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Yevamot 8: Better to Be Stringent

The way yibum is pulled out of the category of “arayot,” the illicit sexual relationships. Where the prohibitions seem to add up, until we realize how narrow a scheme the issue of yibum is, and we don’t extend it further beyond the exception. And then the Gemara tries to knock down the rationale it’s built up, via the specificity of the language in the biblical verse that teaches yibum. Until that inference is knocked down… All for the sake of handling the co-wives in the best way (prohibited when prohibited, but not beyond the specific prohibition). Not to take this kind of exception lightly!

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Anne and Yardaena

Anne Gordon is the deputy editor of Ops & Blogs at The Times of Israel. She is a veteran educator, having taught in high school and post-high school institutions in Israel and America for several decades. Yardaena Osband is a pediatrician and teaches in her community and online. They both hail from Boston, proud alumna of Maimonides School, where they first learned Gemara. Talking Talmud is their conversation (via podcast) on the daf yomi. They say: "Learning the daf? We have something for you to think about. Not learning the daf? We have something for you to think about! (Along with a taste of the daf...) Join the conversation with us!"
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