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Gitin, 32

GITIN 32 (16 Adar) - dedicated by Mr. Avi Berger of Queens, N.Y. in memory of his father, Reb Pinchas ben Reb Avraham Yitzchak, on the day of his Yahrzeit.


QUESTION: The Mishnah discusses a case in which a man appoints a Shali'ach to bring a Get to his wife, and the Shali'ach is delayed. The husband meets the Shali'ach before the Shali'ach is able to give the Get to the woman, and he tells the Shali'ach that the Get is annulled. Alternatively, the husband rushes to his wife before the Shali'ach reaches her, and he tells his wife that the Get is annulled. In such a case, says the Mishnah, the Get is annulled. Even if the Shali'ach then hands the Get to the woman, she is not divorced.

The Gemara explains that the Mishnah does not have to teach us that when the husband runs after the Shali'ach to tell him that he annulled the Get, that the Get is annulled. Rather, the Mishnah is teaching that even if the husband meets up with the Shali'ach by chance, unexpectedly, and he tells him that the Get is annulled, the Get is indeed annulled. We might have thought that in such a situation the Get is *not* annulled, and that the husband was merely attempting "to cause her pain" ("l'Tzi'urah Ka Mechaven") and he does not really have intention to annul the Get. The Mishnah teaches that he really does intend to annul the Get.

RASHI explains that this means that we might have thought that the husband simply wants to cause distress to his wife by delaying the Get for a month or two, since, had he really wanted to annul the Get, he would have deliberately run after the Shali'ach to annul the Get (instead of annulling the Get when he coincidentally met up with the Shali'ach).

The RASHBA is puzzled about Rashi's words. What difference does it make if the husband simply wants to delay the Get for a month or two, or if he wants to annul the Get completely? Even if he only wants to annul it for a month or two, at the end of that time the Get cannot be given unless the husband re-appoints the Shali'ach to give the Get! Hence, even if the husband intends to cause pain to his wife, he *also* intends to annul the Get, because, effectively, there is no difference between annulling the Get completely and delaying it for a few months! In either case, the Get cannot be given until the husband re-appoints the Shali'ach! Why, then, according to Rashi, would we have thought that the Get is not annulled because the husband did not run after the Shali'ach?


(a) The RASHBA first suggests that Rashi might be explaining the Gemara according to Rav Sheshes (32b), who holds that when a man annuls the Get that he sent to his wife, he cannot re-use it later to divorce her -- "Eino Chozer u'Megaresh Bo." We might have thought that the husband is simply intending to cause pain to his wife and he does not intend to annul the Get, and, therefore, the *same* Get may be re-used later when the husband changes his mind and decides to divorce her. The Mishnah therefore teaches that the Get is indeed annulled and it cannot be re-used.

However, as the Rashba asks, the Gemara there rules explicitly that one *may* re-use a Get after it was annulled! It would be forced to say that Rashi is explaining our Mishnah only according to the non-Halachic opinion!

(b) TOSFOS REBBI AKIVA EIGER (on the Mishnayos) suggests a number of differences between when the husband intends to give the Get later and when the husband intends to annul the Get entirely. He points out that if the husband intends to give the Get after a few months, he has not retracted the appointment of the Shali'ach. The Shali'ach is still his appointee, but he just does not know it at the time and must wait for explicit permission from the husband to give the Get.

This has a number of Halachic implications, including the following leniencies in cases where the husband only intends to delay the Get. First, normally the husband must appoint his Shali'ach in front of witnesses. In the case of our Mishnah, since the Shali'ach was already appointed in front of witnesses and the Shelichus was never annulled (where the husband's intention was to delay the Get), the husband may tell the Shali'ach at a later date to deliver the Get without appointing him again in front of witnesses. Second, if -- after the husband told the Shali'ach not to deliver the Get -- the Shali'ach gave over the Get to another person and told him that "if the husband ever asks me again, at a later time, to deliver the Get, then I want you to deliver it for me." If the husband did not annul the original Shelichus, but merely delayed the giving of the Get, then the second Shali'ach can give over the Get. However, if the husband annulled the Shelichus entirely, then the second Shali'ach was not appointed by an active Shali'ach, and therefore he is not empowered to deliver the Get.

A question can be asked on both of these explanations, though. Rashi writes that what makes us think that the husband does not want to annul the Get but simply to delay it for a few months is the fact that he did not deliberately run after the Shali'ach, but he simply met up with him by chance. If he intended to annul the Get, he should have annulled the Shali'ach. According to the Rashba and Rebbi Akiva Eiger's understanding of Rashi, even if the husband does not want to annul the Get, he also does not want the Get to be given for another few months. He should have run after the Shali'ach even to tell him not to give the Get for another few months!

(c) The TORAS GITIN explains that Rashi does not mean to say that the husband wants the Get to take effect if it is delivered now. Rather, we assume that the husband simply wants to cause the Shali'ach, and the woman, uncertainty and doubt as to whether the Get took effect or not. Since he did not run after the Shali'ach, we might assume that he does not truly intend to annul the Get, but rather he wants the Get to take effect when it is delivered, and he just wants the woman to be uncertain whether or not the Get took effect at the moment she received it and to refrain from getting remarried, out of doubt, for a few months. If the husband intended to never tell the woman whether or not the Get took effect, then he would have simply annulled the Get, since, anyway, he is effectively preventing her from getting married with this Get.

Rashi therefore writes that the husband does intend to notify his wife, after a few months, that the Get took effect, and he wants the Shali'ach to deliver the Get now. He just wants the woman to remain in a state of confusion.

The Rashba explains the Gemara differently. The Rashba was not satisfied with explaining that the husband wants the Get to be delivered even though the Shali'ach does not know that he wants it delivered. If the Shali'ach thinks that the husband does not want it delivered, then he will not deliver the Get in the first place, and the husband has effectively annulled the Get! The Rashba explains, therefore, that the husband was simply trying to surprise the Shali'ach momentarily, but after thinking about it, the Shali'ach and the wife will immediately understand that the husband did not intend to retract the Get.

In what way, then, does this pain the wife? By the time that she receives the Get she knows that she can get married! The answer is that the Rashba changes the Girsa in the Gemara to "*l'Tze'urei* Ka Mechaven" -- the husband intends to pain the *Shali'ach* for delaying the delivery of the Get until the husband happened to meet him (see Rashi DH v'Afilu).


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