appropriate. It must be that the letter "Vav" of "v'Kar'u Lo" does not mean "and," but rather "or." Thus, the verse is saying that either the woman tells Beis Din that her Yavam refuses to do Yibum with her, *or* the Beis Din calls him in and tells him that he should not do Yibum because of their assessment of the situation.

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