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ב"ה

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Gerushin - Chapter Ten, Gerushin - Chapter Eleven, Gerushin - Chapter Twelve

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Gerushin - Chapter Ten

1

Whenever in this text1 we have used the terms "the get is void," or "the divorce is not effective," the intent is that the get is void according to Scriptural law. The woman is married in the full sense of the term. If she remarries, she must leave [her second husband]; any child she bears him is illegitimate.

If the husband [of a woman who receives such a get] is a priest, she is not forbidden to him as a divorced woman,2 with one exception: a person who divorces his wife and tells her: "You are divorced from me, but you are not permitted to marry anyone else."3 Although such a divorce is not binding, according to Rabbinic law4 such a woman is forbidden to marry a priest, as [implied by Leviticus 21:7]: "[They may not take] a woman divorced from her husband." Our Sages interpreted this to mean: "Even if she is divorced only from her husband and not permitted to marry any one else, she is forbidden to the priesthood. This is the "wisp of a get" that disqualifies [a woman] from [marrying a member of] the priesthood by Rabbinic decree.

א

כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ בְּחִבּוּר זֶה שֶׁהַגֵּט בָּטֵל אוֹ אֵינוֹ גֵּט אוֹ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט בָּטֵל מִן הַתּוֹרָה וַעֲדַיִן הִיא אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ גְּמוּרָה. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד מַמְזֵר. וְאִם הָיָה בַּעְלָהּ כֹּהֵן לֹא נֶאֶסְרָה עָלָיו מִשּׁוּם גְּרוּשָׁה. חוּץ מִן הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאָמַר לָהּ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת מִמֶּנִּי וְאֵין אַתְּ מֻתֶּרֶת לַכּל שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין זֶה גֵּט הֲרֵי זוֹ פְּסוּלָה לִכְהֻנָּה מִדִּבְרֵיהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כא ז) ״‎וְאִשָּׁה גְּרוּשָׁה מֵאִישָׁהּ״‎ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים אֲפִלּוּ לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אֶלָּא מֵאִישָׁהּ וְלֹא הֻתְּרָה לַכּל נֶאֶסְרָה לִכְהֻנָּה וְזֶהוּ רֵיחַ הַגֵּט שֶּׁפּוֹסֵל בִּכְהֻנָּה מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:

2

Whenever, in this text, we have used the term "the get is unacceptable," the intent is that the get is unacceptable merely according to Rabbinic decree.5 Thus, according to Scriptural law, the woman is forbidden to the priesthood.6

A priori, she should not remarry. If, however, she has remarried, she need not leave [her second husband].7 Children born [from her second marriage] are legitimate. A second get that is acceptable should be given to her, while she remains married to her [second] husband.

Should it be impossible to have a second [get] composed, if her second husband is scrupulous and voluntarily divorces her this is praiseworthy, provided she has not borne [him] children. If, however, she has borne him children, he should not divorce her because of [our Sages'] disqualification of her get, lest this cause his sons' reputation to be sullied.

ב

וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ בְּחִבּוּר זֶה שֶׁהַגֵּט פָּסוּל הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים בִּלְבַד וְנִפְסְלָה בּוֹ מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה מִדִּבְרֵי תּוֹרָה. וְלֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא לְכַתְּחִלָּה וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לֹא תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד כָּשֵׁר. וְכוֹתְבִין לָהּ גֵּט אַחֵר כָּשֵׁר וְנוֹתְנִין לָהּ וְהִיא תַּחַת בַּעְלָהּ. וְאִם אִי אֶפְשָׁר לִכְתֹּב אַחֵר וְהָיָה הַבַּעַל וָתִיק וְגֵרֵשׁ מֵעַצְמוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח אִם אֵין לָהּ בָּנִים. אֲבָל אִם יֵשׁ לָהּ בָּנִים לֹא יוֹצִיא מִפְּנֵי פְּסוּל הַגֵּט שֶׁמָּא יוֹצִיא לַעַז עַל בָּנָיו:

3

Whenever, in this text, we have used the term "the status of the divorce is in doubt," the woman should not remarry. If she has remarried, she must leave her second husband, and there is a doubt regarding the legimitacy of any children that she bears [her second husband], for her own status is in doubt, and she may be forbidden to engage in marital relations.8

If [a man] divorces his wife with an unacceptable get, or the status of [their] divorce is in doubt, and he desires to remarry her, she is permitted to her husband. He does not have to renew the marriage,9 recite the seven marriage blessings,10 or write her a new marriage contract,11 unless she has been divorced in a manner that is binding.

ג

וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ בְּחִבּוּר זוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה סְפֵק גֵּרוּשִׁין אוֹ שֶׁהִיא סָפֵק מְגֹרֶשֶׁת לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד סְפֵק מַמְזֵר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא סְפֵק עֶרְוָה. וְכֵן אִם גֵּרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ בְּגֵט פָּסוּל אוֹ שֶׁהָיְתָה סָפֵק מְגֹרֶשֶׁת וְרָצָה לְהַחֲזִירָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת לְבַעְלָהּ. וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְחַדֵּשׁ הַנִּשּׂוּאִין וּלְבָרֵךְ שֶׁבַע בְּרָכוֹת וְלִכְתֹּב כְּתֻבָּה עַד שֶׁתִּתְגָּרֵשׁ גֵּרוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין:

4

Our Sages ordained that whenever [a woman] who was given a get that is void remarries, she must be divorced by her second husband, lest people say: "A married woman has been allowed to remarry without [receiving] a get."12 And she must receive a [second] get from her first husband, so that she be permitted to marry anyone else.

She is forbidden to remarry both her first and second husband forever.13 [This applies] even if she entered into marital relations [with her second husband] without knowing of the prohibition involved. [This prohibition was instituted]14 lest people say: "The man remarried his divorcee after she was married [to another man]." If one of the two transgressed and remarried her, he should be compelled to send her away.

ד

כָּל מִי שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת בְּגֵט בָּטֵל הֲרֵי זוֹ צְרִיכָה גֵּט מִבַּעַל שֵׁנִי מִדִּבְרֵיהֶן כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ יוֹצְאָה בְּלֹא גֵּט. וּצְרִיכָה גֵּט מִן הָרִאשׁוֹן לְהַתִּירָהּ לִשְׁאָר הָעָם. וְנֶאֶסְרָה עַל שְׁנֵיהֶם לְעוֹלָם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה בִּשְׁגָגָה. כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ הֶחֱזִיר זֶה גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ אַחַר שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת. וְאִם עָבַר אֶחָד מִשְּׁנֵיהֶן וְהֶחֱזִירָהּ יוֹצִיא:

5

A similar law applies when a woman remarries [after] witnesses testified that her [first] husband died, and later her first husband returns. [This applies] regardless of whether her [first] husband was a mentally sound individual or a deaf-mute, or whether she remarried a mentally sound person or a deaf-mute, who cannot establish a marriage bond in a complete sense.15 She must be divorced by both of them; both must give her a get, and she is forbidden to engage in marital relations with either of them again.

ה

וְכֵן הַדִּין בְּאִשָּׁה שֶׁבָּאוּ עֵדִים שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ וְנִשֵּׂאת וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא בַּעְלָהּ בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה בַּעְלָהּ פִּקֵּחַ בֵּין שֶׁהָיָה חֵרֵשׁ בֵּין שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת לְפִקֵּחַ בֵּין שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת לְחֵרֵשׁ שֶׁאֵין קִדּוּשָׁיו קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִים תֵּצֵא מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם וּצְרִיכָה גֵּט מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה וְנֶאֶסְרָה עַל שְׁנֵיהֶם עוֹלָמִית:

6

If [after witnesses testified that a woman's husband died or that she was given a get], she was consecrated [but the marriage bond was not yet consummated],16 and then her first husband returned, or it was discovered that the get was void, she is permitted to her first husband. Nor must she be divorced by the second husband, for a marriage bond cannot be established with a woman who is forbidden because of a severe prohibition.

[In this instance, we do not require a divorce out of fear that] someone say: "A married woman is being released without a get." Since the marriage was not consummated, the person will rationalize: "The consecration was made on condition, and that condition was not fulfilled."

ו

הֲרֵי שֶׁנִּתְקַדְּשָׁה וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא בַּעְלָהּ אוֹ נִמְצָא הַגֵּט בָּטֵל הֲרֵי זוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת לְבַעְלָהּ וְאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה גֵּט מִשֵּׁנִי שֶׁאֵין קִדּוּשִׁין תּוֹפְסִין בַּעֲרָיוֹת. וְאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא יֹאמְרוּ אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ יוֹצְאָה בְּלֹא גֵּט כֵּיוָן שֶׁלֹּא נִשֵּׂאת יֹאמְרוּ תְּנַאי הָיָה בַּקִּדּוּשִׁין וְלֹא נִתְקַיֵּם:

7

[The following laws apply when] a woman married, and afterwards it was discovered that her get was void, or [it had been reported that her first husband died,] and he returned. Neither her first nor her second husband is entitled to an ownerless object that she discovers17 nor to the profits from her work.18 Neither can he annul her vows.19 None of the benefits that either of them received after she married [her second husband] should be expropriated from them.20 Neither of them is obligated to pay her the money due her by virtue of her marriage contract,21 nor to fulfill any of the stipulations of the marriage contract.22

Neither of them is required to pay for her sustenance. If she took [money or property for this purpose] from either of them, she must return it. Neither of them is held responsible for any of the property she brought to the marriage that became worn out or was lost,23 even nichsei tzon barzel.24

A child born to [the second husband] is illegitimate. If the first husband engages in relations with her before she is divorced by the second husband, a child born of this union is illegitimate by virtue of Rabbinic decree.

If the second [husband] divorced her and she received the money due her by virtue of her marriage contract, and afterwards her [first] husband came or it was discovered that the divorce was void, we do not expropriate the money she received for her sustenance or by virtue of her marriage contract.25

ז

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת וְנִמְצָא הַגֵּט בָּטֵל. אוֹ בָּא בַּעְלָהּ אַחַר שֶׁשָּׁמְעָה שֶׁמֵּת. אֵין הַבַּעַל הָרִאשׁוֹן וְהַשֵּׁנִי זַכָּאִין לֹא בִּמְצִיאָתָהּ וְלֹא בְּמַעֲשֵׂי יָדֶיהָ וְלֹא בַּהֲפָרַת נְדָרֶיהָ. וְכָל פֵּרוֹת שֶׁאָכְלוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן אַחַר שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מֵהֶן. וְאֵין לָהּ כְּתֻבָּה וְלֹא תְּנַאי מִתְּנָאֵי כְּתֻבָּה וְלֹא מְזוֹנוֹת לֹא עַל זֶה וְלֹא עַל זֶה. וְאִם נָטְלָה מִזֶּה אוֹ מִזֶּה תַּחֲזִיר. וְכָל מַה שֶּׁבָּלָה אוֹ אָבַד מִנְּכָסֶיהָ וַאֲפִלּוּ מִנִּכְסֵי צֹאן בַּרְזֶל אֵין מוֹצִיאִין אוֹתָן לֹא מִזֶּה וְלֹא מִזֶּה. וְהַוָּלָד מִן הַשֵּׁנִי מַמְזֵר. וְאִם בָּא עָלֶיהָ הָרִאשׁוֹן קֹדֶם שֶׁגֵּרֵשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי הֲרֵי הַוָּלָד מַמְזֵר מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם. גֵּרְשָׁהּ הַשֵּׁנִי וְנָטְלָה מִמֶּנּוּ כְּתֻבָּה וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא בַּעְלָהּ אוֹ נִמְצָא הַגֵּט בָּטֵל אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדָהּ מַה שֶּׁנָּטְלָה לֹא מִן הַמְּזוֹנוֹת וְלֹא מִן הַכְּתֻבָּה:

8

Similar laws apply when one of two brothers consecrated a woman.26 The brother who consecrated the woman departed, and afterwards it was reported that he died. The other brother performed the rite of yibbum, marrying his brother's wife, and then the brother returned.

The woman must be divorced by both husbands, receiving a get from both of them, and all the stringencies mentioned above apply to her. Similarly, if a man consecrated a woman, she journeyed to another country, the husband heard that she died and married her sister,27 and afterwards it was discovered that she had not died: he must divorce both women, and all the stringencies mentioned above apply to both of them.

ח

וְכֵן הַדִּין בְּאַחִין שֶׁקִּדֵּשׁ אֶחָד אִשָּׁה וְהָלַךְ אָחִיו וְשָׁמַע בּוֹ שֶׁמֵּת וְיִבֵּם אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא תֵּצֵא מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה וּצְרִיכָה גֵּט מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה וְכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ בָּהּ. וְכֵן אִם קִדֵּשׁ אִשָּׁה וְהָלְכָה לִמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת וְשָׁמַע שֶׁמֵּתָה וְנָשָׂא אֲחוֹתָהּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ נוֹדַע שֶׁלֹּא מֵתָה צְרִיכוֹת שְׁתֵּיהֶן מִמֶּנּוּ גֵּט וְכָל הַדְּרָכִים הָאֵלּוּ בָּהֶן:

9

[Different rules apply, however, if a man] married a woman who journeyed to another country, he heard that she died, he married her sister, and then it was discovered that his [first] wife was alive. The sister does not require a get, and his [first] wife is permitted to him.

Similar laws apply with regard to other women forbidden by severe prohibitions28 who were married under the assumption that the marriage was permitted,29 and it is discovered that the prohibition still applied. They do not require a divorce, for a marriage bond cannot be established with a woman forbidden by such a severe prohibition.

ט

אֲבָל אִם הָלְכָה אִשְׁתּוֹ הַנְּשׂוּאָה לִמְדִינָה אַחֶרֶת וְשָׁמַע בָּהּ שֶׁמֵּתָה וְנָשָׂא אֲחוֹתָהּ וְנִמְצֵאת אִשְׁתּוֹ קַיֶּמֶת אֵין אֲחוֹתָהּ צְרִיכָה מִמֶּנּוּ גֵּט וְאִשְׁתּוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת. וְכֵן שְׁאָר הָעֲרָיוֹת שֶׁנְּשָׂאָן בְּחֶזְקַת הֶתֵּר וְנִמְצְאוּ עֶרְוָה אֵינָן צְרִיכוֹת גֵּט שֶׁאֵין קִדּוּשִׁין תּוֹפְסִין בַּעֲרָיוֹת:

10

Why did they require that the sister of the woman whom the man consecrated be given a get?30 Lest people say that the [first] kiddushin were given conditionally, [the condition was not fulfilled,] and thus the law would allow marriage to her sister. Since the [first] woman's sister was divorced with a get, she - i.e., the man's first arusah - is forbidden [to him], lest people think that he married his divorcee's sister.

י

וּמִפְּנֵי מָה הִצְרִיכוּ אֲחוֹת אֲרוּסָתוֹ גֵּט. שֶׁמָּא יֹאמְרוּ תְּנַאי הָיָה בָּאֵרוּסִין וְכַדָּת נָשָׂא אֲחוֹתָהּ. וְהוֹאִיל וְיָצְאָה אֲחוֹתָהּ בְּגֵט, אֲחוֹתָהּ שֶׁהִיא אֲרוּסָתוֹ הָרִאשׁוֹנָה אֲסוּרָה, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ נָשָׂא אֲחוֹת גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ:

11

A scribe composed [a get], but erred and gave the get to the husband and the receipt [for the woman's marriage contract] to the woman, or the man and wife erred, and the husband took the get and the wife the receipt, and thus they thought they were divorced.31

[The following rules apply] if afterwards the get is discovered in the possession of the man. If the woman has not remarried, she is considered as if she has not been divorced; it [appears to] have been revealed that the divorce did not ever take place. The husband should give her the get in the presence [of witnesses], and the divorce takes effect from the time the get is given.

If, however, she had [already] remarried, and afterwards the husband produces the get, claiming that she has not been divorced, for he is in possession of the get and it never reached her, we do not accept his claim. She is not forbidden to her [second] husband.32 Instead, we operate under the presumption that she has been divorced, the get fell from her hand and was found by [her first husband], who desires to cause her to be forbidden to her second husband.33

יא

כָּתַב הַסּוֹפֵר וְטָעָה וְנָתַן גֵּט לָאִישׁ וְשׁוֹבֵר לָאִשָּׁה. אוֹ שֶׁטָּעוּ הֵן וְנָטַל הַבַּעַל הַגֵּט וְנָטְלָה הִיא הַשּׁוֹבֵר וְכִמְדֻמֶּה לָהֶן שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה וּלְאַחַר זְמַן הֲרֵי הַגֵּט יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יְדֵי הָאִישׁ. אִם לֹא נִשֵּׂאת הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת וְנִתְגַּלָּה הַדָּבָר שֶׁעֲדַיִן לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה וְיִתֵּן לָהּ הַגֵּט בְּפָנֵינוּ וְתִהְיֶה מְגֹרֶשֶׁת מִשְּׁעַת נְתִינָתוֹ. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת וְאַחַר כָּךְ הוֹצִיא הַבַּעַל אֶת הַגֵּט וְאָמַר עֲדַיִן לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה שֶׁהֲרֵי הַגֵּט בְּיָדִי וְלֹא הִגִּיעַ לְיָדָהּ אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ לְאָסְרָהּ עַל בַּעְלָהּ. אֶלָּא הֲרֵי זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת גְּרוּשָׁה וְנָפַל הַגֵּט מִיָּדָהּ וּמְצָאוֹ זֶה וַהֲרֵי בָּא לְאָסְרָהּ עַל הַבַּעַל הַשֵּׁנִי:

12

When a person divorces his wife because of unsavory reports,34 or because she is indiscriminate with regard to vows, he is told: "Inform her that you are divorcing her to chastise her, and know that you will never be able to remarry her."35

Why is [a man forbidden] to remarry such a woman? This is a decree, [instituted] lest she marry another man, repent and live chastely with him. Her first [husband] may then say: "If I had known that this would be the case, I would not have divorced her." Thus, it resembles a divorce given on a condition that was not fulfilled,36 in which case, retroactively, the get would be void. Therefore, we tell him: "Make a firm resolve to divorce her, knowing that you will never remarry her."

If, however, he transgresses and remarries her before she is consecrated to another man,37 he need not divorce her.

יב

הַמּוֹצִיא אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ מִשּׁוּם שֵׁם רַע אוֹ מִשּׁוּם שֶׁהִיא פְּרוּצָה בִּנְדָרִים אוֹמְרִין לוֹ הוֹדִיעָהּ שֶׁמִּפְּנֵי זֶה אַתָּה מוֹצִיאָהּ כְּדֵי לְיַסְּרָהּ וְדַע שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה מַחֲזִירָהּ לְעוֹלָם. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה הַמּוֹצִיא אֶת זוֹ לֹא יַחֲזִירָהּ לְעוֹלָם. גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא תִּנָּשֵׂא לְאַחֵר וְתַעֲשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה וְתִהְיֶה צְנוּעָה תַּחְתָּיו וְיֹאמַר הָרִאשׁוֹן אִלּוּ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁכֵּן הוּא לֹא הָיִיתִי מְגָרְשָׁהּ וְנִמְצָא כִּמְגָרֵשׁ עַל תְּנַאי וְלֹא נִתְקַיֵּם שֶׁנִּמְצָא הַגֵּט בָּטֵל לְמַפְרֵעַ. לְפִיכָךְ אוֹמְרִים לוֹ גְּמֹר בְּלִבְּךָ לְגָרְשָׁהּ שֶׁאֵין זוֹ חוֹזֶרֶת לְךָ לְעוֹלָם. וְאִם עָבַר וְהֶחֱזִיר קֹדֶם שֶׁנִּתְקַדְּשָׁה לְאַחֵר לֹא יוֹצִיא:

13

Similarly, if [a man] divorces his wife because she is an aylonit38 or because she always experiences menstrual bleeding in the midst of sexual relations,39 he should never remarry her.

[This is a decree, instituted] lest she marry another man and have children if she was an aylonit, or her condition be healed if she suffered from menstrual bleeding. [Her first husband] may then say: "If I had known that this would be the case, I would not have divorced her." Thus, [it would appear] that her get is void and her children illegitimate. If, however, he transgresses and remarries her [before she is consecrated to another man], he need not divorce her.

יג

וְכֵן הַמּוֹצִיא אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ מִשּׁוּם אַיְלוֹנִית אוֹ מִשּׁוּם שֶׁרוֹאָה דָּם בְּכָל עֵת תַּשְׁמִישׁ הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יַחֲזִיר לְעוֹלָם. שֶׁמָּא תִּנָּשֵׂא לְאַחֵר וְתֵלֵד הָאַיְלוֹנִית וְתִתְרַפֵּא הַנִּדָּה וְיֹאמַר אִלּוּ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁכֵּן הוּא לֹא הָיִיתִי מְגָרְשָׁהּ וְנִמְצָא הַגֵּט בָּטֵל וְהַבָּנִים מַמְזֵרִים. וְאִם עָבַר וְהֶחֱזִיר לֹא יוֹצִיא:

14

When an agent brings a get from the diaspora and says, "It was written and signed in my presence" [to validate the signatures to the get],40 he should not marry her. We fear that perhaps he was attracted to her and therefore testified on her behalf.

[For this same reason,] when one witness testifies that a woman's husband died,41 and she [is given license to] marry on the basis of his testimony, he should not marry her. Similarly, a sage who ruled that a woman is forbidden to her husband because of a vow42 should not marry her.

Similarly, when a man is reputed to have had relations with a maid-servant, and afterwards she was granted her freedom, or when [a man is reputed to have had relations] with a gentile woman, and afterwards she converted, he should not marry her.43 Similarly, if a gentile or a servant had relations with a Jewish woman, and afterwards the gentile converted or the servant was freed, he should not marry this woman.44 In all these instances, if a couple transgress and marry,45 they should not be forced to separate46.

יד

שָׁלִיחַ שֶׁהֵבִיא גֵּט חוּצָה לָאָרֶץ וְאָמַר בְּפָנַי נִכְתַּב וּבְפָנַי נֶחְתַּם הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשָּׂאֶנָּה. שֶׁאָנוּ חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא עֵינָיו נָתַן בָּהּ וּלְפִיכָךְ הֵעִיד לָהּ. וְכֵן הָעֵד הָאֶחָד שֶׁהֵעִיד לְאִשָּׁה שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ וְנִשֵּׂאת עַל פִּיו הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשָּׂאֶנָּה. וְכֵן הֶחָכָם שֶׁאָסַר אֶת הָאִשָּׁה עַל בַּעְלָהּ בְּנֶדֶר הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשָּׂאֶנָּה. וְכֵן הַנִּטְעָן עַל הַשִּׁפְחָה וְנִשְׁתַּחְרְרָה עַל הַנָּכְרִית וְנִתְגַּיְּרָה הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשָּׂאֶנָּה. וְכֵן עַכּוּ״‎ם וְעֶבֶד הַבָּא עַל בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחָזַר הָעַכּוּ״‎ם וְנִתְגַּיֵּר הָעֶבֶד וְנִשְׁתַּחְרֵר הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִשָּׂאֶנָּה. וְכֻלָּן אִם עָבְרוּ וְנָשְׂאוּ אֵין מוֹצִיאִין מִיָּדָם:

15

In all the above instances, if these men had wives and their wives died, or they divorced their wives at their wives' initiative,47 they are permitted to marry [the women mentioned above]; there is no need for hesitation.

Similarly if these women married other men and became widowed or were divorced, they are permitted to marry [the men mentioned above]; there is no need for hesitation.

טו

וְכֻלָּן שֶׁהָיוּ לָהֶם נָשִׁים וּמֵתוּ נְשׁוֹתֵיהֶן אוֹ שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשׁוּ וְהָיוּ הַנָּשִׁים הֵן שֶׁהִרְגִּילוּ אֶת בַּעֲלֵיהֶן לְגָרְשָׁם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרוֹת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לָהֶן לְכַתְּחִלָּה. וְכֵן אִם הָלְכוּ נָשִׁים אֵלּוּ וְנִשְּׂאוּ לַאֲחֵרִים וְנִתְאַלְמְנוּ אוֹ נִתְגָּרְשׁוּ הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מֻתָּרוֹת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לָהֶן לְכַתְּחִלָּה:

16

All these women are permitted to marry [any relatives of the men involved]. [A woman may marry] the son of the witness who testified on her behalf, the son of the sage who declared that she was forbidden to her husband, the son of the man with whom she was reputed to have had relations, or any other relative of theirs. [The rationale for this leniency is that] a person will not commit a sin so that another person will benefit.

A woman is permitted to marry one of [the two witnesses] to her divorce or to her mi'un, or to marry one of the judges in whose presence she performed the rite of chalitzah. Our suspicions are aroused only when [the woman's license to marry depends on] the testimony of one witness.48

A person should always shy away from serving as a witness to mi'un,49 and make himself available [as a witness to enable] the rite of chalitzah [to be performed].

טז

וְכָל אַחַת מֵהֶן מֻתֶּרֶת לְהִנָּשֵׂא לְבֶן הָעֵד שֶׁהֵעִיד לָהּ. אוֹ לְבֶן הֶחָכָם שֶׁאֲסָרָהּ עַל בַּעְלָהּ. אוֹ לְבֶן הַנִּטְעָן עָלֶיהָ אוֹ לִשְׁאָר קְרוֹבִין. שֶׁאֵין אָדָם חוֹטֵא כְּדֵי שֶׁיֵּהָנֶה אַחֵר. וּמֻתֶּרֶת הָאִשָּׁה לְהִנָּשֵׂא לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֵי גֵּרוּשֶׁיהָ אוֹ מֵעֵדֵי מֵאוּנֶיהָ. אוֹ לְאֶחָד מִן הַדַּיָּנִים שֶׁחָלְצָה בִּפְנֵיהֶם. שֶׁאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין אֶלָּא לְעֵדוּת אֶחָד. וּלְעוֹלָם יִתְרַחֵק אָדָם מֵעֵדוּת מֵאוּן וְיִתְקָרֵב לַחֲלִיצָה:

17

When a man divorces his wife and then engages in relations with her in the the presence of witnesses before she marries another man,50 we assume that since she was [originally] his wife, he remarried her and engaged in relations with the intent of consecrating her, and not as a licentious act.

[The above rule applies] regardless of whether they were divorced after marriage, or only after consecration. And this applies even if we saw that he paid her money.51 For it is an accepted presumption that a person will not enter into sexual relations with his wife with a licentious intent, when he has the possibility of having these relations considered to be a mitzvah.

For this reason, this woman is definitely considered to be consecrated,52 and requires a second divorce [in order to marry another man].

יז

הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְחָזַר וּבְעָלָהּ בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים קֹדֶם שֶׁתִּנָּשֵׂא לְאַחֵר בֵּין שֶׁגֵּרְשָׁהּ מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִן הָאֵרוּסִין הוֹאִיל וְאִשְׁתּוֹ הָיְתָה הֲרֵי זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁהֶחֱזִירָהּ וּלְשֵׁם קִדּוּשִׁין בָּעַל וְלֹא לְשֵׁם זְנוּת. וַאֲפִלּוּ רָאוּ אוֹתוֹ שֶׁנָּתַן לָהּ מָעוֹת. שֶׁחֲזָקָה הִיא שֶׁאֵין אָדָם עוֹשֶׂה בְּעִילָתוֹ בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ בְּעִילַת זְנוּת וַהֲרֵי בְּיָדוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹתָהּ בְּעִילַת מִצְוָה. לְפִיכָךְ הֲרֵי זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת קִדּוּשֵׁי וַדַּאי וּצְרִיכָה מִמֶּנּוּ גֵּט שֵׁנִי:

18

[There is an extension to the above principle.] If a man entered into privacy with his divorcee in the presence of witnesses, the two witnesses observed [their conduct] simultaneously,53 and [the couple] had been married previously, we suspect that they engaged in sexual relations.

The witnesses to their entrance into privacy are thus considered to be witnesses to sexual relations. For a person who consecrates his wife via sexual relations need not engage in relations in the presence of witnesses. [All that] is necessary that [the couple] enter into privacy in the presence of witnesses and engage in relations in privacy, as explained.54

Since [it is possible that the couple engaged in relations], the status of the woman is in doubt, because we suspect that she has been consecrated. Because of this suspicion, she requires a [second] get. If, however, the woman had merely been consecrated and was divorced [before she was married], we do not suspect [that they engaged in sexual relations], because they did not share such familiarity.55

יח

נִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵי הָעֵדִים כְּאֶחָד. אִם הָיְתָה מְגֹרֶשֶׁת מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ שֶׁמָּא נִבְעֲלָה וְהֵן הֵן עֵדֵי יִחוּד הֵן הֵן עֵדֵי בִּיאָה. שֶׁכָּל הַמְקַדֵּשׁ בְּבִיאָה אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִבְעל בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים אֶלָּא יִתְיַחֵד בִּפְנֵיהֶן וְיִבְעל כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. לְפִיכָךְ צְרִיכָה גֵּט מִסָּפֵק וַהֲרֵי הִיא סָפֵק מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת. וְאִם הָיְתָה מְגֹרֶשֶׁת מִן הָאֵרוּסִין אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין לִבּוֹ גַּס בָּהּ:

19

Several of the geonim have ruled that any woman with whom a man engaged in sexual relations in the presence of witnesses requires a get, [the rationale for their ruling being that] a person will not carry out sexual relations with a licentious intent.

[Moreover,] they extended [the application of] this principle, until they decided to rule that when a man's maidservant bore him a son, we take the matter into account, and the man's wife is not [allowed to perform] the rite of yibbum [if he dies without children],56 lest he have freed his maidservant57 and afterwards engaged in relations with her [with the intent of consecrating her]. And there are those who ruled that we can definitely assume that he freed her [and consecrated her],58 for a man will not carry out sexual relations with a licentious intent.

I considered these opinions to be far from the paths of the Torah judgment, and it is not fit for one to rely on them. Our Sages made such statements only with regard to [a man's] wife whom he divorced, or to a person who consecrated a woman conditionally and then entered into sexual relations without clarifying his intent.59 For in these instances the woman is the man's wife, and with regard to a man's wife we assume that he will not enter into sexual relations with a licentious intent unless he explicitly states that this is his intent, or that he is entering into these relations with a condition in mind.60

With regard to other women, however, [we do not follow this assumption]. Instead, whenever [a man enters into relations with] a wanton woman, we assume that he had a licentious intent,61 unless he explicitly states that he intends to consecrate her. Needless to say, this applies with regard to a maidservant62 or to a gentile woman,63 for our marriage laws do not apply with regard to them at all, and we have no suspicions [with regard to marriage] at all. A son born by them is assumed to be a gentile or a servant until it is definitively substantiated that his mother was freed or converted.

יט

הוֹרוּ מִקְצָת הַגְּאוֹנִים שֶׁכָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁתִּבָּעֵל בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים צְרִיכָה גֵּט. חֲזָקָה שֶׁאֵין אָדָם עוֹשֶׂה בְּעִילָתוֹ בְּעִילַת זְנוּת. וְהִגְדִּילוּ וְהוֹסִיפוּ בְּדָבָר זֶה שֶׁעָלָה עַל דַּעְתָּם עַד שֶׁהוֹרוּ שֶׁמִּי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ בֶּן מִשִּׁפְחָתוֹ חוֹשְׁשִׁין לוֹ וְלֹא תִּתְיַבֵּם אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁמָּא שִׁחְרֵר שִׁפְחָתוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא עָלֶיהָ. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהוֹרָה שֶׁוַּדַּאי שִׁחְרְרָהּ שֶׁאֵין אָדָם עוֹשֶׂה בְּעִילָתוֹ בְּעִילַת זְנוּת. וְכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה רְחוֹקִים הֵם בְּעֵינַי עַד מְאֹד מִדַּרְכֵי הַהוֹרָאָה וְאֵין רָאוּי לִסְמֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶן. שֶׁלֹּא אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים חֲזָקָה זוֹ אֶלָּא בְּאִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁגֵּרְשָׁהּ בִּלְבַד אוֹ בִּמְקַדֵּשׁ עַל תְּנַאי וּבָעַל סְתָם שֶׁהֲרֵי אִשְׁתּוֹ הִיא וּבְאִשְׁתּוֹ הִיא שֶׁחֶזְקָתוֹ שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה בְּעִילַת זְנוּת עַד שֶׁיְּפָרֵשׁ שֶׁהִיא בְּעִילַת זְנוּת אוֹ יְפָרֵשׁ שֶׁעַל תְּנַאי הוּא בּוֹעֵל. אֲבָל בִּשְׁאָר הַנָּשִׁים הֲרֵי כָּל זוֹנָה בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁבָּעַל לְשֵׁם זְנוּת עַד שֶׁיְּפָרֵשׁ כִּי הוּא לְשֵׁם קִדּוּשִׁין. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בְּשִׁפְחָה אוֹ כּוּתִית שֶׁאֵינָהּ בַּת קִדּוּשִׁין שֶׁאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהֶן כְּלָל. וַהֲרֵי הַבֵּן מֵהֶן בְּחֶזְקַת כּוּתִי וְעֶבֶד עַד שֶׁיִּוָּדַע בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּחְרְרָה אִמּוֹ אוֹ נִתְגַּיְּרָה:

20

When it has been assumed that a woman is either married or consecrated, and a rumor is spread in [her] city that she has been divorced, [the rumor] is not given credence, and we continue to operate under the assumption [that there was no change in her status].64 [This applies] even if the majority, or even the entire city spread this rumor.

[Different rules apply, however, in the following instance.] A rumor was spread through the city that a woman was consecrated, and that rumor was reported in court, in which case we suspect that the woman was consecrated, as explained.65 Afterwards, a rumor was spread that she was divorced from those kiddushin; we consider her to be divorced.66 [Since] she was forbidden on the basis of a rumor, she is permitted on the basis of a rumor.

כ

מִי שֶׁהֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין בֵּין מִן הָאֵרוּסִין וְיָצָא שְׁמָהּ בָּעִיר מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. אֲפִלּוּ רֹב הָעִיר אוֹ כֻּלָּהּ מַעֲבִירִין הַקּוֹל שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה אֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ וַהֲרֵי הִיא בְּחֶזְקָתָהּ. אֲבָל אִם יָצָא שְׁמָהּ בָּעִיר מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת וְהֻחְזַק הַקּוֹל בְּבֵית דִּין שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת בְּסָפֵק כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ וְאַחַר כָּךְ יָצָא עָלֶיהָ קוֹל שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה מֵאוֹתָן הַקִּדּוּשִׁין הַקּוֹל אֲסָרָהּ וְהַקּוֹל הִתִּירָהּ וַהֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת:

21

[A man] should not marry a woman if he intends to divorce her.67 Nor should he maintain her as a wife68 and live with her, if he intends to divorce her.69

A man should not divorce his first wife unless he discovers an incident of sexual misconduct,70, as [Deuteronomy 24:1] states: "When he finds evidence of sexual misconduct...." One should not hurry to divorce one's first wife.71 With regard to a second wife, by contrast, if one hates her, one may send her away.72

כא

לֹא יִשָּׂא אָדָם אִשָּׁה וְדַעְתּוֹ לְגָרְשָׁהּ. וְלֹא תִּהְיֶה יוֹשֶׁבֶת תַּחְתָּיו וּמְשַׁמַּשְׁתּוֹ וְדַעְתּוֹ לְגָרְשָׁהּ. וְלֹא יְגָרֵשׁ אָדָם אִשְׁתּוֹ רִאשׁוֹנָה אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן מָצָא בָּהּ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד א) ״‎כִּי מָצָא בָהּ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר״‎ וְגוֹ'. וְאֵין רָאוּי לוֹ לְמַהֵר לְשַׁלֵּחַ אִשְׁתּוֹ רִאשׁוֹנָה. אֲבָל שְׁנִיָּה אִם שְׂנֵאָהּ יְשַׁלְּחֶנָּה:

22

It is a mitzvah to divorce a woman who possesses unsavory character traits and does not conduct herself modestly73, as is the practice of proper daughters of Israel, as [implied by Proverbs 22:10]: "Drive away the scoffer, and contention will depart."

When a woman has been divorced for loose moral conduct,74 it is not fitting for a proper man to marry her, lest people say: "This one sent away this wicked woman, and this one brought her home."

כב

אִשָּׁה רָעָה בְּדֵעוֹתֶיהָ וְשֶׁאֵינָהּ צְנוּעָה כִּבְנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל הַכְּשֵׁרוֹת מִצְוָה לְגָרְשָׁהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי כב י) ״‎גָּרֵשׁ לֵץ וְיֵצֵא מָדוֹן״‎. וְאִשָּׁה שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה מִשּׁוּם פְּרִיצוּת אֵין רָאוּי לְאָדָם כָּשֵׁר שֶׁיִּשָּׂאֶנָּה. שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמְרוּ זֶה הוֹצִיא רְשָׁעָה מִבֵּיתוֹ וְזֶה מַכְנִיסָהּ:

23

When a man's wife becomes a deaf-mute,75 he may divorce her, [by giving her] a get, and the divorce is effective. If, however, [his wife] loses control of her mental or emotional faculties,76 he may not divorce her until she regains stability.

This is a prescript ordained by our Sages so that she will not [be divorced and left] unattended, [and be violated] by immoral people, for she is unable to care for herself. Therefore, [her husband] should provide a place for her, provide her with food and drink from her own resources,77 and marry another woman. He is not obligated to provide her with her sustenance, garments and conjugal rights.78 [For although our Sages compelled the husband to remain married to such a woman, they did not compel him to live with her as man and wife,] because a mentally sound individual cannot endure living with a mentally incapable person in one dwelling.

[The husband] is not obligated to provide her with medical treatment,79 nor to redeem her if she is taken captive. If he divorces her, the divorce is binding.80 He should remove her from his home, and he is not obligated to care for her.

כג

מִי שֶׁנִּתְחָרְשָׁה אִשְׁתּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה מְגָרְשָׁהּ בְּגֵט וְתִהְיֶה מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. אֲבָל אִם נִשְׁתַּטֵּית אֵינוֹ מוֹצִיאָהּ עַד שֶׁתַּבְרִיא. וְדָבָר זֶה תַּקָּנַת חֲכָמִים הוּא כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תְּהֵא הֶפְקֵר לִפְרוּצִין שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לִשְׁמֹר עַצְמָהּ. לְפִיכָךְ מַנִּיחָהּ וְנוֹשֵׂא אַחֶרֶת וּמַאֲכִילָהּ וּמַשְׁקָהּ מִשֶּׁלָּהּ. וְאֵין מְחַיְּבִין אוֹתוֹ בִּשְׁאֵר כְּסוּת וְעוֹנָה שֶׁאֵין כֹּחַ בְּבֶן דַּעַת לָדוּר עִם הַשּׁוֹטִים בְּבַיִת אֶחָד. וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְרַפְּאוֹתָהּ וְלֹא לִפְדּוֹתָהּ. וְאִם גֵּרְשָׁהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת וּמוֹצִיאָהּ מִבֵּיתוֹ וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לַחֲזֹר וּלְהִטָּפֵל בָּהּ:

Footnotes
1.

In the Talmud, by contrast, the terms bateil and pasul do not have these specific meanings. There are times when pasul is used to connote a get that is unacceptable according to Scriptural law, and bateil to refer to a get that is unacceptable according to Rabbinic law (Maggid Mishneh). (See also the responsum of the Rambam quoted by the Maggid Mishneh in his gloss on Chapter 8, Halachah 4.)

2.

The Ra'avad differs and maintains that the priest should be forbidden to remain married to a woman he divorced with such a get, lest the impression be created that the prohibition against a priest's marrying a divorcee can be waived. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 150:3), however, accepts the Rambam's ruling.

3.

See Chapter 8, Halachah 5.

4.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam considers the proof-text that he quotes as an asmachta - i.e., a support from the Torah invented by the Rabbis to uphold their decree. The Maggid Mishneh himself differs, noting that Gittin 82a appears to indicate that the prohibition is of Scriptural origin.

Kin'at Eliyahu explains that the Rambam's conception can be resolved based on his statements in Sefer HaMitzvot (General Principle 2), that any law that is not explicitly stated in the Torah, but rather derived through the Thirteen Principles of Biblical exegesis, is considered to be Rabbinic in origin (midivrei soferim). This classification does not, however, in any way diminish the status of this practice, and it is as though it were explicitly stated in the Torah. (See the commentaries on Hilchot Ishut 1:2.) Similarly, in this instance the prohibition is not explicit in the Torah, but rather derived through exegesis. Thus, it has the status of Scriptural law, but is considered to be Rabbinic in origin.

It must be emphasized that just as the woman is prohibited from remarrying a priest if divorced, she is also prohibited from remaining married to her husband, if he is a priest [Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 150:3)].

5.

I.e., according to Scriptural law, the divorce is binding. Our Sages, however, disqualified the divorce and forbade the woman from remarrying until a get is given that presents no halachic difficulties.

6.

Similarly, if her first husband is a priest, he may no longer become impure while caring for her burial (Hilchot Eivel 2:13).

7.

Since her divorce is effective according to Scriptural law, our Sages did not abrogate her second marriage.

8.

I.e., in these instances, our Sages were unsure whether or not the get is valid according to Scriptural law. Because of the doubt, the woman is not allowed to engage in marital relations with anyone other than her first husband until an acceptable get is given. The first husband can no longer annul her vows, nor does he have the right to inherit her property if she dies in his lifetime.

9.

The Rambam's intent is somewhat questionable. The Maggid Mishneh and the Kessef Mishneh explain that even in this situation, the husband must consecrate his wife a second time.

10.

For the marriage blessings should not be recited if there is a doubt whether they are necessary. Even with regard to a get that was disqualified by Rabbinic law, since the woman should not remarry, the blessings should not be recited (Maggid Mishneh).

11.

The marriage contract states: "When you [may] marry another person, you may collect the sum mentioned within." Since such a woman is not fit to remarry, and she could not collect the money due her by virtue of her original marriage contract, that contract remains in effect (Maggid Mishneh).

12.

Although her second marriage is void, and thus, according to Scriptural law there is no need for a get, our Sages established such a requirement because of the impression that might be created.

13.

When a woman commits adultery, she is forbidden to engage in marital relations both with her husband and with the adulterer (even after being divorced from her husband). In this instance, the woman's second marriage is an adulterous relationship. Therefore, she may not remain married to either of her husbands.

14.

I.e., the abovementioned prohibition stems from Scriptural law. It applies, however, only when the prohibition against adultery was willfully violated. Nevertheless, even when adultery was committed unwittingly, the woman is forbidden to both husbands: to her second husband, because her marriage to her first husband has not been terminated, and to her first husband, because of the Rabbinical decree mentioned by the Rambam.

15.

As explained in Hilchot Ishut 4:9, a deaf-mute's mental capacity is considered insufficient for him to establish a marriage bond. Nevertheless, our Sages ordained that if a deaf-mute man or woman enters into a marriage relationship, that relationship is binding according to Rabbinic law, regardless of whether the mate is also a deaf-mute or is fully mentally competent.

Since a deaf-mute's marriage is not effective according to Torah law, there is room to suppose that the woman should be allowed to remarry her first husband, for the difference between a deaf-mute's marriage and an ordinary marriage is obvious. And conversely, one might assume that since a deaf-mute is not held responsible for his actions, if a woman's second husband were a deaf-mute, they would be allowed to remain married. For these reasons, it is necessary to state that the stringencies apply in these instances as well.

16.

Since the woman did not enter into forbidden marital relations, there is no reason to penalize her (Yevamot 89a).

17.

The second husband is not entitled to the article, because he is not truly her husband. The first husband is not entitled to it because our Sages granted a husband rights to ownerless articles his wife discovers to prevent friction from arising in the home, and in this instance, since he is required to divorce her, there is no need to prevent friction (Yevamot 90b).

18.

A husband is granted the profits from his wife's work in return for providing for her sustenance. Since neither of the husbands is required to provide for her, neither is entitled to this benefit (Ibid.).

19.

The Torah granted a husband the right to annul his wife's vows so that she will remain attractive to him. In this instance, the husband should not be attracted to the wife (Ibid.).

20.

Our Sages explained that the woman should have been entitled to be recompensed for these benefits. Nevertheless, they were withheld from her as a penalty for her actions. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 17:56) does rule that the benefits that her second husband received after her first husband returned (or after the get was discovered void) should be returned to her.

21.

Our Sages instituted the requirement of a marriage contract so that a husband would be deterred by the financial burden he would have to bear, and would not consider divorce a light matter. In this instance, however, our Sages desire the divorce. Therefore, they did not impose a financial burden (Yevamot 89a).

22.

It is only when a woman is entitled to the money due her by virtue of her marriage contract that the stipulations apply (Ibid.).

23.

I.e., she is judged as a woman who was divorced because of adultery, who is penalized, as stated in Hilchot Ishut 24:10. She is, however, entitled to take all her property that remains intact [Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.)].

24.

Property for which the husband takes financial responsibility (Hilchot Ishut 16:1).

25.

For when she received the funds, they were not aware of the prohibition (Jerusalem Talmud, Yevamot 10:1).

26.

As reflected in the following halachot, based on Yevamot 94b, it appears that only when the woman has been merely consecrated is a get required from the second husband. For it is possible for an onlooker to think that perhaps the first kiddushin were given conditionally, and the marriage to the second brother is binding. Lest a misconception arise and one think that a married woman can be released without a get, the second husband is required to give a get.

If she was married to - not merely consecrated by - her first husband, a get is not required from the second husband, because when his brother returns, everyone will realize that his marriage to his brother's wife is not binding. Rabbenu Asher makes a further distinction and states that when the woman was married to - not merely consecrated by - the first brother, she and her first husband may continue living together as man and wife, despite the fact that she erred and performed the rite of yibbum. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 159:4) follows the Rambam's ruling, while the Ramah follows that of Rabbenu Asher.

27.

It is forbidden to marry two sisters in each other's lifetime. Once a man's wife dies, however, he may marry her sister. (See also Hilchot Yibbum 3:11.)

28.

The intent is the Hebrew term arayot, a word with a specific meaning. As explained in Hilchot Ishut 1:5, this refers to a woman with whom sexual relations are forbidden and punishable by karet.

29.

E.g., one was unaware of the family connection.

30.

For, as mentioned, a marriage bond cannot be established with one of the arayot.

If the man married the first sister, then there is no possibility of such a misconception arising. A man will never marry a woman conditionally, for if the condition is not fulfilled, their marital relations are considered to be sinful. We assume that a person will not take that risk (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 15:27). (Note, however, Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 2:10 and the gloss of the Ra'avad.)

31.

The wording used by the Rambam here is somewhat confusing. For the scribe should give the get to the husband, who should give it to his wife. The intent appears to be, as in the source for this halachah, Gittin 80a, that the scribe gave the man the receipt and the woman the get, and they exchanged them. Thus, the woman was never given the get by her husband.

32.

Indeed, we do not even require that, as a safeguard, the first husband give her the get while she is married to her second husband (Beit Shmuel 151:2).

The Beit Shmuel also states that this law applies even if the woman was merely consecrated by the second husband, but their marriage had not been consummated.

33.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Gittin 8:7), the Rambam explains that the husband is acting out of spite, seeking to prevent his divorcee from remarrying. Rashi (Gittin 80a) offers a different rationale.

34.

See Hilchot Ishut 24:16.

35.

This represents the Rambam's interpretation of Gittin 45b, 46b. Other halachic authorities view this situation slightly differently. The various views are listed in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 10:3).

36.

I.e., it is as if he gave her the get on the condition that she remain unchaste, and, because of her repentance, that condition was not fulfilled. Most authorities maintain that since this condition was not actually stated, such a complaint would not be heeded by the court. Nevertheless, since the matter might become a subject for gossip, her first husband is bound by these restrictions (Tosafot, Gittin 46a). From one of the Rambam's responsa, however, it appears that he maintains that the get would actually be void in such an instance.

37.

If, however, she was consecrated by another man, even if she was divorced before their marriage was consummated, she may not remarry her first husband and must be divorced by him if they do remarry, as stated in Chapter 11, Halachah 12.

38.

A woman who suffers from physical disorders and lacks female physical characteristics. She is unable to bear children. (See Hilchot Ishut 2:6, 15:7, 24:1.)

39.

See Hilchot Ishut 25:8-9.

40.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 5. If, however, a person brings a get from one place in Eretz Yisrael to another, the permission granted to the woman to remarry does not depend on his statements. Therefore, he is permitted to marry her (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 12:1).

41.

See Chapter 12, Halachah 15.

42.

I.e., a woman took a vow that caused her to be forbidden to derive benefit from her husband, in which case he is required to divorce her. She asked a sage to annul the vow, but he could not find a halachic basis to do so (Yevamot 25b).

43.

For this would substantiate the initial rumor and make the couple a subject of gossip (Yevamot 24b). On this basis, there are authorities who rule that if the rumor is substantiated - e.g., a couple are openly living together, or were married in a secular court - the woman should be encouraged to convert, and they should be married according to Jewish law.

Indeed, we find a responsum of the Rambam himself regarding a man who had an attractive female servant, and it was rumored that they had spent time together in private. The Rambam advises that the man be compelled to free the servant and either marry her or send her away. He acknowledges that doing so would violate the Rabbinic decree mentioned in this halachah, but states that because of the permissive state of morals prevalent in his society, there is no alternative.

44.

From Yevamot (loc. cit.), it would appear that the reason for this restriction is that people should not say that the man converted in order to marry. This is undesirable. (See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 13:14.) With regard to this prohibition as well, it has become customary in the present time to show leniency.

45.

There are opinions that state that if the woman has merely been consecrated, but the marriage bond has not been consummated, the couple should be forced to separate. (See Maggid Mishneh; Beit Shmuel 12:2). There are other opinions, however, that maintain that the consecration is equivalent to the consummation of the marriage. Rav David Arameah cites Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 21:31 as an indication that the Rambam follows the latter view.

46.

The Maggid Mishneh quotes the Rashba as maintaining that a witness who brought a get and said "It was written and signed in my presence," should be forced to divorce the woman if he marries her. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 12:1) quotes the Rambam's ruling. See Chelkat Mechokek 12:1.

47.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 12:4) writes that if the man's wife was sick at the time that the woman became eligible for marriage, the prohibition remains in effect. For it possible that he was waiting for her to die.

The Chelkat Mechokek 12:2 extends this stringency to include a man and wife whose marriage was known to be plagued by strife. Even if the divorce came at the woman's initiative, it is possible that the man expected it and had planned another alternative.

48.

It is unlikely that two individuals will sin so that one may benefit (Jerusalem Talmud, Yevamot 2:12). The Hagahot Maimoniot, nevertheless, state that "a master of his soul" should avoid such a marriage.

49.

Lest the woman later regret her decision (Yevamot 109b).

50.

If the woman has remarried and divorced, however, the presumption stated does not apply, for it is forbidden for her first husband to remarry her (Beit Shmuel 149:2).

51.

Although this would make it appear more likely that the man was relating to her as a prostitute and not as a wife, it is not sufficient cause for us to negate our presumption (Gittin 73b).

52.

The Beit Shmuel 149:3 interprets this to mean that if another person consecrates her afterwards, we consider it as if he had consecrated a married woman, and he is not required to divorce her.

53.

It is not sufficient for one to have observed them in private at one time, and the other at a different time, for the two witnesses who observe the consecration of a woman must be together at that time.

54.

Hilchot Ishut 3:5; see also Hilchot Ishut 14:16, which states that it is forbidden to engage in sexual relations in the presence of others.

55.

The previous halachah dealt with an instance in which relations were observed; hence, no distinction was made whether the couple was divorced before or after their first marriage was consummated. In this instance, they merely entered into privacy together. If, however, we know for a fact that a couple shared familiarity before the marriage bond was completed, a second get is required (Maggid Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 149:2).

56.

A son borne by a maidservant is not considered to have any connection to his father. These authorities, however, suspect that the woman was freed and then married, and that the child thus shares a connection with his father. According to this opinion, chalitzah is, nevertheless, required.

57.

For until the maidservant is freed, she cannot be married.

58.

These authorities do not even require chalitzah.

59.

See Hilchot Ishut 7:23.

60.

The Radbaz and others state that if the witnesses know that the woman is in the niddah state, we do not assume that the couple entered into relations for the sake of marriage. If they are prepared to violate the prohibition of niddah, we assume that they will have no hesitation to conduct relations outside marriage. [Some modern authorities consider taking this concept even further. Although a man and a woman claim that their intent is "marriage," if they violate the laws of niddah, their conception of marriage is not kedat Moshe viYisrael, "according to the faith of Moses and Israel," and Torah law does not require a divorce. See the responsum of the Rivash cited below.]

61.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam on this matter and maintains that if a man is in general known to be moral and observant, we assume that he will not enter into sexual relations with a licentious intent. This applies even if he entered into relations with a maidservant. If, however, the man has a reputation for wanton behavior, this assumption is not applied. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 149:5) follows the Rambam's view.

In the law that follows, the Shulchan Aruch explains that if a Jewish man and woman marry according to gentile law, we do not consider them to be man and wife according to Torah law. This ruling is based on a ruling of the Rivash (Responsum 6), which explains that a Jewish marriage must be "according to the faith of Moses and Israel," and a couple who marry according to gentile law, regardless of their desire to live together, are not establishing their union on this foundation.

62.

See Hilchot Nachalot 4:6.

63.

In this instance, the Ra'avad accepts the Rambam's ruling, for it is impossible for a man to compel a woman to convert.

64.

Thus, if her husband was a priest (who may not marry a divorced woman), he may remain married to her. We do not suspect that he divorced her and remarried her. (See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 17:20.)

65.

See Hilchot Ishut 9:22.

66.

The Ra'avad differs with the Rambam and interprets Gittin 88b, the source for this halachah, as referring to an instance where there is one rumor that says that the woman was consecrated and then divorced. Although Rashi and others interpret the passage as the Rambam does, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 46:7) appears to merge both views into a single understanding.

67.

If the man informs a woman that he intends to divorce her, he may marry her for a brief amount of time (Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 21:28; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 119:1).

68.

He did not intend to divorce her originally, made this decision after they married, but lives together with her as husband and wife with the thought of divorcing her in the future.

69.

Children conceived during this time will have severely tainted personalities, as stated in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 21:12.

70.

There is somewhat of a difficulty with the Rambam's ruling. The opinion he cites is that of the School of Shammai, as mentioned at the conclusion of the tractate of Gittin. The School of Hillel differs and maintains that if a woman wrongs her husband, even with regard to as insignificant a matter as burning his meal, he may divorce her. Rabbi Akiva goes even further and maintains that even if a person finds a more attractive woman, he may divorce his wife.

Most authorities agree that in this, as in most other instances, the halachah follows the School of Hillel. Why then does the Rambam (and the Shulchan Aruch [Even HaEzer 119:3]) follow the opinion of the School of Shammai?

Among the resolutions offered is that the difference of opinion between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel applies only with regard to a second marriage. With regard to a first marriage, by contrast, even the School of Hillel accepts the School of Shammai's stringency (Beit Yosef, Even HaEzer 119).

Note also the statements of the Ramah, who rules that the prohibition applied only during the Talmudic era, when a woman could be divorced against her will. In the present era, when a woman must willingly accept a divorce, this prohibition does not apply.

71.

See Gittin 90b, which states that whenever a man divorces his first wife, the altar itself cries.

On the surface, the wording used by the Rambam is problematic. First he says that it is forbidden to divorce one's first wife, and then he states that one should not hurry, implying that one may, but that it is ethical not to be impulsive about the matter. The Chelkat Mechokek 119:2 offers two resolutions: a) The prohibition exists only when, as was possible in the Talmudic era, the husband is divorcing his first wife against her will. If she is willing to accept the divorce, there is no prohibition; one should, however, proceed without haste. b) Even when one hears about improper sexual conduct, one should not be hasty about the matter. Instead, the incident should be investigated carefully to determine if in fact any wrongdoing occurred.

72.

Although divorce is undesirable, an unhealthy marriage is even more undesirable, and a marriage should be terminated if there are severe ill feelings between a couple.

73.

The implication is both that she is continually contending with her husband and that she is immodest. In such an instance, it is a mitzvah to divorce her, even if she is a man's first bride (Chelkat Mechokek 119:4).

74.

See Hilchot Ishut 24:12.

75.

This refers to a situation in which a woman married while fully capable and became a deaf-mute while married. Since a deaf-mute is considered to be mentally incapable, such a person is unable to establish a marriage bond that is binding according to Scriptural law. Our Rabbis made certain provisions for the marriage of such individuals, as explained in Hilchot Ishut 4:9. In this instance, however, since the woman was not a deaf-mute at the time of marriage, the marriage is binding according to Scriptural law.

The law teaches us that since according to Scriptural and Talmudic law, a woman can be divorced against her will, the fact that the woman is mentally incapable does not prevent her husband from divorcing her. Since a woman who is a deaf-mute is not totally incapable of caring for herself, our Sages did not make provisions for her, as they did for a woman who becomes mentally unsound.

76.

This also refers to a situation in which the woman lost control of her faculties after marriage. If, however, she was mentally unstable at the outset, any marriage that she enters into is not binding at all (Hilchot Ishut, loc. cit.).

77.

He must, however, put at the woman's disposal the money due her by virtue of her marriage contract and the money due from her dowry (Chelkat Mechokek 119:9).

78.

This ruling does not apply in the Ashkenazic community, nor in other places where the custom is to follow the ban of Rabbenu Gershom not to divorce one's wife against her will. In these communities, the husband is required to provide for his wife's sustenance and garments from his own resources. The rationale is that since he is not able to divorce her - for she is not capable of consenting to the divorce - he remains liable to bear the financial burden of supporting her (Chelkat Mechokek 119:9).

The husband is not, however, obligated to give her conjugal rights. The Bayit Chadash (Even HaEzer 119) and the Chelkat Mechokek 119:12 state that in such a situation, the husband may be granted license to marry a second wife by 100 rabbis.

79.

Even according to the law in Talmudic times, many differ with the Rambam's thesis and maintain that the husband is obligated for his wife's medical expenses.

The Ra'avad protests that in many instances, a person with mental disorders can be rehabilitated, and he maintains that the husband should be required to pay for such treatment. The Beit Shmuel 119:11 states that even the Rambam would agree to such an obligation.

In the Ashkenazic community today, just as a husband is required to supply his wife with her sustenance in such a situation, he is also held liable for all her medical expenses (Ramah, Even HaEzer 119:6, Chelkat Mechokek 119:12).

80.

As the Ra'avad mentions, in an instance when a woman has lost mental competence to the extent that she cannot safeguard the get she was given, all authorities agree that the divorce is not binding. Even when she has that degree of mental competence, there are many authorities that maintain that the divorce is not effective. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 119:6) quotes the Rambam's view, as interpreted by the Ra'avad. The Ramah follows the more stringent views.

Gerushin - Chapter Eleven

1

One should not marry a girl below the age of majority.1 When a man marries an orphan girl below the age of majority, and [before she attains majority] she [decides that] she does not desire [to remain married to] this husband, she rejects [the marriage] and departs; a get is not required, because a consecration effected by a minor does not establish a marriage bond in the full sense, as explained.2 [The annulment of a marriage in this manner is referred to as mi'un.]

Similarly, when a girl below majority was married at her father's initiative,3 but was then widowed or divorced while still a minor, she is considered to be an orphan, although her father is alive.4 If she marries again while she is below the age of majority, she may annul her marriage through mi'un.

א

אֵין נוֹשְׂאִין אֶת הַקְּטנָּה. וְהַנּוֹשֵׂא קְטַנָּה יְתוֹמָה וְלֹא רָצְתָה בַּבַּעַל הֲרֵי זוֹ מְמָאֶנֶת וְהוֹלֶכֶת וְאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה מִמֶּנּוּ גֵּט. שֶׁאֵין קִדּוּשִׁין שֶׁל קְטַנָּה קִדּוּשִׁין גְּמוּרִין כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְכֵן קְטַנָּה שֶׁהִשִּׂיאָהּ אָבִיהָ וְנִתְאַלְמְנָה אוֹ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה הֲרֵי הִיא כִּיתוֹמָה בְּחַיֵּי אָבִיהָ. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה הֲרֵי זוֹ מְמָאֶנֶת:

2

Although the marriage of a woman who is a deaf-mute is a Rabbinic institution like that of a minor, our Sages did not give her the right to annul it through mi'un, so that men would not refrain from marrying her.5

ב

הַחֵרֶשֶׁת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּשּׂוּאֶיהָ מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים כְּנִשּׂוּאֵי קְטַנָּה לֹא תִּקְּנוּ לָהּ שֶׁתְּמָאֵן כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִמָּנְעוּ מִלְּנָשְׂאָהּ:

3

A minor can annul her marriage via mi'un whether she has been merely consecrated or [even if] the marriage has been consummated. [She can exercise this privilege] in her husband's presence, or outside his presence. Just as she can annul her marriage to her husband, she can annul her relationship to a yavam.6

Just as she can annul one marriage through mi'un, so too, she can annul a second marriage or a third marriage. Indeed, [she can exercise this privilege] any number of times.7

As long as she is a minor, she has the right to annul her marriage through mi'un. When a minor does not exercise the right of mi'un and becomes consecrated to another man despite the fact that she was married, [the consecration is binding]. Becoming consecrated is [obviously] a rejection [- and thus an annulment - of her previous marriage].

ג

מְמָאֶנֶת הִיא הַקְּטַנָּה בֵּין מִן הָאֵרוּסִין בֵּין מִן הַנִּשּׂוּאִין. בֵּין בִּפְנֵי בַּעְלָהּ בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא בְּפָנָיו. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁמְּמָאֶנֶת בְּבַעַל כָּךְ מְמָאֶנֶת בְּיָבָם. וּמְמָאֶנֶת בְּבַעַל זֶה וּמְמָאֶנֶת בְּשֵׁנִי אִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאַחֵר וְכֵן בִּשְׁלִישִׁי אֲפִלּוּ כַּמָּה פְּעָמִים כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה יֵשׁ לָהּ לְמָאֵן. וּקְטַנָּה שֶׁלֹּא מֵאֲנָה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא נְשׂוּאָה וְהָלְכָה וְנִתְקַדְּשָׁה לְאַחֵר כְּשֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ הֵם הֵם מֵאוּנֶיהָ:

4

Until when may a girl annul her marriage through mi'un? Throughout the entire time she is a minor, until she becomes a na'arah,8 or until it is known that she becomes classified as an aylonit.9

When does the above10 apply? When her husband did not engage in marital relations with her after she became twelve years and one day old. If, however, the couple engaged in relations after she reached this age, since these relations consecrate her according to Scriptural law, as explained,11 she no longer has the right to annul her marriage through mi'un.

Similarly, [when the woman reaches this age, we assume that she has lost her right to annul her marriage through mi'un]. She need not be checked for signs of physical maturity, for it is assumed that she has manifested them.12

ד

עַד מָתַי הַבַּת מְמָאֶנֶת. כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהִיא קְטַנָּה עַד שֶׁתִּהְיֶה נַעֲרָה אוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּוָּדַע שֶׁהִיא אַיְלוֹנִית. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁלֹּא בָּא עָלֶיהָ הַבַּעַל אַחַר שֶׁנַּעֲשֵׂית בַּת י״‎ב שָׁנָה וְיוֹם אֶחָד. אֲבָל אִם הִגִּיעָה לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה וְנִבְעֲלָה הוֹאִיל וְהַבְּעִילָה קוֹנָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ מְמָאֶנֶת. וְאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה בְּדִיקָה לְמֵאוּן שֶׁחֶזְקָתָהּ שֶׁהֵבִיאָה סִימָנִין:

5

If she has undergone a physical inspection, and no signs of maturity were discovered, but she engaged in marital relations after the age when she could have manifested signs of maturity, we suspect that pubic hairs had grown and later fell off. Because of the doubt, the marriage must be dissolved with a get.

If a woman [who engaged in marital relations with her husband after reaching the age of twelve attempts to] annul her marriage through mi'un after undergoing a physical examination,13 and then is consecrated by another person, [her second husband also] must dissolve their relationship with a get, because of the doubt involved.14 If she married [the second husband], she must be divorced by both husbands and there is a doubt concerning the legitimacy of a child born to either of them [after her consecration to her second husband].15

ה

הֲרֵי שֶׁנִּבְדְּקָה וְלֹא נִמְצְאוּ לָהּ סִימָנִים הוֹאִיל וְנִבְעֲלָה אַחַר שֶׁהִגִּיעָה לַזְּמַן הָרָאוּי לְסִימָנִין הֲרֵי זוֹ חוֹשְׁשִׁין לָהּ שֶׁמָּא הֵבִיאָה וְנָשְׁרוּ. וּלְפִיכָךְ צְרִיכָה גֵּט מִסָּפֵק. וְאִם מֵאֲנָה אַחַר שֶׁנִּבְדְּקָה וְנִתְקַדְּשָׁה לְאַחֵר צְרִיכָה מִמֶּנּוּ גֵּט מִסָּפֵק. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה וְהַוָּלָד סְפֵק מַמְזֵר מִשְּׁנֵיהֶם:

6

When a minor does not exercise her right to mi'un and attains majority, she no longer has this privilege. [This applies] even when she did not engage in marital relations with her husband after reaching the age of twelve years and one day. Since she has attained majority, it is a Rabbinic decree that a divorce is required [if the marriage must be dissolved].

[The rationale for this ruling is as follows:] The couple did not engage in marital relations after she reached the age of na'arut, in which instance it would be necessary to suspect that she manifested signs of physical maturity, and accordinly, there would be a doubt whether or not a marriage bond had been established. Nor did they engage in relations after she attained majority, in which instance she would become a married woman in all regards. Accordingly, the only reason she requires a get is the fact of her marriage as a minor, which is a Rabbinic institution.

Based on the above, if another man consecrated her after she attained majority, [when she had not engaged in marital relations with her first husband from the age of twelve onward,] the second man's consecration is binding.16 As such, if her first husband divorces her, her second husband may consummate the marriage. If, however, her second husband divorces her, her first husband may not continue his marriage with her. [This is a decree, instituted] lest people say: "He remarried his divorcee after she was consecrated."17

If her second husband engaged in marital relations with her before her first husband divorced her, she must be divorced by both men. [This is a decree instituted] because [the situation] resembles an instance in which a woman heard that her husband died, she married, and then her first husband returned.18 [The laws governing the two situations are not entirely analogous. In this instance,] a child fathered by the second husband is not illegitimate.19 But if her first husband engages in relations with her before her second husband divorces her, any child born is illegitimate.20

ו

קְטַנָּה שֶׁלֹּא מֵאֲנָה וְהִגְדִּילָה וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא בְּעָלָהּ בַּעְלָהּ מִשֶּׁנַּעֲשֵׂית בַּת שְׁתֵּים עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה וְיוֹם אֶחָד הֲרֵי זוֹ אֵינָהּ מְמָאֶנֶת שֶׁהֲרֵי הִגְדִּילָה. וּצְרִיכָה גֵּט מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁהֲרֵי לֹא בָּא עָלֶיהָ אַחַר שֶׁהִגִּיעָה לִשְׁנֵי נַעֲרוּת עַד שֶׁנָּחוּשׁ לָהּ שֶׁמָּא הֵבִיאָה סִימָנִין וְתִהְיֶה סָפֵק מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת, וְלֹא בָּא עָלֶיהָ אַחַר שֶׁהִגְדִּילָה כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ גְּמוּרָה. וְנִמְצֵאת שֶׁאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה גֵּט אֶלָּא מִנִּשּׂוּאֵי קַטְנוּת שֶׁהֵן מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. לְפִיכָךְ אִם עָמְדָה וְנִתְקַדְּשָׁה אַחַר שֶׁגָּדְלָה תּוֹפְסִין בָּהּ קִדּוּשִׁין שֶׁל שֵׁנִי. וְאִם גֵּרֵשׁ הָרִאשׁוֹן יִכְנֹס הַשֵּׁנִי. אֲבָל אִם גֵּרֵשׁ שֵׁנִי לֹא יְקַיֵּם רִאשׁוֹן שֶׁמָּא יֹאמְרוּ הֶחֱזִיר גְּרוּשָׁתוֹ מֵאַחַר שֶׁנִּתְאָרְסָה. וְאִם בָּא עָלֶיהָ שֵׁנִי קֹדֶם שֶׁיְּגָרֵשׁ רִאשׁוֹן תֵּצֵא מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁדּוֹמֶה לְאִשָּׁה שֶׁשָּׁמְעָה שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ וְנִשֵּׂאת וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא בַּעְלָהּ. וְאֵין הַוָּלָד מִן הַשֵּׁנִי מַמְזֵר. וְאִם בָּא עָלֶיהָ רִאשׁוֹן קֹדֶם שֶׁגֵּרֵשׁ שֵׁנִי הַוָּלָד מַמְזֵר:

7

In which instances must a minor perform the rite of mi'un [to nullify her marriage]? [Our Sages established the following guidelines.] If she was between six and ten [when she was consecrated], we investigate the extent of her sagacity.

If she knows to guard [the money given to her to effect] the kiddushin, appreciates that it was given for that purpose and will guard it differently from the way in which she would guard a nut, a date or the like, she must perform the rite of mi'un [to nullify her marriage].

If she does not know to guard [the money given to her to effect] the kiddushin, she need not perform the rite of mi'un [to nullify her marriage]. Instead, she returns to her mother's home as if she had never been consecrated. If she is less than six, even if she knows [how to guard the money given her,] she need not perform the rite of mi'un. If she is more than ten, even if she is very inept, she must perform the rite of mi'un.21

Whenever a girl's brother, mother or relatives arranged for her marriage without telling her of the identity of the groom, she need not perform the rite of mi'un [to nullify her marriage].22

ז

אֵי זוֹ הִיא קְטַנָּה שֶׁצְּרִיכָה לְמָאֵן. מִבַּת שֵׁשׁ עַד בַּת עֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים בּוֹדְקִין אוֹתָהּ לְפִי יְפִי דַּעְתָּהּ אִם יוֹדַעַת לִשְׁמֹר קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ וְשֶׁהֵן קִדּוּשִׁין לֹא שֶׁתִּשְׁמֹר אוֹתָן כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁמְּשַׁמֶּרֶת הָאֱגוֹז וּתְמָרָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן הֲרֵי זוֹ צְרִיכָה מֵאוּן. וְאִם אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת לִשְׁמֹר קִדּוּשֶׁיהָ אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן אֶלָּא הוֹלֶכֶת לְבֵית אִמָּהּ כְּאִלּוּ לֹא נִתְקַדְּשָׁה מֵעוֹלָם. וּפְחוּתָה מִבַּת שֵׁשׁ אֲפִלּוּ יוֹדַעַת לִשְׁמֹר אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה מֵאוּן. וִיתֵרָה עַל בַּת עֶשֶׂר אֲפִלּוּ סְכָלָה בְּיוֹתֵר צְרִיכָה מֵאוּן. וְכָל מִי שֶׁהִשִּׂיאוּהָ אַחֶיהָ אוֹ אִמָּהּ אוֹ קְרוֹבֶיהָ שֶׁלֹּא לְדַעְתָּהּ אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְמָאֵן:

8

What does the rite of mi'un entail? She tells two witnesses:23 "I no longer desire my husband so and so," "I no longer desire to be consecrated [to the man] to whom my mother - or my brother - consecrated me," or the like.

[The above applies] even if the two individuals are guests dining in her husband's home and she is serving them. If she tells them, "I no longer desire my husband so and so," she has performed mi'un.

ח

כֵּיצַד מְמָאֶנֶת. אוֹמֶרֶת בִּפְנֵי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים אֵין רְצוֹנִי בִּפְלוֹנִי בַּעְלִי. אוֹ אֵין רְצוֹנִי בַּקִּדּוּשִׁין שֶׁקִּדְּשׁוּנִי אִמִּי אוֹ אַחַי. וְכַיּוֹצֵא בִּדְבָרִים אֵלּוּ. אֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ אוֹרְחִין מְסֻבִּין בְּבֵית בַּעְלָהּ וְהִיא עוֹמֶדֶת וּמַשְׁקָה עֲלֵיהֶן וְאָמְרָה אֵינִי רוֹצָה בִּפְלוֹנִי בַּעְלִי הֲרֵי זֶה מֵאוּן:

9

The two individuals in whose presence the minor performs the rite of mi'un should write the following for her: "On this and this day, _______________the daughter of _____________ rejected her husband." They sign the document and give it to her. This is the essential portion of a deed of mi'un.

A deed of mi'un does not resemble a bill of divorce, in which the giving of the bill effects the divorce.24 It need not be written with the proper intent, nor must it be transferred, nor do any of the laws required for a bill of divorce apply with regard to it. The wording used for a get is not used for it, lest it appear to be a get.25 It is merely a legal record.

ט

הַשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁמְּמָאֶנֶת הַקְּטַנָּה בִּפְנֵיהֶן כּוֹתְבִין לָהּ בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי מֵאֲנָה פְּלוֹנִית בַּת פְּלוֹנִי בְּפָנֵינוּ בִּפְלוֹנִי בַּעְלָהּ וְחוֹתְמִין וְנוֹתְנִין לָהּ. וְזֶה הוּא גּוּפוֹ שֶׁל גֵּט מֵאוּן. וְגֵט מֵאוּן אֵינוֹ כְּגֵט הַגֵּרוּשִׁין שֶׁנְּתִינָתוֹ מְגָרְשָׁהּ. וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ כְּתִיבָה לִשְׁמָהּ וְלֹא מְסִירָה וְלֹא דָּבָר מִמִּשְׁפְּטֵי גֵּט הַגֵּרוּשִׁין. וְאֵין כּוֹתְבִין בּוֹ טָפְסֵי הַגֵּט שֶׁמָּא יֵרָאֶה כְּגֵט גֵּרוּשִׁין לְפִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ אֶלָּא כְּמַעֲשֵׂה בֵּית דִּין:

10

The two individuals before whom a girl makes a statement of mi'un must know the identity of the girl and her husband. Therefore, whoever sees [a girl] make a statement of mi'un [in the presence of two other people] and hears that statement, is entitled to write a legal record of this statement, even though he was not aware of [the girl's] identity beforehand.26

It has become customary for the Jewish people to write a legal record of a statement of mi'un, employing the following text.

י

הַשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁמְּמָאֶנֶת בִּפְנֵיהֶן צְרִיכִין שֶׁיְּהוּ מַכִּירִין אוֹתָהּ וְאֶת בַּעְלָהּ שֶׁמֵּאֲנָה בּוֹ. לְפִיכָךְ כָּל מִי שֶׁרָאָה אוֹתָהּ שֶׁמֵּאֲנָה וְשָׁמַע מֵאוּנֶיהָ יֵשׁ לוֹ לִכְתֹּב גֵּט מֵאוּן לָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין מַכִּירָהּ. וּכְבָר נָהֲגוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לִכְתֹּב גֵּט מֵאוּן בְּנֹסַח זֶה:

11

A legal record of a statement of mi'un:

On this day of the week, and on this day of the month, in this year according to the following reckoning,27 so and so, the daughter of so and so (her father's name) issued a protest in our presence, saying: "My mother or my brother misled me and had me married - or consecrated - to so and so, the son of so and so (his father's name) while I was a minor. I am now making a statement in your presence that I do not desire him, nor can I live with him." We have had so and so undergo a physical examination,28 and it has been established that she is still a minor. [Hence,] we have written and signed this [legal document] and have given it to her to serve as support and clear evidence.

So and so, the son of so and so (his father's name), a witness;

So and so, the son of so and so (his father's name), a witness.

יא

גט מאון:
בְּכָךְ בְּשַׁבָּת כָּךְ וְכָךְ יוֹם לְחֹדֶשׁ פְּלוֹנִי שְׁנַת כָּךְ וְכָךְ לְמִנְיַן פְּלוֹנִי מֵאֲנָה פְּלוֹנִית בַּת פְּלוֹנִי בְּפָנֵינוּ וְאָמְרָה שֶׁאִמִּי אוֹ אַחַי הִטְעוּנִי וְהִשִּׂיאוּנִי אוֹ קִדְּשׁוּנִי וַאֲנִי קְטַנָּה לִפְלוֹנִי בַּר פְּלוֹנִי וְהַשְׁתָּא גִּלִּיתִי דַּעְתִּי קָדֳמֵיכוֹן דְּלָא צָבִינָא בֵּיהּ וְלֹא קָאֵימְנָא עִמֵּיהּ. וּבְדַקְנָא פְּלוֹנִית דָּא וְאִתְבָּרֵר לָנָא דַּעֲדַיִן קְטַנָּה הִיא וּכְתַבְנָא וַחֲתַמְנָא וְיָהִיבְנָא לָהּ לִזְכוּת וְלִרְאָיָה בְּרוּרָה: פְּלוֹנִי בַּר פְּלוֹנִי עֵד: פְּלוֹנִי בַּר פְּלוֹנִי עֵד:

12

When a man divorces his wife, and she becomes consecrated to another man, she is forbidden to her first [husband], even though she has not engaged in marital relations [with her second husband]. If her first [husband] remarries her and engages in sexual relations with her,29 he [transgresses a negative commandment,30 and] is punished by lashes. He is forced to divorce her, as [implied by Deuteronomy 24:4]: "Her first husband, who sent her away, may not [return and remarry her]."

יב

הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְנִתְקַדְּשָׁה לְאַחֵר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא בְּעָלָהּ נֶאֶסְרָה עַל הָרִאשׁוֹן. וְאִם הֶחֱזִיר הָרִאשׁוֹן וּבְעָלָהּ לוֹקֶה וְכוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לְהוֹצִיא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד ד) ״‎לֹא יוּכַל בַּעְלָהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן״‎ וְגוֹ':

13

If she engaged in promiscuous relations with another man while she was divorced, she is permitted to remarry her husband, for it is written [Deuteronomy 24:2]: "And she departed from his home and went and became another man's [wife]." It is "becom[ing] another man's [wife]" - i.e., being consecrated - which causes her to become forbidden to remarry her [first] husband.

יג

זִנְּתָה עִם אַחֵר כְּשֶׁהִיא גְּרוּשָׁה מֻתֶּרֶת לַחֲזֹר לְבַעְלָהּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד ב) ״‎וְיָצְאָה מִבֵּיתוֹ וְהָלְכָה וְהָיְתָה לְאִישׁ אַחֵר״‎. הֲוָיָתָהּ לְאִישׁ אַחֵר שֶׁהִיא הַקִּדּוּשִׁין הִיא שֶׁאוֹסֶרֶת אוֹתָהּ עַל בַּעְלָהּ לַחֲזֹר לוֹ:

14

Included in this prohibition is that every woman who engaged in adulterous relations becomes forbidden to her husband. He is punished by lashes [for engaging in marital relations with her],31as [implied by the inclusion of the phrase] "after she has become tainted" in [Deuteronomy 24:4]: "And [an adulterous woman] has been tainted." There is one exception: the wife of an Israelite32 who was raped.33

Therefore, whenever a woman becomes forbidden to her husband, because she violated his warning against entering into privacy with another man,34 and he engages in relations with her, he is punished by stripes of rebellion.35 If after divorcing his wife [for such reasons], the husband transgresses and remarries her, he must divorce her.

יד

וּבִכְלַל לָאו זֶה שֶׁכָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁזִּנְּתָה תַּחַת בַּעְלָהּ נֶאֶסְרָה עָלָיו וְלוֹקֶה עָלֶיהָ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כד ד) ״‎אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר הֻטַּמָּאָה״‎ וַהֲרֵי נִטְמְאָה. אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן הָיְתָה אֵשֶׁת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁנֶּאֶנְסָה. לְפִיכָךְ כָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁנֶּאֶסְרָה עַל בַּעְלָהּ עַל יְדֵי קִנּוּי וּסְתִירָה אִם בָּעַל אוֹתָהּ מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת. וְאִם עָבַר וְהֶחֱזִירָהּ אַחַר שֶׁגֵּרְשָׁהּ יוֹצִיא בְּגֵט:

15

A deaf-mute may divorce his wife with signals, as explained.36 [If such a woman] went and became consecrated to another deaf-mute [and is then divorced], she is forbidden to be remarried to her first husband. Needless to say, [this applies if her second husband] was a mentally competent individual.

If, however, a woman who had been married to a mentally competent individual and was divorced, married a deaf-mute and was divorced, she is permitted to remarry her first husband.37

טו

חֵרֵשׁ שֶׁגֵּרֵשׁ בִּרְמִיזָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ וְהָלְכָה וְנִתְקַדְּשָׁה לְחֵרֵשׁ אַחֵר וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר לְפִקֵּחַ אֲסוּרָה לַחֲזֹר לְבַעְלָהּ הַחֵרֵשׁ. אֲבָל אִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁל פִּקֵּחַ שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה וְהָלְכָה וְנִשֵּׂאת לְחֵרֵשׁ וְנִתְגָּרְשָׁה מֻתֶּרֶת לַחֲזֹר לְבַעְלָהּ הַפִּקֵּחַ:

16

A girl who leaves her husband by virtue of the rite of mi'un is not considered to be divorced by him.38 The laws applying to her relations with her husband whom she rejected are the same as those applying to a man who has never consecrated her. She is permitted to marry his relatives. He is permitted to marry her relatives. Nor is she disqualified from marrying into the priesthood.

If she married another man and was divorced or widowed, or she nullified her relationship with him through mi'un, she is permitted to remarry him. Moreover, even if her first husband divorced her [while she was still a minor], remarried her, she then nullified their relationship via mi'un and married another man and was divorced by him, she may remarry her first husband.39

[The rationale is that] whenever a girl leaves a marriage via the rite of mi'un, it is considered as if she had never been divorced via a get, and she may remarry her first husband. [This applies] even if she was once divorced [by this man] before mi'un.

When, by contrast, a man divorces his wife - who is a minor - with a get, she marries another man and then nullifies the marriage through mi'un, she may not remarry her first husband, because although her final marriage was terminated by mi'un, her marriage [to her first husband] was terminated by a divorce.40 Needless to say, this applies if the second husband divorced her or he died.

Similarly, she is forbidden to the father of her first husband, his son and his brothers, as are other divorced women. [This applies despite the fact that] she terminates her marriage to her second husband via mi'un.

טז

הַמְמָאֶנֶת בְּאִישׁ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת מִמֶּנּוּ. וְדִינָהּ עִם בַּעְלָהּ שֶׁמֵּאֲנָה בּוֹ כְּדִינָהּ עִם מִי שֶׁלֹּא קִדְּשָׁהּ מֵעוֹלָם. הִיא מֻתֶּרֶת בִּקְרוֹבָיו וְהוּא מֻתָּר בִּקְרוֹבוֹתֶיהָ וְלֹא פְּסָלָהּ מִן הַכְּהֻנָּה. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאַחֵר וְגֵרְשָׁהּ הָאַחֵר אוֹ מֵת אוֹ מֵאֲנָה בּוֹ מֻתֶּרֶת לַחֲזֹר לָרִאשׁוֹן. וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ גֵּרְשָׁהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן וְהֶחֱזִירָהּ וּמֵאֲנָה בּוֹ וְנִשֵּׂאת לְאַחֵר אַחַר שֶׁמֵּאֲנָה בּוֹ וְגֵרְשָׁהּ הָאַחֵר מֻתֶּרֶת לַחֲזֹר לָרִאשׁוֹן. שֶׁכָּל הַיּוֹצֵאת בְּמֵאוּן אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁקְּדָמוֹ גֵּט הֲרֵי זוֹ כְּמִי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה מִמֶּנּוּ בְּגֵט מֵעוֹלָם וּמֻתֶּרֶת לַחֲזֹר לוֹ. אֲבָל הַמְגָרֵשׁ אֶת הַקְּטַנָּה בְּגֵט וְנִשֵּׂאת לְאַחֵר וּמֵאֲנָה בּוֹ אֲסוּרָה לַחֲזֹר לָרִאשׁוֹן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיָּצָאת מִמֶּנּוּ בְּגֵט אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיָּצָאת מִן הָאַחֲרוֹן בְּמֵאוּן. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם גֵּרְשָׁהּ הָאַחֲרוֹן אוֹ מֵת. וְכֵן אֲסוּרָה לַאֲבִי הָרִאשׁוֹן וְלִבְנוֹ וּלְאָחִיו כִּשְׁאָר הַגְּרוּשׁוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיָּצָאת מִן הָאַחֲרוֹן בְּמֵאוּן:

17

When a girl nullifies her connection to a yavam through mi'un, she remains forbidden to his father, for she appears to be his daughter-in-law, since [that was her status] when his son died. She is, however, permitted to marry [her late husband's] other relatives.41 Thus, although she rejected a potential yavam with mi'un, she is permitted to marry his brother.

יז

הַמְמָאֶנֶת בְּיָבָם אֲסוּרָה לְאָבִיו מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּרְאֵית כְּכַלָּתוֹ בְּעֵת שֶׁמֵּת בְּנוֹ. אֲבָל לִשְׁאָר קְרוֹבִים מֻתֶּרֶת. לְפִיכָךְ אִם מֵאֲנָה בְּאֶחָד מִן הַיָּבָמִין מֻתֶּרֶת לְאֶחָיו:

18

Whenever a woman is divorced or widowed, she should neither marry nor be consecrated42 until 90 days pass between the day she was divorced or her husband died and the day on which she became consecrated. [This interval was required] to see whether or not she is pregnant, and thus to differentiate between the seed of the first husband and the seed of the second husband.43

יח

כָּל אִשָּׁה שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה אוֹ שֶׁנִּתְאַלְמְנָה הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא וְלֹא תִּתְאָרֵס עַד שֶׁתַּמְתִּין תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם חוּץ מִיּוֹם שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה אוֹ שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ בּוֹ וְחוּץ מִיּוֹם שֶׁנִּתְאָרְסָה בּוֹ. כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּוָּדַע אִם הִיא מְעֻבֶּרֶת אוֹ אֵינָהּ מְעֻבֶּרֶת לְהַבְחִין בֵּין זַרְעוֹ שֶׁל רִאשׁוֹן לְזַרְעוֹ שֶׁל שֵׁנִי:

19

We count [these 90 days] from the day the get is written; [this applies] even when it was written on a conditional basis, or it did not reach the woman until years afterwards. [The rationale is] that from the time [a get] is written, [a woman's husband] no longer enters into privacy with her.44

יט

וּמִיּוֹם כְּתִיבַת הַגֵּט מוֹנִין לִמְגֹרֶשֶׁת. וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה עַל תְּנַאי אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא הִגִּיעַ לְיָדָהּ אֶלָּא לְאַחַר כַּמָּה שָׁנִים מִיּוֹם הַכְּתִיבָה מוֹנִין. שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינוֹ מִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ מִשֶּׁכְּתָבוֹ לָהּ:

20

[Included] in this decree of our Sages is that even a woman who is not fit to give birth, and even one who was divorced or widowed after merely being consecrated, must wait 90 days. I.e., even a minor, an elderly woman, a barren woman or an aylonit, even a woman whose husband was overseas, sick or imprisoned, and indeed, even a woman who is a virgin despite being consecrated, must wait 90 days.45

כ

וּגְזֵרַת חֲכָמִים הִיא שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ אִשָּׁה שֶׁאֵינָהּ רְאוּיָה לֵילֵד וַאֲפִלּוּ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אוֹ נִתְאַלְמְנָה מִן הָאֵרוּסִין צְרִיכָה לְהַמְתִּין תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם. אֲפִלּוּ קְטַנָּה אוֹ זְקֵנָה אוֹ עֲקָרָה אוֹ אַיְלוֹנִית. וַאֲפִלּוּ בַּעְלָהּ בִּמְדִינַת הַיָּם אוֹ חוֹלֶה אוֹ חָבוּשׁ בְּבֵית הַאֲסּוּרִין וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּתוּלָה מִן הָאֵרוּסִין צְרִיכוֹת לְהַמְתִּין תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם:

21

A maidservant who was freed and a non-Jewish woman who was converted are required to wait 90 days [before they marry].46 Even a gentile and his wife who convert together are required to separate for 90 days to differentiate between seed that was conceived in holiness and seed that was not conceived in holiness.

Similarly, although the Torah prescribed only [an interim of] 30 days for her own sake, a yefat to'ar47 must wait 90 days [to marry her captor] for the sake of the definition of her child's [status].48 The 30 [days mentioned by the Torah] are included in the 90-day interim.

כא

שִׁפְחָה שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּחְרְרָה וְגִיּוֹרֶת שֶׁנִּתְגַּיְּרָה מַמְתִּינִין תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם. וַאֲפִלּוּ גֵּר וְאִשְׁתּוֹ שֶׁנִּתְגַּיְּרוּ מַפְרִישִׁין אוֹתָן תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם כְּדֵי לְהַבְחִין בֵּין זֶרַע שֶּׁנִּזְרַע בִּקְדֻשָּׁה לְזֶרַע שֶׁלֹּא נִזְרַע בִּקְדֻשָּׁה. וְכֵן יְפַת תֹּאַר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנָּתְנָה לָהּ תּוֹרָה שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם לְתַקָּנַת עַצְמָהּ צְרִיכָה לְהַמְתִּין תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם לְתַקָּנַת הַוָּלָד. וְהַשְּׁלֹשִׁים מִכְּלַל הַתִּשְׁעִים:

22

A girl who annuls her marriage through mi'un need not wait [before remarrying]; our Sages' decree applied only to a divorcee. Similarly, a woman who has promiscuous relations need not wait, for she guards herself against becoming pregnant. Similarly, a woman who was raped or seduced need not wait.

כב

הַמְמָאֶנֶת אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְהַמְתִּין. לֹא גָּזְרוּ אֶלָּא בִּגְרוּשָׁה. וְכֵן הַמְזַנָּה אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְהַמְתִּין מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמְּשַׁמֶּרֶת עַצְמָהּ שֶׁלֹּא תִּתְעַבֵּר. וְכֵן אֲנוּסָה וּמְפֻתָּה אֵינָן צְרִיכוֹת לְהַמְתִּין:

23

[The following rule applies when] a girl below the age of majority who is not fit to give birth was married under a mistaken conception, discovered that she is forbidden to remain married to her husband and was forced to separate by the court. She need not wait, for this is an unlikely occurrence, and our Sages did not apply their decrees to situations that are out of the ordinary.49

כג

מִי שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת בְּטָעוּת וְנוֹדַע שֶׁהִיא אֲסוּרָה לְבַעְלָהּ וְהוֹצִיאוּהָ בֵּית דִּין מִתַּחְתָּיו. אִם הָיְתָה קְטַנָּה שֶׁאֵינָהּ רְאוּיָה לֵילֵד אֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה לְהַמְתִּין. שֶׁזֶּה דָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מָצוּי הוּא וְכָל דָּבָר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מָצוּי בְּרֹב לֹא גָּזְרוּ בּוֹ:

24

When, within this 90-day period, [a man] consecrates [a woman who is required to wait], he is placed under a ban of ostracism.50 If he consecrates the woman and then temporarily flees [to a distant country], he is not placed under a ban of ostracism.51 If he consummates the marriage within the 90-day period, the couple are forced to separate until the conclusion of the interval, at which time they are allowed to live together as man and wife.

כד

הַמְאָרֵס בְּתוֹךְ תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם מְנַדִּין אוֹתוֹ. אֵרֵס וּבָרַח אֵין מְנַדִּין אוֹתוֹ. כָּנַס בְּתוֹךְ תִּשְׁעִים יוֹם מַפְרִישִׁין אוֹתָן עַד אַחַר זְמַן וְיַעֲמֹד עִם אִשְׁתּוֹ:

25

Similarly, our Sages decreed that a man should not marry a woman who is pregnant with a child conceived by another man, or a woman who is nursing a child conceived by another man, even though the parentage of the fetus is known.52

[The restriction concerning] a pregnant woman [was instituted,] lest [the other man] harm the fetus during sexual relations, for he is not concerned about his colleague's child. [And the decree concerning] a nursing mother [was instituted], lest the woman's milk spoil and her second husband fail to show concern for restoring her ability to nurse, by providing her with a diet that will remedy her difficulty.

כה

וְכֵן גָּזְרוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׂא אָדָם מְעֵבֶּרֶת חֲבֵרוֹ וּמֵינֶקֶת חֲבֵרוֹ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַזֶּרַע יָדוּעַ לְמִי הִיא מְעֻבֶּרֶת. שֶׁמָּא יַזִּיק הַוָּלָד בִּשְׁעַת תַּשְׁמִישׁ שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַקְפִּיד עַל בֶּן חֲבֵרוֹ. וּמֵינִיקָה שֶׁמָּא יִתְעַכֵּר הֶחָלָב וְהוּא אֵינוֹ מַקְפִּיד לְרַפְּאוֹת הֶחָלָב בִּדְבָרִים הַמּוֹעִילִין לֶחָלָב כְּשֶׁיִּתְעַכֵּר:

26

For how long is the woman considered to be a nursing mother? For twenty-four months.53 This does not include the day the child was born, nor the day the woman becomes consecrated.

כו

כַּמָּה הוּא זְמַן הַיְנִיקָה. כ״‎ד חֹדֶשׁ חוּץ מִיּוֹם שֶׁנּוֹלַד בּוֹ וּמִיּוֹם שֶׁנִּתְאָרְסָה בּוֹ:

27

Just as it is forbidden to marry such a woman, it is forbidden to consecrate her until this time period passes. Even if [a woman] gives her child to a nursemaid or weans him during these 24 months, she should not marry.54 If her son dies, she is permitted to marry. We do not fear that perhaps she will kill [her son for this reason].

כז

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאָסוּר לִשָּׂא כָּךְ אָסוּר לְאָרֵס עַד אַחַר זְמַן זֶה. אֲפִלּוּ נָתְנָה בְּנָהּ לְמֵינִיקָה אוֹ שֶׁגְּמָלַתּוּ בְּתוֹךְ כ״‎ד חֹדֶשׁ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. מֵת בְּנָהּ מֻתֶּרֶת לִנָּשֵׂא. וְאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין שֶׁמָּא תַּהַרְגֶנּוּ:

28

If a man transgresses and marries a pregnant or nursing woman during this period, he should divorce her,55 even if he is a priest.56 If the man is an Israelite, he may remarry her after the 24 months of nursing pass.

If [a man] marries [such a woman] and then flees and returns after [the prescribed] period and lives together with his wife, there is no difficulty.

[A man who] consecrates a pregnant or nursing woman is not forced to divorce her.57 He may not, however, consummate the marriage until the nursing period passes or until the child dies.

כח

עָבַר וְנָשָׂא מְעֵבֶּרֶת אוֹ מֵינִיקָה בְּתוֹךְ זְמַן זֶה יוֹצִיא בְּגֵט וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה כֹּהֵן. וְאִם הָיָה יִשְׂרָאֵל יַחֲזִירֶנָהּ אַחַר כ״‎ד חֹדֶשׁ שֶׁל מֵינִיקָה. נָשָׂא וּבָרַח וּלְאַחַר זְמַן בָּא וְיָשַׁב עִם אִשְׁתּוֹ אֵין בְּכָךְ כְּלוּם. אֵרֵס מְעֵבֶּרֶת אוֹ מֵינִיקָה אֵין כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לְהוֹצִיא וְלֹא לִכְנֹס עַד אַחַר זְמַן הַיְנִיקָה אוֹ עַד שֶׁיָּמוּת הַוָּלָד:

Footnotes
1.

I.e., even though a father has the right to consecrate his daughter before she reaches majority and arrange for her marriage, "it is not proper for him to act in this manner." Instead, our Sages enjoined that a person should not consecrate his daughter while she is a minor until she matures and says, "I would like [to marry] so and so" (Hilchot Ishut 3:19). Similarly, from the husband's point of view, he should not marry a girl until she is mature, lest she change her mind afterwards (Tosafot, Kiddushin 41a).

2.

Our Sages ordained that an orphan girl below the age of majority could be married, so that someone would care for her and protect her. With regard to such a marriage, the Rambam writes in Hilchot Ishut 4:8: "The consecration is not absolutely binding according to Scriptural law; it is merely a Rabbinic institution. [According to Scriptural law, the outcome] is tentative. If she continues living with her husband until she reaches the age of majority, the kiddushin are finalized, and she becomes a married woman in the complete sense of the term. There is no need for [her husband] to consecrate her again after she attains majority. If she does not want [to continue] living with him, she must perform mi'un; she then leaves [the relationship] without a divorce."

3.

In which instance, the marriage is binding according to Scriptural law and cannot be annulled through mi'un.

4.

Once a girl is married, her father no longer has any authority over her, even though he is alive (Hilchot Ishut 3:12).

5.

In the instance of a minor, her right to annul the marriage lasts only until she reaches majority. With regard to a deaf-mute, by contrast, there would be no limit to this privilege. This would be regarded unfavorably by a husband (Yevamot 113a).

6.

I.e., if her husband dies without children and she does not desire to marry the yavam, she can dissolve the marriage by mi'un.

7.

Although a girl has the right to marry and dissolve her marriage as often as she desires, our Rabbis did not approve of such conduct and counselled that the Jewish court should arrange a marriage of a minor only when it does not appear likely that she will seek to dissolve the marriage (Hagahot Maimoniot).

8.

I.e., when she becomes twelve years old and manifests physical signs of maturity, as explained in Hilchot Ishut 2:3.

9.

A woman who does not manifest any female physical characteristics. If she shows clear signs of such a condition, she is placed in this category at age 20. If she does not show such signs, but also does not manifest signs of female physical maturity, she is not placed into this category until age 35 (Ibid.:4).

10.

That a girl can annul her marriage despite the fact that she has passed the age of twelve, when she has not manifested female physical characteristics.

11.

Hilchot Ishut 1:2.

12.

I.e., our ordinary assumption is that a woman has manifested signs of maturity. Therefore, if a woman wants to annul the marriage after she reaches the age of twelve, she must undergo a physical inspection to show that she has not manifested signs of physical maturity. If no signs are discovered, and she has not engaged in relations with her husband after reaching the age of twelve, she may exercise the right of mi'un.

13.

In which no signs of physical maturity were discovered.

14.

Since no signs of physical maturity were discovered, it is possible that the girl is still a minor and that the annulment of her first marriage - and thus her subsequent consecration - is acceptable. But it is also possible that, as mentioned in the previous halachah, pubic hairs grew and fell off, and that through engaging in marital relations she had been consecrated by her first husband. Because of the doubt involved, she must be divorced by both men.

15.

Since it is possible that her first marriage is binding, the legitimacy of a child fathered by her second husband is in doubt. And conversely, since it is possible that the marriage to her second husband is binding, there are also doubts concerning the legitimacy of a child fathered afterwards by the first husband.

16.

I.e., even if she had not yet been divorced by her first husband. Since the second man's consecration has the power of Scriptural law, it takes priority.

17.

Which is forbidden, as stated in Halachah 12.

18.

The resemblance is that the woman married a second husband before her marriage with the first was severed.

19.

Because her marriage to her first husband is not binding according to Scriptural law.

20.

For her second marriage is binding according to Scriptural law.

21.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 155:2) quotes opinions that maintain that the above applies only when the girl's marriage was arranged by her brother or her mother. If she arranged the marriage herself, it is not binding, even according to Rabbinic law. The Ra'avad mentions a third opinion, which states that for a girl between the ages of six and ten, the marriage must be arranged by her family to be binding. After the age of ten, it is binding even if she arranged it herself.

22.

Our translation is based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Yevamot 13:2), which explains that this refers to an instance in which a girl's family members prepared her for marriage without informing her who her groom would be.

23.

Rabbenu Chanan'el and other authorities maintain that, a priori, three individuals should be present. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 155:4) mentions this opinion, the Rambam's view appears to be favored.

24.

I.e., a deed of mi'un is merely a legal record. The act of mi'un - i.e., the girl's statement that she no longer desires to live with her husband - is what nullifies their marriage. In contrast, it is the transfer of the get, the bill of divorce, that causes the divorce to take effect.

25.

Yevamot 107b-108a relates that originally, the Sages would have a legal record of mi'un written using wording that somewhat resembled a bill of divorce. They saw, however, that this created the impression that the husband was forbidden to marry the girl's close relatives. Since this is not the case, as mentioned in Halachah 16, they altered the wording used for the legal record.

26.

Our additions are made on the basis of the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 155:8). We assume that the other witnesses were aware of the law and would have objected to the girl's making such statements if they did not know her identity and that of her husband. (See a parallel in Hilchot Yibbum VaChalitzah 4:29. Note, however, the Beit Shmuel 155:11 who differs.)

27.

I.e., from the creation or from the beginning of Alexander the Great's rule, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 27.

28.

I.e., she was checked by women on whom the court can rely, as stated in Hilchot Ishut 2:20.

29.

Needless to say, the Rambam is not speaking about an instance in which the woman is still married to her second husband. That would be adultery, a sin punishable by execution. Rather, this applies even if the first husband remarries his wife after she is divorced by her second husband.

The husband is punished by lashes only if he both remarries her and engages in sexual relations with her. Neither act alone incurs that punishment (Kiddushin 78a).

30.

Sefer HaMitzvot (Negative Commandment 356) and Sefer HaChinuch (Mitzvah 580) count this as one of the Torah's 613 commandments.

31.

Note the Kessef Mishneh, which cites an apparent contradiction between the Rambam's statements here and those in Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 1:22 and Hilchot Sanhedrin, Chapter 19, from which it would appear that a man is not punished by lashes for engaging in relations with his wife in such a situation.

32.

But not a priest. (See Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 18:27.)

33.

Or who engaged in adulterous relations unwittingly. (See Hilchot Ishut 24:19.)

34.

I.e., a sotah.

35.

Stripes of rebellion is the punishment given for the violation of a Rabbinic injunction. It refers to a less form of corporal punishment than lashes.

The husband is prohibited from engaging in relations with such a wife because it is possible that he will violate a prohibition of Scriptural law. Nevertheless, since it has not been definitely established that his wife committed adultery, he is not punished by lashes (Maggid Mishneh).

36.

Chapter 2, Halachah 17. This applies only when the person was a deaf-mute when he originally consecrated his wife.

37.

Since the marriage to the deaf-mute is not binding according to Scriptural law, it is as if she had never married a second husband. Based on a difference in the version of the Jerusalem Talmud (Yevamot 14:1) that was available to him, the Ra'avad differs with the Rambam's ruling.

38.

Divorce nullifies a marriage from the time of divorce onward. Mi'un, by contrast, voids the marriage entirely, causing it to be considered as if it had never taken place.

39.

The mi'un that terminated the second marriage reveals that the first marriage was not binding according to Scriptural law, and that a get was not actually required. (See Rashi, Yevamot 108a.)

40.

Yevamot 108b explains that she is not permitted to remarry her first husband because we are afraid that he will change his mind and influence her to nullify her marriage to her second husband via mi'un. We suspect that she will be able to be influenced by him, because she still is attracted to him - for it was he who divorced her, not she who nullified the marriage through mi'un. In the first instance, we do not harbor such suspicions, for it was she who rejected her first husband, nullifying the marriage through mi'un.

41.

The Rashba and the Ramban differ, and maintain that the woman is forbidden to the other relatives of the deceased, with the exception of his brothers. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 155:11) mentions both opinions, but favors that of the Rambam.

42.

She may, however, become engaged to be married during this time, provided she does not enter into privacy with her fiance (Ramah, Even HaEzer 13:1).

43.

The laws governing forbidden marital relationships revolve around paternal relationships, as do the laws of yibbum. For these reasons, it is very important to determine who in fact is the father of a child.

44.

And thus it is impossible that he be the father of the woman's child. (See Chapter 3, Halachah 5; Chapter 8, Halachah 2.)

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 13:1) differs and quotes Rabbenu Asher, who maintains that the counting should begin from the day the get reached the woman for whom it was intended.

45.

Yevamot 42b explains that this decree was applied universally lest people begin to search for loopholes.

46.

The Maggid Mishneh and the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 13:5) interpret this to be referring to a woman who was married as a non-Jew, and not one who was unmarried. Note the Radbaz (Vol. I, Responsa 196), who differs and maintains that this applies even to an unmarried gentile woman.

47.

A female captive who is taken as a wife by her captor, as described in Deuteronomy 21:11 and Hilchot Melachim, Chapter 8.

48.

This refers to the second time the captor has relations with her. It is possible for a child to be conceived during their first sexual encounter, in which instance the child also has the status of a convert.

49.

If, however, the woman was old enough to conceive a child while married to the man with whom relations are forbidden, she is required to wait. For it is necessary to discern if a child was conceived in the forbidden relationship or not.

50.

The Ra'avad states that the intent of the ban of ostracism should be to compel the man to divorce his wife. (See the Ramah, Even HaEzer 13:10, who quotes this opinion.)

51.

The Ramah (loc. cit.) states that he is advised to flee.

52.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 13:11) mentions that leniency is often shown in instances where a pregnant woman would be likely to engage in sexual relations with the father of the child, or with other men during this interim period, with the hope that marriage will prevent her from unchaste conduct.

53.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 13:11) states that in a leap year, the extra month should be counted as one of the 24. The Ramah, however, states that, a priori, in such a situation, an additional month should be added to the restriction. (Note Beit Shmuel 13:22.)

54.

Rashi (Ketubot 60b) states that the restriction is upheld lest women be encouraged to take these options rather than continue nursing their children.

If, however, the woman gave her child to a nursemaid in her first husband's lifetime or is physically incapable of nursing, there are no restrictions against her remarrying (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 13:11).

55.

The Ra'avad states that he is placed under a ban of ostracism until he divorces her. This ruling is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 13:12).

56.

Who may not remarry his divorcee.

57.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 13:12) is more stringent and equates consecration with marriage.

Gerushin - Chapter Twelve

1

When a woman comes and says, "I was married, and now I am divorced," her word is accepted, because the source for the statements [on which basis the woman was] forbidden [states that she is] permitted.1

If the prevailing assumption is that a woman was married,2 and she comes and says, "My husband divorced me," her word is not accepted [as a basis] for her to be allowed to be remarried.3 She has, however, disqualified herself [from marrying into] the priesthood forever.4If her husband dies [childless], we suspect that there might have been truth to her words, and she performs the rite of chalitzah, rather than the rite of yibbum.5

א

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁבָּאָה וְאָמְרָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ הָיִיתִי וּגְרוּשָׁה אֲנִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת. שֶׁהַפֶּה שֶׁאָסַר הוּא הַפֶּה שֶׁהִתִּיר. הֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וּבָאָה וְאָמְרָה גֵּרְשַׁנִי בַּעְלִי אֵינָהּ נֶאֱמֶנֶת לְהַתִּיר עַצְמָהּ לַשּׁוּק. אֲבָל פָּסְלָה עַצְמָהּ לִכְהֻנָּה לְעוֹלָם. וְאִם מֵת בַּעְלָהּ חוֹשְׁשִׁין לִדְבָרֶיהָ וְחוֹלֶצֶת וְלֹא מִתְיַבֶּמֶת:

2

When a woman has two witnesses who state that she has been divorced, she is permitted to marry a priori, although she does not possess her get. If she produces a get that was in her possession and says: "My husband divorced me with this," her word is accepted, and she is permitted to marry, even though [the signatures of the witnesses to the get] have not been verified as we have explained.6

ב

הָיוּ לָהּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים שֶׁהִיא גְּרוּשָׁה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם גֵּט הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא לְכַתְּחִלָּה. הוֹצִיאָה גֵּט מִתַּחַת יָדָהּ וְאָמְרָה גֵּרְשַׁנִי בַּעְלִי בָּזֶה הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶאֱמֶנֶת וְתִנָּשֵׂא בּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְקֻיָּם כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

3

[The following laws apply] when the husband comes and protests. If he states, "I never gave it to her. It fell from me and she found it," his statements are not accepted, because he admits that he wrote it for her sake, and it is now in her possession. If, however, the husband says: "[The get] was given conditionally," "It was entrusted to her for safekeeping," or "I never wrote such [a document]; it is a forgery,"7 [the woman] must have the signatures of the witnesses verified or have the witnesses to its transfer testify, as explained.8

If the signatures of the witnesses are not verified, she is not considered to be divorced with regard to the right to marry others. She has, however, disqualified herself [from marrying into] the priesthood, as stated.9 For she has disqualified herself by virtue of her own statements and caused herself to be considered as a forbidden object.10

ג

בָּא הַבַּעַל וְעִרְעֵר אִם אָמַר לֹא נְתַתִּיו לָהּ אֶלָּא נָפַל מִמֶּנִּי וּמָצְאָה אוֹתוֹ אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן. שֶׁהֲרֵי הוֹדָה שֶׁכְּתָבוֹ לָהּ וַהֲרֵי הוּא יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יָדָהּ. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר הַבַּעַל עַל תְּנַאי הָיָה. פִּקָּדוֹן הָיָה. מֵעוֹלָם לֹא כְּתַבְתִּיו. מְזֻיָּף הוּא. יִתְקַיֵּם בְּחוֹתְמָיו אוֹ בְּעֵדֵי מְסִירָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְאִם לֹא נִתְקַיֵּם אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת לִהְיוֹת מֻתֶּרֶת לַאֲחֵרִים אֲבָל פָּסְלָה נַפְשָׁהּ מִכְּהֻנָּה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. שֶׁהֲרֵי פָּסְלָה עַצְמָהּ בְּהוֹדָאַת פִּיהָ וְעָשְׂתָה עַצְמָהּ כַּחֲתִיכָה שֶׁל אִסּוּר:

4

If she comes together with her husband and says, "My husband divorced me, but I lost my get," and the husband says, "I did not divorce her," her word is accepted, even though it has been assumed that she is his wife. [The rationale is:] it can be assumed that a woman would not make such brazen statements in the presence of her husband [if they were not true].11

ד

בָּאָה הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ. הִיא אוֹמֶרֶת גֵּרַשְׁתַּנִי וְאָבַד גִּטִּי. וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לֹא גֵּרַשְׁתִּיךְ. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֻחְזְקָה אִשְׁתּוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶאֱמֶנֶת. חֲזָקָה אֵין אִשָּׁה מְעִזָּה פָּנֶיהָ בִּפְנֵי בַּעְלָהּ:

5

If a husband says: "I divorced my wife," his word is not accepted. Nevertheless, we suspect that it might be true, and therefore, the woman is considered to be one whose divorce is of doubtful status.12 Even when the woman also admits that she was divorced, his word is not accepted.

We fear that he is seeking to create difficulties for her,13 or that he divorced her with a get that was void, and she is not aware of the fact, or perhaps she will brazenly [state that she has been divorced, although that is not the case,] because he accepts her word, or because she is not aware of the seriousness of the prohibition. Therefore, we tell the husband: "If it is true [that you divorced her,] you are both here, divorce her again in our presence."

ה

אָמַר הַבַּעַל גֵּרַשְׁתִּי אֶת אִשְׁתִּי אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן וְחוֹשְׁשִׁים לִדְבָרָיו וְתִהְיֶה סָפֵק מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. וַאֲפִלּוּ הוֹדֵית לוֹ שֶׁגֵּרְשָׁהּ אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן שֶׁמָּא יִתְכַּוֵּן לְקַלְקְלָהּ אוֹ בְּגֵט בָּטֵל גֵּרְשָׁהּ וְהִיא אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת [אוֹ שֶׁמָּא תָּעֵז פָּנֶיהָ בּוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מַאֲמִינָהּ וְהִיא אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת] כֹּבֶד הָאִסּוּר שֶׁלָּהּ. לְפִיכָךְ אוֹמְרִים לוֹ אִם אֱמֶת הַדָּבָר הֲרֵי אַתֶּם קַיָּמִים גָּרֵשׁ אוֹתָהּ עַתָּה בְּפָנֵינוּ:

6

When two [individuals] say [that a woman] was divorced, and two others say14 [that] she was not divorced, she is still presumed to be married. [This ruling applies] even if her husband is present, and she tells him, "You divorced me." Since the witnesses support her, it is possible that she will speak brazenly [to her husband]. Therefore, if she remarries [in such a situation], she is compelled to leave [her second husband], and a child [born to them] is considered illegitimate.

ו

שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים נִתְגָּרְשָׁה וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אֲפִלּוּ הַבַּעַל עוֹמֵד וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ גֵּרַשְׁתַּנִי הֲרֵי זוֹ בְּחֶזְקַת אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ גְּמוּרָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָעֵדִים סוֹמְכִין אוֹתָהּ וְאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתָּעֵז פָּנֶיהָ. לְפִיכָךְ אִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד מַמְזֵר:

7

When does the above apply? When the witnesses say: "She was divorced in the immediate past." For in such a situation, we tell her, "If it is true that you were divorced, produce your get."

If, however, the witnesses say: "She was divorced several days ago," there is the possibility that the get was lost. [Therefore, different laws apply.] Since she claims that she was definitely divorced, and two witnesses support her claim, although there are two witnesses who deny it, if she marries one of the witnesses, she is not compelled to leave [her second husband]. [The rationale is] that she and her husband, [the witness,] certainly know whether she is permitted [or not], and we assume that they would not create difficulties for themselves.15

Accordingly, [different rules apply] if she marries another person. Since he cannot be certain concerning the matter - and similarly, if she herself is uncertain about the matter, even if she marries one of her witnesses - she should be compelled to leave [her second husband]. The legitimacy of a child born to them is a matter of question.

ז

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁאָמְרוּ עַכְשָׁו נִתְגָּרְשָׁה שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמְרִין לָהּ אִם אֱמֶת הַדָּבָר הוֹצִיאִי גִּטֵּךְ. אֲבָל אִם אָמְרוּ הָעֵדִים מִכַּמָּה יָמִים נִתְגָּרְשָׁה יֵשׁ לוֹמַר אָבַד הַגֵּט וְהוֹאִיל וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת גְּרוּשָׁה אֲנִי בְּוַדַּאי וּשְׁנֵי עֵדִים מְעִידִין לָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַשְּׁנַיִם מַכְחִישִׁין אוֹתָן אִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֶיהָ לֹא תֵּצֵא שֶׁהֲרֵי הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ יוֹדְעִין בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁהִיא מֻתֶּרֶת וַחֲזָקָה הִיא שֶׁאֵין מְקַלְקְלִין עַצְמָן. אֲבָל אִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאַחֵר הוֹאִיל וְהַדָּבָר אֶצְלוֹ סָפֵק. וְכֵן אִם אָמְרָה אֵינִי יוֹדַעַת אֲפִלּוּ נִשֵּׂאת לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֶיהָ הֲרֵי זוֹ תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד סְפֵק מַמְזֵר:

8

[The following rules apply when] two [individuals] say, "We saw that she was divorced," and two others say, "We did not see this." If they all lived in a single courtyard,16 she should not marry.17 If, however, she marries, she need not leave [her second husband], and we do not doubt the legitimacy of a child born to them. [The rationale is that] people often divorce in privacy.

ח

אָמְרוּ שְׁנַיִם רְאִינוּהָ שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים לֹא רְאִינוּהָ. אִם הָיוּ כֻּלָּם שְׁרוּיִים בְּחָצֵר אַחַת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לֹא תֵּצֵא וְהַוָּלָד כָּשֵׁר. שֶׁבְּנֵי אָדָם עֲשׂוּיִין לְגָרֵשׁ בְּצִנְעָה:

9

[The following rule applies when] we there is no existing presumption that a woman was married, one witness comes and says, "She was married, but divorced," and another witness states, "She was not divorced." Since they both are testifying that she was married, and [only] one witness says she was divorced, she should not marry [a second man]. [The rationale is that] the statements of one [witness] are of no consequence [when they must counteract a definition of status established] on the basis of the testimony of two [witnesses].18 If she remarries, she should be compelled to leave [her second husband].

ט

הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁלֹּא הֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וּבָא עֵד אֶחָד וְאָמַר אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ הָיְתָה וְנִתְגָּרְשָׁה. וּבָא עֵד אֶחָד וְאָמַר לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה. הֲרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶן מְעִידִין שֶׁהִיא אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וְאֶחָד מֵעִיד שֶׁהִיא גְּרוּשָׁה וְאֵין דְּבָרָיו שֶׁל אֶחָד בִּמְקוֹם שְׁנַיִם וּלְפִיכָךְ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא:

10

[The following ruling is rendered when] a woman and two men come from another country. One [of the men] says: "This is my wife, and this is my servant," the other says: "This is my wife, and this is my servant," and the woman says: "They are both my servants." The woman is free to marry anyone. For although two witnesses testified to her being married, since each one of them gave testimony that concerns himself, their statements are not accepted.

י

אִשָּׁה וּשְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים שֶׁבָּאוּ מִמְּדִינָה אַחֶרֶת. זֶה אוֹמֵר זוֹ אִשְׁתִּי וְזֶה עַבְדִּי. וְזֶה אוֹמֵר זוֹ אִשְׁתִּי וְזֶה עַבְדִּי. וְהָאִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת שְׁנֵיהֶן עֲבָדַי. הֲרֵי הִיא מֻתֶּרֶת לַכּל וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶּׁשְּׁנֵיהֶן הֶחֱזִיקוּהָ בְּאֵשֶׁת אִישׁ הוֹאִיל וְכָל אֶחָד מֵהֶן הֵעִיד לְעַצְמוֹ אֵינָן נֶאֱמָנִין:

11

When an agent charged by the woman with receiving her get takes out a get that was in his possession, and the husband states that the get is a forgery, the authenticity of the get should be verified via the signatures of the witnesses, or via the witnesses who observed the transfer, as we have explained.19

If the husband says: "I gave him [the get] for safekeeping," and the agent says, "He gave it to me for the sake of divorce," the agent's word is accepted.20 A similar rule applies if the woman is in possession of the get21 and she says, "This agent gave it to me," the agent corroborates her statements and says that it was given to him by the husband for the purpose of divorce. The agent's word is accepted,22 even if the husband protests that he gave it to him for safekeeping, and the woman is considered to be divorced.

יא

שְׁלִיחַ קַבָּלָה שֶׁהוֹצִיא גֵּט מִתַּחַת יָדוֹ וְהַבַּעַל אוֹמֵר מְזֻיָּף הוּא יִתְקַיֵּם בְּחוֹתְמָיו אוֹ בְּעֵדֵי מְסִירָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אָמַר הַבַּעַל לְפִקָּדוֹן נְתַתִּיו לוֹ וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ אוֹמֵר לְגֵרוּשִׁין נְתָנוֹ לִי הַשָּׁלִיחַ נֶאֱמָן. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה הַגֵּט יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יְדֵי הָאִשָּׁה וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת שָׁלִיחַ זֶה נְתָנוֹ לִי, וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ אוֹמֵר כֵּן נְתַתִּיו לָהּ וּלְגֵרוּשִׁין נְתָנוֹ לִי, וְהַבַּעַל אוֹמֵר לֹא נְתַתִּיו לוֹ אֶלָּא לְפִקָּדוֹן, הַשָּׁלִיחַ נֶאֱמָן וְהִיא מְגֹרֶשֶׁת:

12

When the get is lost,23 [more stringent rules apply]. Even if the husband says that he gave it to an agent24 for the sake of divorce, and the agent says that he gave it to the woman, the status of the divorce is a matter of question.25 For our prevailing assumption is that the woman is married, and it is only [the statements of] one witness26 and her husband [who are contradicting that].

Even if the woman herself says, "In my presence, [my husband] gave the get to the agent for the purpose of divorce, and he divorced me," [the ruling remains unchanged]. Since her husband and the agent support her, it is possible that she will speak brazenly27 and in fact, she was not divorced.

יב

אָבַד הַגֵּט אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַבַּעַל אוֹמֵר לְגֵרוּשִׁין נְתַתִּיו לַשָּׁלִיחַ וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ אוֹמֵר נְתַתִּיו לָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ סְפֵק מְגֹרֶשֶׁת שֶׁהֲרֵי הֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וְאֵין כָּאן אֶלָּא עֵד אֶחָד וּבַעַל. וַאֲפִלּוּ אָמְרָה הָאִשָּׁה בְּפָנַי נְתָנוֹ לוֹ לְגֵרוּשִׁין וּנְתָנוֹ הַשָּׁלִיחַ לִי הוֹאִיל וְהַבַּעַל וְהַשָּׁלִיחַ סוֹעֲדִין אוֹתָהּ אֶפְשָׁר שֶׁתָּעֵז פָּנֶיהָ וְשֶׁמָּא לֹא נִתְגָּרְשָׁה:

13

[The following rule applies when] an agent appointed by the woman to receive her get receives it from [her husband] and sends it to her, [giving it to an agent to give to her] in the presence of two witnesses. Although the woman does not know whether [the get] was sent to her by her husband, her agent or her husband's agent, she is divorced, as has been explained.28

יג

שְׁלִיחַ קַבָּלָה שֶׁקִּבֵּל גֵּט לְאִשָּׁה וּשְׁלָחוֹ לָהּ בִּפְנֵי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים וְהִגִּיעַ הַגֵּט לְיָדָהּ וּנְטָלַתּוּ וַהֲרֵי הַגֵּט יוֹצֵא מִתַּחַת יָדָהּ. וְהִיא אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת אִם בַּעְלָהּ שְׁלָחוֹ לָהּ אוֹ שְׁלִיחַ קַבָּלָה שֶׁלָּהּ אוֹ שְׁלוּחוֹ שֶׁל בַּעְלָהּ. הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

14

[In the above situation,] if the husband comes and protests that he did not write [the get], or that the get is void, the signatures [of the witnesses] should be verified. [This is sufficient to counter the husband's protest, the rationale being that] there are witnesses that [the get] was in the possession of the agent of the woman, and his aegis is considered to be equivalent to her own.29 Although she did not know [the purpose for which the get was given to the original agent], the witnesses knew.

If, however, the signatures [of the witnesses] cannot be verified, the divorce is not effective.

יד

בָּא בַּעַל וְעִרְעֵר שֶׁלֹּא כְּתָבוֹ אוֹ שֶׁהוּא גֵּט בָּטֵל יִתְקַיֵּם בְּחוֹתְמָיו שֶׁהֲרֵי עֵדִים מְעִידִים שֶׁהַגֵּט שֶׁנָּתְנוּ לָהּ יָצָא מִתַּחַת יַד שְׁלוּחָהּ שֶׁיָּדוֹ כְּיָדָהּ. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא אֵינָהּ יוֹדַעַת הֲרֵי הָעֵדִים יָדְעוּ. וְאִם לֹא נִתְקַיֵּם אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת:

15

[The following rules apply when] the prevailing presumption is that a woman is married, and she and her husband travel overseas at a time when their relationship is peaceful, and peace abides in the world at large.30 If she comes and says, "My husband died," her word is accepted and she is granted permission to marry or to perform the rite of yibbum on this basis.

[The rationale is that] we assume that a woman will not bring difficulties upon herself, causing herself to be forbidden to both her first and her second husbands, causing herself to lose the right to collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah from both husbands and causing her children to be deemed illegitimate when the matter is likely to become openly revealed, and when she will not be able to deny the matter or offer any argument in her defense. For if her husband is alive, he will ultimately return, or [at least,] it will become known that he is alive.

Similarly, if one witness comes and testifies that the woman's husband died, she is granted permission to marry by virtue of his testimony, because [the truth of] the matter will ultimately be revealed.31 Similarly, the testimony of a servant, a woman, a maid-servant or a witness testifying on the basis of statements he heard from others is accepted regarding a person's death.32 On the basis of such testimony, the man's wife is granted permission to remarry or perform the rite of yibbum.

טו

מִי שֶׁהֻחְזְקָה אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וְהָלְכָה הִיא וּבַעְלָהּ לִמְדִינַת הַיָּם וְשָׁלוֹם בֵּינוֹ לְבֵינָהּ וְשָׁלוֹם בָּעוֹלָם וּבָאָה וְאָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי נֶאֱמֶנֶת וְתִנָּשֵׂא אוֹ תִּתְיַבֵּם. חֲזָקָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְקַלְקֶלֶת עַצְמָהּ וְתֶאֱסֹר עַצְמָהּ עַל בַּעְלָהּ הָרִאשׁוֹן וְעַל זֶה וְתַפְסִיד כְּתֻבָּתָהּ מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה וְלִהְיוֹת בָּנֶיהָ מַמְזֵרִין בְּדָבָר הֶעָשׂוּי לְהִגָּלוֹת לַכּל. וְאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְהַכְחִישׁ וְלֹא לִטְעֹן טַעֲנָה שֶׁאִם הוּא חַי סוֹפוֹ לָבֹא אוֹ יִוָּדַע שֶׁהוּא חַי. וְכֵן אִם בָּא עֵד אֶחָד וְהֵעִיד לָהּ שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ תִּנָּשֵׂא עַל פִּיו שֶׁהַדָּבָר עָשׂוּי לְהִגָּלוֹת. אֲפִלּוּ עֶבֶד אוֹ אִשָּׁה אוֹ שִׁפְחָה וְעֵד מִפִּי עֵד מִפִּי עֶבֶד מִפִּי שִׁפְחָה מִפִּי קְרוֹבָיו נֶאֱמָנִים לוֹמַר מֵת פְּלוֹנִי וְתִנָּשֵׂא אִשְׁתּוֹ אוֹ תִּתְיַבֵּם עַל פִּיהֶם:

16

Any person who offers testimony is believed with regard to matters of this nature, with the exception of five women, who are presumed to hate each other. Their testimony is not [accepted] with regard to the death of the other's husband,33 lest they intend to cause her to be forbidden to him, although he is still alive.34They are the woman's mother-in-law, the daughter of her mother-in-law,35[her husband's] other wife, her yevamah,36 her husband's daughter [from another marriage].37

[Indeed, with regard to such testimony,] a gentile's statements delivered in the course of conversation are accepted and can serve as the basis for a woman to remarry, as will be explained.38 If the gentile makes his statements with the intent that they serve as testimony, his word is not accepted.

טז

וְהַכּל נֶאֱמָנִים לְהָעִיד לָהּ עֵדוּת זוֹ חוּץ מֵחָמֵשׁ נָשִׁים שֶׁחֶזְקָתָם שׂוֹנְאוֹת זוֹ אֶת זוֹ שֶׁאֵין מְעִידוֹת זוֹ לָזוֹ בְּמִיתַת בַּעְלָהּ שֶׁמָּא יִתְכַּוְּנוּ לְאָסְרָהּ עָלָיו וַעֲדַיִן הוּא קַיָּם. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן. חֲמוֹתָהּ. וּבַת חֲמוֹתָהּ. וְצָרָתָהּ. וִיבִמְתָּהּ. וּבַת בַּעְלָהּ. אֲפִלּוּ עַכּוּ״‎ם הַמֵּסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ נֶאֱמָן וּמַשִּׂיאִין עַל פִּיו כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר. וְאִם נִתְכַּוֵּן לְהָעִיד אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן:

17

Similar laws apply to a person who is disqualified [from serving as a witness] by Scriptural law, because of the commission of a sin.39 If he comes to give testimony on behalf of a woman, [saying] that her husband died, his word is not accepted.40 If he makes these statements in the course of conversation, his word is accepted, for he is not regarded as less than a gentile.

A person who is disqualified [from serving as a witness] by Rabbinic law,41 by contrast, may give testimony regarding [the death of] a woman's [husband].42

יז

וְכֵן הַפָּסוּל בַּעֲבֵרָה מִן הַתּוֹרָה אִם בָּא לְהָעִיד בְּאִשָּׁה שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ אֵינוֹ נֶאֱמָן. וְאִם הָיָה מֵסִיחַ לְפִי תֻּמּוֹ נֶאֱמָן אֵין זֶה פָּחוּת מִן הָעַכּוּ״‎ם. אֲבָל פָּסוּל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם נֶאֱמָן לְעֵדוּת אִשָּׁה:

18

[The following rules apply if] one witness came and testified that a woman's husband has died, and she was granted permission to remarry on the basis of his testimony, and afterwards another witness came and contradicted the testimony of the first, saying that he did not die. The woman's status is not changed, and she is still permitted to remarry.43

[The rationale is that] the testimony of one witness is accepted with regard to [the death of] a woman's [husband] in the same way as is the testimony of two witnesses with regard to other matters. [This testimony is being challenged by the testimony of one witness,] and the words of one witness are not considered when there is [testimony from] two [witnesses].44

יח

בָּא עֵד אֶחָד וְהֵעִיד שֶׁמֵּת בַּעְלָהּ וְהִתִּירוּהָ לְהִנָּשֵׂא עַל פִּיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא אַחֵר וְהִכְחִישׁ אֶת הָרִאשׁוֹן וְאָמַר לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא מֵהֶתֵּרָהּ וְתִנָּשֵׂא. שֶׁעֵד אֶחָד נֶאֱמָן בְּעֵדוּת אִשָּׁה כִּשְׁנֵי עֵדִים בִּשְׁאָר עֵדֻיּוֹת וְאֵין דְּבָרָיו שֶׁל אֶחָד בִּמְקוֹם שְׁנַיִם:

19

If two [witnesses] come at the same time,45 one saying "he died," and the other saying, "he did not die," or a woman says, "he died," and another woman says, "he did not die," she should not marry. And if she marries, she should leave her second husband,46 for the matter is one of doubt.47

If, however, she marries the witness who testified on her behalf, and she herself says, "I am certain that he died,"48 she need not leave her second husband.49 If two witnesses come and say that her first husband did not die, [a more stringent ruling is delivered]. Even though she married, she must leave her second husband.

יט

בָּאוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם כְּאֶחָד זֶה אוֹמֵר מֵת וְזֶה אוֹמֵר לֹא מֵת. אִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְאִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת. הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא סָפֵק. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לָעֵד שֶׁהֵעִיד לָהּ וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת בָּרִי לִי שֶׁמֵּת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא. בָּאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ לֹא מֵת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא:

20

When does the above50 apply? When the one witness upon whose testimony [the woman was granted permission to] marry was equivalent to the two witnesses who contradicted his testimony. For example, she married based on the testimony of one man, and two men came and said that her husband did not die. Or she married based on the testimony of one woman or on the basis of her own testimony, and two women or two men who were disqualified from serving as witnesses by Rabbinic law testified that her husband did not die.

If, however, one acceptable witness says that her husband died, and many51 women or men who were disqualified from serving as witnesses by Rabbinic law testify that her husband did not die, the situation is considered to be equally balanced.52 Thus, if she marries one of the witnesses53 who testified on her behalf, and she herself says, "I am certain that he died," she need not leave her second husband.

כ

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּשֶׁהָיָה הָעֵד אֶחָד שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת עַל פִּיו כְּמוֹ הַשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁבָּאוּ וְהִכְחִישׁוּ אוֹתוֹ. כְּגוֹן שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת עַל פִּי אִישׁ וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם וְאָמְרוּ לֹא מֵת. אוֹ שֶׁנִּשֵּׂאת עַל פִּי אִשָּׁה אוֹ עַל פִּי עַצְמָהּ וּבָאוּ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים אוֹ שְׁנֵי פְּסוּלִין שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶן וְאָמְרוּ לֹא מֵת. אֲבָל עֵד כָּשֵׁר אוֹמֵר מֵת וְנָשִׁים רַבּוֹת אוֹמְרוֹת לֹא מֵת אוֹ פְּסוּלִין אוֹמְרִים לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמֶחֱצָה עַל מֶחֱצָה. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֶיהָ וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת וַדַּאי מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא:

21

When one woman testifies that [her husband] died, or she herself says that [her husband] died, and afterwards,54 one acceptable witness comes and says that he did not die, [the woman] should not remarry; and if she remarried, she should leave her second husband.

כא

אִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת אוֹ הִיא שֶׁאָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי וְאַחַר כָּךְ בָּא עֵד כָּשֵׁר וְאָמַר לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא:

22

When one woman says that [a man] did not die, and two women say that he did die, [his wife] may remarry. Similarly, if ten women say that [a man] did not die, and eleven women say that he did die, [his wife] may remarry. For we say, "two [witnesses] are considered as 100," only with regard to acceptable witnesses.55 With regard to witnesses whose testimony would ordinarily be disqualified, by contrast, [the law is that we] follow the majority, whether this leads to a more lenient ruling or a more stringent ruling.

כב

אִשָּׁה אוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת וּשְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים אוֹמְרוֹת מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְכֵן אִם אָמְרוּ עֶשֶׂר נָשִׁים לֹא מֵת וְאַחַת עֶשְׂרֵה אוֹמְרוֹת מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא. שֶׁאֵין אוֹמְרִים שְׁנַיִם כְּמֵאָה אֶלָּא בְּעֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים אֲבָל בִּפְסוּלִין הַלֵּךְ אַחַר הָרֹב בֵּין לְהָקֵל בֵּין לְהַחֲמִיר:

23

When two [witnesses] say that [a man] died, and two other witnesses say that he did not die, [his wife] may not remarry. If she has remarried, she should leave [her second husband],56 because the matter is one of doubt.

If she marries one of the witnesses who testified on her behalf, and she herself says, "I am certain that he died," she need not leave her second husband.

כג

שְׁנֵי עֵדִים אוֹמְרִים מֵת וּשְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תִּנָּשֵׂא. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת תֵּצֵא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהִיא סָפֵק. וְאִם נִשֵּׂאת לְאֶחָד מֵעֵדֶיהָ וְהִיא אוֹמֶרֶת בָּרִי לִי שֶׁמֵּת הֲרֵי זוֹ לֹא תֵּצֵא:

24

[The following laws apply when] a person has two wives and one of them comes and says, "My husband died." She may marry on the basis of her own testimony, as we have explained.57 Her husband's other wife is forbidden to marry, for one of a man's wives may not testify on behalf of the other.

Even if the woman [who said that her husband died] married first, [the other wife is still forbidden to marry]. We do not say that if her husband had not actually died, she would not cause herself to be forbidden to him. [Instead, we suspect that] perhaps her hatred for the other wife is so great that she desires for them both to become forbidden to him.58

If one says, "My husband died," and her husband's other wife denies this, saying that he did not die, [the wife who testifies that he has died] may remarry. Just as the other wife's testimony does not cause her to be permitted, it does not cause her to be forbidden.

If one says, "[My husband] died," and the other says, "He was killed," they both are granted permission to remarry, for they both are testifying that he is no longer alive.59

כד

מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים וּבָאָה אַחַת מֵהֶן וְאָמְרָה מֵת בַּעְלִי הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא עַל פִּי עַצְמָהּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. וְצָרָתָהּ אֲסוּרָה שֶׁאֵין צָרָה מְעִידָה לַחֲבֵרְתָהּ. וַאֲפִלּוּ נִשֵּׂאת זוֹ תְּחִלָּה אֵין אוֹמְרִין אִלּוּ לֹא מֵת בַּעְלָהּ לֹא הָיְתָה אוֹסֶרֶת עַצְמָהּ עָלָיו. שֶׁמָּא מִשִּׂנְאָתָהּ בְּצָרָתָהּ רוֹצָה הִיא שֶׁיֵּאָסְרוּ שְׁתֵּיהֶן עָלָיו. זֹאת אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת בַּעְלִי וְצָרָתָהּ מַכְחֶשֶׁת אוֹתָהּ וְאוֹמֶרֶת לֹא מֵת הֲרֵי זוֹ תִּנָּשֵׂא. כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאֵינָהּ מְעִידָה לָהּ לְהַתִּירָהּ כָּךְ אֵינָהּ יְכוֹלָה לְהָעִיד לָהּ לְאָסְרָהּ. זֹאת אוֹמֶרֶת מֵת וְצָרָתָהּ אוֹמֶרֶת נֶהֱרַג הוֹאִיל וּשְׁתֵּיהֶן אוֹמְרוֹת שֶׁאֵינוֹ קַיָּם הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ יִנָּשְׂאוּ:

Footnotes
1.

She is not contradicting her original statements, but rather adding information, and that information serves as the basis for changing her status. This ruling applies even if she makes her second statement after a significant time has passed since she made her first statement (Maggid Mishneh). Rav Moshe HaCohen objects, maintaining that her second statement must be made directly after her first statement. Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 152:6) quotes both opinions, it appears that the Rambam's opinion is favored.

2.

I.e., we do not know for certain that she has been married, but she and her husband have lived together as man and wife. See Sefer HaKovetz, which notes that the Rambam's wording deviates from his source (Ketubot 2:5), which mentions that witnesses say that the woman was married.

3.

Instead, she is considered to be married to her husband until she brings proof to the contrary. If she remarries, she is forced to leave her second husband (Maggid Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 152:7). There is a difference of opinion among the authorities regarding whether her second husband is required to give her a formal divorce. (See Beit Shmuel 152:12.)

4.

I.e., should her present husband die, she would not be allowed to marry a priest. (See Halachah 3.)

5.

I.e., we do not accept her statements entirely, and therefore require her to undergo chalitzah. Nevertheless, because there is a possibility that her statements are true, we do not allow her to undergo yibbum, for if she had in fact been divorced, relations with her late husband's brother would be forbidden.

6.

Chapter 7, Halachah 24. As mentioned in the notes on that halachah, the Ra'avad differs with the Rambam concerning this issue. Both opinions are quoted by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 142:13-14), but later (loc. cit. 152:9), the Shulchan Aruch mentions only the Rambam's view.

7.

I.e., these two phrases are part of a single claim. This translation is based on manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah that state ומזוייף, "And it is a forgery." The standard printed version omits the first vav leading to the conclusion that the Rambam is speaking about two claims. This conception is also reflected in the statement of the law in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 152:10).

8.

See Chapter 7, Halachah 2.

9.

See Halachah 1.

10.

I.e., although we do not accept her statements, we require her to abide by all the stringencies they imply.

11.

There are several qualifications to this principle: First, the woman must make this statement in the presence of her husband. If he is not present, we fear that she will speak brazenly (Hilchot Ishut 4:13). And, as implied by Halachot 6 and 14 of this chapter, if there is one witness who supports the woman's statements, her word is not accepted. We fear that the support the witness gives her will encourage her to lie. Similarly, as reflected in the following halachah, if her husband supports her, her word is not accepted.

In Hilchot Ishut (loc. cit.), the Ra'avad states that the woman's word should be accepted only insofar as to require her to receive a get if she remarries. She is not given license to remarry, nor may she collect the money due her by virtue of her ketubah from her first husband unless she proves that she has been divorced. The Ramah (Even HaEzer 17:2) quotes both views. He states, however, that in the present age, since brazen behavior is more common, the presumption upon which the Rambam's ruling rests is no longer a viable support.

12.

See Chapter 10, Halachah 3.

13.

I.e., that she will remarry and then he will prove that her second marriage is adulterous, in which case she will be bound by all the stringencies stated in Chapter 10, Halachot 4 and 7.

14.

As reflected by Halachah 8, in this instance the testimony of the witnesses must be to the effect that the divorce was not carried out in an adequate manner.

15.

This assumption has sufficient legal power to counterbalance the prevailing assumption that the woman is still married. (See Beit Shmuel 152:5.)

16.

If they do not all live in such proximity, there is no question, and a priori, she is given permission to remarry (Beit Shmuel 152:6).

17.

We assume that if in fact she had been divorced, the matter would have attracted the attention of all those dwelling in the courtyard.

18.

I.e., both the witnesses say that she was married, and only one says that she was divorced. Note the contrast to the parallel situation with regard to kiddushin as mentioned in Hilchot Ishut 9:31.

19.

See Halachah 3. In this respect, there is no difference between the woman's agent and herself.

20.

The Rambam's ruling applies even when the husband, the wife and the agent are all in the same city. Even though one might think that in such an instance, if the husband's intent was to divorce his wife, he would have given the get to her directly and not to an agent, the agent's word is accepted.

There is another opinion in Gittin 64a, which maintains that in the same city, the agent's word is not accepted, and several Rishonim follow this view. Both opinions are mentioned by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 141:55), but the Rambam's opinion appears to be favored. The Ramah states that the agent's word is accepted only while he is in possession of the get.

21.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) appears to favor an opinion that accepts the woman's corroboration of the agent's statement, even when she is not in possession of the get.

22.

I.e., even though the agent is no longer in possession of the get, his word is accepted. Since the woman has the potential to return it to him, it is considered as if it is still in his possession (Beit Shmuel 141:83).

23.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 141:56) states that it applies when there are no witnesses who saw the get in the woman's possession.

24.

This halachah is speaking about an agent who acts on behalf of the husband, giving the get to his wife.

25.

On one hand, there is a legal principle: "One can assume that an agent has carried out his mission," and yet our Sages maintain that this construct should be accepted only with regard to the stringencies it implies (Gittin 64b). As such, with regard to marrying into the priesthood and the like, the woman is considered as if she has been divorced. Nevertheless, she is not given permission to remarry unless she has the signatures of the witnesses to the get verified, or if the witnesses to its transfer testify to that effect.

26.

See Chapter 9, Halachah 32 and the gloss of the Maggid Mishneh on that halachah.

27.

See Halachot 4 and 6.

28.

The reference is to Halachah 11. There is a slight difference in this instance, because the original agent is not necessarily making these statements to the court himself. Nevertheless, as long as witnesses saw the get in the possession of the original agent, the statements of the agent who gave the get to the woman are accepted.

29.

As mentioned in the notes on Halachah 11, there are opinions that maintain that this applies only when the husband, the agent and the woman are located in different cities. If all three are located in the same city, these opinions maintain that the husband's word should be accepted if he states that he gave the agent the get for safekeeping. In this instance, as well, although both views are mentioned by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 141:57), the Rambam's view is favored.

Moreover, as mentioned in those notes, the Ramah maintains that if the get is no longer in possession of the agent, his word is not accepted.

30.

As will be explained, different rules apply if the couple is known to quarrel (Chapter 13, Halachah 1), or war prevails throughout the world (Chapter 13, Halachah 2).

31.

As reflected by the Rambam's statements at the conclusion of Chapter 13, it appears that according to Scriptural law, the testimony of one witness is accepted in instances of this nature.

32.

The testimony of such individuals is never accepted according to Scriptural law. The acceptance of such testimony in this instance is a leniency adopted by the Sages so that Jewish women will be able to remarry. (See the conclusion of Chapter 13.)

This halachah begins the discussion of the subject of agunot, women whose husbands are missing and presumed to have died. In previous generations, this was a recurrent difficulty, for business journeys were replete with danger, and moreover, pogroms and persecution were constant threats. Often, men disappeared and were presumed to have died or to have been killed, and yet there was no conclusive proof to that effect. Indeed, a significant amount of the Rabbinic literature of previous generations was devoted to questions of this nature.

In the present age, with the communications revolution and the advent of more highly developed means of identification, these problems have been minimized. But they still arise. After each of Israel's wars, lengthy investigations were necessary before permission to remarry was granted to the wives of the casualties. And when, heaven forbid, there are Jews killed in plane crashes and the like, Rabbis must make careful inquiries based on the principles reflected in the halachot that follow.

33.

See Halachah 24, which states that the testimony of these women is not considered at all, regardless of whether they say that the woman's husband is alive or that he has died.

34.

I.e., we fear that out of hatred, these women will testify that a woman's husband has died so that she will marry another person, and when her first husband returns she will be forced to leave both relationships.

The Kessef Mishneh states that the phrase "although he is still alive" is meant to exclude an instance in which a woman's husband died and she remarried. The five women who share these close family ties with her first husband are not disqualified from giving testimony with regard to the death of her second husband. The implication is that these women's hatred has a specific objective: to cause the woman to be divorced from her husband. Once she is no longer married to him, they no longer harbor such feelings.

The Beit Shmuel 17:13 and Rabbi Akiva Eiger question this ruling on the basis of the Rambam's wording in Chapter 7, Halachah 3, which states: "These are the women who we presume hate each other . . . another woman married to the same man - this applies even if this woman has since remarried." Nevertheless, this halachah can be interpreted to mean that although the other woman has remarried, she wants the woman who was married to her first husband also to be forbidden to him.

35.

Who we assume would identify with her mother. Moreover, the daughter of the mother-in-law may have a personal grudge, because the other woman will enjoy the inheritance of her parents' estate.

36.

I.e., the woman married to her husband's brother, whom her husband would have to marry if his brother died without children. Since it is possible that they will share the same husband, there may be enmity between them.

37.

I.e., she is jealous of the woman who took her mother's place.

Because of the bad feelings that characterize the relationship between these pairs, testimony is also disqualified in the reverse of the above situations. For example, if the husband of the daughter of a woman's husband is missing, the woman may not testify about the matter, although she has no natural reason to hate the other woman.

38.

See Chapter 13, Halachah 11, which explains that when the gentile makes statements casually, relating events that took place, his word is accepted.

39.

This refers to two categories of individuals: a) one who transgresses a prohibition punishable by lashes, and b) one who violates a prohibition of the Torah that involves taking money unjustly. (See Hilchot Edut, Chapter 10.)

40.

We fear that he is able to be bribed to give false testimony.

41.

E.g., a person who takes interest forbidden by Rabbinic law, or a gambler (Hilchot Edut 10:3). (See also Hilchot Edut 11:1-5, which mentions other base individuals whose testimony was disqualified.)

42.

Although our Sages disqualified the testimony of such individuals in other instances, they relaxed this restriction in this regard, so that the woman would be granted the opportunity to remarry.

43.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 17:37) follows the ruling of Rabbenu Asher, who maintains that the woman should not remarry because of the gossip that might ensue.

44.

Or, as in the case at hand, the testimony of one witness that is considered to be equivalent to that of two.

45.

When the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 17:37) quotes this law, it states that the witness who says that the husband did not die came before the woman was granted license to remarry. See Beit Shmuel 17:110.

46.

In the previous instance, a ruling was already delivered, and the testimony of one witness is not sufficient to detract from that ruling. In this halachah, by contrast, a ruling has not been issued, and one witness has no more halachic power than the other.

47.

See Hilchot Shegagot 8:3, where the Rambam states that the woman and her second husband are obligated to bring the guilt offering sacrificed to bring atonement when one is in doubt of whether or not one committed a transgression.

48.

This is interpreted by most commentaries to mean: "I know that he died." Rashi (Ketubot 22b) states that it means: "I know that if he were alive, he would have returned by now," but this interpretation is not accepted by the later authorities.

49.

The rationale for this decision is stated above in Halachah 7. At the outset, however, she should not remarry, not even to this witness (Beit Shmuel 17:113). There are, moreover, significant halachic authorities who rule that she must leave her second husband. Their opinion is also mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.), but the Rambam's opinion appears to be favored.

50.

I.e., the stringency mentioned at the conclusion of the previous halachah.

51.

I.e., the number is not significant. The same law applies whether two or 200 come.

52.

Thus, she may not marry at all (and if she marries, may not remain married to her second husband unless she marries the witness, as the Rambam continues in Halachah 19). The Maggid Mishneh and the Ramah (Even HaEzer 17:37) emphasize that this applies only when the women or the witnesses who are usually disqualified come before the woman is granted permission to marry. If, however, she is granted permission to marry on the basis of the testimony of an acceptable witness, the testimony of these individuals does not cause that license to be rescinded.

53.

The wording used by the Rambam is slightly confusing, for we are speaking about an instance when only one acceptable witness testifies on her behalf. (See Beit Shmuel 17:118.)

54.

According to the Maggid Mishneh, this applies even if the woman was granted license to remarry before the other witness came. This opinion is reflected in the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 17:38). If, however, two women testify that a woman's husband has died, and permission is granted for the woman to remarry, the testimony of a single acceptable witness is not sufficient for that license to be revoked (Maggid Mishneh; Ramah, Even HaEzer 17:38).

55.

I.e., if the same situation occurred with regard to acceptable witnesses, the laws stated in the following halachah would apply. With regard to acceptable witnesses, as long as two witnesses dissent, it makes no difference how many witnesses support the other opinion.

56.

This applies even when the woman married after receiving license from a Rabbinic court. If two witnesses come afterwards and testify that her first husband is still alive, we give credence to their statements (Beit Shmuel 17:128).

57.

See Halachah 15.

58.

I.e., she is marrying with the intent that the other wife will follow suit and also marry. Then her first husband will return, and they will both become forbidden to him. In describing this sequence, Yevamot 120a recalls Samson's prayer (Judges 16:30): "May I die together with the Philistines" - i.e., she will harm herself in order to harm her rival.

59.

The fact that their testimonies contradict each other is not significant.

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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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