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Introduction to Eretz Yisroel Boundaries

Gitin 2

GITIN 2 - The first Daf in Maseches Gitin has been sponsored by Alex and Helen Gross of Rechavya, Jerusalem, builders of a home molded by dedication to Torah and Torah study. May the Torah always protect them and their family!


QUESTIONS: The Tana Kama in the Mishnah states that a Shali'ach who brings a Get from "Medinas ha'Yam" must testify, "b'Fanai Nichtav, uv'Fanai Nechtam" -- "In front of me it was written, in front of me it was signed." RASHI explains that "all of Chutz la'Aretz" is called "Medinas ha'Yam" except for Bavel (like the Gemara says later on 6a).

Why does Rashi write that all of Chutz la'Aretz is considered Medinas ha'Yam? It is evident from the continuation of the Mishnah that the Tana Kama is referring only to places that are *distant* from Eretz Yisrael, because he argues with Raban Gamliel who says that a Shali'ach who comes from a place *near* Eretz Yisrael says "b'Fanai Nichtav..." (and the Tana Kama certainly argues with Rebbi Eliezer who says that a Shali'ach says "b'Fanai Nichtav" when coming from places in Chutz la'Aretz that are adjacent to Eretz Yisrael and engulfed on three sides within the boundaries of Eretz Yisrael). How, then, can Rashi write that according to the Tana Kama, when a Shali'ach comes from the entire area of Chutz la'Aretz, he must say "b'Fanai Nichtav?" (RASHBA and Rishonim.)


(a) RABEINU KRESKAS (whose commentary is printed together with the Ritva) suggests that according to Rashi, the cities of Rekem and Cheger and the cities that are "Muvla'os" were actually part of Eretz Yisrael during the conquest of Yehoshua. However, when the Jews returned from the Galus in Bavel, they did not resettle these cities. Since they were not resettled, they are not considered part of Eretz Yisrael with regard to the Halachah of "b'Fanai Nichtav." Nevertheless, Rashi does not consider those cities to be Chutz la'Aretz since they were part of the original conquest of Yehoshua. Therefore, he is justified in writing that "all of Chutz la'Aretz" is considered Medinas ha'Yam.

(Rabeinu Kreskas himself does not accept this explanation.)

(b) The PNEI YEHOSHUA suggests that according to Rashi, the Tana Kama holds that even when bringing a Get from a city near Eretz Yisrael, one must say "b'Fanai Nichtav," and he only excludes cities that are "Muvla" within the boundaries of Eretz Yisrael. He does not call those cities "Chutz la'Aretz," since an imaginary line that would extend the farther part of the border would leave those cities within the boundary. Therefore, when Rashi uses the words, "all of Chutz la'Aretz," he is not including those cities.

When Raban Gamliel argues and says that one who brings a Get from Rekem must say "b'Fanai Nichtav," he means that even though Rekem is "Muvla," one must nevertheless say "b'Fanai Nichtav" when coming from there, since it is far from the main populated areas. Rebbi Eliezer adds that even if it is "Muvla" and near the main populated areas, one still must say "b'Fanai Nichtav." (Rashi later (4a, DH v'Amar Abaye), though, does not seem to be learning like this.)

(c) TOSFOS (DH mi'Medinas ha'Yam) asks why the Mishnah discusses bringing a Get from "Medinas ha'Yam" and not from "Chutz la'Aretz." He answers that the term "Medinas ha'Yam" implies countries that are distant from Eretz Yisrael and excludes cities that are "Muvla'os" and "Semuchos" from which one does not need to say "b'Fanai Nichtav." However, as the RASHBA points out, the Gemara later (4a) seems to include even "Muvla'os" and "Semuchos" in the category of "Medinas ha'Yam." (See Rashi there, DH v'Asa.)

The RAN answers that "Medinas ha'Yam" does not mean "distant places," but it means literally places that are across the sea (countries that are in the direction of the sea). The sea is the western boundary of Eretz Yisrael, and therefore there are no cities that are "Muvla" (engulfed on three sides) or "Samuch" (adjacent) to Eretz Yisrael on that side. The Tana uses the words "Medinas ha'Yam," referring to countries to the west of Eretz Yisrael, in order to exclude "Muvla'os" and "Semuchos." However, the same Halachah will apply to cities that are not "Muvla'os" or "Semuchos" in other directions.

The Ran explains that this is how Rashi is translating "Medinas ha'Yam." When Rashi says that all of Chutz la'Aretz is called "Medinas ha'Yam," he does not mean *all* cities, no matter how far away they are. Rather, he means the cities on all sides, and not just the west side (even though "Yam" refers to west). (See MAHARAM SHIF.)

This explains the end of Rashi's comments, where Rashi writes that all of Chutz la'Aretz is considered Medinas ha'Yam except for Bavel, like the Gemara says later. Why does Rashi need to discuss the status of Bavel here? Moreover, there is a Machlokes in the Gemara later concerning whether Bavel is like the rest of Chutz la'Aretz or not. According to this explanation, these questions are answered. Rashi is proving that Medinas ha'Yam is not limited to the west of Eretz Yisrael, since the Amora'im discuss whether Bavel is included. Bavel is not to the west of Eretz Yisrael, so how could it possibly be included if "Medinas ha'Yam" refers only to the west? It must be that "Medinas ha'Yam" includes all of Chutz la'Aretz, meaning all four sides of Eretz Yisrael. Rashi is not addressing whether cities near to Eretz Yisrael are referred to as "Medinas ha'Yam," but it is obvious from the context of the Mishnah that those cities are not called "Medinas ha'Yam."


QUESTION: Rabah and Rava argue concerning the reason a Shali'ach who brings a Get from Medinas ha'Yam needs to say, "b'Fanai Nichtav, uv'Fanai Nechtam." Rabah says that the reason is because in Medinas ha'Yam, the scribes are not learned in the requirement of writing a Get Lishmah, and therefore the Shali'ach needs to testify that it was written Lishmah. Rava says that the reason is because when the Get is sent from Medinas ha'Yam, there are no witnesses available to be Mekayem the Get (since the witnesses of the Get are in Medinas ha'Yam).

The Gemara says that one of the practical differences between these two opinions is a case when two Sheluchim bring the Get from Medinas ha'Yam together. According to Rava, they do not have to say "b'Fanai Nichtav."

Why should two Sheluchim who bring a Get from Medinas ha'Yam not have to say "b'Fanai Nichtav?" Even if it is true that they can be Mekayem the Get themselves since they constitute two witnesses, nevertheless if they do not say "b'Fanai Nichtav" they have *not* been Mekayem the Get, and at some later point after they leave the town, they will not be available to be Mekayem the Get when the need arises! (TOSFOS, DH d'Asyuhah)

In addition, the Gemara later (16a-17a) explains that the only time two people who bring a Get do not have to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" is when they are both Sheluchim -- they were both appointed by the husband to bring the Get. Our Gemara, too, says that Rava does not require "b'Fanai Nichtav" to be said only when two people were appointed as *Sheluchim* to *bring* the Get. If, however, only one of them was appointed as the Shali'ach to bring the Get, and the other person (or persons) who accompanied the Shali'ach just happen to recognize the signatures on the Get, the Shali'ach still needs to say "b'Fanai Nichtav." Why do we not say that even if *neither* of the two people bringing the Get were appointed as Sheluchim, they nevertheless are valid witnesses who will be available to be Mekayem the Get, and therefore it should not be necessary to say "b'Fanai Nichtav?"


(a) TOSFOS and most Rishonim explain that whenever two witnesses bring a Get and tell us that they were sent by the husband, we do not suspect that the Get is forged, nor is Kiyum necessary. This is because two witnesses have testified that the husband sent them with the Get and that it was not forged by the woman, and the Torah believes the testimony of two witnesses.

We might ask, though, why should we believe the Sheluchim and why should they be trusted to say that the husband sent them? They should be invalid witnesses because they are testifying about a fact concerning themselves (they are "Noge'a b'Davar")!

The Gemara later (5a, as explained by the Chasam Sofer here) explains that they are trusted because they have a "Migu." Had they wanted, they could have said that the husband divorced his wife in front of them (in which case they would not testifying about themselves and would not be "Noge'a b'Davar"); we would know that the Get itself is not forged because the two witnesses are trusted to say that the husband gave it to his wife. Now that they say instead that they are Sheluchim of the husband, they are believed because of a "Migu."

The CHASAM SOFER cites the TESHUVOS HA'RE'EM who asserts that this must be Rashi's intention as well. The witnesses are not merely *available* to be Mekayem the Get, but they actually *have* been Mekayem the Get by saying that the husband sent it with them (like the Gemara says on 5a).

When two people who did not bring the Get are available to be Mekayem the Get, that does not exempt the Shali'ach from saying "b'Fanai Nichtav," since the two people might depart the city and they will not be available later to be Mekayem the Get in case the husband challenges it. That is why the Gemara says that only when the two people bring the Get is it not necessary for them to say "b'Fanai Nichtav," since the very fact that they brought the Get to the woman is an implicit testimony that the husband sent them and that the Get is not forged.

TOSFOS later (16a, DH Aval) writes that if a single Shali'ach brings a Get, but he is accompanied by another person who testifies at the time that the Shali'ach hands over the Get that the husband sent him, then it is not necessary to say "b'Fanai Nichtav." Apparently, this is also included in the case of "d'Asyuhah Bei Trei," since two people are testifying to the Shelichus at the time that the Get is delivered.

TOSFOS here (2b, DH Mai) adds that if two people testify to the validity of the signatures in the Get and are Mekayem the Get at anytime before the Get is handed over, that also exempts the Shali'ach from saying "b'Fanai Nichtav" (according to Rava), and that is also included in the Gemara's case of "d'Asyuhah Bei Trei," since there is testimony to the validity of the Get at the time that it is being delivered.

(b) The wording of Rashi (DH Asyuhah, and 16b, DH Kasher), however, implies that it is not necessary for the Sheluchim to provide any testimony concerning the Get at the time that they deliver it. Rather, Rashi writes, since they are available to be Mekayem the Get if the husband challenges it, we do not require them to say "b'Fanai Nichtav." How, then, does Rashi answer our questions?

In addition, if -- according to Rashi -- the testimony of the two witnesses is that they recognize the signatures, how does Rashi explain the Gemara later (5a) that says clearly that the reason two witnesses are believed is because they have a "Migu" that they could have said that the husband divorced his wife in their presence? This implies that they are testifying that the husband gave the Get to them, and not that they recognize the signatures. (They would not need a "Migu" to testify that they recognize the signatures.)

Also, the RASHBA asks that according to Rashi, they should be exempt from saying "b'Fanai Nichtav" only when witnesses recognize the handwriting of the signatures on the Get. Why does the Gemara not make any mention of this? Moreover, how will Beis Din know to exempt the Sheluchim from saying "b'Fanai Nichtav" because the Sheluchim recognize the handwriting without asking them if they recognize the handwriting? Once the Sheluchim testify that they recognize the handwriting, then it is the same as saying "b'Fanai Nichtav," and it turns out that they *do* have to testify at the time that they deliver the Get!

The intention of Rashi cannot be that the two Sheluchim may deliver the Get to the woman privately and that they do not have to provide testimony at any time. If they deliver the Get privately, how will the woman be able to prove later that she was given the Get by two agents of her husband, and that the testimony of "b'Fanai Nichtav" was not required, without bringing the Sheluchim themselves to testify? Rather, Rashi might mean that it is not necessary for the two Sheluchim to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" or any other testimony at the time that they deliver the Get (i.e. they may deliver it privately). Before they leave the town, though, the woman must have them testify in Beis Din that they are Sheluchim who were appointed to deliver to her the Get from her husband. (They are believed to say this because of the "Migu" that they could have said that the husband divorced his wife in their presence, as mentioned above.)

The Chachamim only instituted saying "b'Fanai Nichtav" at the time that the Get is handed over when there is a single Shali'ach (5b, and Tosfos there, DH Yitleno). (The reason might be that the Shali'ach is more careful about what he testifies ("Meidak Dayik") when he testifies at the time that he del ivers the Get. Alternatively, the woman might not realize that the testimony of a single witness will help her cause, and therefore the Chachamim instituted -- for her benefit -- that the Shali'ach must testify "b'Fanai Nichtav" at the moment he hands over the Get, for, otherwise, the woman would not consider utilizing the Takanah that a single witness is valid for Kiyum of a Get.) However, when two witnesses are available to be Mekayem the Get, there was no necessity to institute, for the benefit of the woman, that they say "b'Fanai Nichtav" at the time of the delivery of the Get, since she can assume responsibility herself to be Mekayem the Get and prevent the husband from claiming that it is forged.

Why is it necessary for both of them to be Sheluchim in order to be exempt from saying "b'Fanai Nichtav?" The Shali'ach should be exempt even if there are two people in the town who recognize the signatures of the witnesses on the Get, since the woman can now assume responsibility for being Mekayem the Get! Rashi later (16b, DH Kasher) explains that the Chachamim enacted their decree to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" as a "Lo Plug," requiring a Shali'ach who delivers a Get to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" in all cases, because people who see a Shali'ach delivering a Get without saying "b'Fanai Nichtav" will not realize why the Chachamim exempted him. However, when two people bring a Get and together hand the Get to the woman (see Rashi, end of 16a), it is clear to everyone why the Chachamim exempted them from saying "b'Fanai Nichtav" (that is, because they are two Sheluchim), and since it is an unusual case (5a) the Chachamim did not apply their enactment of "Lo Plug" in such a case.

For the same reason, if the Shali'ach brings a Get that has already been validated, perhaps he still is required to say "b'Fanai Nichtav" because, otherwise, people will not realize why the Get was accepted as valid without the Shali'ach saying "b'Fanai Nichtav." (M. Kornfeld)

Why does Rashi not explain like Tosfos, that when two Sheluchim deliver the Get and say, in front of witnesses, that they were appointed by the husband, it serves in place of saying "b'Fanai Nichtav?" Rashi was bothered by the fact that the Gemara does not seem to require two Sheluchim to deliver the Get in front of witnesses altogether; they can deliver it privately if they want. We find only that a single Shali'ach must hand over the Get in front of witnesses (3a, 5b), as the TORAS GITIN (EH 142:18) and CHEMDAS SHLOMO point out.

(c) The TORAS GITIN (ibid.) and CHEMDAS SHLOMO suggest that even if the Sheluchim are no longer available, the husband who sent the Get does not know that. Therefore he will be afraid to come and challenge the Get, because he will be under the impression that the two Sheluchim that he sent will come and counter his claim and prove him wrong by testifying that he sent them. Since he will not challenge the Get, it is not necessary to say "b'Fanai Nichtav...."

If the two witnesses who recognize the signatures on the Get were not sent by the husband, however, the husband will not fear that there are people in that town who can counter his claim, and he will challenge the validity of the Get. Therefore it is still necessary for the Shali'ach to say "b'Fanai Nichtav...."

(See the RA'AVAD on the Rif who suggests another explanation for why two Sheluchim do not have to say "b'Fanai Nichtav.")

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