Rather, it means that the court asks him questions with regard to produce that is not found during that season.
אמר רב כהנא אמר רב חרש שיכול לדבר מתוך הכתב כותבין ונותנין גט לאשתו אמר רב יוסף מאי קא משמע לן תנינא נשתתק ואמרו לו נכתוב גט לאשתך והרכין בראשו בודקין אותו שלשה פעמים אם אמר על לאו לאו ועל הן הן הרי אלו יכתבו ויתנו
Rav Kahana says that Rav says: With regard to a deaf-mute who can express himself through writing, the judges of the court may write and give a bill of divorce to his wife based on his written instructions. Rav Yosef said: What is he teaching us? We already learned in the mishna: In a case where the husband became mute, and the members of the court said to him: Shall we write a bill of divorce for your wife, and he nodded his head indicating his agreement, they examine him with various questions three times. If he responded to questions that have a negative answer: No, and responded to questions that have a positive answer: Yes, indicating his competence, they shall write the bill of divorce and give it to his wife based on the nod of his head.
אמר ליה רבי זירא אלם קאמרת שאני אלם דתניא מדבר ואינו שומע זהו חרש שומע ואינו מדבר זהו אלם וזה וזה הרי הן כפקחין לכל דבריהם
Rabbi Zeira said to him: A mute, you say? Is your challenge based on the mishna which discusses one who is mute? A mute is different because it is clear that his mind is intact. As it is taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Terumot 1:2): With regard to one who speaks but cannot hear, this individual is categorized as a deaf person. With regard to one who hears but cannot speak, this individual is categorized as a mute person, and both this one and that one are considered to be like halakhically competent people with regard to all their matters. Rav Kahana stated his ruling with regard to one who can neither hear nor speak. This goes beyond the halakha of the mishna, as Rav Kahana says that the written statement of a deaf-mute is an indication of his mental competence.
וממאי דמדבר ואינו שומע זהו חרש שומע ואינו מדבר זהו אלם דכתיב (תהלים לח, יד) ואני כחרש לא אשמע וכאלם לא יפתח פיו ואי בעית אימא כדאמרי אינשי אישתקיל מילוליה
The Gemara asks: And from where do we learn that one who speaks but cannot hear, this individual is categorized as a deaf person, and that with regard to one who hears but cannot speak, this individual is categorized as a mute person? As it is written: “And I am like a deaf man, I do not hear, and like the mute man who will not open his mouth” (Psalms 38:14). And if you wish, say as people say: The word for a mute [ilem] is a contraction of the expression his speech has been taken [ishtakil millulei].
אמר ר' זירא אי קשיא לי הא קשיא לי דתניא (ויקרא ה, א) אם לא יגיד פרט לאלם שאינו יכול להגיד אמאי הא יכול להגיד מתוך הכתב
Rabbi Zeira said: If Rav Kahana’s statement is difficult for me, this is difficult for me, as it is taught in a baraita with regard to the punishment of one who was called to testify and failed to do so: “If he does not utter his testimony then he shall bear his iniquity” (Leviticus 5:1). The Sages derive from this that the verse serves to exclude a mute who is unable to utter his testimony, and he is exempt from bringing the offering of one who refuses to testify. And it is possible to raise the following question: Why is he exempt from bringing the offering; but he is able to utter his testimony through writing? Apparently, written testimony is not valid testimony.
אמר ליה אביי עדות קאמרת שאני עדות דרחמנא אמר מפיהם ולא מפי כתבם
Abaye said to him: You say testimony? Testimony is different, as the Merciful One states: “From their mouths” (Deuteronomy 17:6), which emphasizes that testimony must come from the witnesses’ mouths and not from their writing.
מיתיבי כשם שבודקין אותו לגיטין כך בודקין אותו למשאות ולמתנות ולעדיות ולירושות קתני מיהת עדיות
The Gemara raises an objection to this based on that which is taught in a baraita (Tosefta 7:1): Just as the judges of the court investigate him, one who lost his ability to speak, with regard to bills of divorce, so too, the judges investigate him with regard to business transactions, testimonies, and inheritances. In any event it teaches: Testimonies, which proves that even one unable to speak can give testimony.
אמר רב יוסף בר מניומי אמר רב ששת בעדות אשה דאקילו בה רבנן
Rav Yosef bar Minyumi said that Rav Sheshet said: This is not referring to testimony in general. Rather, it is referring to testimony with regard to a woman whose husband died, as the Sages were lenient with her and allowed testimony that would normally not be accepted, in order to permit her to remarry.
והא קתני ירושות אמר רבי אבהו ירושת בנו הבכור
The Gemara challenges: But isn’t it also taught: Inheritances. This seems to be referring to monetary matters, where proper testimony is required. Rabbi Abbahu said: The baraita is referring to the inheritance of his own firstborn son, meaning that he is not testifying about other people’s property but testifying which one of his sons is the firstborn. Since this testimony is merely considered to be a division of the property that belongs to him, the testimony of one who is unable to speak is valid.
קתני מיהת למשאות ולמתנות מאי לאו לעלמא לא לדידיה
The Gemara continues to challenge: In any event it teaches in the baraita: With regard to business transactions, what, does it not mean that a mute may testify with regard to business transactions for everyone else? The Gemara answers: No, he may testify for himself only. The baraita is saying that when a mute conducts business the court must first check if he is mentally capable.
מיתיבי חרש לא הלכו בו אחר רמיזותיו ואחר קפיצותיו ואחר כתב ידו אלא במטלטלין אבל לא לגיטין
The Gemara raises an objection from a baraita: With regard to a deaf-mute, the judges of the court follow his signals, and follow the movement of his lips, and follow his handwriting only for matters of buying and selling movable property but not for bills of divorce. This appears to contradict Rav Kahana’s statement that it is permitted for a deaf-mute husband to give written instructions to divorce his wife.
תנאי היא דתניא אמר רבן שמעון בן גמליאל במה דברים אמורים בחרש מעיקרו אבל פיקח ונתחרש הוא כותב והן חותמין
The Gemara answers: It is a dispute between tanna’im, as it is taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Terumot 1:1) that Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: In what case is this statement that the court may not rely on the written testimony of a deaf-mute with regard to a bill of divorce said? Only in the case of a deaf-mute who was deaf from the outset, i.e., from birth. But if he had been halakhically competent, i.e., he could previously hear, but became a deaf-mute later, then he may write instructions to give his wife a bill of divorce and they, the witnesses, should sign, in accordance with the opinion of Rav Kahana.
וחרש מעיקרו לא כשם שכונסה ברמיזה כך מוציאה ברמיזה
The Gemara asks: And one who is a deaf-mute from the outset cannot give written instructions with regard to a bill of divorce? Isn’t it true that just as he marries her with intimation, i.e., without speaking, so too, he divorces her with intimation.
אי באשתו ה"נ הכא במאי עסקינן ביבמתו
The Gemara answers: If the baraita is referring to his wife, indeed this would be the case and he could divorce her through intimations, because such a marriage is not a fully valid marriage by Torah law. But with what are we dealing here? With his yevama, his sister-in-law whose husband, his brother, died childless to whom he performed levirate marriage, and whom he subsequently wishes to divorce. This marriage is a fully valid marriage.
יבמתו ממאן אילימא דנפלה ליה מאחיו חרש כשם שכניסתה ברמיזה כך יציאתה ברמיזה אלא דנפלה ליה מאחיו פיקח
The Gemara asks: His yevama from whom? If we say that she fell to him from his brother who was also a deaf-mute, then just as her marriage to the brother was through intimation, so too, her divorce from the yavam can be through intimation. Rather, it must be that she fell to him from his halakhically competent brother. Consequently, the bond of the levirate marriage is by Torah law, whereas the deaf-mute man’s intimations that he desires to divorce her are valid only by rabbinic law.
ואיבעית אימא לעולם דנפלה ליה מאחיו חרש וגזירה אחיו חרש אטו אחיו פיקח
And if you wish, say instead: Actually, explain that she fell to him from his deaf-mute brother, and the Sages instituted a rabbinic decree with regard to a woman bound in a levirate marriage from his deaf-mute brother due to the death of his halakhically competent brother.
אי הכי אשתו נמי יבמתו ביבמתו מיחלפא אשתו ביבמתו לא מיחלפא
The Gemara challenges: If so, and the Sages made such a decree with regard to a case where a deaf-mute brother died due to the case where a brother who is halakhically competent died, then with regard to his own wife as well, they should have made a decree that a deaf-mute husband cannot divorce her with a bill of divorce if he married her as a deaf-mute. The Gemara answers: His yevama who was married to his halakhically competent brother might be confused with his yevama who was married to his deaf-mute brother. But people would not confuse his own wife with his yevama. Therefore, there was no need to institute such a decree.
ומי גזרינן חרש אטו פיקח
The Gemara asks: And do we, the Sages, decree with regard to his deaf-mute brother due to confusion between him and his halakhically competent brother?