Introduction to Hilchos Yibbum vChalitzah

They contain three mitzvot: two positive commandments and one negative commandment. They are:

1) To marry the widow of one's childless brother;
2) To free her of this obligation through chalitzah;
3) For a childless widow not to marry another man until the mandate upon her deceased husband's brother [to marry her] is removed.
A [childless] widow who is fit to be married by her husband's brother is referred to as zekukah l'yibbum. [Her husband's brother is referred to as a yavam.] The mandate obligating her to the yavam is referred to as zikah.

These mitzvot are explained in the chapters [that follow]:

הלכות יבום וחליצה - הקדמה יש בכללן שלש מצות. שתי מצות עשה. ומצוה אחת לא תעשה. וזהו פרטן: א) לייבם.
ב) לחלוץ.
ג) שלא תנשא יבמה לאיש זר עד שתסיר רשות היבם מעליה.
והאשה שהיא ראויה לייבום נקראת זקוקה לייבום. ורשות היבם נקראת זיקה: וביאור מצות אלו בפרקים אלו:

1

It is a positive commandment1 of Scriptural law for a man to marry the widow of his paternal2 brother if he died without leaving children, as [Deuteronomy 25:5] states: "[And one of them dies] childless,... her husband's brother should cohabit with her." [This applies to a widow] from nisu'in, or from erusin.

[The childless widow is referred to as a yevamah; the rite through which they marry, yibbum.]

Scriptural law does not require a man to consecrate his yevamah, for she is his wife that heaven acquired for him. [All that is necessary] is that he cohabit with her. Her deceased husband's estate is responsible for her marriage contract.3

א

מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁיְּיַבֵּם אָדָם אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו מֵאָבִיו בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִן הָאֵרוּסִין אִם מֵת בְּלֹא זֶרַע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ה) ״וּבֵן אֵין לוֹ״‎‎ (דברים כה ה) ״יְבָמָהּ יָבֹא עָלֶיהָ״‎‎. וּמִן הַתּוֹרָה אֵין צָרִיךְ לְקַדֵּשׁ יְבִמְתּוֹ שֶׁזּוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ הִיא שֶׁהִקְנוּ אוֹתָהּ לוֹ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶלָּא יָבוֹא עָלֶיהָ. וּכְתֻבָּתָהּ עַל נִכְסֵי בַּעְלָהּ שֶׁמֵּת:

2

If the yavam does not want to perform the rite of yibbum, or if the woman does not consent,4 he should [free her from this obligation through the rite of] chalitzah. [Only] afterwards is she permitted to marry another man.

It is a positive commandment5 of Scriptural law for [a brother] to perform chalitzah for [the deceased's widow], if he does not want to perform the rite of yibbum, as [Deuteronomy 25:9] states: "She shall... remove his shoe."6

The mitzvah of yibbum takes precedence over the mitzvah of chalitzah.7

ב

לֹא רָצָה לְיַבֵּם אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא רָצְתָה הִיא. הֲרֵי זֶה חוֹלֵץ לָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ תִּהְיֶה מֻתֶּרֶת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לְאַחֵר. וּמִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה מִן הַתּוֹרָה לַחֲלֹץ אִם לֹא רָצָה לְיַבֵּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ט) ״וְחָלְצָה נַעֲלוֹ״‎‎ וְגוֹ'. וּמִצְוַת יִבּוּם קוֹדֶמֶת לְמִצְוַת חֲלִיצָה:

3

The Torah's words [Deuteronomy 25:5], "When one of them dies childless" [should not be interpreted narrowly].8 [When the deceased] has a son, a daughter, a descendant of a son, or a descendant of a daughter, as long as he has left progeny9 - whether from the woman [to whom he is presently married] or from another woman, his wife is free from the obligation of chalitzah or yibbum.

Even if he has a descendant who is illegitimate or an idolater, [that descendant] frees [the deceased's] wife from the obligation of chalitzah or yibbum.

ג

זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה (דברים כה ה) ״וּבֵן אֵין לוֹ״‎‎ אֶחָד הַבֵּן וְאֶחָד הַבַּת אוֹ זֶרַע הַבֵּן אוֹ זֶרַע הַבַּת הוֹאִיל וְיֵשׁ לוֹ זֶרַע מִכָּל מָקוֹם. וּבֵין מֵאִשָּׁה זוֹ בֵּין מֵאַחֶרֶת הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹטֵר אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ מִן הַחֲלִיצָה וּמִן הַיִּבּוּם. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה לוֹ זֶרַע מַמְזֵר אוֹ עוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה הֲרֵי זֶה פּוֹטֵר אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ מִן הַחֲלִיצָה וּמִן הַיִּבּוּם:

4

[The above applies to children born from a Jewish woman.] If, however, [a deceased man] has a child born from a maidservant or a gentile woman, his wife is not free of these obligations. For the offspring of a maidservant are servants. And the offspring of a gentile woman are gentiles, and considered as if they have no connection to him.

[These concepts are derived as follows:] With regard to a maidservant, [Exodus 21:4] states: "The woman and her children will belong to her master," teaching that her offspring have the same status as she.10 And with regard to a gentile woman, [Deuteronomy 7:4] states: "They will lead your son away from Me" - i.e., prevent him from being considered part of the congregation.

Even when a man's son born from a maidservant is freed, or his son born from a gentile woman converts, he is regarded in the same way as other converts or freed slaves and does not cause [the deceased's] wife to be freed [from the obligation of yibbum]. [Even when a man] fathered a son with a maidservant, freed the son and the mother, and married her - if he dies without fathering any other children, his wife should perform the rite of yibbum with his brother, although the son [whom the deceased] fathered is alive and has been freed.11

ד

אֲבָל בְּנוֹ מִן הַשִּׁפְחָה וּמִן הַכּוּתִית אֵינוֹ פּוֹטֵר אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁזֶּרַע הַבָּא מִן הַשִּׁפְחָה עֲבָדִים וְהַבָּא מִן כּוּתִית כּוּתִי וּכְאִלּוּ אֵינָם. הֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר בְּשִׁפְחָה (שמות כא ד) ״הָאִשָּׁה וִילָדֶיהָ תִּהְיֶה לַאדֹנֶיהָ״‎‎ מְלַמֵּד שֶׁוְּלָדָהּ כְּמוֹתָהּ. וּבְכוּתִית הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים ז ד) ״כִּי יָסִיר אֶת בִּנְךָ מֵאַחֲרַי״‎‎ מֵסִיר אוֹתוֹ מִלֵּחָשֵׁב בַּקָּהָל. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּחְרֵר בְּנוֹ מִן הַשִּׁפְחָה אוֹ נִתְגַּיֵּר בְּנוֹ מִן הַכּוּתִית הֲרֵי הֵן כִּשְׁאָר הַגֵּרִים וְהַמְשֻׁחְרָרִין וְאֵינָם פּוֹטְרִין אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ. הֲרֵי שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ בֵּן מִן הַשִּׁפְחָה שֶׁלּוֹ וְשִׁחְרְרוֹ וְשִׁחְרְרָהּ וּנְשָׂאָהּ וּמֵת בְּלֹא זֶרַע הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּתְיַבֵּם לְאָחִיו וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבְּנָהּ מִמֶּנּוּ קַיָּם שֶׁכְּבָר שִׁחְרְרוֹ:

5

[The following rules apply when a man] dies and leaves his wife pregnant: If she miscarries after he dies, his wife [is obligated to] perform the rite of yibbum. If she bore the child, and the fetus emerged into the world alive, the mother is free of the obligation to perform the rite of chalitzah or yibbum. This applies even when the child dies immediately after being born.

According to Rabbinic decree, however, [this does not apply] unless it is known that the child was carried for a full term pregnancy and was born after nine full months had passed.12 If, however, the term of the pregnancy is unknown [the following rules apply]: If the child lives 30 days, the child is considered viable, and he frees his father's wives from the obligation of yibbum or chalitzah.

If the child dies within 30 days [of his birth], even on the thirtieth day, there is a doubt whether the child is viable or non-viable. This applies regardless of [the cause of the infant's death], whether he died as a result of illness, fell from a roof or was eaten by a lion. According to Rabbinic law, [the deceased's wives] must perform the rite of chalitzah;13 they may not perform the rite of yibbum.14

ה

מִי שֶׁמֵּת וְהִנִּיחַ אִשְׁתּוֹ מְעֵבֶּרֶת. אִם הִפִּילָה אַחַר מוֹתוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּתְיַבֵּם. וְאִם יָלְדָה וְיָצָא הַוָּלָד חַי לַאֲוִיר הָעוֹלָם אֲפִלּוּ מֵת בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנּוֹלַד הֲרֵי אִמּוֹ פְּטוּרָה מִן הַחֲלִיצָה וּמִן הַיִּבּוּם. אֲבָל מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים עַד שֶׁיִּוָּדַע בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁכָּלוּ לוֹ חֳדָשָׁיו וְנוֹלַד לְתִשְׁעָה חֳדָשִׁים גְּמוּרִים. אֲבָל אִם לֹא נוֹדַע לְכַמָּה נוֹלַד. אִם חַי שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם הֲרֵי זֶה וְלַד קַיָּמָא וּפוֹטֵר נְשֵׁי אָבִיו מִן הַחֲלִיצָה וּמִן הַיִּבּוּם. וְאִם מֵת בְּתוֹךְ הַשְּׁלֹשִׁים אֲפִלּוּ בְּיוֹם הַשְּׁלֹשִׁים בֵּין שֶׁמֵּת מֵחלִי בֵּין שֶׁנָּפַל מִן הַגַּג אוֹ אֲכָלוֹ אֲרִי הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק נֵפֶל סָפֵק בֶּן קַיָּמָא וּצְרִיכָה חֲלִיצָה מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. אֲבָל לֹא תִּתְיַבֵּם:

6

Whenever a man has a brother, even if the brother is illegitimate or an idolater, whether he is above the age of majority or below the age of majority,15 as long as his head and the majority [of his body]16 emerged into the world before his brother's death,17 his existence causes [his brother's wife] to be obligated to perform the rite of yibbum.18

If [the deceased] had a brother who was born to a maidservant or to a gentile woman, he is not considered to be his brother in any [halachic] context. [His existence] does not cause [his brother's wife] to be obligated to perform the rite of yibbum. Even when [the brother] was born as a member of the Jewish people,19 since his mother was not Jewish when he was conceived, he is not considered to be [the deceased's] brother.

ו

מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ אָח מִכָּל מָקוֹם אֲפִלּוּ מַמְזֵר אוֹ עוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה בֵּין קָטָן בֵּין גָּדוֹל מִשֶּׁיָּצָא רֹאשׁוֹ וְרֻבּוֹ לַאֲוִיר הָעוֹלָם קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּמוּת אָחִיו הֲרֵי זֶה זוֹקֵק אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ לְיִבּוּם. וְאִם הָיָה לוֹ אָח מִן הַשִּׁפְחָה אוֹ מִן הַכּוּתִית אֵינוֹ אָחִיו לְדָבָר מִן הַדְּבָרִים וְאֵינוֹ זוֹקֵק אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָיְתָה לֵדָתוֹ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה הוֹאִיל וְהָיְתָה הוֹרָתוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּקְדֻשָּׁה אֵינוֹ אָחִיו:

7

Maternal brothers are considered to be brothers only with regard to the laws of mourning20 and the laws of witnesses.21

With regard to the laws of inheritance,22 and the laws of yibbum and chalitzah, [maternal brothers] are considered as if they did not exist. For fraternity is derived from the father alone.23

ז

אַחִים מִן הָאֵם אֵינָן חֲשׁוּבִין אַחִים (אֶלָּא לַאֲבֵלוּת וּלְעֵדוּת אֲבָל) לְעִנְיַן יְרֻשָּׁה אוֹ לְעִנְיַן יִבּוּם וַחֲלִיצָה הֲרֵי הֵן כְּמִי שֶׁאֵינָן. שֶׁאֵין אַחְוָה אֶלָּא מֵאָב:

8

There is no concept of fraternity among converts and freed slaves. [Thus, even two converts or two freed slaves born from the same father] are considered unrelated.24 Even if one of them was conceived before his parents were converted and born after they were converted, and the other was conceived and born after the parents were converted, they are not considered to have any family connection.

Even if they are twins who were born after their parents were converted, they are not considered to be brothers25 unless they were also conceived after their parents converted.

ח

גֵּרִים שֶׁנִּתְגַיְּרוּ וַעֲבָדִים שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּחְרְרוּ אֵין לָהֶן אַחְוָה כְּלָל וַהֲרֵי הֵן כְּזָרִים זֶה לָזֶה. וַאֲפִלּוּ אֶחָד מֵהֶם הוֹרָתוֹ שֶׁלֹּא בִּקְדֻשָּׁה וְלֵדָתוֹ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה וְהַשֵּׁנִי הוֹרָתוֹ וְלֵדָתוֹ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה הֲרֵי הֵן כְּזָרִים. וַאֲפִלּוּ תְּאוֹמִים וְנוֹלְדוּ בִּקְדֻשָּׁה אֵין בֵּינֵיהֶן אַחְוָה עַד שֶׁתְּהֵא הוֹרָתָן וְלֵדָתָן בִּקְדֻשָּׁה:

9

When a man who has many wives dies, [a brother who] engages in relations or performes the rite of chalitzah with one of them frees the others from all obligations. [The deceased's brother] may not marry two [of the deceased's wives], as [implied by Deuteronomy 25:9]: "...who did not build his brother's house." [This is interpreted as an exclusion:] he may build one house, but not two houses.26

Similarly, if [the deceased had many brothers, one of them should perform either the rite of chalitzah or yibbum with one of the widows. This frees the others of all obligations.

ט

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ נָשִׁים רַבּוֹת וָמֵת. בִּיאָתָהּ אוֹ חֲלִיצָתָהּ שֶׁל אַחַת מֵהֶן פּוֹטֶרֶת אֶת הַשְּׁאָר וְאֵינוֹ מְיַבֵּם לִשְׁתַּיִם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ט) ״אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִבְנֶה אֶת בֵּית אָחִיו״‎‎ בַּיִת אֶחָד הוּא בּוֹנֶה וְאֵינוֹ בּוֹנֶה שְׁנֵי בָּתִּים. וְכֵן אִם הָיוּ לוֹ אַחִים רַבִּים אֶחָד מֵהֶן חוֹלֵץ אוֹ מְיַבֵּם לְאַחַת מִן הַיְבָמוֹת וְיֻתְּרוּ שְׁאָר הַצָּרוֹת:

10

[The following rules apply if] the widows include some who are fit to marry into the priesthood, and some who are not fit to marry into the priesthood: If [the brother] desires to perform the rite of yibbum, he may choose any of the widows that he desires. If he desires to perform the rite of chalitzah, he should perform this rite with one of the wives who is already forbidden to the priesthood, so that he will not disqualify one of the women who may marry into the priesthood through the rite of chalitzah.27

י

הָיוּ בִּיבָמוֹת אֵלּוּ כְּשֵׁרוֹת לִכְהֻנָּה וּפְסוּלוֹת. אִם הָיָה מְיַבֵּם מְיַבֵּם לְאֵי זוֹ שֶׁיִּרְצֶה. וְאִם הָיָה חוֹלֵץ יַחֲלֹץ לַפְּסוּלָה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִפְסל אֶת הַכְּשֵׁרָה לִכְהֻנָּה בַּחֲלִיצָה:

11

[The following rules apply if] many [of a man's] brothers die and he [becomes obligated to perform the rite of yibbum or chalitzah] to [all] their wives: If it is possible for him to perform the rite of yibbum with all of them,28 he should. If not, he may perform chalitzah with all of them, or perform chalitzah with whomever he desires, or perform yibbum with whomever he desires, [choosing one of the widows] from each [of his deceased brother's] households.

יא

מֵתוּ לוֹ אַחִין רַבִּים וְנָפְלוּ נְשׁוֹתֵיהֶן לְפָנָיו. אִם אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לְיַבֵּם אֶת כֻּלָּן מְיַבֵּם וְאִם לָאו חוֹלֵץ. אוֹ חוֹלֵץ לְמִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה מֵהֶן וּמְיַבֵּם לְמִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה אַחַת מִכָּל בַּיִת וּבַיִת:

12

When [a yavam] marries a yevamah, all the other widows from that household become forbidden to him and to his other brothers. If he or his other brothers have relations with one of the other widows, they transgress a positive commandment, for [Deuteronomy 25:9] states: "Her yavam will engage in relations with her." [This is interpreted to mean:] With her, and not with another woman from that household. A prohibition stemming from a positive commandment is considered to be a positive commandment.29

Similarly, when [one of the brothers] performs chalitzah with his yevamah, the woman with whom chalitzah was performed and all the other widows from that household become forbidden to [the brother who] performed chalitzah and to the other brothers. They are all forbidden to the brothers by Rabbinic decree,30 sharing the status of sh'niyot.31 [This is the only prohibition involved,] for since their brother died childless, the severe prohibition against sexual relations (issur ervah) is removed. Therefore, [if one of the brothers consecrates such a woman,] the consecration is binding, as it would be if he consecrated one of the sh'niyot.

יב

הַכּוֹנֵס אֶת יְבִמְתּוֹ נֶאֶסְרוּ צָרוֹתֶיהָ עָלָיו וְעַל שְׁאָר הָאַחִין וְאִם בָּא הוּא אוֹ אֶחָד מֵהָאַחִין עַל צָרָתָהּ הֲרֵי זֶה עוֹבֵר בַּעֲשֵׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כה ה) ״יְבָמָהּ יָבֹא עָלֶיהָ״‎‎ וְלֹא עָלֶיהָ וְעַל צָרָתָהּ וְלָאו הַבָּא מִכְּלַל עֲשֵׂה עֲשֵׂה. וְכֵן הַחוֹלֵץ לִיבִמְתּוֹ נֶאֶסְרָה הַחֲלוּצָה הִיא וְכָל צָרוֹתֶיהָ עַל הַחוֹלֵץ וְעַל שְׁאָר אַחִין. וְכֻלָּן אֲסוּרוֹת עֲלֵיהֶן מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים כִּשְׁנִיּוֹת. שֶׁמֵּאַחַר שֶׁמֵּת אָחִיו בְּלֹא וָלָד נִסְתַּלֵּק אִסּוּר עֶרְוָה מֵעַל כָּל נָשָׁיו לְפִיכָךְ תּוֹפְסִין בָּהֶן הַקִּדּוּשִׁין כִּשְׁנִיּוֹת:

13

When a person performs the rite of chalitzah with his yevamah, not only does she become forbidden to him, but her relatives32 - e.g., her mother and her daughter - also become forbidden. Similarly, she is forbidden to marry his son and his brother.33 Even the sh'niyot - e.g., her daughter's granddaughter - related to her are forbidden to him, and she is forbidden to his son's grandson. To summarize: Her status is like that of a divorced wife.

Similarly, if his yevamah dies while she is still under obligation to him,34 he is forbidden to marry these relatives of hers, as if she were his wife and she died in his lifetime.35 All these prohibitions are of Rabbinic origin.

[If the deceased had two wives, his brother] may marry the sister of the wife with whom he did not perform the rite of chalitzah, or any other of her relatives.36

יג

הַחוֹלֵץ לִיבִמְתּוֹ כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהִיא אֲסוּרָה עָלָיו כָּךְ קְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ אֲסוּרוֹת עָלָיו. כְּגוֹן אִמָּהּ וּבִתָּהּ. וְכֵן הִיא אֲסוּרָה לִבְנוֹ וּלְאֶחָיו. וַאֲפִלּוּ שְׁנִיּוֹת שֶׁלָּהּ אֲסוּרוֹת כְּגוֹן בַּת בַּת בִּתָּהּ. וְכֵן הִיא אֲסוּרָה לְבֶן בֶּן בְּנוֹ. כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר הֲרֵי הִיא כְּאִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁגֵּרְשָׁהּ. וְכֵן אִם מֵתָה יְבִמְתּוֹ וַעֲדַיִן הִיא זְקוּקָה לוֹ אָסוּר בִּקְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ כְּאִלּוּ הָיְתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ וּמֵתָה תַּחְתָּיו. וְכָל הָאִסּוּרִין הָאֵלּוּ מִדִּבְרֵיהֶן. וּמֻתָּר אָדָם לִשָּׂא אֲחוֹת צָרַת חֲלוּצָתוֹ וּשְׁאָר קְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ:

14

It is forbidden for a man to marry a close relative of a woman with whom he is obligated to perform either yibbum or chalitzah - e.g., her mother or her daughter - until one of his brothers performs yibbum with the woman who is obligated, or performs chalitzah with her to free her of her obligation.37

Afterwards, [the other brother] may marry the woman's mother, daughter, or any of her other relatives, despite the fact that these relatives are all forbidden to the brother who performed either yibbum or chalitzah, as explained [in the previous halachah].

יד

אָסוּר לְיָבָם לִשָּׂא קְרוֹבַת זְקוּקָתוֹ כְּגוֹן אִמָּהּ אוֹ בִּתָּהּ עַד שֶׁיְּיַבֵּם אֶחָד מֵאֶחָיו לָהּ אוֹ יַחֲלֹץ לָהּ וְתָסוּר זִקָּתוֹ מֵעָלֶיהָ וְיִשָּׂא אִמָּהּ אוֹ בִּתָּהּ אוֹ שְׁאָר קְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן כֻּלָּן אֲסוּרוֹת עַל אָחִיו שֶׁחָלַץ אוֹ יִבֵּם כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

15

When a man marries his yevamah and then divorces her, he may remarry her if he so desires. She is considered to be his wife with regard to all matters. There remains no trace of the prohibition [that existed when she was] his brother's [wife], neither from Scriptural law nor from Rabbinic law.38

טו

הַכּוֹנֵס אֶת יְבִמְתּוֹ וְגֵרְשָׁהּ אִם רָצָה לְהַחֲזִיר יַחֲזִיר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא אִשְׁתּוֹ לְכָל דָּבָר וְלֹא נִשְׁאַר עָלֶיהָ שֵׁם אִסּוּר מִפְּנֵי אָחִיו כְּלָל לֹא מִדִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה וְלֹא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים:

16

As explained in Hilchot Ishut,39 the sexual relations in which a boy of nine years and one day engages are halachically significant. This is a law received through the Oral Tradition.

Accordingly, when a yavam who is below the age of majority, but over the age of nine, engages in sexual relations with his yevamah, he should maintain [his bond with her].40 He may not, however, perform the rite of chalitzah until he attains the age of majority and is inspected [for signs of physical maturity].41 For with regard to chalitzah, the term ish ("man") is specifically mentioned in the Torah.42

If [a yavam] is below this age, sexual relations in which he engages are of no halachic significance. [Moreover,] even the sexual relations in which a nine-year-old engages do not acquire [the yevamah for him in a manner that is] binding [entirely].43 Therefore, his yevamah is not permitted to marry another man until he engages in relations with her after he attains majority [and divorces her], or performs the rite of chalitzah [at that age], as will be explained.44

טז

כְּבָר בֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת אִישׁוּת שֶׁבֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד בִּיאָתוֹ בִּיאָה וְדָבָר זֶה הֲלָכָה מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה. לְפִיכָךְ יָבָם קָטָן שֶׁבָּא עַל יְבִמְתּוֹ אִם הָיָה בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד יְקַיֵּם. אֲבָל אֵינוֹ חוֹלֵץ עַד שֶׁיִּגְדַּל וְיִבָּדֵק שֶׁהֲרֵי (דברים כה ז) ״אִישׁ״‎‎ כָּתוּב בַּפָּרָשָׁה לְעִנְיַן חֲלִיצָה. וְאִם הָיָה פָּחוֹת מִזֶּה אֵין בִּיאָתוֹ בִּיאָה. וּבִיאַת בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים אֵינָהּ קוֹנָה קִנְיָן גָּמוּר. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין יְבִמְתּוֹ נִתֶּרֶת לְזָר עַד שֶׁיָּבוֹא עָלֶיהָ אַחַר שֶׁיִּגְדַּל אוֹ עַד שֶׁתַּחֲלֹץ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר:

17

Similarly, with regard to a yevamah who is below the age of majority: If her yavam desires to perform the rite of yibbum with her, he may.45 He may not, however, perform the rite of chalitzah with her until she attains the age of majority and is inspected [for physical signs of maturity]. Even if she engaged in sexual relations after she became twelve years old,46 she may not perform the rite of chalitzah until she undergoes an inspection and manifests signs of physical maturity.

יז

וְכֵן הַיְבָמָה הַקְּטַנָּה אִם רָצָה הַיָּבָם לְיַבֵּם אוֹתָהּ מְיַבֵּם אֲבָל אֵינָהּ חוֹלֶצֶת עַד שֶׁתַּגְדִּיל וְתִבָּדֵק. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִבְעֲלָה אַחַר י״‎ב שָׁנָה אֵינָהּ חוֹלֶצֶת עַד שֶׁתִּבְדֹּק וְיִמְצְאוּ בָּהּ הַסִּימָנִין:

18

Just as a yavam may not perform chalitzah until he attains manhood, so too, a yevamah may not perform chalitzah until she attains womanhood.47

When a yavam who is below the age of majority engages in sexual relations with a yevamah who is also below the age of majority, they should grow up together.

יח

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֵין הַיָּבָם חוֹלֵץ עַד שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה אִישׁ כָּךְ אֵין הַיְבָמָה חוֹלֶצֶת עַד שֶׁתֵּעָשֶׂה אִשָּׁה גְּדוֹלָה. וְיָבָם קָטָן שֶׁבָּא עַל יְבָמָה קְטַנָּה יִגְדְּלוּ זֶה עִם זֶה:

19

As all other women,48 a yevamah should not perform either yibbum or chalitzah until she waits a 90-day interval. [These 90 days] do not include the day of her previous husband's death or the day of yibbum or chalitzah.

Why may she not perform chalitzah within these 90 days?49 Because she is not fit to perform yibbum [at that time]. [Deuteronomy 25:7-9] states: "And if the man does not desire to take his yevamah,... she should remove his shoe" [establishing an equivalence between these two rites]. [Thus,] when she is fit to perform yibbum, she is fit to perform chalitzah. And when she is not fit to perform yibbum, she is not fit to perform chalitzah.50

Should [a brother] perform yibbum or chalitzah with her within these three months, since she is not pregnant, she has discharged her obligation and need not perform any further activity.51

יט

הַיְבָמָה לֹא תִּתְיַבֵּם וְלֹא תַּחֲלֹץ עַד שֶׁתַּמְתִּין תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם חוּץ מִיּוֹם הַמִּיתָה וּמִיּוֹם הַיִּבּוּם וּמִיּוֹם הַחֲלִיצָה כִּשְׁאָר כָּל הַנָּשִׁים. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה לֹא תַּחֲלֹץ בְּתוֹךְ תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָהּ רְאוּיָה לְיִבּוּם וְנֶאֱמַר (דברים כה ז) ״אִם לֹא יַחְפֹּץ הָאִישׁ לָקַחַת אֶת יְבִמְתּוֹ״‎‎ (דברים כה ט) ״וְחָלְצָה נַעֲלוֹ״‎‎ וְגוֹ' בְּעֵת שֶׁהִיא עוֹלָה לְיִבּוּם עוֹלָה לַחֲלִיצָה וְכָל זְמַן שֶׁאֵינָהּ עוֹלָה לְיִבּוּם אֵינָהּ עוֹלָה לַחֲלִיצָה. וְאִם יִבֵּם אוֹתָהּ אוֹ חָלַץ בְּתוֹךְ הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה חֳדָשִׁים הוֹאִיל וְאֵינָהּ מְעֵבֶּרֶת הֲרֵי זוֹ נִפְטְרָה וְאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה כְּלוּם:

20

[The following rules apply when a brother] performs chalitzah with his yevamah, and afterwards it is discovered that she is pregnant: If she gives birth and the child is viable, it is considered as if she had never performed chalitzah. She is permitted to [marry into the] priesthood, and [the brother who performed chalitzah with her] is permitted [to marry] her relatives.

If the woman miscarries, or if the child who is born does not live for 30 days after being born, this - or another - brother52 should perform chalitzah with her again. For chalitzah performed with a pregnant woman is not considered chalitzah,53 nor are relations with a pregnant woman considered yibbum.

כ

הַחוֹלֵץ לִיבִמְתּוֹ וְנִמְצֵאת מְעֻבֶּרֶת וְיָלְדָה. אִם הָיָה וָלָד שֶׁל קַיָּמָא הֲרֵי זוֹ כְּמִי שֶׁלֹּא נֶחְלְצָה לוֹ מֵעוֹלָם וּמֻתֶּרֶת לִכְהֻנָּה וּמֻתָּר בִּקְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ. וְאִם הִפִּילָה אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא שָׁהָה שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אַחַר שֶׁנּוֹלַד חוֹזֵר וְחוֹלֵץ לָהּ הוּא אוֹ אֶחָד מֵאֶחָיו. שֶׁחֲלִיצַת הַמְעֻבֶּרֶת אֵינָהּ חֲלִיצָה וּבִיאַת הַמְעֻבֶּרֶת אֵינָהּ יִבּוּם:

21

Therefore, when [a man] marries or performs chalitzah with his yevamah who is pregnant, another woman who was married to the deceased husband should not remarry until this woman gives birth. For a child does not remove [the obligation of yibbum] until it emerges into the world.54

כא

לְפִיכָךְ הַכּוֹנֵס אוֹ הַחוֹלֵץ לִיבִמְתּוֹ הַמְעֻבֶּרֶת לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא צָרָתָהּ עַד שֶׁתֵּלֵד זוֹ. שֶׁאֵין הַוָּלָד מַתִּיר עַד שֶׁיֵּצֵא לַאֲוִיר הָעוֹלָם:

22

[The following laws apply when a yavam] marries his yevamah, and then she is discovered to be pregnant. They should be separated [immediately],55 and we wait [to see the results of] her pregnancy. If she miscarries, he should maintain her as his wife.56

If she gives birth [different rules apply]: If the child dies, even on the day it was born, the yavam should divorce her, [give her] a get and perform chalitzah with her.57 [Only] then, is she permitted to marry another man. If the child lives for 30 days after its birth,58 [the child] is considered to be viable, and there is no need for a divorce, for [relations between the two are forbidden by] a severe prohibition].59

כב

הַכּוֹנֵס אֶת יְבִמְתּוֹ וְנִמְצֵאת מְעֻבֶּרֶת מַפְרִישִׁין אוֹתָן וּמַמְתִּינִין לָהּ. אִם הִפִּילָה יַחֲזֹר וִיקַיֵּם. וְאִם יָלְדָה אֲפִלּוּ מֵת בַּיּוֹם שֶׁנּוֹלַד הֲרֵי זֶה מוֹצִיאָהּ בְּגֵט וְחוֹלֵץ לָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ תִּהְיֶה מֻתֶּרֶת לַאֲחֵרִים. וְאִם נִתְקַיֵּם הַוָּלָד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם אַחַר שֶׁנּוֹלַד הֲרֵי זֶה וָלָד שֶׁל קַיָּמָא וְאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה מִמֶּנּוּ גֵּט מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא עֶרְוָה עָלָיו:

23

If she gives birth to a viable child six months after she performed yibbum, there is a doubt whether this child is the son of her first husband and was born after a nine-month pregnancy, or is the son of her [yavam] and was born after a six-month pregnancy. Therefore, [the yavam] should divorce his wife, giving her a get. The child is not, however, considered illegitimate.60

If [the yavam] has relations with her after she gives birth, the children that are born afterwards are considered to be of doubtful legitimacy.61

כג

יָלְדָה לְאַחַר שִׁשָּׁה חֳדָשִׁים מִשֶּׁנִּתְיַבְּמָה וָלָד שֶׁל קַיָּמָא הֲרֵי זֶה הַוָּלָד סָפֵק אִם בֶּן תִּשְׁעָה לָרִאשׁוֹן אִם בֶּן שִׁבְעָה לָאַחֲרוֹן לְפִיכָךְ יוֹצִיא בְּגֵט וְהַוָּלָד כָּשֵׁר. וְאִם בָּא עָלֶיהָ אַחַר שֶׁיָּלְדָה הַבָּנִים שֶׁיָּבֹאוּ אַחֲרָיו סָפֵק מַמְזֵרִים: