1) "MY WIFE IS FIT TO MARRY A KOHEN GADOL"

QUESTION: The Gemara discusses a case in which the friends of a dying man -- who was not known to have any children -- wanted to know whether his wife will need to do Yibum after his death. They said to him, "Who will marry your wife?" The dying man replied, "She is fit to marry a Kohen Gadol (Chazya l'Kahana Rabah)!"

Rabah ruled that "there is nothing to be concerned about," and we accept the dying man's word. Since a man is believed to say that he divorced his wife (since, if he wanted, he could give her a Get now), the dying man is believed and the woman does not need to do Yibum.

Why did the dying man saying that his wife was "fit to marry a Kohen Gadol"? When he dies, his wife becomes a widow, and a Kohen Gadol is not allowed to marry a widow! Moreover, the Gemara explains that the woman does not need to do Yibum because her husband is believed to say that he divorced her. Accordingly, since she is divorced, she is not fit to marry even an ordinary Kohen!

ANSWERS:

(a) TOSFOS cites an opinion which maintains that the word "Rabah" (from "Kahana Rabah") must be erased from the text of the Gemara since, at best, the woman is a widow whom a Kohen Gadol may not marry. This is also the explanation of RABEINU GERSHOM.

Tosfos asks, however, that erasing the word "Rabah" from "Kahana Rabah" does not resolve the difficulty, because the woman still is prohibited to an ordinary Kohen since she is a Gerushah, a divorcee.

(b) Tosfos says, therefore, that the word "Rabah" does not need to be erased from the statement, "Chazya l'Kahana Rabah." Rather, that statement must be interpreted to mean that the woman is fit to marry a Kohen Gadol as far as the laws of Yibum are concerned; that is, she has absolutely no obligation to do Yibum, and thus there is no obligation of Yibum holding her back from marrying even a Kohen Gadol. Of course, the fact that she is an Almanah or a Gerushah prevents her from marrying a Kohen Gadol or an ordinary Kohen, but as far as the laws of Yibum are concerned she may marry anyone.

Similarly, the RASHBAM answers that the statement "she is fit to marry a Kohen Gadol" is Lav Davka, and it means merely that she may remarry after her husband's death without having to do Yibum.

The RITVA also explains that it is Lav Davka, and that the man merely said it as an exaggeration to emphasize that his wife has no obligation to do Yibum.

(c) Tosfos cites RABEINU MENACHEM who had the text, "Chazya l'Kehunah" -- "she is fit for the Kehunah," meaning that she was the daughter of a Kohen, and upon her husband's death she is permitted to return to her father's home and eat Terumah, since she is not obligated to do Yibum (and since she has no sons). She may not marry a Kohen, though, since she is an Almanah (or a Gerushah).

(d) RABEINU CHANANEL, the RI MI'GASH, and the RE'AH explain that the dying man said that he was Mekadesh the woman with a condition and that condition was never fulfilled. Hence, there never was any Kidushin, and she indeed is permitted to marry a Kohen Gadol.

The RAMBAN, RAN, and RITVA question this explanation. The woman has a Chazakah that she was fully married; on what basis is he believed to say that he married her originally with a condition that was not fulfilled? A "Migu" does not give him believability with regard to what happened earlier, but only with regard to what he could do now (such as divorce her).

The YOSEF DA'AS suggests that perhaps these Rishonim (Rabeinu Chananel, Ri mi'Gash, and Re'ah) maintain that the man is believed only with regard to what is relevant from now on, and not with regard to what happened earlier. That is, the "Migu" that he could divorce her now permits Beis Din to believe him that -- with regard to requiring Yibum -- it is true that he was never married to her because he was Mekadesh her with a condition that was never fulfilled. (This is a form of "Palginan Ne'emanus.") Consequently, he is believed even with regard to permitting her to marry a Kohen, since he has no vested interest in her marrying a Kohen. (I. Alsheich)

2) PERMITTING THE WOMAN TO MARRY BASED ON HER HUSBAND'S WORD

QUESTION: The Gemara discusses a case in which the friends of a dying man, who was not known to have children, wanted to know whether his wife will need to do Yibum after his death, and they said to him, "Who will marry your wife?" The dying man replied, "She is fit to marry a Kohen Gadol (Chazya l'Kahana Rabah)!" (See previous Insight.)

Rabah ruled that "there is nothing to be concerned about," and we accept the dying man's word. Since a man is believed to say that he divorced his wife (since, if he wanted, he could give her a Get now), the dying man is believed and the woman does not need to do Yibum.

Rava said to Rav Nachman bar Ami, "Chush Lah." The RASHBAM explains that Rava was arguing with Rabah, and he required that the woman perform Chalitzah out of doubt. Rava maintained that we must be concerned for the opinion that maintains that a man is not believed to say that he divorced his wife. (According to one explanation cited by RABEINU GERSHOM, Rava was agreeing with Rabah, and he was saying that we may rely on the answer that says that a man is believed to say that he divorced his wife with regard to whatever is relevant from now on, "l'Haba.")

Why, though, does Rava not accept the "Migu"? Since the man could give his wife a Get right now, he should believed to say that he divorced her! (RITVA)

ANSWER: The RITVA answers that this "Migu" is especially weak. Whenever a man divorces his wife, it becomes publicly known that they are divorced. In this case, there was no rumor at all that the man had divorced his wife, and thus it is likely that it is not true.

The Ritva writes further that the "Migu" is especially weak because, in this case, the man said that he divorced her "today" (since, if he said that he divorced her earlier, he would not be believed, because that would be a "Migu l'Mafrei'a"; he is believed to say only that he divorced her today, since it is in his hands to divorce her today). If it is true that he divorced her today, then he or his wife should be able to display the Get itself (as the Gemara says in Kesuvos 22b). (I. Alsheich)

135b----------------------------------------135b

3) "ZICHAH BAH L'ACHER"

OPINIONS: The Mishnah states that when a man dies and a will ("Daitiki") is found on his person, it is not binding (because a Shtar does not take effect until it is given over, and it is assumed that he did not intend for the document to be honored since he did not give it to anyone). If, however, the dying man was "Zichah Bah l'Acher," then the will is binding and valid.

What does "Zichah Bah l'Acher" mean?

(a) The RASHBAM explains that "Zichah Bah l'Acher" means that the dying man said to another person that "the property written in this Shtar hereby is given to you upon your receipt of this Shtar from me." (That is, even if the person to whom the dying man says he is giving his property is not the same person who is mentioned in the Shtar, he still acquires the property.)

(b) The RI MI'GASH explains that the dying man asked a third party to acquire the property on behalf of the recipient (by using the principle of "Zachin l'Adam she'Lo b'Fanav"), and thus the recipient acquired the property.

(c) The RITVA in the name of the RE'AH explains that the dying man deposited the document into the hands of someone else (even to his wife or Eved) to publicize the document and show it to others. He thereby demonstrated that he had full intent for the document to be honored. (I. Alsheich)

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