The [following] four women: the wife of a man's father, the wife of his son, the wife of his brother, and the wife of the brother of his father, are considered an ervah1 for him forever, whether after consecration or after marriage, in the lifetime of their husbands or after their deaths, [even] if they were divorced - with the exception of the wife of one's brother who did not leave a son.2

If a man engages in relations with one of these woman during the lifetime of their husbands, he is liable for two [sin-offerings3]: for incestuous relations and adulterous relations, for both of these prohibitions take effect at the same time.4


אֵשֶׁת אָבִיו וְאֵשֶׁת בְּנוֹ וְאֵשֶׁת אָחִיו וְאֵשֶׁת אֲחִי אָבִיו אַרְבַּעְתָּן עֶרְוָה עָלָיו לְעוֹלָם. בֵּין מִן הָאֵרוּסִין בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין. בֵּין שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשׁוּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא נִתְגָּרְשׁוּ. בֵּין בְּחַיֵּי בַּעְלֵיהֶן בֵּין אַחַר מִיתַת בַּעְלֵיהֶן. חוּץ מֵאֵשֶׁת אָחִיו שֶׁלֹּא הִנִּיחַ בֵּן. וְאִם בָּא עַל אַחַת מֵהֶן בְּחַיֵּי בַּעְלָהּ חַיָּב שְׁתַּיִם. מִשּׁוּם שְׁאֵר בָּשָׂר וּמִשּׁוּם אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ. שֶׁהֲרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶן הָאִסּוּרִין בָּאִין כְּאֶחָד:


Therefore a person who engages in relations with his mother who is his father's wife is liable for two [sin-offerings], one because [the woman is] his mother and one because she is his father's wife. [This applies] both during his father's lifetime and after his father's death.5

The wives of both a person's paternal brother and his maternal brother are considered an ervah for him. [This applies regardless if he and/or his brother were conceived] in marriage or in a promiscuous relationship.6 The wife of the maternal brother of a man's father is, however, forbidden [only] as a shniyah, as explained.7 Both a person's paternal sister and his maternal sister are considered an ervah for him. [This applies regardless if he and/or his sister were conceived] in marriage or in a promiscuous relationship, e.g., his mother or his father acted promiscuously with others and his sister was conceived promiscuously, as [implied by Leviticus 18:9]: "one born at home or one born beyond [marriage]."


לְפִיכָךְ הַבָּא עַל אִמּוֹ שֶׁהִיא אֵשֶׁת אָבִיו חַיָּב שְׁתַּיִם. בֵּין בְּחַיֵּי אָבִיו בֵּין לְאַחַר מִיתַת אָבִיו. אַחַת מִשּׁוּם אִמּוֹ וְאַחַת מִשּׁוּם אֵשֶׁת אָבִיו. אֶחָד אָחִיו מֵאָבִיו אוֹ אָחִיו מֵאִמּוֹ. בֵּין מִנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִזְּנוּת. אִשְׁתּוֹ עֶרְוָה עָלָיו. אֲבָל אֵשֶׁת אֲחִי אָבִיו מִן הָאֵם הֲרֵי הִיא שְׁנִיָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְאֶחָד אֲחוֹתוֹ מֵאָבִיו אוֹ מֵאִמּוֹ. בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִזְּנוּת. כְּגוֹן שֶׁזָּנְתָה אִמּוֹ אוֹ אָבִיו עִם אֲחֵרִים וְהָיְתָה לוֹ אָחוֹת מִזְּנוּת. הֲרֵי זוֹ עֶרְוָה עָלָיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יח ט) "מוֹלֶדֶת בַּיִת אוֹ מוֹלֶדֶת חוּץ":


The daughter of his father's wife who is his paternal sister is an ervah for him, [as ibid.:11] states: "the nakedness of the daughter of your father's wife, your father's offspring." If, however, a man's father marries a woman and she has a daughter from another man, that daughter is permitted to him.8 She is not "your father's offspring." Behold one is already liable for [relations] with her because she is a sister, why then [does the Torah mention]: "the daughter of your father's wife"? So that one should be liable for this prohibition as well.9


בַּת אֵשֶׁת אָבִיו שֶׁהִיא אֲחוֹתוֹ מֵאָבִיו הֲרֵי הִיא עֶרְוָה עָלָיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יח יא) "עֶרְוַת בַּת אֵשֶׁת אָבִיךָ מוֹלֶדֶת אָבִיךָ". אֲבָל אִם נָשָׂא אָבִיו אִשָּׁה וְיֵשׁ לָהּ בַּת מֵאִישׁ אַחֵר אוֹתָהּ הַבַּת מֻתֶּרֶת לוֹ שֶׁאֵין זוֹ מוֹלֶדֶת אָבִיו. וַהֲלֹא מִשּׁוּם אֲחוֹתוֹ חַיָּב עָלֶיהָ וְלָמָּה נֶאֱמַר (ויקרא יח יא) "בַּת אֵשֶׁת אָבִיךָ" לְחַיֵּב עָלֶיהָ אַף מִשּׁוּם זֶה:


Therefore a man who engages in relations with his sister who was born to his father's wife in marriage is liable for two [sin offerings]: one because of "the nakedness of your sister" and one because of "the nakedness of the daughter of your father's wife." If, however, one's father raped or seduced a woman and conceived a daughter, one is liable only for having relations with one's sister. For the daughter of the woman who was raped is not the daughter of the wife of one's father.10


לְפִיכָךְ הַבָּא עַל אֲחוֹתוֹ שֶׁהִיא בַּת נְשׂוּאַת אָבִיו חַיָּב שְׁתַּיִם. אַחַת מִשּׁוּם (ויקרא יח ט) "עֶרְוַת אֲחוֹתְךָ" וְאַחַת מִשּׁוּם (ויקרא יח יא) "עֶרְוַת בַּת אֵשֶׁת אָבִיךָ". אֲבָל אִם אָנַס אָבִיו אִשָּׁה אוֹ פִּתָּה אוֹתָהּ וְהוֹלִיד מִמֶּנָּה בַּת וּבָא עָלֶיהָ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם אֲחוֹתוֹ בִּלְבַד. שֶׁאֵין בַּת הָאֲנוּסָה בַּת אֵשֶׁת אָבִיו:


The sister of his mother is considered an ervah for him. [This applies to both her paternal and maternal sister and applies regardless whether she [was conceived] in marriage or in a promiscuous relationship. Similarly, his father's sister - both his paternal and maternal sister, whether she [was conceived] in marriage or in a promiscuous relationship - is considered an ervah for him.


אֲחוֹת אִמּוֹ בֵּין אֲחוֹתָהּ מֵאָבִיהָ בֵּין אֲחוֹתָהּ מֵאִמָּהּ בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִזְּנוּת הֲרֵי זוֹ עֶרְוָה עָלָיו מִשּׁוּם אֲחוֹת אֵם. וְכֵן אֲחוֹת הָאָב בֵּין מִן הָאֵם בֵּין מִן הָאָב בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִזְּנוּת הֲרֵי זוֹ עֶרְוָה עָלָיו מִשּׁוּם אֲחוֹת אָב:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


When a person has promiscuous relations with a woman and conceives a daughter with her, that daughter is considered an ervah for him.11 Although the Torah does not state: "Do not reveal the nakedness of your daughter," the prohibition is of Scriptural origin. Since [the Torah] forbade [relations] with the daughter of one's daughter, it did not mention [the prohibition against] one's daughter. This is not from the words of our Sages.12 Therefore a person who has relations with a daughter born of his wife is liable for two [sin offerings],13 for [relations with] his daughter and for relations with a woman and her daughter.14


הַבָּא עַל אִשָּׁה דֶּרֶךְ זְנוּת וְהוֹלִיד מִמֶּנָּה בַּת אוֹתָהּ הַבַּת עֶרְוָה עָלָיו מִשּׁוּם בִּתּוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נֶאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה עֶרְוַת בִּתְּךָ לֹא תְּגַלֶּה מֵאַחַר שֶׁאָסַר בַּת הַבַּת שָׁתַק מִן הַבַּת וְאִסּוּרָהּ מִן הַתּוֹרָה. וְאֵינוֹ מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. לְפִיכָךְ הַבָּא עַל בִּתּוֹ מִנְּשׂוּאָתוֹ חַיָּב שְׁתַּיִם. מִשּׁוּם בִּתּוֹ וּמִשּׁוּם עֶרְוַת אִשָּׁה וּבִתָּהּ:


When a person consecrates a woman, her close relatives - six women - become forbidden to him as an ervah forever. This applies whether he consummates [the bond through nisuin] or divorces her, in the lifetime of his wife and after her death. They are: a) her mother, b) her mother's mother, c) her father's mother, d) her daughter,15 e) her daughter's daughter, and f) her son's daughter. If he has relations with one of these women during the lifetime of his wife, both [he and she] are executed by burning.


כֵּיוָן שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ אָדָם אִשָּׁה נֶאֶסְרוּ עָלָיו מִקְּרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ שֵׁשׁ נָשִׁים. וְכָל אַחַת מֵהֶן עֶרְוָה עָלָיו לְעוֹלָם בֵּין כָּנַס בֵּין גֵּרֵשׁ בֵּין בְּחַיֵּי אִשְׁתּוֹ בֵּין לְאַחַר מוֹתָהּ. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. אִמָּהּ וְאֵם אִמָּהּ וְאֵם אָבִיהָ וּבִתָּהּ וּבַת בִּתָּהּ וּבַת בְּנָהּ. וְאִם בָּא עַל אַחַת מֵהֶן בְּחַיֵּי אִשְׁתּוֹ שְׁנֵיהֶן נִשְׂרָפִין:


If he has relations with one of these women after his wife's death, they are liable for kerait,16 but they are not executed by the court, as [derived from Leviticus 20:14]: "In fire, he and they shall be burnt." [This implies17 that only] when both women - his wife and the woman with whom he had relations - are alive, he and the ervah are executed by burning. When both [women] are not alive, there is no execution by burning.18


בָּא עֲלֵיהֶן לְאַחַר מִיתַת אִשְׁתּוֹ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ בְּכָרֵת וְאֵין בָּהֶן מִיתַת בֵּית דִּין. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כ יד) "בָּאֵשׁ יִשְׂרְפוּ אֹתוֹ וְאֶתְהֶן". בִּזְמַן שֶּׁשְּׁתֵּיהֶן קַיָּמוֹת שֶׁהֵן אִשְׁתּוֹ וְזוֹ שֶׁבָּא עָלֶיהָ הֲרֵי הוּא וְהָעֶרְוָה נִשְׂרָפִין. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁאֵין שְׁתֵּיהֶן קַיָּמוֹת אֵין שָׁם שְׂרֵפָה:


Similarly, the sister of his wife is considered an ervah for him until his wife dies.19 Both her maternal sister and her paternal sister, whether conceived in marriage or promiscuously, are considered as an ervah for him.


וְכֵן אֲחוֹת אִשְׁתּוֹ עֶרְוָה עָלָיו עַד שֶׁתָּמוּת אִשְׁתּוֹ. בֵּין אֲחוֹתָהּ מֵאִמָּהּ בֵּין אֲחוֹתָהּ מֵאָבִיהָ בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִזְּנוּת הֲרֵי זוֹ עֶרְוָה עָלָיו:


If a man transgressed and engaged in relations with one of these seven women, whether intentionally or inadvertently, although he and the woman are liable for execution by the court or kerait, he is not forbidden to engage in relations with his wife.20 The only exception is [when he engages in relations with] the sister of the woman he consecrated. In this instance, his wife is forbidden to him, as explained in Hilchot Gerushin.21


עָבַר וְנָאַף עִם אַחַת מִשֶּׁבַע נָשִׁים אֵלּוּ בֵּין בְּזָדוֹן בֵּין בִּשְׁגָגָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא וְהַנּוֹאֶפֶת בְּמִיתַת בֵּית דִּין אוֹ בְּכָרֵת לֹא נֶאֶסְרָה אִשְׁתּוֹ עָלָיו חוּץ מֵאֲחוֹת אֲרוּסָתוֹ שֶׁהִיא אוֹסֶרֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ עָלָיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ בְּהִלְכוֹת גֵּרוּשִׁין:


When a man engages in promiscuous relations with a woman, the seven relatives mentioned above are not forbidden to him [according to Scriptural Law].22 Nevertheless, our Sages23 prohibited anyone who had promiscuous relations with a woman from marrying one of these seven relatives during the promiscuous woman's lifetime.24 [The rationale is that] the promiscuous woman will come to visit her relatives. He will thus enter into solitude with her. [Since] he is familiar with her, we fear that they will transgress and thus he will engage in relations with an ervah.25

Even if a man is merely suspected of relations with a woman,26 he should not marry one of her relatives until the woman with whom he was suspected of having relations died. If, however, he married the relative of the woman with whom he was suspected of having relations, he should not divorce her.


הַבּוֹעֵל אִשָּׁה דֶּרֶךְ זְנוּת לֹא נֶאֶסְרוּ עָלָיו קְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁהֵן הַשֶּׁבַע נָשִׁים שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ. אֲבָל חֲכָמִים אָסְרוּ עַל מִי שֶׁנָּאַף עִם אִשָּׁה לִשָּׂא אַחַת מִן הַשֶּׁבַע נָשִׁים קְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהַזּוֹנָה קַיֶּמֶת. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהַזּוֹנָה בָּאָה לִקְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ לְבַקֵּר אוֹתָן וְהוּא מִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ וְלִבּוֹ גַּס בָּהּ וְיָבוֹא לִידֵי עֲבֵרָה שֶׁיִּבְעל הָעֶרְוָה. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ נִטְעַן עַל אִשָּׁה הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשָּׂא אַחַת מִקְּרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ עַד שֶׁתָּמוּת זוֹ שֶׁנִּטְעַן עָלֶיהָ. וְאִם כָּנַס הַקְּרוֹבָה שֶׁזָּנָה עִם קְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ לֹא יוֹצִיא:


When a person was suspected of having relations with an ervah or a rumor to that effect was circulated, he should not dwell together with her in the same lane or appear in the same neighborhood.27 An incident occurred concerning a man who was rumored [to have engaged in relations] with his mother-in-law and our Sages had him beaten28 because he passed by the entrance to her home.


מִי שֶׁנִּטְעַן עַל עֶרְוָה אוֹ שֶׁיָּצָא לוֹ שֵׁם רַע עִמָּהּ לֹא יָדוּר עִמָּהּ בְּמָבוֹי אֶחָד וְלֹא יֵרָאֶה בְּאוֹתָהּ שְׁכוּנָה. וּמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁהָיוּ מְרַנְּנִין אַחֲרָיו עִם חֲמוֹתוֹ וְהִכּוּ אוֹתוֹ חֲכָמִים מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁעָבַר עַל פֶּתַח בֵּיתָהּ:


When a person has promiscuous relations with a woman and her daughter or a woman and her sister or the like, it is as if he had relations with two unrelated woman. One is considered an ervah because of the other only in the instance of marriage, not in an instance of promiscuity. Similarly, if a man's father, son, brother, or father's brother raped a woman or seduced her, she is permitted to him and he may marry her. [The prohibition involving these individuals] mentions "the wife of" and here there is no context of marriage.


הַבָּא עַל אִשָּׁה וּבִתָּהּ דֶּרֶךְ זְנוּת אוֹ עַל אִשָּׁה וַאֲחוֹתָהּ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁבָּא עַל שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים נָכְרִיּוֹת שֶׁאֵין נַעֲשׂוֹת עֶרְוָה זוֹ עִם זוֹ אֶלָּא בְּנִשּׂוּאִין לֹא בִּזְנוּת. וְכֵן אִם אָנַס אָבִיו אוֹ בְּנוֹ אוֹ אָחִיו אוֹ אֲחִי אָבִיו אִשָּׁה אוֹ פִּתָּה אוֹתָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת לוֹ וְיִשָּׂאֶנָּה שֶׁלֹּא נֶאֱמַר אֶלָּא אֵשֶׁת וְאֵין כָּאן אִישׁוּת:


When a man's father or son marries a woman, that man may marry her daughter or her mother as we explained.29 A person may marry the wife of his brother's son.30 A man may marry a woman and her sister's daughter or her brother's daughter at the same time. It is a mitzvah from the Sages for a man to marry his sister's daughter,31 as [alluded to by Isaiah 58:7]: "Do not turn away from your own flesh." This law also applies to his brother's daughter.32


אָבִיו אוֹ בְּנוֹ שֶׁנָּשָׂא אִשָּׁה הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לִשָּׂא בִּתָּהּ אוֹ אִמָּהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וּמֻתָּר לְאָדָם לִשָּׂא אֵשֶׁת בֶּן אָחִיו. וְנוֹשֵׂא אָדָם אִשָּׁה וּבַת אֲחוֹתָהּ אוֹ בַּת אָחִיהָ כְּאַחַת. וּמִצְוַת חֲכָמִים שֶׁיִּשָּׂא אָדָם בַּת אֲחוֹתוֹ וְהוּא הַדִּין לְבַת אָחִיו שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נח ז) "וּמִבְּשָׂרְךָ לֹא תִתְעַלָּם":