Two Meanings of Togetherness

In last week’s Parsha, we find the rules of Yibum.  I want to focus on one drasha that it often misunderstood.  The possuk refers to the brothers involved in a Yibum case as living יחדו – together.  The Gemara understanding this as referring to living together temporally.  Thus, if the deceased husband’s brother is born after he dies, the wife and the new brother cannot do Yibum together.  The Gemara then makes a second drasha, assuming that only paternal brothers can do Yibum, reffering to these brothers as מיוחדים בנחלה.  Most people believe that this is a play on words with יחדו, and a weak one at that.  However, the Meshech Chochmah argues that the drasha is really working with two definitions of “together.” The first meaning, as mentioned above, is temporal.  However, “together” can also refer to geographic proximity.  Meshech Chochmah claims that this is what drives the drasha.  Inheritance follows the father.  Thus, only paternal brothers will inherit in the same general area, while maternal mothers may be from different tribes and inherent in different parts of the country.  The closeness of the words יחדו and מיוחד   may be no more than a mnemonic device, but the real drasha is extremely straightforward.  Yet another example of the Meshech Chochmah intuiting the real meaning of drashot Chazal. 



תלמוד בבלי מסכת יבמות פרק ב –יז עמוד ב

כי ישבו אחים יחדו – שהיתה להם ישיבה אחת בעולם, פרט לאשת אחיו שלא היה בעולמו, יחדו – מיוחדים בנחלה, פרט לאחיו מן האם.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s