Suppose there are two brothers who share the same Jewish mother and non-Jewish father. One marries a Jewish woman but subsequently dies childless. Does yibbum/chalitzah apply in this situation, or are the widow and surviving brother exempt?

I have seen sources that say that both brothers must share the same father since yibbum relates to inheritance. In this case, they do share the same biological father, but this answer seems to imply that they are halachically unrelated.

EDIT: So ultimately the question boils down to this: Is it true in the context of Yibbum that brothers who share a non-Jewish father are not considered paternal brothers at all?

My hunch is that halacha may not be concerned with the inheritance or bloodline of the non-Jewish father. (On the other hand, maybe it depends on other factors, such as if the mother was in a Tzelofchad-like situation.) However, I have not yet found any sources that address this scenario. Sources would be greatly appreciated.

  • See Bartenura on first Mishna in Yebamot: וְאֵשֶׁת אָחִיו מֵאִמּוֹ. שֶׁמֵּת וּנְשָׂאָהּ אָחִיו מֵאָבִיו, שֶׁהָיְתָה נָכְרִית אֶצְלוֹ, וּמֵת בְּלֹא בָנִים וְנָפְלָה לְפָנָיו לְיִבּוּם. וַאֲסוּרָה לוֹ לְפִי שֶׁהָיְתָה תְּחִלָּה אֵשֶׁת אָחִיו מֵאִמּוֹ וַאֲסוּרָה לוֹ עוֹלָמִית, דִּכְתִיב (שָׁם) עֶרְוַת אֵשֶׁת אָחִיךָ, וְדָרְשִׁינַן אָחִיךָ בֵּין מִן הָאָב בֵּין מִן הָאֵם: Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 15:41
  • @DannySchoemann I'm unable to see how this is relevant to the question, as the two brothers in the question share the same set of parents.
    – Premundane
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 16:14
  • 1
    @Premundane I don't know for sure, but my understanding is that sharing a non-Jewish father would be considered as not being from the same father. The biological father is irrelevant if he is not Jewish.
    – Esther
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 16:29
  • 2
    You need a brotherhood from the father that is accredited by Halacha. The son of a NJ father is not halachically his son. Gemara yevamot... 43 or 44b. For this, the Gemara said that if the mother is married to an other (Jewish) man, despite the child with the goy is adulterous, the child is not a bastard. In summary the answer is negative
    – kouty
    Commented Jul 18, 2022 at 16:36
  • והלכתא עובד כוכבים ועבד הבא על בת ישראל הולד כשר בין בפנויה בין באשת איש
    – kouty
    Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


The Mishnah in Yevamos 97B states

הַגִּיּוֹרֶת שֶׁנִּתְגַּיְּירוּ בָּנֶיהָ עִמָּהּ לֹא — חוֹלְצִין וְלֹא מְיַיבְּמִין

Rashi explains that the reason is due to the fact that the non Jewish father does not count to make them family in Halacha:

דאחוה מן האב בעינן וגר אין לו שאר האב דרחמנא אפקרי' כזרע בהמה שנאמר (יחזקאל כ״ג:כ׳) וזרמת סוסים זרמתם

Later on he states further that yibum needs to be related through the father, and the non Jewish father is not counted:

דמידע ידעי דייבום מן האב הוא ועובד כוכבים אין לו אב

And again later he says the same idea:

לא חולצין ולא מייבמין - דצד ייבום מן האב הוא והני אין להם אב דזרע מצרי כבהמה

The Gemara on 97B on the bottom, brings a braisa that talks about twin brothers who were born to a giyores:

תָּא שְׁמַע: שְׁנֵי אַחִים תְּאוֹמִים גֵּרִים, וְכֵן מְשׁוּחְרָרִים — לֹא חוֹלְצִין וְלֹא מְיַיבְּמִין, וְאֵין חַיָּיבִין מִשּׁוּם אֵשֶׁת אָח. הָיְתָה הוֹרָתָן שֶׁלֹּא בִּקְדוּשָּׁה וְלֵידָתָן בִּקְדוּשָּׁה — לֹא חוֹלְצִין וְלֹא מְיַיבְּמִין, אֲבָל חַיָּיבִין מִשּׁוּם אֵשֶׁת אָח. הָיְתָה הוֹרָתָן וְלֵידָתָן בִּקְדוּשָּׁה — הֲרֵי הֵן כְּיִשְׂרְאֵלִים לְכׇל דִּבְרֵיהֶן. קָתָנֵי מִיהַת: אֵין חַיָּיבִין מִשּׁוּם אֵשֶׁת אָח, חִיּוּבָא לֵיכָּא —

The Gemara cites another proof. Come and hear: Two twin brothers who are converts, and similarly twin brothers who are freed slaves, do not perform ḥalitza for each other’s wives, and they do not perform levirate marriage with them, and if they engage in intercourse with them they are not liable to receive karet for engaging in intercourse with a brother’s wife. If they were not conceived in sanctity and only their birth was in sanctity, they do not perform ḥalitza or levirate marriage, but they are liable for engaging in intercourse with a brother’s wife. If they were conceived and born in sanctity, they are like Jews from birth in all of their matters. In any event, the baraita is teaching that regular converts are not liable for engaging in intercourse with a brother’s wife. It can be inferred that while there is no liability by Torah law

The Rambam Yibum 1:8 brings this as the Halacha.

While one may argue that this is specifically referring to children who convert, but if they were born after the mother’s conversion, perhaps, they would be able to do yibum. The Kiryas Sefer on that Rambam clarifies in this exact case that the Halacha is the same

ואפילו תאומים שנולדו בקדושה דגוי משעה שהזריע אפקריה רחמנא לזרעיה דכתיב וזרמת סוסים זרמתם וזרמת היינו זרע שהוא יורה כחץ כזרם מים המקלח בכח

  • This answers the question definitively for me, although the answer would be improved with translations or brief explanations of the sources.
    – Premundane
    Commented Jul 20, 2022 at 1:01

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