12th CYCLE DEDICATIONS
 
YEVAMOS 116 - Dedicated by Andy and Nancy Neff in honor of the marriage of their daughter Abby to Adi Isaacs (of LA). Mazel Tov - may they merit to build a house of Torah and Chesed and to raise children in to Torah and Yir'as Shamayim!

1) A WOMAN WHO TESTIFIES ABOUT HER HUSBAND'S DEATH AFTER THEY HAD A QUARREL
QUESTION: The Mishnah (114b) states that if a husband and his wife had been quarreling and the woman then testifies that her husband died, she is not believed. The Gemara defines a "quarrel" as any situation in which the woman exclaims, "You already divorced me," when in truth he did not divorce her. Her readiness to make such a false statement in order to get away from her husband indicates that they despise each other. Hence, if she later testifies that her husband died she is not believed.
The Amora'im disagree about why she is not believed. Rav Chanina says that Beis Din suspects that she will lie maliciously and claim that he is dead when he really is alive. Rav Shimi bar Ashi says that she convinces herself that he is dead ("bid'Dami") when he really is alive.
The Gemara explains that the practical difference between the two opinions exists in a case in which the husband, and not the wife, instigated the quarrel between them.
TOSFOS explains that if she is not believed after a quarrel because she is suspected of lying, as Rav Chanina explains, when the husband instigated the quarrel she is believed because she is not so angry with him. In contrast, according to Rav Shimi she is still suspected of conjecturing, incorrectly, that her husband is dead, and her testimony is not accepted.
Why does the Gemara not give a very simple difference between the two opinions? The Gemara (114b) teaches that a woman does not mistakenly assume ("bid'Dami") that she buried her husband when she did not actually bury him. Therefore, in a time of war, even though she is not believed to say that her husband died because she might testify "bid'Dami," she is believed to say that "he died and I buried him."
The Gemara should give this simple case, in which she testifies that "he died and I buried him," as a practical difference between Rav Chanina and Rav Shimi. According to Rav Chanina who says that she is suspected of lying, she is not believed to say that she buried him. According to Rav Shimi who says that she is suspecting of conjecturing but not outright lying, she is believed to say that she buried him. (TOSFOS HA'ROSH; see also HAGAHOS HA'GRA to 114b.)
ANSWERS:
(a) The RITVA writes that the Gemara indeed could have given this case as a difference between Rav Chanina and Rav Shimi, but it chose to mention the other difference instead.
The MAHARI BEN LEV (quoted by the KESEF MISHNEH in Hilchos Gerushin 13:1) adds that the case the Gemara gives as a practical difference between the opinions teaches an additional Chidush. The Gemara teaches that when the husband instigated the quarrel, the woman does not hate him to the extent that she will lie about his death. One might have thought that it does not matter who provoked the quarrel; since she is upset with him (and even proclaimed that he divorced her) she will lie about his death. The Gemara teaches that when he instigates the quarrel, she does not hate him so much and she does not lie about his death.
(b) The ARUCH LA'NER suggests that Rav Shimi, who maintains that she is suspected of testifying "bid'Dami," agrees that she is also suspected of lying about her husband's death. Rav Shimi's intention is to add that even in a case in which there is no concern that she will lie, there remains a concern that she will testify "bid'Dami."
RABEINU ELIYAHU MIZRACHI (Teshuvos #20, cited by the KESEF MISHNEH, Hilchos Gerushin 13:1) suggests a similar answer and adds that there is a strong logical basis for this explanation of the Gemara. Since the woman who quarreled with her husband has already lied once by saying "Gerashtani" ("you divorced me"), it is likely that she will lie again. Accordingly, both Amora'im must agree that she is suspected of lying to get rid of her husband. The practical difference between the two Amora'im exists in a case in which Beis Din knows that she will not lie. According to Rav Shimi, there still is a fear that she will testify "bid'Dami," while according to Rav Chanina, there is no such concern (see Maharsha). This explains why the Gemara does not give the case of "he died and I buried him" as a difference between the Amora'im; both agree that she might be lying when she says that she buried him.
(The Mizrachi limits the suspicion that the woman lies to a case of "bid'Dami." He explains that Rav Shimi, who says that she is suspected of testifying "bid'Dami," maintains that although she normally is not suspected of lying, in a case in which she testifies "bid'Dami" Beis Din suspects that she will strengthen her claim by lying because she thinks that her husband really died.)
The TOSFOS HA'ROSH also asks why the Gemara does not mention the case of "I buried him" as a practical difference between Rav Chanina and Rav Shimi. He questions RABEINU CHANANEL's statement that Rav Shimi is not concerned that she will lie, and that the Amora'im indeed argue about a case in which she says, "He died and I buried him." Tosfos, however, may disagree with Rabeinu Chananel on this point.
(c) The RAMBAM writes that in a time of war, when the woman says that "he died and I buried him" she is not believed (contrary to the simple way of understanding the Gemara earlier (114b), which says that even in a time of starvation she is believed to say "he died and I buried him"; see Insights to Yevamos 114:3.)
The VILNA GA'ON (in Hagahos ha'Gra, Yevamos 114b and Shulchan Aruch EH 17:107) apparently understands that the Rambam rules that even in a case in which she says that "he died and I buried him," Beis Din is concerned that she will testify "bid'Dami." Only when he died in a famine is there no concern that she will testify "bid'Dami." In such a case, she is relatively more relaxed because she faces no imminent danger herself, and thus she will not err so grossly as to say that she buried him when it was someone else who was buried. (See Insights to Yevamos 114:3:c, in the name of the LEVUSH.) In contrast, under other circumstances in which she says that her husband was killed in a sudden, tragic way, she will testify "bid'Dami" even about his burial, because the suddenness of his death, the chaos, and the danger which she faces herself cause her to become confused and think that it was her husband who was buried.
According to this reasoning, it is clear why a case in which she says "he died and I buried him" is not a practical difference between Rav Chanina and Rav Shimi. According to both Amora'im, she is not believed in such a situation since she either lies or testifies "bid'Dami" about the burial of her husband (unless he dies in an anticipated manner, such as in a time of famine).

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