1

When a woman comes and says, "I was married, and now I am divorced," her word is accepted, because the source for the statements [on which basis the woman was] forbidden [states that she is] permitted.1

If the prevailing assumption is that a woman was married,2 and she comes and says, "My husband divorced me," her word is not accepted [as a basis] for her to be allowed to be remarried.3 She has, however, disqualified herself [from marrying into] the priesthood forever.4If her husband dies [childless], we suspect that there might have been truth to her words, and she performs the rite of chalitzah, rather than the rite of yibbum.5

א

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁבָּאָה וְאָמְרָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ הָיִיתִי וּגְרוּשָׁה אֲנִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת. שֶׁהַפֶּה שֶׁאָסַר הוּא הַפֶּה שֶׁהִתִּיר. הֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וּבָאָה וְאָמְרָה גֵּרְשַׁנִי בַּעְלִי אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת לְהַתִּיר עַצְמָהּ לַשּׁוּק. אֲבָל פָּסְלָה עַצְמָהּ לִכְהֻנָּה לְעוֹלָם. וְאִם מֵת בַּעְלָהּ חוֹשְׁשִׁין לִדְבָרֶיהָ וְחוֹלֶצֶת וְלֹא מִתְיַבֶּמֶת:

2

When a woman has two witnesses who state that she has been divorced, she is permitted to marry a priori, although she does not possess her get. If she produces a get that was in her possession and says: "My husband divorced me with this," her word is accepted, and she is permitted to marry, even though [the signatures of the witnesses to the get] have not been verified as we have explained.6

ב

הָיוּ לָהּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא גְּרוּשָׁה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם גֵּט הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא לְכַתְּחִלָּה. הוֹצִיאָה גֵּט מִתַּחַת יָדָהּ וְאָמְרָה גֵּרְשַׁנִי בַּעְלִי בָּזֶה הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶאֱמֶנֶת וְתִנָּשֵׂא בּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְקֻיָּם כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

3

[The following laws apply] when the husband comes and protests. If he states, "I never gave it to her. It fell from me and she found it," his statements are not accepted, because he admits that he wrote it for her sake, and it is now in her possession. If, however, the husband says: "[The get] was given conditionally," "It was entrusted to her for safekeeping," or "I never wrote such [a document]; it is a forgery,"7 [the woman] must have the signatures of the witnesses verified or have the witnesses to its transfer testify, as explained.8

If the signatures of the witnesses are not verified, she is not considered to be divorced with regard to the right to marry others. She has, however, disqualified herself [from marrying into] the priesthood, as stated.9 For she has disqualified herself by virtue of her own statements and caused herself to be considered as a forbidden object.10

ג

בָּא הַבַּעַל וְעִרְעֵר אִם אָמַר לֹא נְתַתִּיו לָהּ אֶלָּא נָפַל מִמֶּנִּי וּמָצְאָה אוֹתוֹ אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן. שֶׁהֲרֵי הוֹדָה שֶׁכְּתָבוֹ לָהּ וַהֲרֵי הוּא יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יָדָהּ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר הַבַּעַל עַל תְּנַאי הָיָה. פִּקָּדוֹן הָיָה. מֵעוֹלָם לֹא כְּתַבְתִּיו. מְזֻיָּף הוּא. יִתְקַיֵּם בְּחוֹתְמָיו אוֹ בְּעֵדֵי מְסִירָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְאִם לֹא נִתְקַיֵּם אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת לִהְיוֹת מֻתֶּרֶת לַאֲחֵרִים אֲבָל פָּסְלָה נַפְשָׁהּ מִכְּהֻנָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. שֶׁהֲרֵי פָּסְלָה עַצְמָהּ בְּהוֹדָאַת פִּיהָ וְעָשְׂתָה עַצְמָהּ כַּחֲתִיכָה שֶׁל אִסּוּר:

4

If she comes together with her husband and says, "My husband divorced me, but I lost my get," and the husband says, "I did not divorce her," her word is accepted, even though it has been assumed that she is his wife. [The rationale is:] it can be assumed that a woman would not make such brazen statements in the presence of her husband [if they were not true].11

ד

בָּאָה הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ. הִיא אוֹמֶרֶת גֵּרַשְׁתַּנִי וְאָבַד גִּטִּי. וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לֹא גֵּרַשְׁתִּיךְ. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֻחְזְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶאֱמֶנֶת. חֲזָקָה אֵין אִשָּׁה מְעִזָּה פָּנֶיהָ בִּפְנֵי בַּעְלָהּ:

5

If a husband says: "I divorced my wife," his word is not accepted. Nevertheless, we suspect that it might be true, and therefore, the woman is considered to be one whose divorce is of doubtful status.12 Even when the woman also admits that she was divorced, his word is not accepted.

We fear that he is seeking to create difficulties for her,13 or that he divorced her with a get that was void, and she is not aware of the fact, or perhaps she will brazenly [state that she has been divorced, although that is not the case,] because he accepts her word, or because she is not aware of the seriousness of the prohibition. Therefore, we tell the husband: "If it is true [that you divorced her,] you are both here, divorce her again in our presence."

ה

אָמַר הַבַּעַל גֵּרַשְׁתִּי אֶת אִשְׁתִּי אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן וְחוֹשְׁשִׁים לִדְבָרָיו וְתִהְיֶה סָפֵק מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. וַאֲפִלּוּ הוֹדֵית לוֹ שֶׁגֵּרְשָׁהּ אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן שֶׁמָּא יִתְכַּוֵּן לְקַלְקְלָהּ אוֹ בְּגֵט בָּטֵל גֵּרְשָׁהּ וְהִיא אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת [אוֹ שֶׁמָּא תָּעֵז פָּנֶיהָ בּוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מַאֲמִינָהּ וְהִיא אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת] כֹּבֶד הָאִסּוּר שֶׁלָּהּ. לְפִיכָךְ אוֹמְרִים לוֹ אִם אֱמֶת הַדָּבָר הֲרֵי אַתֶּם קַיָּמִים גָּרֵשׁ אוֹתָהּ עַתָּה בְּפָנֵינוּ:

6

When two [individuals] say [that a woman] was divorced, and two others say14 [that] she was not divorced, she is still presumed to be married. [This ruling applies] even if her husband is present, and she tells him, "You divorced me." Since the witnesses support her, it is possible that she will speak brazenly [to her husband]. Therefore, if she remarries [in such a situation], she is compelled to leave [her second husband], and a child [born to them] is considered illegitimate.

ו

שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים נִתְגָּרְשָׁה וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אֲפִלּוּ הַבַּעַל עוֹמֵד וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ גֵּרַשְׁתַּנִי הֲרֵי זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ גְּמוּרָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָעֵדִים סוֹמְכִין אוֹתָהּ וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתָּעֵז פָּנֶיהָ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד מַמְזֵר:

7

When does the above apply? When the witnesses say: "She was divorced in the immediate past." For in such a situation, we tell her, "If it is true that you were divorced, produce your get."

If, however, the witnesses say: "She was divorced several days ago," there is the possibility that the get was lost. [Therefore, different laws apply.] Since she claims that she was definitely divorced, and two witnesses support her claim, although there are two witnesses who deny it, if she marries one of the witnesses, she is not compelled to leave [her second husband]. [The rationale is] that she and her husband, [the witness,] certainly know whether she is permitted [or not], and we assume that they would not create difficulties for themselves.15

Accordingly, [different rules apply] if she marries another person. Since he cannot be certain concerning the matter - and similarly, if she herself is uncertain about the matter, even if she marries one of her witnesses - she should be compelled to leave [her second husband]. The legitimacy of a child born to them is a matter of question.

ז

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁאָמְרוּ עַכְשָׁו נִתְגָּרְשָׁה שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמְרִין לָהּ אִם אֱמֶת הַדָּבָר הוֹצִיאִי גִּטֵּךְ. אֲבָל אִם אָמְרוּ הָעֵדִים מִכַּמָּה יָמִים נִתְגָּרְשָׁה יֵשׁ לוֹמַר אָבַד הַגֵּט וְהוֹאִיל וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת גְּרוּשָׁה אֲנִי בְּוַדַּאי וּשְׁנֵי עֵדִים מְעִידִין לָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַשְּׁנַיִם מַכְחִישִׁין אוֹתָן אִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֶיהָ לֹא תֵּצֵא שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ יוֹדְעִין בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת וַחֲזָקָה הִיא שֶׁאֵין מְקַלְקְלִין עַצְמָן. אֲבָל אִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאַחֵר הוֹאִיל וְהַדָּבָר אֶצְלוֹ סָפֵק. וְכֵן אִם אָמְרָה אֵינִי יוֹדַעַת אֲפִלּוּ נִשֵּׂאת לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֶיהָ הֲרֵי זוֹ תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד סְפֵק מַמְזֵר:

8

[The following rules apply when] two [individuals] say, "We saw that she was divorced," and two others say, "We did not see this." If they all lived in a single courtyard,16 she should not marry.17 If, however, she marries, she need not leave [her second husband], and we do not doubt the legitimacy of a child born to them. [The rationale is that] people often divorce in privacy.

ח

אָמְרוּ שְׁנַיִם רְאִינוּהָ שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים לֹא רְאִינוּהָ. אִם הָיוּ כֻּלָּם שְׁרוּיִים בְּחָצֵר אַחַת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לֹא תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד כָּשֵׁר. שֶׁבְּנֵי אָדָם עֲשׂוּיִין לְגָרֵשׁ בְּצִנְעָה:

9

[The following rule applies when] we there is no existing presumption that a woman was married, one witness comes and says, "She was married, but divorced," and another witness states, "She was not divorced." Since they both are testifying that she was married, and [only] one witness says she was divorced, she should not marry [a second man]. [The rationale is that] the statements of one [witness] are of no consequence [when they must counteract a definition of status established] on the basis of the testimony of two [witnesses].18 If she remarries, she should be compelled to leave [her second husband].

ט

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁלֹּא הֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וּבָא עֵד אֶחָד וְאָמַר אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ הָיְתָה וְנִתְגָּרְשָׁה. וּבָא עֵד אֶחָד וְאָמַר לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה. הֲרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶן מְעִידִין שֶׁהִיא אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וְאֶחָד מֵעִיד שֶׁהִיא גְּרוּשָׁה וְאֵין דְּבָרָיו שֶׁל אֶחָד בִּמְקוֹם שְׁנַיִם וּלְפִיכָךְ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא:

10

[The following ruling is rendered when] a woman and two men come from another country. One [of the men] says: "This is my wife, and this is my servant," the other says: "This is my wife, and this is my servant," and the woman says: "They are both my servants." The woman is free to marry anyone. For although two witnesses testified to her being married, since each one of them gave testimony that concerns himself, their statements are not accepted.

י

אִשָּׁה וּשְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים שֶׁבָּאוּ מִמְּדִינָה אַחֶרֶת. זֶה אוֹמֵר זוֹ אִשְׁתִּי וְזֶה עַבְדִּי. וְזֶה אוֹמֵר זוֹ אִשְׁתִּי וְזֶה עַבְדִּי. וְהָאִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת שְׁנֵיהֶן עֲבָדַי. הֲרֵי הִיא מֻתֶּרֶת לַכּל וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶּׁשְּׁנֵיהֶן הֶחֱזִיקוּהָ בְּאֵשֶׁת אִישׁ הוֹאִיל וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן הֵעִיד לְעַצְמוֹ אֵינָן נֶאֱמָנִין:

11

When an agent charged by the woman with receiving her get takes out a get that was in his possession, and the husband states that the get is a forgery, the authenticity of the get should be verified via the signatures of the witnesses, or via the witnesses who observed the transfer, as we have explained.19

If the husband says: "I gave him [the get] for safekeeping," and the agent says, "He gave it to me for the sake of divorce," the agent's word is accepted.20 A similar rule applies if the woman is in possession of the get21 and she says, "This agent gave it to me," the agent corroborates her statements and says that it was given to him by the husband for the purpose of divorce. The agent's word is accepted,22 even if the husband protests that he gave it to him for safekeeping, and the woman is considered to be divorced.

יא

שְׁלִיחַ קַבָּלָה שֶׁהוֹצִיא גֵּט מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ וְהַבַּעַל אוֹמֵר מְזֻיָּף הוּא יִתְקַיֵּם בְּחוֹתְמָיו אוֹ בְּעֵדֵי מְסִירָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אָמַר הַבַּעַל לְפִקָּדוֹן נְתַתִּיו לוֹ וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ אוֹמֵר לְגֵרוּשִׁין נְתָנוֹ לִי הַשָּׁלִיחַ נֶאֱמָן. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה הַגֵּט יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יְדֵי הָאִשָּׁה וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת שָׁלִיחַ זֶה נְתָנוֹ לִי, וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ אוֹמֵר כֵּן נְתַתִּיו לָהּ וּלְגֵרוּשִׁין נְתָנוֹ לִי, וְהַבַּעַל אוֹמֵר לֹא נְתַתִּיו לוֹ אֶלָּא לְפִקָּדוֹן, הַשָּׁלִיחַ נֶאֱמָן וְהִיא מְגֹרֶשֶׁת:

12

When the get is lost,23 [more stringent rules apply]. Even if the husband says that he gave it to an agent24 for the sake of divorce, and the agent says that he gave it to the woman, the status of the divorce is a matter of question.25 For our prevailing assumption is that the woman is married, and it is only [the statements of] one witness26 and her husband [who are contradicting that].

Even if the woman herself says, "In my presence, [my husband] gave the get to the agent for the purpose of divorce, and he divorced me," [the ruling remains unchanged]. Since her husband and the agent support her, it is possible that she will speak brazenly27 and in fact, she was not divorced.

יב

אָבַד הַגֵּט אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַבַּעַל אוֹמֵר לְגֵרוּשִׁין נְתַתִּיו לַשָּׁלִיחַ וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ אוֹמֵר נְתַתִּיו לָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ סְפֵק מְגֹרֶשֶׁת שֶׁהֲרֵי הֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וְאֵין כָּאן אֶלָּא עֵד אֶחָד וּבַעַל. וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמְרָה הָאִשָּׁה בְּפָנַי נְתָנוֹ לוֹ לְגֵרוּשִׁין וּנְתָנוֹ הַשָּׁלִיחַ לִי הוֹאִיל וְהַבַּעַל וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ סוֹעֲדִין אוֹתָהּ אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתָּעֵז פָּנֶיהָ וְשֶׁמָּא לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה:

13

[The following rule applies when] an agent appointed by the woman to receive her get receives it from [her husband] and sends it to her, [giving it to an agent to give to her] in the presence of two witnesses. Although the woman does not know whether [the get] was sent to her by her husband, her agent or her husband's agent, she is divorced, as has been explained.28

יג

שְׁלִיחַ קַבָּלָה שֶׁקִּבֵּל גֵּט לְאִשָּׁה וּשְׁלָחוֹ לָהּ בִּפְנֵי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים וְהִגִּיעַ הַגֵּט לְיָדָהּ וּנְטָלַתּוּ וַהֲרֵי הַגֵּט יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יָדָהּ. וְהִיא אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת אִם בַּעְלָהּ שְׁלָחוֹ לָהּ אוֹ שְׁלִיחַ קַבָּלָה שֶׁלָּהּ אוֹ שְׁלוּחוֹ שֶׁל בַּעְלָהּ. הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

14

[In the above situation,] if the husband comes and protests that he did not write [the get], or that the get is void, the signatures [of the witnesses] should be verified. [This is sufficient to counter the husband's protest, the rationale being that] there are witnesses that [the get] was in the possession of the agent of the woman, and his aegis is considered to be equivalent to her own.29 Although she did not know [the purpose for which the get was given to the original agent], the witnesses knew.

If, however, the signatures [of the witnesses] cannot be verified, the divorce is not effective.

יד

בָּא בַּעַל וְעִרְעֵר שֶׁלֹּא כְּתָבוֹ אוֹ שֶׁהוּא גֵּט בָּטֵל יִתְקַיֵּם בְּחוֹתְמָיו שֶׁהֲרֵי עֵדִים מְעִידִים שֶׁהַגֵּט שֶׁנָּתְנוּ לָהּ יָצָא מִתַּחַת יַד שְׁלוּחָהּ שֶׁיָּדוֹ כְּיָדָהּ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת הֲרֵי הָעֵדִים יָדְעוּ. וְאִם לֹא נִתְקַיֵּם אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת:

15

[The following rules apply when] the prevailing presumption is that a woman is married, and she and her husband travel overseas at a time when their relationship is peaceful, and peace abides in the world at large.30 If she comes and says, "My husband died," her word is accepted and she is granted permission to marry or to perform the rite of yibbum on this basis.

[The rationale is that] we assume that a woman will not bring difficulties upon herself, causing herself to be forbidden to both her first and her second husbands, causing herself to lose the right to collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah from both husbands and causing her children to be deemed illegitimate when the matter is likely to become openly revealed, and when she will not be able to deny the matter or offer any argument in her defense. For if her husband is alive, he will ultimately return, or [at least,] it will become known that he is alive.

Similarly, if one witness comes and testifies that the woman's husband died, she is granted permission to marry by virtue of his testimony, because [the truth of] the matter will ultimately be revealed.31 Similarly, the testimony of a servant, a woman, a maid-servant or a witness testifying on the basis of statements he heard from others is accepted regarding a person's death.32 On the basis of such testimony, the man's wife is granted permission to remarry or perform the rite of yibbum.

טו

מִי שֶׁהֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וְהָלְכָה הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם וְשָׁלוֹם בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ וְשָׁלוֹם בָּעוֹלָם וּבָאָה וְאָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת וְתִנָּשֵׂא אוֹ תִּתְיַבֵּם. חֲזָקָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְקַלְקֶלֶת עַצְמָהּ וְתֶאֱסֹר עַצְמָהּ עַל בַּעְלָהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן וְעַל זֶה וְתַפְסִיד כְּתֻבָּתָהּ מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה וְלִהְיוֹת בָּנֶיהָ מַמְזֵרִין בְּדָבָר הֶעָשׂוּי לְהִגָּלוֹת לַכּל. וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהַכְחִישׁ וְלֹא לִטְעֹן טַעֲנָה שֶׁאִם הוּא חַי סוֹפוֹ לָבֹא אוֹ יִוָּדַע שֶׁהוּא חַי. וְכֵן אִם בָּא עֵד אֶחָד וְהֵעִיד לָהּ שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ תִּנָּשֵׂא עַל פִּיו שֶׁהַדָּבָר עָשׂוּי לְהִגָּלוֹת. אֲפִלּוּ עֶבֶד אוֹ אִשָּׁה אוֹ שִׁפְחָה וְעֵד מִפִּי עֵד מִפִּי עֶבֶד מִפִּי שִׁפְחָה מִפִּי קְרוֹבָיו נֶאֱמָנִים לוֹמַר מֵת פְּלוֹנִי וְתִנָּשֵׂא אִשְׁתּוֹ אוֹ תִּתְיַבֵּם עַל פִּיהֶם:

16

Any person who offers testimony is believed with regard to matters of this nature, with the exception of five women, who are presumed to hate each other. Their testimony is not [accepted] with regard to the death of the other's husband,33 lest they intend to cause her to be forbidden to him, although he is still alive.34They are the woman's mother-in-law, the daughter of her mother-in-law,35[her husband's] other wife, her yevamah,36 her husband's daughter [from another marriage].37

[Indeed, with regard to such testimony,] a gentile's statements delivered in the course of conversation are accepted and can serve as the basis for a woman to remarry, as will be explained.38 If the gentile makes his statements with the intent that they serve as testimony, his word is not accepted.

טז

וְהַכּל נֶאֱמָנִים לְהָעִיד לָהּ עֵדוּת זוֹ חוּץ מֵחָמֵשׁ נָשִׁים שֶׁחֶזְקָתָם שׂוֹנְאוֹת זוֹ אֶת זוֹ שֶׁאֵין מְעִידוֹת זוֹ לָזוֹ בְּמִיתַת בַּעְלָהּ שֶׁמָּא יִתְכַּוְּנוּ לְאָסְרָהּ עָלָיו וַעֲדַיִן הוּא קַיָּם. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. חֲמוֹתָהּ. וּבַת חֲמוֹתָהּ. וְצָרָתָהּ. וִיבִמְתָּהּ. וּבַת בַּעְלָהּ. אֲפִלּוּ עַכּוּ״‎ם הַמֵּסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ נֶאֱמָן וּמַשִּׂיאִין עַל פִּיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר. וְאִם נִתְכַּוֵּן לְהָעִיד אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן:

17

Similar laws apply to a person who is disqualified [from serving as a witness] by Scriptural law, because of the commission of a sin.39 If he comes to give testimony on behalf of a woman, [saying] that her husband died, his word is not accepted.40 If he makes these statements in the course of conversation, his word is accepted, for he is not regarded as less than a gentile.

A person who is disqualified [from serving as a witness] by Rabbinic law,41 by contrast, may give testimony regarding [the death of] a woman's [husband].42

יז

וְכֵן הַפָּסוּל בַּעֲבֵרָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה אִם בָּא לְהָעִיד בְּאִשָּׁה שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן. וְאִם הָיָה מֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ נֶאֱמָן אֵין זֶה פָּחוּת מִן הָעַכּוּ״‎ם. אֲבָל פָּסוּל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם נֶאֱמָן לְעֵדוּת אִשָּׁה:

18

[The following rules apply if] one witness came and testified that a woman's husband has died, and she was granted permission to remarry on the basis of his testimony, and afterwards another witness came and contradicted the testimony of the first, saying that he did not die. The woman's status is not changed, and she is still permitted to remarry.43

[The rationale is that] the testimony of one witness is accepted with regard to [the death of] a woman's [husband] in the same way as is the testimony of two witnesses with regard to other matters. [This testimony is being challenged by the testimony of one witness,] and the words of one witness are not considered when there is [testimony from] two [witnesses].44

יח

בָּא עֵד אֶחָד וְהֵעִיד שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ וְהִתִּירוּהָ לְהִנָּשֵׂא עַל פִּיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא אַחֵר וְהִכְחִישׁ אֶת הָרִאשׁוֹן וְאָמַר לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא מֵהֶתֵּרָהּ וְתִנָּשֵׂא. שֶׁעֵד אֶחָד נֶאֱמָן בְּעֵדוּת אִשָּׁה כִּשְׁנֵי עֵדִים בִּשְׁאָר עֵדֻיּוֹת וְאֵין דְּבָרָיו שֶׁל אֶחָד בִּמְקוֹם שְׁנַיִם:

19

If two [witnesses] come at the same time,45 one saying "he died," and the other saying, "he did not die," or a woman says, "he died," and another woman says, "he did not die," she should not marry. And if she marries, she should leave her second husband,46 for the matter is one of doubt.47

If, however, she marries the witness who testified on her behalf, and she herself says, "I am certain that he died,"48 she need not leave her second husband.49 If two witnesses come and say that her first husband did not die, [a more stringent ruling is delivered]. Even though she married, she must leave her second husband.

יט

בָּאוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם כְּאֶחָד זֶה אוֹמֵר מֵת וְזֶה אוֹמֵר לֹא מֵת. אִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְאִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת. הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא סָפֵק. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לָעֵד שֶׁהֵעִיד לָהּ וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת בָּרִי לִי שֶׁמֵּת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא. בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ לֹא מֵת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא:

20

When does the above50 apply? When the one witness upon whose testimony [the woman was granted permission to] marry was equivalent to the two witnesses who contradicted his testimony. For example, she married based on the testimony of one man, and two men came and said that her husband did not die. Or she married based on the testimony of one woman or on the basis of her own testimony, and two women or two men who were disqualified from serving as witnesses by Rabbinic law testified that her husband did not die.

If, however, one acceptable witness says that her husband died, and many51 women or men who were disqualified from serving as witnesses by Rabbinic law testify that her husband did not die, the situation is considered to be equally balanced.52 Thus, if she marries one of the witnesses53 who testified on her behalf, and she herself says, "I am certain that he died," she need not leave her second husband.

כ

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהָיָה הָעֵד אֶחָד שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת עַל פִּיו כְּמוֹ הַשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁבָּאוּ וְהִכְחִישׁוּ אוֹתוֹ. כְּגוֹן שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת עַל פִּי אִישׁ וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ לֹא מֵת. אוֹ שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת עַל פִּי אִשָּׁה אוֹ עַל פִּי עַצְמָהּ וּבָאוּ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים אוֹ שְׁנֵי פְּסוּלִין שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶן וְאָמְרוּ לֹא מֵת. אֲבָל עֵד כָּשֵׁר אוֹמֵר מֵת וְנָשִׁים רַבּוֹת אוֹמְרוֹת לֹא מֵת אוֹ פְּסוּלִין אוֹמְרִים לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמֶחֱצָה עַל מֶחֱצָה. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֶיהָ וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת וַדַּאי מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא:

21

When one woman testifies that [her husband] died, or she herself says that [her husband] died, and afterwards,54 one acceptable witness comes and says that he did not die, [the woman] should not remarry; and if she remarried, she should leave her second husband.

כא

אִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת אוֹ הִיא שֶׁאָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא עֵד כָּשֵׁר וְאָמַר לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא:

22

When one woman says that [a man] did not die, and two women say that he did die, [his wife] may remarry. Similarly, if ten women say that [a man] did not die, and eleven women say that he did die, [his wife] may remarry. For we say, "two [witnesses] are considered as 100," only with regard to acceptable witnesses.55 With regard to witnesses whose testimony would ordinarily be disqualified, by contrast, [the law is that we] follow the majority, whether this leads to a more lenient ruling or a more stringent ruling.

כב

אִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת וּשְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים אוֹמְרוֹת מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְכֵן אִם אָמְרוּ עֶשֶׂר נָשִׁים לֹא מֵת וְאַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה אוֹמְרוֹת מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא. שֶׁאֵין אוֹמְרִים שְׁנַיִם כְּמֵאָה אֶלָּא בְּעֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים אֲבָל בִּפְסוּלִין הַלֵּךְ אַחַר הָרֹב בֵּין לְהָקֵל בֵּין לְהַחֲמִיר:

23

When two [witnesses] say that [a man] died, and two other witnesses say that he did not die, [his wife] may not remarry. If she has remarried, she should leave [her second husband],56 because the matter is one of doubt.

If she marries one of the witnesses who testified on her behalf, and she herself says, "I am certain that he died," she need not leave her second husband.

כג

שְׁנֵי עֵדִים אוֹמְרִים מֵת וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא סָפֵק. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֶיהָ וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת בָּרִי לִי שֶׁמֵּת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא:

24

[The following laws apply when] a person has two wives and one of them comes and says, "My husband died." She may marry on the basis of her own testimony, as we have explained.57 Her husband's other wife is forbidden to marry, for one of a man's wives may not testify on behalf of the other.

Even if the woman [who said that her husband died] married first, [the other wife is still forbidden to marry]. We do not say that if her husband had not actually died, she would not cause herself to be forbidden to him. [Instead, we suspect that] perhaps her hatred for the other wife is so great that she desires for them both to become forbidden to him.58

If one says, "My husband died," and her husband's other wife denies this, saying that he did not die, [the wife who testifies that he has died] may remarry. Just as the other wife's testimony does not cause her to be permitted, it does not cause her to be forbidden.

If one says, "[My husband] died," and the other says, "He was killed," they both are granted permission to remarry, for they both are testifying that he is no longer alive.59

כד

מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים וּבָאָה אַחַת מֵהֶן וְאָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא עַל פִּי עַצְמָהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְצָרָתָהּ אֲסוּרָה שֶׁאֵין צָרָה מְעִידָה לַחֲבֵרְתָהּ. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִשֵּׂאת זוֹ תְּחִלָּה אֵין אוֹמְרִין אִלּוּ לֹא מֵת בַּעְלָהּ לֹא הָיְתָה אוֹסֶרֶת עַצְמָהּ עָלָיו. שֶׁמָּא מִשִּׂנְאָתָהּ בְּצָרָתָהּ רוֹצָה הִיא שֶׁיֵּאָסְרוּ שְׁתֵּיהֶן עָלָיו. זֹאת אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת בַּעְלִי וְצָרָתָהּ מַכְחֶשֶׁת אוֹתָהּ וְאוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא. כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְעִידָה לָהּ לְהַתִּירָהּ כָּךְ אֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לְהָעִיד לָהּ לְאָסְרָהּ. זֹאת אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְצָרָתָהּ אוֹמֶרֶת נֶהֱרַג הוֹאִיל וּשְׁתֵּיהֶן אוֹמְרוֹת שֶׁאֵינוֹ קַיָּם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ יִנָּשְׂאוּ: