The learning is dedicated le’iluy nishmat Menachem Mendel Ben Harav Yoel David Balk a”h.
This week we learned Gittin 82 through Gittin 88. Here are some highlights:
Later Generations and Earlier Generations
The Gemara stated: Come and see how the earlier generations were unlike the later generations. The earlier generations would bring their produce (into their houses) through the main entrance in order to make them subject to (the obligation of) ma’aser. The later generations would bring their produce (into their houses) by way of their rooftops or storage yards in order that they should not be obligated in ma’aser. The Talmud seems to be teaching that as history progresses, later generations typically produce lesser levels of religious commitment. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Consider the following thought raised by Rav Moshe Twersky, may Hashem avenge his murder, in a shiur.
“I saw the following question: If an idolater is coercing a Jew to commit a sin in front of 10 Jewish people, do we say that one of them should run away so the person would not be required to give up his life (as the obligation to give up one’s life is only when there are 10 Jews present)? Regarding the person himself, the Rambam is clear that if he is able, he must run away.”
Rabbi Twersky was inspired to inquire in the opposite direction: “If there are only nine, and your life is being threatened to get you to sin, can you call out “a tzenter!”? May you reach out for a 10th person? Is it prohibited to do so? Perhaps it would even be a mitzvah to do so!”
Rav Twersky during his lifetime longed to give up his life al Kiddush Hashem. He thought it would be a mitzvah to deliberately create the conditions whereby one would be obligated to give up life to sanctify the name of Heaven. His life proved that there were some in later generations who broke the mold of ever lesser levels of commitment and passion. (Daf Notes)
Why a Husband Can Reject a Vow
Rabbi Shimon Ben Elazar argued that one who creates a prohibition can remove a prohibition, and it is never possible for one person to create the prohibition but for someone else to remove the prohibition. The Gemara challenges this contention. When a person makes a neder, he can go to a sage to remove the neder. The one who made the vow created the prohibition, yet the sage, someone else, removed the prohibition? The Gemara answered based on the lesson of Rav Yochanan that a sage merely gets the person who made the neder to discover that he regretted having ever made the neder. The regret of the one who made the prohibition is the basis of the removal of the obligation. The Gemara then asked, but a wife can make a neder and her husband can reject it? Apparently, it is possible for one person, the wife, to create the prohibition, and for someone else, the husband, to remove the prohibition. The Gemara answered with the principle that Rav Pinchas taught in the name of Rava. Rav Pinchas taught in the name of Rava, when a wife makes a vow, she is committing herself to the vow provided her husband agrees. If the husband rejected the vow, that would reveal that she had never meant to take on such an obligation, for her husband did not agree. Thus, when a husband rejects a vow, it is really the wife who removes the obligation she had placed upon herself.
Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein raised the following question: A woman made a vow not to eat meat during the week or Shabbat, and to only eat meat on Yom Tov. When her husband heard the vow, he rejected it. She then proceeded to eat meat each Shabbat. Several months later, the husband discovered that his wife had a severe blemish from birth which she had not informed him about prior to the wedding. The marriage was annulled without a need for a get. The wife then came with a question, since it had turned out that retroactively she had never been married, perhaps the husband had never had the right to reject her vow? If so, his rejection had never taken place, and the vow had always been extant. Perhaps she needed to engage in acts of penance to atone for the meat she had eaten when she really was not allowed to eat meat on those days?
Rav Zilberstein quoted the view of Darchei David. Gittin 83 teaches that the ability of a husband to annul the vow of his wife stems from the fact that at the time a wife takes a vow, she intends to only commit herself provided her husband agrees. Therefore, if at the time of the vow she was married, when she took the vow she intended to make it contingent on the approval of her husband. When he rejected the vow upon hearing it, it was revealed that the vow never took effect. Even if later it turned out that halachically they were not married at the time of the vow and its rejection, the vow would remain rejected. The husband’s rejection power stems from the psychology of a woman who thinks she is married. A spouse who vows is in fact making a contingent declaration. She is committing herself provided her husband agrees. If at the time of the commitment her husband did not agree, she never wanted to be bound to her vow. At the time of the wife’s vow about meat, she thought she was married; as a result, she made a contingent promise. The rejection of her husband made the promise not take effect. As a result, the vow never took effect. Even though it eventually emerged that they had not been married at the time, she had thought that she was married, and as result, her vow was conditional and since the man she thought was her husband did not approve, she never wished to be bound by the vow, and the vow never did take effect. (Chashukei Chemed)
Translations of the Torah in the Days of the Tannaim
The Mishnah taught what must be written in a get to make it a kosher get. The chachamim were of the opinion that the essence of the get requires the sentence “Harei at muteret lechol adam—you are permitted to each man.” Rabbi Yehuda held that it must also state “vedein deyehevei lichi minai—and this document will be yours from me—sefer teiruchin, v’igeret shvukin, vget piturin, limhach lehitnasba lechol gevar diyit’tzbayan—a scroll of divorce, a letter of leaving, a get that releases, so that you may go and marry any man you wish.” Commentators wondered why Rabbi Yehuda required the language of the get to repeat itself three times. Rav Mendel Kasher in his book “Torah Shleimah” pointed out that the three terms Rabbi Yehuda required are all found in the classic Aramaic translations of the Torah.
By Rabbi Zev Reichman
Rabbi Zev Reichman teaches Daf Yomi in his shul, East Hill Synagogue, 255 Walnut Street in Englewood, NJ, at 5:35 a.m. Monday and Thursday, at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and at 7:45 on Sunday mornings.