העולים בערכאות של עובדי כוכבים אע"פ שחותמיהן עובדי כוכבים כשירין חוץ מגיטי נשים ושחרורי עבדים וכדברי ר"מ בארבעה האומר תן גט זה לאשתי ושטר שחרור זה לעבדי רצה לחזור בשניהם יחזור דברי ר"מ
that are produced in gentile courts [arkaot], even though their signatories are gentiles, they are valid, except for bills of divorce and bills of manumission. These documents are not valid when prepared by gentiles. And according to the statement of Rabbi Meir, bills of divorce and manumission are equal in four ways, the three aforementioned halakhot and also with regard to a man who says: Give this bill of divorce to my wife, or: Give this bill of manumission to my slave. They are equal in that if he desires to retract his instruction with regard to both of these documents, before they have reached the woman or slave, he can retract. This is the statement of Rabbi Meir.
בשלמא לרבנן מנינא למעוטי הא דרבי מאיר אלא לר' מאיר מנינא למעוטי מאי
The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the opinion of the Rabbis, they state the number three to exclude this opinion of Rabbi Meir, by emphasizing that there are only three ways, not four. However, according to the opinion of Rabbi Meir, what does the number four serve to exclude? Wouldn’t it have been enough to say that Rabbi Meir adds another case?
למעוטי הא דתניא עדים שאין יודעים לחתום מקרקעין להם נייר חלק וממלאים את הקרעים דיו
The Gemara answers: The Sages mention this number to exclude that which is taught in a baraita: With regard to witnesses who do not know how to sign, i.e., they do not know how to write their names, one tears blank paper for them, meaning that a stencil of their names is fashioned from blank paper and placed on the bill of divorce. And the witnesses fill in the gaps with ink so that their names appear on the document.
אמר רשב"ג במה דברים אמורים בגיטי נשים אבל שחרורי עבדים ושאר כל השטרות אם יודעין לקרות ולחתום חותמין ואם לאו אין חותמין
Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel said: In what case is this statement said? It is said with regard to bills of divorce. However, with regard to bills of manumission and all other documents, if the witnesses know how to read and sign, they sign, and if not, they do not sign. Rabbi Meir agrees with the opinion of Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel that bills of divorce and bills of manumission are different with regard to this issue, and he mentioned the number to exclude the possibility that the halakha stated by the first tanna of this baraita applies to both types of documents.
קרייה מאן דכר שמיה חסורי מחסרא והכי קתני עדים שאין יודעין לקרות קורין לפניהם וחותמין ושאין יודעין לחתום מקרעין להם:
With regard to Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel’s statement, the Gemara asks: Reading, who mentioned anything about it? Why does Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel mention a need for the witnesses to be able to read when the discussion is about a witness who does not know how to sign? The Gemara answers: The baraita is incomplete, and this is what it is teaching: If witnesses do not know how to read, then one reads in their presence and they sign. And if they do not know how to sign, then one tears paper for them and they sign. Once the baraita is emended, it is clear that Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel was responding to the statement of the previous tanna.
ותו ליכא והאיכא האומר תנו גט זה לאשתי ושטר שחרור זה לעבדי ומת לא יתנו לאחר מיתה תנו מנה לפלוני ומת יתנו לאחר מיתה
The Gemara asks: And is there nothing else that can be added to the list of ways in which bills of divorce and bills of manumission are equal? But isn’t there a case taught in the mishna (13a): If a person on his deathbed says: Give this bill of divorce to my wife, or this bill of manumission to my slave, and he dies, they should not give the bill after his death. However, if he said: Give one hundred dinars to so-and-so, and he dies, they should give it after his death. Apparently, this is another halakha in which bills of divorce and bills of manumission share equal status.
כי קתני מילתא דליתיה בשטרות מילתא דאיתיה בשטרות לא קתני
The Gemara answers: When the baraita teaches the ways in which bills of divorce and bills of manumission are equal, it is referring only to a matter that does not apply to typical documents and it does not teach any matter that is equally applicable to typical documents.
דשלח רבין משמיה דר' אבהו הוו יודעין ששלח ר"א לגולה משום רבינו שכיב מרע שאמר כתבו ותנו מנה לפלוני ומת אין כותבין ונותנין
The Gemara explains: As Ravin sent from Eretz Yisrael in the name of Rabbi Abbahu: You should know that Rabbi Elazar sent this teaching to the Diaspora, i.e., Babylonia, in the name of our teacher, Rabbi Yoḥanan: With regard to the case of a person on his deathbed who says: Write a deed of transfer and give with it one hundred dinars to so-and-so, and then dies before they had the opportunity to write the document, one does not write and give the document. Why not?
שמא לא גמר להקנותו אלא בשטר ואין שטר לאחר מיתה
The Gemara explains: Perhaps he resolved to transfer these one hundred dinars to him only with a deed of transfer, and a deed of transfer of property is not written after the death of the owner. This shows that other documents are also not written after one’s death, which means that this halakha is not specific to bills of divorce and bills of manumission. Therefore, it is not listed among the ways in which these two documents are similar.
The Gemara raises another difficulty: But isn’t there the halakha that both bills of divorce and bills of manumission must be written for her sake, i.e., for the sake of the particular woman or slave to whom they are given? Why isn’t this halakha included in the list?
בשלמא לרבה היינו מוליך ומביא אלא לרבא קשיא
The Gemara comments: Granted, according to the opinion of Rabba, this is included in the statement: The two documents are similar with regard to the halakhot of delivering and bringing, as he maintains that this requirement to write the document for the sake of the recipient is the primary reason why the agents must state that it was written and signed in their presence. However, according to the opinion of Rava, who holds that the reason for this statement is to ratify the bill of divorce, this is difficult.
ותו בין לרבה בין לרבא האיכא מחובר כי קתני פסולא דרבנן דאורייתא לא קתני
And furthermore, both according to the opinion of Rabba and according to the opinion of Rava, there is the case of bills which were written and signed while they were attached to the ground, e.g., on a leaf attached to a tree, which invalidates both bills of divorce and bills of manumission. The Gemara explains: When the baraita teaches its list it is referring solely to issues that cause the documents to be rendered invalid by rabbinic law. It does not teach cases involving invalidation by Torah law. Since these two cases, i.e., documents not written for the recipient’s sake or when they are attached to the ground, are not valid by Torah law, the baraita did not mention these cases.
והא ערכאות של עובדי כוכבים דפסולא דאורייתא הוא וקתני בעדי מסירה וכרבי אלעזר דאמר עדי מסירה כרתי
The Gemara challenges this response: But there is the example of documents written in gentile courts, which is an invalidation of documents that applies by Torah law, and yet the baraita teaches this halakha. The Gemara answers: This is referring to a bill of divorce that was given with valid witnesses who observe the transmission of a legal document, and this is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Elazar, who says in a mishna (10b): Witnesses of the transmission of a bill of divorce effect the divorce. In his opinion, the effectiveness of the document depends on the witnesses who observe its transmission, not those who sign the bill of divorce. Consequently, a bill of divorce that was signed in a gentile court is rendered invalid by rabbinic law.
והא מדקתני סיפא ר' שמעון אומר אף אלו כשירין וא"ר זירא ירד רבי שמעון לשיטתו של ר"א דאמר עדי מסירה כרתי מכלל דתנא קמא סבר לא
The Gemara raises a difficulty: But from the fact that it teaches in the latter clause of that mishna that Rabbi Shimon says: Even these, bills of divorce and bills of manumission, are valid, and Rabbi Zeira said: Rabbi Shimon accepted the opinion of Rabbi Elazar, who said that witnesses of the transmission of the bill of divorce effect the divorce, one can learn by inference that the first tanna does not hold in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Elazar. Instead, he holds that the witnesses who sign effect a divorce. Yet even so, this tanna listed the cases where bills of divorce from gentile courts are invalidated, despite the fact that they are invalid by Torah law.