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ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Gerushin - Chapter Five

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Gerushin - Chapter Five

1

The Torah's expression, [Deuteronomy, 24:1]: "He will... place it in her hand," need not be interpreted only [according to its strict literal meaning], that the get must be placed in her hand. Regardless of whether the get is placed in her hand, her bosom or her courtyard, or is given to her agent whom she charged that his hand would be as her hand, the same law applies.1

The same laws apply to a courtyard that she acquired, one that she rented or one that is lent to her. They are all considered to be her property, and once the get reaches her property, the divorce is effective.

א

זֶה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בַּתּוֹרָה (דברים כד א) ״‎וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ״‎ אֵין עִנְיַן הַכָּתוּב אֶלָּא שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ הַגֵּט לָהּ. וְאֶחָד יָדָהּ אוֹ חֵיקָהּ אוֹ חֲצֵרָהּ אוֹ שְׁלוּחָהּ שֶׁעָשְׂתָה יָדוֹ כְּיָדָהּ הַכּל אֶחָד הוּא. וְאֶחָד חֲצֵרָהּ הַקְּנוּיָה לָהּ אוֹ חֲצֵרָהּ הַמֻּשְׂכֶּרֶת לָהּ אוֹ שְׁאוּלָה לָהּ הַכּל רְשׁוּתָהּ הוּא. וּמִשֶּׁיַגִּיעַ גֵּט לִרְשׁוּתָהּ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה:

2

[The following laws apply when a man] throws a get for his wife into her courtyard. If she is standing next to her courtyard, the divorce is effective.2 If she is not standing next to her courtyard, the divorce is not effective until she stands next to her courtyard.3

[These principles apply] even when the get will be guarded in the courtyard in which [it is placed]. [The rationale is that] divorce is considered to be a liability [and not an advantage] for [a woman]. And a liability may not be invoked against [a person] outside his [or her] presence.4

ב

הַזּוֹרֵק גֵּט לְאִשְׁתּוֹ לְתוֹךְ חֲצֵרָהּ. אִם הָיְתָה עוֹמֶדֶת שָׁם בְּצַד חֲצֵרָהּ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה. וְאִם לָאו לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה עַד שֶׁתַּעֲמֹד בְּצַד חֲצֵרָהּ וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא חָצֵר שֶׁיִּשְׁתַּמֵּר הַגֵּט בְּתוֹכָהּ. שֶׁחוֹב הִיא לָהּ הַגֵּרוּשִׁין וְאֵין חָבִין לָאָדָם אֶלָּא בְּפָנָיו:

3

[These rules apply when a get is given in the following situation. A woman] is standing on her roof, and [her husband] is standing in his courtyard that is located below it. He throws a get upwards to her.

Once the get reaches the space of the guardrail [to her roof] or comes within three handbreadths5 of the roof [when her roof does not have a guardrail], the divorce is effective.6 [This applies provided the get ultimately] comes to rest on her roof.7

If, however, [the writing of the get] is erased or [the get] is consumed by fire before it reaches her, the divorce is not effective. [This applies] even if the get is erased or consumed by fire after it passes the barriers of the woman's property or after it reaches within three handbreadths of her roof. [The rationale is that] since the get will never come to rest [in a complete state], it is void.

ג

הָיְתָה עוֹמֶדֶת בְּרֹאשׁ הַגַּג שֶׁלָּהּ וְהוּא מִלְּמַטָּה בַּחֲצֵרוֹ וּזְרָקוֹ לָהּ לְמַעְלָה כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לַאֲוִיר מְחִצּוֹת הַמַּעֲקֶה אוֹ לְפָחוֹת מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה טְפָחִים סָמוּךְ לַגַּג נִתְגָּרְשָׁה וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיָּנוּחַ. אֲבָל אִם נִמְחַק אוֹ נִשְׂרַף קֹדֶם שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ לָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּמְחַק לְאַחַר שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לַאֲוִיר מְחִצּוֹת אוֹ אַחַר שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לְפָחוֹת מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה טְפָחִים סָמוּךְ לַגַּג כְּגוֹן שֶׁנָּשְׁבָה הָרוּחַ וְהֶעֱלַתְהוּ וְנִמְחַק אוֹ נִשְׂרַף הוֹאִיל וְאֵינוֹ הוֹלֵךְ לָנוּחַ אֵינוֹ גֵּט וְלֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה:

4

[Different rules apply when] the roof belongs to the husband and he stands on it, while his wife stands below in a courtyard that belongs to her, and he throws her a get. Once the get passes the boundaries of his property and enters the boundaries of her property, where she is standing, the divorce is binding.8

ד

הָיָה הַגַּג שֶׁלּוֹ וְהוּא מִלְּמַעְלָה בּוֹ וְהִיא מִלְּמַטָּה בֶּחָצֵר שֶׁלָּהּ וְזָרַק לָהּ גִּטָּהּ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁיָּצָא הַגֵּט מִמְּחִצּוֹת הַגַּג וְהִגִּיעַ לִמְחִצּוֹת מְקוֹמָהּ שֶׁהִיא עוֹמֶדֶת בּוֹ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה:

5

If, however, he throws a get into a fire located on the woman's property and it is consumed by the flames, or into water and it is erased or lost, the get is void.9 If, however, it enters her property (and comes to rest),10 and afterwards fire comes and consumes it, the divorce is effective.

ה

זְרָקוֹ לִרְשׁוּתָהּ לְתוֹךְ הָאֵשׁ וְנִשְׂרַף אוֹ לְתוֹךְ הַמַּיִם [וְנִמְחַק אוֹ] נֶאֱבַד אֵינוֹ גֵּט. אֲבָל אִם הִגִּיעַ לִרְשׁוּתָהּ [וְנָח] וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא הָאֵשׁ וּשְׂרָפַתְהוּ הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט:

6

When the husband tosses the get on top of a reed or a spear implanted in her domain,11 the divorce is not effective until [the get] comes to rest in a place that is protected by her.12

[The following rule applies when] there are two courtyards, the inner courtyard belongs to the woman, the outer courtyard belongs to the man, and the walls of the outer courtyard are taller than those of the inner courtyard. If [the husband] throws the get into the space [of the inner courtyard, above its walls, but lower than the walls] of the outer courtyard, the divorce is effective.13 [The rationale is] the inner [courtyard] is protected by the walls of the outer [courtyard]. This concept does not apply with regard to containers.

ו

זְרָקוֹ עַל גַּבֵּי קָנֶה אוֹ רֹמַח הַנְּעוּצִים בִּרְשׁוּתָהּ אֵינוֹ גֵּט עַד שֶׁיָּנוּחַ בְּמָקוֹם הַמִּשְׁתַּמֵּר בּוֹ. שְׁתֵּי חֲצֵרוֹת זוֹ לְפָנִים מִזּוֹ הַפְּנִימִית שֶׁלָּהּ וְהַחִיצוֹנָה שֶׁלּוֹ וְכָתְלֵי הַחִיצוֹנָה גְּבוֹהוֹת עַל הַפְּנִימִית כֵּיוָן שֶׁזָּרַק הַגֵּט לְתוֹךְ אֲוִיר הַחִיצוֹנָה נִתְגָּרְשָׁה. שֶׁהַפְּנִימִית בְּכָתְלֵי הַחִיצוֹנָה מִשְׁתַּמֶּרֶת מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּקֻפּוֹת:

7

What is implied?14 There are two containers, located one inside the other [and both are located in the husband's domain].15 The inner container belongs to her and the outer container belongs to him. If [the husband] throws the get to [his wife] toward the containers, the divorce is not effective16 - even when the get reaches the space of the inner container - until it comes to rest on the side of the inner container.

[Moreover,] the above applies only when [the woman's container] is lying on its side and does not have a bottom.17 If it has a bottom, even if [the get] comes to rest on that bottom, the divorce is not effective.18 For when a container belonging to a woman is located in the domain of the husband, the woman may not acquire a get by means of it unless the husband is not concerned about the place it occupies.

ז

כֵּיצַד. שְׁתֵּי קֻפּוֹת זוֹ לְפָנִים מִזּוֹ הַפְּנִימִית שֶׁלָּהּ וְהַחִיצוֹנָה שֶׁלּוֹ וְזָרַק לָהּ גִּטָּהּ בְּתוֹכָן אֲפִלּוּ הִגִּיעַ לַאֲוִיר הַפְּנִימִית אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת עַד שֶׁיָּנוּחַ עַל צַד הַקֻּפָּה הַפְּנִימִית. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהָיְתָה מֻטָּה עַל צִדָּהּ וְאֵין לָהּ שׁוּלַיִם אֲבָל יֵשׁ לָהּ שׁוּלַיִם אֲפִלּוּ נָח בְּקַרְקָעִיתָהּ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת שֶׁכְּלִי הָאִשָּׁה בִּרְשׁוּת הַבַּעַל אֵינוֹ קוֹנֶה לָהּ הַגֵּט אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן אֵינוֹ מַקְפִּיד עַל מְקוֹמוֹ:

8

When [a husband] throws a get to his wife while she is located in his house or in his courtyard, the divorce is not effective until the get reaches the woman's hand or a container that belongs to her, to whose presence within his domain the husband does not object - e.g., a small bottle or basket or the like.19

Similarly, if the get reaches a couch belonging to her20 on which she is sitting that is ten handbreadths high, the divorce is effective. For [the couch] is considered to be a separate domain,21 and the husband does not object to the place taken by its legs.22

ח

זָרַק לָהּ גִּטָּהּ וְהִיא בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ אוֹ בְּתוֹךְ חֲצֵרוֹ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ הַגֵּט לְיָדָהּ אוֹ לִכְלִי מִן הַכֵּלִים שֶׁלָּהּ שֶׁאֵין הַבַּעַל מַקְפִּיד עַל מְקוֹמוֹ כְּגוֹן צְלוֹחִית אוֹ קְפִיפָה קְטַנָּה אוֹ כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. וְכֵן אִם הִגִּיעַ לַמִּטָּה שֶׁלָּהּ שֶׁהִיא יוֹשֶׁבֶת עָלֶיהָ וְהָיְתָה גְּבוֹהָה עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת שֶׁהֲרֵי חָלְקָה רְשׁוּת לְעַצְמָהּ וְאֵין הַבַּעַל מַקְפִּיד עַל מְקוֹם כִּרְעֵי הַמִּטָּה:

9

[The following rules apply when] the husband lends his wife a place in his courtyard [for the purpose of receiving her get], without defining its borders.23 If he throws her the get and it reaches within four cubits of where she is standing, the divorce is effective.24

When [in the above instance, the get] rolled away [from the place where the woman is standing,] and fell on a beam or on a rock further removed from her,25 [the following rules apply]. If the place where [the get] fell is not four cubits by four cubits, nor is it ten [handbreadths] high, nor does it have a separate name of its own, it is not considered to be a distinct entity, and it is as if [the get] and [the woman] were in the same place. [Therefore, the divorce is effective.]

If the place is characterized by any of these three factors, it is considered to be a distinct entity. [Since] the husband lent the woman one place, but not two places, the divorce is not effective until the get reaches her hand.

ט

הִשְׁאִיל לָהּ הַבַּעַל מָקוֹם בַּחֲצֵרוֹ וְלֹא יִחֲדוֹ [לָהּ] וְזָרַק לָהּ גֵּט וְהִגִּיעַ לְאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת שֶׁלָּהּ שֶׁהִיא עוֹמֶדֶת בָּהֶן הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. נִתְגַּלְגֵּל וְנָפַל עַל גַּבֵּי קוֹרָה אוֹ עַל גַּבֵּי סֶלַע רָחוֹק מִמֶּנָּה. אִם הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁנָּפַל עָלָיו אֵין בּוֹ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת עַל אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת וְאֵינוֹ גָּבוֹהַּ עֲשָׂרָה וְאֵין לוֹ שֵׁם לְוַוי הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא חָלַק רְשׁוּת לְעַצְמוֹ וּכְאִלּוּ הוּא וְהִיא בְּמָקוֹם אֶחָד. וְאִם יֵשׁ שָׁם אֶחָד מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ חָלַק רְשׁוּת לְעַצְמוֹ וּמָקוֹם אֶחָד הִשְׁאִיל לָהּ שְׁנֵי מְקוֹמוֹת לֹא הִשְׁאִיל לָהּ וְאֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ הַגֵּט לְיָדָהּ:

10

If [the husband] throws the get to her [while she is in her domain], and [the get] passes through the domain and falls outside her domain [the divorce is not effective]. Even if the get passes within three [handbreadths] of the ground,26 the divorce is not effective27 until [the get] comes to rest in her domain.

י

זָרַק לָהּ גִּטָּהּ לִרְשׁוּתָהּ וְעָבַר בְּתוֹךְ רְשׁוּתָהּ שֶׁהִיא עוֹמֶדֶת בָּהּ וְנָפַל חוּץ לִרְשׁוּתָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁעָבַר בְּפָחוֹת מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה סָמוּךְ לָאָרֶץ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת עַד שֶׁיָּנוּחַ בִּרְשׁוּתָהּ:

11

[The following rule applies when a woman] is standing on her roof, [her husband] throws her [a get], and [instead of reaching her,] it falls on a roof [belonging to another person].28 If the woman can stretch out her hand and take it, the divorce is effective.

[The rationale is that] although the domains are divided above as they are divided below, [and thus the get is located on a domain that does not belong to the woman, this is not significant,] for people are not concerned with [a neighbor's making use of] their property in such a manner.

יא

הָיְתָה עוֹמֶדֶת עַל גַּגָּהּ (זוֹ) וּזְרָקוֹ לָהּ וְנָפַל בְּגַג אַחֵר סָמוּךְ לוֹ. אִם יְכוֹלָה לִפְשֹׁט יָדָהּ וְלִטְּלוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁדִּיּוּרִין חֲלוּקִין לְמַעְלָה כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהֵן חֲלוּקִין לְמַטָּה אֵין בְּנֵי אָדָם מַקְפִּידִין עַל מָקוֹם כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה:

12

[The following rules apply if a woman holds] her hand at an incline, [her husband] throws a get to her hand, and it falls to the earth. If it falls within four cubits of where she is standing and comes to rest there, the divorce is effective.29

When, [however, the get] falls into the sea or into a fire, the divorce is not effective, if she is standing next to the water or the fire [when the get is thrown to her]. [The rationale is] that, at the outset, it would be destroyed as it fell.

יב

הָיְתָה יָדָהּ קַטַפְרֵס וְזָרַק הַגֵּט עַל יָדָהּ וְנָפַל לָאָרֶץ. אִם נָפַל לְתוֹךְ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת שֶׁלָּהּ וְנָח הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. נָפַל לְתוֹךְ הַיָּם אוֹ לְתוֹךְ הָאֵשׁ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. וְהוּא שֶׁהָיְתָה עוֹמֶדֶת עַל גַּבֵּי הַמַּיִם אוֹ סָמוּךְ לָאֵשׁ שֶׁמִּתְּחִלַּת נְפִילָתוֹ לְאִבּוּד הָיָה עוֹמֵד:

13

[The following rules apply when a husband] throws a get to [his wife] in the public domain or in a domain that does not belong to either of them. If [the get] is "close to him," the divorce is not effective. If [the get] is partially "close to him," and partially "close to her," the status of the divorce is in doubt unless it is definitely close to her. If [the get] is close enough to her that she can bend down and pick it up, the divorce is unacceptable [according to Rabbinic decree].30 [Only when] the get reaches her hand may she remarry on this basis a priori.

יג

זְרָקוֹ לָהּ בִּרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים אוֹ בִּרְשׁוּת שֶׁאֵינָהּ שֶׁל שְׁנֵיהֶם קָרוֹב לוֹ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. הָיָה הַגֵּט מֶחֱצָה לְמֶחֱצָה וּמִמֶּחֱצָה לְמֶחֱצָה עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה קָרוֹב לָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ סָפֵק מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. הָיָה קָרוֹב לָהּ כְּדֵי שֶׁתָּשׁוּחַ וְתִטְּלֶנּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ גֵּט לְיָדָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ תִּנָּשֵׂא בּוֹ לְכַתְּחִלָּה:

14

What is meant by "close to him"? That he could protect the get while she could not. If both are able to protect [the get], or both are unable to protect it, it is considered to be partially "close to him," and partially "close to her."31

יד

כֵּיצַד הוּא קָרוֹב לוֹ. הָיָה הוּא יָכוֹל לְשָׁמְרוֹ וְהִיא אֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לְשָׁמְרוֹ זֶה הוּא קָרוֹב לוֹ שְׁנֵיהֶם יְכוֹלִים לְשָׁמְרוֹ אוֹ שֶׁשְּׁנֵיהֶם אֵין יְכוֹלִין לְשָׁמְרוֹ זֶה הוּא מֶחֱצָה לְמֶחֱצָה:

15

[If a husband] comes to a place first and stands there, and then [his wife] comes and stands opposite him, the divorce is not effective if he throws her [a get] and [it falls] within his four cubits,32 even if she can bend down and pick it up.

If she comes to the place first and stands, and then he comes and stands opposite her and throws it to her, even when [the get] is partially "close to him" and partially "close to her," the get is [merely] deemed unacceptable [by virtue of Rabbinic decree] because it is within her four cubits.33 [Only when] the get reaches her hand [is the divorce effective a priori].

טו

בָּא הוּא תְּחִלָּה וְעָמַד וְאַחַר כָּךְ עָמְדָה הִיא כְּנֶגְדּוֹ וּזְרָקוֹ לָהּ. אִם הָיָה הַגֵּט בְּתוֹךְ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת שֶׁלּוֹ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאִם תָּשׁוּחַ תִּטְּלֶנּוּ. עָמְדָה הִיא תְּחִלָּה וּבָא הוּא וְעָמַד כְּנֶגְדָּהּ וּזְרָקוֹ לָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מֶחֱצָה לְמֶחֱצָה הוֹאִיל וְהוּא לְתוֹךְ אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת שֶׁלָּהּ הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט פָּסוּל עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ הַגֵּט לְיָדָהּ:

16

[The following rules apply when a husband] throws a get that is tied with a string into [his wife's] hand and he remains holding the other end of the string. If he can pull [the get from her hand] and bring it back to him,34 the divorce is not effective35 until he snaps the string.36 If he cannot pull [the get from her], the divorce is effective.

טז

זָרַק הַגֵּט לְיָדָהּ וְהָיָה קָשׁוּר בִּמְשִׁיחָה וּקְצָת הַמְּשִׁיחָה בְּיָדוֹ. אִם יָכוֹל לְנַתְּקוֹ וְלַהֲבִיאוֹ אֶצְלוֹ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת עַד שֶׁתִּפְסֹק הַמְּשִׁיחָה. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְנַתְּקוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת:

17

[The following rules apply when a husband] gives [a woman's] get to a servant belonging to her. If he is awake, he is bound and she is guarding him, the divorce is effective. It is considered to be as if [the get] were placed in a courtyard belonging to her and she is standing at its side. If [the servant] is not bound, the divorce is not effective.37

If [the husband] places [the get] in the servant's hand while he is sleeping, and [the woman] is guarding him, the get is unacceptable [by virtue of Rabbinic decree].38 If [the servant] is bound, the divorce is acceptable.

יז

נָתַן הַגֵּט בְּיַד עַבְדָּהּ וְהוּא נֵעוֹר וְהִיא מְשַׁמַּרְתּוֹ. אִם הָיָה כָּפוּת הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט וּכְאִלּוּ הִגִּיעַ לַחֲצֵרָהּ שֶׁהִיא עוֹמֶדֶת בְּצִדָּהּ. וְאִם אֵינוֹ כָּפוּת אֵינוֹ גֵּט. נְתָנוֹ בְּיַד הָעֶבֶד וְהוּא יָשֵׁן וְהִיא מְשַׁמַּרְתּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל. וְאִם הָיָה כָּפוּת הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת:

18

[The following rules apply if a husband] writes a get, places it in the hand of a servant belonging to him and writes a deed for the woman, giving her the servant as a present. If the servant is bound, the divorce is effective, for when she acquires the servant she also acquires the get. If the servant is unbound and awake, [the woman] acquires the servant; the divorce, however, is not effective until the get reaches her hand.39

Similarly, if [a man] placed a get in a courtyard belonging to him and sold or gave the courtyard to [his wife], the divorce is effective once she acquires the courtyard by virtue of the transfer of a deed or money, or by manifesting her ownership over it.

יח

כָּתַב הַגֵּט וּנְתָנוֹ בְּיַד עַבְדּוֹ וְכָתַב לָהּ שְׁטָר מַתָּנָה עָלָיו כֵּיוָן שֶׁזָּכְתָה בָּעֶבֶד זָכְתָה בַּגֵּט וְנִתְגָּרְשָׁה אִם הָיָה כָּפוּת. וְאִם אֵינוֹ כָּפוּת וְנֵעוֹר קָנְתָה הָעֶבֶד וְאֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת עַד שֶׁיַּגִּיעַ הַגֵּט לְיָדָהּ. וְכֵן אִם נָתַן הַגֵּט בַּחֲצֵרוֹ וּמוֹכֵר לָהּ הֶחָצֵר אוֹ נְתָנוֹ לָהּ כֵּיוָן שֶׁקָּנְתָה הֶחָצֵר בִּשְׁטָר אוֹ בְּכֶסֶף אוֹ בַּחֲזָקָה נִתְגָּרְשָׁה:

Footnotes
1.

See Numbers 21:26, which uses the word miyado - literally, "from his hand" - as meaning "from his possession." A similar usage is frequent within the Torah and within Talmudic sources.

It must, however, be emphasized that the accepted practice is to place the get in the woman's hand and not to remain content with depositing it in her courtyard. (See Ramah, Even HaEzer 139:14.)

2.

With regard to a courtyard, a point of clarification is necessary. In general, the benefit from a woman's property belongs to her husband, and whatever is acquired by her property belongs to him. In this instance, however, we say that the acquisition of the bill of the divorce and the right to acquire the articles placed in her property become hers simultaneously.

3.

The Rambam's wording implies, however, that when the woman returns to her courtyard, the divorce is effective. Rav Meir HaLevi, as quoted by the Tur (Even HaEzer 139) differs and maintains that the woman must be present at the time the get is placed in her courtyard. If she is not present at that time, Rav Meir HaLevi maintains that the divorce is not effective unless the husband waits and tells the woman: "This is your get," when she picks it up, or the husband must pick it up and give it to her again.

The Rashba submits a third opinion. He maintains that the status of the divorce is doubtful, for perhaps the woman desired the divorce. (See Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 139:2-3 and commentaries.)

4.

When considering something which is to a person's advantage - e.g., the acquisition of an ownerless object - a person may perform this act on behalf of a colleague without his knowledge, for our Sages postulated: "one may act to a person's advantage outside his presence." The rationale is that the person would probably desire to acquire the object. When, however, a liability is considered, this principle does not apply. Nevertheless, if a woman explicitly states that a get should be placed in her courtyard, the divorce is effective even when she is not standing next to it (Beit Yosef, Even HaEzer 139).

5.

In many different halachic contexts, three handbreadths of empty space is considered to be a continuation of the nearest significant halachic entity. This principle is referred to by the name l'vud.

6.

Since it will ultimately come to rest within her property, it is considered as though it has already come to rest.

Accordingly, from this time onward, even if the husband changes his mind and desires to nullify the divorce before the get reaches the ground, he no longer has that option. The divorce is effective and the marriage bond has been broken. If a second man consecrates her at this time, she is considered to be his wife (Maggid Mishneh).

7.

Most other authorities differ with the Rambam on this point and maintain that as soon as the get enters the woman's possession, the divorce is effective, even though afterwards it is consumed by fire or its writing is wiped away by water, provided the fire or the water was not there before the husband threw the get. [Significantly, in his Commentary on the Mishnah (Gittin 8:3), the Rambam does not mention the provision that ultimately the get must come to rest.] Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 139:4-5) mentions the Rambam's view, it is the approach of the other authorities that is favored.

8.

I.e., immediately, even if the get does not reach the woman's property. The rationale is that as long as the conditions mentioned in the following halachah are met, it may be assumed that the laws of gravity will prevail, and the get will come to rest in the woman's property. Therefore, even if it is destroyed by a fluke occurrence beforehand, the divorce is effective (Maggid Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 139:6).

9.

Since he initially threw the get into the fire, it is considered as though it will never come to rest and will never enter the woman's possession in a complete state.

10.

The phrase set off by parentheses is found in the standard printed texts of the Mishneh Torah, but is lacking in many authentic manuscripts and early printings. Eliminating the phrase would imply that there is a difference between the situation described in Halachah 4 and that described in Halachah 3.

This indeed is the Maggid Mishneh's contention. As he explains, in Halachah 3 the husband is throwing the get against the natural gravitational pattern that prevails within the world, while in Halachah 4 the get is being thrown in a manner that conforms with the pattern of gravity. Therefore, as long as the get was not thrown into fire or water, the divorce is binding as soon as the get enters the woman's domain.

11.

The commentaries on Gittin 79a explain that this refers to an instance where the top of the reed or the spear is higher than the walls of the courtyard.

12.

For the wind may blow it outside the courtyard.

13.

Since the get will be protected by the walls of the outer courtyard even within the inner courtyard, if it is thrown toward the inner courtyard the divorce is effective after it enters the space of the outer courtyard (Maggid Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 139:9).

14.

There are two differences between courtyards and containers located in the husband's domain: a) With regard to the courtyard, it is sufficient for the get to enter the space of the husband's courtyard. With regard to a container, by contrast, this is not sufficient.

b) Even when a get comes to rest within a container, the divorce is not effective, except in the specific instance mentioned by the Rambam.

The rationale for both these differences is that the walls of a courtyard are made primarily for protecting the articles contained within, and in the above instance the walls of the outer courtyard also protect the articles within the inner courtyard. In contrast, the function of the wall of a container is to hold the object it contains (Rashi, Gittin 79b).

15.

The bracketed addition is made on the basis of the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh. There are other commentaries that maintain that the containers are located in the woman's domain or in a neutral domain. (See Beit Shmuel 139:13 and the gloss of Rabbi Akiva Eiger on those comments.)

16.

The fundamental principle involved here is that a person cannot acquire an object by virtue of its being placed in a container belonging to him, if that container is located in a domain belonging to the giver, unless the giver is not concerned with the presence of the recipient's container. (See Hilchot Mechirah 4:1.)

It must be emphasized that this concept is not accepted by Rabbenu Asher and the Tur. (See Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 200:3 and commentaries.)

17.

When a container is lying on its side and it does not have a bottom, it will not serve a functional purpose. Therefore, the husband will not be concerned that it is placed in his property. As such, if the get comes to rest on it, the divorce is effective.

18.

In this instance, the woman's container will serve a functional purpose. Therefore, it is likely that the husband will object to its presence on his property.

It must be emphasized that Tosafot, the Ra'avad, Rabbenu Nissim and others interpret the passage in Gittin, loc. cit., differently from the Rambam. It is, however, the Rambam's view that is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 139:9).

19.

Rashi (Gittin 77a) explains that a man must assume that a woman will bring such articles with her when she enters a domain. Therefore, the husband's acceptance of the woman's presence also implies a willingness to allow her to bring in such articles.

20.

If, however, the couch belongs to the husband, the divorce is not effective unless the get is given to the woman, even when the woman is sitting on the couch.

21.

Since the couch is ten handbreadths (80 centimeters according to Shiurei Torah, 96 centimeters according to Chazon Ish) high, it is considered to be a separate entity. (See a parallel concept in Hilchot Kri'at Shema 3:9.)

22.

Note the Maggid Mishneh, which explains that in other situations - e.g., a couch belonging to a purchaser that is in the domain of a seller - this concept would not necessarily apply, and the transfer would not be considered effective. (Note Beit Shmuel 139:15.)

23.

If he specified a place, the get would have to be deposited in that place.

24.

For we assume that the place where the woman is standing is the place that she was granted.

25.

Our translation is based on the interpretation of the Rambam's ruling offered by Rabbenu Nissim. The Maggid Mishneh questions the Rambam's rulings, interpreting his approach as implying that if the place where the get comes to rest is within four cubits of the woman, it would appear that the divorce should be effective even if any of these factors applies. And if the place is further removed, the divorce is never effective. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 139:11) rules according to other authorities, who interpret this passage according to the interpretation offered by Rabbenu Nissim. The interpretation of the Rambam's words offered by the Maggid Mishneh is mentioned as a minority opinion.

26.

Based on the principle of l'vud, three handbreadths is an extension of any given entity. Nevertheless, since, as happened, the get did not come to rest within the woman's domain, the fact that it passed through it close to the ground is not significant. This same principle is cited in several other contexts - e.g., Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 4:9. See also Hilchot Shabbat 13:16.

27.

The Tur (Even HaEzer 139) maintains that, as appears from Bava Metzia 12a, the matter is the subject of an unresolved Talmudic debate. Hence, the status of the divorce is a matter of doubt, and although the woman may not consider herself to be divorced, she may not continue living with her first husband, and if she was consecrated by another person, he is required to divorce her before she may marry anyone else.

28.

Our translation is based on the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh. The Ra'avad and others interpret Gittin 79b, the source for this halachah, as referring to two roofs belonging to the husband, and explain that it teaches a concept similar to that reflected by Halachah 9. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 139:12) mentions the Rambam's view, it favors the other interpretation.

29.

In certain circumstances, our Sages ordained although a person is standing in property that does not belong to him, the four cubits around him [or her] are considered to be his courtyard. And placing an article within that space is considered to be placing it in his domain. (See Hilchot Zechiyah UMatanah 4:9.) Therefore, just as if the get in a woman's courtyard had come to rest in the woman's courtyard, the divorce would be effective, so too it is effective if it comes to rest within four cubits of her.

If the get does not come to rest within four cubits of the woman, one might say that the outcome is dependent on the difference of opinion between the Rambam and the Tur mentioned in the notes on Halachah 10. In this instance, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 139:15) follows the opinion of the Tur and rules that the status of the divorce is doubtful.

30.

In this instance, if the woman erred and remarried she is not forced to divorce her second husband. If, however, she remarried when the status of the divorce is in doubt, she may not remain married to her second husband.

31.

The Rambam does not mention an instance where the woman can protect the get but the husband cannot, and yet it is not close enough to her for her to bend down and pick it up. The Maggid Mishneh states that the Rambam would maintain that in such an instance the status of the divorce is doubtful.

Although with regard to kiddushin, in such an instance the Rambam rules that a marriage bond is established (Hilchot Ishut 4:22), the laws are more stringent with regard to divorce. The Beit Shmuel 139:22 states that most other authorities would differ and would agree that according to Scriptural law, the divorce is effective in such an instance; it is disqualified only by virtue of Rabbinic decree.

32.

Whenever an area becomes considered to be the "four cubits" belonging to one individual, another person may not acquire an article in that area until the first person departs (Gittin 78a).

33.

I.e., according to Scriptural law the divorce is effective, because the four cubits in which the woman is standing become her exclusive property.

34.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 138:2) interprets the intent as being that the knot tying the string to the get must be attached in a manner strong enough to allow the get to be pulled back to the husband. If it is tied loosely, the divorce is effective. If, however, it is the woman who prevents the husband from drawing back the get by clasping it within her hand, the divorce is not effective. The Shulchan Aruch does, however, mention another view, which rules the divorce acceptable in such an instance.

35.

Gittin 78b also derives this concept from the description of a divorce in Deuteronomy 24:3: "And he will write a bill of divorce for her, place it in her hand...." As long as the husband can retake possession of the bill of divorce, he has not severed his connection with the woman.

36.

If, however, the husband does snap the string, the Rambam rules the divorce to be effective. Other commentaries differ, explaining that since the giving of the get was not carried out in the proper manner, the get must be given again for the divorce to be acceptable.

37.

Since the servant has an independent will, he is considered to be a courtyard that is not guarded by the woman herself. Also, the conception of a domain as equivalent to a person's hand applies only when that domain remains still and not when, as in the case of a servant, it moves.

Based on a difference in the version of Gittin 78a, the source for this halachah, the Tur (Even HaEzer 139) and others differ with the Rambam and maintain that it is necessary for the servant to be both bound and asleep for the divorce to be effective. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 139:16) quotes both opinions, the Rambam's view appears to be favored.

38.

I.e., since the servant was not bound, the Sages disqualified the divorce, lest one give a get to a servant while awake and unbound.

39.

The Rambam's wording implies that once the servant gives her the get, however, the divorce is effective. It is not necessary for the husband to take the get from the servant and give it to her. As mentioned by the Beit Shmuel 139:29, this point is not accepted by all authorities.

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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