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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
Let R. Abina put his pack on his shoulder and go off to R. Huna his teacher,1 since R. Huna had laid down that a man's Get2 is on the same footing as his gift; just as if he recovers he can withdraw his gift, so if he recovers he can withdraw his Get. Similarly [we may argue], just as in the case of his Get, even though he did not express himself clearly, if he says 'write' even though he does not say also 'give' [it is sufficient], so with his gift, since he has said 'give', even though no token was given,3 [it is sufficient]. R. Abba strongly demurred to this [dictum of R. Huna], saying, [Shall I argue on this principle that] just as a gift may take effect after death, so a Get may take effect after death?4 — Is there any comparison? A gift can take effect after death, but is there such a thing as a Get after death?5 No; R. Abba's real difficulty was this. [Geniba's gift] was a gift made by one about to die of part of his property, and a gift made by one about to die of part of his property needs to be confirmed by a token gift.6 This would seem to show that according to R. Huna7 it does not need to be confirmed by a token gift, and yet we know for a fact that it does require a token gift? — There is a special reason here, because he was giving his last dispositions.8 This again would show that in R. Abba's opinion even where one gives his last dispositions, there must be a token gift, and we know for a fact that this is not the case? — No; the real difficulty of R. Abba is this. He did not say, [Give] wine,9 nor did he say, [Give] the money value of wine.10 What he said was 'of the wine'.11 — What does the other [R. Zera] [make of this]? — [He says that] he used the expression 'of the wine' to make his title more secure.12 They sent from there [Palestine] to say, 'Of the wine' makes his title more secure.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN HAD BEEN THROWN INTO A PIT AND CRIED OUT13 THAT WHOEVER HEARD HIS VOICE SHOULD WRITE A GET FOR HIS WIFE, THE GET SHOULD BE WRITTEN AND PRESENTED TO HER.
GEMARA. But is there not a possibility that it may be a demon? — Rab Judah said: We assume that he can be seen to have the appearance of a man. But the demons also can look like men? — We assume that they see his shadow. But they also have a shadow? — We assume they see a shadow of a shadow. But perhaps they also have a shadow of a shadow? — R. Hanina said: Jonathan my son has taught me that they have a shadow, but not a shadow of a shadow. But perhaps it is her rival?14 — A Tannah of the school of R. Ishmael taught: In time of danger15 we can write and [give a Get], even if we do not know him.16
MISHNAH. IF A MAN IN HEALTH SAYS, WRITE A GET FOR MY WIFE,17 HIS INTENTION IS MERELY TO PLAY WITH HER. IT ONCE HAPPENED WITH A MAN IN GOOD HEALTH WHO SAID, WRITE A GET FOR MY WIFE, AND THEN WENT UP ON TO A ROOF AND FELL DOWN FROM IT AND DIED, AND RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAID THAT IF HE HAD THROWN HIMSELF DOWN THIS WAS A GET,18 BUT IF THE WIND HAD BLOWN HIM OVER IT WAS NO GET.
GEMARA. The instance adduced disproves the rule, [does it not]?19 — There is a lacuna, and the Mishnah should run thus: 'If his subsequent conduct reveals his intention [to kill himself], the Get is valid. IT ONCE HAPPENED WITH A MAN IN GOOD HEALTH WHO SAID, WRITE A GET FOR MY WIFE, AND THEN WENT UP TO A ROOF AND FELL DOWN FROM IT AND DIED, AND RABBAN SIMEON B. GAMALIEL SAID: IF HE HAD THROWN HIMSELF DOWN THIS WAS A GET, B UT IF THE WIND HAD BLOWN HIM OVER IT WAS NO GET.
A certain man went into the synagogue and found a teacher of children and his son sitting there and a third man sitting by them. He said to them: I want two of you to write a Get for my wife. Before the Get was given20 the teacher died. [The question arose], Do people usually make a son their agent in the place of his father or not?21 — R. Nahman said: People do not make a son the agent in the place of his father, while R. Papi said that people do make a son their agent in the place of his father.22 Raba said: The law is that people do make a son the agent in place of the father.
MISHNAH. IF A MAN SAID TO TWO PERSONS, GIVE A GET TO MY WIFE,23
OR TO THREE PERSONS, WRITE A GET AND GIVE IT TO MY WIFE, THEY SHOULD WRITE AND GIVE IT. IF HE SAID TO THREE PERSONS, GIVE A GET TO MY WIFE,1 THEY MAY TELL OTHERS TO WRITE2 BECAUSE HE HAS MADE THEM A BETH DIN.3 THIS IS THE VIEW OF R. MEIR, AND THIS IS THE HALACHAH WHICH R. HANINA A MAN OF ONO4 BROUGHT [FROM R. AKIBA IN] PRISON:5 'I HAVE IT FROM MY TEACHERS THAT IF A MAN SAYS TO THREE PERSONS, GIVE A GET TO MY WIFE, THEY MAY TELL OTHERS TO WRITE IT, BECAUSE HE HAS CONSTITUTED THEM A BETH DIN. R. JOSE SAID: WE SAID TO THE MESSENGER, WE ALSO HAVE IT ON TRADITION FROM OUR TEACHERS THAT EVEN IF HE SAID TO THE GREAT BETH DIN IN JERUSALEM,6 GIVE A GET TO MY WIFE, 'THEY SHOULD LEARN7 AND WRITE AND GIVE IT. IF A MAN SAYS TO TEN PERSONS, WRITE A GET AND DELIVER IT TO MY WIFE, ONE WRITES, AND TWO SIGN AS WITNESSES. [IF HE SAID,] ALL OF YOU WRITE, ONE WRITES AND ALL SIGN. CONSEQUENTLY IF ONE OF THEM DIES, THE GET IS INVALID.
GEMARA. R. Jeremiah b. Abba said: An inquiry was sent from the school of Rab8 to Samuel: Would our teacher inform us: If a man said to two persons, Write and deliver a Get to my wife, and they told a scribe and he wrote it and they themselves signed it, what is the law?9 — He sent back word: She must leave [her second husband],10 but the matter requires further study. What did he mean by saying that the matter requires further study? Shall we say it is because only a verbal instruction11 was given to them,12 and Samuel is in doubt whether a verbal instruction can be passed on to another agent or not? Has not Samuel said in the name of Rabbi that the halachah follows R. Jose who said that verbal instructions cannot be passed on to another agent?13 — No; what Samuel wanted to know was this. [When the husband said to the men], 'write', did he mean their signatures or the Get?14 — Cannot this be determined from the Mishnah: IF A MAN SAID TO TWO PERSONS, GIVE A GET TO MY WIFE, OR IF HE SAID TO THREE, WRITE A GET AND GIVE [IT] TO MY WIFE, THEY SHOULD WRITE AND DELIVER [IT]? — Here too he was in doubt whether 'WRITE' meant their signatures or the actual Get. Surely it is obvious that it must be the Get, from what we read in the later clause: R. JOSE SAID, WE SAID TO THE MESSENGER, WE TOO HAVE IT ON TRADITION FROM OUR TEACHERS THAT EVEN IF HE SAID TO THE GREAT BETH DIN IN JERUSALEM, GIVE A GET TO MY WIFE, THEY SHOULD LEARN AND WRITE AND GIVE TO HER.15 Now if you say that the writing of the Get is meant, this creates no difficulty, but if you say it is the writing of the signatures, surely there is no Beth din, the members of which do not know how to sign their names? — Yes; this might happen in a new Beth din.
Now if we adopt the opinion that 'write' means 'write your signatures,' but as to the actual Get, it is in order even if written by others [how can this be seeing that] Samuel said in the name of Rabbi that the halachah is in accordance with R. Jose who said that verbal instructions cannot be passed on to another agent? — We might reply that if we adopt the opinion that 'write' means the signatures, then as far as the writing of the Get is concerned it is as though the husband had given instructions that they should tell [the scribe], and R. Jose admits that [the Get written by the scribe is valid] where he said, Tell [the scribe to write it].
But does R. Jose admit that it is valid where he says to them, Tell [the scribe]? Have we not learnt: 'If the scribe wrote and there was one witness [besides], the Get is valid,'16 and R. Jeremiah said in regard to this, Our Version is, If the scribe signs,17 and R. Hisda said, Whom does the Mishnah follow? R. Jose, who said that verbal instructions cannot be passed on to another agent.18 Now if you assume that R. Jose admits [that the Get is valid] where he says, Tell [the scribe], then a calamity may result, since sometimes he will say to two persons,
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