and if not she is not betrothed.1 — Raba answered him: Both according to R. Judah and according to R. Simeon, it makes no difference whether he keeps the choice in his own hands or leaves it to another: in either case we do decide retrospectively. There [in the case of the Cuthean wine], however, the reason [for their prohibiting] is as given [in the Mishnah quoted]: 'They said to R. Meir, Do you not admit that if the wine-skin should burst [and the wine be spilt]2 the man would be found to have drunk wine which had not been freed for ordinary use? He answered them: Wait till it does burst.'3
MISHNAH. IF [A SCRIBE] WRITES OUT FORMULAS OF BILLS OF DIVORCE4 HE MUST LEAVE BLANK SPACES FOR THE NAME OF THE MAN AND THE NAME OF THE WOMAN AND THE DATE. [IF HE WRITES FORMULAS OF] BONDS OF INDEBTEDNESS HE MUST LEAVE BLANK SPACES FOR THE NAME OF THE LENDER, THE NAME OF THE BORROWER, THE AMOUNT LENT AND THE DATE. [IF HE WRITES] FORMS OF CONTRACTS OF SALE HE MUST LEAVE BLANK SPACES FOR THE NAME OF THE VENDOR, THE NAME OF THE PURCHASER, THE PURCHASE MONEY, THE PROPERTY AND THE DATE, TO PREVENT HARD SHIP.5 R. JUDAH DECLARES ALL. SUCH [FORMULAS] INVALID [EVEN IF THE BLANKS HAVE BEEN LEFT]. R. ELEAZAR DECLARES ALL OF THEM VALID [IF THE BLANKS HAVE BEEN LEFT] EXCEPT WRITS OF DIVORCE, BECAUSE SCRIPTURE SAYS, HE SHALL WRITE FOR HER, WHICH MEANS, EXPRESSLY FOR HER.
GEMARA. Rab Judah said in the name of Samuel: [The scribe] must also leave space for the words. 'You are permitted to [marry] any man.'6 And [the Mishnah] follows R. Eleazar who said that the witnesses to delivery make [the Get] effective and the [Get] must [consequently]7 be written expressly for the woman concerned. And it was necessary [for Samuel to tell us here that the Mishnah follows R. Eleazar although he has already twice told us so]. For if he had only told us so on the first occasion,8 [I might think that the reason why we interpret] that [Mishnah] so as to make it agree with R. Eleazar is to reconcile the contradiction between the first statement of the Mishnah, '[A Get] must not be written' etc. and the second, 'If it was written [on something attached to the soil it is valid],' but [all the same] in connection with the next [Mishnah]9 where it also says that a Get is made effective only by the signatures attached to it, I might think that [the Mishnah is there] following R. Meir who said that the witnesses to the signatures make [the Get] effective10 [unless Samuel told us the contrary]. If again Samuel had only told us there [that the Mishnah] follows R. Eleazar, [I might think that that is because] there also it is possible to interpret [the Mishnah] in this way, but here [in speaking of the scribe who writes out formulas] since the last [ruling] given is that of R. Eleazar, I should say that the first [ruling, 'If a scribe writes our formulas of bills of divorce etc.'] is not that of R. Eleazar.11 Therefore [Samuel] had to tell us this also.12
TO PREVENT HARDSHIP. Hardship to whom? — R. Jonathan said: Hardship to the scribe, [the Mishnah] following R. Eleazar who said that the witnesses to delivery make [the Get] effective. By rights therefore it should not be permitted to write [beforehand] even the formula of the Get, but to make matters easier for the scribes the Rabbis allowed it. R. JUDAH DECLARED THEM ALL INVALID: he forbade the formulas for fear that the substantive part might also be written in and [he forbade the scribes to write] the formulas of bonds of indebtedness for fear [that they might also write] the formulas of bills of divorce. R. ELEAZAR DECLARED ALL OF THEM VALID EXCEPT BILLS OF DIVORCE: he forbade the formulas for fear that the substantive part might also be written, but he did not forbid the writing of bonds out of fear [that it might lead to the writing] of bills of divorce.
BECAUSE SCRIPTURE SAYS, 'HE SHALL WRITE FOR HER.' Rut do not the words 'for her' in the text refer to the substantive part of the Get? — Explain [R. Eleazar's reason thus]: Because it is written 'he shall write for her', which means 'expressly for her', [therefore we forbid the writing of the form for fear it may lead to the writing of the substantive part].
Does not R. Eleazar here contradict himself?1 — Two Tannaim report R. Eleazar differently.
R. Shabbathai said in the name of R. Hezekiah: [The words TO PREVENT HARDSHIP] mean 'to prevent quarrelling', [the Mishnah] following R. Meir who said that the signatures of the witnesses make [the Get] effective. and by rights it should be permitted to the scribe to write [beforehand] even the substantive part, but in that case it might happen that a woman might hear a scribe [reading over] what he had written and she might think that her husband had told him to write and so fall out with him. R. Hisda said in the name of Abimi: It is for the relief of deserted wives. Some say [that this interpretation] follows R. Meir, and some say that it follows R. Eleazar. Some say it follows R. Meir who held that the witnesses to the signatures make [the Get] effective, and therefore by rights it is permissible to put in beforehand even the substantive part of the Get, only it may happen sometimes that a husband falls out with his wife and in a passion throws her [the Get] and then makes her remain a deserted wife.2 Some again say it follows R. Eleazar who held that the witnesses to delivery make [the Get] effective, and therefore by rights even the formula [of the Get] should not be written beforehand,3 only it may happen sometimes that the man wants to go abroad and does not find a scribe ready and so he leaves her [without giving her the Get] and thus makes her a deserted wife [if he is lost].4
AND FOR THE DATE. The Mishnah makes no distinction between [a Get which dissolves] a marriage and [a Get which dissolves] a betrothal. In the case of [a Get which dissolves] a marriage this is a proper [regulation], whether on the view [that the date is required] to prevent a man shielding his sister's daughter or on the view that [it is required] on account of the usufruct.5 In [a Get which dissolves] a betrothal, however, the regulation certainly is reasonable on the view that the date is required to prevent a man shielding his sister's daughter, but on the view that it is required on account of the usufruct — does the law of usufruct apply to a betrothed woman?6 — R. Amram said: I heard a certain remark from 'Ulla, who said 'it is to safeguard the interest of the child', and I did not know what he meant. [I discovered it, however], when I came across the following statement:7 If a man says, 'Write a Get for my fiancee, I will divorce her with it after I marry her,' it is no Get. And commenting on this 'Ulla said: What is the reason? Because people may say that her Get came [before] her child.8 So here, [the date has to be put in] lest people should say that her Get [came] before her child.
R. Zera said in the name of R. Abba b. Shila who said it in the name of R. Hamnuna the Elder who had it from R. Adda b. Ahaba who had it from Rab: The halachah follows the ruling of R. Eleazar.9 Rab designated R. Eleazar 'the happiest of the wise men.' Does then the [halachah] follow him in regard to other documents also?10 Has not R. Papi said in the name of Raba: If an authentication of the Beth din11 is written before the witnesses have testified to their signatures, it is invalid? The reason is that it seems to contain a falsehood.12 So here, the documents seem to contain a falsehood? — This is no objection, as shown by the statement of R. Nahman, who said: R. Meir used to say that even if a man found [a Get] on a rubbish heap and had it signed and delivered to the wife, it is valid. And even the Rabbis do not differ from R. Meir save in regard to writs of divorce, which have to be written with 'special intention', but not in regard to other documents, since R. Assi said in the name of R. Johanan: If a man gives a bond for a loan and repays the loan [on the same day], he may not use the same bond for another loan because the obligation contained in it is already cancelled. The reason is that the obligation contained in it is cancelled, but the fact that it may appear to contain a falsehood13 is of no concern.
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