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הָאוֹמֵר, בְּנִי זֶה מַמְזֵר ... רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר (להלכה), נֶאֱמָנן:

If a man declares, “this son of mine is a mamzer” ... Rabbi Judah says: he is believed. (Mishnah Kiddushin 4,8 adopted)

What situation does the Mishnah describe? :

  1. If he says בני (from me) that means:
    a. either the son is from another married woman and not his wife's
    b. or his wife is Ervah to him (all the time)

  2. The child is his wife's but not his

When does the father make this claim? :

  1. When the family belongs to a fixed community (Beis Din):
    a. when the child is born, with his first introduction
    b. Until the age of 13
    c. At any age
  2. When a family comes from "nowhere" (similarly, when the child is a kid or a grown-up).

The Mishnah is very concise, and it appears that no case is plausible logically (unless we follow Meiri that interprets "יכיר" literally, overriding all other conditions), for example,

1a - how did he adopt his son from another woman,
1b - אין אדם משים את עצמו רשע,
2 - contradicts the claim בני.

  • I believe he's accusing his wife of adultery, and says it whenever he wants – robev May 22 at 13:04
  • What’s wrong with any of these cases you describe that “no case is plausible logically”? – DonielF May 22 at 16:19
  • @DonielF Each one seems illogical, for example, 1a - how did he adopt his son from another woman, 1b - אין אדם משים את עצמו רשע, 2 contradicts the claim בני – Al Berko May 22 at 16:27
  • @AlBerko Then please explain all of that in the question itself. – DonielF May 22 at 17:10
  • "my son" clearly means the child who is assumed to be his son, but who he is claiming is not his biological son, i.e. that his wife committed adultery and the child is actually someone else's/ – simyou May 23 at 7:18
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The derasha is from the Passuk Deut .21.17:

וְהָיָה בְּיוֹם הַנְחִילוֹ אֶת־בָּנָיו אֵת אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶה
לוֹ לֹא יוּכַל לְבַכֵּר אֶת־בֶּן־הָאֲהוּבָה עַל־פְּנֵי בֶן־הַשְּׂנוּאָה הַבְּכֹר׃

This is talking about someone dividing his property at the time of death (וְהָיָ֗ה בְּיוֹם֙ הַנְחִיל֣וֹ אֶת־בָּנָ֔יו), and he declares a younger son to be the first-born. This means that it does not have to be immediately, since a younger son is already born, and it means that he is declaring the older son is not actually his, but his younger son is legitimate, i.e. the mamzerus is not because of an incestual relationship.

It is also clear from the context that this child was assumed to be his from birth until considerably later, and he can still declare before his death that the child is not his.

  • Thank you. The question was what scenario (from what I listed) does the Mishan talk about? Can you please be more specific about הכא במאי עסקינן? – Al Berko May 23 at 7:32

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