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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
So-and-so and So-and-so the judges in such-and-such a place.'1 And R. Shesheth? — [He may rejoin:] Is the Tanna to reckon them out like a pedlar selling his wares?2 Said R. Nahman [again]: What is my ground for saying so? Because we have learnt: 'And the judges sign below or the witnesses.'3 Are not the judges here placed on a par with the witnesses, so that just as two witnesses suffice, So two judges suffice? And R. Shesheth? — [He can reply:] Is this an argument? Judges and witnesses each follow their own rule. [And if you ask] why [the Mishnah] mentions both witnesses and judges, it is to teach us that it makes no difference if they word the document as judges4 and then sign as witnesses or if they word the document as witnesses5 and then sign as judges.
TO PREVENT ABUSES, What is referred to? — R. Johanan said: To prevent illegitimacy. Resh Lakish said: To prevent wife-desertion. 'R. Johanan said to prevent illegitimacy,' for he held with R. Nahman who said [that the Get could be cancelled] before [a Beth din of] two: [the proceedings] of two are not generally known, so she, not having heard and not knowing [that the Get is cancelled] might go and marry again, and bear illegitimate children.6 'Resh Lakish said to prevent wife-desertion,' for he again held with R. Shesheth who said [that he has to cancel it] before [a Beth din of] three. The proceedings of three are generally known, so she hearing and knowing [that the Get was cancelled] would remain unmarried, and we have therefore to save her from being a deserted wife.7
Our Rabbis have taught: If [the husband] did cancel [the Get before a Beth din] it is cancelled.8 This is the ruling of Rabbi. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, however, says that he can neither cancel it nor add any additional conditions, since if so, what becomes of the authority of the Beth din?9 And is it possible then, that where a Get is according to the Written Law cancelled we should, to save the authority of the Beth din, [declare it valid and] so allow a married woman to marry another? — Yes. When a man betroths a woman, he does so under the conditions laid down by the Rabbis, and in this case the Rabbis annul his betrothal. Said Rabina to R. Ashi: This is quite right if the husband had originally betrothed his wife with money.10 But if he had betrothed her by the act of marriage,11 what can we say? — The Rabbis declared the act of marriage to be retrospectively nonmarital.
Our Rabbis have taught: 'If a man said to ten persons, Write a Get for my wife,12 he can countermand the order to each of them separately.13 This is the ruling of Rabbi. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, however, says that he can only countermand the order when they are together.'14 What is the point at issue between them? — The point at issue is whether if part of an evidence has been nullified the whole of it is nullified. Rabbi was of opinion that if part of an evidence has been nullified
the whole of it is not nullified. If therefore those [who have not heard the order countermanded] go and write [the Get] and give it to her, their action is quite proper.1 Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel was of opinion that if part of an evidence is nullified the whole is nullified. [If therefore] those [who] do not know [that the order is countermanded] go and write [the Get] and give it to her, then they are enabling a married woman to marry again. Or if you like I can say that both Rabbi and Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel are agreed that if part of an evidence is nullified the whole is not nullified, and the reason of Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel here is that in his opinion a thing which is done in the presence of ten can only by undone in the presence of ten.2
The question was raised: Suppose he said 'All of you write,'3 what are we to say?4 Do we say that the reason of Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel [for forbidding in the case where he did not say 'all of you'] is that in his opinion if part of an evidence is nullified the whole is nullilied,5 and since he said to these 'all of you,' they cannot write the Get and give it [without these two],6 or is his reason that in his opinion a thing which has been done in the presence of ten can only be undone in the presence of ten, and therefore even if he said 'all of you' [he can only countermand the order when they are all together]?7 — Come and hear: If a man said to two persons, Give a Get to my wife, he can countermand the order to one without the other. This is the ruling of Rabbi. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, however, says that he can only countermand it to both of them together.8 Now two here are equivalent to 'all of you,'9 and yet we see that Rabbi and Rabban Simeon differ?10 — Said R. Ashi: If the two are witnesses to the Get, then Rabban Simeon would also admit [that he can countermand separately].11 Here, however, we are dealing with witnesses to the taking of the Get.12 This opinion is borne out by the conclusion of the passage quoted: 'If he told each of them separately [in the first instance], he can countermand to them separately.'13 For if you say that it speaks of witnesses to the taking of the Get, this is intelligible.14 But if you say that it speaks of the witnesses to the writing of the Get, how can these be joined together [if they were at first separate]? Has not the Master said: 'Their [separate] evidences are not combined [to form a whole]; they must both see [the event] together'?15 — [This, however, is not conclusive], since perhaps [the teaching quoted] follows the view of R. Joshuah b. Korhah.16
R. Samuel b. Judah said: I have heard R. Abba give rulings on both [these points],17 one following Rabbi and the other following Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, but I do not know which one follows Rabbi and which Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel. Said R. Joseph: We are able to throw light on this. For when R. Dimi came [from Palestine], he reported to us that Rabbi once in an actual case decided according to the ruling of the Sages,18 and R. Parta the son of R. Eleazar b. Parta and the grandson of the great R. Parta said to him: If that is so, what authority do you leave to the Beth din,19 and Rabbi thereupon reversed his decision and followed the ruling of R. Simeon b. Gamaliel.20 And since the ruling in this case follows Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel,21 in the other it follows Rabbi. R. Josiah from Usha was also of opinion that the ruling in one case followed the opinion of Rabbi and in the other of Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel. For Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said: We were sitting five elders before R. Josiah from Usha and a certain man came before him whom he compelled to give a Get against his will, and he said to them [the witnesses, after compelling him], Go and conceal yourselves [from him] and write her [the Get]. Now if you assume that he ruled according to the opinion of Rabbi, if they did conceal themselves what difference did it make?22 This shows that [in this point] he followed Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel. But should you assume further that in the other point also he held with Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel, [we can ask,] why should they have hidden themselves? It would have been sufficient if they had separated.23 This shows that he held with Rabbi in regard to one point and with Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel in regard to the other. Raba, however, said in the name of R. Nahman that the halachah follows Rabbi in both points. But does not R. Nahman hold that the authority of the Beth din must be upheld? Did not R. Nahman say in the name of Samuel,
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