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Bava Metzia, 18


QUESTION: The Mishnah states that if one finds a lost Get, he may not give it to the woman whose name is written in it, because perhaps the husband wrote the Get but then decided not to give it, and thus it never took effect.

Why does the Mishnah give this as the reason for not returning a Get that was found? Even if the husband did not change his mind and intended to give the Get to his wife, the finder cannot give it to her because the husband did not make the finder a Shali'ach to give the Get to his wife! In order for the giving of a Get to be valid for the Get to take effect, either the husband must give it to his wife, or his appointed agent must give it to her. (PNEI YEHOSHUA)

ANSWER: The PNEI YEHOSHUA answers that the Mishnah implies that the case of the Get that was found is a case in which the woman herself claims that the Get was already given to her and it fell from her hands. We might have thought that she is believed and that we return the Get to her, because it is more likely that it fell from her than to say that it fell from him.

There are two reasons why it is more likely that the Get fell from the hands of the woman after she had received it, and not from the hands of the man:

1. There is no urgent need for the woman to keep the Get once she has received it and become divorced. Hence, she is not so careful to guard it punctiliously, and she easily could have lost it. In contrast, if the Get had been in the possession of the husband, then it would have been very unlikely that he would have lost it, since he must be very careful about guarding the Get and preventing its loss, lest it come to the hands of the woman without his consent. Therefore, it is more likely that it fell from *her* hands.

2. There is a general rule that a person does not hurry to bring upon himself misfortune. Hence, it is unusual for a man to write a Get and to hold on to it for a long time. Rather, a man waits to write a Get until the moment before he plans to give it to her. Therefore, there is reason to say that the Get fell from her hands (after he had given it to her) and not from his hands.

Therefore, the Mishnah teaches that even though it is more likely that the Get fell from her, we do not give her the Get, because there is still a fear that it fell from him, and that he had decided not to give it (and for that reason -- since he decided not to give it, he was not careful to guard it, or -- since he decided not to give it -- he placed it among his other possessions).


QUESTION: The Gemara relates that a Get was found in the court of Rav Huna. The name of the place written in the Get was "Sheviri." Rav Huna suggested that it not be returned to the Shali'ach who claimed that he lost it, because we should be afraid that there are two cities by the name of "Sheviri." RASHI explains that since there might be another city "Sheviri," perhaps there is a couple in the other city of Sheviri with the same names as the couple for whom the Shali'ach is delivering the Get, and this Get was written for the other husband with this name and he lost it. Hence, the Get cannot be given, for it might have been written for someone else.

There is a rule that states that in cases of a doubt, we may resolve the doubt, when applicable, by following "Karov" -- we determine that the item in doubt came from the place which is closest to us. Here, we know that there is one Sheviri -- the city from which the Shali'ach brought the Get. Even though there might be another Sheviri somewhere else, farther away, we should still assume that this Get came from the Sheviri that is closer to us, because of the rule of "Karov!" Why, then, does Rav Huna suggest that we may not return the Get, lest it was written for someone else by the same name in a city farther away? (CHASAM SOFER, EH II:12, TORAS GITIN EH #132)


(a) The SEFER NEFESH CHAYAH answers that, indeed, mid'Oraisa we should follow the rule of "Karov" here and not be concerned that the Get was lost be someone with the same name, and we should give the get back to the Shali'ach who claims that he lost it. Rav Huna is suggesting that the Chachamim enacted that we not give the Get back, because of a concern that people will cast aspersions about the validity of the Get *(see TOSFOS on 20b, DH Isura), saying that it was written for someone else, with the same name, in the other city of the same name. Such aspersions will cause the woman's children born from her second marriage to be rumored to be Mamzerim, and thus the Chachamim decreed that a Get that was found not be given to the woman.

(b) The SEFER MAYANEI HA'CHOCHMAH answers that Rav Huna does not mean that we are concerned merely for two cities of the same name, because, if so, we would follow the "Karov." Rather, Rav Huna means that we should be concerned for *many* cities of the same name, in which live many people with the same names as those written in the Get. Hence, there is a "*Rov*" for which we must be concerned, which counters the "Karov," and the Gemara in Bava Basra (24a) teaches that we follow the Rov in such a situation.

(c) The CHASAM SOFER answers that the Gemara in Beitzah (10b; see RASHI there) teaches that when many people from different parts of the world gather in a single place nearby, we do not apply the principle of "Karov." Since many people from many places converge on this place frequently, all of the places are considered to be "Karov."

Here, too, the Get was found in the Beis Din of Rav Huna. Rashi writes that everyone was accustomed to coming to him for judgement, and thus his Beis Din was concerned a place frequented by caravans (Shayaros Metzuyos). Since many people came to his Beis Din from all parts of the land, he could not rule that we follow "Karov," for in that place people from both nearby and from far away frequently gathered. (I. Alsheich)

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