Sunday, 16 November 2014

yevamot 42

when discussing cases of uncertain paternity, the talmud also discusses the authority of anonymous opinions.

yevamot 41

who has a responsibility to care for the abandoned widow whose womb was found empty, and heaven itself has punished.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

yevamot 40

the desire to consume

eating when not hungry, no joy in forced eating when one is prohibited to eat. it is still an affliction.
sex with the women who are still forbidden.

sex and food...

yevamot 39

for your hand to be stronger than your sister-in-law,
keep your feet to yourself,
don't let her spit at your face,
and most importantly,
don't find her beautiful.

(discussed is if the brother can only sleep with his brother's widow, a previously forbidden sexual partner, if he is only doing it for the mitzah of yibbum marriage. not because he is attracted to her. earlier in the page describes the ceremony of halitza. he moves his right foot towards her, she removes and throws his shoe, and she spits towards him. it also discusses the brother's claim to her property, if his hand is stronger than her's to her property)

yevamot 38

what does the grieving widow really own and call their own, free to sell or give away as she pleases. without her husband's or father's family getting involved?
not her property and not her body.

yevamot 37

becoming a wife for a day, another slice of bread, in the great man's basket.
- but does not bring any of his possessions that will be argued out amongst his offspring, the crumbs he leaves behind.

(the practice of having a wife-for-a-day for some well-known Rabbis won't result in children inadvertently marrying their siblings, unlike ordinary men, as their name will be known to their children. this practice is referred to as having bread in one's basket is satisfying, even if they don't actually sleep together, just knowing that there is a legitimate sexual partner is enough to curb the rabbinic lust... the page finishes off though saying that one shouldn't marry a woman with an inner intention of divorcing her. how that fits with wife-for-a-day is not discussed...)

yevamot 36

chained to waiting if the child of the dead husband will live or die

yevamot 35

is the widow tied to her dead husband's family is debated, and depends if the child lives or dies.

yevamot 34

gossiping and speculating about other people's sex lives
- be they biblical characters, priests' wives, or the wives of your rabbinic colleagues

yevamot 33

doing two prohibitions at the same time
- priest cutting finger with impure knife
- non-priest eating bird offerings
and switching brides
- but if nothing came of it, then what happened under the chupah can stay under the chupah.

yevamot 32

cannot build after one has decided not to
cannot punish after already condemning to death
- once they are gone, they are gone

(can't do halitza with one and yibbum with the other widow. and can't add capital punishments)

yevamot 31

legislate for temporary insanity, doubt, licentious nieces, document landing in the exact mid-point.
but not for collapse or destruction.
that would be completely crazy

yevamot 30

everything I know about the process of halacha, I learnt from jig-saws

putting together the puzzle of the widow's status - not everything needs to fit straight away, have favourites, but don't move the fixed pieces

yevamot 29

if he can cancel her words then he has a duty to sustain and look after her, until she becomes free.

(who can nullify the widow's vows. if she relys on a man to look after her, then she wouldn't say anything without his consent.)

yevamot 28

don't make two female relatives rivals,
they have enough to deal with

yevamot 27

who to set free first?
the one who was on her way out,
or the one who could have been on her way in?

(choosing who to do halitza with, when dead brother has two wives. the one who was in the process of divorce, or the one could have had a sexual relationship with?)

yevamot 26

the tight bonds that form when women live together and are family

yevamot 25

what is said is not as believable as what is written or what is ruled by three judges

yevamot 24

there's a proper order as to who claims the widow
sometimes it matters what other people think

yevamot 23

as Beyonce says: you should have put a ring on it

or something to brand her, and not her sister, as yours.

(betrothing one woman but ending up marrying the sister by mistake...)

yevamot 22

the father only becomes a parent worth protecting their honour
once he has repented from fathering his bastard child
- but if your father regretted you being born, wouldn't you want to hit him, hard?

yevamot 21

putting handles on granny's bag

(discussing the yibbum bonds of grandparent's and grandchildren. and and when Shlomo expanded on the halacha, it was described as making handles for basket - it is now portable, not fixed)

yevamot 20

the woman who cannot have children must remain alone.

but the man who cannot have children must still marry the widow, if only to divorce her...

(there is no obligation for yibbum with barren women. but men who cannot father children are still obligated...)

yevamot 19

what protects the widow?
can she say no like a bride?

yevamot 18

waiting to be a mother
- but for women, time and the unborn are not on their side

yevamot 17

the mother makes him Jewish
but the father gives him a brotherhood

(father's sons are called his brothers even if different mothers. but the status if one is Jewish or not comes from the mother)

yevamot 16

there is one angel who oversees the whole world.
all the places - good and bad.
so pay your taxes where you want to belong, and shun your birthplace - but know that there is only one angel.

yevamot 15

the status of the women who are caught between two opposing mountains

yevamot 14

don't cut

as long as the different blades can be easily identified then they can be used by the same scalpel.

(Beith Hillel and Beit Shammai disagree about a woman who has done halitza if she can marry a priest. they would inform each other of the status of who the other would not permit. but this is describes as making a cut, which is forbidden to have such different halachic practices. the "do not cut" is about not cutting oneself as a sign of mourning)

yevamot 13

the two pubic hairs of maturity
that can easily fall off

and the women who delegitimate each other

yevamot 12

defining women by their empty wombs
and girls become women when they become fertile. pregnancy as a sign of adulthood...

(do not do yibbum marriage with a barren woman. also discussed is the problematic cases of sexual activity with a minor - if she can get pregnant, then that is sign enough of puberty... )

yevamot 11

the man shouldn't waste a good woman that someone else could claim and want to use.
and she shouldn't claim the unborn as a bridegroom.

(doing halitza, the ceremony that severs the yibbum bond and sets the widow free to marry outside of the family, is equivalent to divorce in that she cannot marry a priest. do halitza with a rival wife who couldn't marry a priest anyway is better. it is like throwing out water from one's well, when other men want to drink...)

yevamot 10

just because he wasn't yet born does not stop the baby brother being one of the men with a claim on the widow.

yevamot 9

identifying the missing woman in the mishna
is really, who is the rapist...?

(the mishah lists 15 women who cannot be married to the surviving brother. but there is a 16th, a woman who is the product of rape and her connect to the rapist's family....)

yevamot 8

what sort of man would force his dead brother's widow to marry him?
what sort of man preys on vulnerable grieving women.

(discussed if the widow needs to give her consent to marry her late brother or not...)

yevamot 7

extracting a strand from the general gives detail to all

yevamot 6

interchangeable women
once one forbidden woman is permitted, are all women now allowed?

(following on from the previous page, something forbidden is permitted when obligated. there are limits to this. There is an obligation to honour one's parents, but that does not over-ride the rules of forbidden work on shabbat. Comparing to yibbum marriage, permitting a forbidden relationship does not mean all forbidden sexual partners are now allowed)

yevamot 5

the prohibition that is over-ruled by an obligation

(the prohibition of wearing wool and linen together is cancelled or superseded by the obligation to wear tzitzit. the prohibition of sex with your brother's wife is cancelled or superseded by the obligation to honour his memory)

yevamot 4

don't mix wool & linen
and don't match a woman with a man she finds repulsive
or the relative of the man who raped her.

yevamot 3

when discussing close relatives,
the tanna uses logic that is close to him.

yevamot 2

the men who die, but their names need to live on.
and the women who are alive but lose their individual identities.

(the tractate of yevamot deals with the obligation of Leverite marriage. that is if a married man dies childless, his widow has to marry his brother, or close relative, to "build his house." this is the only marriage bond that is an obligation from the Torah. If a man has more than one wife, then the status of the widow affects the rival wives in terms if there are any reason why one of them are not allowed to marry the surviving brothers.... it gets complicated, and frustrating. because the simple truth is that the women are just property, living vessels to preserve the dead man's honour. It makes tough reading, and even harder drawing. these drawings are sparse simple pencil drawings. Seder Nashim, the section dealing about women - but as objects - it is going to be tough going...)

goodbye mesechet hagigah

goodbye mesechet hagigah

from beginning with the ascent to the temple, and ending with the sinners being protected from the flames of hell, the place below. the temple, God's house, will be replaced by hospitality in the home. and if the thin layer of gold on top of the temple's altar is enough to protect the wood, then the slim total of our inner good deeds will be enough to shield sinners like us from punishment. 

goodbye mesechet hagigah. and goodbye seder moed. 

way back in early october I hosted a siyyum, and we raised a glass of vodka with slivers of fine gold, and ate pomegranate like the number of good deeds we hope we have accrued, and the number of pages we have slogged over.

from starting out in mesechet brachot with the intention of learning every day with eyes fully open, to today, while on an art residency in watery Venice, finally getting round to uploading all these drawings onto my website. I can honestly say that it has been a bit of a ride. and although I am not sure yet what this project is really about, my eyes are still open...