Where he and the first Tanna differed was in the case where the names are obviously heathen.1 But what of the point about retracting, which [invalidates the Get even] according to the Torah, and yet is reckoned in this passage? — The proper answer [to the original question] is that only those points are reckoned which did not apply to betrothals, but not such as are found in connection with betrothals also.2 But this very point of retracting applies to betrothals also?3 — We are dealing here with a case where the whole commission is to be carried out without the consent of the recipient; this is possible in the case of divorces but not of betrothals.
MISHNAH. NO DOCUMENT ATTESTED BY THE SIGNATURE OF A CUTHEAN4 IS VALID,5 UNLESS IT IS A WRIT OF DIVORCE OR A WRIT OF EMANCIPATION. IT IS RELATED THAT A WRIT OF DIVORCE WAS ONCE BROUGHT BEFORE RABBAN GAMALIEL AT KEFAR 'UTHNAI6 AND ITS WITNESSES WERE CUTHEANS, AND HE DECLARED IT VALID.
GEMARA. Who is [the Tanna] of our Mishnah? For it cannot be either the first Tanna, or R. Eleazar or Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel [in the following Baraitha]: For it has been taught: 'It is permissible to eat [on Passover] unleavened bread made by a Cuthean, and the eating of such bread satisfies the requirement of the Passover.7 R. Eleazar forbids [the eating of such bread], because [the Samaritans] are not familiar with the minutiae of the precepts. Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel says that in all the precepts which the Cutheans do observe they are much more particular than the Jews themselves.' Whom now does our Mishnah follow? Shall I say the first Tanna? In that case other documents also should be valid [if attested by a Cuthean]. Shall I say R. Eleazar? In that case a writ of divorce should also be invalid. Shall I say Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel? In that case, if they observe [the regulations of documents], then other documents attested by them should also be valid, and if they do not observe [these regulations], then even a writ of divorce attested by them should not he valid. And should you reply that in fact Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel is the authority and that our Mishnah holds that the Cutheans observe the regulations concerning writs of divorce and emancipation but not concerning other documents — in that case why [does the Mishnah] speak of one [Cuthean witness only]? [The Get should be equally valid] even if there were two;8 and if that were so, why has R. Eleazar said [that a Get of this kind] has been declared valid only if there is not more than one Cuthean signature to it? — The authority followed by our Mishnah is in fact R. Eleazar, and it speaks of the case where an Israelite signs last,9
for we assume in that case that if the Cuthean were not a Haber,1 the Israelite would not let him sign before him. In that case, why are not other documents also valid? Consequently the truth is that we say, 'he left room for someone senior to himself.'2 But if that be so cannot we say here too that he left room for someone senior to himself? — Said R. Papa: This proves that the witnesses to a Get do not sign save in one another's presence.3 What is the reason for this? — R. Ashi says that it is to prevent any infringement of the rule concerning 'all of you'.4
The text above [states]: 'R. Eleazar said [that a Get of this kind] has been declared valid only if there is not more than one Cuthean signature to it.' What does he teach us by this statement? Has not the Mishnah already told us that NO DOCUMENT ATTESTED BY THE SIGNATURE OF A SAMARITAN etc.? — If I had only the Mishnah to go by, I should say that even with two [Cuthean signatures the Get is valid], and that the reason why one [only is mentioned] is to show that other documents are rendered invalid even by one Samaritan signature; hence [R. Eleazar's statement] is necessary. But [is a Get] with two [Cuthean signatures] invalid? Does not the Mishnah say: IT IS RELATED THAT A WRIT OF DIVORCE WAS BROUGHT BEFORE RABBAN GAMALIEL [AT KEFAR 'UTHNAI] AND ITS WITNESSES WERE CUTHEANS, AND HE DECLARED IT VALID? — Abaye says: Read 'its witness Raba says: It is quite correct that there were two, and the fact is that Rabban Gamaliel differs [from the first authority], and there is an omission [in the Mishnah, which should] read as follows: 'Rabban Gamaliel declares [a Get] valid with two [Cuthean signatures], and it is actually related that a Get was brought before Rabban Gamaliel at Kefar 'Uthnai and its witnesses were Cutheans and he declared it valid.'
MISHNAH. ALL DOCUMENTS WHICH ARE ACCEPTED IN HEATHEN COURTS,5 EVEN IF THEY THAT SIGNED THEM WERE GENTILES, ARE VALID [FOR JEWISH COURTS] EXCEPT WRITS OF DIVORCE AND OF EMANCIPATION. R. SIMEON SAYS: THESE ALSO ARE VALID; THEY WERE ONLY PRONOUNCED [TO BE INVALID] WHEN DRAWN UP BY UNAUTHORISED PERSONS.
GEMARA. [Our Mishnah] lays down a comprehensive rule in which no distinction is made between a sale and a gift. We can understand that the rule should apply to a sale, because the purchaser acquires the object of sale from the moment when he hands over the money in their6 presence, and the document is a mere corroboration; for if he did not hand over the money in their presence, they would not take the risk7 of drawing up a document of sale for him. But with a gift [it is different]. Through what [does the recipient] obtain possession? Through this document, [is it not]? And this document is a mere piece of clay?8 — Said Samuel: The law of the Government is law.9 Or if you prefer, I can reply: Instead of 'except writs of divorce' in the Mishnah, read, 'except [documents] like writs of divorce.'10
R. SIMEON SAYS: THESE ALSO ARE VALID etc. How can this be, seeing that to heathens the act of 'severance'11 is not applicable? — Said R. Zera: R. Simeon here accepts the view of R. Eleazar, who said that the separation is actually effected by the witnesses to the delivery [of the document]. But has not R. Abba said that R. Eleazar used to admit [that a Get] which in itself contained a flaw was invalid?12 — We are dealing here
- To Next Folio -