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

האשה שבאה ואמרה אשת איש הייתי וגרושה אני נאמנת. שהפה שאסר הוא הפה שהתיר. הוחזקה אשת איש ובאה ואמרה גירשני בעלי אינה נאמנת להתיר עצמה לשוק. אבל פסלה עצמה לכהונה לעולם. ואם מת בעלה חוששין לדבריה וחולצת ולא מתיבמת:

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

היו לה שני עדים שהיא גרושה אע"פ שאין שם גט הרי זו תנשא לכתחלה. הוציאה גט מתחת ידה ואמרה גירשני בעלי בזה הרי זו נאמנת ותנשא בו. אף על פי שאינו מקויים כמו שביארנו:

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

בא הבעל וערער אם אמר לא נתתיו לה אלא נפל ממני ומצאה אותו אינו נאמן. שהרי הודה שכתבו לה והרי הוא יוצא מתחת ידה. אבל אם אמר הבעל על תנאי היה. פקדון היה. מעולם לא כתבתיו. מזוייף הוא. יתקיים בחותמיו או בעדי מסירה כמו שביארנו. ואם לא נתקיים אינה מגורשת להיות מותרת לאחרים אבל פסלה נפשה מכהונה כמו שביארנו. שהרי פסלה עצמה בהודאת פיה ועשתה עצמה כחתיכה של איסור:

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

באה היא ובעלה היא אומרת גירשתני ואבד גיטי. והוא אומר לא גירשתיך אע"פ שהוחזקה אשתו הרי זו נאמנת. חזקה אין אשה מעיזה פניה בפני בעלה:

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

אמר הבעל גירשתי את אשתי אינו נאמן וחוששים לדבריו ותהיה ספק מגורשת. ואפילו הודית לו שגירשה אינו נאמן שמא יתכוין לקלקלה או בגט בטל גירשה והיא אינה יודעת [או שמא תעיז פניה בו מפני שהוא מאמינה והיא אינה יודעת] כובד האיסור שלה. לפיכך אומרים לו אם אמת הדבר הרי אתם קיימים גרש אותה עתה בפנינו:

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

שנים אומרים נתגרשה ושנים אומרים לא נתגרשה אפילו הבעל עומד והיא אומרת לו גרשתני הרי זו בחזקת אשת איש גמורה מפני שהעדים סומכין אותה ואפשר שתעיז פניה. לפיכך אם נשאת תצא והולד ממזר:

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

בד"א כשאמרו עכשיו נתגרשה שהרי אומרין לה אם אמת הדבר הוציאי גיטך. אבל אם אמרו העדים מכמה ימים נתגרשה יש לומר אבד הגט והואיל והיא אומרת גרושה אני בודאי ושני עדים מעידין לה אע"פ שהשנים מכחישין אותן אם נשאת לאחד מעדיה לא תצא, שהרי הוא ובעלה יודעין בודאי שהיא מותרת. וחזקה היא שאין מקלקלין עצמן. אבל אם נשאת לאחר הואיל והדבר אצלו ספק. וכן אם אמרה איני יודעת אפילו נשאת לאחד מעדיה הרי זו תצא והולד ספק ממזר:

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

אמרו שנים ראינוה שנתגרשה ושנים אומרים לא ראינוה. אם היו כולם שרוים בחצר אחת הרי זו לא תנשא ואם נשאת לא תצא והולד כשר שבני אדם עשויין לגרש בצנעה:

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

האשה שלא הוחזקה אשת איש ובא עד אחד ואמר אשת איש היתה ונתגרשה. ובא עד אחד ואמר לא נתגרשה הרי שניהן מעידין שהיא אשת איש ואחד מעיד שהיא גרושה ואין דבריו של אחד במקום שנים ולפיכך לא תנשא ואם נשאת תצא:

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

אשה ושני אנשים שבאו ממדינה אחרת, זה אומר זו אשתי וזה עבדי. וזה אומר זו אשתי וזה עבדי. והאשה אומרת שניהן עבדי. הרי היא מותרת לכל ואע"פ ששניהן החזיקוה באשת איש הואיל וכל אחד מהן העיד לעצמו אינן נאמנין:

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

שליח קבלה שהוציא גט מתחת ידו והבעל אומר מזוייף הוא יתקיים בחותמיו או בעדי מסירה כמו שביארנו. אמר הבעל לפקדון נתתיו לו והשליח אומר לגירושין נתנו לי השליח נאמן. וכן אם היה הגט יוצא מתחת ידי האשה והיא אומרת שליח זה נתנו לי, והשליח אומר כן נתתיו לה ולגירושין נתנו לי, והבעל אומר לא נתתיו לו אלא לפקדון, השליח נאמן והיא מגורשת:

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

אבד הגט אע"פ שהבעל אומר לגירושין נתתיו לשליח והשליח אומר נתתיו לה הרי זו ספק מגורשת שהרי הוחזקה אשת איש ואין כאן אלא עד אחד ובעל. ואפילו אמרה האשה בפני נתנו לו לגירושין ונתנו השליח לי הואיל והבעל והשליח סועדין אותה אפשר שתעיז פניה ושמא לא נתגרשה:

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

שליח קבלה שקיבל גט לאשה ושלחו לה בפני שני עדים והגיע הגט לידה ונטלתו והרי הגט יוצא מתחת ידה. והיא אינה יודעת אם בעלה שלחו לה או שליח קבלה שלה או שלוחו של בעלה. הרי זו מגורשת כמו שביארנו:

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

בא בעל וערער שלא כתבו. או שהוא גט בטל יתקיים בחותמיו שהרי עדים מעידים שהגט שנתנו לה יצא מתחת יד שלוחה שידו כידה. ואע"פ שהיא אינה יודעת הרי העדים ידעו ואם לא נתקיים אינה מגורשת:

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

מי שהוחזקה אשת איש והלכה היא ובעלה למדינת הים ושלום בינו לבינה ושלום בעולם ובאה ואמרה מת בעלי נאמנת ותנשא או תתיבם. חזקה שאינה מקלקלת עצמה ותאסור עצמה על בעלה הראשון ועל זה ותפסיד כתובתה מזה ומזה ולהיות בניה ממזרין בדבר העשוי להגלות לכל. ואי אפשר להכחיש ולא לטעון טענה שאם הוא חי סופו לבא או יודע שהוא חי. וכן אם בא עד אחד והעיד לה שמת בעלה תנשא על פיו שהדבר עשוי להגלות. אפילו עבד או אשה או שפחה ועד מפי עד מפי עבד מפי שפחה מפי קרוביו נאמנים לומר מת פלוני ותנשא אשתו או תתיבם על פיהם:

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

והכל נאמנים להעיד לה עדות זו חוץ מחמש נשים שחזקתם שונאות זו את זו שאין מעידות זו לזו במיתת בעלה שמא יתכוונו לאוסרה עליו ועדיין הוא קיים. ואלו הן. חמותה. ובת חמותה. וצרתה. ויבמתה. ובת בעלה. אפילו עכו"ם המסיח לפי תומו נאמן ומשיאין על פיו כמו שיתבאר. ואם נתכוון להעיד אינו נאמן:

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

וכן הפסול בעבירה מן התורה אם בא להעיד באשה שמת בעלה אינו נאמן. ואם היה מסיח לפי תומו נאמן אין זה פחות מן העכו"ם. אבל פסול מדבריהם נאמן לעדות אשה:

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

בא עד אחד והעיד שמת בעלה והתירוה להנשא על פיו ואחר כך בא אחר והכחיש את הראשון ואמר לא מת הרי זו לא תצא מהיתרה ותנשא. שעד אחד נאמן בעדות אשה כשני עדים בשאר עדויות ואין דבריו של אחד במקום שנים:

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

באו שניהם כאחד זה אומר מת וזה אומר לא מת. אשה אומרת מת ואשה אומרת לא מת. הרי זו לא תנשא ואם נשאת תצא מפני שהיא ספק. ואם נשאת לעד שהעיד לה והיא אומרת ברי לי שמת הרי זו לא תצא. באו שנים ואמרו לא מת אע"פ שנשאת תצא:

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

במה דברים אמורים בשהיה העד אחד שנשאת על פיו כמו השנים שבאו והכחישו אותו. כגון שנשאת על פי איש ובאו שנים ואמרו לא מת. או שנשאת על פי אשה או על פי עצמה ובאו שתי נשים או שני פסולין של דבריהן ואמרו לא מת. אבל עד כשר אומר מת ונשים רבות אומרות לא מת או פסולין אומרים לא מת הרי זה כמחצה על מחצה, ואם נשאת לאחד מעדיה והיא אומרת ודאי מת הרי זו לא תצא:

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

אשה אומרת מת או היא שאמרה מת בעלי ואח"כ בא עד כשר ואמר לא מת הרי זו לא תנשא ואם נשאת תצא:

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

אשה אומרת לא מת ושתי נשים אומרות מת הרי זו תנשא. וכן אם אמרו עשר נשים לא מת ואחת עשרה אומרות מת הרי זו תנשא שאין אומרים שנים כמאה אלא בעדים כשרים אבל בפסולין הלך אחר הרוב בין להקל בין להחמיר:

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

שני עדים אומרים מת ושנים אומרים לא מת הרי זו לא תנשא ואם נשאת תצא מפני שהיא ספק. ואם נשאת לאחד מעדיה והיא אומרת ברי לי שמת הרי זו לא תצא:

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

מי שיש לו שתי נשים ובאה אחת מהן ואמרה מת בעלי הרי זו תנשא על פי עצמה כמו שביארנו. וצרתה אסורה שאין צרה מעידה לחבירתה. ואפילו נשאת זו תחלה אין אומרין אילו לא מת בעלה לא היתה אוסרת עצמה עליו. שמא משנאתה בצרתה רוצה היא שיאסרו שתיהן עליו. זאת אומרת מת בעלי וצרתה מכחשת אותה ואומרת לא מת הרי זו תנשא. כשם שאינה מעידה לה להתירה כך אינה יכולה להעיד לה לאוסרה. זאת אומרת מת וצרתה אומרת נהרג הואיל ושתיהן אומרות שאינו קיים הרי אלו ינשאו: