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Friday, 27 Kislev 5778 / December 15, 2017

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Gerushin - Chapter Seven, Gerushin - Chapter Eight, Gerushin - Chapter Nine

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Gerushin - Chapter Seven

1

[The following rules apply when] an agent brings a get from one place to another in Eretz Yisrael.1 Although [the agent] did not witness the writing of the get and does not know who the witnesses are, but rather the get was given to him by the husband, who instructed him to give it to his wife, [the agent] may give [the woman the get] in the presence of witnesses.2 Although the identity of the witnesses [who signed the get] is unknown to us, [the woman] is considered divorced, and she may remarry on this basis.

א

שליח שהביא גט ממקום למקום בארץ ישראל אע"פ שלא ראה כתיבת הגט ולא ידע מי הם עדיו אלא נתן לו הבעל גט ואמר לו תן גט זה לאשתי הרי זה נותנו לה בפני עדים ואע"פ שאין עדיו ידועין אצלנו ותהיה מגורשת בו:

2

If the husband came and protested, saying: "I never divorced her. The get she was given is a forgery," the signatures [of the witnesses] should be verified.3 If this is impossible, and the witnesses are not known at all, she must leave [her second husband], and [any children born to them] are considered illegitimate,4 for [we assume that] she has not been divorced.5 If the get has been lost, the status of the divorce is in doubt.6

For this reason, women who we presume hate each other are not trusted to bring a get to one another in Eretz Yisrael. [We suspect that] it might be a forgery, because one desires that the other remarry and be forbidden to her husband[s].7

ב

בא הבעל וערער ואמר לא גירשתיה מעולם וגט שהובא לה מזוייף הוא יתקיים בחותמיו. ואם לא נתקיים ולא נודעו עדיו כלל תצא והולד ממזר שהרי אינה מגורשת [אבד הגט הרי זה ספק מגורשת]. לפיכך נשים שחזקתן שהן שונאות זו את זו אין נאמנות להביא גט בארץ ישראל זו לזו שמא מזוייף הוא ותתכוין לקלקל אותה כדי שתנשא ותאסר על בעלה:

3

These are the women who we presume hate each other:8 A mother-in-law, the daughter of a mother-in-law, another woman married to the same man - this applies even if this woman has since remarried9 - her yevamah10 - this applies even if she was her sister11 - and her husband's daughter [from another marriage]. All other women are acceptable [to act in this capacity].

ג

ואלו הן הנשים שחזקתן שונאות זו את זו. חמותה ובת חמותה וצרתה אפילו היתה צרתה נשואה לאחר. ויבמתה אפילו היתה אחותה ובת בעלה. אבל שאר כל הנשים כשרות:

4

When a man brings a get from one place to another place in Eretz Yisrael and becomes sick or is prevented from fulfilling his agency because of factors beyond his control, he may send the get via a second agent.12 Similarly, if the second agent becomes sick, he may send it via another agent. Indeed, even 100 agents [may be appointed in this manner].

There is no need for the agent to appoint the second agent in the presence of witnesses.13 The final agent to whom the get is given should give it to the woman in the presence of two witnesses, and the divorce is effective. [This applies] even when the first agent dies [before the divorce takes effect].14

ד

המביא גט ממקום למקום בארץ ישראל וחלה או נאנס משלחו ביד אחר. וכן השני אם חלה משלחו ביד אחר ואפילו מאה, ואין צריך עדים לחזור ולעשות שליח בפניהם. והאחרון שהגיע הגט לידו נותנו לה בפני שנים ותתגרש בו אע"פ שמת הראשון:

5

[The following rules apply when] an agent brings a get from one place to another in the diaspora, from Eretz Yisrael to the diaspora or from the diaspora to Eretz Yisrael. If the agent was present at the time of the composition and signature of the get, he should say, in the presence of two witnesses, "It was written in my presence and it was signed in my presence."15

Afterwards, it should be given in her presence, and the divorce takes effect, even though the identity of the witnesses is not known to us. Even if the witnesses' names resemble the names of gentiles, we do not suspect [that there is any difficulty].16

ה

שליח שהביא גט ממקום למקום בחו"ל או מא"י לחו"ל. או מחו"ל לארץ. אם היה השליח עומד בשעת כתיבת הגט וחתימתו הרי זה אומר בפני שנים בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם ואח"כ יתן לה בפניהם ותתגרש בו. ואע"פ שאין עדיו ידועין אצלנו. ואפילו היו שמות עדיו כשמות העכו"ם אין חוששין להן:

6

If [afterwards,] the husband came and protested [that the get is a forgery], his words are of no consequence.17 Therefore, even women who we presume hate each other are relied upon to bring a get in such a situation and state that it was written and signed in their presence.18

ו

בא הבעל ועמד וערער אין משגיחין בו. לפיכך אף הנשים ששונאות זו את זו נאמנות להביא גט זה ולומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם:

7

Similarly, when an agent who brings a get in Eretz Yisrael says: "It was written and signed in my presence," although he is not required to do so, if the husband comes and protests [that the get was forged], [the husband's] words are of no consequence.19

[With regard to a get sent to or from the diaspora,] if the agent was not present at the time of the writing or signing of the get, it may not be given to the woman unless the signatures [of the witnesses] were verified.20 The agent himself may serve as [one of] the three [judges] who verify the signatures of the witnesses.21

If [the signatures] were not verified, and the get was given to the woman, the divorce is unacceptable22 until [the signatures] are verified. If the husband comes and protests, and the signatures are not verified, we consider her not to be divorced.23 If the get has been lost, the status of the divorce is in doubt.

ז

וכן שליח שהביא גט בארץ ישראל ואמר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם אע"פ שאינו צריך אם יבא הבעל ויערער אין משגיחין בו. ואם אין השליח עומד בשעת כתיבה וחתימה לא ינתן לה אלא אם כן נתקיים בחותמיו. ויש לשליח להיות מכלל השלשה שקיימו אותן בחותמיו. ואם לא נתקיים ונתן לה הרי זה פסול עד שיתקיים. ואם בא הבעל וערער ולא נתקיים אינה מגורשת. אבד הגט הרי זו ספק מגורשת:

8

Why did [our Sages] require [the agent] to say: "It was written and signed in my presence" in the diaspora? So that the woman would not have to have [the signatures] verified if the husband comes and protests. [Our Sages did not desire that she be faced with such a predicament,] because witnesses are often not available to verify signatures [on a document that has been taken] from one place to another in the diaspora.

ח

ומפני מה הצריכו לומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם בחוץ לארץ. כדי שלא תהיה האשה צריכה לקיימו אם יבא הבעל ויערער מפני שאין העדים מצויין לקיימו ממקום למקום בחוצה לארץ:

9

When a husband brought explicit proof24 that a get concerning which [an agent] said: "It was written and signed in my presence" is a forgery, [the get] is void. For [our Sages] accepted the statements of one person only in the face of a protest raised by a husband that was not accompanied by substantial proof. When, however, this person's statements are contradicted by witnesses, [his statements] are not accepted.

ט

בעל שהביא ראיה ברורה שגט זה שנאמר בו בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם מזוייף הוא הרי זה בטל. שלא האמינו דבריו של אחד שאמר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם אלא לדחות ערעור הבעל שאין עמו ראיה. אבל במקום עדים שמכחישין אותו לא האמינוהו:

10

The rivers in Eretz Yisrael and the islands in the Mediterranean Sea that are within the boundaries of Eretz Yisrael25 are bound by the rules pertaining to Eretz Yisrael. [The islands] that are outside these boundaries are bound by the rules pertaining to the diaspora. The boundaries of Eretz Yisrael are described in Hilchot Terumot.

With regard to gittin, [the rules pertaining to] Eretz Yisrael also pertain to Babylonia.26

י

הנהרות שבארץ ישראל והנסין שבים הגדול שבתוך התחום של א"י הרי הן כא"י ושחוץ לתחום כחו"ל. ובהלכות תרומות יתבארו תחומי א"י. ובבל כא"י לגיטין:

11

When a get was written in Eretz Yisrael and signed in the diaspora, [the agent] is required to say: "It was written and signed in my presence."27 If it was written in the diaspora and signed in Eretz Yisrael, [the agent] is not required to say: "It was written and signed in my presence."28

יא

גט שכתבו בא"י וחתמו בחו"ל צריך שיאמר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם. כתבו בחו"ל וחתמו בא"י אינו צריך לומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם:

12

When a portion of the get is written in [the agent's] presence, and all the signatures were executed in his presence, he may say: "It was written and signed in my presence,"29 provided it was the initial portion - even one line30 - [that was written in his presence].

[Moreover,] even if he merely heard the noise [made by the scribe's] pen [writing], and the witnesses signed in his presence, he may say: "It was written and signed in my presence." Similarly, even if the scribe went out to the marketplace and then returned and completed the get, [the agent] does not fear that another [man] found [the scribe] and told him [to write a get for him], and he [completed] writing the get for another person.31 Instead, [the agent] may say: "It was written and signed in my presence."

יב

נכתב מקצת הגט בפניו ונחתם כולו בפניו. אם מקצתו הראשון הוא הרי זה אומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם אפילו לא נכתב בו אלא שיטה אחת בפניו ואפילו שמע קול הקולמוס כותב וחתמו העדים בפניו הרי זה אומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם. וכן אם יצא הסופר לשוק וחזר והשלים את הגט אינו חושש שמא אחר מצאו ואמר לו ולשם אשה אחרת כתבו אלא אומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם:

13

If [the agent] said: "It was written in my presence," but did not say, "It was signed in my presence," [if he said,] "It was signed in my presence," but did not say, "It was written in my presence," or [if he said,] "The entire [get] was written in my presence, and one witness signed [in my presence], but not the other witness," even if he himself was the other witness,32 the signature of the witnesses must be verified.33 Only then, may [the get] be given to her.

If he and another person testify with regard to [the signature of] the second witness, who did not sign in his presence,34 [the get] is acceptable and may be given to her. Needless to say, if two other [witnesses] testify with regard to [the signature of] the second witness, [the get] is acceptable.

יג

אמר בפני נכתב אבל לא בפני נחתם. בפני נחתם אבל לא בפני נכתב. בפני נכתב כולו וחתם עד אחד אבל לא העד השני אפילו היה הוא העד השני, הרי זה יתקיים בחותמיו ואח"כ ינתן לה. ואם העיד הוא ואחר על העד השני שלא חתם בפניו הרי זה כשר וינתן לה. ואין צריך לומר אם העידו שנים אחרים על כתב העד השני שזה כשר:

14

When two agents bring a get from the diaspora, they may give it to [the woman], causing the divorce to be effective, even though it was not written and signed in their presence. Since the husband gave it to them to give to his wife, his protests regarding this get are of no consequence.35 Although [the signatures of the witnesses] have not been verified, the agents he [appointed] serve as witnesses [to its authenticity].36 For if these witnesses said, "She was divorced in our presence," the divorce would be effective, even though there is no get present.

יד

שנים שהביאו גט בחו"ל אע"פ שלא נכתב ונחתם בפניהם הואיל ונתנו להם הבעל ליתנו לאשתו הרי אלו נותנין לה ותהיה מגורשת. שהרי אין הבעל יכול לערער בגט זה אע"פ שאינו מקויים שהרי שלוחיו הם עדיו. שאילו אמרו השנים בפנינו נתגרשה הרי זו מגורשת אף על פי שאין שם גט:

15

When does the above apply? When the get is in the possession of both of them.37 If, however, the get is not in the possession of both of them, they must say: "It was written and signed in our presence."

Accordingly, if one agent says, "It was written in my presence," and the second38 says, "It was signed in my presence," or they both say, "It was written in our presence," and one39 says: "It was signed in my presence," since it is not in the possession of both of them, it should not be given to the woman unless the authenticity of the signatures has been verified.

טו

במה דברים אמורים בזמן שהגט יוצא מתחת ידי שניהם אבל אם אין הגט יוצא מתחת ידי שניהם צריכין לומר בפנינו נכתב ובפנינו נחתם. לפיכך אם אמר אחד בפני נכתב והאחר אומר בפני נחתם ואפילו שנים אומרים בפנינו נכתב ואחד אומר בפני נחתם הואיל ואינו יוצא מתחת ידי שניהם לא ינתן לה עד שיתקיים בחותמיו:

16

If one person said: "It was written in my presence,"40 and two people say: "It was signed in our presence," [the get] is acceptable. [This applies] even when they are not in possession [of the get], because the signatures [of the witnesses] have been verified.41

טז

אמר אחד בפני נכתב ושנים אומרים בפנינו נחתם כשר אע"פ שאינו יוצא מתחת ידם שהרי נתקיים בחותמיו:

17

[The following rules apply when] an agent brings a get in the diaspora and gives it to the woman in private, or gives it to her in the presence of two witnesses, but does not tell her: "It was written and signed in my presence." Even if she has married, he should take the get back from her and then give it to her in the presence of two witnesses and say: "It was written and signed in my presence." If he does not take it back from her, the divorce is unacceptable42 until the signatures [of the witnesses] are verified.43

יז

שליח שהביא גט בחו"ל ונתנו לה בינו לבינה או שנתנו לה בפני שנים ולא אמר לה בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם אע"פ שנשאת נוטלו ממנה וחוזר ונותנו לה בפני שנים ואומר בפניהם בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם. ואם לא נטלו ממנה הרי זה פסול עד שיתקיים בחותמיו:

18

If [the agent] gave a woman a get and did not suffice to say: "It was written and signed in my presence," before he lost the power of speech, the signatures [of the witnesses] should be verified.44 Afterwards, he may give it to her.

יח

נתנו לה ולא הספיק לומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם עד שנשתתק הרי זה יתקיים בחותמיו ואחר כך ינתן לה:

19

A blind person may not bring a get from the diaspora, because he is unable to say: "It was written and signed in my presence." Accordingly, if [the get] was written and signed in his presence while he possessed the power of sight, and he became blind afterwards, he may say in the presence of three [men]: "It was written and signed in my presence," and give [the get] to her.45

Similarly, when a woman brings a get from the diaspora, she must say: "It was written and signed in my presence," in the presence of three [men]. The provision to make these statements in the presence of two men applies only when the agent is acceptable to serve as a witness.46 In such an instance, he joins the other two and serves as one of the three who verify the get, based on his statements.47For a witness may serve as a judge in matters of Rabbinic law.

יט

הסומא אינו יכול להביא גט זה של חו"ל מפני שאינו יכול לומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם. לפיכך אם נכתב ונחתם בפניו כשהוא פתוח ונסתמא הרי זה אומר בפני שלשה בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם ונותנו לה. וכן האשה שהביאה גט זה של חו"ל צריכה שלשה לומר בפניהם בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם. שלא אמרו בפני שנים אלא בזמן שהשליח כשר לעדות שהרי הוא מצטרף עם השנים ונמצא מכלל השלישי שקיימו גט זה בדבריו שהעד נעשה דיין בדבר שהוא מדבריהם:

20

When an agent becomes ill or is prevented from carrying out his agency by forces beyond his control, he should approach a Jewish court48 and tell them: "This get was written and signed in my presence."49 [The court,50 then, appoints] another agent and sends [the get to the woman] with him.

The second agent does not have to say: "It was written and signed in my presence." Instead, he says: "I am an agent of the court," and then he gives [the get to the woman] in the presence of witnesses.51

כ

חלה השליח או נאנס בא לבית דין ואומר להם גט זה בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם והן משלחין אותו ביד שליח אחר. ואין השליח האחרון צריך לומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם אלא אומר שליח בית דין אני ונותנו לה בפני עדים:

21

If the second agent becomes ill or is prevented from carrying out his agency by forces beyond his control, he should appoint another agent in the presence of the court. [Indeed,] even 100 [agents can be appointed in this manner].

[Before transferring the get,] the final agent says: "I am an agent of the court." He should then give the woman [the get]. [The get can be given] even if the first agent died.

Why must [the appointment be made] in court? Because [the first agent] must say: "It was written and signed in my presence."52 If, however, the signatures [of the witnesses] were verified, although one agent gives it to another in private - even if 100 agents are appointed in this way - the get is acceptable when it reaches the woman.

Although the husband did not explicitly tell the agent: "Send [the get] via another person if you are hindered by forces beyond your control," the agent may [appoint another agent] if he becomes ill or is hindered by forces beyond his control.53

כא

חלה השני או נאנס עושה שליח אחר בב"ד אפילו מאה והאחרון אומר שליח בית דין אני ונותנו לה. אע"פ שמת השליח הראשון. ומפני מה צריך בית דין מפני שהוא צריך לומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם. אבל אם נתקיים הגט בחותמיו אע"פ שנתנו שליח לשליח אפילו מאה בינם לבין עצמם עד שהגיע הגט לידה הרי זה כשר. ואע"פ שלא פירש הבעל ולא אמר לו שלחו ביד אחר אם תאנס אם חלה או נאנס הרי זה משלחו:

22

Whenever a person appoints an agent, the agent does not have to be present in court with him. Even if the agent is not present, he may tell [the court]: "So and so is my agent."54 Similarly, an agent may appoint an agent when the latter is not present. [Indeed,] even 100 [agents can be appointed in this manner].

כב

כל העושה שליח אינו צריך שיהא השליח עמו בב"ד. אלא אומר להם הרי פלוני שלוחי ואפילו שלא בפניו. וכן השליח עושה שליח אחר שלא בפניו אפילו הן מאה:

23

A husband [may appoint] his wife [as an agent to transport her get to another place]. After having it written and signed in her presence, he gives her the get and tells her: "You are an agent to bring it to the court of so and so. They will appoint an agent, who will give you this get and thus effect the divorce."

Should the woman say: "It was written and signed in my presence," [when delivering the get to the court], her statements are accepted.55 [The court] should take the get from her and give it to the agent so that he can give it to her as the husband instructed.

כג

האיש שנתן גט לאשתו ונכתב ונחתם בפניה ואמר לה הרי את שלוחתי להולכה עד בית דין פלוני והם יעמידו שליח ויתנו ליך גט זה ותתגרשי בו הרי זו נאמנת לומר בפניהם בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם והם נוטלין אותו ונותנין אותו לשליח ליתנו לה כמאמר הבעל:

24

When does the above apply? When the husband [explicitly] made this stipulation. But if this stipulation is not made, but instead the husband [merely] gave her the get and it is in her possession, she is not required to make any statements [to the court]. We assume that she is divorced, for she is in possession of a get that is written according to law and that is signed by witnesses.

Although we do not recognize the signatures of the witnesses, and [their authenticity] has not been verified, we do not suspect that [the woman] forged them, for she would not cause her own ruin.56

Moreover, it is considered as if the witnesses who signed the get had testified in court, until a protest is raised. Therefore, we assume that the get was written according to law and [grant the woman permission to] marry, as we assume that a get brought by an agent [in Eretz Yisrael] is acceptable until the husband raises a protest or until he brings proof that it is a forgery or that it is void.

For if we had suspicions concerning these matters and the like, we would have to suspect that perhaps when a husband gave a get in our presence, he nullified it before he gave it; perhaps the witnesses who sign it are unacceptable, causing it to be regarded as a forgery; or perhaps it was not written for the sake [of the man or the woman being divorced]. Just as we do not entertain suspicions concerning these factors and assume that the get [is acceptable] until it is discovered that it is void, so too, we do not entertain suspicions concerning an agent or a woman when a get is in their possession. [The rationale is] that the laws governing prohibitions differ from those governing financial transactions.57

כד

במה דברים אמורים כשהתנה עליה הבעל תנאי זה אבל אם לא התנה עליה אלא נתן לה גיטה והרי הגט יוצא מתחת ידה אינה צריכה לומר כלום והרי היא בחזקת מגורשת. הואיל וגט שבידה כתוב כהלכתו והעדים חתומים עליו. ואע"פ שאין אנו מכירין כתב אותן העדים ולא נתקיים אין חוששין לה שמא זייפה אותו שהרי אינה מקלקלת על עצמה. ועוד שהעדים החתומים על הגט הרי הן כמי שנחקרה עדותן בב"ד עד שיהא שם מערער. לפיכך נעמיד הגט בחזקתו ותנשא. ואין חוששין שמא ימצא מזוייף. כמו שנעמיד הגט בחזקת כשר כשיביא אותו השליח עד שיערער הבעל או עד שיביא ראיה שהוא מזוייף או בטל. שאם נחוש לדברים אלו וכיוצא בהן כך היה לנו לחוש לגט שיתן הבעל בפנינו שמא ביטלו ואח"כ נתנו. או שמא עדים פסולין חתמו בו והרי הוא כמזוייף מתוכו. או שמא שלא לשמה נכתב. וכשם שאין חוששין לזה וכיוצא בו אלא נעמידנו על חזקתו עד שיודע שהוא בטל כך לא נחוש לא לשליח ולא לאשה עצמה שהגט יוצא מתחת ידה שאין דיני האיסורין כדיני הממונות:

Footnotes
1.

Eretz Yisrael is singled out because Jewish courts frequently held sessions there, and it was feasible to verify the signatures of the witnesses to the get. In contrast, the courts in the diaspora held sessions less frequently, and verifying the signature of witnesses was a far more formidable task. Therefore, different laws apply, as stated in Halachah 5. In the present age, the laws applying to sending gittin in the diaspora are also followed in Eretz Yisrael. (See Shulchan Aruch and Ramah, Even HaEzer 142:1.)

2.

More particularly, according to the Rambam, only one witness is necessary, because the agent himself may serve as the second witness.

3.

If the signatures of the witnesses can be verified, the husband's protests are ignored. Once the witnesses sign the get, it is considered as if they have testified in court, and the husband's statements are of no avail.

4.

See the Beit Shmuel 142:5, which quotes a difference of opinion among the commentaries whether or not the Rambam maintains that the husband's protest causes the get to be considered void. The consequence of this difference of opinion is the status of the children born out of a second marriage. Are they definitely considered to be illegitimate, or is this a point of doubt?

5.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam considers the get to be unacceptable because the fact that the husband protests the authenticity of the get and the woman is unable to verify the signatures causes us to question the matter. Since the woman was regarded as married, her status cannot be changed until she receives a get that is not open to doubt.

The Beit Yosef (Even HaEzer 141) explains that although we assume that the woman has not been divorced, we do not know this with absolutely certainty. Hence, if she is consecrated by another man after receiving this get, she must be divorced by this second husband. Similarly, there are other authorities who maintain that the status of the divorce is doubtful.

6.

For in this instance there is no way to verify the signature of the witnesses.

7.

I.e., if the woman remarries, she will be committing adultery, and hence, she will be forbidden to remain married to her first husband. Nor will she be permitted to remain married to her second husband. Since they were involved in an adulterous relationship, they are forbidden to marry.

8.

I.e., just as a mother-in-law may not bring a get for her daughter-in-law, a daughter-in-law may not bring a get for her mother-in-law.

9.

Despite the fact that this woman has been divorced and remarried, we assume that she still harbors bad feelings towards the woman with whom she shared her previous husband and might desire to create difficulties for her.

10.

I.e., a woman who is married to her husband's brother. If the woman's husband died without children, her husband's brother would be obligated to marry her to fulfill the mitzvah of yibbum. Thus, the two women could ultimately become married to the same man.

11.

Although in this instance the mitzvah of yibbum would not apply because the two sisters are forbidden to marry the same man, our Sages did not differentiate when imposing this restriction.

12.

If, however, there is nothing preventing the agent from carrying out his agency, he may not appoint another agent. For we assume that a husband would object to the substitution (Gittin 29a).

13.

As mentioned in the notes on Chapter 6, Halachah 4, there are opinions that differ and require the appointment of an agent to be observed by witnesses. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 141:11) favors the Rambam's view with regard to the appointment of the agent himself, the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:40) follows the other opinions with regard to the agent's appointment of a second agent. In practice, the present custom is to have the appointment witnessed.

14.

For the husband, and not the previous agent, is the source of empowerment for the final agent.

15.

Generally, the verification of the signature of witnesses on a legal document requires two witnesses. In this instance, however, an exception was made, and the statements of one individual are accepted.

The rationale for this exception can be explained as follows: According to Scriptural law, there is no need for the signatures of the witnesses to a legal document to be verified. This requirement was instituted by our Sages. And in order to prevent a woman from having difficulties in obtaining a divorce, they relaxed that requirement and accepted the statements of the agent (Gittin 3a).

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 142:7) quotes opinions that rule that the phrase "It was written and signed in my presence" must be recited in its Hebrew original, B'fanai nichtav uv'fanai nechtam; a translation is not sufficient.

16.

I.e., we do not suspect that the witnesses were gentiles and that the get is void. For it has been customary for Jews living in the diaspora to adopt gentile names (Tosafot, Gittin 11b).

If, however, the probability is small that a Jew would use such a name, e.g., Nickolas or Patrick, there are authorities who are more stringent. See Beit Shmuel 130:30.

17.

Once the statements of the agent are accepted by the court, they are given the same weight as if they had been made by two witnesses. Therefore, the protest of the husband is of no consequence (Gittin 9a). If, however, the husband brings two witnesses who testify that the get is a forgery, their word - and not that of the agent - is accepted (Halachah 9).

18.

Our suspicion is that these women would forge a get to cause the wife to be forbidden to remained married to both husbands, and that the forgery will be easily discovered, because her first husband will protest the legitimacy of the get. When the agent herself must say "The get was written and signed in my presence," the first husband's protest will not be accepted, and the woman will be allowed to remain married to her second husband. As such, the forgery will not achieve its desired result.

19.

Our Sages accepted the statements of the agent as equivalent to those of two witnesses even when he was not required to have made them (Gittin 6b). Note the comments of the Maggid Mishneh, who questions whether this also applies with regard to questions of monetary law - e.g., the payment of the woman's marriage contract.

20.

The woman might think that the divorce is effective upon receipt of the get and may remarry, without being aware of the difficulties involved.

21.

More particularly, in this matter the agent can serve in three capacities: 1) as the agent to give the get, 2) as a witness to verify the signatures of the witnesses, and 3) as a judge declaring that the signatures have been verified. This is possible because, as explained above, the verification of witnesses is a requirement of Rabbinic law. In matters of Scriptural law, a witness may not serve as a judge. (See also Halachah 19.)

22.

I.e., disqualified by the Rabbis. It is not, however, void according to Scriptural law (Maggid Mishneh). According to the general principles mentioned by the Rambam (Chapter 10, Halachah 2), if the woman remarries in such an instance, she is not obligated to leave her second husband. The Tur (Even HaEzer 142) quotes opinions that differ and require her to leave her second husband, even if her first husband does not protest. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 142:1) follows the Rambam's ruling.

23.

See the notes on Halachah 1.

24.

E.g., two witnesses who testify that the get is a forgery.

25.

As stated in Hilchot Terumot 1:7, the northern boundary of Eretz Yisrael was the Amanon Mountains, a range in Northern Lebanon, far above the position of contemporary Beirut. The southern boundary was the Nile river. All islands within the imaginary line drawn from one point on the Mediterranean to the other are considered to be part of Eretz Yisrael.

26.

In the Talmudic era, Babylonia was a center of Torah study and there would be students traveling from all the cities to and from the central yeshivot in Sura, Neharde'a and Pumbedita. Hence, it was possible to find witnesses to verify the authenticity of the signatures on a get (Gittin 6a).

27.

Regardless of whether the get was given in another place in the diaspora or in Eretz Yisrael, the signature of the witnesses cannot be easily verified, and hence the agent is required to make these statements.

28.

If the get is given in Eretz Yisrael, the signatures of the witnesses can be verified, and hence the agent is not required to make these statements.

29.

The fundamental element to be observed by the agent is the signature of the get by the witnesses. For as long as the scribe wrote a portion of the get lishmah, for the sake of the man and the woman getting divorced, it is sufficient (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Gittin 2:1).

Note the Yadav Shel Moshe, who questions why the Rambam concerns himself with the issue of lishmah. On the difference of opinion between Rabbah and Ravva regarding the reason for the agent having to say: "It was written and signed in my presence," the Rambam follows the opinion of Ravva, who states that the problem is not lishmah, but rather the verification of the signatures of the witnesses.

30.

Rashi, Gittin 15a, interprets this as referring to the line that contains the man's name, the woman's name and the date. Tosafot interprets it as referring to the first line of the get. The Beit Shmuel 142:28 explains that the Rambam accepts neither of these opinions, but means any given line of the get.

31.

If that were the case, the get would not be written lishmah.

32.

For the confirmation of the get must follow the directives outlined by our Sages in their entirety or rely on the verification of the signatures of the witnesses (Tosafot, Gittin 15b).

33.

Since the decree of our Sages was not fulfilled, the only alternative is to verify the signatures of the witnesses.

34.

I.e., the agent says that the get was written, and one signed in his presence, and he and another person verify the signature of the second witness.

35.

The Tur (Even HaEzer 142) differs with this ruling. He agrees that in contrast to a get brought by one agent, a get brought by two agents may be given to the woman without their saying, "It was written and signed in our presence." Nevertheless, the Tur maintains that if the husband protests the authenticity of the get, the signatures of the witnesses must be verified.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 142:18) follows the Rambam's ruling, while the Ramah quotes that of the Tur.

36.

This law applies only when the agents are able to serve as witnesses in court. If, however, they are related to the husband or the wife, or would be disqualified for other reasons, they are required to say, "It was written and signed in our presence."

37.

Rashi (Gittin 16b) appears to imply that both agents must be physically holding the get together. The Rashba differs [and this opinion is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 142:18)] and states all that is necessary is for the agents to state that they were both appointed by the husband and given the get. The Rashba extends this leniency and states that even if only one agent was appointed by the husband, if another person witnessed his appointment and traveled with him, it is not necessary for the agent to say "It was written and signed in my presence."

38.

As mentioned above, according to the interpretation accepted by the Shulchan Aruch, we are not speaking about a second agent, but another person who accompanied the agent.

39.

This is referring to a third individual, and not one of the agents.

40.

The Maggid Mishneh states that the statement, "It was written in my presence," is unnecessary. Since two witnesses testify that they observed the signing of the get, they have verified the signatures of the witnesses. The Rambam mentions this instance, only because he is quoting the wording of the Mishnah (Gittin 2:1). And the Mishnah mentions this only as a literary device, so that the wording in its different clauses are parallel.

41.

Even if the two individuals who speak with regard to the signing of the get are not agents, their statements verify the authenticity of the signatures, making it a valid legal document.

42.

This wording implies that if the woman remarried after this divorce, she may remain married to her second husband. Rabbenu Asher and others rule more stringently, and maintain that in such a situation, the woman must be divorced by her second husband.

43.

Even after the signatures of the witnesses have been verified, the get should be taken from the woman and returned to her in the presence of witnesses, as stated in Chapter 6, Halachah 15.

44.

From the Rambam's wording, it appears that it is not sufficient for the witness to write these words out. Although a person who cannot speak and who witnessed the death of a woman's husband is allowed to write out his testimony (Chapter 13, Halachah 28), there is no alternative in that situation. In these circumstances, there is an alternative: to have the signatures of the witnesses verified (Kessef Mishneh).

45.

Gittin 23a states that when an agent is blind, he must be able to recognize the woman by the sound of her voice. It is not sufficient for others to identify her for him. When an agent can see, however, he need not know the woman's identity and may rely on the statements of others (Maggid Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 142:11).

46.

Hilchot Edut 9:12 states that a blind person may not serve as a witness, and Hilchot Sanhedrin 2:9 states that such a person may not serve as a judge. Hilchot Edut 9:2 states that a woman may not serve in these capacities. Similarly, if the agent is related to the man or the woman, he is incapable of serving as a judge and three witnesses are necessary (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 142:4).

47.

See Halachot 5 and 7 and notes.

48.

It is sufficient for him to appear before two judges, because he can serve as the third judge himself (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 142:9).

49.

As opposed to the situation described in Halachah 4, the agent cannot appoint a second agent himself, because he is required to state in a court of law that the get was written and signed in his presence.

50.

The wording of the Rambam might be understood as implying that the agency is entrusted to the second agent by the court. This, however, is an incorrect inference, for it is the first agent who appoints the subsequent agent. This appointment must, however, be performed in a court to ensure that everything necessary to validate the get is performed. (See Rivash, Responsum 318.)

51.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 142:9) quotes the Rivash as ruling that, if sending a second get would be difficult, it is acceptable for the second agent to bring the get, even though he was not appointed in court, provided he brings a writ of authorization from the first agent.

52.

The reason the appointment of the latter agents must be made in a court is that the signatures of the witnesses have not been verified. By stating that his appointment was made in a court of law, every agent assures the court that the correct process has been followed regarding this get.

53.

If, however, there are no factors preventing the agent from discharging his agency, he may not appoint another agent unless the husband explicitly gave him the authority to do so (Maggid Mishneh).

54.

The Rivash (Responsum 53) differs with this ruling and maintains that if the second agent does not hear the first agent say: "It was written and signed in my presence," he must be given a writ of appointment. Otherwise, he may not serve in this capacity. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 142:10) quotes the Rambam's ruling - and indeed expands upon it, allowing the agent to give the court the authority to appoint any agent they desire. The Ramah quotes the ruling of the Rivash.

55.

She must, however, make these statements for the divorce to be effective. Our Sages made this requirement in order not to differentiate between one agency and another (Rashba, commenting on Gittin 24a).

56.

It is likely that a forgery would ultimately be discovered, and she would then be forbidden to remain married to her second husband, nor would she be permitted to return to her first husband.

The Maggid Mishneh draws a connection between this halachah and Chapter 12, Halachah 2, which states that the statements of a woman who produces a get are accepted, even though the authenticity of the signatures of the witnesses to the get has not been verified. The Ra'avad in his gloss on Hilchot Avadim 6:7 differs (see also his gloss to Chapter 12, Halachah 2). The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 142:13-14) quotes the opinions of both the Rambam and the Ra'avad. See the Rivash (Responsum 385).

57.

With regard to financial transactions, a person's statements are not accepted if he has an interest in the matter, unless he substantiates them with proof. Therefore, if a person gives a servant a deed of release that states that he has been freed and has been granted his master's possessions, his word is accepted with regard to his freedom. With regard to the possessions, however, he is required to substantiate his statements by verifying the authenticity of the witnesses to the deed (Hilchot Avadim 7:2).

Gerushin - Chapter Eight

1

When [a man] divorces [his wife] according to a conditional arrangement, and the condition is fulfilled, the divorce is effective. If the condition is not fulfilled, the divorce is not effective. All the laws governing conditional agreements have been explained in Hilchot Ishut, Chapter 6.1

There it is explained that when [a man] divorces [his wife] according to a conditional arrangement, and the condition is fulfilled, the divorce is effective from the time the condition is fulfilled, and not from the time the get is given to her.

As such, a husband may nullify a get, add to his conditions or add a further condition, until the original condition is fulfilled although [the woman] has already been given the get.

If the husband dies [before the condition is fulfilled],2 or the get is lost or consumed by fire before the condition is fulfilled, the divorce is not effective.3 A priori, [the woman] should not remarry until the condition is fulfilled.4 If, however, she has already married, she need not leave [her second husband],5 unless she is no longer able to fulfill [the condition].6 [For since] the condition is nullified [the divorce is void.]

There it is explained that if [the husband] tells [his wife]: "You are divorced from the present time - or from today - on the following condition," or "You are divorced on the condition7 that this and this be done," when the condition is fulfilled the divorce becomes effective retroactively from the time the get reaches the woman.

Therefore, once the get reaches the woman's possession, [the husband] can no longer nullify the get,8 add to his conditions or add a further condition. If the get is lost or consumed by fire, or even if the husband dies before the condition is fulfilled, she should fulfill the condition after his death, and the divorce is considered effective from the time the get was given to her.

A priori, [the woman] may remarry even before the condition is fulfilled.9 We do not suspect that she will not fulfill the condition,10 because it was stated using the wording "From this time" or "On the condition that...."

א

המגרש על תנאי אם נתקיים התנאי הרי זו מגורשת ואם לא נתקיים התנאי אינה מגורשת. וכבר בארנו בפ"ו מהלכות אישות משפטי התנאין כולם. ושם נתבאר שהמגרש על תנאי כשיתקיים התנאי תהיה מגורשת בשעה שיתקיים. לא בשעת נתינת הגט לידה. לפיכך יש לבעל לבטל הגט או להוסיף על תנאו או להתנות על תנאי אחר כל זמן שלא נתקיים התנאי הראשון אע"פ שהגיע גט לידה. ואם מת הבעל או אבד הגט או נשרף קודם שיתקיים התנאי אינה מגורשת. ולכתחלה לא תנשא עד שיתקיים התנאי. ואם נשאת לא תצא אלא אם כן לא נשאר בידה לקיימו. שהרי בטל התנאי. ושם נתבאר שאם אמר לה הרי את מגורשת מעכשיו או מהיום על תנאי כך וכך. או שאמר לה הרי את מגורשת על מנת כך וכך. כשיתקיים התנאי תהיה מגורשת משעת נתינת הגט לידה. לפיכך אינו יכול לבטל הגט ולא להוסיף על תנאו משהגיע גט לידה. ואם אבד או נשרף אפילו מת הבעל קודם שיתקיים התנאי הרי זו מקיימת התנאי אחר מותו וכבר נתגרשה משעת נתינת הגט לידה ויש לה להנשא לכתחלה אע"פ שעדיין לא נתקיים התנאי. ואין חוששין שמא לא יתקיים הואיל והיה התנאי במעכשיו או בעל מנת:

2

Whenever [a man] divorces [his wife] conditionally - whether he states, "from this time onward," or makes [a repeated statement of the condition, as required] - he should not enter into privacy with his wife throughout the entire time the condition remains unfulfilled.

Instead, [all his dealings with her should be] in the presence of [at least one] witness. Even a servant or a maid-servant can serve this purpose, with the exception of her [private] maid-servant or her young son. For she is not embarrassed to enter into marital relations in the presence of these people.

It is well known that if [the husband] enters into privacy [with his wife] in the presence of two witnesses at the same time, the status of the divorce is doubtful, even if the condition was fulfilled. [We suspect] that he engaged in marital relations [with her],11 and nullified the get,12 as will be explained in these laws.

ב

כל המגרש על תנאי בין שאמר מעכשיו בין שאמר אם יהיה ואם לא יהיה הרי זה לא יתיחד עם אשתו כל זמן שלא נתקיים התנאי אלא בפני עד. ואפילו עבד ואפילו שפחה חוץ משפחתה או בנה קטן מפני שאינה בושה מלשמש בפניהם. והדבר ידוע שאם נתיחד עמה בפני שני עדים כאחד אפילו נתקיים התנאי אח"כ הרי זו ספק מגורשת. שמא בעלה ובטל הגט כמו שיתבאר בהלכות אלו:

3

How should a man divorce [his wife] conditionally? He should not say: "Write a get for my wife on this condition," or "Write a get and give it to her on this condition." Needless to say, he should not write in the get: "So and so divorces so and so on the [following] condition."13

What procedure should instead be followed? He should instruct the scribe to write [a get] and the witnesses to sign. They should write an acceptable get that does not mention any condition at all. Afterwards, he should give her the get and tell her: "This is your get..." or "Behold you are divorced on the following condition." Or he should tell [the witnesses] or his agent: "Give her this get on the following condition."14

ג

כיצד מגרש אדם על תנאי. לא שיאמר כתבו גט לאשתי על תנאי זה. או כתבו ותנו לה על תנאי. ואין צריך לומר שלא יכתוב בתוך הגט על תנאי זה גירש פלוני את פלונית. אלא כיצד עושה אומר לסופר לכתוב ולעדים לחתום וכותבין גט כשר בלא שום תנאי בעולם. ואחר כך נותן לה הגט ואומר לה הרי זה גיטך או הרי את מגורשת בזה על מנת כך וכך. או יאמר להם או לשליח תנו לה גט זה על מנת כך וכך:

4

If [a husband] had a condition15 written in the get after the essential portion of the get16 was written, the get is acceptable, regardless of whether [the condition] was written before the signature of the witnesses or after their signature.

If, however, [the condition] was written before the essential portion of the get - even if he used the wording, "on the following condition"17 - the status of the divorce is doubtful, for the husband retains rights in the essential matter of the get. Similarly, if he verbally stated a condition before the essential portion of the get was written, the status of the divorce is doubtful.18

ד

כתב התנאי בגט אחר שגמר לכתוב תורף הגט הרי זה גט כשר. בין שכתבו קודם חתימת העדים בין שכתבו לאחר חתימת העדים. אבל אם כתבו קודם תורף הגט אפילו כתב על מנת כך וכך הרי זו ספק גירושין שהרי נשאר לו זכות בגופו של גט. וכן אם התנה על פה קודם כתיבת התורף הרי זה ספק גירושין:

5

[These rules apply when a man] divorces his wife and [makes the following conditions] whether verbally or in writing, after the essential portion [of the get] has been written,19. If he tells her: "Behold, you are permitted [to marry] any man aside from so and so," or "...with the exception of so and so," [the ruling would depend on the identity of the individual specified].

If that individual is a gentile, a servant or a person with whom the woman is forbidden to engage in marital relations - e.g., her father, her brother, his father or his brother - the get is acceptable.20 If, however, the individual is one who could consecrate her [as a wife], the get is void,21 even if there is a negative prohibition [that is not punishable by death - neither at the hand of God nor the court - involved in such relations]22 or that individual is a minor.23 [The rationale is that by making such a condition,] the husband retained certain rights with regard to the divorce, and [the bond between the couple] is not [entirely] severed.

If [the individual mentioned] is the husband of the wife's sister, the status of the divorce is in doubt. For although at present relations between the wife and that man are forbidden, if her sister dies, she will become permitted to marry him.

ה

המגרש את אשתו והתנה עליה בין בכתב אחר התורף בין על פה אחר התורף ואמר לה הרי את מותרת לכל אדם חוץ מאיש פלוני או אלא לאיש פלוני ונתן לה הגט על תנאי זה אם היה אותו האיש עכו"ם או עבד או אסור עליה משום ערוה כגון אביה ואחיה או אביו או אחיו הרי זה גט כשר. ואם היה אותו האיש שיש לו בה קידושין אע"פ שהוא מחייבי לאוין ואע"פ שהוא קטן אינו גט. שהרי שייר בגט ואין זה כריתות. היה בעל אחותה שאע"פ שהוא היום אסור עליה משום ערוה אם תמות אחותה יהיה מותר לה הרי זו ספק מגורשת:

6

The status of the divorce is in doubt24 when [a husband divorces his wife and] tells her: "Behold, you are permitted [to marry] any man, aside from a man who will be born in the future, who does not exist at present," "...aside from promiscuous relationships" - i.e., it is as if he said: "Behold, you are permitted to marry any man, but with regard to promiscuous relations, it is as if you remain forbidden like a married woman."

[This ruling also applies if he tells her:] "You are permitted to any man who will engage in relations with you in the ordinary manner, but with regard to anal intercourse, you remain prohibited," "You are permitted [to marry] any man, aside from one who consecrates you with a legal document" - i.e, the woman may be consecrated by [a gift of] money or via sexual relations, but if one consecrates her with a legal document, she is forbidden like a married woman - or "You are permitted [to marry] any man, with the exception of [the right to] nullify your vows" - i.e., [I] retain none of the rights of the marriage relationship except [the right to] nullify your vows; in that regard, it is as if you remained my wife.

[Similarly, if the husband desires that the woman be considered as if she were married with regard to her right] to partake of terumah,25 or with regard to his right to inherit her property if she dies [in his lifetime, the status of the divorce is in doubt].

ו

אמר לה הרי את מותרת לכל אדם חוץ ממי שיולד שאינו עתה בעולם. או חוץ מזנותיך כלומר תהיה מותרת להנשא לכל אדם אבל לזנות הרי את באיסור אשת איש. או הרי את מותרת לכל מי שיבא עליך כדרך כל הארץ אבל שלא כדרכך הרי את באיסוריך. או הרי את מותרת לכל אדם חוץ ממקדש בשטר. כלומר שהיא מותרת להתקדש בכסף ובביאה אבל בשטר הרי את באיסור אשת איש. או הרי את מותרת לכל אדם חוץ מהפרת נדריך. כלומר לא נשאר לי עליך שום אישות חוץ מהפרת נדריך שאת אשתי לענין הפרת נדרים. או לענין אכילת תרומה. או לענין ירושה שאם מתה יירשנה. בכל אחד מאלו הרי זו ספק מגורשת:

7

[If a husband] tells [his wife]: "You are permitted [to marry] any man aside from Reuven and Shimon," and then tells her: "You are permitted [to marry] Reuven or Shimon," the divorce is acceptable.26 For he has nullified his condition, permitting his wife [to marry] the men [concerning whom] the condition was made.

ז

אמר לה הרי את מותרת לכל אדם חוץ מראובן ושמעון וחזר ואמר לה הרי את מותרת לראובן ושמעון, הרי זו מגורשת. שהרי בטל התנאי שהאנשים שהתנה בהן התירן לה:

8

[If, after telling his wife that she is permitted to marry any man aside from Reuven and Shimon, the husband] tells her: "You are permitted [to marry] Reuven," the divorce is void, because he has not nullified the condition [preventing her from marrying] Shimon.

If he tells her: "You are permitted to [marry] Shimon," or "You are even permitted to [marry] Shimon," the status of the divorce is in doubt. We suspect that perhaps he permitted her only to Shimon, and she is still forbidden to Reuven. By saying "even to Shimon," he meant "to everyone, even to Shimon." [Nevertheless, the divorce is not void, for] perhaps he permitted her to everyone, and by saying "even to Shimon," he meant "to Shimon and also to Reuven." [This is plausible,] for Shimon was mentioned after Reuven in his condition.

ח

אמר לה הרי את מותרת לראובן הרי זו אינה מגורשת שהרי לא ביטל תנאו של שמעון. אמר לה הרי את מותרת לשמעון או הרי את מותרת אף לשמעון הרי זו ספק גירושין שמא לא התירה אלא לשמעון וראובן באיסורו עומד וזה שאמר אף לשמעון כלומר לכל אדם אף לשמעון. או שמא התירה לכל וזה שאמר אף לשמעון והוא הדין לראובן ששמעון סמוך היה לראובן בתנאו:

9

If [a husband] makes a condition, saying; "Today you are not my wife, but tomorrow you will be my wife," the divorce is not effective.27 Although the connection between the couple is severed on the day [of the get, it is renewed afterwards]. For this reason, in the wording of the get, is written the phrase: "from the present day onward."

ט

התנה עליה ואמר היום אין את אשתי ולמחר את אשתי אינה מגורשת ואע"פ שכרת בינו לבינה היום. לפיכך כותבין בגיטין מן היום הזה ולעולם:

10

[If a husband tells his wife:] "This is your get on the condition that you never drink wine for the rest of your life," the divorce is not effective, for [the relationship between them] has not been severed.28

If the condition states "for as long as I live" or "for as long as so and so lives," the divorce is effective, for the relationship between the couple is severed. When that person dies, [the woman] will no longer have any connection with [her previous husband].

י

הרי זה גיטיך על מנת שלא תשתי יין כל ימי חייכי אינו גט שאין זה כריתות. כל ימי חיי או כל ימי [חיי] פלוני הרי זה גט שהרי כרת בינו לבינה ולא תשאר לו עליה רשות כשימות אותו פלוני:

11

[If a husband tells his wife:] "This is your get on the condition that you do not go to your father's house for 30 days, the divorce is effective. "...That you never go to your father's house," the divorce is not effective, for [the relationship between them] has not been severed.

[Similarly, if a husband] tells [his wife:] "This is your get on the condition that you never eat meat," or "...that you never drink wine," the divorce is not effective, for [the relationship between them] has not been severed. "...[that you not eat meat or drink wine] for 30 days, the divorce is effective.

יא

הרי זה גיטך על מנת שלא תלכי לבית אביך עד שלשים יום הרי זה גט. שלא תלכי לבית אביך לעולם אינו גט שהרי אין זה כריתות. לפיכך האומר הרי זה גיטך על מנת שלא תאכלי בשר (זה) לעולם. שלא תשתי יין (זה) לעולם אינו גט שאין זה כריתות. עד שלשים יום הרי זה גט:

12

[If a husband tells his wife:] "This is your get on the condition that you never marry so and so," the divorce is not effective.29 To what can this be compared? to his telling her: "This is your get on the condition that you never drink wine," "...that you never go to your father's home," or "[that you not go to your father's home] for the rest of your life."30

If, however, he tells her: "[This is your get] on the condition that you do not marry so and so for fifty years,"31 the divorce is effective; she may not marry the person during the time specified.32 If she marries him, the divorce is nullified retroactively.33

If [the woman] engages in promiscuous sexual relations with the man specified, any child born to her is legitimate, and the divorce remains acceptable. For [the husband's] condition mentioned only marriage.

יב

הרי זה גיטך על מנת שלא תנשאי לפלוני אינו גט. הא למה זה דומה לאומר לה הרי זה גיטך על מנת שלא תשתי יין לעולם או שלא תלכי לבית אביך לעולם או כל ימי חייכי. אבל אם אמר לה על מנת שלא תנשאי לפלוני עד חמשים שנה הרי זה גט ולא תנשא לו כל זמן שהתנה. ואם נשאת בטל הגט למפרע. זנתה עמו הולד כשר והגט כשר שלא התנה אלא על הנשואין:

13

[If a husband tells his wife:] "This is your get on the condition that you marry so and so," if she marries him [the divorce is effective], as it would be if other conditions were involved. Nevertheless, our Sages said that she should not marry either the man specified or any other man.

She should not marry the man specified, lest the people say: "They are giving their wives as presents to each other."34 Nor should she marry anyone else, for the get is effective only when the condition is fulfilled.

If she transgresses and marries the man specified, she need not be divorced. If she marries another person before she marries the man specified, the get is nullified, and she must leave her second husband. Any child she bears [the second husband] is illegitimate. He must, however, divorce her with a get.35

יג

הרי זה גיטך על מנת שתנשאי לפלוני אם נשאת לו הרי זה גט כשאר כל התנאים. אבל אמרו חכמים לא תנשא לא לאותו פלוני ולא לאחר. לאותו פלוני לא תנשא שמא יאמרו נשיהן נותנין במתנה זה לזה. ולאחר לא תנשא שאינו גט אלא בקיום התנאי. עברה ונשאת לאותו פלוני לא תצא. נשאת לאחר קודם שתנשא לאותו פלוני בטל הגט ותצא והולד ממזר וצריכה גט משני:

14

[If a husband tells his wife:] "Behold, this is your get, but the paper belongs to me," the divorce is not effective, for [the relationship between them] has not been severed.36 "...On the condition that you give me the paper," the divorce is effective, [provided] she gives [him the paper].37

יד

הרי זה גיטך והנייר שלי אינה מגורשת שאין זה כריתות. על מנת שתתני לי את הנייר הרי זה גט ותתן:

15

If he engraved a get on a plate of gold and gave it to her, telling her: "This is [both] your get and [the money due you by virtue of] your ketubah, [the divorce is] acceptable and she is considered to have received the money due her by virtue of her ketubah,38 provided the plate is worth the value of her ketubah. If it is not, he should compensate [for the difference].

טו

חקק הגט על טס של זהב ונתנו לה ואמר לה הרי זה גיטך וכתובתך כשר ונתקבלה כתובתה אם יש בטס כדי כתובתה ואם לאו ישלים כתובתה:

16

[The following rules apply when a man] divorces [his wife] conditionally, including a stipulation that causes the divorce to be considered void - e.g., that she never eat meat or drink wine for the rest of her life, or that she be free to marry any man with the exception of a particular individual, or that he mentioned other conditions before the essential portion of the get was written: If the condition was written in the get, and he rubbed it out and gave it to her, the status of the divorce is in doubt.39 If the condition was stated verbally,40 he should take the get from her and give it to her again without mentioning a condition, or mention a condition that is acceptable.

טז

כל המגרש על תנאי שמבטל הגט כגון שהתנה לה שלא תאכל בשר ולא תשתה יין כל ימי חייה. או שתהיה מותרת לכל אדם חוץ מפלוני. או שהתנה עליה שאר תנאים קודם כתיבת התורף. אם היה תנאו כתוב בגט וחזר ומחקו ונתנו לה הרי זו ספק מגורשת. ואם היה התנאי על פה הרי זה נוטל הגט ממנה וחוזר ונותנו לה בלא תנאי כלל או בתנאי כשר:

17

What is implied? [A man] gave a get to his wife and told her, "Behold, you are divorced with this [get] and are free [to marry] any man aside from so and so."41 If he took [the get] from her and gave it to her and said: "Behold you are free [to marry] any man," or "This is your get," the divorce is effective. The same applies in other similar situations.

יז

כיצד הרי שנתן גט לאשתו ואמר לה הרי את מגורשת בזה ומותרת לכל אדם חוץ מפלוני. אם נטלו ממנה וחזר ונתנו לה ואמר לה הרי את מותרת לכל אדם או הרי זה גיטך הרי זו מגורשת וכן כל כיוצא בו:

18

When [a man] gives a get to his wife on the condition that she give him two hundred zuz, and afterwards establishes a second condition in the presence of witnesses that she serve his father for two years, his latter statement did not nullify his original one.42 Instead, it is as if he told her: "Fulfill one of the two conditions." If she desires, she may serve his father, or if she desires, she may give [him the money]. One of the witnesses to the first condition cannot join with one of the witnesses to the second condition [to testify that the get was given on a conditional basis].43

If, however, [the husband] made a condition that the woman must give him 200 zuz, and afterwards made a condition in the presence of two [witnesses] that she must give him 300 zuz, the condition of 200 has been nullified, and she must give [him] 300 zuz. The same principle applies in all similar situations.

יח

הנותן גט לאשתו על תנאי שתתן לו מאתים זוז וחזר והתנה עליה תנאי אחר בפני עדים שתשמש אביו שתי שנים. לא ביטלו דבריו האחרונים את הראשונים אלא הרי זה כאומר לה עשי אחד משני התנאים. רצת משמשת רצת נותנת. ואין אחד מן הראשונים ואחד מן האחרונים מצטרפין. אבל אם התנה עליה שתתן לו מאתים זוז וחזר והתנה בפני שנים שתתן לו שלש מאות זוז. כבר ביטל התנאי של מאתים וצריכה ליתן שלש מאות זוז וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

19

If [a husband] makes a condition that his wife must perform a specific activity without stating a duration of time, it is considered as if he stated that she should perform this activity for one day. For he did not specify any amount of time.

What is implied? If he told her: "This is your get on condition that you perform work for me," "...on condition that you serve my father," or "...on condition that you nurse my son," if she performs work for him or serves his father for one day or nurses his son for one day during the time when a child [usually] nurses - i.e., within his first 24 months [of life] - the get is effective.44If the son or the father dies before she nurses him or serves him, the get is not effective.45

יט

התנה עליה שתעשה דבר זה סתם הרי זה כמפרש יום אחד הואיל ולא פירש כמה זמן תעשה. כיצד אמר לה הרי זה גיטך על מנת שתעשי עמי מלאכה. על מנת שתשמשי את אבא. על מנת שתניקי את בני. אם עשתה עמו מלאכה או אם שמשה את אביו יום אחד או שהניקה בנו יום אחד בתוך הזמן שהבן יונק בו והוא בתוך ארבעה ועשרים חדש הרי זה גט. מת הבן או מת אביו קודם שתניק או שתשמש אינו גט:

20

If [the husband] tells her: "[This is your get] on condition that you nurse my son..." or "...serve my father for two years," [for the divorce to be effective] she must complete the time specified. If the son or the father dies within this period, or the father says: "I don't want you to serve me," the get is not effective, for the condition has not been fulfilled.46 The same principles apply in all similar situations.

כ

אמר לה על מנת שתניקי את בני או תשמשי את אבי שתי שנים. הרי זו משלמת הזמן שפירש. מת הבן או האב בתוך הזמן או שאמר האב אין רצוני שתשמשני אינו גט שהרי לא נתקיים התנאי וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

21

[The following rules apply when a husband] tells [his wife]: "[This is your get] on condition that you give me 200 zuz within 30 days." If she gives him [the money] within 30 days with his consent, the divorce is effective. If she gives [it] after 30 days, the divorce is not effective. If she gives it to him against his will, and he refuses to accept it, the divorce is unacceptable until he willingly accepts it.47

If he tells her within the 30 days, "I am willing to forego [the money on your behalf," the divorce is not effective, because the condition was not fulfilled.48 If he dies within the 30 days, since the 30 days are completed without her giving [him the money], the divorce is not effective.49

כא

הרי זה גיטך על מנת שתתני לי מאתים זוז מכאן ועד שלשים יום. נתנה בתוך שלשים יום מדעתו הרי זו מגורשת. לאחר שלשים אינה מגורשת. נתנה לו בעל כרחו והוא אינו רוצה לקבל הרי זה גט פסול עד שתתן מדעתו. חזר ואמר לה בתוך השלשים יום הרי הן מחולין לך אינה מגורשת. שהרי לא נעשה התנאי. מת בתוך שלשים יום הואיל ושלמו השלשים יום ולא נתנה אינה מגורשת:

22

If he tells her, "[This is your get] on condition that you give me 200 zuz," without specifying a time period, and he dies before she gives [him the money], she cannot give [the sum] to his heirs; the condition was that it be given to him. [In this instance, however,] the get is not nullified [by the husband's death], since a definite time period was not specified.50 Therefore, even if the get was lost or ripped before he died, [the woman] should not marry another man until she performs the rite of chalitzah.

כב

אמר לה הרי זה גיטך על מנת שתתני לי מאתים זוז ולא קבע זמן ומת קודם שתתן אינה יכולה ליתן ליורשיו שלא התנה עליה אלא שתתן לו. ולא בטל הגט שהרי לא קבע זמן. לפיכך אף על פי שאבד הגט או נקרע קודם שימות הרי זו לא תנשא לזר עד שתחלוץ:

23

[If the husband tells her:] "This is your get on condition that you give me this particular utensil," or "...this particular garment," and that utensil or garment is lost or stolen, even if she gives him 1000 zuz in compensation for [the desired object],51 the divorce is not effective until she gives him the specified utensil or garment, or until he nullifies the condition.52

כג

הרי זה גיטך על מנת שתתני לי כלי פלוני או בגד פלוני ואבד אותו כלי או אותו בגד או נגנב אע"פ שנתנה לו אלף זוז בדמיו אינו גט עד שתתן אותו כלי או אותו בגד עצמו או עד שיבטל התנאי:

24

[The following rules apply when a woman] is divorced conditionally, and another man consecrates her before the condition is fulfilled. If the condition is fulfilled [afterwards], she is consecrated.53 If, however, the condition is not fulfilled and the get is nullified,54 she does not require a get from the second husband,55 for [in this situation] she cannot be consecrated. If, however, she marries [a second husband], the condition is not fulfilled, and the get is nullified, she must also be divorced by the second [husband], as explained above.56

כד

מי שנתגרשה על תנאי וקדשה אחר קודם שיתקיים התנאי. אם נתקיים התנאי הרי זו מקודשת. ואם לא נתקיים התנאי ובטל הגט אינה צריכה גט משני שהרי אין קידושין תופסין בה. אבל אם נשאת ולא נתקיים התנאי ובטל הגט צריכה גט משני כמו שבארנו:

Footnotes
1.

See Halachah 2 of that chapter, which explains that there are four rules that govern all conditional agreements:

a) the stipulation must be twofold [with both a positive and negative statement];

b) the positive aspect must be stated before the negative aspect;

c) the stipulation should be mentioned before the completion of the action that one desires to make conditional;

d) the stipulation must be something with which it is possible to comply.

If one of these rules was not kept when a conditional agreement was made, the stipulation is nullified; it is as if there were no condition at all. Note the details and explanations of these rules there.

2.

This is relevant if the couple is childless, and the woman is obligated to fulfill either the rite of yibbum or of chalitzah.

3.

With regard to the first clause, a get can be effective only when the husband granting the divorce is still alive. If he dies, the marriage bonds are already rent by his death. With regard to the latter clause, since the get takes effect only when the condition is fulfilled, the get itself must be intact at that time. If it is not, there is no medium through which the divorce takes effect (see Gittin 74a).

4.

Lest the husband die or the get be destroyed, and thus the divorce be nullified.

5.

The Rambam's ruling is clarified by his statements in Chapter 9, Halachah 5, in which he states that a conditional divorce begins when the get is given and is not concluded until the condition is fulfilled. This conception has aroused objections among the commentators, who maintain that until the condition is fulfilled, the woman is like any other married woman. She cannot be consecrated, and marital relations with her are considered adulterous. Although in his Beit Yosef, Rav Yosef Karo supports the more stringent views, in his Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:2), he appears to follow the Rambam's opinion (Beit Shmuel 143:2).

6.

E.g., her husband made a condition that she give an article to his father, and his father dies.

7.

I.e., the husband uses this expression rather than saying: "If you do such and such, the divorce is effective. If you do not do such and such, the divorce is not effective." The Ramah (Even HaEzer 144:3) and the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 144:4) mention opinions that do not equate "on the condition that" with "from now onwards."

8.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 143:2) quotes opinions that maintain that even when a condition is stated using the wording "on the condition that," the husband has the right to nullify the get until the condition is fulfilled.

9.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) does not accept this ruling and declares that the woman should not remarry until the condition is fulfilled. There is, however, one exception: a condition that requires the woman to refrain from performing a particular activity before the divorce takes effect.

10.

I.e., because of the severe consequences this will bring upon her, we do not suspect that she will fail to do what is necessary to maintain the legitimacy of her second marriage.

11.

For entering into privacy with a woman in the presence of witnesses is considered equivalent to actual relations. (See Chapter 10, Halachah 18.)

12.

See Chapter 10, Halachah 19, which explains that when there is a possibility that a man has had marital relations with his divorcee, we assume that he consecrated her again, rather than conducting these relations in a licentious manner. (See also Chapter 9, Halachah 25.)

13.

This is unacceptable, as explained in the following halachah.

14.

See the Beit Shmuel 147:1, which states that in a situation of difficulty in which the husband cannot wait until the get is written, we rely on more lenient views that differ with the Rambam. According to these views, the husband may instruct the scribe and the witnesses to write a get in the usual manner and to give it to the agent and before it is written, instruct the agent to give it to the woman conditionally.

15.

I.e., a condition that is acceptable (Beit Shmuel 147:2).

16.

I.e., the man's name, the woman's name, the date and the sentence: "Behold, you are permitted [to marry] any man," as stated in Chapter 3, Halachah 17.

17.

I.e., using acceptable wording, as opposed to the wording described in the following halachah.

18.

This ruling is questioned by the commentaries. Gittin 84b states that such a get is pasul, "unacceptable." Unlike the Rambam, for whom this term has an explicit meaning (see Chapter 10, Halachah 20), in the Talmud the interpretation of the term is somewhat ambiguous. In one of his responsa, the Rambam explains that since - as mentioned in the previous halachah - the difficulty concerns a point of Torah law, and yet the Talmud did not rule the get to be void, he maintains that the status of the divorce is in doubt.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam interprets the ruling as dependent on the principle of bererah, that retroactively, when the condition is fulfilled, it becomes apparent that the get did sever the connection between the husband and the wife. Since our Sages did not determine whether or not the principle of bererah applies with regard to questions of Torah law, the status of the divorce is in doubt.

Other authorities differ and maintain that if the condition was stated properly before the essential portion of the get was written and fulfilled, the get is acceptable. If the condition was written in the get itself, Tosafot, the Ramban and the Ra'avad maintain that the get is acceptable, while Rabbenu Nissim states that such a get is deemed unacceptable by Rabbinic decree.

At the outset, all the authorities maintain that the rules stated by the Rambam should be followed. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 147:2) also quotes the Rambam's ruling that the status of the divorce is in doubt. In a case of hardship, however, the Beit Shmuel 147:2 states that the more lenient views can be relied upon.

19.

Needless to say, according to the Rambam, when any of the following conditions is binding, it invalidates the get if it was made or stated before the essential portion of the get was written. The difference between these conditions and those stated in the previous halachah is that those conditions can be fulfilled through a specific activity, and once they are fulfilled the marriage bond is severed entirely. The conditions mentioned in this halachah, by contrast, remain binding throughout the woman's life. Thus, her connection to her husband is never severed entirely.

The authorities which differ with the Rambam in the previous halachah, also differ in this instance, and maintain that if this condition is written in the get itself, the get is acceptable according to Scriptural law, but disqualified by Rabbinic decree. See Beit Shmuel 137:3.

20.

Because of the prohibitions involved, there is no possibility of the woman's establishing a marriage bond with these individuals (see Hilchot Ishut 4:14-15), and therefore, her husband's statements are of no consequence.

21.

Note, however, Chapter 10, Halachah 1. Rabbenu Nissim and other authorities rule more leniently and maintain that such a get is acceptable according to Scriptural law and was deemed unacceptable only by virtue of Rabbinic decree.

22.

In such instances, even though marital relations violate a prohibition, a marriage bond can be established (Hilchot Ishut, loc. cit.).

23.

For ultimately, the minor will attain majority. Rabbenu Chanan'el differs and states that with regard to a minor, the status of the divorce is doubtful. The difference of opinion is dependent on the text of Gittin 85b, of which two versions exist.

24.

In all the cases to follow, the divorce does not totally sever the relationship between the husband and the wife. Nevertheless, our Sages were not certain that the rights retained by the husband were sufficient to render the divorce void (Gittin 85a, Perishah, Even HaEzer 137).

25.

I.e., the husband is a priest, and while married his wife may partake of terumah, although she is the daughter of an Israelite.

26.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that this refers to an instance where the husband takes the get back from the woman and gives it to her again, making the latter statement. This conception is also reflected in the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 137:1).

The Tur (Even HaEzer 137) differs with the Rambam and maintains that in this instance the status of the divorce is in doubt. We suspect that perhaps the intent of his latter statement was to permit her to Reuven and Shimon, but to forbid her to everyone else. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 137:4) accepts the Tur's ruling. All authorities agree that if the husband says: "You are also permitted [to marry] Reuven or Shimon," the get is acceptable.

27.

Rabbenu Asher and the Rashba differ and maintain that in such an instance, the divorce is effective. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 137:5) follows the view of Rabbenu Nissim, who maintains that the status of the divorce is in doubt.

28.

There is a factor, the prohibition against drinking wine, that always maintains the connection between them.

29.

The Rashba differs with this ruling, explaining that since the other person may die, this can be compared to an instance where the husband makes a condition that his wife not drink wine during the duration of another person's life. Just as that condition is considered to be having a limit, so too, should this condition be considered to be limited.

In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Karo defends the Rambam's ruling, explaining that in the instance at hand, the woman will never be able to marry the man specified in the condition. As such, the condition is not considered limited. In his Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:22), he quotes both opinions and states that the stringencies required by both views should be observed.

30.

I.e., the condition is one that binds a woman to her husband for her entire life.

31.

The Kessef Mishneh quotes a responsum of the Rashbatz that states that the intent is that the marriage will be forbidden for a period longer than the woman is expected to live. Thus, though the husband has in effect prohibited the woman from marrying the other man forever, since this is not explicitly stated, the condition is considered to be limited in scope.

32.

According to the Rambam, it appears that the woman is free to marry another man immediately, for we assume that she will abide by the condition, rather than place herself in a compromising situation. There are, however, other opinions that state that she is not allowed to remarry until the person specified dies. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:16) quotes both opinions without appearing to favor either one.

33.

I.e., it is considered as if the original marriage bond had never been severed. Any children born to her between the divorce and its nullification are deemed illegitimate.

34.

This would compromise the entire image of Jewish divorce. (See Rashi, Gittin 84a.)

35.

The requirement for the woman's second husband to divorce her is a Rabbinic decree, instituted lest people see a woman who appears married leave her husband without a get. According to Scriptural law, a get is not necessary (Maggid Mishneh).

The Ra'avad and the Tur (Even HaEzer 143) suggest that she can have the legitimacy of the children of her second husband restored retroactively by marrying the person specified in the first get after being divorced by her second husband. In this way, the condition will have been kept.

The Maggid Mishneh justifies the Rambam's ruling, explaining that the husband's intent was that the woman should marry the man specified before marrying anyone else. (The commentaries cite a parallel to this ruling in Hilchot Mechirah 11:10.) The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:15) quotes the Rambam's view, while the Ramah follows that of the Ra'avad and the Tur.

36.

Since the husband maintains possession of the paper on which the get is written, the couple's marriage relationship has not been totally severed. Rashi (Gittin 75b) offers a different interpretation of this ruling.

37.

When she receives the get, the paper belongs to her. Afterwards, she willingly gives it back. This follows the principle that a present given on condition that it be returned is considered to be a present (Rashi, Gittin 20b).

38.

Gittin 20b explains that the fact that the same article serves two purposes - effecting the divorce and providing remuneration for the woman's marriage contract - does not prevent it from being effective.

39.

Since the get was written in an unacceptable manner, there is reason to maintain that the get can never be acceptable. This applies when the unacceptable condition was written before the essential portion of the get.

The wording used by the Rambam is, however, questionable. The Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Gittin 9:1) and the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh on this halachah use the word pasul "unacceptable," rather than "the status of the divorce is in doubt" to describe such a get. Perhaps here, the Rambam uses the term "the status of the divorce is in doubt," because, as cited above from the Rambam's responsa, according to the Rambam, the question in these situations is whether the get is written for the sake of severing the marriage bond. And this is a question of Scriptural law (Rav Kapach).

40.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this refers to a condition stated after the essential portion of the get was written. If such a condition was stated before the essential portion was written, the get is unacceptable, because it was not written with the intent of severing the marriage relationship. See Halachah 4 and notes.

41.

The Sages decreed that unless the get is returned, it not effective, even if the condition was nullified. Since the original giving of such a get has a permanent effect - the woman is forbidden to marry a priest (or to remain married to her husband, if he is a priest), as stated in Chapter 10, Halachah 1 - the only way such a condition can be nullified is by returning the get to the husband, and having him give it again without any condition.

The Beit Shmuel 147:6 states that this law applies only with regard to a condition that prevents her from marrying a particular man that was stated after the essential portion of the get was written. When a condition that nullifies the get was written before the essential portion of the get was written, the get is void and cannot be rectified. When a stipulation such as "on the condition that you do not drink wine for the rest of your life" was made after the essential portion of the get was written, there is no need to take the get back from the woman. It is sufficient to nullify the stipulation.

42.

The Maggid Mishneh states that this refers to an instance where the condition was stated in a twofold statement: "If you do such and such, the get is effective, but if you do not do such and such, the get is not effective." In such instances, since the divorce is not effective until the condition is fulfilled, the husband may alter the condition. When, however, a get is given "on condition that... ," the divorce is retroactively effective from the time the get was given. Hence, the condition cannot be changed.

Rashi (Gittin 76a) offers a different interpretation of this passage. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:10) follows the Rambam's interpretation, while the Ramah follows that of Rashi.

43.

For each of the conditions is considered to be a separate matter.

44.

This ruling reflects an interesting halachic judgment on the Rambam's part. Gittin 75b explains that the ruling cited by the Rambam was authored by Rav Ashi. Although the Gemara poses questions on Rav Ashi's view that are left unresolved, since his position was not refuted, according to the Rambam, the halachah follows his view.

The Tur follows a different view and maintains that the woman must serve her husband's father for the duration of the father's life and nurse the son for the entire two-year period. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:8) follows the Rambam's view, while the Ramah cites that of the Tur.

45.

For the condition has not been fulfilled.

46.

The Tur (Even HaEzer 143) differs and states that since the woman did not prevent the condition from being fulfilled, the get is effective. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:8) does not accept this view. The Ramah states that the more stringent view should be followed.

47.

There is a difference of opinion among our Sages regarding whether a person who forces a colleague to accept something is considered to have given it to him or not. Although the view that he is considered to have given the object is favored, the Rabbis deemed the divorce unacceptable in consideration of the other view (Gittin 74a, 75a).

More specifically, it appears that the Rambam maintains that according to Scriptural law, the get is effective, and it is disqualified merely by virtue of Rabbinic decree, while Rabbenu Asher and the Rashba maintain that, according to Scriptural law, there is a doubt regarding the issue (Beit Shmuel 143:7).

48.

As reflected in Halachah 23, a husband can nullify a condition that he makes to a get. In this instance, however, he is not nullifying the condition, but rather trying to have it satisfied in a way other than that which he originally intended. This is not acceptable. Originally, he made the condition to annoy the woman, and since she did not suffer this worrying, the divorce is not effective unless he nullifies the condition entirely (Gittin 74b; Maggid Mishneh).

49.

Thus, if the husband dies without children, she is required to perform either the rites of yibbum or chalitzah.

50.

When a specific time period is mentioned and the condition is not fulfilled in that period, the divorce is nullified. In this instance, however, since a specific time is not mentioned, the Rambam maintains that the divorce is never nullified.

Rav Kapach explains that the Rambam's approach is based on his conception (see Halachah 1 of this chapter, and Chapter 9, Halachot 1 and 5) that when a get is given on a conditional basis, the get takes effect immediately, but it is not completed until the condition is fulfilled. Therefore, in this instance, since the condition can never be fulfilled, the divorce is not completed, and chalitzah is necessary if the husband dies childless. Nevertheless, yibbum cannot be performed, for the divorce has already begun.

Other commentaries offer different interpretations of the Rambam's views. The Tur (Even HaEzer 143) rejects the Rambam's ruling and maintains that the woman may also perform the rite of yibbum. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:3) follows the Rambam's view.

51.

The Tur (Even HaEzer 143) differs and explains that the husband has the option of accepting the money in lieu of the object originally mentioned. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 143:6) mentions both views, it appears to favor that of the Rambam.

52.

I.e., he tells the woman, "This is your get; there are no conditions attached." He does not have to take the get back from the woman.

53.

The Beit Shmuel 146:5 states that this applies when the husband gave the get "on the condition that...," for in such an instance the divorce is effective retroactively from the time the get was given. (With regard to other conditions, see the notes on Halachah 1.)

54.

E.g., the condition was limited to a specific time span, as in Halachah 22, or the condition was that she would not perform a specific act and she did perform it. If, however, the condition involves an act that she is capable of performing, we suspect that she has fulfilled the condition (Maggid Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch and Ramah, Even HaEzer 146:5).

55.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's decision and maintains that since it was possible for the woman to have fulfilled the condition, we suspect that perhaps she did in fact fulfill it. Therefore, she is forbidden to remain married to her first husband. It is the Rambam's view that is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:4).

56.

Halachah 13.

Gerushin - Chapter Nine

1

[When a man] divorces his wife and [asserts that the divorce] will not take effect until a specific time passes, the divorce takes effect when that time arrives. Thus, this resembles [a get given on] a conditional basis, and yet it is not a conditional get.

It resembles [a get given on] a conditional basis because the divorce takes effect when the specified time arrives [as in the case of a conditional get, which is completed when the condition is fulfilled]. Nevertheless, it is not considered a conditional get because a person who divorces [his wife] conditionally has already performed the divorce, and in this instance, the man has not divorced her until the time arrives.

For this reason, a person who gives a conditional get must restate the condition [in both a positive and negative form], while this person does not have to restate his words. Nor must he comply with the other requirements of conditional agreements that we have explained.1.

א

המגרש את אשתו לאחר זמן קבוע הרי זו מגורשת כשיגיע הזמן שקבע. והרי זה דומה לתנאי ואינו תנאי. דומה לתנאי שהיא מתגרשת כשיגיע הזמן שקבע. ואינו תנאי שהמגרש על תנאי הרי גירש וזה עדיין לא גירש עד שיגיע אותו הזמן. לפיכך המגרש על תנאי צריך לכפול תנאו וזה אינו צריך לכפול דברו ולא לשאר משפטי התנאין שבארנו:

2

What is implied? [When a husband] tells his wife: "This is your get, but the divorce does not take effect until 30 days pass," she is not divorced until after the passage of 30 days. If her husband dies, or the get is lost or consumed by fire in the interim, she is not divorced.2

ב

כיצד האומר לאשתו הרי זה גיטך ולא תתגרשי בו אלא לאחר שלשים יום אינה מגורשת אלא לאחר שלשים יום. ואם מת הבעל או אבד הגט או נשרף בתוך שלשים אינה מגורשת:

3

[When the woman] went and placed [the get] in [a place] at the side of the public domain,3 and after 30 days passed it was stolen or lost, the divorce is effective. Since the get existed on the day when it took effect, and it was set aside in a designated place that is not public domain [it can serve as the medium for the divorce].4 [The governing principle is that the area at] the sides of the public domain is not the same as the public domain itself.5

ג

הלכה והניחתו בצדי רשות הרבים ונגנב או אבד משם לאחר שלשים יום הרי זו מגורשת הואיל והיה הגט קיים ביום שמתגרשת בו וייחדה אותו במקום שאינו רשות הרבים שצדי רשות הרבים אינן כרשות הרבים:

4

Similarly, if the husband makes the divorce dependent on an action,6 the same rules that govern a get that takes effect after a specific time apply. For example, [a husband] said to [his] wife: "This is your get, but the divorce does not take effect until you give me 200 zuz." After [the woman] gives [the money], the divorce takes effect.7

In this instance [as well], there is no need to restate the condition [in both a positive and negative form], nor to comply with the other requirements of conditional agreements that we have explained. For this person has not divorced [his wife] conditionally - he has not yet divorced her at all. Instead, he made the divorce dependent on a specific action, and after [that action is completed], the divorce will take effect.

ד

וכן אם תלה הגירושין במעשה דינו כדין מגרש אחר זמן. כיצד כגון שאמר לאשה הרי זה גיטך ולא תתגרשי בו עד שתתני לי מאתים זוז הרי זו מתגרשת אחר שתתן. ואין צריך לכפול תנאו ולא לשאר משפטי התנאין שבארנו. שהרי לא גירש על תנאי אלא עדיין לא גירש זה אלא תלה הגירושין בעשיית כך וכך ואח"כ תתגרש:

5

What is the difference between a conditional divorce and a divorce that will take effect only after a fixed time, or a divorce dependent on an action? With regard to a conditional divorce, the divorce is a fact; it is, however, not completed until the condition is fulfilled. Therefore, when the condition is fulfilled, the divorce takes effect as long as the get exists, even if it is not in the woman's possession. When the condition is fulfilled, there is no need for [the woman] to pick up [the get] or take possession, for it was given to her for the purpose of divorce. If she married before the condition was fulfilled, she need not leave [her second husband], as explained.8

With regard to a divorce that will take effect only after a fixed time or a divorce dependent on an action, by contrast, she was not given the get for the [immediate] purpose of divorce. Instead, it is considered to be an entrusted object until the specified time arrives or she performs the action. Therefore, it is necessary that the get be in her possession at that time, that she take [possession of it], or that it be in a place that she designated for it even though it is not in her domain, as we have explained.9 Only then, is she divorced by virtue [of this get].

If she marries before the specified time arrives, or before she performs the action on which the divorce is dependent, she must leave her second husband,10 and any child [born of their union] is considered illegitimate. For she is a married woman, and the divorce is not [yet] effective.

ה

ומה בין המגרש על תנאי לזה שקבע זמן לגירושין או תלאן במעשה. שהמגרש על תנאי יש שם גירושין ואינן גומרין עד שיתקיים התנאי. לפיכך כשיתקיים התנאי נתגרשה אם היה הגט קיים אע"פ שאינו ברשותה ואינה צריכה לחזור וליטלו או להיותו ברשותה אחר שנתקיים התנאי שהרי הגיע לידה תחלה בתורת גירושין. ואם נשאת קודם שיתקיים התנאי לא תצא כמו שבארנו. אבל התולה גירושין בזמן או במעשה לא הגיע גט לידה בתורת גירושין אלא בתורת פקדון עד הזמן שקבע או עד שתעשה המעשה. לפיכך כשהגיע הזמן צריכה להיות הגט ברשותה או תחזור ותטלנו או שיהיה במקום שייחדה אותו בו אע"פ שאינו רשותה כמו שבארנו ואח"כ תתגרש בו. ואם נשאת קודם שיגיע הזמן שקבע או קודם שתעשה המעשה שתלה בו הגירושין תצא והולד ממזר שעדיין היא אשת איש גמורה ואין כאן שם גירושין:

6

When [a man] gives his wife a get and tells her: "If you do not give me 200 zuz, this get is not effective," or "...you are not divorced," he is not considered to have performed a divorce at all.11 For the get was not given on a conditional basis, nor was it made dependent on an action. The same [ruling applies] in all similar situations.

ו

הנותן גט ביד אשתו ואמר לה אם לא תתני לי מאתים זוז אין זה גט או אין את מגורשת הרי זה לא גירש כלל ואין כאן גט לא על תנאי ולא תלוי במעשה וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

7

When a person would like to give a conditional divorce, with the condition being that the divorce not take effect until a particular time, he should express the concept in a conditional statement, making the condition dependent on his departure or return at a specific time.12

What is implied? He tells her: "If I do not return between the present time and 30 days, this get is effective. If I do return within 30 days, this get is not effective." He [then] gives her the get. Alternatively, he should tell her: "This is your get on condition that I do not return to this country within 30 days." The same [ruling applies] in all similar situations.

ז

הרוצה לגרש על תנאי ויהיה ענין תנאו שלא תתגרש עד זמן פלוני הרי זה מוציא ענין זה בלשון תנאי ויתלה התנאי בביאתו בזמן קבוע או בהליכתו. כיצד כגון שיאמר לה אם לא באתי מכאן ועד שלשים יום הרי זה גט ואם באתי בתוך שלשים יום לא יהיה גט ונותן הגט בידה. או יאמר לה הרי זה גיטך על מנת שלא אבוא למדינה זו עד שלשים יום וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

8

When a person divorces [his wife] on the condition that he not return to this country within 30 days, and he set out to return within 30 days, but became ill or was prevented [from returning by a flooding] river and did not return until after 30 days, the get is effective. Even if he protests, "I am being held back by forces beyond my control" [the get is effective].13

[The rationale is that the claim,] "I was prevented by forces beyond my control," is not accepted with regard to gittin,14 even if the husband makes it evident that he does not desire that the divorce take effect.

ח

התנה עליה שיהיה גט אם לא בא עד שלשים יום למדינה זו והיה בא בדרך בתוך שלשים יום וחלה או עכבו נהר ולא בא עד אחר שלשים יום הרי זה גט. אפילו עומד וצווח הרי אני אנוס שאין אונס בגיטין. ואע"פ שגילה דעתו שאין רצונו לגרש:

9

[The following rules apply when a man gives a] divorce on the condition15 that it become effective if 30 days pass without [his seeing his wife's] face. If he repeatedly came [and appeared before her], but never entered into privacy with her, and then 30 days [passed without his seeing her], the get is effective.16 Although he came [and appeared before her] within 30 days [after the get was given], since he did not enter into privacy with her,17 [once the condition was fulfilled,] the get is effective.

When does the above apply? When he made the condition and said: "I accept her word with regard to [whether or] not I appeased her."18If, however, he did not accept her word, we suspect that perhaps he placated her when he came and visited her, she was willing to forego [her desire to be with him], and he nullified the get.19 For this reason, the get is unacceptable [even] after 30 days [pass without the husband seeing her].20

Similarly, when a man tells a woman: "This is your get and [it becomes effective] after twelve months pass," if he lives in the same city as she does, we suspect that he appeased her, unless he said: "I accept her word that I did not appease her."

ט

התנה עליה שתתגרש כשיעבור מנגד פניה שלשים יום והיה הולך ובא הולך ובא ולא נתייחד עמה, כשילך וישהה שלשים יום תהיה מגורשת. ואע"פ שהיה הולך ובא בתוך שלשים יום הואיל ולא נתיחד עמה הרי זה גט כשר. במה דברים אמורים בשהתנה ואמר הרי היא נאמנת עלי לומר שלא פייסתיה. אבל אם לא האמינה חוששין שמא פייסה כשהיה הולך ובא ומחלה לו וחזר ובטל הגט כשפייסה. ומפני חשש זה יהיה הגט פסול אחר שלשים יום. וכן האומר לאשה הרי זה גיטך לאחר שנים עשר חדש והיה עמה במדינה חוששין שמא פייסה עד שיאמר נאמנת עלי שלא פייסתי:

10

A similar [principle applies with regard to] all conditions that are dependent on her will, and the get would be nullified if she was willing to forego these conditions in favor of her husband. We suspect that perhaps he appeased her,21 unless he said: "I accept her word...."

When does the above apply? When the woman is divorced after nisu'in, for he is familiar with her.22 When, however, [a husband] divorces [his wife] after [merely] consecrating her, we do not suspect that he appeased her.

י

וכן כל התנאין שהן תלויין ברצונה ואם רצת ומחלה אותן לבעלה בטל הגט חוששין לה שמא פייס עד שיאמר נאמנת עלי. במה דברים אמורים במתגרשת מן הנישואין שלבו גס בה אבל במתגרשת מן האירוסין אין חוששין לה שמא פייס:

11

[When a man gives his wife a get and tells her:] "This is your get [and it is effective] from the present time onward if I do not return within twelve months," we do not suspect that perhaps he returned in secrecy, for people do not generally come in secrecy. [Therefore,] if the time period he specified passes without his coming, the divorce is effective.23

If he dies within the twelve months, although the divorce [will become] effective, for there is no way that he can come, if she would have been obligated to perform the rite of yibbum, she should not marry until the twelve months pass and the condition is fulfilled.24

יא

הרי זה גיטך מעכשיו אם לא באתי מכאן ועד שנים עשר חדש אין חוששין שמא בסתר בא שאין דרך בני אדם לבוא בצנעה. ואם תם הזמן שקבע ולא בא הרי זו מגורשת. מת בתוך י"ב חדש אע"פ שאי אפשר שיבוא והרי היא מגורשת לא תנשא במקום יבם עד אחר שנים עשר חדש כשיתקיים התנאי:

12

When a healthy person [divorces his wife] on the condition that the get take effect if he dies, and when a sick person [divorces his wife] on the condition that the get take effect if he dies from the illness afflicting him,25 their statements are of no consequence.26 The expression "if I die" implies [that it takes effect] after his death. [Alternatively,] the intent is that [it take effect] retroactively [if he dies]. [Because of the doubt involved,] if [a man] uses the expression "If I die...," it is considered as if he said "after my death." [The get is therefore void, because] there is no concept of divorce after a person's death.27

יב

בריא שהתנה שיהיה זה גט אם מתי. או חולה שהתנה שיהיה זה גט אם מתי מחולי זה לא אמר כלום. שמשמעות אם מתי לאחר מיתה ומשמעו מעתה. לפיכך אם אמר אם מתי הרי זה כאומר לאחר מותי ואין גט לאחר מיתה:

13

If, [however, the husband] tells her: "This is your get. If I die, [it is effective retroactively] from the present time," or "...If I die, [it is effective retroactively] from the present day,"28 the get is valid. When he dies, [his wife] is divorced.

יג

אמר לה הרי זה גיטך מעכשיו אם מתי או מהיום אם מתי הרי זה גט וכשימות תהיה מגורשת:

14

[If a husband] says: "This is your get. If I die, [it is effective retroactively] from the present time - or from the present day - after my death," when [the husband] dies, the status of his wife's divorce is in doubt.29 [We suspect that] perhaps, after saying "from the present time," he changed his mind and [did not desire that the get become effective] from the present time, and instead take effect after his death. And there is no concept of divorce after a person's death.

יד

אמר הרי זה גיטך מעכשיו או מהיום לאחר מיתתי ומת הרי זו ספק מגורשת שמא אחר שאמר מעכשיו חזר בו מלשון מעכשיו וסמכה דעתו על לאחר מיתה ואין גט לאחר מיתה:

15

[If a husband] says: "This is your get. [It becomes effective] when the sun emerges from its shield," it is not effective if he dies that night.30 [If he gave the get] on the condition that the sun shine and he dies that night, the get is effective, for when the sun shines [on the following day], the condition that he established becomes fulfilled.31

If [the husband gives a get and] establishes a condition: "If the sun shines, the get is effective. But if it does not shine, it is not effective," [the get] is not effective if he dies at night. For the condition was not fulfilled until after he died,32 and there is no concept of divorce after a person's death.

טו

הרי זה גיטך לכשתצא חמה מנרתקה ומת בלילה אינו גט. על מנת שתזרח חמה ומת בלילה הרי זו מגורשת וכשתזרח חמה יתקיים התנאי. התנה עליה שאם זרחה חמה יהיה גט ואם לא זרחה לא יהיה גט ומת בלילה אינו גט שהרי לא נתקיים התנאי עד שמת ואין גט לאחר מיתה:

16

When a person who is mortally ill has a get written for his wife and divorces her and then recovers, he cannot retract the divorce. A divorce [performed by a person in such a state] is not [governed by] the same laws as a present he gives.33 [The rationale for this distinction is] that if he were given the prerogative of retracting, the divorce would appear to take effect after death, in the same way that a present he gives is not legally transferred until after death.34

טז

שכיב מרע שכתב גט לאשתו וגירש ועמד אינו יכול לחזור בו שאין גיטו כמתנתו. שאם תאמר יחזור בו יאמרו גיטו לאחר מיתה יגרש כמו מתנתו שאינה קונה אלא לאחר מיתה:

17

[If a husband says:] "This is your get. [It is effective retroactively] from the present day if I die from this illness," and his house collapses upon him, he is bit by a snake, devoured by a lion or dies because of other similar causes, the divorce is not effective.35

יז

הרי זה גיטך מהיום אם מתי מחולי זה ונפל עליו בית או נשכו נחש או טרפו ארי וכיוצא בזה ומת אינו גט:

18

[If, by contrast,] he tells her: "...if I do not arise from this sickness," and his house collapses upon him, he is bit by a snake or devoured by a lion, the status of the divorce is in doubt.36

[The following rules apply when a husband tells his wife:] "Here is your get. [It is effective retroactively] from the present day if I die from this illness," and then rises [from his sickbed], walks in the marketplace,37 and afterwards falls ill and dies. We make an assessment. If he died from the first illness, the divorce is effective. If not, it is not effective. If he progresses from one illness to another illness,38 and does not arise [and walk] in the marketplace, the divorce is effective. There is no need to make an assessment.

יח

אמר לה אם לא יעמוד מחלי זה ונפל עליו בית או נשכו נחש או טרפו ארי הרי זו ספק מגורשת. הרי זה גיטך מעכשיו אם מתי מחולי זה ועמד והלך בשוק וחלה ומת אומדין אותו אם מחמת החולי הראשון מת הרי זה גט ואם לאו אינו גט ואם ניתק מחולי לחולי ולא עמד בשוק הרי זה גט ואינו צריך אומד:

19

With regard to all the conditions [mentioned above], during the days between the giving of the get and his death [with its consequent] fulfillment of the condition, she is considered to be a divorced woman with regard to all matters,39 provided he does not enter into privacy with her, as explained.40

יט

ובכל אלו התנאין כל הימים שמנתינת הגט עד שימות ויתקיים התנאי הרי היא מגורשת לכל דבר. ובלבד שלא תתייחד עמו כמו שבארנו:

20

[The following rules apply when] a sick person desires to divorce his wife conditionally, so that if he dies she will not be obligated to perform the rite of yibbum, but if he recovers, the divorce will not be effective; he does not desire that the get take effect [retroactively] from the time he gives it, lest the matter be overly disturbing for him.

He should write the following in the get after writing the essential portion; alternatively, he should make these statements when he gives [his wife] the get: "If I do not die, this get will not be effective. If I die, this get will be effective. If I do not die, this get will not be effective." In this manner, the conditional factor is repeated. The positive factor is stated before the negative factor,41 and the person's opening remarks do not speak of misfortune.

[If a get is given with such a condition,] the divorce will take effect when [the husband] dies,42 provided that the get reaches the woman before his death.

כ

חולה שרצה לגרש אשתו על תנאי כשימות כדי שלא תפול לפני יבם ואם עמד לא תהיה מגורשת ולא רצה לגרשה מעכשיו כדי שלא תטרף דעתו. כך הוא כותב בגט אחר שכותב התורף או אומר לה כשנותן הגט אם לא מתי לא יהיה גט ואם מתי יהיה גט ואם לא מתי לא יהיה גט. כדי שתהיה תנאי כפול והן קודם ללאו ולא יפתח פיו תחלה לפורענות. ואם מת תהיה מגורשת כשימות והוא שיגיע הגט לידה קודם מיתה:

21

When a husband tells a colleague:43 "Acquire this get on behalf of my wife, so that she will not be required to fulfill the rite of yibbum," and gives him the get, but the husband dies before the get reaches [the woman], the status of the divorce is in doubt. [Although there are times when a woman would be willing to marry the yavam,] it is to the advantage of most women not to be required to fulfill the rite of yibbum. Therefore, even though the get did not reach the woman, since another person acquired it on her behalf, the status of the divorce is in doubt.

כא

בעל שאמר לאחד זכה בגט זה לאשתי כדי שלא תפול לפני יבם ונתן הגט לידו ומת הבעל קודם שיגיע הגט לידה הרי זו ספק מגורשת. שרוב הנשים זכות הוא להן שלא יפלו לפני יבם. ולפיכך תהיה ספק מגורשת אע"פ שלא הגיע גט לידה הואיל וזכה לה בו אחר:

22

When [a man] tells witnesses: "Write a get for my wife after twelve months," or "Write a get for my wife and give it to her after twelve months," they should write [the get] and give it to her after the time he specified. If they write it within the time he specified,44 it is void, even if they do not give it to the woman until afterwards.

If they write it after the time he specified, but [the husband] dies before they give it to her, it is void. If it is not known whether he died before the get was given, or the get was given before he died, the status of the divorce is in doubt.

כב

אמר לעדים לאחר שנים עשר חדש כתבו גט לאשתי או שאמר להם כתבו ותנו גט לאשתי לאחר י"ב חדש. הרי אלו כותבין ונותנין לה אחר הזמן שקבע. ואם כתבוהו בתוך הזמן אף על פי שנתנוהו לה לאחר זמן שאמר אינו גט. כתבוהו אחר זמן שאמר ומת קודם שינתן לה אינו גט. ואם לא נודע אם מיתה קדמה לנתינת הגט או נתינת הגט קדמה למיתה הרי זו ספק מגורשת:

23

[If a husband] instructs [agents]: "Write a get for my wife and give it to her after the Sabbatical cycle," they must write it within the first year after the conclusion of the Sabbatical cycle.45 If he told them: "...after a year," they must write it during the first month of the coming year.

If he told them: "...after a month," they must write it during the first week of the coming month. If he told them: "...after the Sabbath," they must write it before the end of Tuesday. If he told them: "...before the Sabbath," they must write it between Wednesday and the end of Friday.

כג

אמר להן כתבו ותנו לאשתי גט אחר השבוע. אין כותבין אלא עד שנה אחר השבוע. אמר להן לאחר שנה אין כותבין [אלא] עד לאחר חדש משנה שניה. אמר להן לאחר החדש (אין) כותבין עד לאחר השבת מחדש שני. אמר לאחר שבת (אין) כותבין לאחר השבת עד סוף יום שלישי. אמר להן כתבו ותנו לה קודם השבת כותבין מיום ד' ועד סוף יום ו' ונותנין לה:

24

If they delayed and did not write and give the get at the time he specified - e.g., he told them "after a month," and they wrote the get and gave it to her after two weeks had passed in the second month, the get is unacceptable.46

כד

הרי שאיחרו אחר הזמן שאמר ואח"כ כתבו ונתנו לה כגון שאמר להן לאחר החדש וכתבו ונתנו לה לאחר שתי שבתות מחדש שני ה"ז פסול:

25

If [the husband] entered into privacy with [his wife] after he told [agents] to write [a get], sign it and give it to her, they should not write it. One can make an [obvious] inference. If a get that he gave her is disqualified47 when he enters into privacy with her, lest they have engaged in marital relations, how much more so should a get that was not yet written [be left unwritten]. If [the agents] wrote the get and gave it to her after he entered into privacy with her, the get is void.48

כה

נתייחד עמה אחר שאמר להן לכתוב ולחתום וליתן לה הרי אלו לא יכתבו. וקל וחומר הדברים אם הגט שניתן לה לידה כשנתייחד עמה נפסל הגט שמא בעל. קל וחומר לזה שלא נכתב. ואם כתבו ונתנו לה אחר שנתייחד עמה אינו גט:

26

[If a man] tells ten people: "Write a get for my wife," one of them should write it on behalf of all of them. [If he tells them:] "All of you, write it," one should write it in the presence of all of them.

[If he tells them:] "Bring this get to my wife," one of them should bring it to her on behalf of all of them. [If he tells them:] "All of you, bring this get to my wife," one should bring it [to her] in the presence of all of them.49

כו

אמר לעשרה כתבו גט לאשתי אחד כותב ע"י כולם. כולכם כתבו כותב אחד מהם במעמד כולם. הוליכו גט זה לאשתי מוליכו אחד מהן על ידי כולם. כולכם הוליכו גט זה לאשתי מוליכו אחד מהן במעמד כולם:

27

[If a man] tells ten people: "Write a get, sign it and give it to my wife," one of them should write it, two should sign it, and one should give it to her. It is acceptable even if one person writes it, he serves as one of the two witnesses who signs it, and he serves as the agent who gives it to her.50

If [the husband] tells them: "All of you sign it," they must all sign it. If the husband counted the people - whether he counted all of them or merely some of them51 - and told them to sign it, it is considered as if he told all of them to sign it. The two who sign it at the outset act as witnesses,52 while the others [should sign it to complete] the stipulation [the husband] made.

Accordingly, if the remaining witnesses were unacceptable, or one signed it on the day the get was written and the others on subsequent days53 - even several days after [the get was written],54 the get is acceptable.55

If one of them died before signing it, the get is void.56If one of the first witnesses who signed it was unacceptable, the get is unacceptable, lest it be said that an unacceptable witness may sign other legal documents when many witnesses sign.57The only reason [our Sages] accepted [such signatures] with regard to a get signed by many witnesses is that the witnesses who observe the transfer are of fundamental importance.58

כז

אמר לעשרה כתבו גט וחתמו ותנו לאשתי אחד מהן כותב ושנים מהן חותמין ואחד מהן נותנו לה. ואפילו היה הכותב אחד משני העדים שחתמו בו והוא השליח שנתנו לה ה"ז כשר. אמר להן כולכם חתומו כולם חותמין. ואם מנאן בין שמנה כולם בין שמנה מקצתן ואמר להן חתומו הרי זה כאומר להן כולכם חתומו ושנים שחותמין בתחלה הן משום עדים והשאר משום תנאי. לפיכך אם היו השאר פסולין או חתמו זה היום וזה למחר אפילו לימים הרבה הרי זה גט כשר. מת אחד מהן קודם חתימה הרי זה גט בטל. היה אחד משנים הראשונים פסול הרי זה גט פסול. שמא יאמרו עד פסול כשר בעדות שאר שטרות בעת שיהיו העדים רבים ולא הכשירוהו בגט שעדיו רבים אלא מפני שעדי מסירה הן העיקר:

28

Our Sages established the [following] rules with regard to a person who tells many people to write, sign, or bring a get for his wife.59 With regard to writing, he should tell them: "Any one of you may write a get for my wife." Similarly, with regard to bringing [the get], [he should say]: "Any one of you may bring...." With regard to signing, he should tell them: "Any pair of you should sign this get and give it to my wife."

כח

תקנו חכמים שהאומר לרבים לכתוב גט או לחתום או להוליך גט לאשתו. אם לכתיבה אומר להן כל אחד מכם יכתוב גט לאשתי וכן להולכה כל אחד מכם יוליך. ואם לחתימה יאמר להן כל שנים מכם יחתמו בגט זה ויתנו לאשתי:

29

Why did our Sages state that the witnesses to a get should sign only in each other's presence?60 [This is] a decree, [instituted] lest a person tell many others: "All of you sign [as witnesses]." If it were possible for witnesses to sign outside the presence of the other witnesses, two witnesses might sign the get, and the woman might take it and think that it does not require any more witnesses, [when in fact] the condition that [the husband made] was not fulfilled.

כט

ולמה אמרו חכמים עדי הגט אין חותמין אלא זה בפני זה גזירה שמא יאמר לרבים כולכם חתומו. אם תאמר חותמין זה שלא בפני זה שמא יעידו שנים ותטול הגט בידה ותחשוב שכבר העידו בו ועדיין לא נתקיים התנאי:

30

If [a man] tells three people, including a father and a son, "Two of you should write a get for my wife, sign it and give it to her," the get is acceptable whether the son signs with the other person or the father signs with the other person.61 [The son may serve in this capacity] because a person may appoint a son as an agent instead of his father.

ל

אמר לשלשה שנים מכם יכתבו גט לאשתי ויחתמו ויתנו לה והיה בהן אב ובנו בין שחתם הבן עם האחד בין שחתם האב עם האחד הרי זה גט כשר. שהאדם עושה הבן שליח במקום האב:

31

When [a man] tells two [colleagues]: "Write [a get], sign it and give it to so and so to bring to my wife," or "...give it to [my] agent to bring to her," one of them should write it, and they should both sign it and give it to the agent. If they bring it to the woman themselves, the divorce is not effective, for they were not appointed as agents to effect the divorce.

What should they do [if in error they gave it to the woman]? They should take it back from her and give it to the agent, who should in turn give it back to the woman in their presence or in the presence of other [witnesses].

My teachers issued a ruling with regard to such a get that d oes not appear to be appropriate, because of a flaw that existed in the versions [of the Talmud] that they possessed.62

לא

אמר לשנים כתבו וחתמו ותנו לפלוני שיוליך לאשתי. או תנו לשליח שיוליך לה. אחד מהן כותב ושניהם חותמין ונותנין לשליח. ואם הוליכו הן בעצמן ונתנו לה אינו גט שלא עשה אותן שלוחין לגירושין. כיצד יעשו יטלו אותו ממנה ויתנוהו לשליח וחוזר ונותנו לה בפניהן או בפני אחרים. ורבותי הורו בגט זה דבר שאינו נראה מפני שיבוש שהיה בנוסחאות שלהן:

32

[Our Sages ruled that] the status of a divorce is in doubt [in the following situation: A husband] tells a scribe: "Write me a get for my wife." [The scribe] wrote it and gave it to the husband, without this being observed by witnesses.63 The husband took it, gave it to an agent,64 and told him: "Give this get to my wife in the presence of witnesses." The agent [carried out the instructions] and gave it to [the woman] in the presence of witnesses.

[The rationale is] that since he is only a single witness, an agent's statements would not be accepted [as grounds] to permit a woman who was [previously] forbidden to marry, except for the fact [that his statements are supported by] the written statements of the witnesses who signed the get. [For the witnesses' statements] are considered as if they were testimony given in court until [the husband] lodges a protest, as we have explained.65 If there are two witnesses who observed the husband giving the get to the agent and instructing him to use it for the divorce, the divorce is binding.66

לב

אמר לסופר כתוב לי גט לאשתי כתבו ונתנו לבעל בלא עדים ונטלו הבעל ונתנו לשליח ואמר לו תן גט זה לאשתי בפני עדים והלך השליח ונתנו לה בפני עדים הרי זו ספק מגורשת. שאין השליח נאמן להתיר הערוה אע"פ שהוא עד אחד אלא מפני כתב העדים שחתמו על הגט שהן כמי שנחקרה עדותן בבית דין עד שיהיה שם מערער כמו שבארנו שם. ואם היו שם שני עדים שיעידו שגט זה הבעל נתנו לשליח לגרשה בו הרי זו מגורשת:

33

[When a husband] tells an agent: "Give this get to my wife in this and this place," the divorce is not effective if he gives it to her in another place.67 "...She is in this and this place," and the agent gave it to her in another place, [the get] is binding; he is merely pointing out the place.

Similarly, if he tells [the agent]: "Do not give it to her [anywhere] except in the house," and he gives it to her in the loft; "Do not give it to her except with your right hand," and he gives it to her with his left; "Give it to her on this and this day," and he gives it to her before that date; 68 the divorce is not effective. "Do not give it to her except on this and this day," the divorce is not effective if he gives it to the woman before or afterwards, for he indicated that he wanted the get to be given on that date. Similar rulings apply in all analogous situations.

לג

האומר לשליח תן גט זה לאשתי במקום פלוני ונתנו לה במקום אחר אינו גט. הרי היא במקום פלוני ונתנו לה במקום אחר כשר מפני שמראה מקום הוא לו. אמר אל תתנהו לה אלא בבית ונתנו לה בעלייה. אל תתנהו לה אלא בימין ונתנו לה בשמאל. תנהו לה ביום פלוני ונתנו לה בתוך הזמן אינו גט. אל תתנהו לה אלא ביום פלוני ונתנו לה מלפניו או מאחריו אינו גט שהרי הקפיד על עצמו של יום וכן כל כיוצא בזה:

34

Similarly, when a woman tells her agent: "Receive my get for me in this and this place," and he receives it for her in another place, the divorce is not effective. [When she tells him:] "Bring me my get in this and this place," the get is acceptable if he brings it to her in another place.69

לד

וכן האשה שאמרה לשלוחה התקבל לי גיטי במקום פלוני וקבלו לה במקום אחר אינו גט. הבא לי גיטי במקום פלוני והביאו לה במקום אחר כשר:

35

When [a man] tells an agent: "Bring this get to my wife," the agent may send the get with another person if he becomes ill or is otherwise prevented [from bringing it to her] by forces beyond his control.70 [This applies] regardless of whether he told him: "Bring it [to her]," or "You bring it [to her]."

If, however, [the husband] told [the agent]: "Take the following article from her and give her this get," the agent should not send the get via another individual.71 If [the agent] did send [the get] via another individual, and the woman came out to greet the agent and she gave him the article, and afterwards he gave her the get, the divorce is binding.72

לה

האומר לשלוחו הולך גט זה לאשתי בין שאמר לו הולך בין שאמר לו את הולך וחלה או נאנס משלחו ביד אחר. ואם אמר לו טול ממנה חפץ פלוני ותן לה גט זה הרי זה לא ישלחנו ביד אחר. ואם שלחו ביד אחר ויצאת האשה לקראת השליח ונתנה החפץ תחלה ואחר כך נתן לה הגט הרי זו מגורשת:

36

If the agent - i.e., [either] the first [or the second] agent - gave the woman the get first and then she gave him the article, the divorce is not effective. [The rationale is] that [the agent] violated the husband's instructions with regard to a matter which, in general, would cause people to object.73 For the husband told him: "Take the article first and then give her t he get," and he gave [the get] first and then took [the article].

לו

נתן לה הגט תחלה ואחר כך נתנה החפץ אפילו מיד שליח ראשון אינו גט שהרי עבר על דברי הבעל בדבר שסתם בני אדם מקפידין עליו. שהרי הבעל אמר לו טול החפץ תחלה ותן לה הגט והוא נתן ואחר כך נטל:

37

[If the husband] told the agent: "Give her the get and take this and this article from her," [the agent] should not send the get via another person, for [the principal] would not desire that his article be entrusted to a person [other than the one he appointed].

If, however, the agent sent it with another person, the divorce is binding. [This applies] regardless of whether she gave the article before [receiving the get] or afterwards.74

לז

אמר לו תן לה הגט וטול ממנה חפץ פלוני הרי זה לא ישלחנו ביד אחר שאין רצונו שיהיה פקדונו ביד אחר. ואם שלחו ביד אחר הרי זה גט בין שנתנה החפץ תחלה בין שלא נתנה אלא בסוף:

38

[If the husband] gives an agent a get and tells him: "No one other than you should give it to her," the divorce is not effective, if the agent gives [the get] to another person who gives it to the woman.

Similarly, [if the husband] told the agent: "Do not give it to her yourself. Give it to so and so, and he will give it to her," the divorce is not effective if the first agent gives it to the woman. For he was not appointed as an agent to effect the divorce.

לח

נתן לשליח הגט ואמר לו לא תתנהו לה אלא אתה ונתנו לאחר ונתנו לה אינו גט. וכן אם אמר לו אל תתנהו לה אתה תנהו לפלוני והוא יתנהו לה ונתנו לה השליח הראשון אינו גט. לפי שלא עשהו שליח לגירושין:

39

[A husband] gave [an agent] a get and told him: "Bring this get to my wife."

The agent told him: "I do not know who she is."

The husband replied: "Give it to so and so. He knows who she is."

The [first] agent has not been appointed as an agent to effect the divorce.75 All he can do is give the get to the person w hom the husband designated. That person is the agent appointed to effect the divorce. He must bring [the get to the woman] or send it via another agent if he becomes ill or is prevented from doing so by forces beyond his control.

לט

נתן לו הגט ואמר לו הולך גט זה לאשתי אמר לו השליח איני מכירה אמר לו הבעל תנהו לפלוני הוא מכירה. הרי זה שליח שלא ניתן לגירושין ואינו נותן הגט אלא לפלוני שאמר הבעל ואותו הפלוני הוא שליח לגירושין הוא שמוליכו לה או משלחו ביד אחר אם חלה או נאנס:

40

When [a husband] gives an agent a get and tells him: "Do not give this get to my wife until after 30 days," [the agent] may send it to her via a second agent [whom he appoints] within the 30 days, if he becomes ill or is prevented from giving it to her by forces beyond his control.

[The rationale is that] even though at the time [he appoints the second agent] he is not charged with effecting the divorce, since he will function in that capacity after 30 days pass, he has the authority to appoint a second agent within the 30 days.76

מ

נתן הגט לשליח ואמר לו לא תתנהו לה עד שלשים יום וחלה או נאנס בתוך השלשים משלחו ביד אחר. שאע"פ שאינו עכשיו שליח לגירושין הואיל ולאחר שלשים יום יהיה שליח גירושין עושה שליח אחר בתוך שלשים יום:

41

When does the above apply? When the husband was not in the same city as his wife, or he was divorcing her after consecration,77[but before the marriage bond has been consummated].

If, however, the marriage bond has been consummated, we suspect that perhaps the husband appeased her. Therefore, the agent should not appoint another agent within the 30 days unless the husband said: "I accept the word of my wife if she says that I did not appease her." After 30 days pass, [the agent] should give her the get. However, we suspect [that perhaps it was nullified], as explained,78 unless [the husband] said, "I accept the word of my wife if she says that I did not appease her."

מא

במה דברים אמורים בשלא היה בעלה עמה במדינה או שהיתה מתגרשת מן האירוסין. אבל אם מתגרשת מן הנשואין ובעלה עמה במדינה חוששין לו שמא פייס. ואינו עושה שליח בתוך השלשים אלא אם כן אמר נאמנת עלי שלא פייסתי. אבל נותן הגט לה לאחר שלשים וחוששין לה כמו שבארנו עד שיאמר נאמנת עלי שלא פייסתי:

Footnotes
1.

See the notes on Chapter 8, Halachah 1.

2.

If the husband dies she is not divorced, because a divorce must take effect before death. If the get is destroyed, she is not divorced because it is the get that serves as the medium of divorce, and at the time when the get must take effect, it no longer exists.

3.

The public domain was a marketplace with pillars on either side. At the side of the pillars, there was space that though ownerless, could be used to acquire property, because it was not common for people to walk in that space. (See Hilchot Gezelah Va'Avedah 17:9.)

4.

The Maggid Mishneh, the Kessef Mishneh and others contrast the Rambam's ruling here, that the divorce is not retroactively effective from the time the husband gave the get, to his ruling in Hilchot Mechirah 2:9. That source states that a sale can be effective when made with the stipulation that it take effect after 30 days, only when the stipulation is that it take effect retroactively. The Maggid Mishneh differentiates between the two instances, explaining that a sale requires an act of contract to effect a transfer, and that act took place when the sale was originally made, not 30 days afterwards. In contrast, with regard to a get, the fundamental aspect of the divorce is effected by the writing of the get.

5.

Had the get been placed by the woman in the public domain itself, it would not be effective even if it existed when the time specified by the husband arrived. Since it left the woman's domain entirely, the giving of the get originally performed by the husband is no longer considered significant. And, as stated at the beginning of these laws, one of the requirements of a divorce is that the get be given to the woman by her husband.

6.

I.e., in this instance as well, there is a resemblance to the laws of a conditional divorce. Nevertheless, since different wording is used, the laws vary.

7.

Moreover, the action specified by the husband may be something that does not require anything to be done by his wife. For example, he may tell her that the divorce will take effect after the first rainfall (Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin 3:3).

8.

Chapter 8, Halachah 1. See the notes on that halachah.

9.

Halachah 3. If the get is not in the woman's possession at this time, the divorce is not effective according to the Rambam. Nevertheless, other authorities have a different conception of these laws, and according to them, the status of the divorce would be doubtful (Maggid Mishneh; Beit Shmuel 146:3).

10.

For their relations are considered adulterous.

11.

For he did not preface his statements by saying: "This is your get," or "You are divorced...." Hence, he is not considered to have given the get for the sake of divorce. Although such an intent could be deduced from his words, since his statements were not explicit, they are of no consequence. Indeed, making such a statement is less effective than not saying anything at all (Maggid Mishneh; Kiryat Melech Rav).

12.

I.e., he desires that the get not take effect until a specific time, but does not want the restrictions mentioned in the previous halachah to apply. This is not merely a theoretical situation. Such gittin were given frequently in previous generations when a man undertook an overseas journey and wished to spare his wife from having to remain unmarried if he was killed, kidnapped by pirates or in other ways prevented from returning against his will.

13.

Gittin 30a cites an example of a man who divorced his wife on condition that he not return within 30 days. A river washed away the bridge leading to his city. Although he stood on the river banks and called to his townsmen: "See, I have returned," our Sages ruled that he is not considered to have returned, and they considered the divorce binding.

14.

According to Scriptural law, a person who is prevented from fulfilling a condition by forces beyond his control is not considered as having failed to fulfill it. Nevertheless, our Sages ruled that the laws of divorce are an exception to this principle, because modest women might presume that their husbands were prevented from fulfilling their condition by forces beyond their control and never remarry (Ketubot 2b).

The Maggid Mishneh quotes the opinion of Tosafot (Ketubot 2b) and others, who state that this principle applies only with regard to events beyond mortal control that one could possibly foresee - e.g., illness or flood. It does not apply with regard to events beyond a person's control that are totally unlikely - e.g., earthquakes. The Maggid Mishneh cites statements by the Rambam in Hilchot Mechirah, Chapter 19, which indicate that he would also accept this restriction.

The Maggid Mishneh's premise is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 144:1). It appears that the determination of what is an event beyond a person's control that is totally unlikely is dependent on the sociological conditions of the age. For example, the Ramah rules that being held as a captive is not a totally unlikely occurrence.

15.

As will be explained, this law applies when the husband stated "on condition that..." when giving the get.

16.

Since ultimately the condition was fulfilled.

17.

If he entered into privacy with her, the get would be nullified. See Chapter 3, Halachah 5, Chapter 8, Halachah 2.

18.

In such an instance, if the woman were to say that she never agreed to her husband's spending more than 30 days away from her, the get would be effective after the condition is fulfilled.

19.

The husband gave his wife the get because he was going away on a journey and knew that she would not desire to be alone. If he was able to appease her and she was willing to remain alone for 30 days, he is able to nullify the get. Usually, once a get is given "on condition that...," it cannot be nullified once it has been given. Nevertheless, in this instance, since the condition was made for the sake of the woman, if she is willing to forego seeing her husband, the husband may nullify the get (Maggid Mishneh).

20.

I.e., according to Scriptural law, since the condition was fulfilled, and there is no evidence that the couple resolved their differences, the get is binding. Our Sages, nevertheless, disqualified the get for the reasons stated above.

21.

Hence, the divorce is unacceptable.

22.

And we assume that because of their familiarity, he knows how to appease her, and she is more willing to accept his overtures.

23.

The Rambam's decision is based on his interpretation of Gittin 76b. The Ra'avad interprets that passage more stringently and requires the husband to have accepted his wife's statements as to whether or not he came as binding. Otherwise, we suspect that he came in secrecy. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 144:7) follows the Rambam's view, but states that a priori, it is customary to include the condition mentioned by the Ra'avad.

24.

If she desires to marry within the twelve months, she must undergo the rite of chalitzah first.

25.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 145:8) quotes the Rashba, who states that even if a sick person does not specify that he die from the illness afflicting him, we assume that this is his intent.

26.

I.e., the advantage of such a get would be to free his wife of the obligation of yibbum or chalitzah. Similarly, the subsequent halachot refer to gittin given for this purpose.

27.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling. He maintains that the date of the get indicates that the husband desires that the get take effect retroactively. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 145:1) quotes the Rambam's view, but mentions a minority opinion that takes the Ra'avad's view into consideration.

28.

The Hagahot Maimoniot quote Rabbenu Tam as stating that it is preferable for the person to say: "from the present time," rather than "from the present day," lest he die before the conclusion of the day. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 145:2) quotes this suggestion.

29.

Therefore, if childless, she must perform the rite of chalitzah before marrying, and may not perform the rite of yibbum. As stated in Hilchot Ishut 18:25, such a woman is not entitled to receive support from her husband's estate after his death.

30.

For the get does not become effective until the morning. Since he died beforehand, a get cannot be effective after death.

31.

For a get given "on the condition that" becomes effective retroactively from the time it was originally given, once the condition is fulfilled.

32.

A get given according to the rules of conditional agreements is not effective until the condition is fulfilled.

33.

As stated in Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 8:14, when a person who is mortally ill gives away all of his property as a present and then recovers, the present is automatically retracted, for we assume that his intent was solely to distribute his property after his death.

34.

Thus, the two laws are in direct contradiction. A present given by a dying man does not take effect until after he dies, and a divorce that he grants cannot take effect after he dies.

35.

For the condition that he stated was not fulfilled (Gittin 73a).

36.

On the one hand, he did not arise from his sickbed. On the other hand, there is reason to assume that his intent was that he is giving the get on the condition that he die from the illness afflicting him, and this was not the case (Gittin 73a).

37.

This applies even if he walks in the marketplace without any support. Since he did not regain his health entirely, it is necessary to determine whether or not he died from the first illness. Note the contrast to Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 8:26.

38.

Note the Beit Shmuel 145:14, who states that, according to the Rambam, for the divorce to be effective the man must still be afflicted with the first illness when he dies. Note the contrast to Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 8:27.

39.

I.e., he has none of the privileges of a husband - e.g., he is not entitled to her earnings, he may not nullify her vows, and if he is a priest, he may not become impure because of her in the event of her death. With regard to paying for the woman's support, most authorities maintain that the husband is liable. There is no explicit statement from the Rambam regarding this issue.

40.

In such an instance, we suspect that the couple may have engaged in marital relations, and that the husband nullified the get beforehand.

41.

I.e., the requirement is not that the positive factor be stated first, but that it be stated before the negative factor. This is accomplished by restating the condition that would negate the get.

42.

The Maggid Mishneh questions the Rambam's ruling, noting that from his previous decisions, it appears that unless the man says that the get will take effect retroactively me'achshav, "from this time onward," the get is not effective, because it does not take effect until after the man's death. Apparently, the Rambam maintains that the restatement of the condition resolves that difficulty, but this concept is not accepted by many other authorities. When stating this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 145:5) quotes the Rambam's wording, but adds the word me'achshav.

43.

I.e., the colleague was not appointed by the wife to serve as an agent to receive the get. The husband appointed him as her agent, because he felt that she would not desire to marry her yavam. According to Torah law, one may perform an action on a person's behalf without his knowledge if it is to his advantage - e.g., one may take possession of an ownerless object on behalf of a colleague without asking him. Hence, it is possible to assume that the agent can act on behalf of the woman without her knowledge (Yevamot 118b).

44.

Because by writing it within this time, they deviated from the instructions with which they were charged (Gittin 76b).

45.

I.e., although the wording of the Hebrew original could possibly be interpreted otherwise, the commentaries agree that the Rambam's intent is that the get may be written immediately after the time specified and should not be written after a prolonged period has elapsed from that time.

46.

The get is unacceptable because the husband's words also imply a restriction, that the get should be written directly afterwards and not after a prolonged period. Indeed, for this reason, Rabbenu Nissim [and the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 144:6)] rule that in such a situation, the status of the divorce is in doubt. In defense of the Rambam's ruling, the commentaries explain that even though the husband's intent may have been that the get be given immediately, since the wording he used could be interpreted to mean after a prolonged period, the get is acceptable according to Scriptural law.

47.

The Rambam is referring to his statements in Chapter 8, Halachah 2. There, however, he uses the expression, "the status of the get is in doubt."

48.

The commentaries question the Rambam's decision, explaining that although there is a possibility that the couple engaged in marital relations and the husband consecrated her at that time (see Chapter 10, Halachah 18), it is also possible that this did not take place. Indeed, in Chapter 3, Halachah 5, with reference to a get given by a husband after he entered into privacy with his wife, the Rambam rules that after the fact, the get is acceptable.

[It is possible to differentiate between the two instances, because in that halachah, the husband himself gave the woman the get. This is a greater indication that he did not nullify it (Maggid Mishneh). Even after that explanation, however, the Rambam's ruling in this halachah raises questions.]

When referring to this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 149:7) accepts the ruling that at the outset, the witnesses should not have such a get written, but follows the ruling of the Ramban and the Rashba, who maintain that if they had the get written and gave it to the woman, the status of the divorce is in doubt.

49.

This is the ruling according to Scriptural law. See, however, Halachah 28.

50.

There are many authorities who object to this ruling, maintaining that the scribe cannot sign as a witness to the get. In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Karo states that even the Rambam agrees that at the outset, a scribe should not sign as a witness. After the fact, however, the Rambam maintains that his signature does not disqualify the get. In his Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 130:18), Rav Yosef Karo writes: "One should be careful not to have the scribe sign as a witness, because there are authorities who disqualify this."

51.

I.e., speaking to the people, he said: "One, two, three, four, write a get..." (Chelkat Mechokek 120:18).

52.

According to the Rambam, it appears that not only must the signatures of the acceptable witnesses be first chronologically, but they must also appear first on the get. Other authorities do not make this requirement and maintain that it is only chronological precedence that is significant (Beit Shmuel 120:14).

53.

The two witnesses whose signatures are required must sign the get on the day that it was written (Chapter 1, Halachah 25).

54.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 120:9) states that they may sign the get to fulfill the condition even after it was given to the woman. The Ramah adds that this may be done even after she has remarried.

55.

Tosafot and subsequent Ashkenazic authorities differ and maintain that for the get to be valid, all the witnesses must be acceptable. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 120:10) mentions both views, but appears to favor that of the Rambam. The Ramah follows Tosafot's ruling.

56.

Because the instructions that the husband gave concerning the get were not fulfilled.

57.

See Hilchot Edut 5:6-7, which states that if persons who are unacceptable as witnesses signed a legal document with the intent of serving as witnesses, the document is disqualified, even if two acceptable witnesses signed it first. If, however, the persons who were unacceptable did not sign the document with the intent of serving as witnesses, the document is acceptable, even if the signature of the unacceptable person appears first.

58.

As stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 15. With regard to other legal documents, the witnesses who sign the contract are of paramount importance, and they must all therefore be acceptable. The witnesses who observe its transfer are less significant. But with regard to gittin, it is the witnesses who observe the transfer who are of primary importance. Therefore, if the initial two signatures to the get are acceptable, we are not concerned with those who sign subsequently (Maggid Mishneh; Kessef Mishneh, Hilchot Edut).

59.

These rules were instituted lest the the husband tell a group of people that they all should write, sign or bring a get, and they not appreciate that they were all charged with this responsibility. Lest some of them fail to discharge this responsibility and thus cause the get to be void, our Sages required that whenever many people are instructed to be involved in a get, they all must take full participatory roles.

60.

See Chapter 1, Halachah 24, based on Gittin 10b. If the witnesses do not sign in each other's presence, the get is unacceptable (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 130:13).

61.

The father and the son may not both sign as witnesses, because witnesses may not be related to each other.

62.

The Rambam is referring to Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi's interpretation of Gittin 63b. Significantly, the standard published texts of the Talmud available to us follow Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi's version. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 141:36) follows Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi's conception and rules that the status of the divorce is in doubt. (See the notes of the Beit Shmuel 141:99, which explain the Rambam's interpretation.)

63.

And thus the get is not signed by witnesses.

64.

According to the Rambam (Chapter 6, Halachah 4), the appointment of such an agent need not be observed by witnesses.

65.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 24. Note the question of the Beit Shmuel 141:17, who asks why the Rambam distinguishes between this instance and an agent charged with consecrating a woman, whose word is accepted, as stated in Hilchot Ishut 3:15. The Beit Shmuel explains that the fact that the get is not signed detracts from the agent's credibility. For although a get is acceptable when it has not been signed, this is not desirable. Hence, we are more suspicious of the possibility of forgery.

66.

As long as there are witnesses who observe the transfer of the get, the agent's actions are considered to be equivalent to those of the husband himself. Hence, just as a get given by the husband is acceptable after the fact if its transfer was observed by witnesses, even if the get was not signed, this same ruling applies when his agent gives the get.

67.

For the wording the husband used implies that he is stipulating that the get must be given in that place.

68.

From the contrast with the following clause, the Beit Shmuel 141:63 and others rule that, in this instance, the get is binding if it is given after that date. Note, however, the Mishneh LaMelech who differs and rules that the divorce is disqualified by the Sages.

69.

By accepting the get from the agent in the place she receives it, the woman shows that she is not particular about where she receives it (Maggid Mishneh in his gloss on Chapter 6, Halachah 4). The Rambam's ruling indicates a slight textual difference from the popular version of Gittin 6:3, the source for this halachah. There is, however, no difference in principle between them.

70.

If, however, the agent is not prevented from discharging his agency, he should not charge another person with that responsibility. (See Chapter 7, Halachah 4 and notes.)

71.

For it is likely that the principal would not desire that anyone other than the person he designated be given his article to guard. Rashi (Gittin 29a) offers a different interpretation. (See Beit Shmuel 141:65.)

72.

Since the second agent did not deviate from the husband's instructions, the get is acceptable, despite the fact that a person other than the one appointed by the husband gave the get to the woman.

Rabbenu Asher rules that even if the second agent takes the article before giving the woman the get, the divorce is not effective. Although Rabbenu Asher's ruling is also mentioned, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 141:51) appears to follow the Rambam's decision.

73.

I.e., the husband was in effect saying, "Make sure you get the article before you give her the get." Since the agent did not fulfill these instructions, the divorce is not valid. See the Beit Shmuel 141:66, who quotes opinions that state that if the husband's wording does not indicate that he definitely wants the agent to secure possession of the article before giving the get, the divorce is binding.

74.

For in this instance, there is no obvious advantage to the principal in having the agent give the get first.

As mentioned in the Maggid Mishneh, the Ramban differs and maintains that for the divorce to be binding the woman must give the agent the article first.

75.

According to the Rambam, if the first agent gives the woman the get, the divorce is not effective. As mentioned in the notes on Halachah 31, other opinions differ and maintain that in this instance, the status of the divorce is in doubt.

76.

Needless to say, the second agent should not give the woman the get until the original 30 days have passed.

Rav Meir HaLevi states that we suspect that the first agent will not convey these instructions clearly to the second agent. Therefore, the first agent should entrust the get to the court, which will appoint a second agent after the 30 days have passed. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 141:37) mentions this view, it appears that the Rambam's view is favored.

77.

See Halachot 10 and 11.

78.

See Halachah 9.

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