כ״ד באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ו (March 4, 2016)

Gittin 82a-b: Any Man, Except So-and-So

Perek ha-megaresh, the last chapter of Massekhet Gittin, begins on our daf. This perek includes a wide range of topics, and its purpose is to complete the discussion of Jewish divorce laws by covering those areas that were left out of earlier discussions.

The first Mishna in the perek discusses a case where a person hands a geṭ to his wife and says, “Harei at muteret le-khol adam? Hutz mi-ploni – you are now free to marry anyone who you like, with the exception of one specific person.” One of the basic principles of a Jewish divorce is that the geṭ totally severs the relationship between husband and wife, to the extent that he no longer has any control over her actions or choices. This rule leads the to invalidate such a geṭ. Rabbi Eliezer, however, rules that such a geṭ remains valid. According to the Hakahmim, the husband can take the geṭ back from his wife and resubmit it to her saying “you are free to marry whoever you like,” at which point the divorce would take effect – unless the statement invalidating the geṭ is written into the document itself.

In this last case, when the husband wants to deliver the geṭ properly, would it be enough for him to say the standard format of “here is your geṭ” or must he specifically restate his original instructions in a manner that clarifies his intent? According to the Ri”d, all he needs to do is to say the normal formula. The Ran argues that in this case, the normal formula of “here is your geṭ” may be understood within the context of his original statement, which limited her options for marriage, and was therefore not acceptable. He therefore must state clearly that the divorce will permit her to marry anyone.

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