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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Issurei Biah - Chapter Eighteen, Issurei Biah - Chapter Nineteen, Issurei Biah - Chapter Twenty

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Issurei Biah - Chapter Eighteen

1

Based on the Oral Tradition, we learned that the term zonah1 used by the Torah refers to one who is not a nativeborn Jewess,2 a Jewish woman who engaged in relations3 with a man she was forbidden to marry, violating a prohibition that is universally applicable,4 or a woman who engaged in relations with a challal5 even though she is permitted to marry him.6

Accordingly, a woman who engages in relations with an animal, even though she is liable for execution by stoning is not deemed as a zonah, nor is she disqualified from marrying into the priesthood,7 for she did not engage in relations with a man. [Similarly, when] a man engages in relations with a woman in the niddah state even though she is liable for kerait, she is not deemed as a zonah, nor is she disqualified from marrying into the priesthood, for she is not forbidden to marry him.

א

מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמַדְנוּ שֶׁהַ (ויקרא כא ז יד) "זּוֹנָה" הָאֲמוּרָה בַּתּוֹרָה הִיא כָּל שֶׁאֵינָהּ בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל. אוֹ בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה לְאָדָם שֶׁהִיא אֲסוּרָה לְהִנָּשֵׂא לוֹ אִסּוּר הַשָּׁוֶה לַכּל. אוֹ שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה לְחָלָל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ הַנִּרְבַּעַת לִבְהֵמָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא בִּסְקִילָה לֹא נַעֲשֵׂית זוֹנָה וְלֹא נִפְסְלָה לִכְהֻנָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא נִבְעֲלָה לְאָדָם. וְהַבָּא עַל הַנִּדָּה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא בְּכָרֵת לֹא נַעֲשֵׂית זוֹנָה וְלֹא נִפְסְלָה לִכְהֻנָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָהּ אֲסוּרָה לְהִנָּשֵׂא לוֹ:

2

Whenever a person has relations with an unmarried woman, even if she is a harlot who wantonly makes herself available to everyone, although she is liable for lashes,8 she is not deemed as a zonah, nor is she disqualified from [marrying] into the priesthood. For she is not forbidden to marry [the people with whom she engaged in relations].

[When, by contrast, a woman] engages in relations with a man with whom relations are forbidden by a negative commandment that is universally applicable - the transgression is not specific to priests - or with whom they are forbidden by a positive commandment, she is forbidden to marry him, she is a zonah.9Needless to say, [this applies if she engages in relations with a man] who is forbidden to her as an ervah, a gentile, or a servant.

ב

וְכֵן הַבָּא עַל הַפְּנוּיָה אֲפִלּוּ הָיְתָה קְדֵשָׁה שֶׁהִפְקִירָה עַצְמָהּ לַכּל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא בְּמַלְקוֹת לֹא נַעֲשֵׂית זוֹנָה וְלֹא נִפְסְלָה מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָהּ אֲסוּרָה לְהִנָּשֵׂא לוֹ. אֲבָל הַנִּבְעֶלֶת לְאֶחָד מֵאִסּוּרֵי לָאוִין הַשָּׁוִין בַּכּל וְאֵין מְיֻחָדִין בְּכֹהֲנִים. אוֹ מֵאִסּוּרֵי עֲשֵׂה. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר לְמִי שֶׁהִיא אֲסוּרָה לוֹ מִשּׁוּם עֶרְוָה אוֹ לְעַכּוּ''ם וְעֶבֶד. הוֹאִיל וְהִיא אֲסוּרָה לְהִנָּשֵׂא לוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ זוֹנָה:

3

Similarly, a female convert or a freed [maid-servant] - even if she was converted or freed when she was less than three years old10 - since she is not a native-born Jewess, she is deemed a zonah and is forbidden to [marry] a priest.

On this basis, [our Sages said: A woman who has relations with] a gentile, a netin,11 a mamzer,12 an Ammonite or Moabite convert, a first- or second-generation Egyptian or Edomite convert,13 a man with maimed testicles or a severed member,14 or a challal who has relations with a [nativeborn] Jewess causes her to be considered as a zonah and to be forbidden to [marry into] the priesthood. If she was a priest's daughter, she is disqualified from [partaking of] terumah.15 Similarly, a yevamah who engaged relations with a man other than her yevam becomes a zonah.16

An aylonit17 is permitted to [marry] a priest. She is not a zonah.

ג

וְכֵן הַגִּיֹּרֶת וְהַמְשֻׁחְרֶרֶת אֲפִלּוּ נִתְגַּיְּרָה וְנִשְׁתַּחְרְרָה פְּחוּתָה מִבַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים הוֹאִיל וְאֵינָהּ בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲרֵי זוֹ זוֹנָה וַאֲסוּרָה לְכֹהֵן. מִכָּאן אָמְרוּ עַכּוּ''ם אוֹ נָתִין אוֹ מַמְזֵר אוֹ גֵּר עַמּוֹנִי וּמוֹאָבִי אוֹ מִצְרִי וֶאֱדוֹמִי רִאשׁוֹן וְשֵׁנִי אוֹ פְּצוּעַ דַּכָּא וּכְרוּת שָׁפְכָה אוֹ חָלָל שֶׁבָּאוּ עַל הַיְּהוּדִית עָשׂוּ אוֹתָהּ זוֹנָה וְנִפְסְלָה לִכְהֻנָּה וְאִם הָיְתָה כֹּהֶנֶת פְּסָלוּהָ מִן הַתְּרוּמָה. וְכֵן יְבָמָה שֶׁבָּא עָלֶיהָ זָר עֲשָׂאָהּ זוֹנָה. וְהָאַיְלוֹנִית מֻתֶּרֶת לְכֹהֵן וְאֵינָהּ זוֹנָה:

4

When a man engages in relations with one of the shniot18or the like, e.g., a man who engages in relations with a relative of the woman with whom he performed chalitzah or with the woman he performed chalitzah, he does not caused her to be deemed a zonah. For she is not forbidden to him according to Scriptural Law, as we explained in Hilchot Yibbum.19

ד

הַבָּא עַל אַחַת מֵהַשְּׁנִיּוֹת וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן כְּגוֹן הַבָּא עַל קְרוֹבַת חֲלוּצָתוֹ אוֹ עַל חֲלוּצָתוֹ לֹא עָשָׂה אוֹתָהּ זוֹנָה שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָהּ אֲסוּרָה לְהִנָּשֵׂא לוֹ מִן הַתּוֹרָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת יִבּוּם:

5

We thus learned that a woman's being deemed as a zonah is not dependent on her engaging in forbidden relations, for when a man engages in relations with a niddah or a harlot or when a woman engages in relations with an animal, the woman has engaged in forbidden relations and yet she is not deemed a zonah. When, by contrast, [a woman] marries a challal, she engages in relations that are permitted, as will be explained,20 and yet she is deemed a zonah. Thus the matter is dependent on the spiritual blemish alone. According to the Oral Tradition, we learned that the spiritual blemish comes only from a man who is forbidden to her or a challal, as we explained.

ה

הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁאֵין הֱיוֹתָהּ זוֹנָה תּוֹלֶה בִּבְעִילָה שֶׁל אִסּוּר. שֶׁהֲרֵי הַבָּא עַל הַנִּדָּה וְעַל הַקְּדֵשָׁה וְהַנִּרְבַּעַת לַבְּהֵמָה נִבְעֲלָה בְּעִילָה שֶׁל אִסּוּר וְלֹא נַעֲשֵׂית זוֹנָה. וּמִי שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת לְחָלָל נִבְעֲלָה בְּעִילָה שֶׁל הֶתֵּר כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר וְנַעֲשֵׂית זוֹנָה וְאֵין הַדָּבָר תָּלוּי אֶלָּא בִּפְגִימָה וּמִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁאֵינָהּ פְּגוּמָה אֶלָּא מֵאָדָם הָאָסוּר לָהּ אוֹ מֵחָלָל כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ:

6

Whenever a woman engages in relations that cause her to be deemed a zonah, she becomes disqualified as soon as the man's organ enters her21 whether she engages in relations against her will or willingly, whether in conscious violation or inadvertently, whether through vaginal or anal intercourse. [This applies] provided she is at least three years old and the man with whom she engages in relations is nine years old or more.22 Therefore when a married woman engages in adultery, whether against her will or willingly, she is disqualified from [marrying into] the priesthood.23

ו

כָּל הַנִּבְעֶלֶת לְאָדָם שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה אוֹתָהּ זוֹנָה בֵּין בְּאֹנֶס בֵּין בְּרָצוֹן בֵּין בְּזָדוֹן בֵּין בִּשְׁגָגָה [בֵּין כְּדַרְכָּהּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא כְּדַרְכָּהּ] מִשֶּׁהֶעֱרָה בָּהּ נִפְסְלָה מִשּׁוּם זוֹנָה. וּבִלְבַד שֶׁתִּהְיֶה בַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד וְיִהְיֶה הַבּוֹעֵל בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד וָמַעְלָה. לְפִיכָךְ אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה לְאַחֵר בֵּין בְּאֹנֶס בֵּין בְּרָצוֹן נִפְסְלָה לִכְהֻנָּה:

7

When the wife of a priest is raped, [if her husband engages in relations with her afterwards,] he is punished by lashes because of her defilement. [This is derived from Deuteronomy 24:4]: "Her first husband who sent her away cannot return and take her as a wife after she has been defiled."24 All [women] were governed by the general principle: If they engaged in [adulterous] relations, they are forbidden to their husbands. The Torah singles out an exception: the wife of an Israelite who was raped.25 She is permitted to her husband, as [implied by Numbers 5:13]: "And she was not seized." The wife of a priest remains forbidden, because she is a zonah.26

ז

אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁנֶּאֶנְסָה בַּעְלָהּ לוֹקֶה עָלֶיהָ מִשּׁוּם טֻמְאָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד ד) "לֹא יוּכַל בַּעְלָהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר שִׁלְּחָהּ לָשׁוּב לְקַחְתָּהּ לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר הֻטַמָּאָה". הַכּל בִּכְלָל שֶׁאִם נִבְעֲלוּ אֲסוּרִין עַל בַּעֲלֵיהֶן. פֵּרֵט לְךָ הַכָּתוּב בְּאֵשֶׁת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנֶּאֶנְסָה שֶׁהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת לְבַעְלָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ה יג) "וְהִיא לֹא נִתְפָּשָׂה" אֲבָל אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן בְּאִסּוּרָהּ עוֹמֶדֶת שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא זוֹנָה:

8

When the wife of an Israelite is raped, although she is permitted to her husband,27 she is forbidden to [marry into] the prietshood.28

When the wife of a priest tells her husband: "I was raped or inadvertently, I engaged in relations with another man," or one witness testifies against her that she committed adultery whether willingly or unwillingly, she is not forbidden to him.29[The rationale is that we suspect] that perhaps she set her eyes on another [man].30 If he considers her as trustworthy, or he considers the witness as trustworthy and he accepts his word,31 he should divorce her so that there is no doubt regarding the matter.32

ח

אֵשֶׁת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנֶּאֶנְסָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת לְבַעְלָהּ אֲסוּרָה לִכְהֻנָּה. אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁאָמְרָה לְבַעְלָהּ נֶאֱנַסְתִּי אוֹ שָׁגַגְתִּי וּבָא עָלַי אֶחָד אוֹ שֶׁבָּא עֵד אֶחָד וְהֵעִיד לוֹ עָלֶיהָ שֶׁזִּנְּתָה בֵּין בְּאֹנֶס בֵּין בְּרָצוֹן הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ אֲסוּרָה עָלָיו. שֶׁמָּא עֵינֶיהָ נָתְנָה בְּאַחֵר. וְאִם הִיא נֶאֱמֶנֶת לוֹ אוֹ הָעֵד נֶאֱמָן לוֹ וְסָמַךְ דַּעְתּוֹ לְדִבְרֵיהֶם הֲרֵי זֶה יוֹצִיא כְּדֵי לָצֵאת יְדֵי סָפֵק:

9

Although the wife of a priest who tells her husband: "I was raped," is permitted to her husband as explained, she is forbidden to any other priest33 after her husband dies.34 For she has acknowledged that she is a zonah and caused herself to be forbidden, making herself a prohibited entity.

ט

אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁאָמְרָה לְבַעְלָהּ נֶאֱנַסְתִּי אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת לְבַעְלָהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ הֲרֵי הִיא אֲסוּרָה לְכָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם אַחַר שֶׁיָּמוּת בַּעְלָהּ. שֶׁהֲרֵי הוֹדֵית שֶׁהִיא זוֹנָה וְאָסְרָה עַצְמָהּ וְנַעֲשֵׂית כַּחֲתִיכָה הָאֲסוּרָה:

10

When a priest35 consecrates a woman, whether a minor or past majority, and afterwards engages in relations with her and claims that she had engaged in relations previously,36 she is forbidden to him because of the doubt involved:37 perhaps she engaged in relations before she was consecrated or perhaps it was afterwards.38 When, by contrast, an Israelite makes such a claim, there are two doubts involved:39 Maybe [the forbidden relations] preceded the consecration or maybe they came afterwards. Even if we say that they came afterwards, maybe she was raped or maybe she participated willingly. For a raped woman is permitted to an Israelite, as we explained.40

י

כֹּהֵן שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ גְּדוֹלָה אוֹ קְטַנָּה וְאַחַר זְמַן בָּא עָלֶיהָ וְטָעַן שֶׁמְּצָאָהּ דְּרוּסַת אִישׁ נֶאֶסְרָה עָלָיו מִסָּפֵק שֶׁמָּא קֹדֶם קִדּוּשִׁין נִבְעֲלָה אוֹ אַחַר קִדּוּשִׁין. אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁטָּעַן טַעֲנָה זוֹ לֹא נֶאֶסְרָה עָלָיו שֶׁיֵּשׁ כָּאן שְׁנֵי סְפֵקוֹת שֶׁמָּא קֹדֶם קִדּוּשִׁין וְשֶׁמָּא אַחַר קִדּוּשִׁין. וַאֲפִלּוּ נֹאמַר לְאַחַר קִדּוּשִׁין שֶׁמָּא בְּאֹנֶס שֶׁמָּא בְּרָצוֹן. שֶׁהָאֲנוּסָה מֻתֶּרֶת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

11

Therefore if a girl's father consecrated her to an Israelite when she was less than three years old and [when they married, the Israelite] claimed that he discovered that she had engaged in relations previously, she is forbidden to him because of the doubt. For there is only one doubt involved: Maybe the relations were against her will41 or maybe she engaged willingly.42 When there is a doubt concerning a Scriptural prohibition involved, [we rule] stringently.

יא

לְפִיכָךְ אִם קִדְּשָׁהּ אָבִיהָ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וְהִיא פְּחוּתָה מִבַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד וְטָעַן שֶׁמְּצָאָהּ דְּרוּסַת אִישׁ נֶאֶסְרָה עָלָיו מִסָּפֵק שֶׁאֵין כָּאן אֶלָּא סָפֵק אֶחָד שֶׁמָּא בְּאֹנֶס שֶׁמָּא בְּרָצוֹן וְסָפֵק אִסּוּר שֶׁל תּוֹרָה לְחֻמְרָא:

12

Any woman who was given [a sotah] warning43 by her husband, entered into privacy [with the man she was warned against], but did not drink the sotah waters is forbidden to [marry] a priest,44 because there is an unresolved question whether or not she is a zonah.45 [This applies] whether she did not wish to drink [the waters],46 her husband did not wish to compel her to drink the waters,47 there was testimony that prevented her from drinking,48 the warning was delivered by the court,49 or she was one of the woman who is not fit to drink.50 Whatever the reason that she did not drink, she is forbidden to [marry into] the priesthood because of the doubt [that has been created].

יב

כָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁקִּנֵּא לָהּ בַּעְלָהּ וְנִסְתְּרָה וְלֹא שָׁתָת מֵי סוֹטָה אֲסוּרָה לְכֹהֵן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא סְפֵק זוֹנָה. בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא רָצָת הִיא לִשְׁתּוֹת. בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא רָצָה לְהַשְׁקוֹתָהּ. בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה שָׁם עֵדוּת שֶׁמּוֹנְעָהּ מִלִּשְׁתּוֹת. בֵּין שֶׁקִּנְּאוּ לָהּ בֵּית דִּין. בֵּין שֶׁהָיְתָה מִן הַנָּשִׁים שֶׁאֵין רְאוּיוֹת לִשְׁתּוֹת. הוֹאִיל וְלֹא שָׁתָת מִכָּל מָקוֹם הֲרֵי זוֹ אֲסוּרָה לִכְהֻנָּה מִסָּפֵק:

13

[The following rules apply if we] saw that an unmarried woman engaged in relations with a man who then departed. She is asked: "Who is the man with whom you engaged in relations?" If she says, "He is an acceptable man,"51 her word is accepted. Moreover, even if we see that she is pregnant and we ask her: "From whom did you conceive?" and she says, "From an acceptable man," her word is accepted and she is permitted [to marry] a priest.52

יג

פְּנוּיָה שֶׁרָאוּהָ שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה לְאֶחָד וְהָלַךְ לוֹ וְאָמְרוּ לָהּ מִי הוּא זֶה שֶׁבָּא עָלַיִךְ וְאָמְרָה אָדָם כָּשֵׁר הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶאֱמֶנֶת. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ רָאוּהָ מְעֻבֶּרֶת וְאָמְרוּ לָהּ מִמִּי נִתְעַבַּרְתְּ וְאָמְרָה מֵאָדָם כָּשֵׁר הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶאֱמֶנֶת וְתִהְיֶה מֻתֶּרֶת לְכֹהֵן:

14

When does the above apply? When the place where she engaged in relations was on a thoroughfare or in a carriage in the fields where everyone passes by,53 and most of the passersby are acceptable and most of the inhabitants of the city from which these passersby departed are acceptable. [The rationale for this stringency is that] our Sages elevated the standards required with regard to lineage54 and required two majorities.55

If, by contrast, most of the people passing by would disqualify her, e.g., they were gentiles, mamzerim, or the like, even if most of the inhabitants of the city from which they came were acceptable, we are suspect regarding her [status]. Perhaps she engaged in relations with a person who would disqualify her. Hence, the initial and preferred option is for her not to marry a priest.56 If she marries one, she need not divorce.57 [This ruling also applies] if most of the inhabitants of the locale were unacceptable even though most of the passersby were acceptable.

יד

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה בּוֹ פָּרָשַׁת דְּרָכִים אוֹ בִּקְרָנוֹת שֶׁבַּשָּׂדוֹת שֶׁהַכּל עוֹבְרִין שָׁם. וְהָיוּ רֹב הָעוֹבְרִים שָׁם כְּשֵׁרִים וְרֹב הָעִיר שֶׁפָּרְשׁוּ אֵלּוּ הָעוֹבְרִין מִמֶּנָּה כְּשֵׁרִים. שֶׁהַחֲכָמִים עָשׂוּ מַעֲלָה בְּיוּחֲסִין וְהִצְרִיכוּ שְׁנֵי רֻבּוֹת. אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ רֹב הָעוֹבְרִים פּוֹסְלִים אוֹתָהּ כְּגוֹן עַכּוּ''ם אוֹ מַמְזֵרִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרֹב הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁבָּאוּ מִמֶּנָּה כְּשֵׁרִים אוֹ שֶׁהָיוּ רֹב אַנְשֵׁי הַמָּקוֹם פְּסוּלִין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרֹב הָעוֹבְרִין שָׁם כְּשֵׁרִים חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ שֶׁמָּא לְמִי שֶׁפּוֹסֵל אוֹתָהּ נִבְעֲלָה וְלֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא לְכֹהֵן לְכַתְּחִלָּה. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת (לֹא) תֵּצֵא:

15

If we saw that she engaged in relations in a city or she became pregnant in a city, [more stringent rules apply]. Even if there was only one gentile, challal, servant, or the like58 dwelling in the city, the initial and preferred option is that she not marry a priest. [The rationale is that] whenever entities are in their permanent locale, [probability is not taken into consideration. Instead, all doubts] are considered as equally balanced.59 If she already married [a priest], she need not be divorced because she says: "I engaged in relations with an acceptable man."60

טו

רָאוּהָ שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה בָּעִיר אוֹ נִתְעַבְּרָה בָּעִיר אֲפִלּוּ לֹא הָיָה שׁוֹכֵן שָׁם אֶלָּא עַכּוּ''ם אֶחָד אוֹ חָלָל אֶחָד וְעֶבֶד וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא לְכַתְּחִלָּה לְכֹהֵן. שֶׁכָּל הַקָּבוּעַ כְּמֶחֱצָה עַל מֶחֱצָה הוּא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לֹא תֵּצֵא הוֹאִיל וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת לְכָשֵׁר נִבְעַלְתִּי:

16

When a woman is dumb, deaf,61 she says: "I don't know the identity of the man with whom I engaged in relations," or she was a minor that cannot differentiate between a man who is acceptable and one who is not, she is considered as a zonah of questionable status.62 [After the fact,] if she married a priest, she must be divorced63 unless there is a twofold majority of men with whom she could have engaged in relations that are acceptable.64

טז

הָיְתָה אִלֶּמֶת אוֹ חֵרֶשֶׁת אוֹ שֶׁאָמְרָה אֵינִי יוֹדַעַת לְמִי נִבְעַלְתִּי אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה קְטַנָּה שֶׁאֵינָהּ מַכֶּרֶת בֵּין כָּשֵׁר לְפָסוּל הֲרֵי זוֹ סְפֵק זוֹנָה. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לְכֹהֵן תֵּצֵא אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיוּ שְׁנֵי הָרֻבִּין הַמְּצוּיִין אֶצְלָהּ כְּשֵׁרִים:

17

When a woman taken captive is redeemed and she is three years old or more,65 she is forbidden to [marry] a priest, because there is a question whether she is a zonah. Perhaps a gentile engaged in relations with her.

If there is a witness that a gentile did not enter into seclusion with her, she is acceptable to the priesthood.66 Even a servant, a maid-servant, or a relative67 is acceptable with regard to this testimony. [Moreover,] when two women who were taken captive give testimony on behalf of each other, their word is accepted.68[The rationale is] that all the prohibitions involving questionable situations are of Rabbinic origin.69 Therefore they ruled leniently with regard to a woman taken captive.

יז

הַשְּׁבוּיָה שֶׁנִּפְדֵּית וְהִיא בַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד אוֹ יֶתֶר אֲסוּרָה לְכֹהֵן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא סְפֵק זוֹנָה שֶׁמָּא נִבְעֲלָה לְעַכּוּ''ם. וְאִם יֵשׁ לָהּ עֵד שֶׁלֹּא נִתְיַחֵד הָעַכּוּ''ם עִמָּהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה לִכְהֻנָּה. וַאֲפִלּוּ עֶבֶד אוֹ שִׁפְחָה אוֹ קָרוֹב נֶאֱמָן לְעֵדוּת זוֹ. וּשְׁתֵּי שְׁבוּיוֹת שֶׁהֵעִידָה כָּל אַחַת מֵהֶן לַחֲבֶרְתָּהּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמָנוֹת. הוֹאִיל וְאִסּוּר כָּל הַסְּפֵקוֹת כֻּלָּן מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים לְפִיכָךְ הֵקֵלּוּ בִּשְׁבוּיָה:

18

Similarly, a minor who states [that a woman was not touched by her captors] in the course of conversation.70 An incident occurred with regard to a child who was captured together with his mother. In the course of conversation, he said: "My mother and I were captured by the gentiles. When I went out to draw water from the well, I was thinking about my mother. [When I went] to gather wood, I was thinking about my mother." Our Sages [permitted] her to marry a priest because of his words.71

יח

וְכֵן קָטָן שֶׁהָיָה מֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ נֶאֱמָן. מַעֲשֵׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁנִּשְׁבָּה הוּא וְאִמּוֹ וּבְנָהּ מֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ וְאָמַר נִשְׁבֵּינוּ לְבֵין הָעַכּוּ''ם אֲנִי וְאִמִּי יָצָאתִי לִשְׁאֹב מַיִם וְדַעְתִּי עַל אִמִּי לִלְקֹט עֵצִים וְדַעְתִּי עַל אִמִּי. וְהִשִּׂיאוּ אוֹתָהּ חֲכָמִים לְכֹהֵן עַל פִּיו:

19

A husband's word is not accepted if he testifies72 that his wife who was taken captive was not defiled.73 Similarly, her maid-servant may not testify on her behalf.74 A maid-servant belonging to her husband, however, may testify on her behalf. And statements made by her maid-servant in the midst of conversation are accepted.75

יט

אֵין הַבַּעַל נֶאֱמָן לְהָעִיד בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ הַשְּׁבוּיָה שֶׁלֹּא נִטְמְאָה. שֶׁאֵין אָדָם מֵעִיד לְעַצְמוֹ. וְכֵן שִׁפְחָתָהּ לֹא תָּעִיד לָהּ. אֲבָל שִׁפְחַת בַּעְלָהּ מְעִידָה לָהּ. וְשִׁפְחָתָהּ שֶׁהָיְתָה מְסִיחָה לְפִי תֻּמָּהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת:

20

When a priest testifies that a woman who had been taken captive is pure, he may not marry her. [We suspect that] he focused his attention on her.76 If he redeemed her and testified on her behalf, he may marry her, for if he did not know that she was pure, he would not have paid money on her behalf.77

כ

כֹּהֵן שֶׁהֵעִיד לִשְׁבוּיָה שֶׁהִיא טְהוֹרָה הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשָּׂאֶנָּה שֶׁמָּא עֵינָיו נָתַן בָּהּ. וְאִם פְּדָאָהּ וְהֵעִיד בָּהּ הֲרֵי זֶה יִשָּׂאֶנָּה. שֶׁאִלּוּ לֹא יָדַע שֶׁהִיא טְהוֹרָה לֹא נָתַן בָּהּ מְעוֹתָיו:

21

When a woman says: "I was taken captive, but I am pure," her word is accepted. [The rationale is] that the mouth that forbid her granted her license.78[This applies] even if there is one witness who testifies that she was taken captive.79 If, however, there are two witnesses who testify that she was taken captive, her word is not accepted unless one person testifies that she is pure.

If there were two witnesses who testified that she was taken captive, one witness who testifies that she was defiled and another who contradicts his statements and testifies that she is pure and that a gentile did not enter into seclusion with her until she was redeemed, she is permitted.80 [This applies] even if the one who testifies that she is pure is a woman or a maid-servant.

כא

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁאָמְרָה נִשְׁבֵּיתִי וּטְהוֹרָה אֲנִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת שֶׁהַפֶּה שֶׁאָסַר הוּא הַפֶּה שֶׁהִתִּיר אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם עֵד אֶחָד שֶׁמֵּעִיד שֶׁהִיא שְׁבוּיָה. אֲבָל אִם יֵשׁ שָׁם שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁנִּשְׁבֵּית אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת עַד שֶׁיָּעִיד לָהּ אֶחָד שֶׁהִיא טְהוֹרָה. הָיוּ שָׁם שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁנִּשְׁבֵּית וְעֵד אֶחָד מֵעִיד שֶׁנִּטְמֵאת וְאֶחָד מַכְחִישׁ אוֹתוֹ וּמֵעִיד לָהּ שֶׁהִיא טְהוֹרָה וְלֹא נִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ עַכּוּ''ם עַד שֶׁנִּפְדֵּית. אֲפִלּוּ זֶה שֶׁמֵּעִיד שֶׁהִיא טְהוֹרָה אִשָּׁה אוֹ שִׁפְחָה הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת:

22

When a woman stated: "I was taken captive, but I am pure," and a court granted her license to marry [a priest], she may marry [one] as an initial and preferred option. Her license is not revoked [even if] afterwards two witnesses come and testify that she was taken captive.81 Even if her captor enters afterwards and we see that she is a captive under his dominion, her license [to marry a priest] is not revoked. We provide her with protection until she is redeemed.82

כב

מִי שֶׁאָמְרָה נִשְׁבֵּיתִי וּטְהוֹרָה אֲנִי וְהִתִּירוּהָ בֵּית דִּין לְהִנָּשֵׂא וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּאוּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁנִּשְׁבֵּית הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא לְכַתְּחִלָּה וְלֹא תֵּצֵא מֵהֶתֵּרָהּ. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִכְנַס אַחֲרֶיהָ שַׁבַּאי וַהֲרֵי הִיא שְׁבוּיָה לְפָנֵינוּ בְּיַד אֲדוֹנֶיהָ הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא מֵהֶתֵּרָהּ שֶׁהִתִּירוּהָ. וּמְשַׁמְּרִין אוֹתָהּ מֵעַתָּה עַד שֶׁתִּפָּדֶה:

23

If two witnesses came and stated that [a woman] was defiled, even if she had married and even if she bore children [to her husband, the priest], she must be divorced.83 If one witness came and testified [that she was defiled], his testimony is of no consequence.84

If the woman says, "I was taken captive, but I am pure, and I have witnesses that I am pure," we do not say: "Let us wait until the witnesses come." Instead, we grant her license [to marry into the priesthood] immediately. Moreover, even if a rumor is circulated that there are witnesses that she was defiled,85 we grant her license [to marry into the priesthood] until the witnesses come. [The rationale is that] we are lenient with regard to a woman taken captive.

כג

בָּאוּ לָהּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים אַחַר כָּךְ שֶׁנִּטְמֵאת אֲפִלּוּ נִשֵּׂאת וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ לָהּ בָּנִים הֲרֵי זוֹ תֵּצֵא. וְאִם בָּא עֵד אֶחָד אֵינוֹ כְּלוּם. אָמְרָה נִשְׁבֵּיתִי וּטְהוֹרָה אֲנִי וְיֵשׁ לִי עֵדִים שֶׁאֲנִי טְהוֹרָה אֵין אוֹמְרִין נַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ הָעֵדִים אֶלָּא מַתִּירִין אוֹתָהּ מִיָּד. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ יָצָא עָלֶיהָ קוֹל שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלֶיהָ עֵדֵי טֻמְאָה מַתִּירִין אוֹתָהּ עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹאוּ. שֶׁבִּשְׁבוּיָה הֵקֵלּוּ:

24

When a father states: "I consecrated my daughter and I had her divorced,"86 [as long as] she is a minor," his word is accepted.87 "I consecrated my daughter and I had her divorced while she was a minor," when she is past majority, his word is not accepted with regard to her being considered as a divorcee.88

[When he says,] "She was held captive and I redeemed her," his word is not accepted whether she is a minor or past majority. For the Torah deems him trustworthy only with regard to having her forbidden because of marriage, for it is written [Deuteronomy 22:16]: "I gave my daughter to this man,"89 but not to have her disqualified as a zonah.90

כד

הָאָב שֶׁאָמַר קִדַּשְׁתִּי אֶת בִּתִּי וְגֵרַשְׁתִּיהָ וַהֲרֵי הִיא קְטַנָּה נֶאֱמָן. קִדַּשְׁתִּיהָ וְגֵרַשְׁתִּיהָ כְּשֶׁהָיְתָה קְטַנָּה וַהֲרֵי הִיא גְּדוֹלָה אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן לְהַחֲזִיקָהּ גְּרוּשָׁה. נִשְׁבֵּית וּפְדִיתִיהָ בֵּין שֶׁהִיא גְּדוֹלָה בֵּין שֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן. שֶׁלֹּא הֶאֱמִינָה אוֹתוֹ תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא לְאָסְרָהּ מִשּׁוּם אִישׁוּת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב טז) "אֶת בִּתִּי נָתַתִּי לָאִישׁ הַזֶּה". אֲבָל לֹא לְפָסְלָהּ מִשּׁוּם זְנוּת:

25

When the wife of a priest is forbidden to him because she was taken captive, [we grant a leniency]. Since [the prohibition was instituted because] of a doubt,91 she is permitted to dwell together with him in the same courtyard, provided his children and the members of his household will always be there to watch him.92

כה

אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁנֶּאֶסְרָה עָלָיו מִשּׁוּם שְׁבוּיָה הוֹאִיל וְהַדָּבָר סָפֵק הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת לָדוּר עִמּוֹ בֶּחָצֵר אֶחָד וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עִמּוֹ בָּנָיו וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ תָּמִיד לְשָׁמְרוֹ:

26

[The following laws apply when] a city was held under siege and conquered. If the gentiles surrounded the city from all sides so that it was impossible for [even] one woman to escape93 without being seen and placed under their dominion, all of the women in [the city] are forbidden [to marry into] the priesthood. They are considered as if they were held captive for perhaps they were raped by gentiles. [The only exception] are those less than three years old as explained.94

כו

עִיר שֶׁבָּאָה בְּמָצוֹר וְנִכְבְּשָׁה אִם הָיוּ הָעַכּוּ''ם מַקִּיפִין אֶת הָעִיר מִכָּל רוּחוֹתֶיהָ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תִּמָּלֵט אִשָּׁה אַחַת עַד שֶׁיִּרְאוּ אוֹתָהּ וְתֵעָשֶׂה בִּרְשׁוּתָן הֲרֵי כָּל הַנָּשִׁים שֶׁבְּתוֹכָהּ פְּסוּלוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה כִּשְׁבוּיוֹת שֶׁמָּא נִבְעֲלוּ לְעַכּוּ''ם. אֶלָּא מִי שֶׁהָיְתָה מִבַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וּלְמַטָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

27

If it was possible for one of the woman to escape without being detected or there was one hiding place in the city - even if it could hold only one woman - it saves all [the women from being deemed forbidden].95

כז

וְאִם הָיָה אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתִּמָּלֵט אִשָּׁה אַחַת וְלֹא יֵדְעוּ בָּהּ אוֹ שֶׁתִּהְיֶה בָּעִיר מַחֲבוֹאָה אַחַת אֲפִלּוּ אֵינָהּ מַחְזֶקֶת אֶלָּא אִשָּׁה אַחַת הֲרֵי זוֹ מַצֶּלֶת עַל הַכּל:

28

How does it save [the women from being deemed forbidden]? The word of every woman who claims "I am pure" is accepted. Since she could have said: "I escaped when the city was conquered," or "I was in a hiding place and I was saved," her word is accepted if she says: "I did not escape, nor did I hide, but I was not defiled."96

כח

כֵּיצַד מַצֶּלֶת. שֶׁכָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁאָמְרָה טְהוֹרָה אֲנִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין לָהּ עֵד מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁיְּכוֹלָה לוֹמַר נִמְלַטְתִּי כְּשֶׁנִּכְבְּשָׁה הָעִיר אוֹ בְּמַחֲבוֹאָה הָיִיתִי וְנִצַּלְתִּי נֶאֱמֶנֶת לוֹמַר לֹא נִמְלַטְתִּי וְלֹא נֶחְבֵּאתִי וְלֹא נִטְמֵאתִי:

29

When does the above apply? With regard to a battalion from that country who settle in the city and are not afraid. Therefore we fear that they raped the women. With regard to a battalion from another country, which swept through the city, pillaged and passed on, the women are not forbidden.97 [The rationale is that] they do not have time to rape, because they are busy gathering spoil and fleeing.98 If, however, they took the women captive and they were under their dominion, they are forbidden [to the priesthood]99 even though Jews pursue [the battalion] and rescued [the women] from them.100

כט

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּגְדוּד שֶׁל אוֹתָהּ מַלְכוּת שֶׁהֵם מִתְיַשְּׁבִין בָּעִיר וְאֵין יְרֵאִין לְפִיכָךְ חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהֶם שֶׁמָּא בָּעֲלוּ. אֲבָל גְּדוּד שֶׁל מַלְכוּת אַחֶרֶת שֶׁפָּשַׁט וְשָׁטַף וְעָבַר לֹא נֶאֶסְרוּ הַנָּשִׁים מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם פְּנַאי לִבְעל שֶׁהֵן עוֹסְקִים בַּשָּׁלָל וּבוֹרְחִין לָהֶם. וְאִם שָׁבוּ נָשִׁים וְנַעֲשׂוּ בִּרְשׁוּתָן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁרָדְפוּ אַחֲרֵיהֶם יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהִצִּילוּ אוֹתָן מִיָּדָם הֲרֵי הֵן אֲסוּרוֹת:

30

When a woman was imprisoned because of financial matters, she is permitted [to marry into the priesthood].101 When she is imprisoned with regard to matters involving capital punishment, she is forbidden to the priesthood.102 Therefore if her husband is a priest, she is forbidden to him.103

When does the above apply? When the Jews have power over the gentiles and they are afraid of them. When, by contrast, the gentiles are in power, even when a woman is imprisoned because of financial matters, she is forbidden since she was taken under the dominion of the gentiles104 unless there is a witness who testifies on her behalf as is the law regarding a woman taken captive, as explained above.105

ל

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁנֶחְבְּשָׁה בְּיַד עַכּוּ''ם עַל יְדֵי מָמוֹן מֻתֶּרֶת. עַל יְדֵי נְפָשׁוֹת אֲסוּרָה לִכְהֻנָּה וּלְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיָה בַּעְלָהּ כֹּהֵן נֶאֶסְרָה עָלָיו. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁיַּד יִשְׂרָאֵל תַּקִּיפָה עַל הָעַכּוּ''ם וְהֵם יְרֵאִין מֵהֶם. אֲבָל בִּזְמַן שֶׁיַּד הָעַכּוּ''ם תַּקִּיפָה אֲפִלּוּ עַל יְדֵי מָמוֹן כֵּיוָן שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית בִּרְשׁוּת הָעַכּוּ''ם נֶאֶסְרָה אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הֵעִיד לָהּ אֶחָד כִּשְׁבוּיָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

Footnotes
1.

The term literally means "a promiscuous woman." Halachically, however, it has a specific meaning as the Rambam continues to explain. This concept is relevant because a priest is forbidden to marry a zonah as mentioned at the beginning of the previous chapter.

2.

Even if she is a virgin, and even if she converts (Halachah 3).

3.

Even against her will. It is the fact of the relations, not her intent, that causes her to be placed in this category. See Halachot 5-6.

4.

Even a prohibition that stems from a positive commandment, as mentioned in Halachah 3.

5.

A child born from a relationship forbidden to a priest, as mentioned in Chapter 19, Halachot 5-6. As mentioned in the notes to the following halachah, the Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's view.

6.

There is no prohibition against a challal marrying any Jewish woman, even the daughter of a priest (see Chapter 19, Halachah 11).

7.

She may even marry a High Priest (if she engaged in anal intercourse with an animal), as stated in Chapter 17, Halachah 14.

8.

As stated in Hilchot Ishut 1:4.

9.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling, offering a more lenient view, explaining that although a woman who enters into relations with any of the above individuals is forbidden to marry into the priesthood, these relations do not cause her to be considered as a zonah and she and a priest are not punished by lashes if they engage in relations. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 6:8) quotes the Rambam's view.

10.

At that age, even if she had engaged in relations, her hymen would regenerate and she would be considered as a virgin (Ketubot 11b). Nevertheless, she is not considered as a native-born Jewess.

The Ra'avad rules that such a woman is not considered as a zonah. Nevertheless, she is forbidden to marry into the priesthood, based on the interpretation of Ezekiel 44:22 advanced by Kiddushin 78a which states that a priest must marry only from "the seed of the House of Israel." Note the discussion of this difference of opinion by the Maggid Mishneh. See also Chapter 19, Halachah 12, which states that as long as converts marry among each other, their descendants are forbidden to marry into the priesthood.

11.

See Chapter 12, Halachot 22-23, which defines this term and the prohibition against such a man marrying a native-born Jewess.

12.

See Chapter 15 which describes the prohibition of such a man marrying a native-born Jewess.

13.

See Chapter 12, Halachot 18-21, which describes the prohibition of such converts marrying a native-born Jewess.

14.

See Chapter 16 which describes the prohibition of such a man marrying a native-born Jewess.

15.

Leviticus 22:12 states "When the daughter of a priest is [possessed] by a foreigner, she may not partake of the terumah of holiness." Yevamot 68a states: "Since she engaged in relations with someone who is forbidden to her, she is disqualified."

16.

Since she is forbidden to marry anyone other than her yevam relations with any other man cause her to be considered as a zonah.

17.

The term aylonit refers to a woman who does not have female physical characteristics. Her breasts do not protrude, she stiffens during sexual relations, and her lower abdomen does not resemble that of a woman. She is considered incapable of giving birth (Hilchot Ishut 2:4-6).

18.

These refer to distant relatives whom the Rabbis forbade as safeguards to Scriptural prohibitions. See Hilchot Ishut 1:6 for a list of these prohibitions.

19.

See Hilchot Yibbum 1:12-13 which explains that once a woman is obligated to undergo chalitzah, there is no Scriptural prohibition against engaging in relations with her or her relatives. Nevertheless, our Sages instituted these prohibitions as safeguards.

20.

Chapter 19, Halachah 16.

21.

We are translating the term heara; see Chapter 1, Halachah 10.

22.

For below these ages, any sexual contact in which these individuals engage is not significant, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachot 13-14.

23.

I.e., if the woman's husband dies after the adulterous relations without divorcing her, she may not marry a priest. Alternatively, as the Rambam continues to explain in the subsequent halachot, if she is the wife of the priest, she may not remain married to him.

24.

As the Rambam implies, the prohibition indicated by this verse is not explicitly referring to a woman married to a priest. Instead, halachically (see Hilchot Gerushin 11:14), it is interpreted as referring to all married women who are defiled by adultery. The wife of an Israelite who was raped is an exception, but not the wife of a priest.

The commentaries question the exactness of the Rambam's statements here, because in this instance two separate prohibitions - the prohibition against relations with one's defiled wife and the prohibition against a priest engaging in relations with a zonah - are involved. See the Maggid Mishneh for a discussion of the issue. See also Chapter 1, Halachah 22.

25.

See Hilchot Ishut 24:19.

26.

I.e., despite the fact that she is not held responsible for the adulterous relations, they create a spiritual blemish that prevents her from marrying a priest.

27.

For the adulterous relations were carried out against her will.

28.

After her husband dies.

29.

Testimony is not considered binding unless it is made by two witnesses. Thus the testimony of one witnesses is not of consequence. Similarly, a person's testimony cannot be used against himself. Hence, the woman's own testimony is not of consequence.

There is one instance where the testimony of one witness is significant. When the husband issued a sotah warning to his wife. See Hilchot Ishut 24:18).

30.

And seeks to be released from her husband so that she may engage in relations with him.

31.

And thus he believes that his wife committed adultery.

32.

For since he believes either his wife or the witness, he will be consenting to a transgression each time he enters into relations with her. Accordingly, he has a moral and spiritual obligation to divorce her (Maggid Mishneh to Hilchot Ishut, loc. cit.)

33.

The Beit Shmuel 6:25 states that the Rambam's ruling applies only as an initial and preferred option. After the fact, if she marries a priest, they may remain husband and wife unless he believes her statements.

34.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam, explaining that since the woman's statements were rejected, they are considered of no consequence afterwards. The Maggid Mishneh justifies the Rambam's ruling and it is accepted as law by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 6:13).

The Ra'avad's rationale is that if the woman is able to provide an satisfactory explanation why she originally stated that she was forbidden, her word is accepted, as is the case with regard to other similar situations. The Maggid Mishneh does not accept this logic. See Chelkat Mechokek 6:12 and Beit Shmuel 6:26 which discuss this issue.

35.

In contrast to an Israelite, as the Rambam continues to explain.

36.

The husband's word is accepted as stated in Hilchot Ishut 11:8-15. The rationale is that we operate on the presumption that a man will not take on the expense and trouble of making a wedding and then forfeit it because of a spurious claim.

37.

Since the doubt involves a Scriptural prohibition, we rule stringently.

38.

For if the relations took place afterwards, even if she was raped, she is forbidden to her husband as a zonah.

39.

And when there are two doubts involved, even when a Scriptural prohibition is concerned, we rule leniently.

40.

See Halachah 7.

41.

Although a minor who willfully commits adultery is not punished, she is forbidden to her husband (Chapter 3, Halachah 2).

42.

Since she was consecrated before the age of three, even if she had engaged in relations beforehand, her hymen would have regenerated. Thus there is only one doubt involved.

43.

A formal warning delivered in the presence of witnesses not to enter into privacy with a specific man (Hilchot Sotah 1:1).

44.

I.e., if her first husband dies without divorcing her.

45.

Drinking the waters would have tested her virtue. Since she did not undergo this test, the matter is unresolved and hence she is forbidden to a priest.

46.

See Hilchot Sotah 2:1, 3:2 which imply that the refusal to drink the waters is tantamount to an admission of guilt.

47.

In such an instance, the woman is forbidden to her original husband, but he must pay her the money due her by virtue of her ketubah (Hilchot Sotah 2:1).

48.

Hilchot Sotah 1:14 states that if even one witness testifies that he saw the woman commit adultery after receiving the sotah warning, she becomes forbidden to her husband.

49.

Hilchot Sotah 1:10 states that, when a husband is unable to supervise his wife's moral behavior, the court may issue such a warning on his behalf. In such an instance, however, the woman is not compelled to drink the sotah waters.

50.

Hilchot Sotah 2:2 lists fifteen women who are not given the option of drinking the sotah waters.

51.

I.e., neither a mamzer, nor a gentile, nor another individual who would disqualify her from marrying into the priesthood.

52.

This represents the legal abstract. Our Sages, however, applied stringencies as indicated by the following halachah.

53.

This factor is necessary to allow for us to apply the principle: "Whenever an entity is separated, it is considered as having been separated from the majority." When, as stated in Halachah 15, the relations occur in a place where an entity is kevua, in its fixed place, we do not follow the majority.

54.

Compare to Chapter 15, Halachah 11, which states that when the lineage of the child is involved, the woman's word is accepted even when the majority of the men are not acceptable. The rationale for the difference is that with regard to the child, there is no alternative. If the child is not deemed acceptable, he or she will not be able to marry within the Jewish people. If, however, the woman's word is not accepted, she will still be able to marry anyone other than a priest (Maggid Mishneh).

55.

I.e., instead of requiring a simple majority as is the usual standard.

56.

This ruling is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 6:17). That source, however, also cites the view of the Tur and other Rishonim which maintains that if she states that the person with whom she engaged in relations are acceptable and the majority of the people are acceptable, she may marry into the priesthood at the outset. The Beit Shmuel 6:31 also cites a third, more lenient view.

57.

After the fact, we rely on the halachic abstract stated in the previous halachah. This applies even if most of the people are unacceptable (Beit Shmuel 6:32).

58.

I.e., persons who would disqualify her from marrying into the priesthood.

59.

The Kessef Mishneh explains the Rambam's ruling as follows: When the woman goes to the unacceptable man for relations, he is considered as in his established place and hence, the doubt is considered equally balanced. Even when the unacceptable man comes to the woman for relations - in which instance, he has been separated from his natural place, and hence the principles of probability should apply - we rule stringently. This is a safeguard, lest one rule leniently when the woman goes to the man.

The Tur (Even HaEzer 6) rules more leniently, maintaining that if the man comes to the woman, we follow the principles of probability. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 6:18) mentions both views without stating which one should be followed.

60.

And after the fact, we rely on her word.

61.

In these two instances, we assume that she lacks the intellectual sophistication to know the status of the man with whom she engaged in relations.

62.

In all instances, the initial and preferred option is for her not to marry into the priesthood (Maggid Mishneh). A child born from these relations is considered a mamzer of questionable status, as stated in Chapter 15, Halachah 12.

63.

Since a question of Scriptural Law which cannot be clarified is involved, we rule stringently.

64.

In such an instance, we are not concerned with the doubt because of the high probability that the man was acceptable.

65.

The minimum age from which time onward sexual relations are significant.

66.

As the Rambam proceeds to explain, since the prohibition is of Rabbinic origin, we do not follow the Scriptural requirements applying to witnesses. Therefore although ordinarily the testimony of two acceptable witnesses is required, in this instance, we accept the testimony of only one witness and moreover, accept testimony from witnesses - women, servants, and relatives - who would ordinarily be disqualified.

67.

There is a difference of opinion among the commentaries whether the testimony of a woman's son or daughter is acceptable. If they mention the matter in the course of conversation, their word is accepted as evident from the following halachah, If, however, a son or a daughter deliver testimony on their mother's behalf, most authorities maintain that the testimony is not accepted (see Chelkat Mechokek 7:1; Beit Shmuel 7:3).

68.

Even though one could argue that each one is lying on the other's behalf.

69.

Whenever there is a question whether or not a Scriptural prohibition applies, we rule stringently. This principle, however, is a point of Rabbinic Law. According to Scriptural Law, since the prohibition is not definitely established, one need not observe it.

70.

A minor is not acceptable as a witness. Nevertheless, if he makes statements in the course of his conversation which indicate that a woman - his mother or any other woman - was not molested by her captors, those statements can serve as evidence to grant the woman license to marry a priest.

The rationale is that these statements are considered to reflect the truth. We suspect that the child is telling us a representative account of what happened. Hence, since the prohibition was instituted only because of doubt, such statements are sufficient to allay our suspicions. With regard to the principle of accepting statements made in the course of conversation, see Hilchot Gerushin, Chapter 13, and commentaries.

There are authorities (Rabbenu Nissim) who maintain that a child's word is also accepted when he gives testimony directly. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 7:1) also quotes that view although he appears to favor the above perspective.

71.

Because the implication is that his mother was not molested.

72.

Or if he makes the statements in the course of conversation (Maggid Mishneh; Beit Shmuel 7:4). The Rama (Even HaEzer 7:2), however, mentions opinions that grant leniency when he makes such statements in the course of conversation.

73.

The rationale is based on the principle: "A person may not give testimony on his own behalf" [Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 7:2)].

74.

For we fear that she may lie to cover up for her.

75.

For we do not assume that she will know that these statements may be used to advance the cause of her mistress.

76.

We suspect that he desired to marry her and therefore testified that she was not defiled even though he did not have definite information to that effect. Although we enforce this stringency with regard to the priest himself, we accept his testimony with regard to others and allow her to marry another priest (Chelkat Mechokek 7:6, Beit Shmuel 7:7).

77.

For other persons might come and testify that she was defiled in which instance, he would be forced to divorce her. Hence were he not sure that the matter was true, he would not risk forfeiting his money (Ketubot 36b).

78.

We would forbid her from marrying a priest only because of her own statements and in those very statements, she maintains that she is pure.

79.

For the testimony of one witness is not halachicly significant. Based on Rashi (Ketubot 23b), the Beit Shmuel 7:8 states that this applies even if the witness testifies that the woman was defiled.

80.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this applies even if the witness who testified that she was defiled testified first. Although one might think that once the first witness testifies, her status would be established as forbidden, our Sages ruled leniently with regard to a woman taken captive.

81.

Had the witnesses made their statements first, the woman would not have been granted this license. Nevertheless, once she is given permission to marry into the priesthood, that permission is not rescinded unless there are witnesses that she was defiled.

82.

I.e., watchmen who will observe her and prevent her from being raped by her captors. Although she did not enjoy this protection beforehand, we grant it to her at present.

All of the particulars in this halachah are taken from an actual incident that took place. As Ketubot 23a relates, the daughters of the Sage Shmuel were taken captive. They were transported to Eretz Yisrael. They told their captors to wait for them outside and entered the court of Rabbi Chaninah and said: "We were taken captive, but we are pure." The Sages permitted them to marry into the priesthood.

83.

For testimony delivered by two witnesses establishes a halachic reality which must be reckoned with.

84.

The Chelkat Mechokek 7:9 and the Beit Shmuel 7:12 states that even if the witness came after she was given license to marry into the priesthood, but before she actually married, his testimony is of no consequence and the license is not rescinded. This applies even if witnesses had also come and testified that she had been held captive.

85.

The Chelkat Mechokek 7:11 quotes the Ritbah who maintains that this ruling applies even if the rumor was substantiated in court. As long as there is not actually testimony, her status remains unchanged.

86.

As is his right until she reaches maturity [Hilchot Ishut 3:11 (see also 9:10).

87.

And she is forbidden to marry into the priesthood.

88.

For his word is accepted only as long as the matter is in his hands (see Kiddushin 64a).

89.

Since he has the right to consecrate her and effect her divorce, his word is accepted with regard to her status.

90.

The Beit Shmuel 7:15 explains that we do not accept his word based on the principle of miggo. To explain: one might think that since the father's word would be accepted were he to claim that he consecrated her and had her divorced, we accept his word if he claims that she was taken captive, for had he desired to lie, he could have claimed that she was divorced. We do not follow that argument, because the statement that she was taken captive involves a more encompassing prohibition, causing her to be forbidden to partake of terumah as well as being forbidden to marry a priest.

91.

I.e., the prohibition was instituted because we suspect that she was defiled. The Beit Yosef (Even HaEzer 7) states that, based on the Rambam's statements, if there are witnesses that the woman was defiled, this leniency is not granted.

92.

And see that the couple do not engage in intimacy.

93.

This ruling (as continued in the following three halachot) reflects the Rambam's interpretation of Ketubot 27b. There are several other interpretations of that passage. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 7:10) quotes the Rambam's view, but also that of dissenting authorities. See also Hilchot Ma'achalot Assurot 12:24 which states a ruling dependent on the same passage.

94.

See Halachah 17.

95.

Even if the woman admits that she did not escape or hide, her word is accepted, based on the principle of miggo. As stated in the following halachah, had she desired to lie, instead of saying merely that she was not molested, she could have claimed to have escaped or have hidden.

96.

See the Chelkat Mechokek 7:15 which state that the Rambam's words imply that the woman must come to court and make these statements to be granted license to marry into the priesthood. They also mention Rabbenu Nissim's view that does not require this measure, but instead permits all women in these situations to marry into the priesthood automatically.

97.

As mentioned above, there are opinions that differ and maintain that even when the battalion is from another country, the women are forbidden.

98.

The Kessef Mishneh maintains that even when the conquering army is from another country, if they remain in the city for a longer period, the women are forbidden from marrying into the priesthood. We suspect that since there was no immediate pressure to flee, the soldiers may have raped the local women.

99.

As are any women taken captive by gentiles as stated above.

100.

Since our Sages forbade women taken captive, that prohibition is universally enforced, regardless of the length of time the women were in captivity (Kessef Mishneh).

101.

I.e., we do not suspect that she was raped, because the gentiles will fear to rape her lest they be forced to forfeit the money owed them [Ramah (Even HaEzer 7:11)]. These laws apply not only to jails, but instances when women are held captive by men for other reasons.

102.

I.e., we fear that she was raped by her jailers.

103.

If, however, the husband is an Israelite, there is no prohibition. We do not fear that the women would try to save her life by seducing her jailers or accepting their advances. Were that to be the case, the relations would be considered voluntary and thus she would be prohibited to her husband.

The Rambam's ruling is quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 7:11). The Ramah quotes the opinion of Rabbenu Asher and other Ashkenazic authorities who maintain that a woman would be forbidden to even an Israelite husband for the reasons stated above. He does, however, mention more lenient views.

104.

The commentaries question if these laws apply with regard to contemporary prison conditions when it is less likely for the prison staff to ravage women held under their jurisdiction.

105.

Halachah 17.

Issurei Biah - Chapter Nineteen

1

What is meant by a challalah? [A woman] born from [relations] forbidden to the priesthood.1 Similarly, any woman who is forbidden to the priesthood who engaged in relations with a priest becomes a challalah. A priest who commits a transgression himself, however, is not deemed a challal.2

א

אֵי זוֹ הִיא חֲלָלָה זוֹ שֶׁנּוֹלִדָה מֵאִסּוּר כְּהֻנָּה. וְכֵן אַחַת מִן הַנָּשִׁים הָאֲסוּרוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה לְכֹהֵן נִתְחַלְּלָה. אֲבָל הַכֹּהֵן עַצְמוֹ שֶׁעָבַר הָעֲבֵרָה לֹא נִתְחַלֵּל:

2

[The above applies] whether she engaged in relations by coercion or inadvertently3 or whether it was vaginal or anal intercourse, as soon as the male organ enters her, she becomes a challalah. [This applies] provided the priest is nine years of age or older and the woman forbidden him is three years of age or older.4

ב

וּבֵין שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה בְּאֹנֶס אוֹ בִּשְׁגָגָה [בֵּין כְּדַרְכָּהּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא כְּדַרְכָּהּ] מִשֶּׁהֶעֱרָה בָּהּ נִתְחַלְּלָה. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה כֹּהֵן בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד וָמַעְלָה וְתִהְיֶה זוֹ הָאֲסוּרָה לוֹ בַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד וָמַעְלָה:

3

What is implied? When a priest who is nine years old engages in relations with a divorcee or with a zonah or a High Priest enters into relations with such women or with a widow, or marries a non-virgin and enters into relations with her,5 these women become challalot for all time. If they conceive a child from such relations, whether from relations with the priest who caused them to be deemed a challalah or whether with another priest, the offspring are challalim.

When, however, a priest consecrates a woman who is forbidden to the priesthood and she is widowed or divorced from the consecration, she does not become a challalah.6 If she marries, even if she does not engage in relations, she becomes a challalah even if it is discovered that she is a virgin.7

ג

כֵּיצַד. כֹּהֵן בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד שֶׁבָּא עַל הַגְּרוּשָׁה אוֹ עַל הַזּוֹנָה. וְכֹהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁבָּא עֲלֵיהֶן אוֹ עַל הָאַלְמָנָה אוֹ שֶׁנָּשָׂא בְּעוּלָה וּבָא עָלֶיהָ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נִתְחַלְּלוּ לְעוֹלָם. וְאִם הוֹלִיד מִמֶּנָּה בֶּן בֵּין זֶה שֶׁחִלְּלָהּ בֵּין כֹּהֵן אַחַר הַוָּלָד חָלָל. אֲבָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ אִשָּׁה מֵאִסּוּרֵי כְּהֻנָּה וְנִתְאַלְמְנָה אוֹ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה מִן הָאֵרוּסִין לֹא נִתְחַלְּלָה. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִבְעֲלָה נִתְחַלְּלָה שֶׁכָּל נְשׂוּאָה בְּחֶזְקַת בְּעוּלָה הִיא אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּמְצֵאת בְּתוּלָה:

4

When a High Priest marries a woman past majority or one who lost her signs of virginity through means other than intercourse, she does not become a challalah.8 Similarly, if he enters into relations with a non-virgin outside the context of marriage, she does not become a challalah.9

ד

כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁנָּשָׂא בּוֹגֶרֶת אוֹ מֻכַּת עֵץ לֹא חִלְּלָהּ. וְכֵן אִם בַּעַל בְּעוּלָה בְּלֹא נִשּׂוּאִין לֹא חִלְּלָהּ:

5

When a priest engages in relations with one of the women forbidden as an ervah with the exception of a woman in the niddah state or with one of the woman who is forbidden because of a negative commandment that is universally applicable causes her to be deemed a zonah, as explained.10If he - or another priest - engage in relations with her a second time, she becomes a challalah11 and her offspring from [a priest] are challalim.

Accordingly, if a priest engages in relations with a woman who is obligated to undergo yibbum and she conceived from their first relations, the offspring is acceptable to marry into the priesthood. [The rationale is that] the prohibition [against relations with such a woman] is not restricted to the priesthood. She becomes a zonah as we explained.12 If he engaged in relations with her a second time and she conceived and gave birth, she becomes a challalah and her offspring are challalim, for [these relations]13 are forbidden exclusively to the priesthood.

ה

כֹּהֵן הַבָּא עַל עֶרְוָה מִן הָעֲרָיוֹת חוּץ מְנֻדֶּה אוֹ עַל אַחַת מֵחַיָּבֵי לָאוִין הַשָּׁוִין בְּכָל עֲשֵׂה אוֹתָהּ זוֹנָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. חָזַר וּבָא עָלֶיהָ בִּיאָה שְׁנִיָּה בֵּין הוּא בֵּין כֹּהֵן אַחֵר נַעֲשֵׂית חֲלָלָה וְזַרְעוֹ מִמֶּנָּה חֲלָלִים. לְפִיכָךְ כֹּהֵן שֶׁבָּא עַל זְקוּקָה לְיָבָם וְנִתְעַבְּרָה מִבִּיאָה רִאשׁוֹנָה הַוָּלָד כָּשֵׁר לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָהּ מֵאִסּוּרֵי כְּהֻנָּה וְנַעֲשֵׂית זוֹנָה. חָזַר וּבָא עָלֶיהָ בִּיאָה שְׁנִיָּה וְנִתְעַבְּרָה וְיָלְדָה הִיא חֲלָלָה וּוְלָדָהּ חָלָל לְפִי שֶׁהוּא מֵאִסּוּרֵי כְּהֻנָּה:

6

Similarly, when a priest engages in relations with a convert or a freed maid-servant, he causes her to become a challalah14 and his offspring from her are challalim.15 When a priest engages in relations with a woman in the niddah state, the offspring are acceptable and are not challalim. For the prohibition [against relations with] a woman in the niddah state is universally applicable and is not exclusive to the priesthood.

ו

וְכֵן כֹּהֵן הַבָּא עַל הַגִּיֹּרֶת וְהַמְשֻׁחְרֶרֶת חֲלָלָה וְזַרְעוֹ מִמֶּנָּה חֲלָלִים. כֹּהֵן הַבָּא עַל הַנִּדָּה הַוָּלָד כָּשֵׁר וְאֵינוֹ חָלָל שֶׁאֵין אִסּוּר הַנִּדָּה מְיֻחָד בְּכֹהֲנִים אֶלָּא שָׁוֶה בַּכּל:

7

When a priest marries a divorcee who is pregnant - whether with his child or that of another man - and she gives birth after she became a challalah, the child is acceptable, for it was not conceived from forbidden seed.16

ז

כֹּהֵן שֶׁנָּשָׂא גְּרוּשָׁה מְעֻבֶּרֶת בֵּין מִמֶּנּוּ בֵּין מֵאַחֵר וְיָלְדָה כְּשֶׁהִיא חֲלָלָה הַוָּלָד כָּשֵׁר שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא בָּא מִטִּפַּת עֲבֵרָה:

8

We have already explained,17 that a woman who has undergone chalitzah is forbidden to a priest by Rabbinic decree. Therefore, when a priest engages in relations with such a woman, she becomes a challalah and her offspring, challalim. All of this is based on Rabbinic decree. When, by contrast, a priest engages in relations with one of the shniot,18 she is acceptable19 and his descendants from her are acceptable, for these prohibitions are universally applicable and are not exclusive to the priesthood.

ח

כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ שֶׁהַחֲלוּצָה אֲסוּרָה לְכֹהֵן מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם. לְפִיכָךְ כֹּהֵן שֶׁבָּא עַל הַחֲלוּצָה הֲרֵי זוֹ חֲלָלָה וְזַרְעָהּ מִכֹּהֵן חֲלָלִים וְהַכּל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶן. אֲבָל כֹּהֵן שֶׁבָּא עַל אַחַת מֵהַשְּׁנִיּוֹת הִיא כְּשֵׁרָה וְזַרְעוֹ מִמֶּנָּה כְּשֵׁרִים. שֶׁאִסּוּר הַשְּׁנִיּוֹת אִסּוּר הַשָּׁוֶה בַּכּל הוּא וְאֵינוֹ מְיֻחָד בְּכֹהֲנִים:

9

When a priest engages in relations with a woman whose status as a zonah is questionable, e.g., a woman concerning whose status as a convert or as a freed maid-servant is questionable, when he engages in relations with a woman whose status as a divorcee is questionable,20 or a High Priest engages in relations with a woman whose status as a widow is questionable,21 the woman is deemed as a challalah of questionable status and her offspring are considered challalim of questionable status.

ט

כֹּהֵן שֶׁבָּא עַל סְפֵק זוֹנָה כְּגוֹן סְפֵק גִּיֹּרֶת אוֹ מְשֻׁחְרֶרֶת. אוֹ שֶׁבָּא עַל סְפֵק גְּרוּשָׁה. וְכֵן כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁבָּא עַל סְפֵק אַלְמָנָה הֲרֵי זוֹ סְפֵק חֲלָלָה וּוְלָדָהּ סְפֵק חָלָל:

10

Thus there are three categories of challalim: a challal according to Scriptural Law, a challal according to Rabbinic decree, a person whose status as a challal is a matter of question.

Anyone whose status as a challal is a matter of question must observe the severities incumbent on the priesthood and those incumbent on ordinary Israelites.22 He may not partake of terumah.23 He may not become impure due to contact with the dead24 and he must marry a woman fit to marry a priest. If he partakes of terumah, becomes impure, or marries a divorcee, he is given stripes for rebellious conduct. The same laws apply to a challal by Rabbinic decree.

When, however, a person is definitely a challal according to Scriptural Law, he is like [any other] non-priest. He may marry a divorcee and become impure due to contact with a corpse. [This is derived from Leviticus 21:1 which] states: "Speak to the priests, the descendants of Aaron." [Implied is that the prohibition that follows25 does not apply] even to the descendants of Aaron unless they are priests.

י

נִמְצְאוּ הַחֲלָלִים שְׁלֹשָׁה. חָלָל מִן הַתּוֹרָה. וְחָלָל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם. וּסְפֵק חָלָל. וְכָל סְפֵק חָלָל נוֹתְנִין עָלָיו חֻמְרֵי כֹּהֲנִים וְחֻמְרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. אֵינוֹ אוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָה וְלֹא מִטַּמֵּא לַמֵּתִים וְנוֹשֵׂא אִשָּׁה הָרְאוּיָה לְכֹהֵן. וְאִם אָכַל אוֹ נִטְמָא אוֹ נָשָׂא גְּרוּשָׁה מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת. וְהוּא הַדִּין בְּחָלָל שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם. אֲבָל חָלָל שֶׁל תּוֹרָה הַוַּדַּאי הֲרֵי הוּא כְּזָר וְנוֹשֵׂא גְּרוּשָׁה וּמִטַּמֵּא לַמֵּתִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא א) "אֱמֹר אֶל הַכֹּהֲנִים בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן". אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵם בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ בְּכִהוּנָם:

11

A male priest who is forbidden to marry a zonah and a challalah is forbidden to marry a female convert and freed maid-servant for they are equivalent to zonot as we explained.26 A woman of the priestly family, however, is permitted to marry a challal, a convert, or a freed servant. For women of acceptable lineage were not forbidden against marrying men of unacceptable lineage.27 [This is derived from the phrase "the descendants" [- literally, the sons -] of Aaron," i.e., sons and not daughters. Thus a convert is permitted to marry a female mamzer28 and also, the daughter of a priest.

יא

כֹּהֵן זָכָר שֶׁהוּא אָסוּר לִשָּׂא זוֹנָה וַחֲלָלָה אָסוּר בְּגִיֹּרֶת וּמְשֻׁחְרֶרֶת שֶׁהִיא כְּזוֹנָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אֲבָל הַכֹּהֶנֶת מֻתֶּרֶת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לְחָלָל וּלְגֵר וְלִמְשֻׁחְרָר שֶׁלֹּא הֻזְהֲרוּ כְּשֵׁרוֹת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לִפְסוּלִין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא א) "בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן" וְלֹא בְּנוֹת אַהֲרֹן. נִמְצָא הַגֵּר מֻתָּר לִשָּׂא מַמְזֶרֶת וְלִשָּׂא כֹּהֶנֶת:

12

When converts and/or freed servants marry among themselves and give birth to a daughter - even after several generations - this daughter is forbidden to marry a priest,29 for the seed of a native-born Jew has not intermingled with them. If one married such a woman, she need not be divorced since she was both conceived and born in holiness.30 When, however, a convert or a freed servant marries a native-born Jewess or a native-born Jew marries a female convert or a freed slave, their daughter is acceptable to marry into the priesthood at the outset.

יב

גֵּרִים וּמְשֻׁחְרָרִים שֶׁנָּשְׂאוּ אֵלּוּ מֵאֵלּוּ וְהוֹלִידוּ בַּת אֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר כַּמָּה דּוֹרוֹת הוֹאִיל וְלֹא נִתְעָרֵב בָּהֶן זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲרֵי אוֹתָהּ הַבַּת אֲסוּרָה לְכֹהֵן. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לֹא תֵּצֵא הוֹאִיל וְהוֹרָתָהּ וְלֵדָתָהּ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה. אֲבָל גֵּר אוֹ מְשֻׁחְרָר שֶׁנָּשָׂא בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל אוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנָּשָׂא גִּיֹּרֶת אוֹ מְשֻׁחְרֶרֶת בִּתּוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה לִכְהֻנָּה לְכַתְּחִלָּה:

13

When an Ammonite convert31 or a second generation Egyptian convert32 marry a native-born Jewess, the intimate relations they share involve a transgression and the women become zonot as we explained.33Nevertheless, their daughters may marry into the priesthood as an initial and preferred option.34

יג

גֵּר עַמּוֹנִי שֶׁנָּשָׂא בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכֵן מִצְרִי שֵׁנִי שֶׁנָּשָׂא בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבִּיאָתָם בַּעֲבֵרָה וַהֲרֵי נְשׁוֹתֵיהֶן זוֹנוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם כְּשֵׁרוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה לְכַתְּחִלָּה:

14

When a challal marries an acceptable woman, his descendants from her are challalim. This also applies to the son of his son's son35and indeed, even for 1000 generations. For the male son of a challal is a challal for all time. If the offspring is female, she is forbidden to marry into the priesthood, because she is a challalah.

When, however, an Israelite marries a challalah, the offspring are acceptable.36 Therefore if one of the offspring is female, she may marry into the priesthood at the outset.

יד

חָלָל שֶׁנָּשָׂא כְּשֵׁרָה זַרְעוֹ מִמֶּנָּה חֲלָלִים. וְכֵן בֶּן בֶּן בְּנוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ אַחַר אֶלֶף דּוֹר. שֶׁבֶּן הֶחָלָל הַזָּכָר הוּא חָלָל לְעוֹלָם. וְאִם הָיְתָה בַּת אֲסוּרָה הִיא לִכְהֻנָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא חֲלָלָה. אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנָּשָׂא חֲלָלָה הַוָּלָד כָּשֵׁר. לְפִיכָךְ אִם הָיְתָה בַּת הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא לִכְהֻנָּה לְכַתְּחִלָּה:

15

Priests, Levites, and Israelites are permitted to marry among each other.37 The status of the child is determined by that of the father.38 [Similarly,] Levites, Israelites, and challalim are permitted to marry among each other and the status of the child is determined by that of the father. [This is derived from Numbers 1:18]: "And they established the lineage of their families, according to their father's household." [Implied is that] the household of one's father is one's family and not the household of one's mother.

טו

כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּם וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים מֻתָּרִין לָבוֹא זֶה בָּזֶה. וְהַוָּלָד הוֹלֵךְ אַחַר הַזָּכָר. (לְוִיִּים וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים וַחֲלָלִים מֻתָּרִים לָבוֹא זֶה בָּזֶה וְהַוָּלָד הוֹלֵךְ אַחַר הַזָּכָר). שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר א יח) "וַיִּתְיַלְדוּ עַל מִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם". בֵּית אָבִיו הִיא מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ וְאֵין בֵּית אִמּוֹ מִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ:

16

Levites, Israelites, challalim, converts, and freed servants are permitted to marry among each other. When a convert or a freed servant marries the daughter of a Levite, the daughter of an Israelite, or a challalah, the offspring is an Israelite.39 When an Israelite, a Levite, or a challal marry a female convert or a freed maid-servant, the status of the child is determined by that of the father.40

טז

לְוִיִּים וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים וַחֲלָלִים גֵּרִים וַעֲבָדִים מְשֻׁחְרָרִים מֻתָּרִים לָבוֹא זֶה בָּזֶה. וְהַגֵּר וְהַמְשֻׁחְרָר שֶׁנָּשָׂא לְוִיָּה אוֹ יִשְׂרְאֵלִית אוֹ חֲלָלָה הֲרֵי הַבֵּן יִשְׂרְאֵלִי. וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִי אוֹ לֵוִי אוֹ חָלָל שֶׁנָּשְׂאוּ גִּיֹּרֶת אוֹ מְשֻׁחְרֶרֶת הַוָּלָד הוֹלֵךְ אַחַר הַזָּכָר:

17

We operate under the presumption that all families are of acceptable lineage and it is permitted to marry their descendants as an initial and preferred option.41 Nevertheless, if you see two families continuously quarreling with each other, you see one family that is always involved with strife and controversy, or you see a person who frequently quarrels with people at large and is very insolent, we suspect [their lineage]. It is fitting to distance oneself from such people for these are disqualifying characteristics.

Similarly, a person who always slurs the lineage of others, casting aspersions on the ancestry of families or individuals, claiming that they are mamzerim, we are suspicious that he himself is a mamzer. Similarly, if he calls others servants, we suspect that he is a servant. For whoever denigrates others, denigrates them with a blemish that he himself possesses.

Similarly, whenever a person is characterized by insolence and cruelty, hating people and not showing kindness to them, we seriously suspect that he is a Gibeonite. For the distinguishing signs of the holy nation of Israel is that they are meek, merciful, and kind. With regard to the Gibeonites, [II Samuel 21:2] states: "The Gibeonites are not of the Jewish people." For they acted extremely brazenly and would not be appeased. They did not show mercy to the sons of [King] Saul, nor did they show kindness to the Jews to forgive the descendants of their king,42 while [the Jews] had shown them kindness and allowed them to live.43

יז

כָּל מִשְׁפָּחוֹת בְּחֶזְקַת כְּשֵׁרוֹת וּמֻתָּר לִשָּׂא מֵהֶן לְכַתְּחִלָּה. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן אִם רָאִיתָ שְׁתֵּי מִשְׁפָּחוֹת שֶׁמִּתְגָּרוֹת זוֹ בָּזוֹ תָּמִיד אוֹ רָאִיתָ מִשְׁפָּחָה שֶׁהִיא בַּעֲלַת מַצָּה וּמְרִיבָה תָּמִיד. אוֹ רָאִיתָ אִישׁ שֶׁהוּא מַרְבֶּה מְרִיבָה עִם הַכּל וְעַז פָּנִים בְּיוֹתֵר. חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהֶן וְרָאוּי לְהִתְרַחֵק מֵהֶן שֶׁאֵלּוּ סִימָנֵי פַּסְלוּת הֵם. וְכֵן הַפּוֹסֵל אֶת אֲחֵרִים תָּמִיד. כְּגוֹן שֶׁנּוֹתֵן שֶׁמֶץ בְּמִשְׁפָּחוֹת אוֹ בִּיחִידִים וְאוֹמֵר עֲלֵיהֶן שֶׁהֵן מַמְזֵרִים. חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ שֶׁמָּא מַמְזֵר הוּא. וְאִם אָמַר לָהֶן שֶׁהֵם עֲבָדִים חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ שֶׁמָּא עֶבֶד הוּא. שֶׁכָּל הַפּוֹסֵל בְּמוּמוֹ פּוֹסֵל. וְכֵן כָּל מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ עַזּוּת פָּנִים אוֹ אַכְזָרִיּוּת וְשׂוֹנֵא אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת וְאֵינוֹ גּוֹמֵל לָהֶם חֶסֶד חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ בְּיוֹתֵר שֶׁמָּא גִּבְעוֹנִי הוּא. שֶׁסִּימָנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הָאֻמָּה הַקְּדוֹשָׁה בַּיְשָׁנִין רַחֲמָנִים וְגוֹמְלֵי חֲסָדִים. וּבַגִּבְעוֹנִים הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמואל ב כא ב) "וְהַגִּבְעֹנִים לֹא מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵמָּה" לְפִי שֶׁהֵעֵזּוּ פְּנֵיהֶם וְלֹא נִתְפַּיְּסוּ וְלֹא רִחֲמוּ עַל בְּנֵי שָׁאוּל וְלֹא גָּמְלוּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל חֶסֶד לִמְחל לִבְנֵי מַלְכָּם וְהֵם עָשׂוּ עִמָּהֶם חֶסֶד וְהֶחֱיוּם בַּתְּחִלָּה:

18

When [the purity of] a family's [lineage] has been disputed, i.e., two individuals testify44 that a mamzer or a challal has intermingled with that family or there are servants among them,45 the matter is questionable. If the family are priests, one should not marry a woman from them until he46 investigates the lineage of four - actually eight47- of her maternal ancestors: her mother, her maternal grandmother, the mother of her maternal grandfather, the maternal grandmother of her maternal grandfather. Similarly, he must investigate the lineage of her paternal grandmother, the mother of her paternal grandmother, the mother of her paternal grandfather, and the mother of the mother of her paternal grandfather.

יח

מִשְׁפָּחָה שֶׁקָּרָא עָלֶיהָ עַרְעַר וְהוּא שֶׁיָּעִידוּ שְׁנַיִם שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בָּהֶן מַמְזֵר אוֹ חָלָל אוֹ שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן עַבְדוּת הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק. וְאִם מִשְׁפַּחַת כֹּהֲנִים הִיא לֹא יִשָּׂא מִמֶּנָּה אִשָּׁה עַד שֶׁיִּבְדֹּק עָלֶיהָ אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת שֶׁהֵן שְׁמוֹנֶה. אִמָּהּ. וְאֵם אִמָּהּ. וְאֵם אֲבִי אִמָּהּ. וְאֵם אֵם אֲבִי אִמָּהּ. וְכֵן הוּא בּוֹדֵק עַל אֵם אָבִיהָ. וְאֵם אֵם אָבִיהָ. וְאֵם אֲבִי אָבִיהָ. וְאֵם אֵם אֲבִי אָבִיהָ:

19

If the family whose lineage was disputed were Levites or Israelites, it is necessary to check [the lineage of] another pair of women. Thus one must check ten maternal ancestors.48 [The rationale is that unacceptable people] intermarry among Levites and Israelites more frequently than among priests.

יט

וְאִם הָיְתָה מִשְׁפָּחָה זוֹ שֶׁקָּרָא עָלֶיהָ עַרְעַר לְוִיִּם אוֹ יִשְׂרְאֵלִים. מוֹסִיף לִבְדֹּק לָהֶם זוּג אֶחָד. וְנִמְצָא בּוֹדֵק עֶשֶׂר אִמָּהוֹת. שֶׁהָעֵרוּב בַּלְוִיִּם וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים יֶתֶר מִן הַכֹּהֲנִים:

20

Why is it necessary to check the lineage only of the woman's maternal [ancestors]? Because whenever men argue with each other, one will malign the other with a blemish that exists in his lineage. Thus if he was unacceptable, the matter would have been made known.49 Women, by contrast, do not malign [each other] with regard to blemishes in their lineage.50

כ

וְלָמָּה בּוֹדֵק בַּנָּשִׁים בִּלְבַד. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָאֲנָשִׁים כָּל עֵת שֶׁיָּרִיבוּ זֶה עִם זֶה יְחָרֵף אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בִּפְסוּל שֶׁיֵּשׁ בְּיִחוּסוֹ. וְאִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם פָּסוּל הָיָה נִשְׁמָע. אֲבָל הַנָּשִׁים אֵין מְחָרְפוֹת בְּיוּחֲסִין:

21

Why must a man make an investigation when he desires to marry a woman from a family concerning whom the presumption of acceptable lineage has been impaired and yet a woman who desires to marry into this family is not required to make an investigation? Because woman of acceptable lineage were not warned against marrying [men of] unacceptable lineage.51

כא

וְלָמָּה יִבְדֹּק הָאִישׁ כְּשֶׁיִּרְצֶה לִשָּׂא מִמִּשְׁפָּחָה זוֹ שֶׁהֻרְעָה חֶזְקָתָהּ וְלֹא תִּבְדֹּק אִשָּׁה שֶׁתִּנָּשֵׂא לָהֶן. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הֻזְהֲרוּ כְּשֵׁרוֹת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לִפְסוּלִין:

22

Whenever a person is called a mamzer, a netin a challal, or a servant and he remains silent, we suspect [the lineage of] him and his family52 and do not marry women from this [family] unless an investigation was made as we explained.53

כב

כָּל שֶׁקּוֹרִין לוֹ מַמְזֵר וְשׁוֹתֵק. אוֹ נָתִין וְשׁוֹתֵק. אוֹ חָלָל וְשׁוֹתֵק. אוֹ עֶבֶד וְשׁוֹתֵק. חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ וּלְמִשְׁפַּחְתּוֹ וְאֵין נוֹשְׂאִין מֵהֶן אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן בּוֹדְקִין כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

23

When there is a suspicion that a person concerning whom there is a question whether he is a challal married into a family,54 every widow from that family is forbidden to a priest at the outset.55 [After the fact,] if she married [a priest], she need not be divorced because there are two questions involved: Maybe this is the widow of that challal56 or maybe it is not? Even if you say that she was his widow, maybe he was a challal or maybe he was not?57

If, however, a person who was definitely a challal married into a family, every woman58 from that family is forbidden to a priest until he conducts an investigation. If he marries [such a woman without an investigation], she must be divorced. The same laws59 apply if a person regarding whom there is a question whether he is a mamzer or a person who is definitely mamzer became intermingled in the family. For the same prohibition applies to the priesthood with regard to the wife of a challal and the wife of a mamzer, as we explained.60

כג

מִשְׁפָּחָה שֶׁנִּתְעָרֵב בָּהּ סְפֵק חָלָל כָּל אַלְמָנָה מֵאוֹתָהּ מִשְׁפָּחָה אֲסוּרָה לְכֹהֵן לְכַתְּחִלָּה. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לֹא תֵּצֵא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן שְׁתֵּי סְפֵקוֹת. שֶׁמָּא זוֹ אַלְמְנַת אוֹתוֹ חָלָל שֶׁמָּא אֵינָהּ אַלְמְנָתוֹ. וְאִם נֹאמַר שֶׁהִיא אַלְמְנָתוֹ שֶׁמָּא חָלָל הוּא שֶׁמָּא אֵינוֹ חָלָל. אֲבָל אִם נִתְעָרֵב בָּהּ חָלָל וַדַּאי כָּל אִשָּׁה מֵהֶן אֲסוּרָה לְכֹהֵן עַד שֶׁיִּבְדֹּק. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא. וְהוּא הַדִּין אִם נִתְעָרֵב בָּהּ סְפֵק מַמְזֵר אוֹ מַמְזֵר וַדַּאי. שֶׁאֵשֶׁת מַמְזֵר וְאֵשֶׁת חָלָל לִכְהֻנָּה אִסּוּר אֶחָד הוּא כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., the women mentioned in Chapter 17, Halachah 1.

2.

The fact that he engaged in forbidden relations does not detract from the essential holiness endowed to him by his priestly lineage.

3.

For the spiritual blemish brought about by the forbidden relations has an effect regardless of her intent or lack of it.

4.

For only when the male and the female are these respective ages are their relations considered significant.

5.

Note the contrast to the following halachah. Although a non-virgin is forbidden only on the basis of a positive commandment (Chapter 17, Halachah 13), offspring from such a relationship are challalim.

6.

Needless to say, a divorcee may not marry a priest. The Rambam is emphasizing that if she is divorced, in addition to the prohibition of a divorcee, she is also prohibited as a challalah.

7.

For as Ketubot 11a states, a woman who is divorced after marriage is considered as if she has engaged in relations. The Chelkat Mechokek 7:23 and the Beit Shmuel 7:36 discuss this ruling, mentioning views that differ slightly.

8.

For after the fact, he is allowed to remain married to such a woman, as stated in Chapter 17, Halachah 15.

9.

For the prohibition forbidding her to him applies only within the context of marriage (Chapter 17, Halachah 2). Although he performs a transgression for entering into intimacy without the intent of marriage (see Hilchot Ishut 1:4), that prohibition is not restricted to the priesthood and offspring are deemed challalim, only when the prohibition against the relations is exclusive to the priesthood.

10.

Chapter 18, Halachah 1.

11.

Since she became a zonah, the prohibition against relations with her is exclusive to the priesthood.

12.

Chapter 18, Halachah 2. For the relations do involve a transgression.

13.

I.e., relations with a zonah.

14.

For they are forbidden exclusively to the priesthood, as stated in Chapter 18, Halachah 3.

15.

Even if they are conceived during the first time the couple engage in relations [Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 7:14)]. The rationale is that even before the priest engages in relations with such women, they are deemed as zonot.

16.

As Kiddushin 77a states, the determination of whether a child is deemed as a challal or not depends on whether it was conceived through a transgression or not. The mother's status at the time of birth is not significant.

17.

In Chapter 17, Halachah 7.

18.

Relatives forbidden by Rabbinic decree as listed in Hilchot Ishut 1:6.

19.

See Chapter 18, Halachah 4.

20.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 7:20) quotes the Rambam's ruling. The Tur and the Rama state that the same laws apply to a woman who underwent a chalitzah ceremony of questionable validity. Based on the distinction between such a woman and a woman whose status is a divorcee is questionable which the Rambam makes in Chapter 17, Halachah 7, the Beit Shmuel 7:40 maintains that the Rambam would not accept such an addition.

21.

See Chapter 17, Halachah 12.

22.

Otherwise, there is a possibility that he will be violating prohibitions of Scriptural origin.

23.

Lest he is an Israelite to whom this is forbidden. See Hilchot Terumah 6:7.

24.

Lest he is a priest to whom this is forbidden.

25.

The prohibition against contact with a corpse.

26.

Chapter 18, Halachah 3.

27.

I.e., those forbidden to the priesthood (Maggid Mishneh). See, however, Halachah 21 and notes.

28.

See Chapter 15, Halachah 7.

29.

Kiddushin 78b states that after the destruction of the Temple, the priests accepted this stringency upon themselves.

30.

Note the Beit Yosef (Even HaEzer 7), the Chelkat Mechokek 7:29 and the Beit Shmuel 7:42 who note that the Rambam requires the girl to be both conceived and born within the Jewish people.

31.

Who is forbidden to marry a native-born Jewess (Chapter 12, Halachah 18).

32.

Who is likewise forbidden (ibid.:19).

33.

Chapter 18, Halachah 3. As Yevamot 36a states, the women themselves may not marry a priest, but their daughters may.

34.

For a female Ammonite is permitted and a third generation Egyptian is permitted.

35.

We have not used the term grandson or great grandson, because if a female descendant is involved, the next generation are not challalim.

36.

Neither the son, nor the daughter are considered challalim.

37.

E.g., there is no restriction against a priest marrying the daughter of a Levite or an Israelite.

38.

Thus in the instance mentioned in the previous note, the offspring would be considered as priests.

39.

I.e., neither a Levite or a challal.

40.

Thus the offspring of a Levite are Levites and the offspring of challalim are challalim.

41.

The Rambam is stating that it is not necessary to investigate thoroughly the lineage of a family before marrying into them. If it is a common presumption that a family is of acceptable lineage, one may marry a family member at the outset. When we know nothing of the lineage of the family, there are some authorities [Remo as quoted by the Tur (Even HaEzer 2)] who maintain that we do question his lineage and require proof that he is acceptable. Others (Rabbenu Asher and Rabbenu Nissim) differ and maintain that even if we do not know anything about a family's lineage, we assume that they are acceptable. See the discussion of the issue by Beit Shmuel 2:3.

The debate concerns the practice in the Talmudic age and in subsequent eras when Jewish observance was strong. At present, particularly in contemporary communities when there are many non-observant Jews and non-halachic divorce and similar problems are rampart, it is customary for Rabbinic courts to be careful and investigate the lineage of people before performing a marriage.

42.

As mentioned in the notes to Chapter 12, Halachah 23, as related in II Samuel, ch. 21, there was a famine for three years in Eretz Yisrael. Through prophetic vision, David learned that the reason for the famine was Saul's oppression of the Gibeonites (exactly what Saul did to oppress them is a matter of discussion among the Rabbis). David asked the Gibeonites what they desired to be appeased for this oppression. They answered that they wanted to slay seven of his descendants. David handed over seven of Saul's descendants to them and they hung them and left their corpses on the gallows. For this act of cruelty, David decreed that they should never marry among the Jewish people.

43.

Joshua, Chapter 9, relates that after the Jews' conquest of Jericho and Ai, the inhabitants of Gibeon:

Acted cunningly... They took old sacks upon their donkeys, old and rent wine bottles... old, worn and patched shoes... and came to Joshua at Gilgal. They told him:... "We have come from a distant country. Therefore, make a covenant with us." Joshua made a covenant with them... and the princes of the congregation swore to them.

After the ruse was discovered, Joshua and the people honored the covenant and allowed the Gibeonites to live. Moreover, they even came to their defense when they were attacked by other Canaanite nations.

44.

The Beit Shmuel 2:6 cites the opinion of Rashi (Kiddushin 76a) which maintains that even if the two people cast aspersions on the family's lineage without delivering formal testimony, such investigations must be made.

45.

We are not concerned that a servant intermingled among them, for even if a servant did conceive a child with a woman from a priestly family, the child is acceptable. Our suspicion is that one of the priests had relations with a maid-servant and she bore him a son or daughter who was raised as a member of the priest's family (Chelkat Mechokek 2:2).

46.

See Halachah 21and notes which discuss whether a woman is required to make such an investigation or not.

47.

I.e., the obligation is to check the lineage of four women: her mother, the mother of her maternal grandfather, her paternal grandmother, and the paternal grandmother of her paternal grandfather. Nevertheless, to verify the acceptability of the lineage of these women, it is necessary to verify that their mothers are also of acceptable lineage, thus reaching a total of eight (Rabbenu Nissim).

48.

I.e., one must add the mother of her maternal grandmother and the maternal grandmother of her paternal grandmother (Merkevet HaMishneh).

The Maggid Mishneh questions the Rambam's statements, noting that from Kiddushin 76a, it would appear that one would have to check the lineage of twelve or sixteen women.

49.

I.e., after the blemish was mentioned in quarrels, it would become a matter of public knowledge and investigated accordingly.

50.

Hence, their blemished lineage would not be public knowledge.

51.

The Rambam's statements (based on his interpretation of Kiddushin 76b) have attracted the attention of the commentaries who raise a basic question: The prohibition against marrying an unacceptable partner (e.g., a mamzer) applies equally to men and women (see Chapter 1, Halachah 1). Why then is a woman not warned with regard to this matter?

The Maggid Mishneh (quoting Rashi's commentary to Kiddushin 76a) states that here, the Rambam intent is that since the Torah did not forbid a woman of the priestly family from marrying a challal, our Sages did not require a woman to make an investigation even when there is a question whether her future husband is entirely unacceptable.

According to Rashi who interprets "disputing a family's lineage" (Halachah 18) as merely casting aspersions, this interpretation is tenable. After all, we have no hard and fast evidence that the man's lineage is unacceptable. But according to the Rambam, who defines that term as referring to testimony delivered in court, the original question remains. Since there is a firm possibility that a Scriptural prohibition is involved, why shouldn't a woman be required to make an investigation? Among the resolutions offered is that of the Chelkat Mechokek 2:5 is that the Rambam would require an investigation even when a woman desires to marry. Nevertheless, the investigation need not include all of the eight (or ten) women mentioned by the Rambam. Such thoroughness is required only when a man seeks to marry.

See the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh to Halachah 18 and the Chelkat Mechokek 2:3 which cite differing opinions which also require a woman to make a full-fledged investigation of the lineage of a man she desires to marry if there are questions concerning his lineage.

52.

We assume that he would not remain silent when his lineage is slurred unless there was some truth to the assertions.

The Ra'avad states that the Rambam's statement (taken from Ketubot 14b) held true only in the Talmudic era when a person who insulted a colleague's lineage was placed under a ban of ostracism. Hence when a person remained silent instead of appealing to the court, we could assume that he was admitting to the accuser's assertion. In the present era, by contrast, there is no punishment given for making such slurs. Hence, the insulted person would have no benefit in bringing the matter to the court's attention. Accordingly, it is preferable to remain silent.

The Ramban and the Rashba explain that the Rambam's words apply with regard to a family concerning which there already exist doubts with regard to their lineage. When, by contrast, their lineage is considered unblemished, it is preferable for them to remain silent. Rabbenu Nissim states that the insulted person's silence is considered significant only when it is common for him to protest other matters. If, however, he usually remains silent, the fact that he does so in this situation as well is of no consequence. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 2:4) quotes the Rambam's words and the Rama quotes the latter views.

53.

As explained in Halachot 18-19. The investigation is sufficient to clarify any difficulties, for the suspicion created by his silence is not a more serious factor than the testimony of the witnesses mentioned in Halachah 18 (Maggid Mishneh).

54.

I.e., there is a report that a man of questionable status married into a family, but the identity of that man and that of his wife are not known.

55.

One might think that because of the multiple doubt involved the woman would be permitted at the outset. Nevertheless, because of the stringency of the laws of proper lineage, this leniency is not taken.

56.

And as is stated in Chapter 18, Halachah 1, a woman who engaged in relations with a challal is forbidden to the priesthood.

57.

Since there is a multiple doubt (sefek sefeikah), the woman is permitted.

58.

I.e., both widows and daughters (Kessef Mishneh).

59.

I.e., the first clause applies to a person's whose status as a mamzer is a matter of question and the second clause to whose unacceptable status is definite (Kessef Mishneh).

In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Caro mentions opinions that rule more stringently and forbid marriage even when there is a report that a person about whom a question was raised whether or not he is a mamzer married into a family. In his Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 2:5), however, he quotes the Rambam's view.

60.

Chapter 18, Halachah 1.

Issurei Biah - Chapter Twenty

1

[The status of] all of the priests of the present era1 is accepted on the basis of a prevailing assumption.2 They may only eat sacred food that is eaten [within] the boundaries [of Eretz Yisrael],3 provided it is terumah mandated by virtue of Rabbinic decree [alone].4 [Even] terumah mandated by Scriptural Law and challah mandated by Scriptural Law, by contrast, may be eaten only by a priest whose lineage is established.

א

כָּל כֹּהֲנִים בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה בַּחֲזָקָה הֵם כֹּהֲנִים וְאֵין אוֹכְלִין אֶלָּא בְּקָדְשֵׁי הַגְּבוּל. וְהוּא שֶׁתִּהְיֶה תְּרוּמָה שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם. אֲבָל תְּרוּמָה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה וְחַלָּה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה אֵין אוֹכֵל אוֹתָהּ אֶלָּא כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס:

2

What is meant by a priest whose lineage is established? Anyone concerning whom two witnesses5 testify that he is a priest, the son of so-and-so the priest, and the descendant of so-and-so the priest, extending back until we reach a person whose lineage need not be checked, i.e., a priest who served at the altar. [Such a person's lineage need not be verified, because] were the High Court not to have made investigations about him, they would not have allowed him to perform service [in the Temple].6

Accordingly, we do not investigate the lineage of anyone who served at the altar or who served on the Sanhedrin. For only priests, Levites, and Israelites of acceptable lineage are appointed to the Sanhedrin.7

ב

אֵי זֶהוּ כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס כָּל שֶׁהֵעִידוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא כֹּהֵן בֶּן פְּלוֹנִי הַכֹּהֵן וּפְלוֹנִי בֶּן פְּלוֹנִי הַכֹּהֵן עַד אִישׁ שֶׁאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ בְּדִיקָה וְהוּא הַכֹּהֵן שֶׁשִּׁמֵּשׁ עַל גַּבֵּי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ. שֶׁאִלּוּ לֹא בָּדְקוּ בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל אַחֲרָיו לֹא הָיוּ מְנִיחִין אוֹתוֹ לַעֲבֹד. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין בּוֹדְקִין מֵהַמִּזְבֵּחַ וָמַעְלָה וְלֹא מִן הַסַּנְהֶדְרִין וָמַעְלָה. שֶׁאֵין מְמַנִּין בַּסַּנְהֶדְרִין אֶלָּא כֹּהֲנִים לְוִיִּים וְיִשְׂרְאֵלִים מְיֻחָסִין:

3

In the present era, even in Eretz Yisrael,8 challah does not have the status of a Scriptural commandment. [This is derived from Numbers 15:18:] "When you come into the land...."9 [Implied is when] all of you enter and not when only a portion enter.10 When Ezra ascended [to Eretz Yisrael], the entire people did not ascend.

Similarly, in the present era, terumah is a Rabbinic commandment.11 Therefore it is eaten by the priests of our era [whose lineage is established merely] by presumption.

ג

חַלָּה בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵינָהּ שֶׁל תּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו יח) "בְּבֹאֲכֶם אֶל הָאָרֶץ" בִּיאַת כֻּלְּכֶם וְלֹא בִּיאַת מִקְצַתְכֶם. וּכְשֶׁעָלוּ בִּימֵי עֶזְרָא לֹא עָלוּ כֻּלָּם. וְכֵן תְּרוּמָה בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁל דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים וּלְפִיכָךְ אוֹכְלִים אוֹתָהּ הַכֹּהֲנִים שֶׁבִּזְמַנֵּינוּ שֶׁהֵן בַּחֲזָקָה:

4

When two witnesses testify that they saw a person partaking of terumah mandated by Scriptural Law, his lineage is established. We do not elevate a person [to the level that his priestly] lineage is [considered as] established based on the fact that he delivers the Priestly Blessing [to the people], reads the Torah first,12 or is given terumah in the granaries,13 or because of the testimony of one witness.

ד

מִי שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו [שְׁנֵי] עֵדִים שֶׁרָאוּהוּ שֶׁהָיָה אוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה הֲרֵי זֶה מְיֻחָס. וְאֵין מַעֲלִין לְיוּחֲסִין לֹא מִנְּשִׂיאַת כַּפַּיִם וְלֹא מִקְּרִיאָה בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן וְלֹא מֵחִלּוּק תְּרוּמָה בְּבֵית הַגְּרָנוֹת וְלֹא עַל פִּי עֵד אֶחָד:

5

When a priest whose lineage was established says: "This son of mine is a priest," we do not consider [the son as a priest whose] lineage is established14on the basis of his statement unless he brings witnesses who testify that the child is his son.15

ה

כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס שֶׁאָמַר בְּנִי זֶה כֹּהֵן הוּא אֵין מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לְיוּחֲסִין עַל פִּיו עַד שֶׁיָּבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁהוּא בְּנוֹ:

6

[The following laws apply when] a priest whose lineage has been established departs to another country together with his wife whom we know to be of acceptable lineage. If he comes together with her and children who relate to them as parents and says: "This is the woman who departed together with me and these are her children," he does not have to bring witnesses to testify about the woman or the children.

[If he says:] "She died and these are her children," he must bring witnesses who testify that these are his children.16 He need not bring witnesses that his wife was of acceptable lineage, for her status as being acceptable was already established when she departed from us.

ו

כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס שֶׁיָּצָא הוּא וְאִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁיָּדַעְנוּ שֶׁהִיא כְּשֵׁרָה לִמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת וּבָא הוּא וְהִיא וּבָנִים כְּרוּכִין אַחֲרֵיהֶן וְאָמַר אִשָּׁה שֶׁיָּצָאת עִמִּי הִיא זוֹ וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא עֵדִים לֹא עַל הָאִשָּׁה וְלֹא עַל הַבָּנִים. מֵתָה וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאֵלּוּ בָּנָיו. וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא עֵדִים עַל אִמָּן שֶׁהִיא כְּשֵׁרָה. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכְּבָר הֻחְזַק שֶׁיָּצְאָה מֵעִמָּנוּ כְּאִשָּׁה כְּשֵׁרָה:

7

When a priest whose lineage was established goes out to another country and comes together with his wife and his sons, saying: "I married this woman and these are her sons," he must bring proof that the woman is acceptable. He does not have to bring witnesses that these are her sons, provided the children relate to her as a mother.

If he comes together with two wives and brings proof regarding one, he is required to bring proof about the sons, even though the children are young and relate to her as a mother. For perhaps they are the sons of the other women, but relate to the woman whose lineage is established as a mother.

ז

יָצָא כֹּהֵן מְיֻחָס לִמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת וּבָא הוּא וְאִשְׁתּוֹ וּבָנָיו וְאָמַר אִשָּׁה זוֹ נָשָׂאתִי וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה שֶׁאִשָּׁה זוֹ כְּשֵׁרָה. וְאֵינוֹ מֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ. וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ כְּרוּכִין אַחֲרֶיהָ. וְאִם בָּא בִּשְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים וְהֵבִיא רְאָיָה עַל הָאַחַת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַבָּנִים קְטַנִּים וּכְרוּכִין אַחֲרֶיהָ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה עֲלֵיהֶם שֶׁמָּא בָּנָיו מִן הָאַחֶרֶת הֵם וְנִכְרְכוּ אַחַר זוֹ הַמְיֻחֶסֶת:

8

If he comes together with sons and says: "I married a woman and she died. These are her sons," he must bring witnesses that the woman was acceptable and that these are her sons." These laws also apply with regard to an Israelite of established lineage and a Levite of established lineage. Afterwards, we can testify with regard to this son so that he will be fit for the Sanhedrin.17

ח

בָּא הוּא וּבָנָיו וְאָמַר אִשָּׁה נָשָׂאתִי וָמֵתָה וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ מֵבִיא עֵדִים שֶׁאוֹתָהּ הָאִשָּׁה כְּשֵׁרָה הָיְתָה וְאֵלּוּ בָּנֶיהָ. וְכַדִּין הַזֶּה דָּנִין בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל מְיֻחָס וּבְלֵוִי מְיֻחָס. וְאַחַר כָּךְ נָעִיד עַל בְּנוֹ זֶה שֶׁהוּא מְיֻחָס כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיֶה רָאוּי לְסַנְהֶדְרִין:

9

We do not elevate a person's lineage [based on mention in] a document to the priesthood. What is implied? If it is stated in a document: "So-and-so, the priest, borrowed from so-and-so this-and-this amount," and witnesses sign below, we do not operate under the assumption that this priest is of acceptable lineage. For perhaps, they signed only with regard to the loan.18

With regard to what does the above apply? With regard to considering the person as a priest of acceptable lineage. [Different principles apply] with regard to the presumption that he is a priest like the other priests of the present age and license to partake of terumah and challah mandated by Rabbinic decree and to be given other sacred articles [granted priests within] the boundaries [of Eretz Yisrael].19 [These privileges are granted on the basis of] mention in a legal document, the testimony of one witness, or the fact that a person recites the priestly blessing or reads the Torah first.

ט

אֵין מַעֲלִין מִשְּׁטָרוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁהָיָה כָּתוּב בִּשְׁטָר פְּלוֹנִי כֹּהֵן לָוָה מִפְּלוֹנִי וְהִלְוָהוּ כָּךְ וְכָךְ וְהָעֵדִים מִלְּמַטָּה אֵין מַחֲזִיקִין בָּהֶם כֹּהֵן זֶה שֶׁהוּא מְיֻחָס שֶׁמָּא לֹא הֵעִידוּ אֶלָּא עַל הַמִּלְוֶה. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים לְעִנְיַן יִחוּס. אֲבָל לַחֲזָקָה שֶׁיִּהְיֶה כֹּהֵן כְּכֹהֲנֵי זְמַן זֶה וְיֹאכַל תְּרוּמָה וְחַלָּה שֶׁל דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים וּבִשְׁאָר קָדְשֵׁי הַגְּבוּל מַעֲלִין מִן הַשְּׁטָרוֹת וְעַל פִּי עֵד אֶחָד וּמִנְּשִׂיאוּת כַּפַּיִם וּמִקְּרִיאָה בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן:

10

Similarly, whenever a priest says: "My son is a priest," his word is accepted with regard to feeding him terumah20 and having him accepted as a priest.21 He need not bring proof regarding his sons or his wife.

י

וְכֵן כָּל כֹּהֵן שֶׁאָמַר בְּנִי זֶה כֹּהֵן נֶאֱמָן לְהַאֲכִילוֹ בִּתְרוּמָה וְלִהְיוֹתוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת כֹּהֵן וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהָבִיא רְאָיָה לֹא עַל הַבָּנִים וְלֹא עַל הָאִשָּׁה:

11

When two people come to a particular city, one says: "I and my colleague are priests," and the other says, "I and my colleague are priests," their word is accepted and they are both considered as priests22 even though it appears that they are in collusion.23

Similarly, if one witness says: "I saw this person recite the Priestly Blessing," "...eat terumah, "...received terumah in the granary," or "...read first from the Torah and a Levi read after him,"24 he is considered a priest on the basis of this statement. Similarly, if one testified that a person read second from the Torah after a priest, he is considered as a Levite.

יא

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁבָּאוּ לִמְדִינָה זֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי וַחֲבֵרִי כֹּהֵן וְזֶה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי וַחֲבֵרִי כֹּהֵן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּרְאִין כְּגוֹמְלִין זֶה אֶת זֶה הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶאֱמָנִין וּשְׁנֵיהֶם בְּחֶזְקַת כֹּהֲנִים. וְכֵן עֵד שֶׁאָמַר רָאִיתִי זֶה שֶׁנָּשָׂא כַּפָּיו אוֹ שֶׁאָכַל בִּתְרוּמָה אוֹ שֶׁחָלַק עַל הַגֹּרֶן אוֹ שֶׁקָּרָא בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן וְקָרָא אַחֲרָיו לֵוִי מַחֲזִיקִין אוֹתוֹ בִּכְהֻנָּה עַל פִּיו. וְכֵן אִם הֵעִיד שֶׁזֶּה קָרָא שֵׁנִי בַּתּוֹרָה אַחַר כֹּהֵן מַחֲזִיקִין אוֹתוֹ בִּלְוִיָּה:

12

If one delivers testimony in court saying that he saw a person and his brothers divide terumah left to them by their father the priest, we do not consider him a priest because of this testimony. Perhaps he is a challal and took his portion of the inheritance of terumah in order to sell it.

יב

הֵעִיד שֶׁרָאָה זֶה שֶׁחָלַק עִם אָחִיו בְּבֵית דִּין תְּרוּמָה שֶׁהִנִּיחַ לָהֶן אֲבִיהֶן הַכֹּהֵן אֵין מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה בְּעֵדוּת זוֹ. שֶׁמָּא חָלָל הוּא וְלָקַח חֵלֶק יְרֻשָּׁתוֹ מִתְּרוּמָה לְמָכְרָהּ:

13

In the present era, when a person comes and says: "I am a priest," his word is not accepted and we do not consider him a priest on the basis of his own statements. He should not read from the Torah first, recite the Priestly Blessing,25or partake of sacred food that is eaten [within] the boundaries [of Eretz Yisrael] unless there is one witness who corroborates his statements.

He does, however, cause himself to be forbidden [to marry] a divorcee, a zonah, and a challalah; nor may he become impure because of contact with a corpse.26 If he marries such a woman or becomes impure, he receives lashes.27 A woman [who may not marry into the priesthood] who engages in relations with him is deemed a challalah of questionable status.28

יג

מִי שֶׁבָּא בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה וְאָמַר כֹּהֵן אֲנִי אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן וְאֵין מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה עַל פִּי עַצְמוֹ וְלֹא יִקְרָא בַּתּוֹרָה רִאשׁוֹן וְלֹא יִשָּׂא אֶת כַּפָּיו וְלֹא יֹאכַל בְּקָדְשֵׁי הַגְּבוּל עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה לוֹ עֵד אֶחָד. אֲבָל אוֹסֵר עַצְמוֹ בִּגְרוּשָׁה וְזוֹנָה וַחֲלָלָה וְאֵינוֹ מִטַּמֵּא לְמֵתִים. וְאִם נָשָׂא אוֹ נִטְמָא לוֹקֶה. וְהַנִּבְעֶלֶת לוֹ סְפֵק חֲלָלָה:

14

If the person makes these statements in the course of conversation, his word is accepted.29

What is implied? An incident once took place with regard to a person who was speaking in the midst of conversation, saying: "I remember that when I was an infant and was being carried on my shoulders by father, they took me out of school,30removed my outer garment, and had me immerse in the mikveh to partake of terumah in the evening. My colleagues separated themselves from my and called me: 'Yochanan, who eats challot.' Our holy teacher31 had him considered a priest on the basis of these statements.

יד

וְאִם הָיָה מֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ נֶאֱמָן. כֵּיצַד. מַעֲשֶׂה בְּאֶחָד שֶׁהָיָה מֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ וְאָמַר זָכוּר אֲנִי כְּשֶׁהָיִיתִי תִּינוֹק וְהָיִיתִי מֻרְכָּב עַל כְּתֵפוֹ שֶׁל אָבִי הוֹצִיאוּנִי מִבֵּית הַסֵּפֶר וְהִפְשִׁיטוּנִי כֻּתָּנְתִּי וְהִטְבִּילוּנִי לֶאֱכל תְּרוּמָה לָעֶרֶב וַחֲבֵרַי בּוֹדְלִין מִמֶּנִּי וְהָיוּ קוֹרְאִין אוֹתִי יוֹחָנָן אוֹכֵל חַלּוֹת וְהֶעֱלָהוּ רַבֵּנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ לִכְהֻנָּה עַל פִּי עַצְמוֹ:

15

An adult's word is accepted if he says: "I remember when I was a child32 and I saw so-and-so immerse himself in a mikveh and partake of terumah in the evening." He is considered a priest on the basis of this statement.

In the present era, when a person comes and says: "I am a priest," and a witness testifies on his behalf, saying: "I know that his father is a priest," we do not consider him as a priest on the basis of this testimony. [We fear that] perhaps he is a challal.33 Instead, [the witness] must testify that the person himself is a priest. If, however, the father's identity as a priest is an established fact or two witnesses come and testify that the person's father is a priest, because of his father, we assume [that he is a priest].

טו

נֶאֱמָן גָּדוֹל לוֹמַר זָכוּר אֲנִי כְּשֶׁהָיִיתִי תִּינוֹק וְרָאִיתִי פְּלוֹנִי טוֹבֵל וְאוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָה לָעֶרֶב וּמַחֲזִיקִין אוֹתוֹ בִּכְהֻנָּה בְּעֵדוּתוֹ. מִי שֶׁבָּא בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה וְאָמַר כֹּהֵן אֲנִי וְעֵד אֶחָד מֵעִיד לוֹ שֶׁאֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאָבִיו שֶׁל זֶה כֹּהֵן אֵין מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה בְּעֵדוּת זֶה שֶׁמָּא חָלָל הוּא עַד שֶׁיָּעִיד שֶׁזֶּה כֹּהֵן הוּא. אֲבָל אִם הֻחְזַק אָבִיו כֹּהֵן אוֹ שֶׁבָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְהֵעִידוּ שֶׁאָבִיו שֶׁל זֶה כֹּהֵן הֲרֵי הוּא בְּחֶזְקַת אָבִיו:

16

When the identity of a person's father as a priest has been established, but there is a rumor34 that he is the son of a divorcee or the son of a woman who performed chalitzah, we entertain suspicions and do not treat him as a priest. If one witness comes and testifies that he is acceptable, we treat him as a priest because of his statements.35 If two witnesses come afterwards and testify that he is a challal, we remove him from the priesthood.36

If another witness comes and testifies that he is acceptable, we treat him as a priest, because the last witness is joined together with the first.37 Thus there are two witnesses testifying that he is acceptable and two testifying that he is unacceptable. Both pairs of witness and the rumor are voided, for two witnesses have the same legal power as 100.38 And the person remains a priest based on the status of his father.39

טז

מִי שֶׁהֻחְזַק אָבִיו כֹּהֵן וְיָצָא עָלָיו קוֹל שֶׁהוּא בֶּן גְּרוּשָׁה אוֹ חֲלוּצָה חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ וּמוֹרִידִין אוֹתוֹ. בָּא עֵד אֶחָד אַחַר כָּךְ וְהֵעִיד שֶׁהוּא כָּשֵׁר מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה עַל פִּיו. בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם עֵדִים אַחַר כָּךְ וְהָעִידוּ שֶׁהוּא חָלָל מוֹרִידִין אוֹתוֹ מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה. בָּא עֵד אֶחָד וְהֵעִיד שֶׁהוּא כָּשֵׁר מַעֲלִין אוֹתוֹ לִכְהֻנָּה שֶׁזֶּה הָאַחֲרוֹן מִצְטָרֵף לְעֵד רִאשׁוֹן וַהֲרֵי שְׁנַיִם מְעִידִין שֶׁהוּא כָּשֵׁר וּשְׁנַיִם מְעִידִים שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל יִדָּחוּ אֵלּוּ וְאֵלּוּ וְיִדָּחֶה הַקּוֹל שֶׁהַשְּׁנַיִם כְּמֵאָה וְיִשָּׁאֵר כֹּהֵן בְּחֶזְקַת אָבִיו:

17

[The following law applies] when a woman [remarried] without waiting three months after [the death of] her [first] husband40 and gave birth. If it is not known whether the child was conceived by the first - and born after nine months - or conceived by the second - and born after seven - and one of them was a priest and the other, an Israelite, the child is a priest of questionable status.

Similarly, if a son of a priest became intermingled with a child of an Israelite41 and they grow to maturity, they are both considered priests of questionable status. They must observe the stringencies incumbent on Israelites and the stringencies incumbent on priests: They may only marry women fit to marry into the priesthood. They may not become impure through contact with the dead, nor may they partake of terumah. If they marry a divorcee, they are forced to divorce and they do not receive lashes.42

יז

אִשָּׁה שֶׁלֹּא שָׁהֲתָה שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים אַחַר בַּעְלָהּ וְיָלְדָה. וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה לְרִאשׁוֹן אוֹ בֶּן שִׁבְעָה לְאַחֲרוֹן וְהָיָה אֶחָד מֵהֶן כֹּהֵן וְהַשֵּׁנִי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֲרֵי זֶה סְפֵק כֹּהֵן. וְכָךְ אִם נִתְעָרֵב וְלַד כֹּהֵן בִּוְלַד יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהִגְדִּילוּ הַתַּעֲרוֹבוֹת כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן סְפֵק כֹּהֵן. וְנוֹתְנִין עֲלֵיהֶן חֻמְרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְחֻמְרֵי כֹּהֲנִים. נוֹשְׂאִין נָשִׁים הָרְאוּיוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה וְאֵין מִטַּמְּאִים לְמֵתִים וְלֹא אוֹכְלִין בִּתְרוּמָה. וְאִם נָשְׂאוּ גְּרוּשָׁה מוֹצִיאִין וְאֵינָן לוֹקִין:

18

[The following rules apply] if the sons of two priests become intermingled or the wife of a priest married a second priest without waiting three months after the death of her first husband and it is not known whether the child was conceived by the first - and born after nine months - or conceived by the second - and born after seven. The stringencies that would apply as if he was the son of both men must be observed: He must observe the rights of aninut43 because of [both44 of] them45 and they [both] observe the rights of aninut because of him.46 He may not become impure because of them, nor may they become impure because of him.47 He may serve in the priestly watch48 of both of them, but does not receive a portion.49 If they are both from the same priestly watch and the same beit av,50 he receives one portion.51

יח

שְׁנֵי כֹּהֲנִים שֶׁנִּתְעָרְבוּ וַלְדוֹתֵיהֶם. אוֹ אֵשֶׁת כֹּהֵן שֶׁלֹּא שָׁהֲתָה אַחַר בַּעְלָהּ שְׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים וְנִשֵּׂאת לְכֹהֵן אַחֵר וְאֵין יָדוּעַ אִם בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה לָרִאשׁוֹן אוֹ בֶּן שִׁבְעָה לָאַחֲרוֹן. נוֹתְנִין לוֹ עַל הַוָּלָד חֻמְרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶם. הוּא אוֹנֵן עֲלֵיהֶם וְהֵן אוֹנְנִין עָלָיו. הוּא אֵין מְטַמֵּא לָהֶם וְהֵם אֵינָן מְטַמְּאִין לוֹ. וְעוֹלֶה בְּמִשְׁמָרוֹ שֶׁל זֶה וְשֶׁל זֶה. וְאֵין חוֹלֵק. וְאִם הָיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם בְּמִשְׁמָר אֶחָד וּבֵית אָב אֶחָד נוֹטֵל חֵלֶק אֶחָד:

19

When does the above apply? When the relationships with both [priests] involve marriage. If, however, one is a licentious relationship, our Sages decreed that [the son's] priestly privileges are suppressed entirely, because he does not have definitive knowledge of the identity of his father. [This is supported by Numbers 25:13]:52 "He and his descendants who follow him will possess [the covenant of priesthood]." [Implied is that] his descendants will be able to trace their identity to him.

יט

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁהֵן בָּאִין מִכֹּחַ נִשּׂוּאִין. אֲבָל בִּזְנוּת גָּזְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁמְּשַׁתְּקִין אוֹתוֹ מִדִּין כְּהֻנָּה כְּלָל הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ אָבִיו הַוַּדַּאי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כה יג) "וְהָיְתָה לּוֹ וּלְזַרְעוֹ אַחֲרָיו" עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה זַרְעוֹ מְיֻחָס אַחֲרָיו:

20

What is implied? There were ten priests. One of them departed and engaged in relations [with a woman without revealing his identity]. The son is definitely a priest.53 Nevertheless, since he does not know his father's identity and cannot trace his lineage to him, his priestly privileges are suppressed entirely. He may not serve [in the Temple], partake [of sacrificial foods], or receive an allotment [from the sacrifices]. If, however, he becomes impure because of contact with a corpse or he marries a divorcee, he receives lashes, for there is no question of leniency.54

כ

כֵּיצַד. עֲשָׂרָה כֹּהֲנִים שֶׁפֵּרַשׁ אֶחָד מֵהֶם וּבָעַל שֶׁהֲרֵי הַוָּלָד כֹּהֵן וַדַּאי וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ אָבִיו שֶׁיִּתְיַחֵס לוֹ מְשַׁתְּקִין אוֹתוֹ מִדִּין כְּהֻנָּה. וְאֵינוֹ עוֹבֵד וְלֹא אוֹכֵל וְלֹא חוֹלֵק. וְאִם נִטְמָא לְמֵתִים אוֹ נָשָׂא גְּרוּשָׁה לוֹקֶה שֶׁאֵין כָּאן סְפֵק הֶתֵּר:

Footnotes
1.

When the priests do not serve in the Temple and there is no Sanhedrin to verify their lineage.

2.

I.e., they are regarded as priests by people at large even though there is no definite proof of their lineage.

3.

I.e., in contrast to sacrificial meat which may be eaten only in the Temple courtyard or within the city of Jerusalem depending on the type of sacrifice involved.

4.

As explained in Halachah 3, in the present age, the mitzvah of terumah has the status of a Rabbinic commandment. As reflected by the commentaries to Hilchot Terumah 2:1, according to the Rambam, Scriptural Law requires us to separate terumah from all types of produce usually eaten by humans. The mitzvah does not apply only to the grain, grapes, and olives singled out by Deuteronomy 18:4.

5.

Note the Maggid Mishneh who elaborates, explaining that although generally, the testimony of one witness is sufficient with regard to issues involving Scriptural prohibitions, an exception is made with regard to terumah.

6.

See the conclusion of the tractate of Middot and Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 6:11, which describes the manner in which the lineage of the priests was checked.

7.

See Hilchot Sanhedrin 2:1.

8.

As the Rambam explains in Hilchot Bikkurim 5:5,7, in the Biblical era, there was a distinction between the mitzvah of challah as observed in Eretz Yisrael and as observed in the Diaspora. For according to Scriptural Law, the mitzvah applies only in Eretz Yisrael.

9.

The continuation of the verse describes the mitzvah to separate challah.

10.

As the Rambam explains in Hilchot Terumah 1:26 and Hilchot Beit HaBechirah 6:16, after the conquest of Eretz Yisrael by Assyrians and the Babylonians the sanctity of the land was nullified and there was no obligation to keep the agricultural laws of Eretz Yisrael. When Ezra led the people back to Eretz Yisrael after the 70 years of the Babylonian exile, the majority of the people did not accompany him. (Moreover, he did not conquer the land.) Hence, his sanctification of Eretz Yisrael was not sufficient to meet the requirements of Scriptural Law. Nevertheless, he and his court ruled that those mitzvot should be observed as a Rabbinic ordinance.

This reflects the Rambam's view. Although other Rishonim (Ra'avad, Rav Moshe HaCohen) differ and maintain that Ezra's settlement of the land was sufficient to sanctify it according to Scriptural Law, the Rambam's approach is accepted by most authorities.

11.

The Rambam maintains that the laws regarding terumah and the tithes are derived from those applying to challah (Kessef Mishneh to Hilchot Terumah 1:26).

12.

In the Talmudic era - as is still the practice in certain communities - when a person was given an aliyah, he would read the Torah himself, rather than have it read for him by others.

13.

Although all of these practices are signs of the priesthood, we do not consider them as conclusive evidence of a priest's lineage.

14.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam's words could be interpreted to mean that the child is considered a priest with regard to marriage. Nevertheless, he does not possess the advantage of being considered of established lineage unless testimony is given.

15.

The father's statement is, however, sufficient to have considered as a priest with regards to matters applicable in the present age, as stated in Halachah 10.

16.

More precisely, that they are the sons borne him by his deceased wife.

17.

And his daughters fit to marry priests.

18.

And did not pay attention to the fact the person was described as a priest.

19.

E.g., the sheep exchanged in place of a donkey, the first shearing of a sheep, and the like.

20.

This refers even to terumah mandated by Scriptural Law. Ketubot 25b explains that this ruling is based on the principle of miggo. If the priest desired to transgress, he could feed his son terumahwithout having him declared a priest. See also Halachah 3.

21.

To be given an aliyah first and to bless the people.

22.

For the testimony of one witness is effective.

23.

And there is room to suspect that each is lying on the others behalf.

24.

If a Levi did not read after him, the fact that he read first is not significant. For perhaps there were no priests present and an Israelite was called instead or he was given the honor because of his stature as a Torah scholar.

25.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the above are forbidden him, because - as stated in Halachah 9 - when an observer sees a person performing such acts, he may consider that person a priest.

Rav Moshe Cohen and the Rama (Even HaEzer 3:1) maintain that, in the present era, it is customary to accept a person's word if he claims to be a priest. For the only serious problem with regard to observance is partaking of terumah and we do not separate terumah in the present age. Note the Chelkat Mechokek 3:1 who raises questions regarding the license for this person to recite the Priestly Blessing. See also the Maggid Mishneh who mentions that this custom was also practiced in his era. He strongly protests against it, calling it "an erroneous custom."

26.

Since he considers himself a priest, it is as if he has taken a vow not to perform these activities.

27.

The commentaries have questioned this statement, for it has not been formally established that the person is a priest. Nevertheless, since he considers himself a priest, as far as he is concerned, the warning given him will be have been of substance and the punishment deserved. Hence he is given the lashes. The woman is not given lashes, for as far as she is concerned, the matter is not definitely established (Maggid Mishneh).

28.

Hence if another priest engages in relations with her, he is not given lashes. Her offspring are also challalim of questionable status and her daughter may not marry into the priesthood (Maggid Mishneh; Chelkat Mechokek 3:3).

29.

He is allowed to partake of terumah mandated by Rabbinic decree, for his statements are given the weight of the testimony of one witness.

30.

This is proof that he was not a servant, for servants are not taught the Torah (Tosafot, Ketubot 26a).

31.

Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi.

32.

Generally, for testimony to be valid, the person observing the matter must be acceptable as a witness. In this instance, however, formal testimony is not required. Hence leniency is shown. (See Hilchot Edut 14:3).

33.

This applies even if there are no rumors that the person's mother is not acceptable (Maggid Mishneh). The Chelkat Mechokek 3:9 quotes other authorities who are more lenient.

34.

We are not speaking about mere hearsay, but a rumor that is substantiated by the court.

35.

For the testimony of one witness is powerful enough to negate the rumor.

36.

Because the testimony of one witness is of no consequence in the face of the testimony of two witnesses.

37.

The fact that the two witnesses do not testify at the same time is not significant (Hilchot Edut 4:4).

38.

I.e., the intent is that once two witnesses give testimony in court, their statement is given the weight of established fact and needs no further corroboration. Since the statements of the two pairs of witnesses contradict each other, they are both nullified. Nevertheless, the statements of the witnesses who testify that he is acceptable also have the power to nullify the rumor.

39.

The Maggid Mishneh mentions that there is a difference of opinion among the Rabbis if he is considered acceptable only with regard to terumah mandated by Rabbinic Law or also with regard to terumah mandated by Scriptural Law. The Beit Shmuel 3:14 states that the Rambam is also referring to terumah mandated by Rabbinic Law.

40.

A woman is required to wait for such an interim so that the lineage of her children will be established definitively.

41.

I.e., as infants, the identity of the children became confused and the doubt was never clarified.

42.

They are not given lashes, because it is not certain that they violated a Scriptural commandment. They should, however, be given "stripes for rebellious conduct," because of their disregard of the restrictions the Rabbis placed upon them [Perisha (Even HaEzer 3)].

43.

This term refers to the state of acute morning that applies immediately after the death of one's close relative. See Hilchot Evel 4:6. It is particularly relevant to priests, for one is forbidden to serve in the Temple or partake of sacrificial foods in a state of aninut (Hilchot Bi'at HaMikdash 2:6-10 ).

44.

Yevamot 100b notes a difficulty in the use of the plural in both this and the following clause. Since the ordinary way the mother of this priest could have married a second priest is when her first husband died, how is it possible to speak about the son mourning for that first husband or that first husband mourning for him?

The Talmud answers that this is speaking about a situation where the mother thought she was consecrated to the first husband, but in fact was not. This is not considered a licentious relationship warranting the stringencies mentioned in the following halachah. A formal divorce, however, is not required and hence the woman may marry another priest.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that according to the Rambam, one can also interpret the passage as referring to a woman whose father died in her childhood and who was married by Rabbinic decree. Until she attains majority, she may dissolve that marriage through the rite of mi'un. In such an instance, a formal divorce is not required. If she conceives a child, dissolves her marriage, and then marries another priest, the situation mentioned in this halachah may apply.

45.

For perhaps that person is his father. Rashi (Yevamot, loc. cit.) interprets this statement as referring to the restrictions placed upon priests for aninut. Since it is possible that the person who died is his father, he should not risk the violation of a Scriptural commandment. With regard to the customs concerning aninut mentioned in Hilchot Evel (one of them being that one does not perform any of the Torah's mitzvot), by contrast, Kinat Eliyahu raises a question: Should one refrain from performing a mitzvah because perhaps the person who died was his father?

46.

For perhaps he is their son.

47.

There is a Scriptural prohibition against a priest becoming impure. That prohibition does not apply when one is certain that the person who died is one's relative. In this instance, however, neither the father or son is certain.

48.

The priests were divided into 24 watches. Each one would serve in the Temple for a week in a cycle of rotation (Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 4:3). This priest has the right to serve during the week allotted to both of the individuals suspected of being his father.

49.

In this instance, we are speaking of expropriating property (a share in the sacrifices) from the other priests. Hence we follow the principle: When a person seeks to expropriate property, the burden of proof is upon him.

50.

Each priestly watch was divided into seven batei av, family groupings, who would serve in the Temple one day of the seven (Hilchot K'lei HaMikdash 4:11).

51.

For he is certainly entitled to one portion.

52.

Yevamot, loc. cit., explains that this interpretation is not of Scriptural origin. Instead, the law is a Rabbinic decree. Our Sages, however, found a Biblical verse that supported their ruling.

53.

Because all the individuals suspected of being his father were priests.

54.

For he is definitely a priest and must observe the prohibitions incumbent upon them.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in the one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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