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18) [line 42] MA'AMAR (MA'AMAR YEVAMIM)
(a) If a married man dies childless, his widow may not marry whomever she pleases. She first must undergo Yibum (levirate marriage, that is, she must marry her dead husband's brother), as the Torah states in Devarim 25:5-10. The only way to perform Yibum mentioned in the Torah is through marital relations with her. Giving her money (Kidushei Kesef) or a document (Kidushei Shtar) does not achieve marital ties between them as it does with a woman who is not a Yevamah (GEMARA Kidushin 4b). As RASHI writes (Yevamos 52a DH Nasan), it is impossible to effect Kidushin with one's brother's wife because Kidushin do not "take hold" ("Einam Tofsin") on an Ervah (see Insights to Yevamos 20:3).
(b) However, Chazal did enact a process called "Ma'amar" for a Yevamah, in which the Yavam can "effect Kidushin" with his Yevamah in a manner equivalent to Kidushei Kesef or Shtar in normal Kidushin. They decreed that a Yavam should make "Kidushei Ma'amar" before he has relations with her for the sake of the Mitzvah of Yibum, for reasons of modesty (Yevamos 52a). Kidushei Ma'amar are like an introduction to the act of Yibum. If the Yavam decides not to go through with the Mitzvah of Yibum, he must give the Yevamah a Get to remove the status of Ma'amar. (The Gemara discusses whether this "Kidushin" is exactly similar to normal Kidushin, and may not be performed against the will of the woman, or if it is slightly similar to the Mitzvah of Yibum, and therefore may be preformed against her will -- Yevamos 19b).
(c) Since Ma'amar does not effect a full acquisition of the Yevamah as the wife of the Yavam as does Yibum, the bond of Zikas Yibum between them of still exists. Therefore, if the Yavam wishes to divorce the Yevamah after Ma'amar, a Get (bill of divorce) is not enough; he must perform Chalitzah in order to render her free to marry whomever she pleases, besides divorcing her with a Get. Thus, if the Yavam wants to "divorce" the Ba'alas ha'Ma'amar before Yibum, he must both give her a Get and perform Chalitzah.
(d) According to the conclusion of the Gemara (Yevamos 29b, as understood by most of the Rishonim), Beis Shamai disagrees with what has been presented above, and rules that Ma'amar effects a full acquisition of the Yevamah mid'Oraisa, not only mid'Rabanan. According to some Amora'im, Beis Shamai even rules that if the Yavam wants to divorce the Yevamah after Ma'mar, a Get is enough and Chalitzah is not required (ibid.). [However, RASHI (Yevamos 29b DH Hashta) explains that even according to Beis Shamai, Ma'amar is only mid'Rabanan, see Insights ibid.] Other Tana'im are in doubt as to whether Ma'amar effects an marriage to the Yevamah mid'Oraisa or only mid'Rabanan (Rebbi Shimon, Yevamos 18b).
19) [line 44] LO MISHTABESH - does not make a mistake, does not blunder
20) [line 9] MEYUCHADIM B'NACHALAH - distinctively designated in inheritance (which follows the male lineage of the family
21) [line 16] ZU HI SHIVAH, ZU HI VI'AH (NIG'EI BATIM - Tzara'as that infects houses)
(a) The marks of Tzara'as for houses consist of intense green or intense red streaks or spots that are at least the size of two Gerisin (a Gris is a Cilician bean, approximately the size of a dime) (Nega'im 12:3). If Tzara'as is found on the walls of a house, it is put into quarantine by a Kohen for a week. Before the Kohen puts the house into quarantine, he commands that the house be emptied of its contents to prevent its utensils from becoming Tamei.
(b) The Torah states (Vayikra 14:39) "v'Shav ha'Kohen," to prescribe that the Kohen return six days later to check the house. If the Tzara'as has spread, one must remove (Choletz) the stones with Tzara'as from the house, scrape off the surrounding plaster, insert new stones and re-plaster the entire house. The house is then put into quarantine for another week. If the Tzara'as returns to the house during the following week, the owner must dismantle (Notetz) the entire house (Vayikra 14:45). The stones from the house must be taken out of the city, and they remain Asur b'Hana'ah forever.
(c) On the other hand, if the Tzara'as did not change after the first week, the Kohen leaves it as is and returns again six days later. The verse states (Vayikra 14:44) "u'Va ha'Kohen," which means "if, when the Kohen comes back to the house to inspect it a second time, he finds that the spot of Tzara'as has spread, the house is Tamei." Chazal teach that this verse is referring to a spot of Tzara'as that does not spread during its first week. The Kohen "comes back to the house" after a second week to see whether the spot has spread, remains, or has disappeared. If the Tzara'as has either spread or remained, one must remove (Choletz) the stones with Tzara'as from the house, scrape off the surrounding plaster, insert new stones and re-plaster the entire house. The house is then put into quarantine for another week (Vayikra 14:40). If the Tzara'as returns to the house during the following week, the owner must dismantle (Notetz) the entire house (Vayikra 14:45). The stones from the house must be taken out of the city, and they remain Asur b'Hana'ah forever.
(d) Even though the words "v'Shav" and "u'Va" are not identical, they are referring to the same action; namely, the Kohen entering the house to inspect it. This relates the two verses to each other with a Gezeirah Shavah. Just as the house is not dismantled if the Tzara'as spreads during the first week -- unless the stones are scraped and the Tzara'as returned to the house after a week of quarantine -- so, too, the house is not dismantled if the Tzara'as spread during the second week unless it returns to the house after the quarantine period that follows the scraping.
(e) If during one of the inspections at the end of the first or second week the Kohen finds that the Tzara'as has disappeared or diminished in intensity such that it can no longer be classified as a Nega, the location of the spot alone is scraped and the house is declared Tahor after the owner follows the procedure for being Metaher houses (see Background to Sukah 13:11:IV). (RAMBAM Hilchos Tum'as Tzara'as 15:2)
22) [line 21] D'MAFNEI - since it (the word "Achim") is free (to infer from it a Gezeirah Shavah)
23) [line 25] LAI, AFNUYEI MAFNEI - indeed, it (the word "Achim") is certainly free (for inferring a Gezeirah Shavah)
24) [line 36] EIN ZIKAH
(a) A woman whose husband dies without children is "Zekukah," that is, connected or bound to the brothers of her husband for the purpose of performing the Mitzvah of Yibum. She is prohibited to marry whomever she wants until one of the brothers performs Chalitzah or Yibum with her.
(b) The Tana'im and the Amora'im argue with regard to the strength of the bond of Zikah. Those who are of the opinion Yesh Zikah rule that the bond is similar to the bond of a man with his betrothed or with his wife (even though the prohibition against the Yevamah marrying a non-brother is only a Lav and is not punishable with Kares or Chenek, as in the prohibition against living with a married woman.) This comparison has certain ramifications:
1. Those who rule Yesh Zikah rule that just as a man is prohibited from marrying his wife's sister, daughter, daughter's daughter, mother or mother's mother, so, too, the Yavam is prohibited from marrying these relatives of the Yevamah, while she is his Zekukah.
2. Another outcome of the opinion Yesh Zikah is that one Zekukah may become classified as the Tzarah (co-wife) of an Ervah when there exists a Zikah bond between the Ervah and the dead brother.
3. Some maintain that since the Zikah causes us to consider that the living brother has already married his Yevamah, if a third brother is born before the second one performs Yibum, this third brother is considered to have been born after the Yibum of the second brother. (This applies only according to Rebbi Shimon, who rules that if the third brother is born after the Yibum of the second brother, the Yevamah is not considered an Eshes Achiv she'Lo Hayah b'Olamo with regard to the third brother -- Yevamos 18b-20a.)
4. Finally, according to those who maintain Yesh Zikah, the Yavam may annul (Hafarah) the vows of his Yevamah just as he may annul the vows of his wife (Yevamos 29b).
(c) Those who rule Ein Zikah argue with the above reasoning and claim that the bond of Zikah is not like the bond of betrothal or marriage; therefore, the brothers-in-law are not prohibited from marrying the close relatives of the Yevamah, etc. (However, the brothers-in-law may be prohibited from marrying the close relatives of the Yevamah for another reason, namely, because it is prohibited to avert the Mitzvah of Yibum and Chalitzah by marrying a relative of the Yevamah and thereby exempting her from the need for Yibum ("Asur l'Vatel Mitzvas Yevamin" -- see Background to Yevamos 26:5).
(d) Some opinions distinguish between the Zikah to one brother-in-law and the Zikah to two or more brothers-in-law. That is, even if we rule Yesh Zikah in the case of one surviving brother, when there are two or more brothers we rule Ein Zikah (since a woman cannot be bonded through Zikah to more than one husband). Similarly, there is a discussion in our Gemara if Zikah prohibits the Yavam from marrying the close relatives of the Yevamah even after she dies. Even if we hold Yesh Zikah, though, when one brother performs Chalitzah or Yibum to one of the Zekukos, the Zikah is entirely removed from the others brothers and from the Tzaros retroactively (RASHI 23b DH Ein Motzi'in) permitting them to marry each other's close relatives (MISHNAH Yevamos 23b, 40b).
(e) Even those who maintain Yesh Zikah, and who prohibit the relatives of the Yevamah to the Yavam, agree that this prohibition is only mid'Rabanan (Rashi 28b DH Mitzvah Avud; Rishonim here -- this is self-evident since even Achos Chalutzah is only prohibited mid'Rabanan). There is one opinion, though, who maintains Yesh Zikah min ha'Torah (Rebbi Shimon according to Rebbi Oshiya, 18b)
Index to Background for Maseches Yevamos