ANSWERS TO REVIEW QUESTIONS
prepared by Rabbi Eliezer Chrysler
Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Jerusalem
Previous daf 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
(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
(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).
(c) According to the Tana Kama, he must testify within three days of his
death - after which, his appearance tends to change.
2. ... hanging.
3. ... being eaten by a wild animal.
(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
(b) Despite the fact that we suspect the clothes to have been borrowed, we
will accept ...
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
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).
(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.
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.
(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).
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.
(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
(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.
(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.
2. ... his upper-leg - she *is*.
(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.