Is it ever possible for a Kohen Gadol to perform the Mitzvah of Yibum. After all, every case of Yibum involves a widow which the Kohen Gadol is not allowed to marry?

  • Are you asking if its Hutrah or Hudcha? Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:02
  • 2
    Maybe a Kohen Gadol can marry a 'widow' if the original marriage was never consummated.
    – Tzvi
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:43
  • @SimchasTorah even if it's hutrah, who said the widow prohibition was also permitted. Really just asking for bottom line.
    – yydl
    Commented Oct 29, 2010 at 19:51
  • What are hutrah and hudcha? Commented May 20, 2012 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


Indeed he can't perform yibbum - he would have to perform chalitzah instead. The reason is that while yibbum is a positive mitzvah, it's opposed by the positive mitzvah to marry a virgin (Lev. 21:13) and the negative mitzvah to not marry a widow (ibid. :14) - and a positive mitzvah can't override a positive plus a negative one.

Even if the original marriage was never consummated, there's still the problem of her being a widow. It is true that then the positive mitzvah of yibbum ought to override that - but this would only apply to the first time they have relations. Since the Sages were concerned that he might continue to cohabit with her afterwards too (and then he'd be violating the prohibition without performing any positive mitzvah), they banned him from performing yibbum at all.

(Yevamos 61a; Rambam, Hil. Issurei Biah 17:12)

  • 1
    What if he's the only brother and he has no legs?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 4:20

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