We are dealing with unambiguous gentile names, in which case there is no need to be concerned that people might rely on these individuals as witnesses for the transfer, as it is evident that they are gentiles.
היכי דמי שמות מובהקין אמר רב פפא כגון הורמיז ואבודינא בר שיבתאי ובר קידרי ובאטי ונקים אונא
The Gemara clarifies: What are the circumstances of unambiguous gentile names? Rav Pappa said: This is referring to names such as Hurmiz, and Abbudina, bar Shibbetai, and bar Kidri, and Bati, and Nakim Una.
אבל שמות שאין מובהקים מאי לא אי הכי אדתני סיפא לא הוזכרו אלא בזמן שנעשו בהדיוט לפלוג וליתני בדידה בד"א בשמות מובהקין אבל שמות שאין מובהקין לא
The Gemara infers: However, if the bill of divorce or manumission was signed by gentile witnesses with ambiguous names, what is the halakha? Is this not a valid document? If so, instead of teaching in the latter clause of the mishna: These two types of documents are mentioned only when they are prepared by a common person, not in court, let him distinguish and teach the distinction within the case of gentile courts itself, as follows: In what case is this statement, that gentile signatures are valid for a bill of divorce or manumission, said? With regard to unambiguous names. However, in a case of ambiguous names, no, gentile witnesses are not valid.
הכי נמי קאמר בד"א בשמות מובהקין אבל בשמות שאין מובהקין נעשה כמי שנעשו בהדיוט ופסולין
The Gemara answers: That is also what he is saying, i.e., Rabbi Shimon’s statement that these bills of divorce and bills of manumission are also valid should be understood in this very manner: In what case is this statement said? With regard to unambiguous names. However, with regard to ambiguous names, the document becomes like one that was prepared by a common person, and therefore such documents are invalid.
ואיבעית אימא סיפא אתאן לגיטי ממון והכי קאמר לא הוזכרו גיטי ממון דפסולים אלא בזמן שנעשו בהדיוט
And if you wish, say a different answer: In the last clause of the mishna, which states: These types of documents are mentioned only when they are prepared by a common person, we are no longer discussing bills of divorce; rather, we arrive at the case of financial documents. Furthermore, this clause of the mishna is not a continuation of Rabbi Shimon’s statement, as it returns to the opinion of the first tanna. And this is what the mishna is saying: Financial documents were mentioned as invalid only when they were prepared by a common person, whereas if they were produced by a court they are valid.
תניא אמר ר' אלעזר בר' יוסי כך אמר ר"ש לחכמים בצידן לא נחלקו ר"ע וחכמים על כל השטרות העולין בערכאות של עובדי כוכבי' שאע"פ שחותמיהן עובדי כוכבים כשרים ואפי' גיטי נשים ושחרורי עבדים לא נחלקו אלא בזמן שנעשו בהדיוט שר"ע מכשיר וחכמים פוסלים חוץ מגיטי נשים ושחרורי עבדים
It is taught in a baraita (Tosefta 1:4): Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Yosei, said that Rabbi Shimon said this to the Sages in the city of Tzaidan: Rabbi Akiva and the Rabbis did not disagree with regard to all documents produced in gentile courts, that even though their signatories are gentiles, these documents are valid, even in the case of bills of divorce and bills of manumission. They disagreed only when they were prepared by a common person, outside a court, as Rabbi Akiva deems a document of this kind valid, and the Rabbis deem it invalid, except for bills of divorce and bills of manumission.
רשב"ג אומר אף אלו כשירין במקום שאין ישראל חותמין אבל במקום שישראל חותמין לא
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: Even these, bills of divorce and manumission, are valid in a place where Jews do not sign. In other words, the halakha that a document with gentile signatories is valid applies only in a place where Jews are not allowed to sign, as everyone knows that gentile documents are not signed by Jews. However, in a place where Jews sign, no, these documents are not valid either, as people might mistakenly think that Jews signed this bill of divorce. Therefore there is a concern that one might deliver this bill of divorce in the presence of those witnesses, who are actually gentiles, which would render the bill of divorce invalid.
מקום שאין ישראל חותמין נמי ליגזור אטו מקום שישראל חותמין שמא בשמא מחליף אתרא באתרא לא מחליף
The Gemara suggests: Let us also decree in a place where Jews do not sign due to a place where Jews do sign. The Gemara answers: One might confuse one name with another name. It is possible that one might think that a certain name is that of a Jew when it is actually that of a gentile. However, one is not likely to confuse one place with another place. Since everyone knows that all of the signatures in certain places belong to gentiles, they are careful not to transfer a bill of divorce in the presence of the witnesses who signed it, unless they are certain that the witnesses are Jews.
רבינא סבר לאכשורי בכנופיאתה דארמאי א"ל רפרם ערכאות תנן
§ The Gemara relates that Ravina thought to deem valid a document that was written by a group of gentiles [arma’ei]. Rafram said to him that we learned: Gentile courts, in the mishna, i.e., these documents are valid only if they were produced in an important court, not by every group of gentiles.
אמר רבא האי שטרא פרסאה דמסריה ניהליה באפי סהדי ישראל מגבינן ביה מבני חרי
Similarly, Rava said: With regard to this Persian document [shetara parsa’a] written by the Persian authorities that was transferred to the recipient in the presence of Jewish witnesses, he can collect with it non-liened property, i.e., property that is unencumbered by a mortgage. Although this is not considered a proper document by means of which one can collect from any land sold by the debtor, nevertheless, the facts in the document are considered accurate, and therefore one may at least collect non-liened property with it.
והא לא ידעי למיקרא בדידעי
The Gemara asks: But the witnesses for the transmission of this document do not know how to read Persian, as most Jews did not read that language. If so, how can they serve as witnesses? The Gemara answers: Rava is referring to a situation where the witnesses know how to read Persian.
והא בעינא כתב שאינו יכול לזייף וליכא בדאפיצן והא בעינא צריך שיחזיר מענינו של שטר בשיטה אחרונה וליכא בדמהדר
The Gemara questions how the court can rely upon such a document: But I require that the document be written in a manner that cannot be forged, and it is not so in this document, as the Persians were not particular about preparing their documents in this manner when writing their legal documents. The Gemara explains: Rava’s statement applies in a case where the paper of the documents was processed with gall. Consequently, it is not possible to forge the writing (see 19b). But I require that a document review the essential topic of the document in its last line, and it is not so in the case of Persian documents. The Gemara answers: Rava’s statement applies in a case where it returned to review the essential topic of the document in the final line.
א"ה ממשעבדי נמי לית ליה קלא
The Gemara asks: If so, he should be able to collect from liened property as well, as this document is equivalent to one written by a Jew. Why doesn’t Rava say that it can be used to collect from liened property as well? The Gemara answers: The reason is that this document does not generate publicity, i.e., a legal matter that is performed in a Persian court will not become publicized among Jews. Therefore, this case is similar to a loan by oral agreement, where the transaction is not publicized. In this case the lender can collect only from non-liened property, as purchasers from the debtor would not have been aware of his debt and consequently taken sufficient measures to ensure that the money would not be claimed from their purchase.
בעא מיניה ריש לקיש מר' יוחנן
Reish Lakish raised a dilemma before Rabbi Yoḥanan: