- Question: Why can’t a woman ideally get married (though if she does she can stay married) if there is one witness who says her husband dies and another witness comes and says he did not die?
- The Gemara in Kesubos 22b concludes in the name of Rebbe Yochanan that if one witness says he is dead and another witness says he is not dead she should not get married but if she does she need not divorce the second guy. The gemara adds that this is based on a ruling by Ulla that whenever the Torah believes one witness he is treated as two witnesses. So the one who says he did not die is one witness verses two witnesses, (for only the one who says he did die is treated as two witnesses leniently.)
- Rashi says we treat him as two witnesses to say he died, as we say in the beginning of the tenth chapter of Yevamos, because we are so strict with her in the end, by punishing her very much if she does not cross check that her husband is really dead, as enumerated in the Mishna there, therefore we are lenient on her in the beginning to accept one witness.
- The Gemara then asks why she can’t ideally get remarried if one witness has the same status as two. The gemara concludes with a verse in Mishlei (Proverbs 4:24): “Take crooked speech away from yourself, and put devious lips far away from you.”
Answer: She wouldn’t be careful enough to checkout if her husband really is dead before getting remarried, if she would have been permitted to remarry ideally.