Gittin 15bגיטין ט״ו ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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15bט״ו ב

הוא ואחר מעידין על חתימת יד שני פסול מאי טעמא אתו לאיחלופי בקיום שטרות דעלמא וקא נפיק נכי ריבעא דממונא אפומא דחד סהדא

he, i.e., the agent, and another person testify with regard to the signature of the second witness, the bill of divorce is invalid. What is the reason for this? Perhaps people will come to confuse it with the typical case of ratification of legal documents, and will rely on one witness who testifies about his own signature and that of the other signatory, while another witness joins with him to testify with regard to the other signature. And as a result of this, the full sum of money, minus a quarter, will be extracted based upon the testimony of one witness. In order to ratify legal documents in general, two witnesses must testify as to the validity of each of the signatures. If the Sages were to allow one witness to testify about his own signature and another witness to join him in testifying about the other signature in the case of a bill of divorce, it may lead to the same method being employed with regard to other legal documents.

מתקיף לה רב אשי מי איכא מידי דאילו מסיק ליה איהו לכוליה דיבורא כשר השתא דאיכא חד בהדיה פסול

Rav Ashi objects to this: Is there any situation in which if he himself would complete his entire statement by saying: It was written in my presence and it was signed in my presence, the document would be valid, and now that there is another one who testifies with him, the bill of divorce is invalid?

אלא אמר רב אשי אפילו אומר אני הוא עד שני פסול מאי טעמא או כולו בקיום הגט או כולו בתקנת חכמים

Rather, Rav Ashi says that even if the agent says: I am the second witness who signed the bill of divorce, it is invalid. What is the reason for this? A bill of divorce cannot be validated by a combination of two types of credibility. It must be authenticated either entirely through the ratification of the bill of divorce, in the manner that other documents are ratified, or it must be entirely ratified via the rabbinic decree, in which case the testimony of the agent is considered equivalent to that of two people who ratify the signatures.

תנן בפני נכתב כולו בפני נחתם חציו פסול אידך חציו היכי דמי אילימא דליכא דקא מסהיד עליה כלל השתא אחד אומר בפני נכתב ואחד אומר בפני נחתם דהאי קמסהיד אכולה כתיבה והאי קמסהיד אכולה חתימה פסול חציו מיבעיא

The Gemara cites a proof for this claim: We learned in the mishna that if an agent for a bill of divorce said: All of it was written in my presence and half of it was signed in my presence, this bill of divorce is invalid. The Gemara clarifies: What are the circumstances with regard to the other half of the bill of divorce? If we say that there is no one who testifies about it at all, this is problematic: Now the mishna taught that if one agent says: It was written in my presence, and one agent says: It was signed in my presence, in which case this agent testifies with regard to all the writing and that agent testifies with regard to all the signing, it is invalid. When the agent testifies that only half of it was signed in his presence, is it necessary to say that the document is invalid?

אלא או כדרבא או כדרב אשי

Rather, the mishna must be teaching that the bill of divorce is invalid even if there is additional testimony with regard to the second signature. This novelty can be explained either in accordance with the opinion of Rava, who holds that the agent joins with another person to testify about the second signature, or in accordance with the opinion of Rav Ashi, who holds that he testifies about his own signature.

ולאפוקי מדרב חסדא

The Gemara adds: And this is to exclude the opinion of Rav Ḥisda, who declares that the document is invalid even when there is a full ratification of the second signature. Because the mishna merely alludes to the novelty in this clause, without specifying it, one may infer only the lesser novelty. Since Rav Ḥisda’s novelty is greater than that of the other two Sages, had the mishna been taught for that purpose, it should have issued an explicit statement to that effect.

אמר לך רב חסדא ולטעמיך בפני נכתב אבל לא בפני נחתם ל"ל אלא לא זו אף זו קתני

The Gemara rejects this suggestion: Rav Ḥisda could have said to you: And according to your reasoning, why do I need the ruling of the mishna which states that if the agent said: It was written in my presence but it was not signed in my presence, the bill of divorce is invalid? The mishna could simply have stated: If he said: All of it was written in my presence and half of it was signed in my presence, it is invalid. One would have inferred that it is invalid all the more so if one does not testify with regard to the signature at all. Rather, one must say that the tanna teaches the mishna employing the style: Not only this but also that, i.e., each ensuing statement adds something novel.

הכא נמי לא זו אף זו קתני

If so, here too the tanna teaches the mishna employing the style: Not only this but also that. In other words, Rav Ḥisda would answer that the above inference, i.e., that the clause dealing with: It was written in my presence but it was not signed in my presence, must be teaching an additional novelty, is incorrect. This is because it is a stylistic feature of the Mishna to teach a less novel case followed by a more novel one, regardless of the fact that had it taught the more novel case first, there would have been no need to mention the less novel case at all. Therefore, there is no need to infer a special, unstated novelty from this clause at all, which means it cannot be cited as proof against Rav Ḥisda’s greater novelty.

אמר רב חסדא גידוד חמשה ומחיצה חמשה אין מצטרפין עד שיהא או כולו במחיצ' או כולו בגידוד

§ Tangentially, the Gemara cites a discussion that involves a similar underlying principle. Rav Ḥisda says, with regard to Shabbat domains: An embankment, i.e., a height disparity between two surfaces, of five handbreadths and an additional partition of five handbreadths, do not join together to form a partition of ten handbreadths, which is the minimum height for a partition to enclose a private domain. A halakhic partition is regarded as being composed of ten handbreadths only if it is composed entirely of a partition, e.g., a fence, or entirely of the embankment, e.g., a pit or incline.

דרש מרימר גידוד חמשה ומחיצה ה' מצטרפין והלכתא מצטרפין

Mareimar taught: An embankment of five handbreadths and a partition of five handbreadths do join together to form a partition of ten handbreadths. The Gemara comments: And the halakha is that they join together. Rav Ḥisda’s opinion is analogous to the aforementioned case that a bill of divorce must be either entirely upheld by the agent or entirely upheld by the ratification of its signatures, although the halakha is ruled differently in the case of Shabbat domains.

בעי אילפא ידים טהורות לחצאין או אין טהורות לחצאין היכי דמי אילימא דקא משו בי תרי מרביעית והא תנן מרביעית נוטלין לידים לאחד ואפי' לשנים

The Gemara cites another case that is based on the same principle. Ilfa raised a dilemma: With regard to ritual washing, can one’s hands be ritually pure in halves, or can they not be ritually pure in halves? The Gemara asks: What are the circumstances of this case? If we say that two people wash with the requisite one quarter-log of water, and therefore in actuality each one of them washes with only half of a quarter-log, but didn’t we learn explicitly in a mishna (Yadayim 1:1): With the amount of a quarter-log one can wash the hands of one person and even of two? A quarter-log of water suffices for one person to wash his hands before eating bread, and even two may wash their hands simultaneously with this amount, if they do so in the correct manner.

ואלא דקא משי חדא חדא ידיה והתנן הנוטל ידו אחת בנטילה ואחת בשטיפה ידיו טהורות

But rather, Ilfa is referring to a case where one washed his two hands one by one, not both hands at the same time. The Gemara asks: But didn’t we learn in a mishna (Yadayim 2:1): With regard to one who purifies one hand by washing with a vessel and one hand by immersing it in a river, his hands are ritually pure? This mishna indicates that there is no need for both hands to be washed simultaneously.

ואלא דקא משי פלגא פלגא דידיה והאמרי דבי ר' ינאי ידים אין טהורות לחצאין לא צריכא דאיכא משקה טופח

But rather, Ilfa’s dilemma refers to a case where he washes his hand in two halves, i.e., he first washes one half of his hand and next washes the second half of that same hand. The Gemara asks: But didn’t the Sages from the school of Rabbi Yannai say: Hands cannot be rendered ritually pure in halves? If so, one who washes half of his hand and pauses before washing the second half has not performed the act of washing the hands at all. The Gemara answers: No, Ilfa’s question is necessary only for a case where there is liquid that is still moist on his hand. When one washes the second half of his hand, some moisture remains on the portion of his hand that he already washed, and therefore one might think that this liquid joins with the water with which he washes the second half of his hand.

וכי איכא משקה טופח מאי הוי והתנן

The Gemara asks: And when there is liquid that rendered one’s hand moist, what of it? Is this a relevant factor? But didn’t we learn in a mishna (Teharot 8:9):