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Steinsaltz

it is valid. The Gemara comments: Apparently, Rabbi Yoḥanan holds that two people who brought a bill of divorce from a country overseas are not required to say: It was written in our presence and it was signed in our presence.

Abaye said to Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda: If that is so, if the mishna is referring specifically to a case where the document was not produced by both of them, consider the latter clause of the mishna, which teaches: If two people say: It was written in our presence, and one person says: It was signed in my presence, it is invalid, and Rabbi Yehuda deems it valid.

The Gemara infers: The reason this document is invalid is specifically due to the fact that the bill of divorce was not produced by both of them, but if the bill of divorce was produced by both of them would the Rabbis deem it valid? Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda said to Abaye: Yes, the Rabbis would deem this bill of divorce valid.

The Gemara asks: And in a case where the bill of divorce was not produced by both of them, with regard to what underlying principle do they disagree? The Gemara explains: One Sage, the Rabbis, holds: The Sages decree that it is invalid lest people will come to confuse this case with the typical situation of ratification of legal documents. In other words, they will think it is possible to ratify other documents by the testimony of one witness. And one Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, holds that the Sages do not decree that it is invalid for this reason.

Some say another version of this discussion: Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda says that Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Even a bill of divorce produced by both of them is invalid. The Gemara comments: Apparently, Rabbi Yoḥanan holds that if two people brought a bill of divorce from a country overseas they are required to say: It was written in our presence and it was signed in our presence.

Abaye said to him: If that is so, consider the latter clause of the mishna, which teaches: If two people say: It was written in our presence, and one person says: It was signed in my presence, then the document is invalid. And Rabbi Yehuda deems it valid. Is it true to say that even when the bill of divorce was produced by both of them the Rabbis deem it invalid? Rav Shmuel bar Yehuda said to him: Yes.

The Gemara asks: With regard to what principle do the tanna’im disagree? The Gemara answers: One Sage, the Rabbis, holds that the reason for the declaration: It was written in my presence and it was signed in my presence, is because the people who live overseas are not experts in writing a bill of divorce for her sake. Consequently, it is necessary for them to testify about both the writing and the signing for her sake, in accordance with the rabbinic decree, even when two people bring the bill of divorce. And one Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, holds that the reason for the declaration is because there are no witnesses available to ratify it, and when two people bring a bill of divorce there are people available to ratify it, and therefore the declaration is unnecessary.

The Gemara asks: If so, shall we say that the disagreement of Rabba and Rava with regard to the two reasons for the declaration is a dispute between tanna’im? The Gemara rejects this suggestion: No, as Rava resolves this issue and explains it in accordance with the first version, that the Rabbis agree that two people who bring a bill of divorce are not required to say: It was written in our presence and it was signed in our presence. Consequently, it is possible that both opinions concur that an agent is required to say: It was written in my presence and it was signed in my presence, so that witnesses will be available to ratify it.

And Rabba could have said to you, in accordance with the second formulation of Rabbi Yoḥanan’s statement, i.e., two people who bring a bill of divorce are also required to say: It was written in our presence and it was signed in our presence, that everyone agrees that we require them to issue the declaration because people are not experts in the halakha that it must be written for her sake. And with what are we dealing here? We are dealing with the period after they learned to write a bill of divorce for her sake even overseas.

And they disagree with regard to whether there is a rabbinic decree that the bill of divorce is invalid lest the matter return to its corrupt state, i.e., the residents overseas will forget that a bill of divorce must be written for the woman’s sake. As one Sage, the Rabbis, holds: The Sages decree that it is invalid for this reason, and therefore the declaration is still required even after they learned. And one Sage, Rabbi Yehuda, holds: The Sages do not decree that it is invalid lest they forget the halakha.

The Gemara asks: But if so, let Rabbi Yehuda disagree also with regard to the first clause of the mishna, concerning the case where one agent says: It was written in my presence, and the other agent says: It was signed in my presence. Why does he disagree only about a case where two say that the document was written in their presence? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Yehuda disagrees even with regard to the first clause, as it was already stated with regard to the mishna that Ulla said: Rabbi Yehuda was in disagreement even with regard to the first clause.

Rav Oshaya raises an objection to the opinion of Ulla from the following baraita (Tosefta 2:2): Rabbi Yehuda deems the bill of divorce valid in this case but not in another case. What, is it not correct to say that this serves to exclude a case where one says: It was written in my presence, and one says: It was signed in my presence?

The Gemara rejects this suggestion: No, this serves to exclude a case where only one witness testified: It was signed in my presence but it was not written in my presence. The Gemara asks: Why is it necessary to exclude this case? It might enter your mind to say: Since Rabbi Yehuda did not issue a rabbinic decree that it is invalid lest the matter return to its corrupt state, perhaps he also did not decree that it is invalid lest people will come to confuse this case with the typical situation of ratification of legal documents, which cannot be performed with one witness. Consequently, the baraita teaches us that although Rabbi Yehuda is not concerned about people forgetting the halakha and therefore holds that there is no longer any reason to be worried about the document not being written for her sake ab initio, nevertheless he is still concerned that a bill of divorce might be confused with other legal documents.

It was also stated, similar to Rabbi Yoḥanan’s statement, but in the name of a different amora, that Rav Yehuda says: With regard to two people who brought a bill of divorce from a country overseas, we have arrived at the dispute between Rabbi Yehuda and the Rabbis.

§ The Gemara relates: Rabba bar bar Ḥana was weak, and Rav Yehuda and Rabba entered to visit him and to inquire about his well-being. While they were there, they raised a dilemma before him: With regard to two people who brought a bill of divorce from a country overseas, are they required to say: It was written in our presence and it was signed in our presence, or are they not required to issue this declaration? He said to them: They are not required to say it, for the following reason: What if they said: She was divorced in our presence, wouldn’t they be deemed credible? Therefore, they do not have to state the declaration. In the meantime, while they were sitting there, in came a certain

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)
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