י״א בטבת ה׳תשע״ו (December 23, 2015)

Gittin 10a-b: A Samaritan Witness

The Mishna on our daf discusses whether a document that had a kuti signed as a witness would be considered to be valid. The Gemara brings three opinions regarding the status of kutim:

  1. The Tanna Kamma rules that matzah made by a kuti could be eaten on Pesaḥ and used to fulfill the mitzva;
  2. Rabbi Elazar forbids use of matzah made by a kuti;
  3. Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel believes that the kutim are even more punctilious than are Jews with regard to those mitzvot that they accepted.

At the beginning of the second Temple period, when Jews of the Diaspora began returning to the land of Israel, the relations between the Jews and the Shomronim became tense, with the Shomronim trying to bring down the efforts to rebuild the wall surrounding the city of Jerusalem and the Beit haMikdash. At the same time, there were Jewish families – including families of kohanim – who intermarried with the Shomronim and assimilated with them.

During some periods, the relations between the two groups reached levels of overt warfare; Yohanan Hyrcanus even attacked and destroyed their temple on Mount Gerizim. During other periods, however, there was cooperation between the groups, during the Bar Kokhba rebellion, or example.

While differed as to how they should be seen from a halakhic standpoint, the final conclusion was to treat them as non-Jews given their continuing worship of pagan gods.

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