Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, , at sacred-texts.com
§ 1. How is it to be understood that the widow of his brother, who had not lived contemporary with him [releases her rival]? When of two [married] brothers one dies [without issue] and another brother was born after the decease of the first mentioned, and the second [or surviving] brother marries by Yeboom his widowed sister-in-law, and dies, then that sister-in-law is released, having been the wife of a brother who had not been contemporary with the [third, or youngest] brother. The wife [widow] of the second brother is also free, as the rival of the first mentioned, but if the other brother had only promised marriage to her and died, 1 then the sister-in-law must perform the ceremony of Chalitzah, but her brother-in-law may not marry her by Yeboom.
§ 2. When of two brothers one dies, and the survivor marries his widow by Yeboom, and another [third] brother was afterwards born, and the second brother dies, then the widow of the first brother is free, as having been the wife of a brother who had not been contemporary [with the third, or youngest brother], and the widow of the second is also free, as the rival of the first mentioned. If he had only promised her marriage and died, the second sister-in-law must perform the ceremony of Chalitzah, but the brother-in-law may not marry her; but R. Simeon says, "[The third brother] may marry by Yeboom [in the two last cases], whichever he likes, or cause either to perform to him the ceremony of Chalitzah."
§ 3. A rule obtains in respect to marriage by Yeboom. Every woman whom it is unlawful to marry, by reason of being within the degrees of relationship forbidden to intermarry, may not perform the ceremony of Chalitzah, nor can be married by her brother-in-law by Yeboom, and all women who cannot be so married, owing to other legal prohibitions, 2 or on account of holiness of station, must perform the ceremony of Chalitzah, but may not be married to the brother-in-law by Yeboom. When of two sisters [who had been married to two brothers] one only can be legally married [to a third, or surviving brother], she is bound either to give Chalitzah, or to marry that brother-in-law by Yeboom.
§ 4. By legal prohibitions [to marry as above mentioned] are meant the secondary degrees of relationship prohibited by the Rabbins to
intermarry.—Prohibited to intermarry on account of holiness of station are, a widow to a high priest; a woman who had been divorced, or performed the ceremony of Chalitzah, who had [unlawfully] been married to an ordinary priest; a person born in adultery, and a daughter of the Nethinin 3 married to an Israelite, or a daughter of Israel to a Nethin, or to one born in adultery.
§ 5. In every case where there is a surviving brother, though of illegitimate origin, the widow of the deceased brother of such a one becomes subject to the law of Yeboom; he also possesses all the rights of a brother, except when he is the son of a bondwoman, or of a strange [i.e. non-Israelite] woman. In every case where there is a son, 4 that son releases his father's wife from the obligation of Yeboom, and even if illegitimate, is amenable to the penalties of the law against striking or cursing his father; he possesses, moreover, all the rights of a son, except he were the son of a bond-woman, or of a strange [i.e. non-Israelite] woman.
§ 6. When a person has given קדושין [i.e. betrothing] to one of two sisters, and does no longer know to which of them he gave it, he must give גט, i.e. a letter of divorce to each. If he left at his decease one brother only, that brother must cause both [sisters] to perform Chalitzah to him. If he left two brothers, one must have Chalitzah performed to him, and the other may marry the sister-in-law by Yeboom, but if these brothers had already married the sisters, in anticipation, 5 they are not to be separated from them.
§ 7. When two men [who are strangers to each other] have each of them betrothed one of two sisters, and neither of these men know which sister he has betrothed, then each man must give two Gets [letters of divorce] to the sisters. If [the men] died, and each left a brother, these brothers must have Chalitzah given to them by both sisters. If one of the men 6 had one brother, and the other two, in the case of one brother only, he must have the Chalitzah performed by both sisters; and in that of the two brothers, one must have Chalitzah performed to him, and the other brother may marry his brother's widow by Yeboom, but if they had already married the sisters in anticipation, 5 they are not to be separated from them. If
each man left two brothers, one brother of each pair must have Chalitzah performed to him by one of the sisters, and the other brother of each pair can then marry by Yeboom one of the sisters released by the Chalitzah performed to the other brother. If two brothers had already in anticipation 7 received Chalitzah from the sisters, the latter are not to be separated from them.
§ 8. It is proper that the eldest brother should perform the duty of Yeboom; yet, if it were done by a younger brother, the marriage is valid. When suspected of carnal intercourse with a bond-woman, or with a non-Israelite woman, he may not marry her, even after [the first mentioned] had been manumitted, or [the last mentioned] had become a proselyte, but if he did marry [any of these women], they shall not be separated; but if a person should be suspected of having had adulterous intercourse with a married woman, who, in consequence, had been separated from her husband judicially, then, even if the said suspected person had already married her, they must be separated.
§ 9. A person who brings to a married woman a Get from her husband, from beyond sea, 8 and declares that the said document was duly written and signed in his presence, 9 may not marry that woman. If a person should say to a married woman, "Thy husband is dead," or, "I have murdered him," or, "We have murdered him," such person may not marry that woman; R. Jehudah saith, "If he says, 'I have murdered him,' the woman may not marry at all, 10 but if he said, 'We have murdered him,' she may be married." 11
§ 10. A חכם [i.e. one learned in the Holy Law] who had declared binding a vow made by a woman against her husband, 12 may
not marry her; but he may do so in case that woman appeared before him at the tribunal, and there expressed her refusal, or performed the ceremony of Chalitzah; and in all the above-mentioned cases, if the men were married at the time [of the prohibition], and their wives died since, they may marry the women prohibited to them before; also, in case these women had, meanwhile, been married to others, and were divorced, or had become widows, the females also prohibited to these men, may marry their sons or brothers.
203:1 Before he consummated the marriage.
203:2 This is explained in the next section.
204:3 Nethinim are the descendants of the Gibeonites, who became proselytes in the time of Joshua.
204:4 Even if illegitimate.
204:5 Of the judicial decision of the tribunal, and without waiting for it.
204:6 Namely, those mentioned in the first proposition.
205:7 Of the judicial decision of the tribunal, and without waiting for it.
205:8 A distant country. (See Treatise Gittin, chap. I.)
205:9 He is bound to make such declaration. (Gittin, chap. I. § 1.)
205:10 Neither to the self-accusing murderer, nor to any other person; because the unsupported evidence of a criminal is not admissible, particularly in this case; when, perhaps, he may have charged himself with an imaginary crime, in order to obtain the woman.
205:11 To others, not the self-accuser. There is, however, a contradiction in this latter part of the Mishna; for whether such a person committed the crime alone, or in conjunction with others, he is, doubtless, equally guilty; and, therefore, why should his evidence be received in the latter case [and the woman allowed to marry], and not in the former? It is, therefore, explained to mean, that he said, "I was with those who murdered him, but did not murder him myself."
205:12 See Note 1, page 7.