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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
are to rule out the formula about which Raba questioned R. Nahman, viz., if he said, 'To-day you are not my wife but to-morrow you will be my wife'.1
THE ESSENCE OF A DEED OF EMANCIPATION IS THE WORDS, BEHOLD YOU ARE HEREBY A FREE WOMAN, BEHOLD YOU BELONG TO YOURSELF. Rab Judah laid down the following formula for the deed of sale of a slave: 'This slave is legally adjudicated to bondage, and is absolved and dissociated from all freedom and claims and demands of the King and the Queen,2 and there is no mark of any [other] man upon him, and he is clear of all blemishes and from any boil that may come out within two years,3 whether new or old.' What is the remedy for such a boil? — Abaye said: [A mixture of] ginger and silver dross and sulphur and vinegar of wine and olive oil and white naphtha laid on with a goose's quill.
MISHNAH. THE FOLLOWING THREE BILLS OF DIVORCE ARE INVALID BUT IF A WOMAN MARRIES ON THE STRENGTH OF THEM THE CHILD [BORN OF SUCH MARRIAGE] IS LEGITIMATE: [ONE.] IF THE HUSBAND WROTE IT WITH HIS OWN HAND BUT IT WAS ATTESTED BY NO WITNESSES; [A SECOND]. IF THERE ARE WITNESSES TO IT BUT NO DATE; [A THIRD,] IF IT HAS A DATE BUT THE SIGNATURE OF ONLY ONE WITNESS. THESE THREE BILLS OF DIVORCE ARE INVALID, BUT IF SHE MARRIES THE CHILD IS LEGITIMATE. R. ELEAZAR, HOWEVER, SAYS THAT EVEN THOUGH IT WAS NOT ATTESTED BY WITNESSES AT ALL, SO LONG AS HE GAVE IT TO HER IN THE PRESENCE OF WITNESSES IT IS VALID,4 AND ON THE STRENGTH OF IT SHE MAY RECOVER HER KETHUBAH FROM MORTGAGED PROPERTY, SINCE SIGNATURES OF WITNESSES ARE REQUIRED ON THE GET ONLY AS A SAFEGUARD.5
GEMARA. Are these all?6 Is there not also the 'old' Get?7 — With an 'old' Get she need not part [from her second husband], with one of these she must. This is a good answer for one who holds that with one of these she must part, but to one who holds that she need not part,8 what can we reply? — With an 'old' Get her marriage is permitted in the first instance,9 with one of these only retrospectively. But there is a 'bald' Get?10 — With such a Get the child born is a bastard, but here the child is legitimate. This answer is satisfactory if we adopt the view of R. Meir, (who said that wherever any alteration is made in the form prescribed by the Sages for bills of divorce, the child is a bastard).11 but if we accept the view of the Rabbis what reply can be made? — With a 'bald' Get she must part [from the second husband], here she need not. This is a satisfactory answer if we accept the view that here she need not part, but if we adopt the view that here also she must part, what reply can be given? — The Mishnah is not dealing with a folded Get.12 But there is the Get with an improper reign inserted?13 — There she must leave the husband, here she need not leave him. This is a good enough reason for one who holds that here she need not part, but to one who holds that she must part what answer can be made? — (There the child is a bastard, here the child is legitimate. This accords well enough with the view of R. Meir, but if we adopt the view of the Rabbis what can be said?).14 — We must suppose that the Mishnah follows R. Meir, so that there the child is a bastard but here it is legitimate.
[Which kinds of Get] are excluded by the specific number mentioned at the beginning of the ruling, and which by the specific number mentioned at the end? — The first number excludes those we have mentioned.15 The second number excludes the one regarding which it has been taught: 'If a man brings a Get from abroad and gives it to the wife without saying, In my presence it was written and in my presence it was signed'. [the second husband] must put her away and the child is a bastard. This is the opinion of R. Meir.16 The Sages, however, say that the child is not a bastard.17 What should the man do? He should take it from her and give it to her again in the presence of two witnesses and say, In my presence it was written and in my presence it was signed.18
IF THE HUSBAND WROTE WITH HIS OWN HAND BUT IT WAS ATTESTED BY NO WITNESSES. Rab said: It is definitely stated here, WITH HIS OWN HAND. To what [was Rab referring]? Shall I say to the first clause of the ruling?19 Then what has he told us? It says distinctly, WITH HIS OWN HAND? [Shall I say] to the middle clause?20 [In this case it can hardly matter],21 since it is attested by witnesses? — He must refer then to the last clause, IF IT HAS A DATE BUT THE SIGNATURE OF ONLY ONE WITNESS.
[Rab tells us that in this case the child is legitimate only] if [the Get is] written with his own hand, but if the scribe has written it and there is only one witness, the child is not [legitimate]. Samuel, however, said that even if the scribe had written it and there was [the signature of only] one witness, [the child is] legitimate, since we have learnt, If the scribe wrote and there was the signature of a witness, the Get is valid.1 And Rab? — [He might rejoin:] Is there any comparison? There her marriage is permitted in the first instance,2 but here only retrospectively.3 And Samuel? — [He can rejoin:] There is no difficulty;4 there we assume that the scribe is fully competent,5 here that he is not so competent.6 So too R. Johanan said: The Mishnah definitely stated, WITH HIS OWN HAND. Said R. Eleazar to him, But it is attested by the signature of witnesses?7 — He replied: [I refer] to the last clause.
Rab sometimes ruled [in such cases] that [the woman] should leave [the second husband] and sometimes that she need not leave him. How was this? If she had children [he ruled that] she need not leave,8 if she had no children she must leave. Mar Zutra b. Tobia raised an objection [from the following]: 'If any of these9 had been doubtfully betrothed or doubtfully divorced, they must give halizah but cannot marry the brother-in-law'. What is meant by 'doubtfully' betrothed? If, for instance, he had thrown to her the betrothal token, and it was doubtful whether it landed nearer to him or nearer to her, this is a doubtful betrothal. A doubtful divorce is where he wrote [the Get] with his own hand but it was not attested with the signature of witnesses, or if it was attested but had no date, or if it had a date but the signature of only one witness; this is a doubtful divorce. Now if you say that [a woman so divorced] should not leave [her second husband],10 then her co-wife11 on the strength of such a one might come to marry the brother-in-law?12 — [He replied]: Let her marry him; it is of no consequence, since the only danger is of breaking a rule of the Rabbis.13 Levi said: In neither case need she leave [the second husband]. So too said R. Johanan: In neither case need she leave the second husband. So too R. Johanan said to the sons of R. Halafta of Huna:14 Thus said your father, In neither case need she leave, and the karzith in the stacked corn does not spoil the water of purification.15 What is a karzith? — Abaye explained: The large fly found among the stacks,16 R. Daniel the son of R. Kattina raised an objection against this [from the following]: 'All birds spoil the water of purification [by drinking of it] except the pigeon, because it swallows the water completely.'17 Now if what has been said is correct, it should say, 'except the pigeon and the karzith?' — The authority could not speak definitely, as the big one does not spoil but the small one does spoil. Up to what size [is it reckoned small]? — R. Jeremiah (or it may have been R. Ammi) said, Up to the size of an olive.
R. ELEAZAR SAYS THAT EVEN THOUGH etc. Rab Judah said in the name of Rab: The halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce.18 When [he continued] I stated this in the presence of Samuel, he said, In the matter of [commercial] documents also. Rab however, said, Not in the matter of documents. But it is stated [in the Mishnah]: SHE MAY RECOVER HER KETHUBAH FROM MORTGAGED PROPERTY?19 — R. Eleazar gave two rulings. and Rab concurred with him in one but differed from him in regard to the other. So too R. Jacob b. Idi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi: The halachah follows R. Eleazar in bills of divorce. R. Jannai, however, said that such a document has not even a tincture of a Get in it.20 Does not R. Jannai accept the ruling of R. Eleazar? — What he meant was, According to the Rabbis, such a document has not even a tincture of a Get. So too R. Jose son of R. Haninah said in the name of Resh Lakish: The halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce. R. Johanan, however, said that such a document has not even a tincture of a Get. Are we to say that R. Johanan does not accept the ruling of R. Eleazar? — What he meant was, According to the Rabbis such a document has not even the tincture of a Get.
R. Abba b. Zabda sent to Mari b. Mar saying, Inquire of R. Huna whether the halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce or not. Before he could do so, R. Huna died, but Rabbah his son said to him, Thus said my father in the name of Rab: The halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce. Moreover our teachers who are well versed in the halachah said in the name of our Master,21 The halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce, since R. Hama b. Guria said in the name of Rab, The halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce. According to another version: And our Colleagues22 that are well versed in the halachah and the disciples of our Teacher [Rab] said that the halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce. For R. Hisda said in the name of R. Hama b. Guria in the name of Rab that the halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce. So too when Rabin came [from Palestine] he said, R. Eleazar23 says that the halachah follows R. Eleazar in the matter of bills of divorce.
MISHNAH. IF TWO MEN SENT [TO THEIR WIVES] TWO BILLS OF DIVORCE WITH THE SAME NAMES AND THEY BECAME MIXED UP [THE BEARER] MUST GIVE BOTH OF THEM TO EACH OF THE WOMEN. CONSEQUENTLY, IF ONE OF THEM WAS LOST THE OTHER BECOMES VOID.24 IF FIVE MEN WROTE JOINTLY IN THE SAME DOCUMENT, SO-AND-SO DIVORCES SO-AND-SO AND SO-AND-SO SO-AND-SO, AND IF THE WITNESSES DULY SIGNED BELOW, ALL ARE VALID AND THE GET IS TO BE GIVEN TO EACH OF THE WOMEN. IF THE SCRIBE WROTE OUT THE FORMULA25 FOR EACH ONE AND THE WITNESSES SIGNED BELOW, THE ONE TO WHICH THE SIGNATURES ARE ATTACHED26 IS [ALONE] VALID.
GEMARA. Who is the authority [for this rule]?27 — R. Jeremiah said: It is not R. Eleazar. For if we were to follow R. Eleazar, since he holds that it is the witnesses to delivery28 that make [the Get] effective, [they could not do so in this case] since they do not know with which [Get] either of the women is divorced. Abaye said: It is possible to ascribe this ruling to R. Eleazar also, since I may say, Granting that R. Eleazar requires the Get to be written in the name of that particular woman, does he also require it to be given in the name of that particular woman?29
IF FIVE WROTE JOINTLY etc, What is meant by JOINTLY and what is meant by FORMULA? — R. Johanan said: If there is one date for all it is a 'joint' [Get], if there is a separate date for each it is a formula [Get]. Resh Lakish, however, said
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