1

[The following rules apply when a man] consecrates one of two sisters, but does not know which one he has consecrated1 and then dies [childless]. If he has one brother, [the brother] should perform chalitzah with both of them to enable them to marry other men.

If he has two brothers, one of them should first perform chalitzah with one of [the sisters], and the other should perform yibbum with the other one2 [because of the following rationale]: If this was the woman consecrated by his brother, he performed yibbum with her. If she is not his brother's wife, he has married a woman [permitted to him] like any other woman, and chalitzah has already been performed for her sister, his brother's wife.

One should not perform yibbum with one of the women first, for perhaps the other was in fact his brother's wife, and he will have married a relative of the woman who is obligated [to perform yibbum with] him.3 If, without asking Rabbinic advice,4 each of the brothers married one of the sisters, they are not forced to dissolve the marriage.5

א

מי שקידש אחת מב' אחיות ואין ידוע אי זה מהן קידש ומת ולו אח. אחד חולץ לשתיהן כדי להתירן לאחרים. היו לו ב' אחין אחד חולץ לאחת מהן בתחלה והשני מייבם לשנייה על כל פנים. אם זו היא שקידש אחיו הרי יבם אותה. ואם אינה אשת אחיו הרי נשא אשה משאר הנשים ואחותה שהיתה אשת אחיו כבר נחלצה. אבל לא ייבם האחת תחלה שמא האחרת היא אשת אחיו ונמצא שנשא קרובת זקוקתו. קדמו שני האחים וכנסו שתי היבמות אין מוציאין אותן מידן:

2

[The following rule applies when] two [men who are not related,] each having one brother, consecrate two sisters, neither of the men knows which [sister] he consecrated, and they both die [childless]. Each [brother] should perform chalitzah with each of the sisters.6

[In the above situation, if] one of the deceased has one brother, and the other has two brothers, the one brother should perform chalitzah with both women first, and then one of the two brothers should perform chalitzah [with one woman] first, and the second one [should perform yibbum with the other].7 If, [without asking Rabbinic advice, each of the brothers] married [one of the sisters], they are not forced to dissolve the marriage.

[The above applies] even if the brothers were priests. [Although] there is a Rabbinic prohibition against a priest marrying a woman who performed chalitzah, the chalitzah performed by this woman was performed because of doubt, and [our Sages] did not enforce a decree with regard to a chalitzah performed because of doubt.8

ב

שנים שקדשו שתי אחיות. זה אינו יודע אי זו קידש וזה אינו יודע אי זו קידש ומתו שניהן לזה אח ולזה אח זה חולץ לשתיהן וזה חולץ לשתיהן. לזה אח אחד ולזה שנים. היחידי חולץ לשתיהן בתחלה והשנים אחד חולץ ראשונה והשני מייבם. ואם קדמו וכנסו אין מוציאין מידן. ואפילו היו כהנים שהחליצה שחלץ היחידי מספק חלץ והחלוצה אסורה לכהן מדברי סופרים ובספק חלוצה לא גזרו:

3

In the above instance,] if both of the deceased had two brothers, one of one pair of brothers should perform chalitzah with one of the sisters, and one of the other pair of brothers should perform chalitzah with the other sister. Afterwards, the other brother from the first pair should perform yibbum with the sister with whom the brother from the other pair performed chalitzah, and the other brother from the second pair should perform yibbum with the sister with whom the brother from the first pair performed chalitzah.9

If both [brothers from one pair each] performed chalitzah with [one of the sisters] first, the brothers from the other pair should not both perform yibbum.10 Instead, one should perform chalitzah [with one of the sisters] first, and then his brother should perform yibbum with the other. If, without asking Rabbinic advice, each of the brothers married one of the sisters, they are not forced to dissolve the marriage.

ג

היו לזה שני אחין ולזה שני אחין. אחיו של זה חולץ לאחת ואחיו של זה חולץ לאחרת. ואח"כ האח השני של זה מייבם חלוצתו של זה. והאח השני של זה מייבם חלוצתו של זה. קדמו שניהן וחלצו לשתיהן לא ייבמו שני האחין האחרים. אלא אחד חולץ בתחלה ואחיו מייבם לשניה ואם קדמו וכנסו אין מוציאין מידן:

4

[The following situation gives rise to several halachic questions:] A woman had sons, and one of her daughters-in-law also had sons. Both the woman and her daughter-in-law became pregnant and they gave birth in the same hiding place. [There was a disturbance] and the identity of the two children became confused [and it was not known who was the son of the mother, and who, the son of the daughter-in-law].

The two sons grew up and married and then died [childless]. How are their wives freed to marry others?11

First, [one of] the sons of the daughter-in-law should perform chalitzah with [both women]; he should not perform yibbum. [The rationale is that] there is a doubt regarding the identity of each of the women. It is possible that she is the wife of his brother and thus permitted to him, but it is also possible that she is the wife of his father's brother and thus forbidden to him as an ervah.

Afterwards,] the sons of the elder woman may perform either chalitzah or yibbum. [With regard to each of the women, the same question applies:] If she is his brother's wife, he is performing yibbum. And if she is the wife of his brother's son, she is permitted to marry him, because she has already performed chalitzah.

ד

האשה שהיו לה בנים והיו לכלתה בנים ונתעברה האשה ונתעברה כלתה וילדו שתיהן במחבואה אחת ונתערבו שני הילדים והגדילו התערובות ונשאו נשים ומתו כיצד הן ניתרות. בני הכלה חולצין לשתיהן תחלה ולא מייבמין שכל אחת מהן ספק שהיא אשת אחיו ותהיה מותרת לו. ספק שהיא אשת אחי אביו והיא ערוה עליו. אבל בני הזקנה או חולצין או מייבמין. שאם היא זו אשת אחיו הרי יבמה. ואם היא אשת בן אחיו מותרת להנשא לו שכבר נחלצה:

5

[In the above situation, the following procedure should be carried out if] the sons of the elder woman and her daughter-in-law whose identities had been established died [childless], and the two sons whose identities were confused were alive.

The sons whose identities were confused should perform chalitzah with the wives of the elder woman's sons; they may not perform yibbum. [The rationale is that] there is a doubt whether [each woman] is the wife of his father's brother and thus forbidden to him as an ervah, or the wife of his brother and thus permitted to her yavam.

With regard to the wives of the sons of the daughter-in-law: First, one should perform chalitzah and the other should perform yibbum. The rationale is that if the son of the daughter-in-law was the one who performed chalitzah first, he performed chalitzah with his brother's wife. The second one of those whose identities were confused was the son of the elder woman. He is permitted to marry the wife of his brother's son after her yavam performed chalitzah with her.

If it was the son of the elder woman who performed chalitzah first, he performed chalitzah with the wife of his brother's son, and his deed is of no consequence. The second one of those whose identities were confused was the son of the daughter-in-law, and he performed yibbum with his brother's wife.

ה

מתו הבנים הידועים של זקנה ושל כלתה והרי בני התערובות קיימין. בני התערובות לנשי בני הזקנה חולצין ולא מייבמין שהיא ספק אשת אחי אביו שהיא ערוה עליו. ספק אשת אחיו שהיא מותרת ליבמה. ולנשי בני הכלה אחד חולץ בתחלה ואחד מייבם על כל פנים. אם בן הכלה הוא שחלץ תחלה הרי חלץ אשת אחיו והשני מן התערובות הוא בן הזקנה ומותר לו לישא אשת בן אחיו אחר שנחלצה מיבמה. ואם זה שחלץ תחלה הוא בן הזקנה הרי חלץ לאשת בן אחיו ולא עשה כלום והשני מן התערובות הוא בן הכלה והרי יבם אשת אחיו:

6

[The following rules apply with regard to] a woman who did not wait three months after the death of her husband [before] remarrying].12 She remarried and gave birth, and it is not known whether the child she bore was fathered by the first husband and was born after a full term pregnancy, or whether it was fathered by the second husband and was born after a seven-month pregnancy.13

If the woman bore other children to both her first and second husbands, and then this son whose [father's identity] is in doubt dies [childless], both the sons of the first husband and the sons of the second husband should perform chalitzah with [the deceased's] wife, but they should not perform yibbum.

[The rationale is that the obligation for] each of them to perform yibbum is doubtful, for perhaps he is not the paternal brother [of the deceased]. And he is definitely a maternal brother [of the deceased], and the wife of a maternal brother is always forbidden as an ervah. For this same [reason], the son whose [father's identity] is in doubt should perform chalitzah with any of the wives of [his other brothers], but should not perform yibbum.

ו

מי שלא שהתה אחר מיתת בעלה שלשה חדשים ונשאת וילדה ואין ידוע אם בן תשעה לראשון אם בן שבעה לאחרון. והיו לה בנים מן הראשון ומן השני. אם מת זה הבן הספק. בני הראשון ובני השני חולצין לאשתו ולא מייבמין. שכל אחד מהן שיבא לייבם שמא אינו אחיו מאביו והרי הוא אחיו מאמו בודאי ואשת אחיו מאמו אסורה עליו לעולם משום ערוה. וכן זה הבן הספק חולץ לנשותיהן ולא מייבם:

7

If both this woman's first and second husbands had fathered another son14 with another wife, and one of these other sons died [childless], the son whose [father's identity] is in doubt may perform either chalitzah or yibbum with the wife of the deceased. [The rationale is] that if [the deceased] was his paternal brother, then he has performed yibbum. And if he was not his paternal brother, then they have no family connection at all, and he is permitted to marry [the deceased's] wife.

ז

היה בן לראשון ובן לשני שלא מאשה זו שנשאת בתוך זמן ומת אחד מהן. הרי הבן הספק חולץ לאשת זה שמת או מייבם. שאם אחיו מאביו הוא הרי יבם את אשתו ואם אינו אחיו מאביו הרי אין ביניהן אחוה כלל לפיכך מותר לו לישא את אשתו:

8

[In the above situation,] if the son whose [father's identity] is in doubt dies [childless], one of the two sons whose [father's identity] is known should first perform chalitzah with his wife, and afterwards the second should perform yibbum.15

[The rationale is that if the deceased] was his brother, then he has performed yibbum. And if he is not his brother, but rather the son of the other father, his wife has already performed chalitzah with her husband's brother [and is permitted to remarry].

ח

מת הבן הספק אחד משני הבנים הודאין חולץ לאשתו תחלה והשני מייבם על כל פנים. אם אחיו הוא הרי יבם את אשתו. ואם אינו אחיו והוא בן האב האחר הרי נחלצה מאחי בעלה:

9

[The following rules apply when] a woman's husband traveled to another country, his wife heard that he died and [on this basis] married another man, and then her first husband returned. If both husbands die [childless],16 and they both have brothers, one of each husband's brothers should perform chalitzah, but not yibbum.17

ט

מי שהלך בעלה למדינה אחרת ושמעה שמת ונשאת ואח"כ בא הבעל הראשון ומתו שניהן ולזה אחין ולזה אחין. אחיו של זה ואחיו של זה חולצין ולא מייבמין:

10

[The following rules apply when there were] five women who each had a son whose identity had been established, and then the five women all gave birth together in a hiding place to five other sons, and the identities of the second group of sons became confused to the extent that it was not known who gave birth to whom. The sons whose identity became confused matured and married, and then these five men died [childless] and their five wives fell before the wives of the sons whose identity was known, but none of these sons knows who is the wife of his brother.

What must be done [so that these women can remarry]? Four [of the sons whose identity was known] perform chalitzah for one of the wives first, and the fifth son should marry her after she has performed chalitzah four times.

י

חמש נשים שהיה לכל אחת מהן בן ידוע ונתערבו חמשתן וילדו כאחד במחבואה אחת חמשה בנים אחרים ונתערבו הילדים והגדילו התערובות ונשאו נשים ומתו חמשה האנשים ונפלו חמש הנשים לפני חמשה הבנים הודאין שאין אחד מהן יודע אי זו היא אשת אחיו כיצד תקנתן. ארבע מהן חולצין לאחת תחלה והחמישי ישא זו שנחלצה ארבע חליצות על כל פנים:

11

What is implied? If the woman was his brother's wife, he has performed yibbum. And if she is not his brother's wife, she is the wife of the brother of one of the other four, and they all performed chalitzah with her first.

Similarly, the second woman should have four [of the sons whose identity was known] - including the one who married the first [of the widows]18 - perform chalitzah with her, and the fifth one should marry her. [This process should be continued] until the five sons have married the five [widows] after each one performed chalitzah four times earlier.

יא

כיצד אם אשת אחיו היא הרי יבם אותה. ואם אינה אשת אחיו הרי היא אשת אח אחד מארבעה והרי חלצו לה ארבעתן תחלה. וכן השנייה חולצין לה ארבעה והאחד מן הארבעה יהיה זה שנשא הראשונה והחמישי ישאנה. עד שנמצאו הבנים החמשה נשאו החמש נשים אחר שנחלצה כל אחת מהן ארבע חליצות:

12

When dealing with questionable situations of this nature, one should always have these principles at hand: When there is a doubt whether a woman is required to perform chalitzah with a particular man or not, she is not permitted to marry another man until that [first] man performs chalitzah with her.

Whenever there is a doubt whether a woman is forbidden to engage in relations with a man - whether because of a Scriptural prohibition or a Rabbinic prohibition - she should not perform yibbum with him.

Whenever a woman has performed a "superior chalitzah"19 or "acceptable relations,"20 another woman who was married to the same husband is permitted to marry another man.

יב

ולעולם הזהר בכל הספיקות הללו בעיקרים אלו. שכל מי שנסתפק לך שמא בת חליצה היא לאיש זה או אינה צריכה לחליצה ממנו. אינה נתרת להנשא לזר עד שיחלוץ לה אותו האיש. וכל מי שיסתפק לך שמא ביאתה אסורה על איש זה בין מדברי תורה בין מד"ס אינה מתייבמת לו. וכל שנחלצה חליצה מעולה או נבעלה בעילה כשרה הותרה צרתה לזר:

13

Following the above patterns, you will be able to understand and rule with regard to any questionable situations that will arise with regard to yibbum and chalitzah. For we have explained all the fundamental principles on which one should rely. You will know who should perform chalitzah, who should perform yibbum, who is not obligated to perform chalitzah or yibbum and who is fit to perform yibbum.

With God's help, this concludes "The Laws of Yibbum and Chalitzah."

יג

ועל דרך זו תבין ותורה בכל הספיקות שיארעו לענין יבום וחליצה שהרי ביארנו כל העיקרין שעליהן תסמוך ותדע מי הוא שחולץ ומי הוא שמייבם ומי היא הפטורה מן החליצה ומן היבום ומי היא הראוייה לייבם: