Keritot, Chapter Three, Mishnah Five



We’ve talked about food, now let’s talk about sex! Seriously, today’s mishnah is similar to yesterday’s in its form and style, but instead of discussing how many hatats one can be liable for eating forbidden food, now the rabbis try to figure out how many hatats one can be liable for one act of forbidden sex.


Mishnah Five

1)      By one act of intercourse one may become liable for six hatats:

a)      If one had intercourse with his daughter, he can be guilty of incest with her because she is his daughter, his sister, his brother’s wife, the wife of his father’s brother, and [he can also be guilty] of intercourse with a married woman and a menstruant.

2)      If one had intercourse with his daughter’s daughter he can be guilty of incest with her because she is his daughter’s daughter, his daughter-in-law, his brother’s wife, the wife of his father’s brother, his wife’s sister, a married woman, and a menstruant.  

3)      Rabbi Yose said: if the grandfather transgressed and married her first, he may thereby become guilty for offending with his father’s wife.

4)      So too, if one had intercourse with his wife’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter.



Section one: Try to follow this one. A man has sex with his mother and they have a daughter. She is his sister and his daughter. If she marries his paternal brother (this is legal) she is now his brother’s wife. When she is divorced or widowed, she marries his father’s brother (this is also legal). When he has relations with this one woman, he has transgressed four incest prohibitions, all at the same time. In addition, if she is married at the time and she is also a menstruant, he has transgressed six times with one act. [I hope it was worth it!].

Section two: If six hatats wasn’t enough for you, here’s the seventh. If his daughter’s daughter marries his son (possible if they were from different mothers), and she is his wife’s sister (if his wife is his son-in-law’s daughter from a different wife), then it turns out that his daughter’s daughter can be his daughter-in-law and his wife’s sister (three hatats). Then she marries his brother, and then his father’s brother (as in section one). If she is married and a menstruant when he has relations with her, he is liable for seven hatats.

Section three: In this case, his father can marry her, although this is prohibited by the rabbis. She is his great-granddaughter, and this is only a rabbinic prohibition. Note that he can only marry her in a case of yibbum, because she was married to his brother. She is not his daughter-in-law because she was married to his son’s maternal brother and not maternal brother. This would add another hatat. I know this is complicated, so if you would like to send me a chart, I’d be happy to check it for you.

Section four: A person can be liable for the same number of hatats if he has the same scenario but with his wife’s daughter and with his wife’s granddaughter. You might ask how his wife’s daughter can be his sister, since he can’t normally marry his sister’s mother. This could happen if his father had a daughter out of wedlock with a woman and he married this woman (this is permitted, although prohibited rabbinically). It now turns out that this child is wife’s daughter and his paternal sister.