paternal lineage

Yevamot 35: Whose Baby Is It?

Even those far removed from Jewish learning know that it is the mother who determines the Jewish status of a baby. Why this is so is not clearly spelled out. The simplest and most obvious reason would seem to be the fact that while we always know who the mother is[1], the identity of the father is less certain. The Talmudic assertion that "the majority of relations a woman has is with her husband" (Sotah 27a) is just that--a claim about the majority. However, a minority are not.

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