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Weekly Roundup: Gittin, Pages 32-39

May the Torah learning be a merit for the neshama of Menachem Mendel Ben Harav Yoel David Balk a”h

 

This past week we studied Gittin pages 32-39. Here are some of this week’s highlights.

Gittin 32

Gittin 32 contains a Mishnah that teaches: If someone sends a get to his wife, and he later meets up with the messenger (that he sent the get with) or he sent another messenger to tell the first messenger that the get that he gave is nullified, the get is indeed nullified. The Gemara explains that the Mishnah is teaching that even if the husband happened by chance to meet up with the shaliach, and at the chance meeting voided the get, the get is void. One might have thought that to void a get the husband must demonstrate that he is serious about stopping it, and only if he set out deliberately to find the emissary and void the get it would be voided. But perhaps, when in a chance meeting he tells the shaliach that the get is voided we should interpret his words as an attempt to cause pain to his wife and to merely delay the delivery of the get. Hence, the novel insight of the Mishnah that even if the husband voids the get in a chance encounter we take him at his word and the get is invalid.

Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein was asked about the following case. A man went to a store and ordered a refrigerator. He paid for it and they agreed that the fridge would be delivered to his home in a week. An order form was filled out and filed away. A day later the buyer ran into the proprietor of the store at shul. The buyer told the seller, “I am glad to have met up with you. I have just changed my mind. Since I merely gave you cash for the fridge and, according to Halacha, one must perform an act of acquisition such as lifting or dragging to acquire a movable object, my merely paying the money has yet to make the fridge mine, and I decided to annul the deal. Please give me back my money and do not deliver the fridge.” The seller ignored the conversation and the fridge was delivered at the end of the week. The buyer came to the store asking for his money back and for the fridge to be picked up and brought back to the store. Rav Zilberstein was asked, who was right?

Rav Zilberstein suggested that while Gittin 32 allows a chance meeting to annul a get, perhaps a business deal is different. In business there is an acquisition called situmta. Situmta means common business practice. Thus, in the diamond exchange, if businessmen were to shake hands on a deal the deal would be considered fully acquired, for in the diamond trade a handshake is considered a completed deal. In the kitchen appliance industry, a purchase in a store with payment of cash and completion of an order form is considered a completed deal; therefore, the buyer already acquired the fridge and his attempt to change his mind was ineffectual, and the store owner did not need to refund the money or bring the fridge back. (Chashukei Chemed)

Gittin 33

The Mishnah on Gittin 32 taught that initially one who would appoint a shaliach to hand a get to his wife could gather a bet din and in their presence annul the get even without informing the shaliach. This caused problems. Sometimes the emissary would continue on his mission and hand the get to the woman, thinking it was valid. She would go and remarry and give birth to children. In fact, however, the husband had annulled the get in front of a court and she was really still married to him and the children are mamzeirim. Therefore, to repair the world, Rabban Gamliel instituted that a husband could only void a get in the presence of the emissary who was transporting the get or in the presence of his wife.

The Gemara on Gittin 33 discusses how many judges would have to be present for the husband to annul a get before them for it to be voided. Rav Sheishes argued that the husband had to annul the get before three judges since the Mishnah said he would have to seat a beit din and annul the get before them. Rav Nachman, however, felt that he would only need two judges. Rav Nachman suggested that a pruzbul, the document in which a lender hands over the debts owed to him to the court so that he can collect them after shmittah, may be produced in front of two judges and, therefore, bitul get also can be performed in front of two judges. The Rishonim (Rashi, Ramban, Ran and Rashba) explain that Rav Nachman concedes that a court which deliberates must be made up of three judges. He feels that when voiding a get or handing over a loan to a court one is not presenting a question that requires deliberation and a decision of the court. All one needs to do in those instances is inform a court. Even two judges can serve as a court when the role of the court is merely to get informed and not to deliberate, decide and judge. Chashukei Chemed points out that Halacha follows Rav Nachman and a voiding of a get before two judges is sufficient to annul the get.

Rav Zilberstein discussed a case of a man who had left an interest-bearing account as an inheritance to his children and had written in his will that any descendent who declares in front of a court that he will learn Torah eight hours a day would be given funds from that account. Since the will demands of the descendants to make a declaration in front of a court and it did not ask of the court to deliberate and decide, if a descendant of the niftar would declare before two judges that he will learn eight hours a day, that would be considered fulfilling the requirement of the will to declare in front of a court that one will learn, and he would be entitled to receive funds from the account. (Chashukei Chemed)

By Rabbi Zev Reichman

Rabbi Zev Reichman teaches Daf Yomi in his shul, East Hill Synagogue, 255 Walnut Street, Englewood, NJ: At 5:35 a.m. Monday, Thursday, at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and at 7:45 on Sunday mornings.

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