מכלל דעבד כשר אמר רב אסי אמר רבי יוחנן אין העבד נעשה שליח לקבל גט לאשה מיד בעלה לפי שאינו בתורת גיטין וקדושין
one can learn by inference that a slave is fit. Rav Asi says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: A slave cannot become an agent to receive a bill of divorce for a woman from the hand of her husband, because he is not included in the halakhot of divorce and betrothal, and one can act as an agent only in a matter that applies to him.
מתקיף לה ר' אלעזר טעמא במילתא דליתיה הא במילתא דאיתיה כשר
Rabbi Elazar objects to this explanation as to why a slave cannot act as an agent: The reason that a slave is unfit is that this agency pertains to a matter whose halakhot he is not included in, but for a matter whose halakhot he is included in, i.e., a mitzva that applies to a slave, is he fit to serve as an agent?
והא עובד כוכבים והא כותי דאיתנהו בתורת תרומה דנפשייהו דתנן העובד כוכבים והכותי שתרמו משלהם תרומתם תרומה ותנן עובד כוכבים שתרם של ישראל אפי' ברשות אין תרומתו תרומה
But what of a gentile and a Samaritan,who are included in the halakhot of teruma with regard to their own produce, i.e., they must designate a portion of it for the priest, as we learned in a mishna (Terumot 3:9): With regard to a gentile and a Samaritan that separated teruma from their own produce, their teruma is considered teruma. And yet we learned in a different mishna (Terumot 1:1): In the case of a gentile who separated teruma from a Jew’s produce, i.e., acted as his agent, even if he did so with permission from the Jew, his teruma is not teruma.
מאי טעמא לאו משום דכתיב (אתם) (במדבר יח, ג) גם אתם מה אתם ישראל אף שלוחכם ישראל
What is the reason for this? Is it not because it is written “you” in the verse that is the source for the halakhot of agency: “So you also shall set apart a gift unto the Lord of all your tithes” (Numbers 18:28), and the Sages expound the expression “so you also” to mean the following: Just as you, the ones appointing the agents, are Jews, so too, your agents must be Jews. Since slaves are not full-fledged Jews, they should be disqualified from ever acting as agents, even in a matter in which they are included in its halakhot.
אמרי דבי ר' ינאי לא מה אתם בני ברית אף שלוחכם בני ברית
The Sages from the school of Rabbi Yannai say: No, the verse should be expounded in the following manner: Just as you, the ones appointing the agents, are members of the covenant, so too, your agents must be members of the covenant. Gentiles cannot serve as agents because they are not members of the covenant. Slaves, whose masters are commanded to circumcise them and who are obligated in some of the mitzvot, are members of the covenant, and they can serve as agents in a matter in which they are included in its halakhot.
אמר ר' חייא בר אבא א"ר יוחנן אין העבד נעשה שליח לקבל גט אשה מיד בעלה לפי שאינו בתורת גיטין וקידושין ואע"פ ששנינו הרי את שפחה וולדך בן חורין אם היתה עוברה זכתה לו
The Gemara quotes a related statement: Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: A slave cannot become an agent to receive a bill of divorce for a woman from the hand of her husband, because he is not included in the halakhot of divorce and betrothal. And although we learned: If a person said to his female slave: Behold you are still a maidservant and your unborn child is a freeman, if she was pregnant at that time, then she acquired freedom for the unborn child.
מאי אם היתה עוברה זכתה לו כי אתא רב שמואל בר יהודה אמר ר' יוחנן תרתי אמר נראים דברים שהעבד מקבל גט לחבירו מיד רבו של חבירו אבל לא מיד רבו שלו
The Gemara first clarifies: What is the connection between the initial statement of Rabbi Yoḥanan and the clause: If she was pregnant at that time, she acquired freedom for the unborn child? When Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda came, he said: Rabbi Yoḥanan said two distinct statements: The first statement was that a slave cannot be appointed as an agent to receive a bill of divorce for a woman from her husband, and the other was: It appears that a slave can receive a bill of manumission for his fellow slave from the hand of his fellow’s master, but not from the hand of his own master if both of them are enslaved by the same person.
ואם לחשך אדם לומר זו הלכה שנויה אם היתה עוברה זכתה לו אמור לו שני גדולי הדור פירשו את הדבר ר' זירא ור' שמואל בר רב יצחק
And if a person will whisper a question to you, saying: This ruling, that a slave cannot receive a bill of manumission for his fellow slave from their common master, is difficult, as a halakha was taught that states the opposite: If a maidservant was pregnant at that time, then she acquired freedom for the unborn child, and the child and mother both belong to the same master, then say to him that two greats of the generation already explained the matter, and they are Rabbi Zeira and Rabbi Shmuel bar Rav Yitzḥak.
חד אמר הא מני רבי היא דאמר המשחרר חצי עבדו קנה וחד אמר מאי טעמא דרבי בהא קסבר עובר ירך אמו הוא ונעשה כמי שהקנה לה אחד מאבריה:
One of them said: In accordance with whose opinion is this? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who says: With regard to one who emancipates half of his slave, the slave acquires freedom for half of himself, and one of them added an explanation and said: What is the reasoning of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi for this ruling? He holds: A fetus is considered as its mother’s thigh, i.e., a part of its mother’s body, and it is as though the master transferred ownership of one of her limbs to her. Since the maidservant is pregnant, the child is considered to be a part of her, and it is as though he emancipated a portion of her body. Therefore, the mother is not acting as an agent for the child, and this halakha does not present a difficulty for Rabbi Yoḥanan’s opinion.
מתני׳ אף הנשים שאינן נאמנות לומר מת בעלה נאמנות להביא את גיטה חמותה ובת חמותה וצרתה ויבמתה ובת בעלה
MISHNA: There are instances in which a woman’s testimony that another woman’s husband has died is not deemed credible (Yevamot 117a). If there is a presumption that due to their familial relationship the two women hate each other, there is concern that the woman is testifying falsely in order to harm the other woman. By doing so, she can cause the other woman to remarry. If her original husband then proves to be living, she will be required to leave her second husband. This mishna teaches: Even the women who are not deemed credible to testify on behalf of a woman and say: Her husband died, and she is permitted to remarry, are deemed credible to bring her bill of divorce. The relatives of the woman who are not deemed credible to testify that her husband has died are: Her mother-in-law; and her mother-in-law’s daughter; and her rival wife, i.e., another wife of her husband’s; and her yevama, i.e., her husband’s brother’s wife; and her husband’s daughter.
מה בין גט למיתה שהכתב מוכיח האשה עצמה מביאה את גיטה ובלבד שהיא צריכה לומר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם:
The mishna explains: What is the difference between a bill of divorce and death, that certain women are deemed credible to testify about one but not the other? With regard to a bill of divorce, it is so that the writing proves that the husband is divorcing his wife, and the testimony is needed only to supplement the bill of divorce. Similarly, the woman herself may bring her own bill of divorce, provided that she is required by the court to state in its presence: It was written in my presence and it was signed in my presence, as the Gemara will explain.
גמ׳ והתניא כשם שאין נאמנות לומר מת בעלה כך אין נאמנות להביא גיטה אמר רב יוסף לא קשיא כאן בארץ כאן בחו"ל
GEMARA: The Gemara asks: But isn’t it taught in a baraita: Just as these women are not deemed credible to say: Her husband died, so too, they are not deemed credible to bring her bill of divorce. Rav Yosef said: It is not difficult. Here, this mishna is referring to a case that took place in Eretz Yisrael. There, the baraita is referring to a case that took place outside of Eretz Yisrael.
בארץ דלאו אדיבורה דידה קא סמכינן מהימנא בחו"ל דאדיבורה דידה קא סמכינן לא מהימנא
The Gemara explains the difference: In a case that takes place in Eretz Yisrael, where, to validate the bill of divorce we do not rely on her statement of: It was written in my presence and it was signed in my presence, she serves only as an agent. Consequently, she is deemed credible to bring the bill of divorce. However, in a case that takes place outside of Eretz Yisrael, where we rely on her statement of: It was written in my presence and it was signed in my presence, and no one can contest the validity of the bill of divorce after her statement has been accepted, she is not deemed credible, as there is a concern that this woman may be intentionally lying in order to cause harm.
א"ל אביי אדרבה איפכא מסתברא בארץ דאי אתי בעל מערער משגחינן ביה דאיכא למימר לקלקולא קא מיכוונה לא מהימנא בחוצה לארץ דאי אתי בעל מערער לא משגחינן ביה מהימנא
Abaye said to him: On the contrary, the opposite is more reasonable, and the distinction should be: In Eretz Yisrael, where if the husband were to come and contest the validity of the bill of divorce, we would pay attention to him and rule that they are not divorced, where it could be said that the woman who hates her intends to do her harm by having her remarry based on a bill of divorce that was later contested, she is not deemed credible. However, outside of Eretz Yisrael, where if the husband were to come and contest the validity of the bill of divorce, we would not pay attention to him, she is deemed credible, as she does not have the power to make trouble for the other woman and cause her to have to leave her second husband.
תניא כוותיה דאביי ר"ש בן אלעזר אומר משום ר"ע אשה נאמנת להביא גיטה מק"ו ומה נשים שאמרו חכמים אין נאמנות לומר מת בעלה נאמנות להביא גיטה היא שנאמנת לומר מת בעלה אינו דין שנאמנת להביא גיטה
The Gemara notes that it is taught in a baraita in accordance with the opinion of Abaye (Tosefta 2:6): Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar says in the name of Rabbi Akiva: A woman is deemed credible to bring her own bill of divorce through an a fortiori inference: Just as women about whom the Sages said: They are not deemed credible to say: Her husband died, are nevertheless deemed credible to bring her bill of divorce, with regard to the woman herself, who is deemed credible to say that her husband died, is it not right that she is deemed credible to bring her own bill of divorce?