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Eighteen Treatises from the Mishna, by D. A. Sola and M. J. Raphall, [1843], at


§ 1. Every Get which is not expressly written for the woman about to be divorced is void; as for instance, if a person passing through a street hears the voice of public notaries [dictating to their clerks or pupils], saying, "A.B. divorces C.D., his wife, living at the place E.," to which he remarked, "That is the same name as mine and that of my wife" [and he gave that Get to the latter], it is void. More rigid than this is, that even when he had ordered a Get to be written for him, to divorce his wife, and afterwards changed his mind, and was met by a fellow townsman, who told him, "My name and that of my wife are exactly the same as yours and that of your wife [give it me therefore to divorce my wife]," the latter may not use it for

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that purpose. More rigid than this is, that if a man had two wives, whose names are similar, and a Get was written to divorce the elder, he may not use it to divorce the younger. More rigid than this is, that when a man says to a notary, "Write a Get, that I may therewith divorce one of my two wives," he may not use it [for either].

§ 2. [Public] writers of blank forms of Gittin [bills of divorce] must leave sufficient space for the insertion of the names of the husband and wife, and for the date. In blank forms of loan contracts sufficient space must be left for the insertion of the lender's name and that of the borrower, the sum lent, and the date. In forms of deeds of sale, space must be left sufficient for the insertion of the names of buyer and seller, the purchase money, [the description of] the field [sold], and the date. This institution [of allowing blank forms to be made by notaries, to be filled up when required] was made for the convenience of public writers. R. Jehudah, however, declares all such written [and afterwards filled up] blank forms void; but R. Eleazar considers them valid, with the exception of a Get, or act of divorce, because it is written in the Law (Deut. xxv.), "He shall write unto her a bill of divorce," i.e., on purpose for her.

§ 3. If a messenger entrusted with a Get loses it, if he finds it again immediately it is still valid, but not otherwise. If he found it in a pocket or bag [or in any other place], if he identifies it 1 the Get is valid. When a messenger brings a Get from a husband who was aged, or from one he left very ill, he may deliver it on the presumption that the husband is still alive. Thus may an Israelitess whose husband [a priest] went beyond seas, eat of the heave offering on the presumption of her husband being alive. Also, when a person abroad sends a sin offering [to the Temple], it is to be sacrificed, on the presumption of the sender being alive.

§ 4. The three following dictums of R. Eleazar ben Partah, were confirmed by the sages; viz., "That the existence may be presumed of persons who were known to be in a besieged town, or on board of a vessel in a storm, and of an accused person who was led before a tribunal to be judged [in a criminal case], but that in respect to persons living in a town which was taken by assault, or in a vessel that became a wreck, 2 and a malefactor who was led forth to be executed,

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the laws relating to the living and the dead are to be applied to them in their utmost rigidity." 3 An Israelitess married to a priest, or a priest's daughter married to an Israelite, may not [under the last mentioned circumstances] eat heave. 4

§ 5. A person who [in the Holy Land] brings a Get from one place to another, and falls ill on the road, may send it further on to its destination by another messenger; but, if the husband had said, "Bring me also from her this or that [valuable] article," he may not send it by another; because the husband trusted him, but would not [perhaps] have trusted the agent.

§ 6. When a person who brings a Get from beyond sea, falls ill on the road, he may empower the Beth Din to nominate another messenger for him, to carry the Get to the person it was intended for: and the first messenger must testify before them, that the Get was written and signed in his presence: the second messenger is not bound to make any such declaration, but need only say, "I am a messenger of the tribunal."

§ 7. When a person lends money to a priest, or to a Levite, or to a poor person, on condition that he may deduct from the debt the tithe or oblation due from him to them, he may do so, in the presumption that they are then alive; neither need he apprehend that the priest or Levite should have died, or the poor man have become rich; but if they died [before the debt was paid] he must obtain the consent of their heirs [to make this deduction], but this is unnecessary if the money was lent in presence of the Beth Din.

§ 8. A person who puts fruit aside to separate from them heave and tithe [due of other fruit], or money to redeem the second tithe [of his fruit], may do so, 5 in the presumption, that the fruit or money set apart is in actual existence; but if the fruit was lost, he must always calculate [in paying the tithe] the quantity [of fruit] which existed twenty-four hours [before the discovery of the loss]. 6 Such is the dictum of R. Eleazar ben Shamuang; R. Jehudah saith, "When wine was separated for such a purpose, it must be examined at three periods [of the year], viz. when the eastern winds begin to

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blow after the Feast of Tabernacles, when the fruit of the grape vine has set, and when the unripe grapes begin to be juicy."


285:1 Even if he recognizes the pocket or bag only, as being that in which he put the Get.

285:2 The ship is considered in law as a wreck when it has lost its masts, rudder, anchor, and sails, although the hull should not have been damaged.

286:3 That is, the rigor of the law is to be applied to them both when the law supposes them dead, or when it presumes them yet alive.

286:4 Because the husband of the first is presumed to be dead, and that of the second to be alive.

286:5 And eat of other untithed fruit.

286:6 And must pay tithe accordingly.

Next: Chapter IV