Chalitsah (Heb. חֲלַיצָה, a snatching) is the ceremony among the Jews called "the loosing of the shoe," which is performed when a man refuses to marry his brother's widow, and to raise up seed to his brother. It is done in pursuance of the ordinance in De 25:9-10, and is performed in the following manner: Three rabbis go out on the preceding evening, and agree upon a proper spot where the transaction is to take place. Next day, at the close of the morning service, the congregation repair to the place agreed upon, and the widow and brother-in-law present themselves before the assembly and make a public declaration that the object of their appearance is to procure their freedom and discharge. The principal rabbi examines the man, argues with him, and endeavors to prevail upon him to marry his brother's widow. After a second examination, if he still refuse, he puts on a shoe which is too large for him, and the woman, attended by one of the rabbis, repeats De 25:7, "And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother." Whereupon the brother-in-law replies, "I like not to take her;" then the woman looses the shoe and takes it off, throwing it upon the ground with the utmost anger and disdain, repeating, with the assistance of the rabbi, "So shall it be done unto the man that will not build up his brother's house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed." She repeats this form of words three times, and each time the witnesses reply, "His shoe is loosed." The rabbi now informs the widow that she is at liberty to marry whom she pleases, and a certificate of the fact is given her if she desires it. The permission to marry is called by the Jews chalitsah or caliza. The custom here described is seldom followed by modern Jews; but when they marry a daughter to one of several brothers, they are in 'the habit of requiring a contract that, in case of her husband's decease, the widow shall be set at liberty without any ceremony. Some will even oblige the husband, if he happen to become dangerously ill, to grant his wife a divorce, that her brother-in-law, after her husband's decease, may have no claims on her. SEE LEVIRATE.

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