Daf Yomi Yevamos 28
Some of the most successful actors today didn’t get their big break until late in life. Steve Carrell only became famous at the age of 43 with The Office, Samuel L. Jackson first hit the big-time when he starred in Pulp Fiction when he was 46, and despite Liam Neeson’s earlier appearance in Schindler’s List, it wasn’t until his fifties that he became an international action hero.
What were these people doing all those years until they became household names?
Rabbi Huna quoted Rav: There were two sisters married to two brothers who died, leaving a third brother to perform the levirate marriage (yibum) or annulment (chalitzah). He cannot do yibum since he may not marry sisters. Whether he did chalitzah with either one, he exempts them both. If the first one to become a widow died, he may do yibum with (i.e. marry) the second. And certainly, if the second died, he may do yibum with the first, since when she first became a widow, she was meant to marry him, and then subsequently (when her sister was widowed) she became forbidden to him. Now that her sister died, she returns to her original permissible status.
Rabbi Yochanan says: If the second died, he may marry the first; but not the other way around. Why? For any widow who is ineligible to perform the levirate marriage at the time of her husband’s death is still considered his brother’s wife and forbidden. Rabbi Elazar says: Once she is off-limits to him for a moment, she is off-limits to him forever. And so he may not even marry the first widow.
While the other Rabbis hold that there is a notion of something being off-limits and then subsequently attainable, Rabbi Elazar believes that once something is off-limits, it remains that way forever. Unfortunately, many people go through life with Rabbi Elazar’s attitude. They try to reach for the skies and, unable to live their dream, they decide that it’s forever unachievable.
Think about guys like Steve Carrell and Samuel L. Jackson. What were they doing all those years until they became successful? They didn’t just wake up with a mid-life crisis and decide one day to switch careers and try acting. They spent years and years getting bit parts and TV commercials, knowing that one day they would live their dreams.
Have you given up on your dream? Did you give it a shot once only to find that it was off-limits to you? Did you simply decide that you would never get there and so you called it quits? Nothing is off-limits forever! You never know when your big break will come!
As a teenager, I loved composing music, knowing that one day I’d record an album. Anyway, life happened and I let that dream go. But then one day, G-d brought Richard Samuels into my life. Richard was a top-twenty recording artist who took me into the studio and helped me record my first songs. Around the same time, I met Ben Klein, an award-winning Jewish music superstar who partnered with me on an album. The dream of recording an album that I’d given up long ago, suddenly become a reality!
You never know when G-d will grant you your dream. Don’t ever give up. Nothing is off-limits forever. Just keep believing in the Almighty and in yourself and all your dreams will come true!