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Steinsaltz

Tell a scribe and he will write the document and tell so-and-so and so-and-so and they will sign it. And due to the shame of the scribe, who asks: Don’t you consider me a sufficiently upright person to sign the document as a witness, the agents are concerned to avoid that disgrace and have one of those witnesses and the scribe sign together with him, and the husband did not say to do so. The bill of divorce is invalid because it was signed contrary to the husband’s instructions, and the agents will mistakenly think it is valid.

The Gemara answers: Since the Master said, as cited later, that such a bill of divorce is valid, however, it shall not be done in Israel, as the husband himself should appoint the scribe and the witnesses, it is an uncommon case for the husband to appoint an agent to arrange the bill of divorce, and the Sages do not issue a decree for cases that are uncommon.

The Gemara asks: And let us be concerned lest the husband say to two people: Tell the scribe and he will write the document and you sign it, and these two, due to the shame of the scribe, go and have the scribe sign the document together with one of them, and the husband did not say to do so. The Sages say: In this case too, it is valid; however, it shall not be done. This too is uncommon, and there is neither concern nor a decree.

The Gemara responds: This works out well according to the one who said in this case as well: It is valid; however, it shall not be done. But according to the one who said: It is valid and it may be done, i.e., it is permitted ab initio, what is there to say?

Rather, this is the explanation. Rabbi Yosei stated two halakhot: The first is that verbal directives cannot be delegated to an agent. The second is that even when the husband said: Tell another to write the document, this agency cannot be transferred to another person. And Shmuel holds in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei in one case, i.e., that verbal directives cannot be delegated to an agent, and he disagrees with him in one case, as Shmuel holds that if the husband explicitly said: Tell another to write the document, this agency can be transferred.

§ With regard to the previously cited matter itself, Shmuel says that Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi says: The halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei, who says: Verbal directives cannot be delegated to an agent. Rabbi Shimon, son of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, said before his father: Since Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Ḥanina of Ono, who hold that verbal directives can be delegated to an agent, disagree with Rabbi Yosei, what led Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi to say that the halakha is in accordance with the opinion of Rabbi Yosei?

Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to his son: Be silent, my son; be silent. You did not see Rabbi Yosei, as, if you had seen him, you would know that his reasoning [nimmuko] accompanies his statements. Therefore, I deem his opinion most reliable.

This is as it is taught in a baraita that Isi ben Yehuda would recount the praise of the Sages by characterizing each of them: Rabbi Meir, a scholar and scribe; Rabbi Yehuda, a scholar when he chooses to be one; Rabbi Tarfon, a pile of nuts, as, just as when one removes a nut from a pile all the other nuts fall, so too, when a student would ask Rabbi Tarfon with regard to one matter, he would cite sources from all the disciplines of the Torah; Rabbi Yishmael, a well-stocked store; Rabbi Akiva, a full storehouse; Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Nuri, a peddler’s basket, in which there is a small amount of each product; Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya, a basket of fragrant spices, as everything he says is reasonable; the mishna of Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov is measured [kav] and immaculate; Rabbi Yosei, his reasoning accompanies his statements; Rabbi Shimon grinds much and removes little.

It is taught in explanation: Rabbi Shimon would forget little of his studies, and what he removed from his memory, he removed only chaff. And likewise, Rabbi Shimon said to his students: My sons, accept my halakhic rulings, as my rulings are the finest rulings of the finest rulings of Rabbi Akiva.

§ With regard to the matter previously cited itself, a case where one who said to two people: Tell a scribe and he will write the document and tell so-and-so and so-and-so and they will sign it, Rav Huna says that Rav says: It is valid; however, it shall not be done in Israel ab initio. The husband himself must appoint the scribe and witnesses.

Ulla said to Rav Naḥman, and some say that Rav Naḥman said to Ulla: Since it is valid, why shall it not be done in Israel? He said to him: We are concerned lest the woman hire witnesses. Since this is permitted by means of an agent, and the witnesses themselves do not know what the husband said, a woman could hire witnesses to tell a scribe to write a bill of divorce on her behalf and hire witnesses to sign it without her husband’s knowledge.

The Gemara asks: But are we concerned about that possibility? But isn’t it taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Yevamot 4:7): With regard to witnesses who are signed on a field of sale and a woman’s bill of divorce, the Sages were not concerned with regard to this matter of forgery, that perhaps these documents were written without consent of the owner and the husband, respectively. The Gemara answers: Although they would not perform an action and forge a bill of divorce, they would utter a statement and tell another to forge a document. The other person acts unknowingly, unaware of the impropriety involved.

The Gemara cites another halakha: If one said to two people: Tell the scribe and he will write the document and you sign it, Rav Ḥisda says: This bill of divorce is valid; however, it shall not be done ab initio. Rabba bar bar Ḥana says: It is valid and it may be done ab initio.

Several other amora’im dispute this matter. Rav Naḥman says: It is valid; however, it shall not be done ab initio. Rav Sheshet says: It is valid and it may be done ab initio. Rabba says: It is valid; however, it shall not be done. Rav Yosef says: It is valid and it may be done.

Talmud - Bavli - The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren No=C3=A9 Talmud
with commentary by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Even-Israel (CC-BY-NC 4.0)
אדם סלומון
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