For the week ending 2 January 2016 / 21 Tevet 5776

Gittin 21 - 28

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • When the material upon which the get is written belongs to the woman
  • Transfer of the get through his slave or property given to her
  • Get written on horn of animal or hand of slave
  • Get written on something connected to the ground
  • When owner of plant and owner of its container want to sell to each other
  • Status of tree partially in Eretz Yisrael and partially outside
  • When it suffices to have witnesses only on delivery of get
  • Who is qualified to write a get and to deliver one
  • Which women are qualified to deliver a get or to testify that a husband died
  • When the woman is an agent to deliver a get to herself
  • The requirement for a get to be written specifically for the woman being divorced
  • The problem of two people with the same name
  • The concept of bererah and its application here
  • What must be left blank in preparing a standard form for a get or a document for loan or sale
  • Why the get must have a date written in it
  • A get lost and found by the agent delivering it
  • The source for returning a found item to its claimant based on his identifying information
  • Assuming that an old or sick husband is still alive when agent delivers the get
  • Which circumstances cause us to assume that someone is no longer alive

Another Look at Life Expectancy

  • Gittin 28a

If an elderly man sends a get to his wife in another country the agent may deliver the get on the assumption that he is still alive. (The ramifications of her being considered a divorcee or a widow is her ability to marry a kohen.)

The Sage Rava qualifies this ruling of the mishnah by stating that once the sender has reached the age of eighty we can no longer make an assumption that he is still alive when the get is delivered. His qualification is challenged by the Sage Abaye who cites a source that states that even if the divorcer is a hundred years old we can assume he is still alive. The response to this challenge is that once a person has passed the age of most people his life expectancy is not subject to the norm.

Although it would seem from this dialogue that only when one reaches the age of one hundred is he considered capable of living longer than the norm. Rashi, however, saw a need to bridge the initial statement of Rava with his subsequent rebuttal of Abaye's challenge. He therefore explains that while a person is in his eighties it cannot be assumed by his agent that he is still alive when the get is delivered. But once he reaches ninety we can assume that he is still alive because he has already proven to be an exception to the norm of longevity.

What the Sages Say

"Brothers who divide an inheritance of fields are considered as having purchased from one another and are obligated to return to each other the field they acquired in the division (due to Yovel)."

  • Rabbi Yochanan - Gittin 25a

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