Yevamot (7:3) | Yisrael Bankier | 6 years ago

The Mishnah (7:3) discusses a case where a bat yisrael married a kohen and was therefore allowed to eat terumah. Her husband then passed away and she was left expecting a child. R' Yossi teaches that any servants that she brought into the marriage would not be able to eat terumah. The avadim referred to are those that were brought in as nechsei tzon barzel. In other words, these avadim were given to the husband, yet their value was written into the ketubah. If he would divorce her, then despite any fluctuation in value, he would be required to pay here the value written in the ketubah. After the death of the husband, these avadim become the property of the heirs. Rashi explains that these avadim would not be able to eat terumah even if there were other children from that marriage; meaning even though the mother would be able to continue to eat terumah. The Mishnah explains that the avadim cannot eat terumah since the ubar – the unborn child – has a share in their ownership.

The Gemara (67a) probes the logic behind R' Yossi's position. One suggestion is that only a yelud – one that is born – has the capacity to allow others to eat terumah. This is based on the pasuk – "… one born in his house may eat his food" (Vayikra 22:11). Alternatively, the Gemara suggest that the reason is that the ubar is consider a zar – a non-kohen – until it is born. In other words, since the mother was not a born a kohen, the ubar has the same status as the mother until it is born.

The Gemara explains that the practical difference between these two explanations is in the case where the mother is a bat kohen. According to the first understanding, only a yelud can enable others to eat terumah, in this case also, the avadim would not be able to eat terumah. According to the second understanding, since the mother is a bat kohen, the ubar would not be defined as a zar and the avadim would be able to eat terumah.

The Tosfot (s.v. lemai) argues that in truth everyone agrees with the above derasha that only a yelud allows others to eat. The reason is that we learn that this is the basis for another halacha. Consider that case of a bat Yisrael that is married to a kohen. The husband subsequently passes away, and she is left expecting the only child. The ubar does not allow her to eat terumah. The Tosfot argues that treating the ubar as a zar would not prevent her from eating terumah since we learnt that even if the only descendant from this marriage was a mamzer it would allow her to continue to eat terumah. Consequently, it is only because of the derasha that only a yelud allows one to eat terumah that explains why the pregnant bat Yisrael cannot eat terumah. The Tosfot continues that issue the Gemara addresses here is whether that exposition applies to avadim as well. In other words, one might think that that exposition only applies to the mother, the bat Yisrael, since it is from this pasuk that we derive that she can continue to eat terumah if she has offspring from the marriage. Avadim on the other hand, are allowed to eat terumah because they are considered the property of the kohen. Consequently, one may think that the requirement of a yelud in this case would not apply. Therefore, the Gemara present the two possibilities: either it does apply here as well, or the reason the avadim cannot eat terumah is because the ubar is consider a zar.

The Rashash (on the Mishnah) however explains that according to the understanding in our case that the ubar is a zar, it is also the reason why if there are no other children the mother would not be able to continue to eat terumah (until the child was born). He maintains that this does not contradict the rule that even a descendant that was a mamzar would allow her to eat terumah. The Rashash explains that while the ubar is in the mother's womb, it is considered like one of her limbs and not (yet) considered a descendant of her husband - the kohen.


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