כ׳ בטבת ה׳תשע״ו (January 1, 2016)

Gittin 20a-b: One Must Write a Document and Not Chisel It

The Gemara on our daf quotes a baraita that understands the need to write a geṭ (see Devarim 24:1) as excluding having it engraved. The Gemara objects that we find with regard to a slave that the document setting him free can be written on a tabla or a pinkas, but not on a kipa or an andokhtri.

di hak takhotIn response, Ulla quotes Rabbi Elazar as distinguishing between two types of engraving – hak takhot, where the letters are created by removing the material around them, and hak yerekhot, where the letters are created by digging out the material where the document is being written.

di hak yerekhotThe cases that are acceptable to the baraita are the cases of a tabla – a tablet or a flat board, and a pinkas. The cases that are rejected by the baraita are the kipa and the andokhtri. The definition of an andokhtri is not clear (nor is it clear how the word is pronounced). Rashi and others explain that it is a type of ornament – some type of woven cloth with pictures on it. The Ge’onim suggest that it refers to some type of writing that is not done in the normal fashion, for example where weaving a basket from straw or branches creates letters and words. In such a case, the words do not become part of the object itself, but rather sit on top of it.

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