Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Levirate marriage - it's even more complicated

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Brother’s Wife. Unless He Dies. Then—Well, Here’s the Thing… In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ questions of obligation in matters of levirate marriage, and how values change with time.
In my last column, I discussed the rabbis’ edict that converting to Judaism in order to marry a Jew is forbidden. The principle behind the rabbis’ thinking was that, if you are going to take up the considerable responsibility of following Jewish law and sharing the Jewish fate, you must do so only out of a desire to serve God and not to obtain any personal benefit—even one as altruistic as marrying someone you love. In this week’s Daf Yomi reading, this same principle was invoked in a different context, when the rabbis considered the possible motives that might lead a man to contract a levirate marriage with his yevama, his deceased brother’s wife.

More on levirate marriage here. Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.