For the week ending 26 December 2015 / 14 Tevet 5776

Gittin 15 - 20

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • When agents delivering get offer only partial testimony
  • Some laws relating to purification through mikveh
  • The difference between one exile and another
  • A get written or signed by witnesses at night
  • The purpose of dating the get
  • The three-month waiting period for a woman to remarry after divorce
  • The effect of shmitah year cancellation of debts on payment of ketubah
  • When ten agents are delegated to write a get
  • The proper materials for writing a get
  • Witnesses unable to read or to sign their names
  • Invisible ink on a get and a get on a Sefer Torah
  • Correcting a get written without intention for specific wife
  • Get written on a leaf or etched into a surface
  • A get on a golden platter
  • Emancipation document tattooed on a slave

A Strange Way to Give a Get

  • Gittin 19b

A man entered the synagogue, took out from its Holy Ark a Sefer Torah and handed it to his wife declaring "This is your get" and no get was seen.

Surely a strange way of effecting a divorce, but is it indeed effective?

Let us consider the possibilities.

If he intended to divorce her with the chapter on divorce contained in the Torah there are two problems. First of all, a get must be written with explicit intention (lishmah) for the woman who is to receive it. Even if we consider the possibility that the husband hired the scribe writing the Sefer Torah to write the chapter on divorce with his wife in mind, it still would not be valid for it lacked the names and places of both husband and wife.

The only other possibility is that the man wrote the get on the back of the parchment of the Sefer Torah and it was not readily visible because the ink used was mei milin – an almost invisible substance. Rabbi Yosef dismissed this possibility as well because since the parchment used for a Sefer Torah is treated with mei mulin it would be impossible to write anything on it with mei milin. The conclusion was that since we did not discern a get written on the Sefer Torah we have no cause for considering it a valid divorce.

What the Sages Say

"Simply because we make an apparent comparison does not allow us to render a halachic decision."

  • Rabbi Yochanan - Gittin 19a

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