Get the best of Chabad.org content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!
ב"ה

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Gerushin - Chapter Three

Show content in:

Gerushin - Chapter Three

1

A get that is not written for the sake of the man [initiating] the divorce and for the sake of the woman who is being divorced is not valid.

What is implied? A scribe wrote a get to learn [scribal arts] or to teach them, and a husband came and discovered that the get was written with his name; the name of the woman was the same as his wife's name; and the name of the city the same as the name of his city. If he took [this get] and used it to divorce [his wife], the divorce is void.1

א

כָּל גֵּט שֶׁלֹּא נִכְתַּב לְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ הַמְגָרֵשׁ וּלְשֵׁם הָאִשָּׁה הַמִּתְגָּרֶשֶׁת אֵינוֹ גֵּט. כֵּיצַד. סוֹפֵר שֶׁכָּתַב גֵּט לְלַמֵּד אוֹ לְהִתְלַמֵּד וּבָא הַבַּעַל וּמָצָא שֵׁם שֶׁנִּכְתַּב בְּגֵט זֶה כִּשְׁמוֹ וְשֵׁם הָאִשָּׁה כְּשֵׁם אִשְׁתּוֹ וְשֵׁם הָעִיר כְּשֵׁם עִירוֹ וּנְטָלוֹ וְגֵרֵשׁ בּוֹ אֵינוֹ גֵּט:

2

Furthermore, [a get is also void in the following instance:] [A man] had a get written so that he could divorce his wife and changed his mind. An inhabitant of his city discovered it and told him: "My name is the same as yours, and my wife's name is the same as your wife's." Although [the second man] took it and used it to divorce his wife, it is invalid,2 despite the fact that it was written in order to effect a divorce.

ב

יֶתֶר עַל זֶה כָּתַב לְגָרֵשׁ אֵת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְנִמְלַךְ וּמָצָא בֶּן עִירוֹ וְאָמַר לוֹ שְׁמִי כְּשִׁמְךָ וְשֵׁם אִשְׁתִּי כְּשֵׁם אִשְׁתְּךָ וּנְטָלוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ וְגֵרֵשׁ בּוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּכְתַּב לְשֵׁם גֵּרוּשִׁין אֵינוֹ גֵּט:

3

Furthermore, [a get is also void in the following instance:] [A man] had two wives with the same name, and he wrote a get with the intent of divorcing the older one, and changed his mind and used it to divorce the younger one. The divorce is invalid. Although it was written for the sake of the man [initiating] the divorce, it was not written for the sake of the woman who is being divorced.

ג

יֶתֶר עַל זֶה מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ שְׁתֵּי נָשִׁים שֶׁשְּׁמוֹתֵיהֶן שָׁווֹת וְכָתַב לְגָרֵשׁ אֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה וְנִמְלַךְ וְגֵרֵשׁ בּוֹ אֶת הַקְּטַנָּה אֵינוֹ גֵּט. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּכְתַּב לְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ הַמְגָרֵשׁ לֹא נִכְתַּב לְשֵׁם זוֹ שֶׁנִּתְגָּרְשָׁה בּוֹ:

4

Moreover, [in the above situation,] if he tells the scribe: "Write the get, and I will use it to divorce whichever one I desire," and the scribe wrote the get with that intent, and the husband divorced one of his wives, the status of the divorce is a matter of doubt.3

Whenever a get was not written with the proper intent, it remains void, even if the scribe rewrites the letters with the proper intent.4

ד

יֶתֶר עַל כֵּן אָמַר לְסוֹפֵר כְּתֹב וְאֵי זוֹ שֶׁאֶרְצֶה אֲגָרֵשׁ בּוֹ וְכָתַב הַסּוֹפֵר עַל דַּעַת זוֹ וְגֵרֵשׁ בּוֹ אַחַת מֵהֶן הֲרֵי זֶה סָפֵק גֵּרוּשִׁין. וְכָל גֵּט שֶׁכְּתָבוֹ שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֶעֱבִיר עָלָיו קֻלְמוֹס לִשְׁמָהּ אֵינוֹ גֵּט:

5

When a man writes a get [with the intent of] divorcing his wife, but he changes his mind and does not divorce her, he may not divorce her with this same get another time should he so desire, if he entered into privacy with her after [the get] was written.

If, however, he did divorce her with this old get, the divorce is effective, and she may remarry on this basis without any qualms.5 For [the get] was written for her sake and was given to her now in the presence of witnesses, as the law requires.

Why at the outset should it not be used for divorce? [This is] a Rabbinic decree, lest [people] say: "Her get preceded [the birth of] her son."

ה

מִי שֶׁכָּתַב [גֵּט] לְגָרֵשׁ אֶת אִשְׁתּוֹ וְנִמְלַךְ וְלֹא גֵּרְשָׁהּ וְנִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ אַחַר שֶׁכְּתָבוֹ לֹא יְגָרְשֶׁנָהּ בְּאוֹתוֹ הַגֵּט פַּעַם אַחֶרֶת כְּשֶׁיִּרְצֶה לְגָרְשָׁהּ. וְאִם גֵּרְשָׁהּ בְּאוֹתוֹ הַגֵּט הַיָּשָׁן הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת וְתִנָּשֵׂא בּוֹ לְכַתְּחִלָּה שֶׁהֲרֵי נִכְתַּב לִשְׁמָהּ וַהֲרֵי נָתַן לָהּ עַתָּה בְּעֵדִים כְּהִלְכָתוֹ. וְלָמָּה לֹא יְגָרְשֶׁנָהּ בּוֹ לְכַתְּחִלָּה גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יֹאמְרוּ גִּטָּהּ קוֹדֵם לִבְנָהּ:

6

[The following rules apply when a man] tells a scribe, "Write a get for the sake of so and so, and it will remain in my possession. When I marry her, I will divorce her with it." If [the scribe] writes [such a get], and the man marries her and then he divorces her with it, the divorce is void. [The rationale is] that the woman could not be divorced when the get was written. Thus, it is considered not to have been written for the sake of divorce.

If, however, [the man] tells [the scribe]: "Write [a get] for the woman who is consecrated to me. After I consummate the marriage, I will divorce her," should he consummate the marriage and divorce her with such [a get], the divorce is binding.6

If a man had [a get] written for his yevamah, and he divorced her with it after he performed the rite of yibbum, the status of the divorce is doubtful, for she was not his wife in an absolute sense7 when [the get] was written.

ו

אָמַר לְסוֹפֵר כְּתֹב גֵּט לִפְלוֹנִית וְיִהְיֶה עִמִּי לִכְשֶׁאֶשָּׂאֶנָּה אֲגָרְשֶׁנָּה בּוֹ וְנִכְתַּב וּנְשָׂאָהּ וְגֵרְשָׁהּ בּוֹ אֵינוֹ גֵּט. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא הָיְתָה בַּת גֵּרוּשִׁין מִמֶּנּוּ כְּשֶׁנִּכְתַּב גֵּט זֶה וְנִמְצָא שֶׁנִּכְתַּב שֶׁלֹּא לְשֵׁם גֵּרוּשִׁין. אֲבָל אִם אָמַר לוֹ כְּתֹב אוֹתוֹ לַאֲרוּסָתִי לִכְשֶׁאֶשָּׂאֶנָּה אֲגָרְשֶׁנָּה וּכְנָסָהּ וְגֵרְשָׁהּ בּוֹ כָּשֵׁר. כְּתָבוֹ לִיבִמְתּוֹ וְאַחַר שֶׁיִּבְּמָהּ גֵּרְשָׁהּ בּוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה סְפֵק גֵּרוּשִׁין הוֹאִיל וְאֵינָהּ אִשְׁתּוֹ גְּמוּרָה כְּשֶׁכְּתָבוֹ:

7

In order to assist scribes,8 our Sages permitted them to write the standard texts of gittin [beforehand] and leave empty the place for the man's [name], the woman's [name], the time and the place for [the sentence]: "Behold, you are permitted [to marry] any man."9 Thus, he can write [these parts of the get] for the sake of the man who gives the get and for the sake of the woman who receives it.10 Afterwards, he should have the witnesses sign for the sake of [the husband and the wife].

ז

מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת סוֹפֵר הִתִּירוּ חֲכָמִים לְסוֹפֵר שֶׁיִּכְתֹּב טָפְסֵי גִּטִּין וְיַנִּיחַ מְקוֹם הָאִישׁ וּמְקוֹם הָאִשָּׁה וּמְקוֹם הַזְּמַן וּמְקוֹם הֲרֵי אַתְּ מֻתֶּרֶת לְכָל אָדָם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּכְתְּבֵם לְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ הַמְגָרֵשׁ וּלְשֵׁם הָאִשָּׁה הַמִּתְגָּרֶשֶׁת וְאַחַר כָּךְ יַחְתְּמוּ הָעֵדִים לִשְׁמוֹ וְלִשְׁמָהּ:

8

[The following rule applies if] a scribe wrote a get for the sake of the husband and the wife as required, and the witnesses signed without having that intent. Since [the husband] gives it to [his wife] in the presence of witnesses who observe the transfer, the get is valid [according to Scriptural law]. It is, however, {unacceptable [by Rabbinic decree].

Why is [it merely unacceptable and] not void?}11 Because the requirement for witnesses to sign the get [was instituted] only as a measure to aid society.12

There is an opinion that states that if the witnesses signed without the proper intent, since it as if it were a forgery, the get is void. Similarly, they maintain that if one of the witnesses was unacceptable, or if it was signed by one acceptable witness only, it is void even though it was transferred in the presence of witnesses.13

This ruling does not appear [correct] to me. For although [the get] resembles a forgery, it is not an absolute forgery. [Hence,] since it was transferred in the presence of acceptable witnesses, it is [merely] deemed unacceptable by Rabbinic decree.14

ח

סוֹפֵר שֶׁכָּתַב הַגֵּט לִשְׁמוֹ וְלִשְׁמָהּ כְּהִלְכָתוֹ וְחָתְמוּ הָעֵדִים שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ הוֹאִיל וּמְסָרוּ לָהּ בְּעֵדִים הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט. (אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא פָּסוּל. וְלָמָּה אֵינוֹ בָּטֵל) לְפִי שֶׁאֵין הָעֵדִים חוֹתְמִין עַל הַגֵּט אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי תִּקּוּן הָעוֹלָם. וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאוֹמֵר שֶׁאִם חָתְמוּ הָעֵדִים שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ הוֹאִיל וְהוּא כִּמְזֻיָּף מִתּוֹכוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט בָּטֵל. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה אֶחָד מֵעֵדָיו פָּסוּל אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה בּוֹ עֵד אֶחָד בִּלְבַד כָּשֵׁר. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּמְסַר בְּעֵדִים הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט בָּטֵל. וְלֹא יֵרָאֶה לִי דָּבָר זֶה אֶלָּא כִּמְזֻיָּף לֹא מְזֻיָּף וַדַּאי וְהוֹאִיל וְנִמְסַר בְּעֵדֵי מְסִירָה כְּשֵׁרִין הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:

9

[The following rule applies when a person] bringing a get loses it, and then it is discovered. If he lost it in a place not frequented by caravans - even if he found it after a long time had passed - we presume that the get that he lost is the get that was found and [the woman] may be divorced with it.15

[However, different rules apply if a get] was lost in a place frequented by caravans. If it was discovered immediately, before any of the passersby had tarried there, or if16 it was found in the container in which it was [originally] placed, and the agent can recognize the length and the width of the get that was rolled up within, we can presume that [it is the same get], and [the woman] may be divorced with it.17

ט

הַמֵּבִיא גֵּט וְאָבַד מִמֶּנּוּ וּמְצָאוֹ. אִם אָבַד מִמֶּנּוּ בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין הַשַּׁיָּרוֹת מְצוּיוֹת אֲפִלּוּ מְצָאוֹ לְאַחַר זְמַן מְרֻבֶּה הֲרֵי זֶה בְּחֶזְקַת שֶׁהַגֵּט שֶׁאָבַד מִמֶּנּוּ הוּא הַגֵּט שֶׁנִּמְצָא וְתִתְגָּרֵשׁ בּוֹ. אָבַד בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁהַשַּׁיָּרוֹת מְצוּיוֹת אִם מְצָאוֹ מִיָּד וַעֲדַיִן לֹא שָׁהָה אָדָם שָׁם מִן הָעוֹבְרִים אוֹ שֶׁמְּצָאוֹ בַּכְּלִי שֶׁהִנִּיחוֹ בּוֹ וְיֵשׁ לוֹ טְבִיעוּת עַיִן בְּאָרְכּוֹ וְרָחְבּוֹ שֶׁל גֵּט שֶׁהָיָה כָּרוּךְ הֲרֵי הוּא בְּחֶזְקָתוֹ וְתִתְגָּרֵשׁ בּוֹ:

10

When it was established that there was another man in that place whose name was the same as the name written in the get,18 if another man passes by the place [the get was lost] - even if he did not tarry there - we suspect that the get that was found belongs to the other person.

If the woman is divorced with this get, the status of the divorce is doubtful. If, however, another person has not passed by this place, we presume that [the get that was discovered was the one that was lost], even though there are two people with the same name.19

י

הֻחְזַק בְּאוֹתוֹ הַמָּקוֹם אִישׁ אֶחָד שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ כִּשְׁמוֹ שֶׁבַּגֵּט חוֹשְׁשִׁים שֶׁמָּא גֵּט זֶה הַנִּמְצָא שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ הָאִישׁ הָאַחֵר הוּא הוֹאִיל וְעָבַר אָדָם שָׁם וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא שָׁהָה. וְאִם נִתְגָּרְשָׁה בּוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ סָפֵק מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. אֲבָל אִם לֹא עָבַר אָדָם שָׁם הֲרֵי זֶה בְּחֶזְקָתוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֻחְזְקוּ שָׁם שְׁנַיִם שֶׁשְּׁמוֹתֵיהֶן שָׁוִין:

11

If the witnesses knew of a clearly distinctive sign by means of which they could recognize the get20 - e.g., they said it had a hole next to a particular letter, or they said: "We signed only one get with these names" - we presume that [the get that was discovered was the one that was lost], and [the woman] may be divorced with it.

[This ruling applies] even when [the get] was discovered after a long time had passed, [it was lost in] a place frequented by caravans, and it was established that there were two [men] with the same names.21

יא

הָיָה לָעֵדִים בַּגֵּט סִימָן מֻבְהָק כְּגוֹן שֶׁאָמְרוּ נֶקֶב יֵשׁ בּוֹ בְּצַד אוֹת פְּלוֹנִית. אוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ מֵעוֹלָם לֹא חָתַמְנוּ אֶלָּא עַל גֵּט אֶחָד שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ שֵׁמוֹת כְּשֵׁמוֹת אֵלּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה בְּחֶזְקָתוֹ וְתִתְגָּרֵשׁ בּוֹ וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְּצָאוֹ אַחַר זְמַן מְרֻבֶּה וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁהַשַּׁיָּרוֹת מְצוּיוֹת וְהֻחְזְקוּ שָׁם שְׁנַיִם שֶׁשְּׁמוֹתֵיהֶן שָׁוִין:

12

[The following rules apply when] two men [with the same names]22 sent gittin together, and they were interchanged [and it is no longer known who sent which get]. Both gittin should be given to each of the women in the presence of witnesses who observe the transfer. [In this manner, both divorces are acceptable.]23

Therefore, if one of the gittin was lost, the second get is void.24

יב

שְׁנַיִם שֶׁשָּׁלְחוּ שְׁנֵי גִּטִּין וְנִתְעָרְבוּ נוֹתְנִין שְׁנֵיהֶן לָזוֹ וּשְׁנֵיהֶן לָזוֹ בְּעֵדֵי מְסִירָה. לְפִיכָךְ אִם אָבַד אֶחָד מֵהֶן הֲרֵי הַשֵּׁנִי בָּטֵל:

13

[The following rules apply when] a man has two names and a woman has two names. When a divorce is initiated, [the husband] should write the names that he and his wife use most frequently and that they are most popularly known by. [The get] should say: "So and so,25 or by whatever names that he is called, divorces so and so or by whatever names she is called."26

If he writes [the husband's] or [the wife's] nickname,27 [the get] is acceptable.28

יג

מִי שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ שְׁנֵי שֵׁמוֹת. וְכֵן אִשָּׁה שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ שְׁנֵי שֵׁמוֹת. כְּשֶׁמְּגָרֵשׁ כּוֹתֵב שְׁמוֹ וּשְׁמָהּ שֶׁהֵן רְגִילִין בּוֹ וִידוּעִין בּוֹ בְּיוֹתֵר וְאוֹמֵר אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי וְכָל שֵׁם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ גֵּרֵשׁ אִשָּׁה פְּלוֹנִית וְכָל שֵׁם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ. וְאִם כָּתַב חֲנִיכָתוֹ וַחֲנִיכָתָהּ כָּשֵׁר:

14

If the name that was less popularly known was written [in the get], and it was also written: "or by whatever names he is called," the get is not acceptable.29

If the name of [the husband] or [the wife,] or the city in which either of them lives30 is written incorrectly, the get is void,31 despite the fact that the phrase "or by whatever names he is called" was also written in the get.

יד

כָּתַב הַשֵּׁם שֶׁאֵינָם יְדוּעִים בּוֹ בְּיוֹתֵר וְכָתַב כָּל שֵׁם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה פָּסוּל. שִׁנָּה שְׁמוֹ אוֹ שְׁמָהּ וְשֵׁם עִירוֹ אוֹ שֵׁם עִירָהּ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁכָּתַב כָּל שֵׁם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ וְכָל שֵׁם שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ אֵינוֹ גֵּט:

15

All are fit to write a get, with the exception of five: a gentile, a servant, a deaf-mute, a mentally incompetent person and a minor. A woman may even write her get herself.

When a Jew becomes an apostate to false gods,32 or he desecrates the Sabbath in public, he is regarded like a gentile with respect to all matters [and is not fit to write a get].33

טו

הַכּל כְּשֵׁרִין לִכְתֹּב אֶת הַגֵּט חוּץ מֵחֲמִשָּׁה. עַכּוּ''ם וְעֶבֶד וְחֵרֵשׁ וְשׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן. אֲפִלּוּ אִשָּׁה עַצְמָהּ כּוֹתֶבֶת אֶת גִּטָּהּ. יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהֵמִיר לְעַכּוּ''ם אוֹ שֶׁהוּא מְחַלֵּל שַׁבָּתוֹת בְּפַרְהֶסְיָא הֲרֵי הוּא כְּעַכּוּ''ם לְכָל דְּבָרָיו:

16

Why are these five individuals [prevented] from writing gittin? Because a get must be written for the sake of the man initiating the divorce and the woman receiving the divorce, and a gentile writes with his own intent.34 A deaf-mute, a mentally incompetent person and a minor are not of [sufficient] mental capacity. And the laws of divorce and marriage do not apply to a servant; therefore, [in this area] he is disqualified; he is like a gentile in all respects.

If one of these five individuals writes a get, it is void,35 even if it was signed by acceptable witnesses and given in the presence of acceptable witnesses.

טז

וְלָמָּה אֵין כּוֹתְבִין אֵלּוּ הַחֲמִשָּׁה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ הַכּוֹתֵב לִכְתֹּב לְשֵׁם הָאִישׁ הַמְגָרֵשׁ וּלְשֵׁם הָאִשָּׁה הַמִּתְגָּרֶשֶׁת וְהָעַכּוּ''ם עַל דַּעַת עַצְמוֹ הוּא כּוֹתֵב. וְחֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן אֵינָן בְּנֵי דֵּעָה. וְהָעֶבֶד אֵינוֹ בְּתוֹרַת גִּטִּין וְקִדּוּשִׁין לְפִיכָךְ הוּא פָּסוּל כְּעַכּוּ''ם לְכָל דְּבָרָיו. וְאִם כָּתַב הַגֵּט אֶחָד מֵחֲמִשָּׁה אֵלּוּ אֵינוֹ גֵּט אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחָתְמוּ בּוֹ עֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים וְנִמְסַר לָהּ בִּכְשֵׁרִים:

17

When one of these five individuals writes the standard portion of the get and leaves the essential portions - i.e., the place for the man's [name], the woman's [name], the date and the sentence: "Behold, you are permitted [to marry] any man" - unwritten, and these were written by an adult mentally competent Jew with the proper intent, the get is acceptable.36

יז

כָּתַב אֶחָד מֵחֲמִשָּׁה אֵלּוּ טֹפֶס הַגֵּט וְהִנִּיחַ מָקוֹם הַתֹּרֶף שֶׁהוּא מְקוֹם הָאִישׁ וּמְקוֹם הָאִשָּׁה וּמְקוֹם הַזְּמַן וּמְקוֹם הֲרֵי אַתְּ מֻתֶּרֶת לְכָל אָדָם וּכְתָבָן הַפִּקֵּחַ הַגָּדוֹל הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִי לִשְׁמוֹ הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט כָּשֵׁר:

18

At the outset, one may allow a deaf-mute, a mentally incompetent person or a minor to write the standard portions of a get, provided they are supervised by a mentally competent adult.37

A gentile or a servant, by contrast, should not be allowed to write the standard portions of a get at the outset, even when supervised by a Jew. For permission to write the standard portions of a get at the outset was granted only as assistance to scribes, as we have explained.38

יח

מֻתָּר לְהָנִיחַ חֵרֵשׁ שׁוֹטֶה וְקָטָן לִכְתֹּב טֹפֶס הַגֵּט לְכַתְּחִלָּה וְהוּא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה גָּדוֹל הַפִּקֵּחַ עוֹמֵד עַל גַּבָּן. אֲבָל הָעַכּוּ''ם וְהָעֶבֶד אֵין כּוֹתְבִין הַטֹּפֶס לְכַתְּחִלָּה וַאֲפִלּוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹמֵד עַל גַּבָּן שֶׁלֹּא הִתִּירוּ לִכְתֹּב טָפְסֵי גִּטִּין שֶׁלֹּא לִשְׁמָהּ לְכַתְּחִלָּה אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי תַּקָּנַת סוֹפֵר כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

19

When a man writes a get on the Sabbath or on Yom Kippur, without knowing of the transgression,39 and gives it to [his wife], the divorce is effective.40 If it was written and signed on that day41 as a willful transgression and given to her, the divorce is not effective. For the witnesses [who signed] are disqualified by Scriptural law.

If it was written42 on a holiday43 as a willful transgression and given to her in the presence of acceptable witnesses on the holiday, the get is unacceptable [by virtue of Rabbinic decree].

יט

הַכּוֹתֵב גֵּט בְּשַׁבָּת אוֹ בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים בִּשְׁגָגָה וּנְתָנוֹ לָהּ הֲרֵי זוֹ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת. כְּתָבוֹ וַחֲתָמוֹ בּוֹ בַּיּוֹם בְּזָדוֹן וּנְתָנוֹ לָהּ אֵינָהּ מְגֹרֶשֶׁת שֶׁהֲרֵי הָעֵדִים פְּסוּלִין מִן הַתּוֹרָה. כְּתָבוֹ בְּיוֹם טוֹב בְּזָדוֹן וְנִמְסַר לָהּ בִּפְנֵי עֵדִים כְּשֵׁרִים בְּיוֹם טוֹב הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּט פָּסוּל:

Footnotes
1.

For the get was not written with the intent of being used to effect a divorce (Gittin 24b).

2.

For the get was not written for the sake of the man [initiating] the divorce and for the sake of the woman who is being divorced (Ibid.).

3.

This ruling depends on the concept of b'reirah - i.e., that since ultimately the husband's intent is clarified, it is considered retroactively as if this had been his intent at the outset.

This concept of b'reirah is relevant not only in the present context, but also with regard to many other contexts discussed in the Talmud and later Rabbinic works. Generally, the rule that is followed is that with regard to questions involving Scriptural law, the concept of b'reirah is not accepted, but with regard to Rabbinic law it is accepted. On this basis, the commentaries question the Rambam's ruling. In the Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Karo explains that although with regard to following stringencies, we say that the concept of b'reirah does not apply to questions of Scriptural law, it does apply with regard to the acceptance of a leniency. Therefore, although the woman must consider herself divorced, she does not have the prerogative of remarrying. On this basis, Rav Yosef Karo quotes the Rambam's wording in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 130:4). (See the Beit Shmuel 130:4, who also discusses this issue.)

4.

I.e., tracing over the letters is ineffective, for writing on top of other writing is insignificant (Gittin 20a). A parallel exists with regard to the Sabbath laws. If a person traces over letters on the Sabbath, he is not considered to have violated the forbidden labor of writing (Hilchot Shabbat 11:16).

Although the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 130:5) appears to favor the Rambam's ruling, it also quotes the opinion of the Rashba, which states that consideration must be made of a get given under such circumstances.

5.

As mentioned in the notes on Chapter 2, Halachah 2, the Rambam does not consider a get that was written before it was given to be predated. Other commentaries do, however, and it is their view that is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 127:5).

According to those authorities, such a get can be acceptable only when it was sent via an agent. This relates to another difference of opinion about this issue. The Tur (Even HaEzer 148) states that this ruling applies only when the get remained in the husband's possession until after he emerged from privacy with his wife. If he gave it to an agent beforehand, it is void. In the Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Karo states that the Rambam does not accept this distinction, and in the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 148:1), although he mentions the Tur's view, he favors his own interpretation of the Rambam's decision.

6.

This law applies only after the fact. At the outset, such a get should not be used, as reflected in the previous halachah.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 132:1) follows the opinion of the Tur and Tosafot, who differ with the Rambam and state that the get is acceptable only when it was post-dated, and the date on which it was given was mentioned. If the date on which the get was written was mentioned, the get is unacceptable. (It is worse than an ordinary "old get," because in that instance, the couple merely entered into privacy together; we are not certain that they had relations. In this instance, by contrast, the marriage bond was consummated.)

7.

Although the yevam does not have to consecrate his yevamah, he also does not have to divorce her. Hence, there is a question whether the connection between them is sufficient for the get to be acceptable.

8.

So that they would have a get ready, in order for them to prepare it for a husband in a relatively short time. In this manner, the scribe can use his free time for a useful purpose (Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Gittin 3:2).

9.

These are the parts of the get that are of fundamental importance, and which are referred to as the toref.

10.

On this issue there is a difference of opinion in the Mishnah (loc. cit.) between the Sages and Rabbi Eliezer. It appears that the opinion cited by the Rambam above is that of the Sages. Thus, this ruling is worthy of notice, because it represents a change of mind on the Rambam's part, for he writes in his Commentary on the Mishnah that the halachah follows Rabbi Eliezer. (It is also noteworthy that in the Rambam's manuscripts of his Commentary on the Mishnah, the latter statement was rubbed out and written over, implying that the Rambam deliberated back and forth about the matter when composing that text. See the Kovetz and others, who discuss this issue.)

See also the Beit Shmuel 131:2, who states that the Shulchan Aruch does not mention this law, because most authorities differ with the Rambam and do not grant a scribe such license. (See also Halachah 17 and notes.)

11.

There is a question whether the words within the brackets { } are the Rambam's or a printer's addition. There is, however, no difference in law between the two versions.

12.

As stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 15, it is not necessary for witnesses to sign the get according to Scriptural law. Our Sages required such signatures only to afford an advantage for the woman lest the witnesses die.

13.

The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 130:17) follows the Rambam's approach and rules that such a get is unacceptable by Rabbinic decree, but not void.

14.

The Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 131:6) quote the Rambam's decision, while mentioning the minority opinion.

15.

This and the following two halachot are dependent on the Rambam's understanding of a Talmudic passage that appears in Gittin 27a and Bava Metzia 18a. Many authorities differ with the Rambam in the interpretation of this passage, and it is their view that is favored by the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 132:4), although the Rambam's view is also quoted.

According to these views, if there are two people who, with their wives, share the same name in the same town, there is a difficulty if the get was not discovered immediately.

The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) also mentions a difficulty when a person was seen passing by the place where the get was lost, even when the place is not frequented by caravans and it is not known that two people of the same name live in that place. His ruling is, however, questioned by the Beit Shmuel 132:10 and others.

16.

The commentaries question why the Rambam requires both factors, that the get was in its original container, and that it could be recognized. Seemingly, one factor alone is sufficient. Indeed, when discussing this issue, the Shulchan Aruch (op. cit.) requires only one factor: either that it was found in the original container, or that the agent could recognize the get.

Note the Noda BiY'hudah (Even HaEzer, Volume II, Responsum 62), who supports the Rambam's ruling, explaining that there are various levels of recognition. Since the agent recognizes the get only by its length and width, it is necessary that it also be found in its container.

17.

Implied is that if enough time passed for one of the passersby to wait there, the get is unacceptable.

18.

And whose wife's name is the same as the woman's name written in the get.

19.

The Ramah (loc. cit.) states that if the name of the husband's town was mentioned, and we know that there is only one couple with the name mentioned in the get, we are not concerned about the fact that caravans frequent the place. We do not suspect that there are two towns with the same name. The Beit Shmuel 131:16 questions the Ramah's ruling.

20.

A sign is, however, necessary. According to the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.), it is sufficient for the agent who lost the get to say that he recognizes it; witnesses, by contrast, must give signs through which it can be identified (Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.).

21.

When quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) states that if there are other individuals who share the same name as the witnesses, the witnesses must also recognize their own signatures.

22.

And whose wives have the same names.

23.

I.e., the agent[s] give both gittin to one woman, and thus she receives the get intended for her. They then take the gittin from her and give them to the second woman. There is no necessity for the woman to know which get was intended for her originally (Gittin 86b; Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 132:3).

24.

The Maggid Mishneh (quoted in the Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.) explains that if, however, the agent gives the get that remains to one or the other of the women, the status of the divorce[s] is in doubt.

25.

I.e., his most popular name.

26.

I.e., according to the Rambam, there is no obligation to mention the other names with which the husband or wife is known. Other authorities differ and require that all the names by which a man or a woman is known should be mentioned in the get. This latter view is cited by the Ramah (Even HaEzer 129:1).

This issue is particularly relevant today, when many individuals have Jewish names with which they are called to the Torah, and secular names by which they are known by and large. The Ramah (loc. cit.:16) rules that the Jewish name should be mentioned first, but the secular name should also be mentioned in the get.

27.

I.e., a derivative of the person's name by which he or she is often called - e.g., Danny, which is a derivative of either Dan or Daniel. Other interpretations of the term chanichah are offered by different commentaries.

28.

The Ra'avad states that this applies only when the nickname is more extensively used than the person's actual name. Note the discussion of this issue in the Beit Shmuel 129:1. The Beit Shmuel also discusses whether the intent is that, after the fact, a woman divorced with such a get may remarry, or whether the intent is that at the outset such a get may be given.

29.

By Rabbinic decree. If, however, both names are mentioned in the get, the get is acceptable despite the fact that the less-used name is mentioned first (Shulchan Aruch, Even HaEzer 129:2).

30.

At present, it is not customary to mention the woman's city or the man's city. Instead, the location in which the get is given is mentioned.

31.

I.e., even according to Scriptural law.

32.

Our translation is based on the manuscript copies of the Mishneh Torah. The standard printed text was changed by the church's censors.

The equivalence between the desecration of the Sabbath and the worship of false gods is discussed by the Rambam at the conclusion of Hilchot Shabbat, based on Horayot 8a.

33.

Note the Maggid Mishneh, who states that although an apostate is not capable of writing a get, if he is married to a Jewess, he may - and indeed should - divorce her with a get. Just as the kiddushin he gives establish a viable marriage bond (Hilchot Ishut 4:15), a get that he gives can dissolve such a bond.

34.

Even if an observant Jew stands over him, and tells him the intent with which he should write the get, it is void. (See Hilchot Tefillin 1:11.)

The Rambam puts the emphasis on the gentile's lack of proper intent to explain why a get written by an apostate is unacceptable. For the Rambam could have employed the same reason given with regard to a servant - that the laws of marriage and divorce do not apply to him - to exclude a gentile. He chose to give this reason to allude to the law concerning an apostate because an apostate also cannot be relied upon to write with the proper intent (Beit Shmuel 123:5).

The reasons given by the Rambam are significant in another context. As mentioned in the notes on Chapter 2, Halachah 1, there is a difference of opinion among the authorities regarding whether or not the scribe writing the get must be appointed as an agent. All the individuals mentioned are not capable of serving as agents. Since that rationale is not given, it would appear that the Rambam does not require such an appointment. Nevertheless, other sources lead to the opposite conclusion.

35.

The Maggid Mishneh and the Beit Yosef (Even HaEzer 123) quote other opinions, which maintain that such gittin are disqualified by Rabbinic law only. Hence, because of this difference of opinion, the status of the divorce is in doubt (Chelkat Mechokek 123:6).

36.

The Ramah (Even HaEzer 123:3) quotes the opinion of the Tur, who maintains that in such an instance the get is deemed unacceptable by Rabbinic law.

37.

If these individuals are supervised, they will write the get with the proper intent. Hence, there is no reason to negate the feasibility of using the standard portions of the get that they wrote, out of fear that they will write the essential portions without the proper intent.

38.

Halachah 7 above.

39.

It appears that the Rambam's intent is that the get was written by the husband without his knowing of the transgression and not signed. It was given to his wife in the presence of witnesses. Although the same law would apply if the get were signed in unknowing violation of the holy day, the Rambam does not mention that possibility, because it is highly unlikely that both the man writing the get and the witnesses would not know of the transgression (Kessef Mishneh).

40.

Since the transgression was performed unknowingly, the get is acceptable. (See the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah, Chulin 1:1.)

41.

Our translation follows the standard printed text of the Mishneh Torah. There are other versions that state "If it was written and signed on a holiday...."

The difference between the two versions is that the prohibition against forbidden labor is less severe on the holidays than on the Sabbath and Yom Kippur. The holidays are mentioned to emphasize that the get is void even in such an instance.

42.

By the husband and was not signed by witnesses.

43.

Here a holiday is mentioned rather than the Sabbath, because if a get were written as a willful transgression in public on the Sabbath, the writer would be considered to be an apostate, and a get that he wrote would be disqualified by Scriptural law, as mentioned in Halachah 15. Since the desecration of the holidays is not so severe, the person is not considered to be an apostate. The get he wrote is, however, disqualified by Rabbinic decree.

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Vowelized Hebrew text courtesy Torat Emet under CC 2.5 license.
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.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah