“Who is the man who has betrothed a woman” (Dt.20:7)—
the same ruling applies to
one who betroths a young lady,2
and one who betroths a widow,
or [a woman] awaiting the levir’s3 decision
[to either marry or release her],
or even if the levir heard
that his childless brother
was killed in battle
[thus releasing the wife from her obligation to the levir]—
all these may return [from war].4
“But he hasn’t yet taken her” (Dt.20:7)—
the exemption applies only to
one marrying a suitable woman.
This excludes the following prohibited marriages:
one who remarries his [divorced] wife;
or a widow marrying a High Priest;
or a divorcee, or a wife
—released by the levir5—
who marries a common Priest.
Or a woman of impaired lineage,6
or a descendant of outcastes,7
who marries into Israel;
or an Israelite daughter
who marries a man of impaired lineage
or a descendant of outcastes.
“He shall go and return to his home” (Dt.20:7)—
that is, he shall go and heed
the instructions of the Warrior Priest to return8
- H:216; JN2:86.
- Heb: betulah, literally, “a virgin.”
- Heb: yavam; “brother-in-law.” In particular, a man designated to marry the wife of his deceased, childless brother, or to release her from this marriage by a rite of “loosening the shoe” (khalitzah; Dt.25:5-11 and Pisqa’ot 188-291.) While awaiting the yavam’s decision to marry or to release her, the woman occupies the status of shomeret yevam (“awaiting the levir”).
- //M.Sotah 8:2; cf. T.Sotah 7:19. Cf. the virtually identical formulation at Pisqa’ 193.1.
- Heb: khalutzah; “the released one.”
- Heb: mamzeret, “a woman born of parents whose marriage is forbidden,” e.g., of close relatives. The male correlate is mamzer. Mamzerim (plural) may marry other mamzerim, as well as netinim, but are prohibited from marrying Israelites of unimpaired lineage.
- Heb: netin; literally, “one predisposed [to servitude].” The term is used as a title for descendents of the people of Gibeon who, according to Josh.9:17-27, were condemned to serve other Israelites in perpetuity as “drawers of water and hewers of wood.”
- Cf. M. Sotah 8:3.