כ״ח באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ו (March 8, 2016)

Gittin 86a-b: You Are Hereby a Free Woman

The Mishna on yesterday’s daf – discussing the correct language in a geṭ – shifts to that of what language should be used when a slave or a maidservant is set free. The two suggested expressions are “harei at bat horin – you are hereby a free woman” or “harei at le-atzmekh – you are hereby your own.”

Some of the commentaries ask why Rabbi Yehuda does not require a greater clarification of the freedom that is being offered to the slave, just as he requires it regarding divorces (see daf 85). The Ḥatam Sofer suggests that since many codifiers ruled that a slave can be released with a simple statement, and that the document serves merely to be a record of the transfer of ownership, Rabbi Yehuda does not believe that it would be necessary to be very specific in the document.

In the context of this discussion, our Gemara brings a ruling made by Rav Yehuda, who required that the record of sale, transferring ownership of a slave from one person to another, should include statements assuring the purchaser that the slave is fully owned by the individual who is selling him with no claims on him from the government or from any other individual. Furthermore, the record of sale assures the purchaser that the slave does not suffer from any diseases, nor does he have any other mumim – blemishes – on his person.

The commentaries point out that, ordinarily, these assurances should not be necessary. The general principle is that the purchaser of a slave cannot claim that the purchase should be nullified because of a mu­­m – if the blemish is significant enough to delegitimize the sale, the buyer would surely have noticed it earlier. Thus Rav Yehuda’s version of the record of sale requires the statement to be made in order to shield people from misunderstandings and complaints against each other.

Previous
Next