Bava Basra 156 - 162
Fit To Be Tied
In addition to the regular type of document used either for the purpose of divorce or for loans and sales there was once in use another type of document called a "tied document". Whereas the regular one was written in an unbroken flow of lines on a sheet of parchment with the witnesses signed below, the "tied" one was written in a very complicated fashion. After each written line a line was left blank and folded over the written one. Then the two were sown together - "tied" - and the process was repeated for the remaining lines and completed with the witnesses signing on the back of the parchment.
What was the purpose of instituting such a complicated, time-consuming procedure when a simple document would suffice?
This practice arose in a particular community with many kohanim who were quick to lose their tempers towards their wives and rush into a divorce. Since a kohen is forbidden to marry any divorcee, even his own, such an impetuous move could result in an irreparable domestic tragedy. The Sages therefore instituted for such a community a divorce document that would take considerable time to prepare in the hope that during this interval the enraged kohen would cool off and abandon his plans for divorce.
Once this procedure was established for divorce documents it was extended to all other legal documents so there would be a uniform practice in that community. Today it is not the practice to use a "tied document" even when the divorcing husband is a kohen.
- Bava Basra 160b
Bridging the Generation Gap
"In the place of your fathers will be your children; You (Hashem) will appoint them princes throughout the land." (Tehillim 45:17)
This is not intended as a law of inheritance which establishes a direct link between grandfather and grandchild but rather as a blessing which Hashem bestows upon His righteous servants. This blessing has a number of dimensions:
- The righteous will have not only children but grandchildren to inherit their positions of honor. (Rashbam)
- The righteous will have children as righteous as themselves and deserving of inheriting their glory. (Tosefos)
- What the children of the righteous attain in status and wealth will not be at the expense of their parents but rather as an ancestral endowment and they will share glory with their father as princes with a king. (Ein Yaakov)
- The children - all righteous Jews - will inherit from their fathers - the patriarchs Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov - the blessings which Hashem promised them and they will rule the land of Israel which Hashem promised our ancestors to give to us. (Maharsha)
- Bava Basra 159a