ט״ז באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ו (February 25, 2016)

Gittin 76a-b: Divorce and Travel

The Mishna on our daf presents a case where a husband who is leaving to travel from his home in Judea, offers his wife a conditional divorce. As explained by Abaye in the Gemara, the husband actually makes two conditions:

  1. If I successfully arrive in the Galilee, the geṭ should take effect immediately, or
  2. If I do not arrive in the Galilee, the geṭ will still take effect if I do not return home within 30 days.

The Mishna teaches that in such a case, if the man travels as far as Antipatris and returns home, the geṭ will not take effect, since he has not made it to the Galilee, and has returned home before the deadline. Similarly, if he was traveling from the Galilee to Judea and attached such conditions to the geṭ, if he reaches Kfar Otnai and returns home, the geṭ will not take effect, since he has not made it to Judea and has returned home before the deadline.

di kefar otnai to antipatrisAntipatris is a city in the northern part of Judea. It was built (or reestablished) by King Herod, who named it after his father, Antipater. The city stood at a major crossroads, and it was a resting place for travelers and soldiers. It was not destroyed during the revolts against the Romans, and stood for hundreds of years. Archaeologists place Antipatris near today’s Rosh ha-Ayin.

Kfar Otnai was a small city on the southern edge of the Jezreel Valley in the lower Galilee. It is seen as the first point in the Galil when traveling from the south of the country. The city was on the border between what was known as the land of the Kutim and the Galilee, and was likely a mixed community of Jews and Kutim. It is placed a few kilometers north of today’s community of En Ganim.

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