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prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem

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Yevamos 120



(a) We imply from the fact that Rebbi Elazar in our Mishnah, permits the Yevamos to marry le'Shuk only after they have performed Yibum - that Rebbi Elazar holds like the first Tzad of the She'eilah (in the previous question - that a woman would not cause herself harm by performing Yibum, if her husband had not really died).

(b) We nevertheless justify the other Tzad of Rava's She'eilah (that Rebbi Elazar accepts the testimony of a woman to permit her Tzarah to remarry under any circumstances) - by explaining that, in our Mishnah, he is not stating his own opinion, but questioning the Rabbanan, whether they would not at least agree with him in a case where they have already performed Yibum.

(c) The Rabbanan reply that even there, they will disagree with him - because of the S'vara 'Tamos Nafshi im P'lishtim' (from which we learn that a woman will not stop short of harming herself, as long as she can harm her Tzarah in the process.

(a) In a Beraisa, the Tana Kama forbids the Tzarah of a woman who returns from overseas and testifies that her husband died, to remarry. Rebbi Elazar rules 'Ho'il ve'Hutrah Hi, Hutrah Nami Tzarasah'. According to the Tzad that he only permits the Tzarah to marry, if the woman herself has already married - we will amend the Beraisa to read 'Ho'il ve'Hutrah ve'Niseis, ... '.

(b) According to that Tzad, however, we can only know that she is telling the truth (without suspecting that her husband is still alive, and she that married on the basis of a Get - which she hid from the Tzarah, testifying that her husband died in order to cause the Tzarah to sin), if she married a Kohen (which she could not have done with a Get).

(c) We only ask this Kashya after having cited the Beraisa. It is not applicable to the case in our Mishnah, where the two women performed Yibum with the two available Yevamin - because there, she cannot have brought a Get under any circumstances, because then she would have been guilty of incest with her husband's brother (who is only permitted in the event of her husband's death).

(a) Before a man is believed to permit a man's wife to remarry - the Tana of our Mishnah requires a witness to have recognized the face of the dead man together with his nose. Simanim on the man's body or clothes will not suffice without them.

(b) A man is not considered dead if the witness testifies that he saw him ...

1. ... cut-up (seriously wounded, full of sword-wounds).
2. ... hanging.
3. ... being eaten by a wild animal.
(c) According to the Tana Kama, he must testify within three days of his death - after which, his appearance tends to change.

(d) Rebbi Yehudah ben Bava says - that not all people, not all places and not all times are the same.

(a) To explain a statement in a Beraisa, Abaye learns from the Pasuk in Yeshayah "Hakaras P'neihem Ansah Bam" - that besides the dead man's face, the witnesses must also have seen his forehead (see Tosfos DH 'Hakaras').

(b) Aba bar Minyumi, who owed money to the Bei Resh Galusa) put this to the test - by walking in front of them with a piece of cloth stuck to his forehead with wax, and they did not recognize him.

(a) The Mishnah in Gitin rules that a Get that someone discovers tied to his purse or to a signet-ring is Kasher - because Simanim are d'Oraysa (otherwise, how could we validate a Get, permitting a married woman to marry someone else on the basis of Simanim?).

(b) The problem with our Mishnah is - that, if Simanim are d'Oraysa, why does the Tana discount the testimony of witnesses who recognize the dead man's body or clothes?

(c) We suggest that this is a Machlokes between the Chachamim and Rebbi Eliezer ben Maha'va'i - who argue over whether one can testify on a wart (Rebbi Eliezer ben Mahava'i) or not (the Chachamim). We initially establish their Machlokes by whether Simanim are d'Oraysa or de'Rabbanan.

(d) We refute this suggestion however, concluding that both Tana'im could hold either that Simanim are d'Oraysa, or they are de'Rabbanan. Assuming that Simanim are ...

1. ... d'Oraysa, the Chachamim do not accept the testimony of a wart - because they maintain, identical warts are commonly found on a ben Gil (someone who is born on the same day and under the same Mazel).
2. ... de'Rabbanan, Rebbi Eliezer ben Maha'va'i accepts it - because he considers a wart to be a very reliable Siman, which Beis-Din will accept (even by an Isur d'Oraysa) in any event.



(a) According to the Lashon of Rava that Simanim are d'Oraysa according to all opinions, the Tana of our Mishnah does not accept Simanim of the man's ...
1. ... body - because he is referring to weak Simanim, such as tall or short.
2. ... clothes - because we are afraid that the woman's husband may have lent the clothes to somebody else (and *he* is the person on whom they are testifying).
(b) Despite the fact that we suspect the clothes to have been borrowed, we will accept ...
1. ... the ruling in Eilu Metzi'os that one returns a donkey to the person who gives Simanim on the saddle - because people tend to avoid borrowing donkey's saddles, since they will probably hurt their donkeys (since that particular saddle is unlikely to be a good fit).
2. ... the Mishnah in Gitin (quoted on the previous Amud) which considers a purse and a signet-ring a good Siman. We are not afraid that he may have borrowed them - because people avoid borrowing these things: a signet-ring, because they are afraid that the borrower will use it to forge the lender's signature, and a purse, because it is considered a bad sign.
(c) Alternatively, we do not accept testimony of the man's clothes - because the Tana is referring to weak Simanim, such as white or red, which is inadequate even if Simanim are d'Oraysa.
(a) We infer from the Mishnah in Ohalos '*Adam Eino Metamei* ad she'Teitzei Nafsho, Afilu Meguyad, Afilu Goseis' - that someone who is cut-up is not dead *yet*, but that (like a Goseis), he is bound to die (clashing with our Mishnah, which does not permit a woman to remarry on the basis of testimony that her husband is cut-up).

(b) To resolve this Kashya, we cite a Machlokes Tana'im in a Beraisa. The Tana Kama there, makes a distinction between the testimony that a man was left hanging (which is insufficient evidence that he is dead), and testimony that he was cut-up (which he considers reliable testimony). Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar - considers the latter too, insufficient evidence that he is dead (due to the fact that the wound can still heal). *He* is the author of our Mishnah.

(c) The Tana of our Mishnah rules in the Seifa (on the following Amud), that, if someone who fell into the sea and they found ...

1. ... his lower-leg - his wife is *not* permitted to marry.
2. ... his upper-leg - she *is*.
(d) Even though the author of our Mishnah is Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar, we do not suspect that he may have survived, despite the loss of his upper-leg - because even *he* agrees that the wound swells in the water, making it impossible for him to survive.
8) There was a case where an Arab severed the upper-leg of his camel, which did not stop braying until it died. This appears to disprove Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar's theory (that an animal can survive such a wound). Abaye explains that the camel there happened to be a weak one. Rava establishes our Mishnah (which considers a man who is cut up capable of surviving) even according to the Chachamim of Rebbi Shimon ben Elazar - and it speaks when he was cut-up with a white-hot knife, in which case, the fire cauterizes the wound.


(a) The Tana of our Mishnah states that seeing a wild animal eating someone is, in itself, not sufficient evidence that the person is dead. Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel qualifies the Tana's statement - by restricting it to a non-vital organ, such as a hand or a leg. But if the witness sees the beast chewing his heart, say, or his brain, then his testimony will permit the wife to remarry.

(b) And he also says - that testimony that a man's two pipes (the wind-pipe and the esophagus) have been cut, even if it is only the majority of each one, will permit his wife to remarry.

(c) Rav Yehudah Amar Shmuel also said that if a man whose two pipes were cut hinted that they should write his wife a Get - they should do so (insinuating that he is still considered alive).

(d) There is no contradiction between the two statements however - because the first ruling does not suggest that he is already dead, but that he is bound to die. The second ruling teaches us, that, as long as he can still drop hints, he is considered alive.

(a) The Tana of a Beraisa rules that someone who inadvertently cuts someone else's two pipes - is not obligated to run to one of the cities of refuge.

(b) To reconcile Shmuel (who considers this to be a death-stroke) with the Beraisa, we establish the Beraisa when the murdered man was exposed to the wind, which may have hastened his death. Alternatively, it could be that, he hastened his own death through excessive gasping.

(c) One difference between the two answers is - when he killed him inside a marble room, where no wind could possibly enter, but where he caused his own death through excessive gasping. The other is - when he killed him outside, and the witnesses testify that the dying man did not gasp excessively.

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