Gittin 71bגיטין ע״א ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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71bע״א ב

והתנן שני אחין חרשין נשואין שתי אחיות פיקחות או שתי אחיות חרשות או שתי אחיות אחת פיקחת ואחת חרשת וכן שתי אחיות חרשות נשואות לשני אחין פיקחין או לשני אחין חרשין או לשני אחין אחד פיקח ואחד חרש הרי אלו פטורות מן החליצה ומן היבום

But didn’t we learn in a mishna (Yevamot 112b): In a case where there were two deaf-mute brothers, whose marriage is valid by rabbinic law, married to two halakhically competent sisters, or to two deaf-mute sisters, or to two sisters, one of whom was halakhically competent and one of whom was a deaf-mute; and similarly, if there were two deaf-mute sisters, whose marriage is valid by rabbinic law, married to two halakhically competent brothers, or to two deaf-mute brothers, or to two brothers, one of whom was halakhically competent and one of whom was a deaf-mute; and in each case one brother dies without children, then all these women are exempt from ḥalitza and from levirate marriage. Each sister is exempt, as she is the sister of the wife of the yavam.

ואם היו נכריות יכנסו ואם רצו להוציאן יוציאו

And if they were unrelated women the men may marry them in levirate marriage, and if they wanted to divorce them later via a bill of divorce they may divorce them. Since this is stated as a general halakha it indicates that the deaf-mute brother can also give a bill of divorce to his yevama who was previously married to his deaf-mute brother, and the Sages did not institute a decree in order not to create confusion with the similar case of a deceased halakhically competent brother.

אלא מחוורתא כדשנין מעיקרא

Rather, it is clear as we initially answered, that it is referring to a yevama, previously married to a halakhically competent brother, who fell before a yavam who was a deaf-mute from birth. The alternative answer given on the previous amud is rejected.

אמר רבי יוחנן חלוקין עליו חביריו על רשב"ג

Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The colleagues of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel disagree with him, and hold that written instructions from a deaf-mute have no halakhic validity.

אמר אביי אף אנן נמי תנינא נישטת לא יוציא נתחרש הוא או נשתטה לא יוציא עולמית מאי עולמית לאו אע"ג דיכול לדבר מתוך הכתב

Abaye said that we, too, learn in the mishna (Yevamot 112b) that non-verbal instructions are insufficient to initiate a divorce even for one who was born with the ability to hear and subsequently became a deaf-mute: If a woman became an imbecile after her wedding the Sages instituted that the husband must not divorce her. If the husband became a deaf-mute or an imbecile he can never divorce her, as he does not have the legal competence to grant a bill of divorce. Abaye explains: What is the reason that the mishna emphasizes that he can never divorce her? Isn’t this teaching that even though he can communicate through writing, he is unable to divorce her?

אמר רב פפא אי לאו דאשמועינן ר' יוחנן הוה אמינא רשב"ג לפרושי טעמא דת"ק הוא דאתא ומאי עולמית אע"ג דחזינא ליה דחריף

Rav Pappa said: If not for the fact that Rabbi Yoḥanan teaches us that there is a dispute between Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel and the Rabbis, then I would say that Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel comes only to explain the reason of the first tanna, not to disagree with him. If that were so, all agree that one who was born with the ability to hear and subsequently became a deaf-mute can issue written instructions to write and give a bill of divorce for his wife. And according to this explanation, what is the meaning of the word never? It is not referring to issuing written instructions. It means that even though I see that he is sharp by means of examining his gestures, these indications are not sufficient to warrant the giving of a bill of divorce. Despite this, if he were to issue written instructions to divorce his wife, they would be followed.

אי נמי לכדרבי יצחק דא"ר יצחק דבר תורה שוטה מתגרשת מידי דהוה אפיקחת בעל כרחה

Alternatively, the mishna emphasized that the only situation where the husband can never divorce his wife is where her husband became a deaf-mute or an imbecile, but not if the husband remained healthy and the wife became a deaf-mute or imbecile, in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yitzḥak, as Rabbi Yitzḥak says: By Torah law a woman who is an imbecile may be divorced even though she is unable to give her consent, just as it is permitted to divorce a halakhically competent woman against her will.

ומה טעם אמרו אינה מתגרשת שלא ינהגו בה מנהג הפקר:

And what is the reason that the Rabbis said she may not be divorced? So that she will not be treated as ownerless property. If she has no husband to protect her, and she is unable to protect herself, she may be treated as ownerless property by anyone who wishes to engage in sexual intercourse with her. By contrast, if the husband is a deaf-mute or an imbecile then he cannot divorce her by Torah law. This is why the mishna stresses only that the husband may never divorce his wife in the case where he becomes halakhically incompetent, but not when it is the wife who becomes a deaf-mute or an imbecile, in order to demonstrate the difference between the two cases in terms of Torah law.

מתני׳ אמרו לו נכתוב גט לאשתך ואמר להן כתובו אמרו לסופר וכתב ולעדים וחתמו אע"פ שכתבוהו וחתמוהו ונתנוהו לו וחזר ונתנו לה הרי הגט בטל עד שיאמר לסופר כתוב ולעדים חתומו:

MISHNA: If people said to the husband: Shall we write a bill of divorce for your wife? And he said to them: Write the document, and those people told the scribe to write it, and he wrote it and instructed the witnesses to sign it, and they signed it; even if they wrote it, and signed it, and gave it to him, and he then gave it to his wife, the bill of divorce is void unless he himself says to the scribe: Write the document, and he himself says to the witnesses: Sign the document.

גמ׳ טעמא דלא אמר תנו הא אמר תנו נותנין מני ר"מ היא דאמר מילי מימסרן לשליח

GEMARA: The Gemara infers from the mishna: The reason that the bill of divorce is void is because he told the people only to write the document, but he did not say: Give a bill of divorce to my wife. But if he said to them: Give a bill of divorce to my wife, and they told the scribe to write the document and the witnesses to sign it, those people give the document to his wife and it is valid. In accordance with whose opinion is this statement? It is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir, who says: Verbal directives can be delegated to an agent. Everyone agrees that an agent can be appointed to perform an action on behalf of another, but Rabbi Meir holds that an agent can be appointed to give instructions to others on behalf of another.

אימא סיפא עד שיאמר לסופר כתוב ולעדים חתומו אתאן לר' יוסי דאמר מילי לא מימסרן לשליח

The Gemara comments: Say the latter clause of the mishna: The bill of divorce is void unless he himself says to the scribe: Write the document, and he himself says to the witnesses: Sign the document. In the latter clause of the mishna, we arrive at the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, who said: Verbal directives cannot be delegated to an agent.

רישא ר"מ וסיפא רבי יוסי אין רישא ר"מ וסיפא רבי יוסי

The Gemara asks: Is that to say that the first clause of the mishna is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir and the latter clause is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei? The Gemara answers: Yes, the first clause is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir and the latter clause is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei. Although unusual, it is possible for a single mishna to represent two contrary opinions.

אביי אמר כולה רבי מאיר היא והכא במאי עסקינן דלא אמר תנו אי הכי עד שיאמר תנו מיבעי ליה

Abaye said: Actually, the mishna in its entirety is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Meir. And with what are we dealing here? With a situation whereby the husband did not say: Give the bill of divorce to my wife, but said only to write it. In that case he must instruct the scribe and the witnesses directly. If he issued instructions to give the bill of divorce, it would also have been effective. The Gemara asks: If so, the mishna should have said: The bill of divorce is void unless he says: Give the bill of divorce to my wife.

אלא הכא במאי עסקינן דלא אמר לבי תלתא א"ה עד שיאמר לשלשה מיבעי ליה

Rather, with what are we dealing here? With a situation whereby the husband did not say his instructions to three people, who constitute a court with the authority to appoint others to write a bill of divorce. Rather, he instructed two people, who do not constitute a court, and therefore do not have the authority to appoint others to write a bill of divorce, even if the husband told them to give the bill of divorce to his wife. Witnesses may only write and give the document themselves. The Gemara challenges: If so, the mishna should have said: Unless he says his instructions to three people.

אלא כולה רבי יוסי היא והכא במאי עסקינן דלא אמר אמרו

Rather, the mishna in its entirety is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, and with what are we dealing here? With a situation whereby the husband did not explicitly say to his agents: Say my instructions to the scribe to write the document.

אי הכי עד שיאמר אמרו מיבעי ליה

The Gemara challenges: If so, the expression: Until he says to the scribe, is imprecise. Rather, the mishna should have said: Until the husband instructs the agents to tell.

ועוד מי מודה רבי יוסי באומר אמרו והתנן כתב סופר ועד כשר ואמר רבי ירמיה חתם סופר שנינו ואמר רב חסדא מתני' מני

And does Rabbi Yosei concede in the case of one who says: Tell another to write it? But didn’t we learn in a mishna (87b): If a bill of divorce has the writing of a scribe, and the scribe identifies his handwriting, and one witness verifies his signature, it is valid as though two witnesses testified to ratify their signatures. And Rabbi Yirmeya said: We learned in the mishna that this is the halakha with regard to the scribe’s signature and not the scribe’s writing. And Rav Ḥisda said: Whose opinion is expressed in the mishna?