Yevamot, Chapter One, Mishnah Three

 

Introduction

Mishnah three introduces a different list of women which is compared to the list in mishnah one.

 

Mishnah Three

There are six relatives that are more restricted than these, in that they may be married only to strangers, marriage with their rivals is permitted:   his mother and his father’s wife, his father’s sister, his paternal sister, his father’s brother’s wife and his paternal brother’s wife.

 

Explanation

The six women mentioned in this mishnah are considered “more restricted” because they cannot be married to a man’s paternal brother (remember, yibbum is restricted to only paternal brothers).  For instance, a man’s mother cannot marry his paternal brother, because she is the wife of the paternal brother’s father, and it is forbidden to marry your father’s wife.  Likewise, it is forbidden to marry one’s father’s sister, one’s sister (from either parent), one’s father’s brother’s wife or one’s brother’s wife.  This last case can occur when one brother marries a woman and divorces her or dies with children.  This wife is now forbidden to all of her dead or divorced husband’s brothers. 

In all of these cases, if one of these women was married to another man and their husband died, their rival wives may marry one of the brothers.  The rival wife of a woman forbidden due to kinship is forbidden only when the forbidden women became eligible for yibbum.  These women were never eligible for yibbum to these brothers, therefore their rival wives are permitted.  Furthermore, even if the brother tried to marry one of these women, and then died, the rival wives are eligible for yibbum, since the marriage of the brother to the forbidden woman was not valid. 

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