Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Daf Yomi Yevamot 87b; 91b; Do We Abide By Forced "Explanations" of Braytot?

A fascinating, and quite possibly important precedent, set by Rav Pappa on Yevamot daf 91b, as cited by Rif:
{Yevamot 87b}
אוקימנא לרישא דמתניתין דקתני תצא מזה ומזה שנשאת ברשות בית דין ובעד אחד דאי אית לה שני עדים לא צריכה לב"ד ומשום הכי תצא מזה ומזה
וסיפא דקתני נשאת שלא ברשות מותרת לחזור לו שלא ברשות בית דין אלא בשני עדים ולפיכך מותרת לחזור לו
We establish the reisha {first part} of our Mishna which states that "she leaves from this one and from that one" as the case in which she was married with the permission of Bet Din, and with a single witness, for if she had two witnesses, she would not require Bet Din -- and because of this, she must leave from this one and from that one.
And the last part, which states that if "she married not with permission, she is permitted to return to him {the first husband}, this is not with permission of Bet Din but rather with two witnesses, and therefore she is permitted to return to him.
דהויא לה אנוסה דאמרי' מאי הוה לה למעבד
וכן אמר רב לא שנו אלא שנשאת בעד אחד אבל נשאת בשני עדים לא תצא מהיתרה של בעל הראשון
ולית הלכתא הכין אלא לא שנא נשאת על פי בית דין ובעד אחד ולא שנא נשאת על פי שני עדים אם בא בעלה הראשון תצא מזה ומזה וכל הדרכים האלו בה
for she is like a raped woman, for we say "what should she have done?"
And so too Rav said: They only learnt this where she married on the word of a single witness, but if she was married on the word of two witnesses, she does not go out from her initial permittedness to the first husband.
And the halacha is not like this, but rather, it does not matter whether she married based on the say-so of Bet Din and with one witness, or whether she was married on the say-so of two witnesses -- if her first husband comes, she goes out from this one and that one, and all of these matters, in her.

דאמרינן לקמן רב פפא סבר למיעבד עובדא דמאי הוה לה למיעבד אמר ליה רב הונא בריה דרב יהושע לרב פפא והא אנן תנן הני מתניתא א"ל ולא שנינהו א"ל ואנן אשינויא ניקום וניסמוך
דאלמא לית הלכתא כרב דאמר לא תצא מהיתרה של בעלה הראשון ולא כרבי שמעון דאמר נשאת שלא ברשות מותרת לחזור לו ואף על גב דאמר רב הכין הלכתא לא סמכינן עליה

For we say later on {Yevamot 91b}: Rav Pappa thought to practice in accordance with it, for "what should she have done?" Rav Huna son of Rav Yehoshua said to Rav Pappa: But we learned all those braytot {with rulings in the opposite direction}! He said to him: But they were all explained {with specific reasons for those rulings and why we do not apply "what should she have done?"}. He said to him: Should we then rely on explanations?
Thus it is evident that the halacha is not like Rav who said that she does not go out of her initial permittedness to her first husband, and not like Rabbi Shimon who said shat if she was married not with permission, she is allowed to return to him. And although Rav said that such is the halacha, we do not rely upon him.
The Rif cites this statement in its narrow, local focus, such that in this particular case we see that we do not hold like Rav in the face of a bunch of contradictory braytot, and rather we rule that there is no distinction between being permitted by Bet Din or by the testimony of two witnesses.

However, there is a general rule here that is potentially applicable to many other cases. After all, there are many times where Amoraim, or else the setama, raises objections from countless braytot (think the classic example of Abaye and Rava about yiush shelo midaat) and the "explanations" seem fairly forced. Sure, it works, but pashut peshat in the brayta is otherwise, like the opponent who brings it up. Of course, who are we to determine that an explanation is forced? But assuming someone is on the level to assess this, perhaps there is a kelal horaah here to be put into play.

I haven't looked into how other halachists than the Rif deal with this. Perhaps when I get the chance...


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