משנה: כָּל־גֵּט שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלָיו עֵד כּוּתִי פָּסוּל חוּץ מִגִּיטֵּי נָשִׁים וְשִׁיחֲרוּרֵי עֲבָדִים. מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁהֵבִיאוּ לִפְנֵי רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל לִכְפַר עוֹתְנַי גֵּט אִשָּׁה וְהָיוּ עֵידָיו עֵידֵי כוּתִים וְהִכְשִׁירוֹ. כָּל־הַשְּׁטָרוֹת הָעוֹלִין בְּעַרְכָאוֹת שֶׁלַּגּוֹיִם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחוֹתְמֵיהֶן גּוֹיִם כְּשֵׁירִים חוּץ מִגִּיטֵּי נָשִׁים וְשִׁיחֲרוּרֵי עֲבָדִים. רִבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר כּוּלָּן כְּשֵׁירִין לֹא הוּזְכְּרוּ אֶלָּא בִזְמַן שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ בַהֶדְיוֹט. MISHNAH: Any document signed by a Samaritan is invalid105Since Samaritans, as a Sadducee sect, explain Lev. 19:14 to mean that it is forbidden to put a stone in the path of a blind man, but not, as Pharisees do, as a prohibition to do damage to the inadvertent, there is no biblical prohibition for a Samaritan to sign false monetary documents as long as he does not swear or appears as witness in a court. The literal interpretation of Lev. 19:14 in Philo (The Special Laws IV, xxxviii, 198) is probably sufficient to characterize him as Alexandrian Sadducee. Bills of divorce or manumission become valid only by the signature of the witnesses (in contrast to a bond, where “the debtor’s signature is worth a hundred witnesses”); the Samaritan himself would be the guilty party in an adulterous remarriage by the wife served with a fake bill of divorce or the marriage of a slave with a free Jewish woman, forbidden to him as long as he is a slave. Since “those rules which they keep (including marriage taboos), the Samaritans keep more strictly than do the rabbinic Jews” (Babli 10a, Yerushalmi Pesaḥim 1:1, 27b 1. 58), there is no reason to disqualify Samaritans from witnessing documents regarding marriage., except bills of divorce and bills of manumission. It happened that they brought before Rabban Gamliel at Kefar Othnay106Kafr ‘Uthnay, a village near Megiddo on the Southern border of Jewish Galilee (Mishnah 7:7). While the Mishnah speaks only of a Samaritan witness, Rabban Gamliel accepted two Samaritans. a bill of divorce whose witnesses were Samaritans and he declared it valid. All documents confirmed by a Gentile recorder’s office107The Gentile court usually is ערכי, Greek τὰ ἀρχεῖα “public records, archives.” For ערכאות compare τὸ ἀρχεῖον “town hall”. are valid, even if they are signed by Gentiles108While Gentiles cannot be required to be honest, Gentile courts can be trusted to be jealous of their reputation., except bills of divorce and bills of manumission109The Gentile court is unable to determine who can or cannot marry in Jewish law.. Rebbi Simeon says, all are valid110If executed by Jews and notarized by a Gentile court.; they said it only when they were made by private persons.
הלכה: כָּל־גֵּט שֶׁיֵּשׁ עָלָיו עֵד כּוּתִי פָּסוּל כול׳. עַל הַמָּמוֹן נֶחְשְׁדוּ וְעַל הַמָּמוֹן נִפְסְלוּ. לֹא נֶחְשְׁדוּ עַל הָעֲרָיוֹת. וְעֵידֵי נְפָשׁוֹת כְּעֵידֵי עֲרָיוֹת. מֵעַתָּה אֲפִילוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן כּוּתִים. שַׁנְייָא הִיא שֶׁאֵינָן בְּקִיעִין בְּדִיקְדּוּקֵי גִּיטִּין. מֵעַתָּה אֲפִילוּ כוּתִי אֶחָד יִהְיֶה פָסוּל. אָמַר רִבִּי אָבִין. תִּיפְתָּר שֶׁחָתַם יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּסּוֹף. אָמַר רִבִּי יוֹסֵי. אַתְייָא כְּמָאן דְּאָמַר. עֵדִים חוֹתְמִין זֶה שֶׁלֹּא כְנֶגֶד זֶה. בְּרַם כְּמָאן דְּאָמַר. אֵין עֵדִים חוֹתְמִין אֶלָּא זֶה בִפְנֵי זֶה. אֲפִילוּ חָתַם כּוּתִי בַּסּוֹף כָּשֵׁר. HALAKHAH: “Any document signed by a Samaritan is invalid,” etc. They are suspected about money; about money they were disqualified.They are not suspected about incest and adultery. And testimony in capital criminal cases has the same status as testimony about incest and adultery. Then even if both of them are Samaritans111Why does the Mishnah mention only a single Samaritan witness?? There is a difference, for they are not conversant with the fine points of bills of divorce112If both witnesses are Samaritans, one has to assume that the scribe also was Samaritan and that the rabbinic rules of writing a bill of divorce were not followed. A bill of divorce can be written only on the explicit demand of the husband; an infraction of this rule cannot be discovered by examination of the bill.. Then even one Samaritan witness should be disqualified! Rebbi Abin said, explain it if a Jew signed last113He would not sign if the bill was invalid. The Babli, 10a, considers this to be R. Eleazar’s authoritative opinion (cf. Note 51).. Rebbi Yose said, that is according to the opinion that the witnesses may sign separately, not in the presence of each other. But according to him who says that witnesses may sign only in the presence of each other114Accepted in the Babli, 10b, for bills of divorce and manumission only., it is valid even if the Samaritan signed last.
שְׁטָר שֶׁחוֹתָמוֹ בְאַרְבָּעָה עֵדִים וְנִמְצְאוּ שְׁנַיִם הָרִאשׁוֹנִים קְרוֹבִים אוֹ פְסוּלִים כָּשֵׁר וְתִתְקַייֵם הָעֵדוּת בַּשְּׁאָר. רִבִּי אִילָא בְשֵׁם רִבִּי רִבִּי יָסָא. אַתְייָא כְּמָאן דְּאָמַר. אֵין הָעֵדִים חוֹתְמִין אֶלָּא זֶה בִפְנֵי זֶה. בְּרַם כְּמָאן דְּאָמַר. עֵדִים חוֹתְמִין זֶה שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי זֶה. אֲפִילוּ חָתַם יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּסּוֹף פָּסוּל. וְיֵעָשֶׂה בְּהַרְחֵק עֵדוּת וִיהֵא פָסוּל. לֵית יְכִיל. דְּקָאָמַר רִבִּי יָסָא בְשֵׁם רִבִּי יִרְמְיָה. עֵדִים פְּסוּלִין אֵינָן נַעֲשִׂין כְּהַרְחֵק עֵדוּת. שֶׁלֹּא בָאוּ אֶלָּא לְהֶכְשֵׁירוֹ שֶׁלַּגֵּט. If a bond was signed by four witnesses and it turned out that the first two were relatives or disqualified, it is valid and is confirmed by the remaining testimony115A similar text (5 signatures, 3 of them invalid) is in Tosephta 7:11 and Babli Baba batra 162b. In the text here, “disqualified” are people who cannot be admitted to be witnesses in money matters, such as Samaritans, gamblers, and fences. Relatives of either lender or borrower are disqualified for the particular document in question. Two of the signatures must belong to witnesses who can certify the document in court.. Rebbi Ila in the name of Rebbi Yasa: This follows him who says that witnesses sign only in the presence of each other. But following him who says that witnesses may sign without being in the presence of each other, even if the Jew signed last it is invalid116This refers to the problem discussed in the preceding paragraph about a bill signed by a Samaritan and a Jew.. And would it not be remote testimony117Tosephta 7:11 notes that a document whose signatures are so far removed from the text of the document that a sentence could have been added between text and signatures is invalid; it might be that there was a different text and the witnesses signed to that. In practice, this means that exactly one line must be empty between the text and the first signatures. If the qualified witnesses signed two lines below the text, it is admissible to have two unqualified witnesses sign on the line above to fill in the space between the document text and the signatures of the witnesses.? That one cannot say since Rebbi Yasa said in the name of Rebbi Jeremiah118This means, R. Yasa in the name of Rav Jeremiah (who in the Yerushalmi frequently has the title of Rebbi, as a Babylonian authority predating the creation of the Title of “Rav”). In Halakhah 9:8: R. Abba in the name of Rav Jeremiah. Note the pure Babylonian Aramaic spelling דקאמר. that disqualified witnesses do not constitute remote testimony since they came only to support the document’s validity119In the Babli, 18b, invalid signatures do not diminish the validity of a document if the signatories were invited to sign for any reason other than being witnesses. This probably is understood here also. In particular, it was customary to have relatives sign on all marriage documents. In Baba batra 162b, the statement of R. Yasa is quoted in the name of Ḥizqiah. Cf. also Halakhot 8:12, 9:8..
כּוּתִים מִפְּנֵי מַה הֵן פְּסוּלִין. אָמַר רִבִּי יוֹחָנָן. מִשּׁוּם גֵּירִי אֲרָיוֹת. וְקַשְׁיָא. אִילּוּ מִי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְגַּייֵר לְשׁוּם שָׁמַיִם וְחָזַר וְהִתְגַּייֵר לְשׁוּם שָׁמַיִם שֶׁמָּא אֵין מְקַבְּלִין אוֹתוֹ. רִבִּי יוֹחָנָן בְּשֵׁם רִבִּי אֶלְעָזָר. מִשּׁוּם גּוֹי וְעֶבֶד הַבָּא עַל יִשְׂרְאֵלִית הַװְלָד מַמְזֵר. וְהָאָמַר רִבִּי עֲקִיבָה. גֵּירֵי צֶדֶק הֵן. עַל שֵׁם שֶׁהֵן מְייַבְּמִין אֶת הָאֲרוּסוֹת וּמוֹצִיאִין אֶת הַנְּשׂוּאוֹת. וְהָא רַבָּנִין אָֽמְרִין. אֵין מַמְזֵר בִּיבָמָה. עַל שֵׁם שֶׁאֵין בְּקִיעִין בְּדִיקְדּוּקֵי גִּיטִּין. הָא רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל מַכְשִׁיר בְּגִיטֵּיהֶן. רִבִּי יַעֲקֹב בַּר אִידִי בְשֵׁם רִבִּי יוֹחָנָן. עַל שֶׁנִּתְעָֽרְבוּ בָהֶם כֹּהֲנֵי בָמוֹת. וַיַּעַשׂ כֹּהֲנִים מִקְּצֹת הָעָם. אָמַר רִבִּי אִילָא. מִן הַקּוֹצִים שֶׁבָּעָם וּמִן הַפְּסוּלִים שֶׁבָּעָם. Why are Samaritans disqualified120Why does one not intermarry with Samaritans?? Rebbi Joḥanan said, because they are lions’ proselytes121The originally Gentile part of the population of Samaria adopted the worship “of the local god” because they were attacked by lions, 2K. 17:24–41. In the Babli, Qiddušin 75b, this is identified as the teaching of R. Ismael.. But if somebody converted not for Heaven’s sake and then converted for Heaven’s sake, does one not accept him122That argument may have had validity in the first few generations after the destruction of Samaria, but in talmudic times the Samaritans had been monotheists for at least 700 years.? Rebbi Joḥanan in the name of Rebbi Eleazar123In Jebamot 7:6 (Note 129), “R. Ismael”. In the Babli, loc.cit., identified as teaching of R. Aqiba.: Because the child is a bastard if a Gentile or a slave have intercourse with a Jewish woman124Assuming that the deportees from Cutha and Media who were resettled in Samaria were mostly male. When they intermarried with local Jewish women, in this opinion the children were all bastards.. But did not Rebbi Aqiba say, they are genuine proselytes125Even if the preceding opinion were generally accepted, which it is not, it would be irrelevant concerning Samaritans. Agreed to in the Babli, loc.cit.? Because they require levirate marriage from the preliminarily married and free the definitively married126Jebamot 1, Notes 192–196. Pharisaic tradition frees the preliminarily married woman and obligates the definitively married one. The Samaritan ruling had its partisans among the rabbinic school of Shammai (Jebamot 1:6, Note 193.). But do not the rabbis say, there is no bastard from a sister-in-law127Even if a childless widow flouts the rules and marries an unrelated man without ḥalîṣah, the child is not a bastard and can marry in the congregation (Mishnah Jebamot 4:15). Therefore even a Samaritan who is the offspring of a rabbinically forbidden marriage should be an acceptable marriage partner.? Because they are not conversant with the fine points in writing bills of divorce128There could be women divorced according to Samaritan rules who would not be considered divorced by rabbinic rules and, therefore, their children in a second marriage would be bastards not eligible for marriage with Jews.. But does not Rabban Gamliel accept their bills of divorce106Kafr ‘Uthnay, a village near Megiddo on the Southern border of Jewish Galilee (Mishnah 7:7). While the Mishnah speaks only of a Samaritan witness, Rabban Gamliel accepted two Samaritans.? Rebbi Jacob bar Idi in the name of Rebbi Joḥanan: Because they intermingled with the priests of the High Places: “He chose priests from the borderline of the people,1291K. 12:31. The root קצה “to be distant, of the elite” of מקצת is identified with קוץ, קצץ “to cut, to chop off”, one of whose derivatives is קוֹץ “thorn”. (The same explanation is in the Babli, loc.cit., of R. Joḥanan following R. Ismael.) In any case, there is no reason to exclude marriages with Samaritans other than general convention; but cf. Demay 3:4, Note 98.”. Rebbi Ila said, from the “thorns” of the people, i. e., from the disqualified of the people.
אָמַר רִבִּי אָחָא. קוֹל יוֹצֵא בָּאַרְכֶּיִים. מֵעַתָּה אֲפִילוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן כּוּתִים. שֶׁהָיָה הוּא אוֹמֵר. שֶׁאֵינָן בְּקִיעִין בְּדִיקְדּוּקֵי גִיטִּין. וְהָא רִבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן מַכְשִׁיר בְּגִיטֵּיהֶן. רִבִּי בָּא בְשֵׁם רִבִּי זְעִירָא. אַתְייָא דְרִבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן כְּרִבִּי אֶלְעָזָר. כְּמָה דְּרִבִּי לָֽעְזָר אָמַר. אַף ל פִּי שֶׁאֵין עָלָיו עֵדִים. כָּשֵׁר. כֵּן רִבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אָמַר. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין עָלָיו עֵדִים כָּשֵׁר. מֵעַתָּה אֲפִילוּ נַעֲשֶׂה בְהֶדְיוֹט. הֲוֵי צוֹרְכָא לְהַהוּא דָּמַר רִבִּי יַעֲקֹב בַּר אָחָא. קוֹל יוֹצֵא בָּאַרְכֶּיִים. שְׁטָר יוֹצֵא בְבֵית שְׁאָן וְהָיוּ עֵדָיו עֵידֵי גוֹיִם. רִבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר. אִיתְפַּלְּגוֹן רִבִּי יוֹחָנָן וְרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ. חַד אָמַר. פָּסוּל. וְחַד אָמַר. כָּשֵׁר. רִבִי אַבָּהוּ מְפָרֵשׁ. רִבִּי יוֹחָנָן אָמַר. פָּסוּל. וְרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ אָמַר. כָּשֵׁר. וּמַה טַעֲמָא דְּרֵישׁ לָקִישׁ. שֶׁלֹּא לְהַפְסִיד לְיִשְׂרָאֵל מָמוֹן. וַאֲפִילוּ דְּלֵית מַפְסִיד לְדֵין מַפְסִיד לְדֵין. אָמַר רִבִּי יוּדָן. אֶלָּא כְדֵי שֶׁלֹּא לִנְעוֹל הַדֶּלֶת לִפְנֵי בְנֵי אָדָם. שֶׁלְּמָחָר הוּא מְבַקֵּשׁ לִלְווֹת וְהוּא אֵינוֹ מוֹצֵא. Rebbi Aḥa130Later in the paragraph he is quoted as R. Jacob bar Aḥa. The latter attribution is correct since R. Jacob bar Aḥa was one of the teachers of R. Ze‘ira quoted later, while R. Aḥa lived after R. Ze‘ira. said, the acts of a Gentile court are public knowledge131If a document of indebtedness is not valid as a court document, it will be valid as being witnessed in public.. Then even if both [witnesses] are Samaritan? Did one not say that they are not conversant with the fine points in writing bills of divorce128There could be women divorced according to Samaritan rules who would not be considered divorced by rabbinic rules and, therefore, their children in a second marriage would be bastards not eligible for marriage with Jews.? But Rebbi Simeon validates their bills of divorce! Rebbi Abba in the name of Rebbi Ze‘ira: It turns out that Rebbi Simeon agrees with Rebbi Eleazar. Just as Rebbi Eleazar said, even if no witnesses signed on it, it is valid132Mishnah 9:4. R. Eleazar (the Tanna, ben Shamua‘) holds that the essence of divorce is the delivery of the bill of divorce to the wife (Deut. 24:1). Therefore, he requires that the delivery be certified by two witnesses in good standing. They have to verify that the document contains the language which makes it a bill of divorce from the specified husband to the specified wife and that it was delivered into the hands of the wife either by the husband or by his duly appointed agent. Any signatures on the document are irrelevant. By contrast, R. Meïr holds that a bill of divorce not certified by two witnesses is invalid., so Rebbi Simeon said, even if no witnesses signed on it, it is valid. But then even if it was made by private persons133Why does R. Simeon in the Mishnah invalidate bills of divorce signed by Gentiles not in a court of law?? This shows that it was necessary that Rebbi Jacob bar Aḥa said, the acts of a Gentile court are public knowledge. A bond134A document of indebtedness, containing a mortgage clause. was executed in Bet Shean135A Gentile city in Mishnaic times., whose witnesses were Gentiles. Rebbi Yose says, Rebbi Joḥanan and Rebbi Simeon ben Laqish136ריש לקיש is the Babylonian version of ר׳ שמעון בן לקיש. disagree, one said it is invalid, the other said it is valid. Rebbi Abbahu explained: Rebbi Joḥanan said it is invalid, Rebbi Simeon ben Laqish said it is valid. What is Rebbi Simeon ben Laqish’s reason? That a Jew should not lose money137That the creditor should be able to enforce the terms of the loan in a rabbinic court.. But if that one would not lose money, the other would lose money138Any gain of the lender is a loss for the borrower if both parties to the bond were Jewish.! Rebbi Yudan said, it must be in order not to close the door before people, for tomorrow one would look to borrow but does not succeed139If mortgages could not be foreclosed, nobody would lend money and all economic activity would come to a standstill. Therefore, R. Joḥanan’s opinion cannot be considered even though he can point to Ps. 144:8,11 invalidating Gentile witnesses..