YESHIVAT HAR ETZION
ISRAEL KOSCHITZKY VIRTUAL
BEIT MIDRASH (VBM)
Introduction to the Study of Talmud
Kiddushin 19-Daf 79b
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The main topic that we have discussed in our chapter is
yuchesin, matters relating to genealogy. In the context of that general
topic we have explored as well the issue of chazaka, a halakhic
presumption that is based either upon an assumption that a particular
situation is consistent with the general norm or that a known status
quo has been maintained. The mishna and gemara that we
will begin to study today is the last discussion in our chapter that focuses on
these themes; the conclusion of the chapter moves on to a different topic.
Let us begin the mishna, two-thirds of the way down the
page on 79b.
Mishna One who
left, he and his wife, to an overseas province,
and he and his wife and sons came [back],
and he said, the wife that left with me to an overseas
province, this is she and these are her sons -
he does not need to bring a proof, not for the woman and not
for the sons;
she died and these are her sons - he [must] bring a proof for the sons,
and does not [need to] bring a
proof for the woman.
I married a woman in the overseas place, this is she and
these are her sons -
he brings a proof for the woman and does not need to bring a
proof for the sons;
she died and these are her sons - he must bring a proof for
the woman and for the sons.
מתני' מי שיצא הוא ואשתו למד"ה (=למדינת הים),
ובא הוא ואשתו ובניו
ואמר אשה שיצאת עמי למדינת הים הרי
היא זו ואלו בניה -
אין צריך להביא ראיה לא על האשה ולא
מתה ואלו בניה - מביא ראיה על הבנים,
ואינו מביא ראיה על האשה.
אשה נשאתי במדינת הים הרי היא זו
ואלו בניה -
מביא ראיה על האשה, ואין צריך להביא
ראיה על הבנים;
מתה ואלו בניה - צריך להביא ראיה על
האשה ועל הבנים.
The mishna discusses a man who is genealogically fit and
wants to establish that his sons are similarly of pure lineage. In the first set
of cases, a man and his wife, both of whom have been determined to be of
acceptable lineage, travel overseas with their family. When they return,
the husband identifies those traveling with him as his original family
(presumably, the children are no longer recognizable because they have
grown up). The mishna rules that we can assume that the
children are of acceptable lineage. On the other hand, if the woman has
already died, the father must prove his claim that these are the
children of his original wife. If he is able to do so, the children
are deemed genealogically fit, in accordance with the status of their
The second half of the mishna (known as the
seifa) discusses cases in which the man claims that his children are
from a woman that he married overseas. In the first case, he returns from
his travels with a wife and children. We can assume that the wife really is the
mother of the children, so a background check of the woman is both necessary and
sufficient to prove the genealogical purity of the children. If the man returns
with children but no wife and explains that he married in a distant place and
his wife has died, he must bring proof that the woman he mentions is in fact the
mother of his children and he must also prove the genealogical purity of that
To summarize, if we do not know the woman due to the fact
that the man married her in a distant place, her genealogical purity must be
established. With regard to the children, if the woman is present, we do not
need to prove the relationship between her and the children, but if she is not
(and they were born overseas), their lineage (that they descend from the woman
under discussion) must be proven. We now begin the gemara,
which explains the basis of these policies.
bar Rav Huna said: "And all of them when they follow after her."
The Rabbis taught: "'I married a woman in an overseas
he brings a proof about the woman and he does not need to
bring a proof about the sons,
and he brings a proof about the grown [children] and does not need to bring a proof about
the small ones.
Regarding what is this said? With one woman,
but with two women, he brings a proof about the woman and
about the sons,
about the grown [children] and
about the minors."
גמ' אמר רבה בר רב הונא: וכולן בכרוכים אחריה.
תנו רבנן: אשה נשאתי במדינת הים -
מביא ראיה על האשה וא"צ (ואינו צריך) להביא ראיה על הבנים,
ומביא ראיה על הגדולים ואין צריך
להביא ראיה על הקטנים;
במה דברים אמורים - באשה אחת,
אבל בשתי נשים - מביא ראיה על האשה
על הגדולים ועל
Rabba bar Rav Huna qualifies, and at the same time explains, the
reasoning for the last rule we mentioned above, that if the woman and children
are present together, we can assume that the children are hers, even without
hard evidence to this effect: the rule only applies when the children follow the
woman in the manner that children normally relate to their mother (literally,
they are "tied to her"). Since their behavior backs up the claim that they are
mother and children, we assume this to be the case.
The gemara now quotes a beraita (the phrase "The Rabbis
taught" always introduces a beraita) that both confirms and qualifies
the ruling of our mishna as explained by Rabba bar Rav Huna. If a man
appears with a wife and children and explains that he married the woman in a
distant place and they had children together, he must establish the genealogical
purity of the woman, but need not prove that she is the mother of the children.
The beraita then qualifies its own statement and says that he must
bring a proof about the identity of the grown children - i.e., he must prove
that the woman is their mother - but need not prove the identity of the young
children. This is due to the fact that grown children do not follow their mother
around in a way that makes it clearly evident that she is their mother, unlike
young children. Thus, the beraita takes for granted Rabba bar Rav
Huna's rule and expounds upon it.
The beraita then further qualifies its teaching: all this is only if
the man is married to one woman. If, however, he is married to two women, he
must prove which wife is the mother of the children. The way the children relate
to one wife does not clearly show that she is their mother; since both women are
part of the household, the children may be very attached even to the woman who
is not their mother, who may have taken an active role in raising them.
Presumably, this would apply as well to other cases in which there is more than
one woman in the household, even if there is only one wife.
We continue with the gemara, at the very bottom of 79b.
Reish Lakish said: "They only taught regarding sanctified
food of the borders,
but for genealogy, [the ruling
does] not [apply]."
And Rabbi Yochanan said: "Even for genealogy."
And Rabbi Yochanan goes according to his reason,
for Rabbi Chiya bar Abba said in the name of Rabbi Yochanan:
"We give lashes based on chazakot,
we stone and burn based on chazakot,
and we do not burn teruma based on
We give lashes based on chazakot - like Rav
for Rav Yehuda said: "If she was established as a
nidda through her neighbors -
her husband is given lashes because of her [status as a] nidda."
אמר ריש לקיש: לא שנו אלא בקדשי הגבול,
אבל ביוחסין לא.
ורבי יוחנן אמר: אפילו ביוחסין.
ואזדא רבי יוחנן לטעמיה,
דא"ר חייא בר אבא א"ר יוחנן:
מלקין על החזקות,
סוקלין ושורפין על החזקות,
ואין שורפין תרומה על החזקות.
מלקין על החזקות - כרב יהודה,
דאמר רב יהודה: הוחזקה נדה בשכינותיה -
בעלה לוקה עליה משום
The gemara has previously taught that behavior on the part of
children that indicates that they are the children of their parents is
sufficient grounds to establish this relationship as factual regarding halakha.
Reish Lakish argues that this presumption does not go across the board. For a
kohen, we would assume that the children are kohanim of pure
lineage with regard to eating teruma but we would not presume
acceptable lineage to the point that we would be willing to allow the child
(whether he is a kohen or not) to marry a kohen.
Teruma, the percentage of produce that is separated and given to
kohanim, is referred to as kodshei ha-gevul, "sanctified food
of the borders," because it is sanctified and yet can be eaten anywhere. This is
unique; most sanctified food can be eaten only in the Beit Ha-mikdash
or in the broader city of Jerusalem, but not outside of those areas.
Rabbi Yochanan disagrees with Reish Lakish and maintains that we can rely on
the presumption of acceptable lineage even to the point that we will allow the
child in question to marry a kohen. The gemara goes on to
explain that Rabbi Yochanan's view is consistent with another, more general
statement of principles that he articulated about the strenght of
chazakot. As we have discussed in the past, chazaka refers to
an assumption regarding the status of a person or object, based either upon
previously existing realities or based upon the normal expectations that we can
have. In our sugya, the chazaka previously discussed was that
if adults and children appear on the scene and claim to constitute a family, and
in fact relate to each other in ways common to parents and children, we can
assume, unless there are other mitigating factors, that the people actually
do constitute a family unit. Rabbi Yochanan argues that the presumption created
by chazakot is so strong that we can even give corporal punishments,
such as lashes and even the death penalty, on the strength of these
presumptions. If this is the case, chazaka should definitely
be reliable enough to allow someone to marry a kohen.
The gemara now moves on to explain these rulings. The giving of
lashes based on chazaka is due to the ruling of Rav Yehuda. A woman is
considered a nidda when she menstruates, and this status continues for
at least seven days until she immerses in a mikva (practically,
additional "clean" days are required - see Vayikra 15:19-29 and
Shulchan Arukh, YD 183). There are two ramifications of nidda
status: the woman is ritually impure (temei'ah) and she is
forbidden to her husband. If a man and woman engage in sexual relations while
the woman is a nidda, they are liable to the punishment of
karet and to lashes in court. In former times, women would publicize
their nidda status by wearing certain types of clothes that would be
recognized as a sign that the wearer is a nidda. This was necessary
because of the fact that the woman was temei'ah; due to the complex
laws of how this type of tuma can be transferred, it was imperative for
neighbors to be aware of this woman's status. This public display is referred to
as being "established as a nidda through her neighbors."
Rav Yehuda teaches that if a woman wore the special clothes that indicate she
is a nidda, and then cohabited with her husband, both the husband and
wife are liable to lashes. Even if the two deny that she was a nidda,
and even though we generally cannot prove conclusively that she was a
nidda, the fact that she has acted publicly in a way
that indicates that she is a nidda is enough to
establish a chazaka to this effect; and a chazaka is
considered reliable enough even to give lashes.
To sum up, the gemara has explained that a family that acts like
parents and children can be assumed to have that relationship, the possible
limitations of that chazaka, and a dispute between Reish Lakish and
Rabbi Yochanan regarding the strength of such a chazaka. In the context
of that discussion, the gemara quoted another statement of Rabbi
Yochanan that backs up what we learn in our sugya. The gemara
then began to explain the different parts of that other statement, which we will
continue to study next shiur.