Yevamot 88: One Equals Two

January 06, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"A woman whose husband went overseas, and one[1] came and told her, 'Your husband has died' and she marries [another]..." (Yevamot 87b). Whereas Jewish law requires two witnesses in all matters of criminal and family law, when it comes to freeing a woman who is "chained" to her missing husband, this law is relaxed, allowing the woman to remarry based on the testimony of only one witness. Furthermore, the...
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Yevamot 87: The Ways of Peace

January 04, 2015 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"G-d did not find a vessel more pleasing for the Jewish people than peace" (Uktzin 3:11). Such is the concluding teaching of the Mishnah. No Jew needs convincing as to the supreme value we place on peace. Such includes not only peace between nations, but peace within a family. There is little that stands in the way of bringing peace and tranquility into a home--from lying (see Yevamot 65b) to erasing the name of G-d (see Bamidbar...
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Yevamot 89: The Top Three

December 29, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
"Three signs are there for this nation: they are rachmanim, merciful; bayshanim, have a sense of shame[1]; and gomlei chasadim, perform acts of kindness[2]" (Yevamot 89a). The distinguishing mark of the Jewish people is not our observance of Shabbat, kashrut, and a host of other mitzvoth. Important as they may be, they are reflections of the values that are (or at...
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Yevamot 69: The Sweet Taste of Shmitta

December 16, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the key distinctions between the land of Israel and the Diaspora is the ability to observe the many mitzvot between man and the land. The seventh chapter of Yevamot focuses on the intricacies of the laws of terumah, which may be eaten only by a kohen or a member of his household. The chapter begins by analyzing the case of a kohen marrying someone prohibited to him, such as a...
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Yevamot 65: Childless Isn't Barren

December 11, 2014 By: Rabbi Jay Kelman
One of the famous concepts of Jewish law is the exemption of women from time-bound positive mitzvoth. The reason for such is specified neither in the Torah nor in rabbinic literature, leading medieval and modern commentaries to speculate as to the nature of this exemption--speculation made much more difficult by the fact that there are almost as many exceptions to this rule as cases governed by the rule itself.     Even more...
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