GITIN 86-87 - sponsored by Asher and Etti Schoor of Lawrence, NY. May they be blessed with a year filled with the joy of the Torah and see their children continue to grow in Avodas Hashem.


QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses a case in which two Gitin were written on the same scroll, side by side. Two Hebrew witnesses signed the document, their signatures starting under the Get on the right side and concluding under the Get on the left. (RASHI (DH Shenayim) explains that the name of the first witness was under the right Get and his father's name was under the left Get, as was the name of the second witness and his father's name). Two Jews from Greece also signed the Get.

Rashi explains that the difference between Hebrew and Greek signatories is the way they sign their names. When a Greek signs "Yosef ben Shimon," this means that his name is Shimon and he is the son of Yosef (or Shimon ben Yosef); "Yosef ben Shimon" means that the "ben" of Yosef is Shimon. Therefore, when a Jew signed the Get in Greek, his name is under the left Get and his father's name is under the right Get.

The Gemara (87b) explains that the reason why the second Get is invalid in the case of the Mishnah is the concern that the witnesses signed "Gundalis," in an unusual way (i.e. the Greek witnesses signed their names in the method of Hebrew signatures, writing their names on the right and their fathers' names on the left. (The ME'IRI writes that "Gundalis" refers to one who imitates the actions of others.) Consequently, three witnesses may have signed on one Get, and there may be only one witness on the second Get.

The RAMBAM (in Perush ha'Mishnayos) explains the differences between Hebrew and Greek signatures differently. Unlike Hebrew and Arabic, all of Greek writing is from left to right. The BARTENURA adds that the reason why only one Get is valid is that the second set of witnesses may have changed their way of writing to conform with the first set. The Greeks might have written their signatures from right to left like their Hebrew counterparts, in which case all four witnesses are signed on just one Get.

The TOSFOS YOM TOV questions the Rambam's explanation. He asks that if the foreign language to which the Mishnah refers is similar in nature to any of the languages in the Tosfos Yom Tov's region ("such as German, French, Spanish, and Italian"), there is no reason to suspect that the witnesses would change the order in which they normally write. The Tosfos Yom Tov accepts Rashi's explanation because it is more likely that the Greek witness simply changed the order of his name, writing his given name before his father's name to conform with the style of signing in Hebrew.

The question of the Tosfos Yom Tov on the Rambam's explanation is a very strong question. How might the Rambam answer this question?

ANSWER: The RASHASH suggests that when the Rambam explains the concern of the Gemara that the later witnesses changed the order of their writing, he does not mean that they changed the order in which they write the letters of a word. They would not have written the name "Yakov" as "Vokay," for example. Rather, they changed the order in which they normally write words. When the Tosfos Yom Tov asserts that it is highly unlikely that the Greek witnesses wrote in reverse, he refers to changing the order of the letters within the word itself. The possibility that they changed the orders of words is more realistic. (According to the Me'iri's explanation of "Gundalis" as one who imitates others, this possibility is easier to understand.)

The PNEI YEHOSHUA suggests a logical reason for why the Greek witnesses might have changed the order of the letters when they signed. When they see that the Hebrew witness who signed before him started his signature under the Get on the right side, he also wishes to do this because the main part of a signature is the beginning of the signature and not necessarily where the person's given name is located. The Pnei Yehoshua adds that although this is not the opinion of Rashi, it may be a valid explanation for the words of the Rambam. (See also CHASAM SOFER.) (D. BLOOM, Y. MONTROSE)



QUESTIONS: The Mishnah states that if one was unable to finish the writing of a Get on one page and completed it on a second page, the Get is valid as long as the witnesses sign below the text. RASHI (DH b'Daf) explains that the second page was next to the first in the width of the scroll.

(a) The Mishnah appears to contradict the Gemara earlier (20b) which derives from the word "Sefer" (Devarim 24:2) that a Get must be comprised of a single document and not two or three.

(b) A similar Gemara in Sotah (18a) derives from the word "ba'Sefer" (Bamidbar 5:23) that when the Kohen writes the Megilas Sotah he must write it on one page; if he writes it on two or three the Megilah is invalid. Why would the word "Sefer" imply only one page in the case of Sotah, but more than one page in the case of Get?


(a) TOSFOS earlier (20b, DH Sefer) answers in the name of the RI that when the Gemara in Sotah teaches that a Megilas Sotah written on two pages is invalid, it refers to one Megilah written on two separate, unconnected pages. In contrast, the Mishnah here refers to a Get written on the same parchment but in two columns.

(b) TOSFOS in Menachos (33a, DH Kasvah) points out that with regard to Get the Torah writes the word "Sefer" ("a scroll"), but with regard to Sotah it writes "ba'Sefer" ("in the scroll"). This means that the Megilas Sotah should be written in a specific Sefer, which implies that if it is written on two pages it is invalid, even if those pages are on the same piece of parchment.

The CHIDUSHEI CHASAM SOFER notes that the Tosefta in Gitin (7:10) states that a Get that was torn is invalid. The fact that the Tosefta makes no mention of any distinction between a torn Get that was not sewn together and one that was implies that if a Get was torn into two pieces it is invalid even if the pieces were sewn back together.

In contrast, a Sefer Torah (which is also called a "Sefer") is considered to be one Sefer when the sections of parchments are sewn together, because this is the way the Sefer Torah was given to Moshe Rabeinu. The Chasam Sofer comments that this is true according to the opinion earlier (60a) that "Torah -- Megilah Megilah Nitnah" -- "the Torah was given in sections." RASHI there (DH Megilah) explains that this means that Moshe Rabeinu transcribed every Parshah as it was said to him, and at the end of forty years he sewed all of the sections together.

Tosfos (DH Torah) points out that even according to the opinion there that "Torah Chasumah Nitnah" -- "the Torah was given sealed," some Parshiyos were written beforehand (as evident from Shemos 24:7). "Torah Chasumah Nitnah" means merely that certain Parshiyos that were said to Moshe Rabeinu were not given over to be written down when there were other Pesukim that had not yet been given that needed to be written before those Parshiyos. (This means that in some of the cases where "Ein Mukdam u'Me'uchar ba'Torah" applies, the chronologically earlier Parshah was not written until after the Parshah it would follow was given.) (D. BLOOM, Y. MONTROSE)