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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
I grant you that if the statement had been in the reverse form, thus, '[If the wife said]. Receive my Get on my behalf, and [he said], Your wife told me to bring it, and the husband says. Here you are as she said,' and if R. Nahman had said in the name of Rabbah b. Abbuha in the name Rab, 'Once the Get comes into his hand, she is divorced,' then I could infer that he relies upon her word;1 or again, if he had said, '[Once the Get reaches] her hand [she is divorced]', I could have inferred that the husband relies upon the agent's word.2 As it is, however, the reason why [the Get is not valid] is because the agent completely nullified his agency by saying 'I am willing to be an agent for receiving and not for conveying'.3
R. Huna b. Hiyya said [in refutation of R. Nahman]: Come and hear: IF A MAN SAYS, RECEIVE THIS GET ON BEHALF OF MY WIFE, OR, CONVEY THIS GET TO MY WIFE, IF HE DESIRES TO RETRACT HE MAY DO SO. The reason [why the Get is not effective] is that he desires to do so; if he does not [and lets the Get reach her], the Get is valid. Now why should this be, seeing that the husband is not competent to appoint an agent for receiving the Get? The reason must be because we say that once he has made up his mind to divorce her, he says to himself, Let her be divorced in any way possible.4 So here also, since he made up his mind to divorce her, he says to himself, Let her be divorced in any way possible?5 — Are the two cases comparable? In that case [of the Mishnah], a man knows that he cannot appoint an agent for receiving the Get and decides to give it to the agent for the purpose of conveying; but here he gives it under a misapprehension.6
Raba said: Come and hear: If a girl under age said, Receive my Get on my behalf, it is not effective until it reaches her hand.7 Now at any rate [according to this] when it reaches her hand she is divorced, and yet why should this be, seeing that the husband did not make him an agent for conveying?8 We say however, that since the husband made up his mind to divorce her, he says to himself, Let her be divorced in any way possible;9 so here, since he made up his mind to divorce her, he says, Let her be divorced in any way possible?10 — But are these two cases comparable? There, a man knows that a minor cannot appoint an agent, and therefore he decides to give it to the agent for the purpose of being conveyed on his own behalf; but here he gives it under a misapprehension.
Come and hear: [If a woman says to an agent], Bring me my Get, and [the agent says to the husband], Your wife told me to receive her Get for her, or if the wife says, Receive my Get for me, and he says, Your wife told me to bring her Get, and the husband says to him, Convey and give it to her, take possession on her behalf and receive on her behalf, if he desires to retract he may do so, but once the Get reaches her hand she is divorced.11 Now does not here the husband's saying 'receive' correspond to the agent's saying 'receive', and the husband's saying 'convey' to the agent's saying 'convey'?12 — No; 'receive' corresponds to 'bring' and convey' to 'receive'.13 If 'receive corresponds to 'bring', then [if the husband relies on the wife's word] the Get should be effective as soon as it comes into the agent's hand;14 [and since this is not so] it shows that he relies on his word?15 — How can you say so? In that case16 he says to him, 'Here you are, as she said;17 in this case does he say, 'Here you are as she said?18
Our Rabbis taught: [If a woman says to an agent], Receive my Get for me, and [he says to the husband], Your wife told me to receive her Get for her, and the husband says, Convey it and give it to her, take possession of it on her behalf, or receive it on her behalf, if he desires to retract he is not at liberty to do so.19 R. Nathan says: If he says, Convey and give it to her, he can retract,20 but if he says, Take possession of it and receive it for her, he cannot retract. Rabbi says, [If he uses] any of these formulas he cannot retract, but if he says, I am not agreeable that you should receive for her, but convey it and give it to her, then if he desires to retract he may do so.21 Does not Rabbi merely repeat the first Tanna?22 — If you like I can say that [he did so because] he desired to add the clause about not being agreeable, or if you like I can say that the repetition is meant to inform us that the first Tanna is Rabbi.
The question was raised: According to R. Nathan, is 'here you are' equivalent to 'take possession' or not? Come and hear: IF A MAN SAYS, RECEIVE THIS GET ON BEHALF OF MY WIFE OR CONVEY THIS GET TO MY WIFE, IF HE DESIRES TO RETRACT HE MAY DO SO. IF A WOMAN SAYS, RECEIVE A GET ON MY BEHALF, IF HE DESIRES TO RETRACT HE IS NOT AT LIBERTY TO DO SO.
Come and hear: CONSEQUENTLY IF THE HUSBAND SAID, I AM NOT AGREEABLE THAT YOU SHOULD RECEIVE IT FOR HER, BUT CONVEY IT AND GIVE IT TO HER, THEN IF HE DESIRES TO RETRACT HE MAY DO SO. Now the reason why he may retract is because he said, I am not agreeable etc., and if he did not say so he may not retract. Does not this mean, after he says, 'Here you are, the opinion recorded being that of R. Nathan? — No; it means [even] after he says, 'Convey', the opinion recorded being that of Rabbi.
Come and hear: '[If a man says], Convey this Get to my wife, if he desires to retract he may do so, but if he says, Here is4 this Get for my wife, if he desires to retract he may not do so.' What authority do you find for the view that if the husband says 'convey' he is at liberty to retract? R. Nathan; and he lays down that if the husband says 'here you are' he is not at liberty to retract. This proves conclusively that 'here you are' is [according to R. Nathan]5 equivalent to 'take possession'.
It has been stated: [If the wife says], Receive my Get for me, and [the agent says to the husband], Your wife told me to receive her Get for her, and the husband says, Convey and give it to her, R. Abba said in the name of R. Huna, who had it from Rab, that he becomes both her agent and his agent, and [in case of need]6 she must perform halizah.7 This would seem to show that Rab was in doubt whether 'convey' is equivalent to 'take possession' or not.8 Yet how can this be, seeing that it has been stated: [If a man says], Take this maneh to so-and-so to whom I owe it, Rab says that he is responsible for it [till it is delivered]9 and he cannot retract?10 — [There is still a doubt, but] in that case the doubt concerns the ownership of money, and Rab takes the more lenient view,11 in this case it concerns a religious offence12 and he takes the more stringent view.
Rab said: A woman cannot appoint an agent to receive her Get from the agent of her husband. R. Haninah, however, said that a woman may appoint an agent to receive her Get from the agent of her husband. What is Rab's reason? — If you like I can say, to avoid showing contempt for the husband, and if you like I can say, because of [the resemblance of the agent to] a courtyard which comes [in to her possession] subsequently.13 What difference does it make in practice which reason we adopt? — The difference arises in the case where she had appointed her agent first.14
A certain man sent a Get to his wife, and the bearer found her kneading [flour]. He said to her, Here is your Get. She replied You take it.15 R. Nahman thereupon said: If [I knew that] R. Haninah is right. I would count this a valid Get. Said Raba to him: And even if R. Haninah is right, would you count this valid? There has been no time for the agent to return to the husband [and report]?16 They sent to consult R. Ammi,17 and he replied: The husband's commission has not been performed.18 R. Hiyya b. Abba, however, said: We must consider the matter. They again sent to consult R. Hiyya b. Abba.17 He said: How many more times will they send? Just as they are unable to decide, so we are unable to decide. The danger of forbidden relationship,19 is involved, and wherever a sex prohibition is involved, the woman must perform halizah.20 In a case which actually happened, R. Isaac b. Samuel b. Martha declared both a new Get and halizah to be required. [Why] both? — A Get [if she desired to marry while the husband] was alive, and halizah [if she wanted to marry] after his death.
There was a certain woman named Nafa'atha, and the witnesses to the Get21 wrote it Tafa'atha. R. Isaac b. Samuel b. Martha thereupon said in the name of Rab: The witnesses have discharged their commission.22 Rabbah strongly demurred to this, saying. Did the husband say to them, Write out a piece of clay and give it to her? No, said Rabbah. [This is not so,] but in truth, if the witnesses had written a proper Get and it had been lost [before being given to her], then we should say that they had discharged their commission. R. Nahman strongly demurred to this, saying: Did he say, Write it and put it in your bag?23 The fact is, said R. Nahman, that the Get can be written and given a hundred times [till it comes right].
Raba inquired of R. Nahman: If a man said [to the witnesses], Write [the Get] and give it to a bearer, how do we decide? Have they been discharged,24 or did he merely want to save them trouble? Rabina asked R. Ashi: Suppose he adds the words, 'And let him take it,' what do we say? — These questions can stand over.
R. SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAID: EVEN IF THE WIFE SAYS [MERELY] 'TAKE FOR ME' [AND HE DOES SO], HE IS NOT AT LIBERTY TO RETRACT.
Our Rabbis taught: 'Take for me, carry for me,' 'keep for me'25 are all equivalent to receive.
MISHNAH. A WOMAN WHO SAYS [TO AN AGENT] 'RECEIVE MY GET FOR ME' REQUIRES TWO SETS OF WITNESSES, TWO [WITNESSES] TO SAY, IN OUR PRESENCE SHE TOLD HIM, AND TWO TO SAY, IN OUR PRESENCE HE RECEIVED [THE GET] AND TORE IT.26 IT IS IMMATERIAL IF THE FIRST SET ARE IDENTICAL WITH THE LAST
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