1) THE ANNULMENT OF A GET IN TRANSIT
QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses a case in which a man appoints a Shali'ach to deliver a Get to his wife, and the Shali'ach is delayed. The husband meets the Shali'ach before the Shali'ach gives the Get to the woman, and he tells the Shali'ach that the Get is annulled. Alternatively, the husband rushes to his wife before the Shali'ach reaches her, and he tells his wife that the Get is annulled. In such a case, the Get indeed is annulled. Even if the Shali'ach hands the Get to the woman, she is not divorced.
The Gemara explains that the Mishnah does not need to teach that the Get is annulled when the husband runs after the Shali'ach to tell him that he annulled the Get. Rather, the Mishnah needs to teach that even when the husband meets with the Shali'ach unexpectedly and tells him that the Get is annulled, the Get indeed is annulled. One might have thought that in such a situation the Get is not annulled and that the husband merely intends "to cause her pain" ("l'Tzi'urah Ka Mechaven") and he has no intent to annul the Get. The Mishnah teaches that he indeed intends to annul the Get.
RASHI explains that one might have thought that the husband simply wants to cause distress to his wife by delaying the Get for a month or two since, had he genuinely sought to annul the Get, he would have deliberately run after the Shali'ach to annul the Get (instead of annulling the Get when he coincidentally met up with the Shali'ach).
The RASHBA is puzzled by Rashi's words. What difference does it make if the husband simply wants to delay the Get for a month or two, or if he wants to annul the Get completely? Even if he merely wants to delay the Get for a month or two, at the end of that time the Get cannot be given unless the husband re-appoints the Shali'ach to give the Get! Hence, even if the husband intends to cause pain to his wife, he also intends to annul the Get because, effectively, there is no difference between annulling the Get completely and delaying it for a few months. In either case, the Get cannot be given until the husband re-appoints the Shali'ach. Why, then, according to Rashi, would one have thought that the Get is not annulled because the husband did not run after the Shali'ach?
(a) The RASHBA first suggests that Rashi might understand that the Gemara here follows the view of Rav Sheshes (32b) who maintains that when a man annuls the Get he sent to his wife, he cannot re-use it later to divorce her -- "Eino Chozer u'Megaresh Bo." One might have thought that the husband simply intends to cause pain to his wife and he does not intend to annul the Get, and, therefore, the same Get may be re-used later when the husband changes his mind and decides to divorce her. The Mishnah therefore teaches that the Get indeed is annulled and cannot be re-used.
However, as the Rashba asks, the Gemara there explicitly rules that one may re-use a Get after it was annulled! It is unlikely that Rashi would explain the Mishnah here according to the non-Halachic opinion.
(b) TOSFOS REBBI AKIVA EIGER (on Mishnayos) suggests a number of differences between a case in which the husband intends to give the Get later and a case in which he intends to annul the Get entirely. He points out that if the husband intends to delay the giving of the Get for a few months, he has not retracted the appointment of the Shali'ach. The Shali'ach is still his appointee, but he merely does not know it at the time and must wait for explicit permission from the husband to give the Get.
This difference has a number of Halachic implications, including several leniencies in cases where the husband intends only to delay the giving of the Get. One leniency is that, normally, the husband must appoint his Shali'ach in the presence of witnesses. In the case of the Mishnah, since the Shali'ach was already appointed in the presence of witnesses and the Shelichus was never annulled (since the husband's intention was to delay the Get), the husband may tell the Shali'ach at a later date to deliver the Get without formally appointing him again as a Shali'ach. Another leniency is in a case where -- after the husband tells the Shali'ach not to deliver the Get -- the Shali'ach gives the Get to another person and tells him that "if the husband ever asks me again at a later time to deliver the Get, I want you to deliver it for me." If the husband does not annul the original Shelichus but merely delays the giving of the Get, then the second Shali'ach may give the Get to the woman. However, if the husband annuls the Shelichus entirely, then the second Shali'ach has no authority to deliver the Get since he was not appointed as a Shali'ach by the husband.
A question may be asked on both the explanation of the Rashba and that of Rebbi Akiva Eiger. Rashi writes that what makes us assume that the husband does not want to annul the Get but merely to delay it for a few months is the fact that he did not deliberately pursue the Shali'ach, but he simply met up with him by chance. If he had intended to annul the Get, he should have annulled the Shelichus of the Shali'ach. According to the Rashba's and Rebbi Akiva Eiger's understanding of Rashi, even when the husband does not want to annul the Get, he also does not want the Get to be given for another few months, and thus he still should have run after the Shali'ach to tell him not to give the Get for another few months.
(c) The TORAS GITIN explains that Rashi does not mean to say that the husband wants the Get to take effect if it is delivered now. Rather, the husband simply wants to cause the Shali'ach (and the woman) uncertainty and doubt as to whether the Get took effect or not. Since he did not run after the Shali'ach, one might assume that he did not truly intend to annul the Get, but rather he wanted the Get to take effect when it is delivered, and he merely wanted to cause the woman to be uncertain about whether or not the Get took effect at the moment she received it and to refrain from getting remarried, out of doubt, for a few months. If the husband had intended never to tell the woman whether or not the Get took effect, then he would have simply annulled the Get since, anyway, he is effectively preventing her from getting married with this Get.
Rashi therefore writes that the husband intends to notify his wife, after a few months, that the Get took effect, and he wants the Shali'ach to deliver the Get now. He just wants the woman to remain in a state of confusion.
The Rashba explains the Gemara differently. The Rashba is not satisfied with the explanation that the husband wants the Get to be delivered even though the Shali'ach does not know that he wants it delivered. If the Shali'ach thinks that the husband does not want it delivered, he will not deliver the Get in the first place, and thus the husband effectively has annulled the Get! The Rashba explains instead that the husband was simply trying to surprise the Shali'ach momentarily, but after thinking about it the Shali'ach and the wife will immediately understand that the husband did not intend to retract the Get.
In what way does this pain the wife if, by the time she receives the Get, she knows that she is divorced and may remarry? The Rashba emends the Girsa in the Gemara to "l'Tze'urei Ka Mechaven" -- the husband intends to pain him, the Shali'ach, for delaying the delivery of the Get so long that the husband happened to meet him (see Rashi DH v'Afilu).