Yevamot, Chapter Thirteen, Mishnah Six



This mishnah discusses whether or not a woman who has been divorced and remarried by the same man can have yibbum, should her husband die without children.


Mishnah Six

1)                     If a man divorced his wife and remarried her, she is permitted to marry the yavam; 

a)                                 Rabbi Elazar forbids. 

2)                     Similarly, if a man divorced an orphan and remarried her, she is permitted to marry the yavam;

a)                                 Rabbi Elazar forbids. 

3)                     If a minor was given in marriage by her father and was divorced—she is like an orphan in her father’s lifetime—and then her husband remarried her, all agree that she is forbidden to marry the yavam.



Section one:  When a man divorces his wife, she becomes forbidden to his brother under the category of “his brother’s divorcee”.  In the case in our mishnah, a man divorces his wife, then remarries her and then dies without children, making her liable for yibbum.  Although when she was divorced she was forbidden to her husband’s brother, since when her husband died she was married to him, she is in the category of “his dead brother’s wife” and if he had no children, she is liable for yibbum. Rabbi Elazar forbids this woman from having yibbum.

Section two:  The same rules apply with regard to a girl whose father had died (she is called an orphan even though her mother is alive) and was married off by her mother or brother, and then was divorced and remarried.  Since at the time of death she was married to the yavam’s brother, she is permitted to have yibbum with him. Again Rabbi Elazar forbids this.

Section three:  This section deals with a minor married off by her father.  When she is divorced she is legally considered to be an “orphan in her father’s life”.  This is because her father no longer has the ability to marry her off.  Once she is married she never returns to her father’s domain.  When her original husband remarries her while she is a minor, this marriage is only of “rabbinic” status because a minor cannot fully contract marriage without her father.  In contrast her divorce was a regular “Toraitic” divorce because a minor can be fully divorced.  Since the divorce was biblically valid and the remarriage only rabbinically valid, she is still “biblically” considered the yavam’s brother’s divorcee and all of the sages agree that she is forbidden to the yavam.