Nedarim - Daf 74

  • Three-way machlokes about revoking a yevamah’s nedarim

The next Mishnah presents three opinions regarding the ability of a yavam to revoke the nedarim of a yevamah. Rebbe Eliezer holds that even where there are multiple yevamin, the yavam who performed maamar (i.e., kiddushin done by a yavam) may revoke her nedarim, as the Gemara will explain. Rebbe Yehoshua takes a middle approach: If there is a single yavam, then he may revoke the yevamah’s nedarim, but if there are multiple yavams, then no one may revoke her nedarim. Rebbe Akiva says a yavam can never revoke nedarim of the yevamah, because she is not his proper wife (even after maamar). In the Mishnah, Rebbe Eliezer argued, מה אם אשה שקנה הוא לעצמו הרי הוא מיפר נדריה אשה שהקנו לו מן השמים אינו דין שיפר נדריה – Now if a husband who acquired her on his own can revoke her nedarim, then in the case of a wife whom Heaven acquired for him (i.e., a yavamah), is it not certain that he can revoke her nedarim? Rebbe Akiva responded that there is a weakness inherent in a yevamah-bond, in that another yavam also has rights in her. The conversation continues and is elaborated on in the Gemara.

  • How Rebbe Eliezer allows one of two yevamin to revoke the yevamah’s nedarim

The Gemara asks how it is possible that Rebbe Eliezer can allow one of two yevamin to revoke nedarim? Even if he would hold that the “zikah-bond” between a yavam and yevamah were strong enough to be like erusin and allow for hafarah, but if there are two yevamin, it is yet indeterminate who will perform yibum, so neither’s hafarah should be valid!? Rebbe Ami explained the Mishnah is speaking where one yavam performed maamar, and Rebbe Eliezer holds like Beis Shammai that מאמר קונה קנין גמור – maamar effects a complete acquisition of the yevamah mid’Oraysa, placing her in that specific yavam’s domain even for nedarim. The Gemara further asks that it is an unresolved inquiry if maamar according to Beis Shammai has the power of erusin or nisuin, so if it is only like erusin, how could the yavam revoke the yevamah’s nedarim alone? The Gemara answers that indeed, Rebbe Eliezer means that the yavam would revoke the nedarim together with her father, as an ordinary arus.

  • Rebbe Akiva’s explanation for why even a single yavam cannot revoke nedarim

The Gemara bring a Baraisa in support of Rebbe Ami’s assertion that Rebbe Eliezer is discussing a yavam who performed maamar. Rebbe Akiva said there, as in the Mishnah, that a yavam cannot be compared to a true husband, since another yavam has rights in her as well. Rebbe Yehoshua responded that even so, why should a lone yavam not be able to revoke the yevamah’s nedarim? Rebbe Akiva responded, do we ever differentiate between one yavam and two? וכשאר דברים כן נדרים – Just as for “other matters” the yevamah is not considered married, so too with hafarah of nedarim. Ben Azzai exclaimed: חבל עליך בן עזאי שלא שימשת את רבי עקיבא – “A pity on you, ben Azzai, that you did not serve [i.e., study under] Rebbe Akiva!” The Gemara on Daf 75 explains that the “other matters” in which a yevamah differs from a wife refers to an accepted fact that a yevamah, even after maamar, will not be liable to death by stoning for adultery like a naarah arusah would. Rebbe Akiva showed from this that a yevamah, even of a single yavam, is not a full-fledged wife, even after maamar.