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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Gittin

Folio 64a


GEMARA. It has been stated: If the husband says, [I gave you the Get] in deposit, and the depository says, [You gave it to me] to divorce [your wife with], which is to be believed? — R. Huna said: The husband's word is to be taken. R. Hisda said: The depository's word is to be taken. R. Huna said the husband's word is to be taken, because if he had meant to give it to him for divorcing the wife, he would have given it to the wife herself.1  R. Hisda said the depository's word is to be taken, because we see that the husband trusted him.

R. Abba raised an objection against R. Huna from the following: 'The admission of the litigant is equivalent to the testimony of a hundred witnesses, and the depository is more credible than either litigant. If, for instance, one says one thing and one another, the depository's word is to be taken'?2  — Money is different, because the claim to it can be waived.3  But it is taught [in the passage cited], 'And so with gittin'?4  — This refers to money gittin.5  But it is taught [in the passage cited]: 'And so with shetaroth'?6  — Were they both taught together?7

We have learnt: A WOMAN WHO SAYS [TO AN AGENT] 'RECEIVE MY GET FOR ME' REQUIRES TWO SETS OF WITNESSES, TWO TO SAY, IN OUR PRESENCE SHE TOLD HIM, AND TWO TO SAY, IN OUR PRESENCE HE RECEIVED AND TORE IT. Why so? Cannot we take the word of the depository?8  — Does he produce the Get that we should take his word?9  This explains why witnesses are required for the telling. Why are they required for the receiving?10  Rabbah replied: Who is the authority for this? R. Eleazar, who held that the witnesses to the delivery [of the Get] make it effective. Why must he tear it? — R. Judah answered in the name of Rab: This was taught in the time of the persecution.11  Rabbah said: R. Huna admits that if the wife says, The depository told me that he gave it to him to divorce with, her word is to be taken. [How can this be?] Is there any statement which we would not accept from the depository himself and yet we would accept from her on his behalf? — What it should be is: If she said, in my presence he gave it to him to divorce me with, her word is taken, because if she liked she could have said that he gave it to her direct.12

If the husband says [that he gave it to the depository] to divorce with, and the depository says [it was given] to divorce with, and the wife says, He gave it to me but it has been lost, R. Johanan says: This is a statement bearing on forbidden relationships, and a statement bearing on a forbidden relationship must be substantiated by not less than two witnesses. But why so? Why not believe the depository? — Is he able to produce the Get that we should believe him? Then let us believe the husband, in accordance with what R. Hiyya b. Abin said in the name of R. Johanan: If a husband says, I have divorced my wife, his word can be taken? — Does he here say, I have divorced her?13  Then let us say that the presumption is that the agent carries out his commission, since R. Isaac has said: If a man says to his agent, Go and betroth for me any woman you please,14  and the agent dies, the man is forbidden to marry any woman in the world,15  because the presumption is that the agent carries out his commission?

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. We presume that they are all in the same town.
  2. Kid. 65b; B.M. 3b.
  3. And by trusting the depository, we maintain that the claimant waived his claim to the money, since if he likes he can make a present of the money to whomsoever be wishes, but he cannot make a present of his wife to another man.
  4. Which usually means bills of divorce,
  5. V. Glos. s.v. Get,
  6. Another word for documents', Since these must refer to money, it would seem that the gittin mentioned above do not refer to money.
  7. They are separate Baraithas and the two words are used by two different authorities, but in the same sense.
  8. I.e., the agent.
  9. Having torn the Get (v. infra) he is no longer in a position to deliver it to her and therefore his word is not to be taken.
  10. Seeing that he himself produces the Get in our presence.
  11. Lit., 'the decree', forbidding the Jews to practise their religion. [V. Keth. IX. Jew's were deprived of the right to draft their own legal documents after the War 70, and also during the Hadrianic persecutions. V. Blau, L. Ehescheidung, II pp. 58ff.]
  12. And the rule is that we believe a plea where a stronger one could equally well have been adduced without fear of contradiction.
  13. He appointed an agent to hand it over to her.
  14. Lit., 'unspecified'.
  15. Lest she should be of a prohibited degree of consanguinity with the woman whom the agent betrothed, v. Nazir 12a.

Gittin 64b

— That is so where [it has the effect of making the law] more stringent, but not where [it makes it] more lenient.1  Then let us believe the woman herself, in accordance with R. Hamnuna; for R. Hamnuna said: If a woman says to her husband, You have divorced me, her word is taken, since the presumption is that a woman would not have the impudence to say this in the face of her husband [if it were not true]? — That is so where she has no confirmation; but where she has some confirmation,1  she certainly would not shrink from doing so.


GEMARA, What is the difference in principle [between the Rabbis and R. Judah]? — The Rabbis held that the All-Merciful conferred upon her an extra hand, whereas R. Judah held that where her father can act, her own hand counts as nothing.

ONE WHO IS NOT ABLE TO KEEP HER GET, etc. Our Rabbis taught: A child6  who knows how to keep her Get can be divorced, but if she does not know how to keep her Get she cannot be divorced. Whom do we mean by a child who knows how to keep her Get? One who keeps her Get and something else. What is the meaning of this? — R. Johanan said: It means, one who keeps something else in place of her Get.7  R. Huna b. Manoah strongly demurred to this, saying, Such a one is a mere idiot? No, said R. Huna b. Manoah, quoting R. Aha the son of R. Ika: It means one who can distinguish between her Get and another object.

Rab Judah said in the name of R. Assi: [A child which if offered] a stone throws it away [but if offered] a nut takes it becomes possessor of anything given to itself8  but not [of anything given to it to give] to another.9  [If when given] an article [to play with] it will return it after a time [when asked], it can become possessor either for itself or for others. When I stated this in the presence of Samuel, he said to me, Both cases are just the same. What is the meaning of 'both cases are just the same'? — R. Hisda replied: In either case the child becomes possessor for itself but not for others. R. Hinnena Waradan10  raised an objection: How can [all the residents]11  become partners in an alley-way?12  One of them places a jar of wine there, saying, This is for all the residents of the alley-way, and he may confer possession upon them through his grown-up son or daughter or through his Hebrew manservant or maidservant. Now how are we to understand this maidservant? If she has grown two hairs,13  what is she doing with him?14  We must suppose therefore that she has not yet grown two hairs, and yet we are told that she can take possession on behalf of others?15  — The case of partnership in an alley-way is different, because [the prohibition of taking things out there] is only Rabbinical.16  R. Hisda said: Waradan was reduced to silence. What could he have answered? — [He could have said that] the Rabbis gave to their regulations

Original footnotes renumbered. See Structure of the Talmud Files
  1. As here.
  2. A Na'arah, v. Glos. From twelve years and a day to twelve and a half years plus one day.
  3. V. Glos. s.v. Erusin.
  4. [I.e., either she or her father, so Rashi, Being a na'arah (v. Glos.), she is no longer a minor and therefore is competent to receive her Get. Her father, however, still retains the right since she is still under his authority. As to a minor, i.e., who has not reached 12 years and one day, opinions differ: Rashi does not declare her competent to receive her Get, where she has a father, whereas Tosaf, (s.v. [H]) holds that there is no difference in this respect between a na'arah and a minor, na'arah being specified in the Mishnah to emphasise the extreme view of R. Judah.]
  5. She being still strictly speaking a minor. For the reason v, infra. [Here too opinions differ, Rashi: not even if her father receives the Get on her behalf, whereas Rabbenu Tam allows her divorce to be effected through her father, v. Tosaf.]
  6. Less than twelve years and one day.
  7. If the Get should be lost.
  8. So that the donor cannot take it back.
  9. And the donor can take it back.
  10. [I.e., from Baradan, on the Eastern bank of the Tigris, two hours distance from N. of Bagdad (Obermeyer op. cit. p. 269)].
  11. In the courts abutting on an alley-way.
  12. So as to be allowed to carry articles into it and through its whole extent on Sabbath, v. 'Er. 73b.
  13. I.e., reached the age of puberty.
  14. Since it is his duty to emancipate her.
  15. Which seems to refute the dictum of Samuel.
  16. And therefore it does not matter if she did not strictly obtain possession.