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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
or among his clothes, even after a considerable time, it is valid.
It has been stated: Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: The halachah is that [the found Get is valid] if no-one has stopped there, whereas Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said the halachah is [that it is valid] if no-one has passed by there. Why does not Rab Judah say that the halachah follows [this] Master,1 and Rabbah b. Bar Hanah say that it follows [the other] Master?2 — Because there is another reading which reverses the names.3
IN A HAFISAH OR A DELUSKAMA. What is a hafisah? — Rabbah b. Bar Hanah says: A small pouch. What is a deluskama? — The kind of box used by old men.4
MISHNAH. IF, WHEN THE BEARER OF A GET LEFT, THE HUSBAND WAS AN OLD MAN OR SICK, HE SHOULD YET DELIVER IT TO THE WIFE ON THE PRESUMPTION THAT HE IS STILL ALIVE. IF THE DAUGHTER OF AN ORDINARY ISRAELITE5 IS MARRIED TO A PRIEST AND HER HUSBAND GOES ABROAD, SHE GOES ON EATING OF THE TERUMAH ON THE PRESUMPTION THAT HE IS STILL ALIVE.6 IF A MAN SENDS A SIN-OFFERING FROM ABROAD IT IS SACRIFICED ON THE ALTAR ON THE PRESUMPTION THAT HE IS STILL ALIVE.7
GEMARA. Raba said: [This Mishnah] speaks only of an old man who has not reached the years of 'strength'8 and of a man who is just ill, because most invalids recover, but not if he has attained 'years of strength' or was in a dying condition, because most persons in a dying condition die. Against this [opinion] Abaye raised the following objection: 'If when the bearer left the husband was old, even a hundred years old, he yet gives it to the wife on the presumption that he is alive.' This is a refutation. I might, however, still answer that if a man reaches such an age he is altogether exceptional.9 Abaye pointed out to Rabbah a contradiction. We learn: IF, WHEN THE BEARER LEFT, THE HUSBAND WAS OLD OR SICK, HE SHOULD YET DELIVER IT TO THE WIFE ON THE PRESUMPTION THAT HE IS STILL ALIVE. This seems to contradict the following [Baraitha]: 'If a priest said to his wife, "Here is thy Get [to come into force] an hour before my death",10 she is forbidden to eat the priestly dues immediately'?11 — He replied: Do you compare terumah with bills of divorce? To terumah there is an alternative,12 but to the Get there is no alternative.13 Why not oppose two statements regarding terumah itself? For we learn here: IF THE DAUGHTER OF AN ORDINARY ISRAELITE IS MARRIED TO A PRIEST AND HER HUSBAND GOES ABROAD, SHE GOES ON EATING THE TERUMAH DUES ON THE PRESUMPTION THAT HE IS STILL ALIVE. Does not this contradict the following [Baraitha]: 'If a Priest says to his [non-priestly] wife, "Here is thy Get [to come into force] an hour before my death", she is forbidden to eat the terumah immediately'? — R. Adda the son of R. Isaac answered: There the case is different, because he prohibited her to himself one hour before his death.14 R. Papa strongly demurred to this, saying: How do you know that he will die first? Perhaps she will die first?15 In fact, said Abaye. the solution of the contradiction is that the one passage follows R. Meir who disregards the chance of dying, and the other follows R. Judah who takes this chance into account, as we have learnt:16 If a man buys wine from the Cutheans, he can say, Two logs which I intend to set aside are to be reckoned as terumah [on a hundred], ten logs as first tithe, and nine logs as second tithe, and then begin to drink at once. This is the view of R. Meir. R. Judah, R. Jose and R. Simeon forbid him to do this.17 Raba said:
We disregard the chance of his having died,1 but take into account the chance that he may die.2 Said R. Adda b. Mattena to Raba: What of the wine-skin [in the case of the terumah, the chance of which breaking is] like the chance that the man may die3 and yet the authorities differ in regard to it?4 — Said R. Judah from Diskarta:5 A wine-skin is different, because it can be handed over to someone to keep. R. Mesharshe ya strongly objected to this, saying: Your security himself requires a security.6 — In fact, said Raba, the chance that he has died we do not take into account:7 whether we take into account the chance that he may die is a question on which Tannaim differ.8
IF A PERSON SENDS A SIN-OFFERING FROM ABROAD etc. But is not laying-on of hands required?9 R. Joseph replied that [the Mishnah refers] to an offering sent by a woman,10 R. Papa said that it refers to the sin-offering of a bird.11
[All three clauses in the Mishnah] are necessary. For if the rule [that the person in question is presumed to be alive] were stated merely in regard to a Get, I should say the reason is because there is no alternative,12 but in the case of terumah where there is an alternative, it does not apply. And if the rule had been stated with regard to terumah, I should say that the reason is because sometimes there is no alternative,13 but in the case of the sin-offering of the bird I should say that, as there is a doubt [whether the person who sent it is still alive], we should not [take the risk of] bringing profane things into the Temple court. Hence [all three clauses] are necessary.
MISHNAH. THREE STATEMENTS WERE MADE BY R. ELEAZAR B. PERATA BEFORE THE SAGES, WHO FORMALLY APPROVED OF THEM. [HE SAID] THAT [PEOPLE IN] A BESIEGED TOWN, [PEOPLE] IN A SHIP STORM-TOSSED AT SEA, AND A MAN WHO HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO COURT TO BE TRIED [FOR HIS LIFE] ARE PRESUMED TO BE ALIVE [SO LONG AS THEY ARE NOT KNOWN TO BE DEAD]. [PEOPLE, HOWEVER,] IN A BESIEGED TOWN WHICH HAS BEEN CAPTURED OR [IN] A SHIP WHICH HAS BEEN LOST AT SEA OR A MAN WHO HAS BEEN LED OUT TO EXECUTION ARE PRESUMED TO BE EITHER ALIVE OR DEAD ACCORDING TO WHICHEVER VIEW ENTAILS THE GREATER RIGOUR. [HENCE] THE DAUGHTER OF AN ORDINARY ISRAELITE WHO HAS MARRIED A PRIEST OR THE DAUGHTER OF A PRIEST WHO HAS MARRIED AN ORDINARY ISRAELITE MAY NOT EAT OF THE TERUMAH [IF THE HUSBAND HAS DISAPPEARED IN THIS WAY].14
GEMARA. R. Joseph said: This rule [with regard to a man led out to execution] applies only to Israelite courts,15 but in the case of a heathen court once he is condemned to execution, [there is no question that] he is executed.16 Said Abaye to him: Do not the heathen courts sometimes take a bribe? — He replied: If they do, it is only before the writ is signed with the words Pursi shanmag,17 but after it has been signed pursi shanmag they will not take a bribe.
An objection was raised [from the following]: 'Whenever two persons come forward and say, We testify against So-and-so that he was condemned to death in such-and-such a Beth din, So-and-so and So-and-so being the witnesses against him, such a man has to be put to death'?18 — Perhaps [a condemned person] who escapes is different.19 Come and hear: If he heard [a report] from an Israelite court that So-and-so died or was put to death, they allow his wife to marry again [If, however, the report came] from heathen20 jailers that he died or was put to death, they do not allow his wife to marry again. Now what is meant here by 'died' and 'put to death'? Shall I say these terms are to be taken literally? Then why in the case of heathens is the wife not allowed to marry again, seeing that it is a recognised principle that [the word of] a heathen speaking without ulterior motive21 is to be accepted [in questions relating to marriage]?22 I must therefore understand the words 'died' and 'put to death' in the sense of 'Taken out to die'23 or 'to be put to death'; and yet it states [that if the report comes] from an Israelite court they do allow the wife to marry again?24 — [The passage quoted means] really 'died' and really 'put to death', and as for your question why in such a case [if the report comes] from a heathen court is she not allowed to marry again, seeing that it is a recognised principle with us that [the word of] a heathen speaking without ulterior motive is to be accepted, [the answer is that] this applies only to a matter in which they themselves have not participated,25 but where the matter is one in which they themselves have participated, they are prone to indulge in falsehood.26
[The following is] another version [of the above passage]. R. Joseph said: This rule applies only to heathen courts,
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