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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin
so here we suppose that there is a space at the top. But perhaps he changed his mind [before completing it] and then after all wrote [the rest subsequently]?1 — We suppose that 'You are hereby' comes at the end of one sheet and 'permitted' at the top of the next. But perhaps he just happened [to change his mind at that point]? — Such a possibility2 we do not apprehend. R. Ashi said: We assume that we can tell from the bottom of the roll.3
IF THE WITNESSES HAVE SIGNED AT THE TOP OF THE SHEET etc. Is that so? Did not Rab sign at the side? — It is all right if the top of the signature is towards the text.4 In that case why does it state IF THE TOP OF ONE IS FASTENED TO THE TOP OF THE OTHER AND THE SIGNATURES ARE BETWEEN, BOTH OF THEM ARE INVALID? Cannot we see which signature is turned towards the text,5 and declare that Get valid? We suppose there that the signatures run from one to the other like a cross bar.6 Then what about the next clause: IF THE TOP OF ONE IS ATTACHED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OTHER AND THE WITNESSES' SIGNATURES ARE IN THE MIDDLE, THE ONE IN WHICH THE SIGNATURES COME AT THE END IS VALID? If they run from one to the other like a bar, they are read neither with one nor with the other? — The fact is that Rab only signed thus on letters.7
A GET OF WHICH THE TEXT IS IN HEBREW AND THE SIGNATURES IN GREEK … OR WHICH WAS WRITTEN BY A SCRIBE AND SIGNED BY ONE WITNESS IS VALID. R. Jeremiah said: What we have learnt [in explanation of this] is, if the scribe signed.8 R. Hisda said: Who is the authority for this ruling? R. Jose. A certain marriage kethubah was brought before R. Abbahu in which the handwriting of the text and the signature of one witness could be identified. He thought of declaring it valid, but R. Jeremiah said to him, What we have learnt is that the scribe signed.9
IF HE WROTE HIS FAMILY NAME AND HER FAMILY NAME, IT IS VALID. Our Rabbis taught: The family name of ancestors allowed in bills of divorce is one which has been in use at any time in the past ten generations. R. Simeon b. Eleazar says: If it has been in use within three generations, it is valid, but if only beyond that, [the Get is] invalid. Whose authority is followed in the dictum of R. Hanina: 'An ancestral family name which has been in use within three generations may be inserted in bills of divorce'? — The authority of R. Simeon b. Eleazar. R. Huna said: Where do we find this in the Scripture? [In the verse], When thou shalt beget children and children's children, and ye shall have been long in the land.10
R. Joshua b. Levi said: The land of Israel was not laid waste until seven Courts of Justice had sanctioned idolatry, namely, [those of] Jeroboam son of Nebat, Baasha son of Ahiah, Ahab son of Omri,11 Jehu son of Nimshi, Pekah son of Remaliah,12 Menahem son of Gadi, and Hoshea son of Elah, as it says, She that hath borne seven languisheth, she hath given up the ghost, her sun is gone down while it was yet day, she hath been ashamed and confounded.13 R. Ammi said: Where is this intimated in the Torah? — [In the verse], When thou shalt beget children and children's children.14
R. Kahana and R. Assi said to Rab: It is written of Hoshea son of Elah: And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord yet not as the kings of Israel,15 and it is also written, Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria16 etc.? — He replied to them: Jeroboam had stationed guards on the roads17 to prevent the Israelites from going up [to Jerusalem] for the festivals, and Hoshea disbanded them, and for all that the Israelites did not go up to the festivals. Thereupon God decreed that for those years during which the Israelites had not gone up to the festival they should go a corresponding number into captivity.
R. Hisda said in the name of Mar 'Ukba, or, according to others, R. Hisda said in the name of R. Jeremiah: Meremar discoursed as follows. What is the point of the words, Therefore hath the Lord watched over the evil and brought it upon us: for the Lord our God is zaddick [righteous].18 Because the Lord is righteous, does He therefore watch over the evil and bring it upon us? The truth is that God did a kindness [zedakah] with Israel by driving forth the captivity of Zedekiah while the captivity of Jeconiah was still intact — For it is written of the captivity of Jeconiah, And the harash [craftsmen] and the masger [smiths] a thousand.19 [They were called] harash [dumb] because when they opened their mouths all became as it were dumb, [and they were called] masger [closer] because if they once closed [a discussion], no-one would re-open it. How many were they? — A thousand. 'Ulla said: [The righteousness consisted] in anticipating by two years [the numerical value of] we-noshantem ['and ye grow old'].20
R. Aha b. Jacob said: This shows [that the word] soon' [used] by the Master of the Universe means eight hundred and fifty-two years.1
MISHNAH. A GET GIVEN UNDER COMPULSION [EXERCISED] BY AN ISRAELITE COURT IS VALID, BUT BY A HEATHEN COURT IS INVALID. A HEATHEN COURT, HOWEVER, MAY FLOG A MAN AND SAY TO HIM, DO WHAT THE ISRAELITE [AUTHORITIES] COMMAND YOU, (AND IT IS VALID).2
GEMARA. R. Nahman said in the name of Samuel: A Get given under compulsion [exercised] by an Israelite court with good legal ground3 is valid, but if without sufficient legal ground, it is invalid,4 but it still disqualifies [the woman for a priest].5 If enforced by a heathen court on good legal grounds, it is invalid, but disqualifies; if without sufficient legal ground, there is no tincture of a Get about it. How can you have it [both ways]? If the [heathens are] competent to apply compulsion, then it should actually be valid. If they are not competent to apply compulsion, it should not disqualify! — R. Mesharsheya explained: According to the strict rule of the Torah, a Get enforced by a heathen court is valid, and the reason why [the Rabbis] declared it invalid was to prevent any [Jewish woman] from attaching herself to a heathen and so releasing herself from her husband.6 If that is so, [why did Samuel say that] if it is enforced [by a heathen court] without sufficient legal ground, it has not even the tincture of a Get? Let it at least be on a par with the similar Get exacted by an Israelite court, and disqualify the woman [for] a priest? — The truth is that R. Mesharsheya's [explanation] is erroneous.7 And what is the reason? — [A Get enforced by a heathen court] on legal grounds is liable to be confused with [a Get enforced by] an Israelite court on legal grounds,8 but [a Get enforced by a heathen court] without proper grounds will not be confused with [a Get enforced by] a Jewish court with legal grounds.
Abaye once found R. Joseph sitting in court and compelling certain men to give a bill of divorce. He said to him: Surely we9 are only laymen,10 and it has been taught: R. Tarfon used to say: In any place where you find heathen law courts,11 even though their law is the same as the Israelite law, you must not resort to them since it says, These are the judgments which thou shalt set before them,12 that is to say, 'before them' and not before heathens. Another explanation, however, is that it means 'before them' and not before laymen? — He replied: We are carrying out their commission,13 just as in the case of admissions and transaction of loans.14 If that is the case [he rejoined], we should do the same with robberies and injuries?15 — We carry out their commission in matters which are of frequent occurrence, but not in matters which occur infrequently.16
MISHNAH. IF COMMON REPORT IN THE TOWN DECLARES A WOMAN TO BE BETROTHED, SHE IS REGARDED [BY THE BETH DIN] AS BETROTHED;17 IF TO BE DIVORCED, SHE IS REGARDED AS DIVORCED.18 [THIS, HOWEVER, IS ONLY THE CASE] PROVIDED THE REPORT HAS NO QUALIFICATION.19 WHAT IS MEANT BY A QUALIFICATION? [IF THE REPORT IS,] SO-AND-SO DIVORCED HIS WIFE CONDITIONALLY, HE THREW HER THE BETROTHAL MONEY, BUT IT IS UNCERTAIN WHETHER IT LANDED NEARER TO HER OR NEARER TO HIM — THIS IS A QUALIFICATION.20
GEMARA. And do we [on the strength of such a report] declare her21 prohibited to her husband? Has not R. Ashi said that we take no notice of reports spread after marriage? — What [the Mishnah] means is this: 'If common report declares her to be betrothed, we regard her as betrothed; if it declares her to have been betrothed and then divorced,
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